May 13th, 2013
Pantone has long been THE authority in global, fashionable colour. Don’t we all know that they have declared emerald green the colour of 2013? It was only a matter of time before products would be produced that were designed around the Pantone theme. Here are five of our choosing…
- Pantone tea set – teapot – £50, milk jug – £9-18, sugar bowl – £25
- Pantone Universe set of 6 placemats in gift box – £30
- Pantone folding chairs – £48.00
- PANTONE The 20th Century in Color – £17.27
May 12th, 2013
(Ends 17 May, 2013 19:22:43 BST)
A vintage Ercol sofa is at or near the top of many a mid century modern fan’s furniture wish list. This one’s being sold by St Luke’s Cheshire Hospice*. It needs new cushion covers and one of its legs is slightly damaged, but its webbing looks to be in great nick… and with a starting bid of £49.99, it’s still a bargain! It’s offered as a “collection only” item from their warehouse in Winsford, Cheshire.
*St Luke’s Cheshire Hospice provides palliative and specialist palliative care to those adult patients with life threatening or life limiting disease. The emphasis of care is on the promotion of dignity and quality of life for patients, and support for family and friends during and after the illness. Care may be as an outpatient attending Hospice Day Care, Complementary Therapy Clinic or Lymphoedema Clinic or inpatient admitted for symptom control, health assessment or terminal care.
May 11th, 2013
These colourful old tins looked a bit too pretty to put into the recycling bin.
A small collection had been sitting under the kitchen sink for months… but what to do with them?
Initially we thought herbs, but we’ve always liked succulents and we’ve seen some lovely little groupings in magazines & Pinterest – often in a selection of nice pots sitting on a windowsill. It suddenly struck us that these tins would be perfect.
Succulents & cacti come in such an amazing variety of sizes, shapes & colours – perfect to compliment the different tins.
We also put some in small terracotta pots. Fortunately we live about a mile away from Gordon Rigg Garden Centre and they had a great selection – we bought more succulents than we had tins! They cost between 65p & £1.50 each so it didn’t break the bank! We saw bags of tiny crushed shells in the aquarium section of the garden centre and they finished the containers off perfectly.
The tins are now dotted around the kitchen and the pots in the bathroom. We’re very happy with the results – they look great and virtually look after of themselves.
May 9th, 2013
If there’s a loaf that definitely needs to be eaten on the day that it’s cooked it’s the baguette! If you’ve ever eaten a home-made baguette fresh from the oven you’ll never buy shop bought again. a) It’s the most tasty, warm, crisp delicious bread you’ll ever eat and b) It’s so easy to make! It’s great with a ploughman’s lunch, a bowl of soup or on its own slathered with good quality butter.
The recipe I use is from a book we’ve reviewed in the past, Emmanuel Hadjiandreou’s How to Make Bread. There are full-colour photographic step by step instructions so you can’t go wrong!
Baguettes made with a poolish
- 2g fresh yeast or 1g/¼ teaspoon active dry yeast
- 125g/125ml/½ cup warm water
- 125g/1 cup white/unbleached plain/all-purpose flour or French T55 flour
- 300g/2½ cups white/unbleached plain/all-purpose flour or French T55 flour
- 5g/1tsp salt
- 2g fresh yeast or 1g/¼ teaspoon active dry yeast
- 140g/140ml/½ cup plus 1tbs warm water
- In a (larger) mixing bowl, weigh out the 2g fresh yeast or equivalent. Add the 125g/125ml/½ cup water and stir until the yeast has dissolved. Add the 125g/1 cup flour and mix with a wooden spoon until a spoon paste forms. Cover the bowl and let ferment overnight at room temperature. This is the poolish (Rather than do this stage I used 250g of my white starter)
- The next day, in a (smaller) mixing bowl, mix the 300g/2½ cups flour and the salt together and set aside. This is the dry mixture
- In another (smaller) mixing bowl, weigh out the remaining 2g fresh yeast or equivalent. Add the 140g/140ml/½ cup plus 1tbs water and stir until the yeast has dissolved
- Mix the yeast solution into the poolish, then add the dry mixture too and mix with your hands until it comes together
- Cover and let stand for 10 minutes
- After 10 minutes knead as instructed in photos I, J & K in the illustrated page below
- Cover the bowl again and let stand for 10 minutes
- Repeat steps 6 & 7 twice, then step 6 again
- Cover the bowl again and let rise for 1 hour
- Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour. Punch down the dough and transfer to the floured surface. Divide into 3 equal portions – weigh each piece and add or subtract dough until they all weight the same
- Gently flatten each ball of dough into an oval. Pull both ends of the oval out, then fold them over into the middle. You will now have a roughly rectangular shape
- Pull and fold the top of the rectangle one third of the way toward the middle, pressing into the dough. Swivel it 180° and repeat. Repeat until you have a neat, long loaf shape
- Repeat with the remaining portions of dough. Cover the loaves (seam-side down) and let rest for 15 minutes
- Turn one loaf over and flatten slightly . Fold the top right of the rectangle one third of the way toward the middle, pressing it into the dough. Repeat with the top left and repeat until rolled up
- Roll the dough between your hands until you get a baguette about the length of your baking shape or the desired length. Repeat with the remaining dough
- Dust the proofing linen/tea towel with flour and lay it on the baking sheet. Arrange the baguettes on the cloth, seam-side up, pulling a bit of excess cloth between each baguette to separate them
- Cover with the cloth and let rise until double the size – about an hour
- About 20 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 240°C/475°F/Gas 9. Place a roasting pan at the bottom of the oven to preheat. Fill a cup of water and set aside
- When the dough has finished rising, turn the baguettes over with a peel, if using, onto a paper-lined baking sheet. Dust them with flour and slash along their lengths using a lamé or serrated knife
- Put in the preheated oven and pour the reserved cupful of water onto the hot roasting pan
- Bake for about 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. To check if baked through, tip one upside down and tap the bottom – it should sound hollow. If ready, set the loaves on a wire rack to cool
(you can click on the image for an expanded view)
Leaving the dough in the bowl, pull a portion of the dough up from the sides and press into the middle. Turn the bowl slightly and repeat this process with another portion of the dough. Repeat another 8 times. The whole process should only take about 10 seconds and the dough should start to resist.
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May 8th, 2013
Long beech wood handle Danish whisk: £20.95 + free p&p, eBay
If you read last week’s “Cakes & Bakes” post you may have looked at the YouTube clip of Eric Rusch making a spelt sourdough loaf. He was using a Danish whisk like this one to bind together the wet dough. I saw what a great job it was doing and immediately decided I wanted one!