Cakes & Bakes: Paratha

August 28th, 2014

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Paratha with curry & rice

When we order an Indian takeaway we always include a portion of breads to go with our curries. Our favourite is paratha – an unleavened, fried flatbread made with wholemeal flour. The name originates from the words parat and atta which means layers of cooked dough.

They can sometimes be made stuffed with vegetables, paneer or potatoes (aloo). We prefer them plain – and this time I’ve made half the batch studded with pan fried cumin seeds (geera).

Traditionally they’re cooked on a tawa but a large, cast iron frying pan will do. If you don’t want to eat all the parathas in one go, you can prepare the dough up to stage 10 and freeze the extra. Just place each circle between 2 pieces of parchment paper, stack them one on top of the other, wrap in cling film or zip-lock bag and store flat.

Cakes & Bakes: Paratha

Yield: Serves 8

Cakes & Bakes: Paratha

Ingredients

  • 450g plain flour (I used an equal amount of chapatti flour) + a little extra for dusting
  • 4tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp salt
  • 350ml water (approx)
  • 45g ghee, clarified butter or vegetable oil
  • 1tsp cumin seeds (geera)
  • 55g vegetable oil for brushing
  •  
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Instructions

  1. Sift together the flour, baking powder & salt
  2. Add enough of the water to form a smooth, soft dough
  3. Knead well and leave to relax for ½ hour covered with a damp cloth
  4. In a small frying pan over a medium heat, dry fry the cumin seeds for about 3 minutes, shaking continuously to stop burning. Set aside
  5. After the dough has relaxed, re-knead and divide into four balls (loyah)
  6. Flour surface and roll out each dough ball into 20-23cm/8-9inch circle
  7. Sprinkle half the dough with the cumin seeds
  8. Spread with some ghee and sprinkle with a little flour
  9. Cut rolled dough circles from centre to edge. Roll each tightly into a cone. Press the peak of the cone into the centre and flatten. Leave to rest for 30 minutes
  10. Flour the surface again and roll out the dough very thinly with a rolling pin
  11. Cook on a moderately hot, greased tawa/frying pan for 1 minute
  12. Turn over, brush with ghee/oil and cook for another minute
  13. As each one is cooked, stack on top of each other, wrap them in a clean tea towel and move on to the next
  14. Eat immediately
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Creative Collections: Bobbins

August 27th, 2014

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collection of vintage bobbins and spools of thread

What a load of old bobbins! :-)  Welcome to the second of our new series of Creative Collections posts.

collection of vintage bobbins

We love these old mill bobbins and think they make a lovely display for a craft room or similar. All the different shapes, sizes & materials work really well together to form an interesting collection.

collection of vintage bobbins from above

We’re in the right part of the world to pick them up, but they’re getting harder & harder to find – especially the brightly coloured ones with their original paint.

collection of vintage bobbins with string and threads

A single, large bobbin is great for storing ribbon or twine. It will earn its keep while you hunt for others!

A Yorkshire Post!

August 26th, 2014

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Ribblehead ViaductRibblehead Viaduct | Image credit: Andrew

In association with Yorkshire Water, we’ll be extolling the virtues of the fabulous county where we live & work in this post.

Malham Cove in the Yorkshire DalesMalham Cove, Yorkshire Dales | Image credit: Alison Christine

The diversity of the landscape is amazing – beautiful farmland scenery, rugged mountains & moors, pretty woodland, meandering rivers & dramatic sea coasts – it has it all.

Flamborough Head LighthouseFlamborough Head Lighthouse | Image credit: Mike Elleray

The county has three national parks either wholly or partially within its borders, which is quite something. This stunning scenery was a major factor in Yorkshire being chosen for the Grand Départ for this year’s Tour de France. The enthusiasm of the population & amazing spectator numbers would follow later.

Dry stone wall in MalhamDry stone wall, Malham | Image credit: Paul Stephenson

The man-made additions can make a wonderful impact on the landscape – just look at the stunning Ribblehead Viaduct which we featured as our main photo – or the classic dry stone walls which snake for thousands of miles across the countryside.

view over Scarborough taken from the castleview over Scarborough from the castle | Image credit: Dave Kilroy

There’s amazing architecture both old & new – from ancient castles like the coastal fortress at Scarborough to spectacular abbeys like Rievaulx, Bolton & Fountains. Stately homes like Castle Howard – through to classic Georgian market towns & spas such as Richmond & Harrogate.

Workers' houses in SaltaireWorkers’ houses, Saltaire | Image credit: Tim Green

Victorian mill buildings & civic splendour of the 19th century – Saltaire immediately springs to mind!

Salt's Mill in SaltaireSalt’s Mill, Saltaire | Image credit: Tim Green

Relative to size, the number of listed buildings in industrial towns like Halifax & Huddersfield is amazing.

Twins l and ll by Jaume Plensa at Yorkshire Sculpture ParkTwins l and ll by Jaume Plensa, Yorkshire Sculpture Park | Image credit: Bryan Ledgard

Then right into the 21st century with places like Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Even the humble car park can grab your attention. This is the Charles Street car park in Sheffield, christened ‘the cheese grater’ by the locals (it’s been voted the 3rd coolest in the world don’t you know!).

Charles Street Car Park in Sheffield also known as the Cheese GraterCharles Street Car Park, Sheffield | Image credit: Duncan Harris

We have a choice of cities such as York, Leeds & Sheffield for a metropolitan buzz and shopping trips.

An extensive canal network, originally built to transport goods in the 18th & 19th century, criss-crosses the county. It now provides the perfect opportunity for boating holidays & tow path walks.

Five Rise Locks in BingleyFive Rise Locks, Bingley | Image credit: Allan Harris

It’s hard to pick favourite places when there’s so much on offer. Everyone who lives here or holidays in the area will have their own ideas.

Whitby Abbey at sunsetWhitby Abbey | Image credit: James Whitesmith

We love the Yorkshire Dales and the coast around Whitby. Malham is a great place to visit – with it’s stunning limestone scenery of streams, springs, caverns, gorges, clints & grykes – it’s a real life geography text book!

Winskill Stones in the Yorkshire DalesWinskill Stones, Yorkshire Dales | Image credit: Alison Christine

…and just mentioning Whitby makes us dream wistfully about a trip over there.

It’s a lovely drive from here – through Helmsley & Pickering, across the North York Moors – stopping for a sandwich & a cuppa at the Hole of Horcum – then dropping down through Sleights and into picturesque Whitby.

Whitby Harbour with the abbey on the hill in the distanceWhitby Harbour | Image credit: Matthew Hartley

We’d probably stay at the Old Dispensary. No doubt, there’d be walks on the beach or coastal path to Staithes or Robin Hood’s Bay. A mooch around the town maybe, fish & chips on the harbour at sunset. Perhaps a few drinks in the Black Horse pub – and a lazy breakfast with the newspapers the morning after.  Bliss – the perfect weekend away.

Staithes Harbour looking out to seaStaithes Harbour looking out to sea | Image credit: PauliCarmody

We really enjoy a drive out somewhere – a day wandering around the local sights & shops – stopping for a coffee. We’re spoilt for choice really – places like Ripon, Ilkley, Harrogate, Skipton and Richmond all within reach. It brings to mind another favourite little trip – with flask of tea made, take the lovely drive over the moors through Oxenhope to Addingham (where you can pick up a snack for lunchtime if you  haven’t brought a packed lunch. Spend a couple of hours by the river at Bolton Abbey, then onto Ilkley or Skipton for the afternoon. Each has its own attractions depending on what you fancy that day – auction house, antiques centre, shops, park, boat trip on the canal, medieval castle, Betty’s Tea Rooms!

Stepping stones across the river at Bolton AbbeyStepping stones across the river at Bolton Abbey | Image credit: linearclassifier

And then there’s home of course – we can’t write a post about Yorkshire without highlighting our own little corner of the county. We live & work in the Calder Valley in West Yorkshire. We know the neighbouring towns of Todmorden & Hebden Bridge particularly well having lived in both.

Todmorden stone on entering the townTodmorden stone on entering the town centre

It’s Todmorden at the moment and we’re very happy here. It’s actually very easy to shop & socialise in both which is ideal. Two for the price of one! A ten minute drive or train hop between the two – or an hour’s walk along a lovely stretch of that canal we mentioned earlier – the perfect distance for a stroll with a well-deserved pub lunch at the other end!

Rochdale Canal at Hebden BridgeRochdale Canal at Hebden Bridge | Image credit: Phil King

There’s a lot going on here for relatively small towns. Interesting independent shops, markets, art galleries, restaurants & bars. Each town has a  lovely, big park where they stage a wide variety of events. There are agricultural shows, vintage car rallies, beer & music festivals and spectacular fire work displays.

View of Hebden BridgeHebden Bridge | Image credit: Tim Green

We have beautiful countryside on our doorstep where we spend many hours walking with our dog Fudge. The folk are friendly & helpful and there’s a strong will to give things a go – whether it be a new business or social endeavour. Just take Incredible Edible as the perfect example – a wonderful organisation aiming to provide access to good local food for all.

view overlooking TodmordenView of Todmorden nestled in the Calder valley

So, that’s our Yorkshire. In addition to sharing lots of lovely images, this post gives us the opportunity to highlight the importance of Yorkshire Water in all this.  It’s actually one of the county’s largest landowners and has given access to thousands of acres of their land for everyone to enjoy. Their Blueprint for Yorkshire details their achievements to date & plans for the next 25 years. Their work is essential, from providing our drinking water, to reducing flooding to protecting wildlife and the natural environment. Their activities affect residents & visitors alike and are vital for the well-being of this county.

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Etsy List: Sunny side up

August 25th, 2014

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'Sunny side up' Etsy List by H is for HomeHow do you like your eggs? I like mine sunny side up. But I don’t like them runny. Does that mean that I like them over easy? Do we call it that in the UK or is that just a US thing?

Chez H is for Home we often discuss if we could only live on one foodstuff for the rest of our lives, what it would be (yes, weird, I know!). I always say that I could eat noodles every day but thinking about it, that would get a bit boring after about week 8. Eggs would be such a better choice! When I get fed up of sunny side up, there’s always soft boiled, hard boiled, scrambled, poached, coddled, baked… they can even be made into an omelette. That’s it decided – eggs are my new mono-meal! :-) What would yours be?

Sunny side up
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Charity Vintage: Fajance bird plaque

August 23rd, 2014

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Vintage 1950s Fajance pottery bird plaque for sale by & in support of Age UK Cheshire East (ends 29 Aug, 2014 10:58:45 BST)

This week we’re featuring yet another lovely piece of vintage Scandinavian pottery. This is a Fajance plaque designed by Beth Breyen for Royal Copenhagen in the 1960s. It’s sometimes referred to as a ‘Crazy Bird’ and is from the Tenera range. We’ve only ever had a spoon rest with this design but you can also find it on salt pots, trivets and strangely, coffee filter holders.

Fajance is an earthenware pottery that derives its name from Faenza in Italy, where it was first manufactured in the 16th century.

The plaque is in perfect condition and is being sold by & in support of Age UK Cheshire East*

*Age UK Cheshire East is a local, independent charity dedicated to improving the later lives of people in Cheshire East. They do this by offering projects and services that maintain health & wellbeing, improve knowledge and provide practical support to anyone who is, or cares for someone, 50+