Victoria plums, cakes and Dorothy hats

PICT0046I’m relaxing here with a cup of tea after putting baby to bed; Baby who has been SOOO contrary for the past week, nursing constantly, few smiles… and then she cut her first back tooth-at last! Poor little thing, especially when there are many more to follow….!

We had a day of visitors, tea, plum crumble and cream, -(Victoria plums, I think they are called- from my dads plumPICT0047 tree. I brought home a bag of them to save him from himself as he eats practically the entire crop. Totally fruity, my dad)- tomatoes and courgettes from the polytunnel, onions and raspberries from the garden (yes, yes, the sum total of our days: eating, drinking pots of tea, nursing and crafting amid varied gossip sessions) It’s like Breastfeeding Central at our house these days!! I made the cake above for Grandad Toms birthday yesterday (not actually a relation at all, but we’ve poached him as our own)- this is a fool-proof Victoria Sponge which I filled with vanilla double cream and homemade jam from the market (we ate all of ours within… oooh how long would it have been? approximately a week)

Victoria Sponge Recipe (adapted from Nigella Lawson (being me I could never leave anything alone.))

-I use a cup to measure my ingredients- not as big as a mug-like an old-fashioned tea cup

Gently melt 225g unsalted butter, then, in my Kenwood, I chuck in approx

1+1/4 cups of caster sugar, 1+3/4 cups of self raising flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder and 1/4 cup of cornflour (this makes it lovely and light).

Turn on the mixer and into this: crack 4 large eggs one at a time, then a teaspoon of vanilla essence. While the mixer is turning, I pour the melted butter slowly into the mixture, it will be a bit runny, but pour it into prepared 9″ sandwich tins and bake in an oven, preheated to 180’C, but turn down to 160’C once the cake is in. The filling asks for fruit, jam, and really begs for double cream (with a bit of vanilla sugar mixed in… yum)

Two great baking books I use a lot are “How To Be A Domestic Goddess” by Nigella Lawson, and “Bake” by Rachel Allen. Really great recipes, photos and instructions… and now you know why I’m not like Twiggy!!!!!!!

And meanwhile, in my free time (!) I made a hat for our dear sweet Dorothy. Dorothy has the cheese stall at the Farmers Market here in Ballinasloe, and last week when I went in to get my cheese and fish, Dorothy looked cold. It was a cold, miserable day, and I thought of how cold she would be in the months ahead, and with this gorgeous Japanese yarn crocheted together with a purple cotton, I made a slightly flapper-style hat in double crochet, with a cute turned up brim, decorated with a covered button and little ribbon. Dorothy is just far too lovely to wear a woolly hat!

PICT0028We are off to Galway tomorrow for a Home Education get-together with other families around Galway county, always great fun and lots of chat. we have new people joining HEN (Home Education Network) all the time, so it always makes for a varied and interesting meet-up. My long-time friend Tara (long story-have known her, literally forever) has helped arrange a Bat Walk and Bat Detection near to us here at the end of the week with her lovely husband Pat leading the group (I was going to say a naturalist, but, is that someone who likes running around in the nip?) Anyway, he’s very “nature-friendly” and full of great information-one of those people who’s so enthusiastic about what they are interested in that they spread that enjoyment to everyone else. So should be a great evening. I think that will call for more banana bread and scones… (Erin, I promise the recipe here next time!!!)