Handmade objects

Good afternoon! It’s Monday and for most people they are scurrying off to work, coffee in hand, what some call the Monday blues. I spent my night up late making business cards on my typewriter, of course I’m not one to sleep in so I awoke on little sleep had my coffee and have been crafting. Yes, this post has nothing to do with baking at all but crafting!

I have been making arm warmers and bow-ties, soon I’ll be creating leg warmers as well. Here, lets look at them.

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I’m going to be selling them in Sechelt on the Sunshine Coast at Red Line Shoes soon but I’m also taking orders from anyone that would like a pair. I like to run my business with a pay what you can mentality as I know that some people can’t pay what others can. If you’re interested in some handicrafts you can send me an email and we can work out pricing, sizing, colours, etc. I can cater to your needs.

Crocheting significantly calms me, it’s like meditation.

Hope you’re all having a wonderful day, blast the Monday blues out of here.

Tea poached pears

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Breakfast, my favorite meal. Maybe brunch more so as I always seem to start with coffee and then it takes me a bit of time to get to the breakfast portion of my day.

I made this breakfast for a cook-off that some friends and I have been running for five years, almost six now. Sadly since I’ve moved away from Vancouver I rarely get to take part in the competition anymore but a few months back I entered the cooking with tea cook-off as a lover of tea who wanted to win as I lost this competition a year earlier by one point!

My entry for the first cooking with tea cook-off

My entry for the first cooking with tea cook-off

Currently the pear tree in my yard is bursting with my favorite fruit! Time to poach pears. Some poach pears in wine for an evening dessert but I enjoy tea poached pears for breakfast or any time of the day really.

To poach pears you will need tea, you can use tea bags (about five) or 6-7 teaspoons of loose black tea. I like to add lavender to my tea for added floral flavor. Steep the tea in 1 litre of boiling water for 5 minutes. Strain out the tea and place in a pot with up to a 1/4 cup of sugar (or less, depends on how sweet you want it) and bring to a simmer over medium/high heat. Add the pears that have been cored and sliced into 6-8 wedges. Lower the heat to medium/low and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the pears and you’re done!

I use these in tarts, in oatmeal (as viewed above), or I eat them on their own. They are delectable and a perfect autumn treat.

Summer dreams

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With summer officially over (weeks ago really) I reminisce of bounty from that time of dry skin, heat soaked, ocean salted. Funny thing is we still have tomatoes growing at Infinity House, who knows if they’ll redden. If not, I still have plans for them. My basil and other heat loving plants are in the greenhouse with hopes of continued growth. Now the kale is starting to really go for it, it’s also magically popping up all over our yard.

I’ve been blog missing for quite some time. I have been busy with pretzels, breads, cupcakes, pear tarts. Fall is my favorite season as it seems people like to cozy up with delectable desserts in the evening time, sun setting early, tea in hand. I sadly lack photographs of anything as it was a busy couple of weeks for me and photographs were honestly the last thing on my mind. I was more concerned with ferry schedules, and taking care of my friends daughter. Life can become chaotic but now I feel an ease.

Time to plant garlic and possibly bake a pie today. I promise photographs if this does actually manifest.

Roasted Beet & Tomatillos

Last night my partner and I rode our bicycles over to Gospel Rock, a really nice bluff overlooking some gulf islands and the Pacific expansive. As the days are slowly starting to cool off I feel like I have to get in as much swimming and sunny beach time as possible (although I am one that prefers the rain). After our afternoon of skinny-dipping and beer swilling we parted ways and on my short bike ride home I passed by a table of free produce from a neighbours garden.

From the table I took a very large beet and three tomatillos. Today after work I decided to put these delightful garden gifts to good lunch use.

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I chopped the beet into one inch squares and threw them into a baking dish with some olive oil salt & pepper. I added the tomatillos (papery homes removed) whole and placed them in my oven preheated to 350 degrees and left them there for 45 minutes.

 

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Afterwards I threw this medley on top of some brown rice and added some greens from my garden and a smattering of organic hemp hearts.

 

beet tomatillo salad

I cannot wait to make more warm salads, oh autumn, my love for you is endless.

 

Purchasing Bread.

There are times when I stand in the grocery store bakery staring at the $7 loaves of artisan crafted breads and I wonder if there is an actual bread artisan in the back baking them. Then I read the ingredients and realize that no bread artisan would put the ingredients listed in their bread so as I stand and dream up a sandwich in my mind I decide of course to bake my own bread.

 

bread 01People seem to believe that baking bread is hard, really it’s quite easy. I think the hard part of bread baking is patience. Waiting for the dough to rise as your home fills with the smell of yeast eating sugars, then rising into a mountain of glutinous delight! I love to spend an afternoon milling about my house while I wait, patiently.

Kneeding my hands into the dough, flour flung, I feel like a sculptor.

Yesterday, desiring a sandwich I decided to make a simple loaf of sandwich bread, plain ol’ white bread that I could toast, “butter”, jam, & avocado (not all together obviously) Here is the recipe!

Ingredients:

1 cup of warm water

1 1/2 tsp sugar (I used maple syrup as I ran out of sugar when making preserves and forgot, it worked perfectly!)

1 1/2 tsp yeast

Some salt, a dash you may say

2 3/4 cups flour

1 Tbs vegan margarine or oil

You’re first going to want to mix the water, sugar, and yeast in a bowl (not a metal bowl, anything else will do) and set aside to bubble & foam for about ten minutes proving that your yeast is alive, well, and happy!

Next stir together the dry ingredients (again, in a non-metallic bowl), you may even add chopped fresh herbs here or dry herbs. This time around I made a pure loaf but I usually like to add some tarragon and sage to my breads, even chopped nasturtium leaves for some peppery flavour.

If you’re using margarine cut it into small pieces and toss into the bowl of dry ingredients, then add the yeast mixture and mix together with a wooden spoon or spatula until it starts to slowly form together. If you’re using oil then throw it in with the yeast mixture.

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Next, turn this almost dough out onto your table and kneed it for about ten minutes.

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It will look like this while you kneed and slowly turn into this…

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A smooth ball of dough. Take this and place it back into the bowl you had it in and coat with a bit of olive oil and then cover with a towel and let it rise for an hour in a warm place. In the meantime dream up the sandwich you’re going to be making in a few hours, do some laundry or what not. I took myself on a short bike ride. Distract yourself if you feel you may be impatient because it’s very important for the dough to rise.

After an hour uncover the bowl and press the dough down, it will deflate. Kneed for a few minutes on your table or just in the bowl. Form the dough into a bread pan or in my case a glass baking dish as I was going for a square loaf for some reason.

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As you can see I formed it into a loaf shape for no reason as you now have to cover the bread once again and let it rise for another hour. I know, I know, you want a sandwich! It will happen.

Before the hour of rising is up preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

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After that other hour your bread will look like this, a mass of delight to be baked, again square loaf, silly idea but it works great for focaccia! It also worked great for this.

Bake your bread for 35 minutes, remove and let cool completely before slicing… again waiting for that sandwich.

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Here we are, bread town, population one… and yes, I ate that whole loaf within two days. What can I say? I am a glutton for bread. This is a super easy recipe that you could add almost anything to. Again, herbs, chopped cherry tomatoes, blueberries, cinnamon, experimentation is grand! Try something new! Try your hand and bread baking it will save you money (if you purchase a lot of bread) plus it’s a fun thing to learn!