Monday, April 30, 2018

Mary Berry's Jaffa Cakes

It is so annoying when you can't find out for certain how some of the recipes are actually done.  Yes, you can always find out some of it...but, the fine details....not always.

Like, ..... how on earth do you get the chocolate on the top to look like Mary's?  It doesn't tell you other than to say you can spoon it on if you don't want to go to the trouble of getting it perfect.  Huh? Why the heck doesn't she say how she does it and let me make up my mind later as to whether I will do it her way or not?

Here is a pic of hers.... from the Great British Bake Off show... see how lovely the chocolate line is all around the little cake.  Note the great criss cross pattern they say should be there ... I've never seen a store bought version so don't really know what one should look like.    

To me, they almost look like they have been dipped in the chocolate...but, it hardly seems possible as the cake is quite flat and how would you grab the bottom and keep your fingers out of the chocolate? ..maybe a couple of skewers through the bottom of the cake? .. some other method? .. who knows?......  ...... anybody got any suggestions?                                                                  

Then, there are dozens of folks who have made them and put them out there ... and, most of them look like this.  I would probably be too embarrassed to show mine if they looked like this... but, I might.... just to let you know how difficult they were to get right.  There has to be a better way to get the chocolate on there and make it look tidy at the very least. 

I want to try Jaffa cakes some day soon... and want them to look nice.  

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Stitching again...

This little pincushion has been sitting around (everywhere in the house really) for months to over a year ...well, it must be over a year now...

Totally lost any creative mojo during the main basement area reno.. then we had water damage go from upstairs into the basement and ruin all the renovations we had just completed... then, got that repaired and refurbished and then...the stupid stove went on the fritz causing yet another renovation.  WE discovered that "no built in ovens are to be placed within 12 inches of the cooktop or damage can occur to wiring inside the built in oven"..  ...   so had to opt for a complete range, as we call them in this country ...  which meant we then had to have the granite counter top re-cut to accept a total stove instead of just a cooktop...

The granite cutting was a disaster, and the opening is not the size we need, it is slightly larger and still not square, but you can't make a hole smaller once it is cut.  The guy who installed the range finally managed to make it sit as squarely in the opening as he could and it looks okay.  Not perfect, as it could have been if the granite guys had known their stuff ...but, okay.  Oh, and, the first range had Convection fans that were not working, so we had to order a second stove... which has now been installed and is working great.

This is the type of thing that goes on all the time around here.... or so it would seem.  Thirty plus years of renovations have taken their toll methinks.... if I never have to lift a finger to do or even to oversee anybody else "doing" things round here.... it won't be too soon for me.  I'm so done with renovating.

So, there you have it... and, now ...

Got the last embroidery stitches done on it finally ..or thought I had.. stitched it up around almost the whole thing leaving a small opening to turn it through..I am used to small turning openings from doing the little bears...and, got it turned with no difficulty.  However, I don't like how that corner doily bit opens up so deep under it after now I need to do some little stitches to hold it down at almost halfway into it.  That will be a bit tricky as I need to begin and end and, also stitch, on the inside and outside the already turned pillow.  Darn it.  Oh, well, it must be done.

Here it is so far...  this is the part of the little corner of doily that I don't want to lift quite so deep into it if you know what I mean.  Part way will be enough for me.

Here it is next to a completed one from ages ago when I took Karen's class.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Wild Bird Wednesday

I have no idea what she is really... but, she seemed to be hanging out with a little Red Poll who I think was injured or sick.  He sat on the same branch for ages one day ... and, she seemed to come and go to check on him.

She looks to me like she could be a finch...perhaps a House Finch... but, she is definitely not a Red Poll.... that is a finch beak, not the tiny one of a poll...

What do you think?  Anything about her give you a perfect read?  Click to see her even "closer up"...

Here is a photo of a male House Finch in the foreground on the feeder .... with some Red Polls in the background... not the same beak shape at all.  

And, if you have never been to Stewart's blog, Paying Ready Attention  ... please do go sometime just to have a look.  This week he is celebrating his 300th week of hosting the link for people to share their stories and photos of birds from all over the world.  How about sharing one of your birdie photos? 

Just click on this link photo below to be magically transported to Stewart's blog  ...  

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Wild Bird Wednesday

Finally, a Blue Jay came and hung out long enough for me to get a photo or two... yes, I have managed to get one or two in the past...but with great difficulty.

"They" (whoever they are) say that Jays are notoriously cheeky and fearless and brave and all the rest of it ...but, in my experience...they are skittish, nervous and don't stand still long enough for anybody to get a good picture of them.  Well, by anybody, of course I mean me.  It's ridiculous.  I read all the time about how everybody has them all over the place and can get close to them and they all have great photos to show and everything ...not me.  Not around here.

But, today I have a some to show you...and, I'm pretty darned happy with them.  This morning I saw two of them looking around in the Korean Lilac and, decided they were trying to break off tiny twigs... must be building a nest nearby.  Man, this is popular nesting territory ... and, not for all the good and pretty birds either.

Mr. and Mrs. Limpy have been dive bombed by a little, scary hawk the past few days every time they try to get onto our patio.  The hawk must have a nest nearby and is just protecting it...I can't see it wanting to kill a great big crow....they are smaller than the crow for heaven's sake.  Must just be a crazy "Mother-to-Be"... you know how they can get.  Size matters not.

I have no clue if this jay is male or female...all I know is.... it is beautiful.

Almost like it was posing it hopped off the top of the bird feeder pole and onto the snowy wall.  Turned the other side.... so cute...

And, then... much to my delight and surprise ...turned directly to look at me!

Click on any photo to enlarge and see him closer ...and, head over to Stewarts blog to see tons more lovely birds and some really great photography... some of those guys.... wow.....

Click on this to go there ...

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Arrrghhhh@#! April in Canada

Maybe "Spring" will never happen around here this year.  Well, it won't for sure.  How can it at this late date?  By the time we get any warmth and the 6 inches of ice on the roof melts or the snow goes off the will be summer.  We should be used to it I guess.  We often jump straight out of ski jackets into shorts.  It is supposed to get up to +16C by next week.  There is absolutely no sense buying anything related to spring clothes...just wait a week or two and'll be summer.  And, good and hot ... by July it will be +30C.  Ridiculous.

But, this happened yet again two days ago.. I had to keep going out to knock off the wet, clingy snow.  The poor little guys were having a hard time shifting it to find a seed.

Nobody was more ticked than my two crows... huddled against the wind and snow.  Missus wondered why she flew all the way home from the southern states for this (apparently they go as far as Kansas or Oklahoma..wonder which one she goes to??)  Limpy just sat there ...  not saying a word.....he put up with it all winter because he has a bad wing and can't fly south.  I bet they were both saying some unkind things about Mother Nature.  If crows think to do that.  I know I was.

See them up in the tree? ... click on to get a bit nearer to them if you like.   I wish I could get close enough to pet them.  So far, they will only come into the patio and they still stay about 6 feet or so away if I stay out there.  They prefer it if I come inside while they tidy up.

Look at that.... snowing so much I thought it was about mid December, not nearly the last week or two in April.....sigh..................................................

I got ticked and even turned on the Christmas lights that are still decorating the little Korean Lilac... can't even get near enough to it to get them off yet...why not turn them on?  the neighbours had a laugh.  I got a few emails.... and, yes.... my neighbour played along.  She turned on hers as well...still on her two little trees in front.