Friday, 15 March 2013

In My Kitchen In March

Joining in with Celia's In My Kitchen series here, in my kitchen, in March, have been:

eggs - a sudden early Spring glut from the bantams who are now laying for Britain after a bit of sabbatical during the winter. I especially love the speckled shells although I've no idea what makes some shells speckled and others, from the same hens, on the same diet, plain.


and as a result of all the eggs, sponge cake with strawberry and mascarpone filling - very easy and absolutely delicious - tip a pot of homemade strawberry jam and a tub of mascarpone into the food processor and blitz just enough to combine, before sandwiching a pair of sponge cakes together with the resulting dusky pink, strawberry-scented cream. A sturdy spoon and a strong arm would probably do the job without the food processor but Mrs T is lazy and this month is rather short of time. And using the food processor meant that there were scrapings to be gleaned and tested just to make sure the mixture was as good as it looked! (In case you're wondering, it was!)


blood oranges - I adore the colour of these and have been squeezing them for breakfasts most mornings. I don't think their vitamin content is any different from orange oranges but I feel they ought somehow to be more packed with good things on account of their vivid crimson juice;


hot cross buns - I know it's a wee bit early for these but never mind. I am lazy and do not make pastry crosses on mine but simply dip a sharp knife in flour and then make cross-shaped cuts into the buns before baking. Much less fiddle, although you do need to dip the knife into the flour before you make each cut, or it gets stuck! I make my buns according to a variation of Delia Smith's recipe - half wholemeal flour and half white and adding two teaspoons of cinnamon and one of mixed spice as well as a good grating of nutmeg. I only use currants as the dried fruit. I don't know why, especially as of all dried fruit, currants are probably my least favourite - I much prefer sultanas, say, or golden raisins, but in hot cross buns they just feel right, so currants it is!


hooky potholders with daisy-shaped fabric appliqués - Astri got me into making these in her post here and her two previous posts. I really like the combination of crochet and fabric and they are curiously satisfying to make. Partly because they hook up quickly and partly because the fabric appliqués work surprisingly well on the crochet even though you might think they could be tricky to do. I did use Bondaweb to iron the daisies on first before zigzagging round with my sewing machine in case they "walked" but they've slotted into place as thought they were born there. The double layer of crochet combined with the appliqué layers also means they are very ergonomic in function.


 I made them in Puppets 8/8 cotton - like my heart-themed dishcloth  - in assorted colours, on a 4mm hook. The loops are made from off-cuts of homemade bias binding and are stitched in place with a little judicious three-step zig zag stitching before I joined the two crocheted discs together with Astri's neat picot edging. With a little careful hook-work I managed to use the missed stitches in the edging pattern to cover the place where the loops are attached so that the edging runs without interruption, at least on one side. They are washable, cheerful and practical - I love things like this in my kitchen!

homemade shampoo bars curing in my saucepan cupboard, on slatted racks lined with greaseproof paper. The saucepans don't seem to mind and no one has complained that their pasta or soup tastes of the strong aromatic scent of rosemary, lime and euclayptus that currently flavours the shelves! I have been dabbling in soap-making recently and these are my latest creations. I'll post a bit more about making them when they've cured fully and I've seen whether my hair likes them!


Spring flowers sitting in my new little trio of jewel-coloured, glass vases, basking in the sunshine, which through the glass of the window is now perceptibly warm, even though March, so far, has been bitterly cold here.


Have a look at Celia's blog, Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for a glimpse of other kitchens in March!


28 comments:

  1. Hello from Michigan, It is bitterly cold here. BUT we saw our first Robin today so I reckon Spring will be here soon with more warmth and sunshine. Your Bantams Eggs are beautiful. How neat to have your own Hen House. I have never seen blood oranges do they taste the same as regular oranges. Your Sponge Cake and Hot Cross Buns look so very tasty I reckon I should go to the kitchen and do some baking. VBG Have a Lovely weekend. Hugs Judy

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    1. Hello Judy! Longing for Spring so I hope your robin presages its imminent arrival both sides of the pond! Happy weekend to you too! E x

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  2. Aren't the blood oranges a wonderful colour? Have you noticed that they're often labelled "blush" oranges, though my goodness yours must be very embarassed to be so dark so maybe they're a slightly different orange.
    I'm intrigued by the shampoo bars and look forward to reading more about them.
    Beautiful things in your kitchen Elizabeth.

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    1. I hadn't noticed the "blush" label but yes, clearly mine are ultra-shy! Fingers crossed the shampoo bars will work and all my hair won't fall out! I'll let you know! E x

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  3. I fee sure blood oranges must have lots of iron in them :) Gorgeous photos.

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    1. Full of iron - I really like that! I hope you're right! Thank you so much for visiting. E x

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  4. Oh my goodness, where to start? This is a post full of so much great stuff that I could read it over and over. I must say that cake takes the cake! And those eggs and, my oh my, those potholders are merriment to the soul. What a great upgrade on the potholder design, you've got my wheels turning now. I will pin the potholders and hope to remember to make more once my cotton stash is replenished. :-)

    Thank you for the BIG smile today and thank you for the mention. A lovely weekend to you E!

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    1. Thank YOU Astri! The pot holders are all your inspiration! So glad you like my daisy versions. Happy Hooky Weekend! E x

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  5. Your post today is a feast for the eyes and the senses Elizabeth........I feel the need for jolly crochet pot holders and strawberry pink filled sponge cake........lovely indeed!
    Kim xx

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    1. Thank you Kim! The sponge cake is still going - it was rather large! But nobody's complained yet! Have a lovely weekend! E x

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  6. What a happy kitchen you have (not to mention a busy one!) - your potholders are glorious. The picot edging looks just like ricrac.

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    1. Thank you Ali! Yes, the picot edging does resemble ric rac - what a happy thought! E x

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  7. Wow you've been so busy and I'm sure work is keeping you busy too.

    I love the hot cross buns, they look yummy.

    And I seriously love those pot holders. I just love everything about them. Your handiwork is so neat. Must check out that tutorial. Thanks for sharing.

    Helen xx

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    1. Kitchen and work are both indeed busy this the of year but Mrs T kind of thrives on "busy" (most of the time anyway!) Hope all is going well with your own "busy" which very likely makes mine look like child's play! The pot holders really were such a nice project to make - quick and satisfying! E x

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  8. Love your photos today E - so stunning, although I'm a bit worried that you maybe plucked your chickens for the egg photo?! And those hot cross buns look delicious, might have to dig out my recipe book! Have a great w/e, Sx

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    1. Thank you Sonia! Glad you like the photos! I promise no chickens were plucked in the writing of this post! E x

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  9. You have a wonderland in your kitchen!
    I love all your pictures- especially the eggs and the flowers- the pot holders are lovely- you should feel quite proud. The cake- :) - looks divine- the soaps - you are so brave- I've been wanting to make soap for a long time but I'm afraid of the lye. And I have some blood oranges that I savor for breakfast each morning this past week. Thanks so much for sharing your kitchen- it was a wonderful peek inside!

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    1. Thank you Heid! Not sure it always looks or feels like a wonderland - often a bit of a mess but what a lovely thing to say - thank you. Yes, one does have to be careful with lye but no more than one has to be careful with making caramel or when deep-frying, in truth. Thank you so much for posting your spice cake recipe - will be making it! E x

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  10. I feel inspired to bake some hot cross buns now and will definitely try out the strawberry jam and mascarpone - sounds delicious! Thank you for sharing your kitchen happenings - it's a lovely idea

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    1. Glad you like the hot cross buns! I am afraid I cheat and make the dough in the bread maker but they are still homemade and this does make them very easy to make even when the rest of life is busy. E x

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  11. Beautiful photography and the soaps and appliqued crochet holders are genius! I will pop over to your link.

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    1. Thank you Nancy! I hope the shampoo bars actually work when it comes to it! Do visit Astri's blog - she is full of inspiration! E x

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  12. Lovely, lovely things. I like how seasonal your monthly In My Kitchen posts are. Those pot holders are gorgeous, I really like them. They look not too tricky as well, which is always appealing to me! I am very intrigued by your soap making and look forward to hearing more about it.

    Gillian x

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    1. Thank you Gillian! The IMK series is a lovely way of documenting how the year progresses on a micro level and the kitchen makes a rather good barometer! The pot holders were pretty straightforward - one of the things that made them such a pleasure to make! No poring over complicated patterns! E x

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  13. Elizabeth, what a wonderful kitchen you have! Shampoo bars are very interesting, did you make them differently to regular soap, or just change the additions? Your potholders are a work of art, and there's so much colour in your food, from the blood oranges to the pink sponge cake! I haven't made hot cross buns yet, better get a move on! :)

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    1. Thank you Celia! The shampoo bars are very similar to soap but the combination / choice of base oils is slightly different I think. I'll do a post about making them shortly when they've cured enough to try one and I can assess whether they work or not! E x

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  14. well - so industrious!
    The cake looks sublime. I am put off of making hot cross buns as they involve yeast, and yeast and I don't get along. I have bought about 10 in the last four days though, and they have all gone. Waitrose are my favourite so far...
    I LOVE the look of those shampoo bars. I am quite interested in soap making, but fear the expense and mess. Will be watching to see how these go!
    x

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  15. Your kitchen looks like a jolly place full of delicious delights ... those hot cross buns ... yum!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to visit me at Mrs TT's and comment. I love to read what you write.