Sunday, 31 March 2013

Plum and Ginger Crumble

I don't often mess around with baking to make up my own recipes. There's so many out there already to try it's enough to just try and get through the pre-existing ones. However, with company today I wanted to put together something simple and tasty and this is what resulted.

Plum and Ginger Crumble (gluten free)

16-18 small plums
2-3 pieces candied ginger, in syrup
200g rice flour
130g butter
65g golden brown sugar
100g ground almonds
Ground cinnamon

  • Pre-heat oven to 180oC and grease your baking dish with butter. 
  • To prepare the plums, cut them in half and place in a bowl. Pour boiling water over the plums and leave for five minutes. This blanches the plums and makes it easier to remove the skins. Chop the plums and layer at the base of the baking dish. 
  • Chop the candied ginger finely and sprinkle over plums. Drizzle the syrup from the ginger over the plums to sweeten. 
  • To make the crumble mix, add the flour, sugar and butter to a bowl and rub the butter in until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the ground almonds and a teaspoon of cinnamon and mix well. 
  • Spread the crumb mix over the fruit and bake for 20mins.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

The Festival of Fools was a fantastic event, if I do say so myself. Everyone seemed to have a good time, and there have already been one or two suggestions that it should run next year. That's quite enough encouragement for me!

The above picture is that of the finished marbles! I wasn't able to say while I was working on them for fear of giving the game away, but they had been planned all along to be the prizes for the event. Unfortunately, one or two people mentioned that they looked more like candies than marbles, and looking at them in the picture above, maybe I should have thought to put warning label with them.

But I'm not too unhappy with how they turned out. I used charcoal for the black, chalk for the white and paprika for the red, all mixed in with shellac and painted on in three layers to build up colour. I then finished each marble with two more layers of shellac. Unfortunately, the surface I dried them on wasn't the best, so a close up peek at the marbles will show spots where the paint has peeled. Next attempt will be better.

Being able to sit down during the day is a sign of a well run event I'm told. So I used my "relaxing" time to finish off a beginners goldwork kit I got at Yuletide University just gone. The teacher, one of the most accomplished embroiderers I know, encouraged a freestyle approach, so I tried a slightly different technique with each "rose". The one of the left, the last I did typically enough, turned out to be my favourite, but I am happy overall with how the whole piece turned out. Now I just have to decide how to mount the finished item. 

And finally...

Don't I look fabulous! Never before had I realised just how damn good I could look in a low backed dress. Yes, yes, lets just ignore the fact that I'm being a hussy by wandering around in just my camica...
This picture serves an entirely different purpose though, and that is just how low the back of my camica is. Granted, it's exagerated for the purpose of this picture, but after it was taken I went back and examined the back of my court gown and yep, there's an area that is starting to get damaged by sweat and oils from my skin. I'm glad I've realised this now, as its put a new camica and finally getting around to making a partlet or three that much higher on my to-do list.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

In a little over a week's time, I'll be running my first SCA event. Production has been in full swing, and I've just gotten started on something that I've wanted to do for a while.

When I attended an event last year, perhaps my second event since my return to the SCA, I was struck that my own shire, that of Dun in Mara, was the only one of those gathered not represented by banners and hanging. And that made me sad. So I was determined to do something about it.

First things first. My drawing skills, they are not great. So I printed off the arms and photocopied the image, increasing the size until I got something that would be a decent banner size.I taped the sections of the copy together, then secured it to my drawing board. Next, the issue of lifting the silk I was using from the paper so the outliner or paint wouldn't bleed.

This I solved with the use of corkboard inserts that I bought from my local DIY store. They're usually used for filling in the gaps at the edges of wooden flooring, but they're just high enough to make a frame for a silk banner. I secured these with more tape so make sure they wouldn't move about on me after I'd started.

To fix the silk, I very gently pulled the fabric taut and secured it with drawing pins, starting with the top and bottom edges. Before I started applying gutta outliner, I thought that the number of pins I had on the right was sufficent. In reality, it wasn't nearly enough. Lesson: if you think you have enough pins, apply some more, just to be on the safe side.

And there we have it. The gutta has a two hour recommened drying time, so I think that's all I'll get done for this evening. So yes, it's messy and no, it's not perfect. But it is recognisable the arms of Dun in Mara, and will be more so when the colours are completed.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

This really is becoming a bad habit.

So I shall beg for your forgiveness by posting some saucy pics... me.. in just my underwear!

Well, my Victorian undergarments ;)

The chemise comes from a Simplicity pattern 9769, but to be honest, I'm not likely to use it again. It's not often a pattern gets the better of me, but I found this one to be overcomplicated and a little bulkier than I could have liked.

The drawers, not that you can see much of them in this picture (just as well really, as the broderie anglaise I used is almost opaque enough to be indecent) are from the Laughing Moon #100 pattern, and include my first attempt at pintucks!

I forgot to bring along my corset to this particular sewing day, but I tried on the bustle that I had just completed for the look. I used the tutorial provided by American Duchess, on how to make a lobster tail bustle. The tutorial is customisable to your own measurements, and I cannot sing the praises of it high enough. I had the pattern drafted and fabric cut in one evening and had the bustle made up in a day. Granted, it's not perfect, but that's my own inexperience with the thing.

Now, I have many more pieces to make. I have enough broiderie anglaise left over, as well as enough of the lilac cotton that I'm very tempted to make matching "sets" of undergarments. Then there's the need for a proper underskirt to make sure my skirts are supported, as well as the skirt itself, the top and something nice to wear in my hair. But for the sake of deadlines (13th April), I'll be skipping straight to skirt and top, which I already have patterns for.

The other thing that's been keeping me going has been my brewing endevours. I'm using a ginger beer plant, in the lower left of the below picture, which has been amusing my no end by taking on the colour of whatever it was brewing in last. Here, it's taken on a pink hue from the just bottled strawberry iced tea on the right, which a blackberry tea infuses to be added to brown sugar for the next batch. I've very much developed a liking for iced teas, and with a couple of specialist tea sellers nearby now, I have a lot to experiment with.