Tuesday, 24 November 2009

a country mouse cocoons

The weather here has been atrocious over the last few days so we've been cocooning as much as possible except for the mad dashes to nursery through pouring rain. Little R goes into nursery dressed in waterproofs from head to toe and I am wearing the gear I used to wear to struggle over windswept heaths and hills in a previous job. Work paid for it so I bought the best and it's being severely tested at the moment. At least it dries quickly. All this cocooning is giving me a chance to catch up with the housework and also to do wee extras like hanging these Christmassy Ikea wooden birds and paper stars on the triffid (above). Mistletoe and wine...
We had a friend and her two daughters over to play this afternoon so Little R and I got out the baking book and had a go at Date and Ginger Slice. It was really easy to make, was baked for the time stated in the recipe, unlike my last cake, and tasted delicious. If only it was healthy too. You need: 125g block margarine, 125g light soft brown sugar, 125g black treacle, 175g packet of dates finely chopped, 150ml water, 225g plain white flour sifted, 1tsp bicarbonate of soda, 1 medium egg beaten, 1 heaped tsp finely chopped preserved ginger and half a tsp ground ginger.
In traditional country mouse style, I made a mistake with the recipe. How I will ever return to the world of work I do not know, when I can't even follow a recipe for ginger cake. It was supposed to be one heaped tsp of finely chopped preserved ginger but I just took one piece of ginger from the jar, chopped it up and put it in. That was quite a lot of ginger. Luckily I noticed in time and didn't add the ground ginger. I'm planning to use the rest of the preserved ginger for a Fay Ripley sticky ginger chicken recipe and will blog that when I do it. Anyway, you gently melt the margarine, sugar, treacle, dates and water in a large pot. Stir in the sifted flour, bicarb of soda, egg, preserved ginger and ground ginger. Mix well and spoon into a 28x18cm greased and lined swiss roll tin and bake at 180deg fan for 30-35 mins. Let it cool in the tin for 15 mins then put on a wire rack and peel off the baking paper. Serve on pretty china plates while the rain lashes against the window.
Another good thing about cocooning is that with the housework done, a state of affairs which lasts an hour max, I can pick up a needle with a fairly clear conscience. The tapestry above has been gathering dust for a good while and it only took an hour to finish it off before the house began to resemble a war zone again, so that was fine. Having meticulously stitched the border, I took it to a craft night a few months ago to work on the leaves and really messed them up because I was too busy chatting. It's meant to be oak leaves and acorns, believe it or not. Never mind. I will frame it and hang it in a dark corner and just not look at it too closely.
And this is my latest project, a garland of gingerbread men, from the Tone Finnanger Christmas book (see Shelfari bookcase on right hand margin of blog, below blogroll). The half-stitched gingerbread man in the photo above looks a bit wonky but that's because the page it's on is curved. I felt like Noel Edmonds the other day with his "ask the universe and the universe will provide" patter. I was searching online for brown linen and cream linen, as per the illustration in the book, but was having no luck, so posted a message on Facebook to my craft group friends to ask if anyone knew somewhere to try. I then popped into the charity shop on my way to pick up Little R from nursery and what should I see but a big basket of fabric, including brown and cream linen. Thanks, universe. Let me leave you with this happy thought - Moet £14 at Morrisons: http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/deals/cheap-champagne-sparkling-wine.


  1. Hi there
    that cake looks really yummy, perfect for this kind of weather, funny you should say about the cream and brown linen I ended up cutting up a skirt because I couldn't find any.
    Have a good week

  2. That's a very comforting post! I usually miss something out - sugar in chocolate muffins was a recent one, so I just said they were diet ones, and then drenched them in icing sugar!

    Pomona x

  3. I love cocooning - minus the housework :(
    I like this garland very much and if the universe really sends you what you want I could really do with some invisible medicine that my son would take without knowing it.

  4. Cocooning, never heard that expression before but its definitely the weather for cake and crafting. I hear we might see a sprinkling of the white stuff soon, someone must have done some cosmic ordering Noel Edmonds style and it wasn't me.

  5. I like the gingerbread man garland, though I think I might be fed up making them by man #3!
    Lucky find regarding the fabric, well done!