Sunday, 20 December 2015

Crafty friend adventures part two

Following on from 'Crafty Friend Adventures Part One' I bring you Crafty Friend Adventures Part Two! This week we decorated coffee jars because I've caught the decoupage bug and honestly I can't get enough of it. Two plus sides to this: firstly I finally have a use for the glass jars I've been collecting (hubby keeps asking why I have so many, other people collect glass jars too, right??) and secondly it gives me an opportunity to use my many books of scrapbook paper...which I also happen to collect without much intention for its usage. Now my Sharpies have somewhere to live, whoop! I was impatient and shared a photo of these to Facebook already so you've probably already seen them but here they are again!

Here is something you won't have seen yet, do you remember that paper mache tissue paper and twine lamp I was making in Crafty Friend Adventures Part One? I let it dry completely, added lights and voila! All I did was pop some battery operated white string lights under the opening and I've made myself a meditation lamp. I love that the cream coloured tissue paper was given it a warm glow and is thinner in places creation a nice variation. It really was so easy to make. And the best part is that it's totally portable! I can move it around the house.
Last night was 1920's fancy dress Christmas feast night and it was pretty amazeballs if I do say so myself. Two days of cooking was worth it in the end. The whole thing came about because I wanted to make a Charlotte Rousse...reason enough to invite friends over for a dinner party, right? Everybody left over stuffed and happy with home made fruit mince pies in hand, I'm quite pleased with how it all worked out. The roast took a little longer than I was expecting but all was well. We had cheese and crackers, and mini home made quiches for starters as well as some delish gingerbread. Main was a roast pork, pan gravy, green beans in white sauce, garlic creamy mash and balsamic slow cooked vegetables with fresh buttered bread, then for dessert we had Charlotte Chantilly Framboise which actually ended up as a frozen dessert rather the light Bavarian cream type dessert it was supposed to be. The original recipe came from my Mastering the Art of French Cooking (yes, the Julia Child one!! I bought both volumes two years as a gift to myself) and whilst the recipe itself was beautifully written and easy to follow I still managed to stuff it up. Egg-heavy recipes and I don't get along.... the first one ended up as a big yellow sticky mess because in the three seconds it took for the mixture to go from warm to hot the eggs cooked. FYI sugary egg yolks when over beaten and cooked turns into a mixture stickier than toffee!! That still doesn't explain why it ended up as a frozen dessert, well, about that. I was supposed to force the berries through a metal sieve to make the puree at the beginning BUT I discovered I didn't actually have on and improvised with a tea strainer from our pot. A very sore hand and three punnets of berries later I finally had enough for the recipe. I could tell it was looking a bit thin but figured it would be ok. So when it came time to 'fold' in the beaten cream and puree into the egg mixture it was too wet and flattened out the air. I've learnt a lot though! I'm confident that when I make it again (and I will be, it was delicious!) that it will be perfect. It's a fine art beating the egg mixture and then the cream to the right consistency otherwise the whole thing won't set, which is what ended up happening. We wrapped the whole tin up in cling film and popped Charlotte in the freezer first thing in the morning and had it frozen. So fresh tasting, full of raspberry and strawberry flavour and not too sweet it tasted much like fresh frozen yoghurt. Everybody enjoyed it and that is the main thing. I also checked another recipe off my eternal to-cook list... Fruit mince pies! They were pretty easy surprisingly! Although the pastry did turn out a little too thick, I'll definitely roll it thinner when I make them again.

The table was dressed, we were dressed, and the whole thing was great fun. Paper plates, plastic cutlery, and plastic cups of course ;) I made them look swanky.

Can I just take this opportunity to say how truly thankful I am to be living in such a beautiful house, in a beautiful area, surrounded by beautiful friends? I am lucky to have met some kind and strong women and it's a pleasure to have them in our lives.

Today is just a quiet day at home. I have a crochet rainbow unicorn to make, some tarot studies to do, and I've made it a most important task to choose a batch of photos from the thousands on my laptop to print out tomorrow and start putting in an album. In the age of smart phones we take SO many photos, but we don't make hard copies of them the way we did a few years back. I want to start working on an album while hubby is home on holidays and before he leaves for two months at the beginning of next year.

And no, I haven't thought about what that will mean for us yet and I intend on staying in denial until after Christmas.

Tash Xx

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