Tag Archives: Wi

Carb’ Fest Before The Famine!

Chocolatey Moreish Morsel!, Rocking Dog

Chocolatey Moreish Morsel!

Yes, I am going on the straight and narrow…… so that I can be more narrow! But before the banishment of anything which tastes remotely delicious there was just time to fit in a few lovely moreish morsels.

On a trip which saw me drop off dry cleaning, take back a rug, deliver a Christmas present (!), take the car to the garage, send post etc.. I decided to sit for 1/4 hour before more tasks sent me hurtling off in another direction. I chose to sit in Bakers & Co on Gloucester Road. A lychee and stem ginger spritz was a great reviver. I naughtily ate a delicious toasted Salichon, cavolo nero and emmental sourdough doorstep, and took photo’s of cakes which I was simply too guilty to eat!

During a wet and miserable dog walk early last week I spotted a rainswept poster. Attached to a telegraph pole (yes they really do still exist!) the poster invited women, (i’m guessing it precluded men as it was a WI poster) to a bakery demonstration. Interesting! So on Thursday I took myself to the church hall, paid my £3 as a visitor and had a thoroughly entertaining and inspirational evening. The speaker/demonstrator was Michelle Fricker who runs Crust and Crumbs from her home near to Bristol. She opens her doors one day week (Saturday) when visitors can purchase freshly baked breads and cakes. She and her chef husband typically have an hour or two’s sleep before getting up in the wee hours to bake through the night. With the couple having South African and Portuguese roots some of their bakes are influenced by their heritage. However, the Marmite and cheese loaf is definitely a British affair!

Michelle, together with two WI volunteers made some white bread dough using Shipton Mill flour. They kneaded enthusiastically and with increasing skill with Michelle’s guidance. The WI volunteers would later take their dough home, leave it to prove and then bake their loaves.

It was very obvious that Michelle was so passionate about what she does and so keen to pass on her bread making expertise. She had a plethora of delicious breads to taste together with breads, cakes, homemade Turkish Delight and marshmallows to buy. There were also local preserves and Peri- Peri sauce to sample and purchase. My thoughts were with Michelle and how she managed it all. I am guessing she would have been up in the early hours of Thursday morning to bake for the WI Session, then the session, and a days grace before getting up early hours of Saturday morning to bake for her regular Saturday Bakery. All this whilst juggling three tiny children. I felt exhausted by proxy!

Michelle’s enterprise reminded me of another home bakery which we discovered by word of mouth in Italy this year. Like Michelle, an ex potter opens her kitchen on a Wednesday and a Sunday for people to pour in to pick up artisan breads. The woman baker was German and her husband Italian, so there was focaccia, ciabatta, rye and pumpernickel, those wonderful multi-country influences, delicious!

Saturday, Andyman and I went to our first Burn’s Night of 2016- bagpipes (lots of them), kilts (ditto), haggis, and a whisky room (yes really). I didn’t do any highland reels so that haggis remains steadfastly on my waistline. Boo Hiss!

Sunday, we ventured with friends to the Souk Kitchen in Southville. Truly wonderful food – unless you’re a plain eater. Loved the halloumi with mango, carrot fritters, and pomegranate ice cream.

So, the time has come for me to be good, really, really good!

Edible Doorsteps!, Rocking Dog

Edible Doorsteps!

Chocolate & Cinder Toffee, Rocking Dog

Chocolate & Cinder Toffee

Rainswept Poster, Rocking Dog

Rainswept Poster

Chelsea Buns, Rocking Dog

Chelsea Buns

Umbrian Home Bakery, Rocking Dog

Umbrian Home Bakery

Last Supper At The Souk', Rocking Dog

Last Supper At The Souk’

Trying Not To Be A Control Queen- The Makery

First Attempt, Rocking Dog

First Attempt

I hope you have had a good weekend and not feeling too down about the longer darker nights. It takes a while for our household to change all the clocks and its quite disconcerting for a couple of days as to what time it really is!

On Friday I had a great time at “The Makery” in Bath when I joined a Freehand Machine Embroidery course. It’s a very bizarre technique, and not one for Control Queens (or Kings!) The feed dogs of the machine are dropped, so the little teeth that normally feed fabric through are no longer there. Ultimately you are in charge of the movement of the fabric.

The morning started with friendly Emily and Jess making mugs of coffee and tea for the group of eight before taking to our machines. Free embroidery requires a darning foot for your machine, copious reels of thread and embroidery hoops, in short nothing too wildly expensive. We embroidered lots of stitch work to gain confidence, and then added in fabrics which spilled out of baskets in the workshop. It was so relaxing, for me so much better than a spa!

My attempts are a bit rough and ready -but i’m looking forward to lots of further practice on Beloved Bernina.

Yes, i’m becoming a bit of a serial offender at The Makery, Roman Blinds, Meticulous Ink Calligraphy and now, Freehand Machine Embroidery. I can truly recommend taking a workshop there together with a visit to the shop. If you have done a workshop that day you benefit from 10% discount on shop supplies and any workshop bookings. For London residents The Makery is available at John Lewis, Oxford Street and again you can enrol on a variety of lovely workshops.

Since I have a Christmas Pudding on this post perhaps it’s a good opportunity to announce Rocking Dog Christmas events.

On Saturday 5th December I will be at Chipping Sodbury Town Hall for the Original Vintage & Handmade Christmas Fair. 10-3pm. Gorgeous vintage cupped tea and cake by the lovely WI.

On Sunday 13th December Rocking Dog will be opening the kennel in Hambrook, Bristol. 11am-2pm ish. There will be lovely last minute homemade gifts to buy, and a chance to sit with a mulled drink and delicious home made eats. As usual the kennel will be decked with 11 boxes of mainly vintage and homemade decorations. My poor long suffering Andyman just how does he cope with my Christmas dec’ addiction?!

Someone very kindly told me recently that a visit to the Rocking Dog Sale really signifies the beginning of Christmas for her. Thank you I am humbled. This year profits from refreshments will be going to Young Carers. During 2015 I have worked as a volunteer with a group of young children who help to look after parents and siblings with complex needs. They are truly inspirational.

So i’ll soon be dusting off you know who!

Makery Calligraphy, Rocking Dog

Makery Calligraphy

Makery Blinds, Rocking Dog

Makery Blinds

Spread The Word, Rocking Dog

Spread The Word

Makery Take-Away, Rocking Dog

Makery Take-Away

Brown Paper Packages Tied ..., Rocking Dog

Brown Paper Packages Tied …

Second Attempt, Rocking Dog

Second Attempt

I Went To The Shops And I Bought…

£2 Madonna, Rocking Dog

£2 Madonna

Do you ever remember on long car journeys playing “I went to the shops and I bought….” The first player would say “I went to the shops and I bought a £2 Madonna”. The next player would then say “I went to the shops and bought a £2 Madonna and a jar full of buttons”, and so it went on. The list would get so long that you wouldn’t remember items from the list without a lot of prompting. It often got very silly with items such as rubber girdles, mouldy fish and American Tan tights on the list. The smutty innocence of a 60’s childhood!

So I went to the Vintage Jumble on Saturday and indeed I did buy a £2 Madonna (destined for our bathroom), a big jar of buttons (which I promptly smashed on our kitchen floor), a whizzy scarf and some fabulous fabrics. It is always such fun, and in a lovely venue, Rangeworthy Village Hall. Cakes and teas lovingly made as always by the WI.

I had a great chat with a smallholder who had bought a job lot of corsets in Brussels. They were so similar to the ones I remember my grandmother Nellie wearing. Laced, boned, suspendered and in that notorious corset pink colour, they represented functional rather than beautiful lingerie. Never worn and made in the 40’s/ 50’s they were a bargain for a mere £5 each. In hindsight I should have bought one for my nude mannequin housed in the bathroom together with £2 Madonna! Maybe there’ll be one left when the next Jumble comes around (27th June Box), but before then there’s the Spring Fair at Chipping Sodbury on 23rd May.

The question is what am I going to make with the fab’ fabrics. Would it be really wrong to make a baby dress from the wine bottle fabric?!

Button Jar, Rocking Dog

Button Jar

Whizzy Scarf, Rocking Dog

Whizzy Scarf

Fab' Fabrics, Rocking Dog

Fab’ Fabrics

Doggy Invite, Rocking Dog

Doggy Invite

Wrapping up Christmas

witty wrap, rocking dog

witty wrap

No, I am not super-organised!
I have been wrapping up presents in readiness for Malago WI session tonight. The group want me to demonstrate innovative wrapping including low cost ideas. Chinese newspaper, wallpaper samples, orange wrappers and interior design brochures all feature, and are absolutely and utterly free.
I am looking forward to returning to meet this trendy group and will enjoy witnessing their array of delicious homemade cakes!

pom-pom parcel, rockingdog

Pom-Pom Parcel

polka and leopard spot, rocking dog

Polka and Leopard Spot

Mince Pie Mountain

Sugar Plum Fairy

Hambrook WI gave a unanimous thumbs up to Rocking Dog mince pies and hope they liked the kitsch snow globe presentation. How I love little fir trees, red spotted mushrooms, ballerina’s and fairy lights!

Sugar Plum Fairy

Sugar Plum Fairy

Snow Globe

Snow Globe

Edible Gifts for Hambrook WI

Christmas Food Labels
Rocking Dog is readying herself for this evening’s Hambrook WI session. I am leading a session on Edible Gifts- hope the lovely ladies don’t think I am trying to teach them to suck eggs! They have such a reputation for their cooking and baking skills. I will sign on tomorrow with their review of my Secret Mince Pies!

Spicy Gifts

Spicy Gifts

Salt and Spice

Salt and Spice

Pear + Walnut

Pear + Walnut