Monday, 31 October 2016

October Socks - Halloween Style

Despite this post my October socks were actually finished in plenty of time. I just hadn't photographed them until recently. The socks had a Halloween theme to them. With all the work I had to do for university I decided on a basic sock pattern but picked out a yarn that would suit the month.

I am kicking myself that I didn't take a photo of the yarn on its own. Didn't realise that until I was putting this post together. A little late now. I showed of the yarn in my October stash post and it was by Mothy and the Squid who has become one of my favourite indie dyers.  This yarn (aptly named Frankenstein) was perfect for this month. As with all her yarns it was beautiful to knit with and I loved watching the random striping of the yarn.

No annoying pooling of the colours at the gusset which can sometimes happen with this type of heel. This image is actually closer to the true colouring of the yarn. Alas, I will be working on Halloween night and so will be saving these for when I come off night shift the next day.

Let me see your Halloween socks!

Friday, 28 October 2016

GBBO - The Final

The last 10  weeks seem to have flown by and we are at the final of Bake Off. I was sadly working and while I had every intention of watching it on catch up I went to my bed instead. Nothing wrong with that except I stupidly went on the internet before I watched it and spoiled it for myself. Lesson learned (at least you would think so, alas it's not the first time).

The final was a little sad on my part knowing that Bake Off won't be the same again. As I said before, I probably won't be watching when it moves channel.

Moving away from the down side. The bakers had to create a Royal meringue crown. It had to contain at least three layers and be fit for a Royal banquet. Andrew was my favourite however, he made a mistake early on. Mary said at the start that the sweetness of the meringue had to be contrasted with a sharp filling. Poor Andrew made the mistake of using a praline which made it far too sweet. Jane and Candice on the other hand both received a Hollywood handshake. Jane went for a simpler design but it turned out beautifully and won Paul over with the flavours. Candice went for something more complex in both design and flavour. Think she has to be congratulated for her Victorian crown at the top.

For the technical challenge the Bakers had to make a Victoria sponge. Sounds easy for the technical challenge of the final. Not when you consider their instructions which consisted of "Make a Victoria Sponge". I know I wouldn't be able to do that. All three bakers did well but Andrew came out on top this time with the perfect sponge. This put all three bakers on an equal footing again. If like me you need more instructions than these bakers had you can get it here.

The show stopper certainly tested the bakers skills. They had to create a total of 49 items for a picnic fit for the Queen. It had to contain one showstopper chocolate cake, 12 savoury scones, 12 quiches, 12 sausage rolls and 12 tarts. All three bakers had issues with flavour in their scones. Jane and Andrew had undercooked pastry in their sausage rolls and Andrew also had some soggy bottomed tarts. Candace clearly came out on top here and....

...unsurprisingly Candace was named the overall winner. She may not have been my favourite baker but the win was very well deserved on the day. I also like the fact that both she and Jane are planning a baking road trip together.

If you were a fan of last years bakers there was also a follow up on them including thoughts on their time in the tent. Well worth the watch.

Would be interested to hear your thoughts on this years Bake Off. As always, none of these images are mine and belong to the Bake Off website.

Friday, 21 October 2016

GBBO - Week 9

Patisserie week is another firm favourite of mine and it was left to right at the end. However, patisserie weeks of the past have always involved slightly more delicate bakes. Not to say that it wasn't challenging though.

The first challenge involved the bakers making palmiers. I had never heard of them before but it involved making layered pastry with a specific shape. To add to the challenge the bakers had to add their own fillings while ensuring that the layered pastry was seen. The one person who managed it successfully was Andrew. This was a bit of a surprise as Andrew decided to start again with his pastry an hour in.

The technical challenge was another bake I had never heard of. A syrup soaked cake called Savarin. Looks yum and I like the fact that the syrup has an orange base. Glad I'm not doing the technical challenges anymore as I don't fancy buying a mold just for one dish. None of the bakers quite got the proving right but Jane came out on top for this one with Andrew coming a close second. If you want to have a go yourself the recipe is here on the BBC Bake Off website. Let me know how you get on.

The show stopper is a firm favourite of mine (my sister is also a fan and I think I will have to bake these at some point). The bakers had to make fondants (French Fancies in the Mr Kipling world). I loved how each of the contestants took their own take on them and tried out different flavours. Andrew, however, once again came first on this as he had the neatest with good flavours. I loved his simple choice of decoration too.

By the end there was little doubt that Andrew was going to be star baker. He had come first in two of the challenges and second in the technical. It was very well deserved.

Sadly but the end there was also little doubt that Salasi was also going to be leaving. His palmiers were under baked (almost raw), he had come last in the technical and his flavours failed him in the show stopper. It was the first time we saw Salasi worried and I was a little sad as I always enjoyed watching him.

We did see one of the funnier Salasi moments this week. Since Salasi hasn't quite made it to the final he can always stand in for Mel & Sue.

I'm looking forward to the final as it will be the last one I'll be watching. I am working but plan to record it and watch once I am home (maybe with some cake). At this point I think it's anybodies guess as to who will win. Jane has always been a favourite of mine but I kind of would like Andrew to win. It's been a while since we've had a boy winner.

As always these images are not mine but belong to the Bake Off website.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

October Stash

I have been oh so bad this month. It started with realising it was October and I hadn't started my October socks. I realised that with all the studying I had to catch up on there was probably no chance that I was going to manage a pattern in there. I saw Halloween inspired colourways on Mothy and the Squids Etsy page and I thought that would be perfect. So I picked out the one labelled Frankenstein. While there I also picked out a purple and green colourway. I couldn't help myself.

Along with each skein of yarn ordered I got these cute little stitch markers to add to my collection. I especially love the little skeleton. One day I should do a post just on my collection.

I also received a mini skein of this lovely green which fits in perfectly with my chosen colours.

If the lovely Jillian behind Mothy and the Squid wasn't generous enough she also sent me this beautiful set of mini skeins. The colours are lovely and I have plans for them already. Thank you so much Jillian.

I also ordered some yarn from Sara's Texture Crafts. I had something in mind when I bought this yarn. However, it won't quite fit for that particular project. This is in no way Sara's fault as she was very clear in her description. In all honesty I had a feeling the yarn wouldn't work but I ordered it anyway because I'm greedy. Not to worry, I LOVE the colours (unsurprisingly) and they will make me a yummy pair of socks.

As well as my monthly mini skeins from For the Love of Yarn (which I only realised I haven't photographed and now the light is too poor) I picked out a couple of Lisa's new colourways. One of these will become the project that I have in mind. I haven't decided which yet. The other will be used for......socks.

I also picked up some fabric from Lovely Jubbly fabrics.  I saw an advert for them and noticed that they had some orange fabrics which I took advantage of. My orange fabric collection is growing and I will hopefully have enough soon to start my first quilt. I also picked up some teal while I was there.

 I spotted this skull fabric while I was searching for orange and I couldn't resist. The green would suit my sisters flat perfectly and she loves skulls.  I was thinking of using it to make one large cushion that she could use on her rocking chair. All I need to do is get some nice backing fabric and get my sewing machine from my dad's. This was my first time shopping from Lovely Jubbly fabrics and have added their website to my craft shopping page. I was quite happy with the service and the fabrics matched the images.

Lastly, I have started a new way of organising (new to me - more on that later). That called for more washi tape to add to my collection and I couldn't resist these holiday themed tapes from Unwrap Colour. Love myself some washi tape.

This month was pretty bad even for me. I have even ordered a few other things which I will mention in a later post. After that I will be good. At least until after Christmas when I have more projects planned. Anyone else been topping up their yarn stash?

Monday, 17 October 2016

GBBO - Week 8

It has been a while since I have posted and as a result I am behind in my Bake Off updates. I apologise for that. I have been studying. My course started earlier than I thought and so I have been catching up as well as working full time. I am now caught up and back into studying again.

I had planned on doing what I did when I got behind with my sewing bee updates which was do them all in one post. I decided against it though and instead I am just going to go over who we said goodbye to. Week 5 was pastry week and we said goodbye to Val. She didn't have a very good week at all. While I felt that she was skating a little throughout the programme I did actually like her personality. I think she livened things up a bit and it was surprisingly a little sad when it was her turn to say goodbye.

In week 6 it was botanical week and we said goodbye to Ravi. A little unsurprising as Ravi was probably the least able to be visually creative. Something which he admitted to himself. Again, I liked Ravi but he wasn't the best baker in there. On another note, botanical week was new and to be honest it wasn't quite as impressive as you would hope it would be. I think the last few years the bakers have been better at the aesthetics than this year. But as Paul Hollywood is forever reminding people you need to get the flavours right too.

Week 7 was dessert week. We said goodbye to Tom. Tom was one of the bakers I thought might have made it through to the end. He was adventurous with flavours and he liked to try new things. His choices with his desserts though were poor ones and the flavours didn't quite work.

Last week was the quarter final and we had another theme new to the Bake Off. It was Tudor week and it involved all of the things that I like least in baking.

 First off we have the Tudor pies. The baker had to make Tudor pies and display them in some sort of pattern. Some chose traditional Tudor style designs (the Tudor rose was a favourite). While I don't like pies and I dislike the pastry used I can still be impressed with he bakes. Andrew was last weeks star baker and he defeated the star baker curse. I was impressed with his DaVinci style pie display.

For the technical challenge the bakers had to make Jumbles which are a Tudor style biscuit. They had to get the Celtic knots down perfectly as well as the bake. I think this would be an interesting one to try as the biscuit doe uses lots of spices. Poor Jane came bottom of the pile for the first time ever and Candace won this one. If you want to have a go yourself you will find the recipe on the Bake Off website. Sadly, I haven't kept up with the baking as I had to make study my priority.

For the technical challenge the bakers had to create a centre piece with a Tudor favourite (and something I can't stand). They had to make marzipan. The Tudor style is crisper than what we are used to as it doesn't use eggs. Some bakers chose to use both styles. The winner was Candace who created this impressive peacock. However, I kind of feel that a display like this has been done before and it won that person star baker too (you can see Nadiya's peacock here).

Jane's Swans were actually my favourite. It's a little more subtle than the peacock but it's so delicate and pretty. Maybe not thought impressive enough as a centrepiece but I liked it.

Candace done well again this week and I think this is the third time she won star baker. Well done since she did poorly with her pies at the start.

Sadly we said goodbye to my favourite baker Benjamina. It was a tie between herself and Selasi as to who was going to go. I personally would have chosen Benjamina to stay. However, I think her place in the technical challenge was the clincher.

This week we will be down to our last four bakers. I think that it's between Candace and Jane. I would like to see Jane win but I have a feeling it will be Candace.

The next few posts will be my last ever Bake Off posts. With the move to channel 4 I was dubious about whether I will continue. Sadly Mel, Sue and Mary Berry will not be moving with the show and therefore I have decided to end my viewing of my favourite show on a high. It just won't be the same with only Paul Hollywood continuing on and I am actually disappointed that he is. I'm not sure the show will survive without them.

As always, none of these images belong to me but infact belong to the Bake Off website.