Friday, 20 April 2018

mini heatwave and baking Friday


Well, not exactly a heatwave, but we have gone from winter into summer in just a couple of days this week; 
up to upper twenties in our part of the world!
The garden is just soaking up the sun, and so are we.
A quick visit to the garden centre; the car park was full, suddenly we all have the same idea.....
We came home with a set of new pots for the top of the old Singer, and a couple of Vinca plants.
I planted them up the same day - the hosta nad heuchera plants came from other parts of our garden.
As this part of the garden is facing north and in some shade most of the summer, the usual flowering plants are not doing very well here, as we found out last summer.


In a month or so it should all look much fuller, with vincas trailing down the front
(well that's the idea, anyway).























And a new, scented Dianthus  for the garden table.



--------------------



The recipe for today's cake came from Rachel Allen's book.









I changed it a bit by using honey instead of golden syrup.
This is a slightly different take on the usual lemon drizzle - it includes cinnamon and ginger, which gives it a rich colour. 




I used spelt flour, which I now use as my "every day" flour ( if you want to know more about spelt, please read my 4th April post).

It worked very well together, and I am pleased with the result - very moist, with a strong lemon flavour.






Very little stitching going on this week - 
I have been just enjoying the garden, and relaxing with my book.



Have a wonderful weekend!

©pleasureinstitching.blogspot.co.uk 2010-2018

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Craft4Crafters


The usual April show at the Bath & West Showground. 
It is not a large show, and I am not sure I would travel a great distance for it, 
but being local to me, 
it is always worth a visit; it is not a bad way to spend a morning, because that is all it takes me to have a look around.
Some of my favourites are not here this year, but there are some 
I haven't seen here before.
It is a show which has something for everyone, in small measures.



  It was good to see 21st Century Yarns , first time in many years. 
Their small stand is packed with hand dyed threads, felt, fabrics, all in wonderful colours. 
This was where I left most of my cash this morning.




I could not come away without some fat quarters (predictably),



I found some small embellishments, always handy to have... 
I know a little girl who will love the owls.


It is always nice to see some new local crafts people here.



I will leave you today with some pictures from our little garden; despite all the bad weather, spring is coming....
































Even the herb patch is waking up.



Have a good weekend!




©pleasureinstitching.blogspot.co.uk 2010-2018

Monday, 9 April 2018

follow up


Thank you for your comments on my previous post.

Please, do not close down your blogs just because you are not sure how the new regulation will effect you.
The thing to do is to find out, there is time. My intention wasn't to "spook" you, just to alert you to it.

I think that by now we all know that whenever we use the internet, in whatever form, we are leaving our "footprint" behind, be it our name, email address, IP address, etc...., we are doing it at our own risk, there is nothing new there.
We have been trusting various companies and organisations with our personal details, be it social media sites, shopping sites, banks, doctors.......We took for granted that they are protecting it, but as we are finding out now, it is not always the case. So the new regulation should be welcome.
I don't know how safe they can make it, there always seems to be someone else "ahead of the game", 
and so, I am sure, there will be more regulations in the future, this is an ongoing process.
I know that my computer had been hacked into in the past, because I started to receive emails from contacts in my private address book, with some very strange links in them. 
I deleted the emails without following the links, and I changed my password. A couple of weeks ago I received a message from my internet provider telling me that my account has been "compromised" and they suspended it. A phone call and a new password sorted that out, and it was good to know that someone is looking after me.

I can't advise you what you should do about your blog, I can only tell you what I am doing about mine.

This is still a "work in process", but there are some things to consider :

We are already getting a message about cookies, whenever we visit someone's blog, so it is a personal choice to carry on or not.

Do you sell from your blog? If you do, you should look at that. I don't, so it doesn't apply.

Do you send a newsletter from your blog? If you do, you need to look at that. I don't, so it doesn't apply.

Do you keep a contact list connected to your blog (if you do any of the above, you probably do), so again it is something you should consider. I don't, so it doesn't apply.

There are a couple of small changes I have made to my blog already.
I deleted "Follow me by email" from my side bar, simply because I don't understand what happens if anyone signs up to that - am I storing their email address somewhere on my blog? I don't know, but I don't need this to be able to run my blog.

I have also deleted "share" gadget; again, I am not exactly sure what it shares, but it is not essential to my blog.

I will probably delete "Interesting Links" from the side bar, as soon as I'll have time to go through them and store the chosen ones privately on my computer. This could be an overreaction on my part, but I don't think many people actually visit there, and again, it is not essential.

I don't think there is much more I can do, for now anyway. Surely the rest is up to Blogger/Google, they are the ones providing a service, and storing our data. 

I am a subscriber to newsletters from various sites, and I have already been contacted by some of them (National Trust just today, Quiltmania magazine last week...), asking me to re-register for their newsletter, if I still want to receive it after 25th May. And I expect to hear from others.
They are obviously getting ready for the deadline next month; it is good to know that.


©pleasureinstitching.blogspot.co.uk 2010-2018

Sunday, 8 April 2018

The new General Data Protection Regulation - how does it effect my blog?

The new EU GDPR (or DSGVO in German) comes into force on 25th May 2018.
Yes, I think that we all understand that there is a big need for more data protection, specially after the whole Facebook revelation.
I am little slow when it comes to the technical side of my blog. Yes, I have been hearing about the new data protection legislation in making, but naively, I had not made a connection with my blog. 
It was only when I came across a debate on the subject on some, mainly German blogs, that I suddenly became aware that yes, it effects us bloggers as well, as we are very much a part of the social media. Some of the bloggers are even talking about closing their blogs down, because they do not understand the implication to their blog, and they do not want to be paying fines for breaching, and like probably most of us, can't afford to pay for a legal advice.
The legal side of the new legislation is overwhelming; apparently this is not a case of just ticking boxes.
I set down last night (too late in the evening in fact, and went to bed with a headache), trying to find out little more on the subject. Of course there is a lot of info out there, but it is mainly aimed at companies and organisations, most of which already have IT and a legal teams behind them.
A couple of the websites I was reading last night, where you can read more ; here  and  here .

One hopes that Blogger has already been sorting this out behind the scenes.  
So, what changes do I personally (if any) need to make to my blog to comply with the new regulation? The Blogger Help pages are not very helpful - they say they can't advise on legal matters.
Great. And there doesn't seem to be anything in Blogger Setting one could just tick ūüėē

The option of closing down my blog really doesn't appeal, I am enjoying it too much and it has become a part of my life. So, for now I am just collection some information.
It could be just a "storm in a teacup", but if any of you know or understand more on this subject, please share.

I quote from https://www.eugdpr.org/gdpr-faqs.html:

What constitutes personal data?Any information related to a natural person or ‘Data Subject’, that can be used to directly or indirectly identify the person. It can be anything from a name, a photo, an email address, bank details, posts on social networking websites, medical information, or a computer IP address.



©pleasureinstitching.blogspot.co.uk 2010-2018

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

a word about spelt


Thank you for your interest and comments on my previous post. 
There have been quite few questions about spelt, so I decided to dedicate this post to SPELT.


I have this wonderful book by Roger Saul (the founder of Mulberry, the fashion brand), who lives in Somerset, and some of the info I am going to write, comes from the book.

Spelt is probably the oldest grain known to a man, and it has been grown for around 4,000 years. Carbonised grains of spelt had been found during an excavation around Glastonbury, just "down the road" from me.
Later it became to be also known as Roman army's marching grain . 
It used to be grown around Europe, and it "emigrated" to America with early settlers. In French spelt is l'epeautre, in Italian farro, and German dinkel.
Eventually spelt went out of fashion, and wheat took over, mainly because it has much higher yield, and also it looses its husk during harvesting. Spelt husk is much harder to remove.





Roger Saul tells story how he started to grow spelt on his Sharpham Park Farm near Glastonbury, about 13 -14 years ago, and the motivation behind it, which you can also read on their website (if you follow the link). There was nobody else at that time growing spelt in UK.
In 2007 they opened their own mill, the only one in the world milling solely stone-ground organic spelt.


So why spelt?
Spelt is truly wholegrain; it is rich in vitamins and minerals, and spelt bread contains almost 50% more protein than wheat based bread; basically - it is good for you.
It is lower in gluten than wheat (but not gluten free), so easier on our digestive system too.

Probably because I live in Somerset, I have know about spelt for quite a few years now, and have been using it in my cooking.
Spelt flour, because of its low gluten, is very good for making pastry and cakes; 
it is now my "every day" flour. It has slightly nuttier flavour than wheat.

Long before spelt was generally available in shops, I would buy it in Sharpham shop at Kilver Court, here in Shepton (formerly headquarters of Mulberry, now a shopping centre).  
I have made bread with spelt only; the first experience wasn't good - my fault, I did not read the introduction properly. Because of the lower gluten, spelt bread needs to be supported during baking - needs to be baked in a tin. I made a round loaf on a baking tray - it ended up rather flat. Also, I found the dough  more difficult to handle than wheat dough, but that comes with practice.
I make most of the bread we eat, and I like to experiment with various flours and combinations. I have found that a mix of rye, spelt and strong wheat flour works very well for me, it makes a very good loaf. 
But that is a matter of preference.




I have this wonderful book by Signe Johansen, I have made many cakes from it. 
Many recipes here give you the option to use spelt instead of wheat flour.
I am not suggesting that you rush out and buy the book, it is just to illustrate that the two are interchangeable, so don't be afraid to try it. The only thing you might find different is that you might need to add little more liquid to whatever you are making, than you would normally.
Recently I made a wonderful carrot cake from a recipe in this book, using spelt flour - see my post 16th March. It is the only carrot cake recipe I use now. 





The flour comes in white and wholegrain.

Besides the flour, I also use Pearled Spelt. I use it for making risotto or in soups; you can also cook it and use in salads - it has lovely nutty 
flavour.

They also make flakes (which I have not tried yet) and muesli. I make my own muesli, so I might try the flakes in the next batch.






©pleasureinstitching.blogspot.co.uk 2018

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Tuesday baking and little bit more of Santa's Village

The backing fabric for St Germain quilt arrived from Billow Fabrics, half price in their Sale, so I am very pleased.
That means that I have no excuse, 2 quilts to quilt now.
But I needed a break from all that, and luckily I have several "in between" projects on a go, so there is always something else to pick up. My eyes need a change for a while.
Santa's Village is a very long term project. I am not a cross stitcher really, but I liked this the first time I saw it, one of those "must do". It is a lovely design by Country Cottage Needleworks. 
So last night I finished "Candy Cane Cottage", the 6th in the set.


Six done,


and six to do.


The basic colours are the same all throughout, 
but each cottage has an additional colour threads and a button to stitch on.


After the miserable weather over the holiday weekend, today is a real spring day.
And despite the bad weather we had, things are happening in our garden.

First camellia blossom is out,


and miniature Japanese cherry is nearly fully out.


Today's baking is a simple one. I used the basic recipe for Marbled cake, just without the "marble",
6 oz flour, 6 oz butter, 6 oz sugar (but I used less, because I am using sugar with Stevia), 3 eggs.
Plus some sultanas soaked in Amaretto instead of "marble".


It was the first time I used spelt flour for this cake; 
I ended up using white and wholemeal together because I did not have enough of the white, 
but it did work well together.




















Only after I realised I forgot to add vanilla, despite the fact I had it ready.
No problem, little vanilla sugar sprinkled on top.


The result is a light and moist cake; 
I will definitively used spelt flour again for this recipe.



©pleasureinstitching.blogspot.co.uk 2018

Sunday, 1 April 2018

HAPPY EASTER !!!


I hope you are having a nice weekend; 
it is very early Easter this year, still cold outside, but warm in my kitchen, with little Easter baking. 
Back to my Czech roots - 
Velikonońćn√≠ Mazanec (Easter bread - a giant hot cross bun really).













One for DH and me and two for our children's families.


And little spring around the house at least....





The Four Seasons Quilt has come out of the storage.


                Best wishes to you all!



©pleasureinstitching.blogspot.co.uk 2018
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