Don't you just feel silly when something occurs to you - and it is SO obvious, that you feel daft for not thinking of it before? In the past week I have had two such epiphanies.
number one - in the past few weeks I have got down my trusty Slo-Cooker. It is ancient, at least twenty years old [Bizarrely, it was a freebie when I purchased a pair of sheets for the girls bunk beds]
In the winter months I fill it in the morning and then when I get home from a day's teaching there is a casserole or bolognaise ready and waiting. What I have only just realised is that it is BRILLIANT for making stock. We had a chicken on Saturday and yesterday Bob stripped all the remaining meat from it. Last night I stuck the smashed carcase, plus a few veg and seasonings into the pot, covered it with boiling water, and left it on overnight. This morning I had some wonderful, golden stock which has formed the basis for a batch of nourishing chicken soup [I'm turning into a Jewish mother!]
number two - I have had a vintage 1960's Midwinter Sienna Cake Stand for ages. I love it - but the previous owner obviously overtightened the screws and cracked the glaze. On Saturday, for the first time, I worked out how to disguise this. Unscrew the thing, cut tiny holes in the centre of two doilies, then re-assemble round the doilies.
Voila! damaged parts covered and cake plate looks wonderful.
Next time I shall roll them a little thicker, bake them for a shorter time and probably reduce the temperature slightly - these were a little bit overdone at the edges! The recipe came from the Ideal Homes 2008 Christmas Guide. The button idea appealed to my ongoing and insatiable love of haberdashery**.
- Combine 125g softened butter with 125g soft brown sugar
- Sift in 250g plain flour, 2tsp ground ginger. 1tsp baking powder, 1 tsp mixed spice. Mix well, add 3tbsp golden syrup
- Mix, then knead to a dough by hand. Wrap in clingfilm, chill for 30min. Preheat oven to 190ºC.
- Roll out on floured surface to 5mm thickness. Cut out with round cutter. Make 4 holes with skewer [large, as they close up when baking] Use a smaller cutter to make an indent for button edge [I used a glass, and found it worked best if I pushed into a piece of clingfilm so it didn't stick]
- Bake 15 mins.
** I have been trying to find the origin of this word and it appears there are at least two theories. It definitely dates from the 14th century - but it is either from the anglo-french word "Hapertas", a kind of coarse fabric, or it is a corruption of "Habt ihr das?, when German peddlars were asked "Do you have that?" All this may of course just be haberdoedas - which is dutch/flemish for gibberish!