I decided to have a go at machine sewing. I have a Janome heavy duty machine which is from 1984, yes its an old one, but it has never let me down. I need to do a bit of maintenance on it i.e. oiling and service cleaning, but apart from that it works like a dream.
I am a hand sewer, so using a machine is quite the different experience, especially since I have not used the machine in over 20 years, in fact about 1997. I made draped blinds back in 95, and even though I had the machine I like the process of hand sewing. The draped blinds were for a huge bay window, and I was rather proud of them, but it would have been faster to machine sew.
The machine was my Aunts, and she taught me how to use it, and I did very plain straight sewing from the age of 14. However, I am not all the proficient with it, I am happy to keep practicing. One of the problems I had was the cotton broke quite a few times, and the feed dog tangled with the top threat a few times when beginning the the lines. But I did manage to sort it out in the end, just frustrating when things go wrong.
This is my first go, and I don’t think it looks all that bad. It is lined with blue non-woven material, but in all honesty it is a little to thin, but I have left it with a pocket so a filter lining can go in there.
If there are any experienced sewers out there who want to pass on any tips and help, especially with the above snags I had to deal with then please drop me a message.
Last year I decided to try my hand at making sourdough bread. Although the bread looked okay it was, in layman’s terms, it was crap. Although there was a rise in my bread basket, I had used normal flour to line it, so it stuck, and alas it lost its aeration and rise when I had to drag it out of the banneton. The other problem was the high heat I had to get the oven, as my sourdough book gave a temperature beyond the reaches of it.
The other day I was reading the tweets from Dan who makes bread all the time, but he was baking it on his BBQ, yep, turns out the best place for it. After a chat with him over it, I thought I would try his method of baking. My bbq has a temp gauge that goes to 1000 f, so I can get to whatever temperature I need. He is a fountain of knowledge and uses his bbq for all kinds of baking, which I will be trying out.
I have used rye flour as the base of the starter as this usually yields a good start for natural yeast, mixed with warm water. Tomorrow when I feed it I will be using organic stone milled flour rather than blade cut/ground flour.
I was talking to the trainer last week regarding the food that I make for the dogs, including the biscuits, and she said that she used to do that but after a few weeks gave it up as she didn’t have time to do it. This I found odd. I prep the veg, usually carrots, sweet potatoes, cabbage, green beans and broccoli and shove it all into the electric pressure cooker, and press steam. That’s it! Not hard or time-consuming at all, it takes all of 5 minutes to prep and the cooker does the rest in 5 minutes. The only thing that takes more time is cooking the meats. I usually make them lambs liver, kidney and hearts, turkey, chicken, pork, but even that does not take much time. I usually just put some olive oil in a large pan, and lightly fry the liver and kidney for about 10 minutes. The liver I cook as it comes, which is usually slices, which breaks up in the pan, but the kidneys are whole, so I slice them before cooking. So about 10 minutes whilst the veg is cooking and cooking. The whole lot get decanted into dishes and popped into the fridge. I timed it today and it took less than 30 minutes, and that is done every two or three days. I also do rice in the pressure cooker all of 3 minutes and that too goes into a container in the fridge. In a week I would spend about an hour to an hour and a half each week to cook everything for them, which in my mind is not that long at all.
The biscuits obviously take longer but when it is raining like today, there is nowhere to go, and so I may as well make a batch for them and put them in an airtight container.
Last week I decided to do the kidneys in their own doggie gravy and added some garlic granules, this went down very well.
One thing I have to keep in mind is that balance is the main thing.
High-quality protein (meat, seafood, dairy or eggs)
Fat (meat or oil)
Carbohydrates (grains or vegetables)
Essential fatty acids (egg yolks or oatmeal)
I also give the dogs boiled eggs and add pure salmon oil to their meals, and of course, they get dog vitamins. All in all, I think they have a healthy intake of food, and I enjoy making them lovely foods.
I have been dying to bake for quite some time, but the so-called diet has kept the urge at bay, but this weekend, I thought stuff this, I am making something. It was a toss-up between this cake or my beetroot and dark chocolate, however, since it was my first bake of the year, and due to the abundance of Easter cakes about I decided to make Cherry and Marzipan Cake. It has a layer of marzipan running through it. I make the cake batter, put half in the cake tin, covered it with a layer of marzipan then the rest of the batter, and covered it with flaked almonds.
Lately, we have been really bad, and this week I have gone overboard. I went to Patisserie Valerie and bought luxury cakes which does not sound too bad, but when you take into account that I had a massive Chinese meal consisting of beef green pepper black bean sauce, salt and pepper chicken, fried rice, chips before the cakes then the fat boy pants really needed to come out.
I was going to bake a cheese and onion pie too, but M pointed out that I would be one meal away from a heart attack, so I will make that next week. In the meantime, I made cheese macaroni with tomatoes, onions and curry. M does not like that dish, and I had made enough for four people and ate quite a lot of it, so heart attack city here I come.