Wednesday, January 7, 2015

New Year, new focus

Happy New Year to everyone. I hope you enjoyed the festive season and haven't put on too much weight. I have to confess to feeling somewhat rounder after all the scrumptious Christmas food.

I can't believe it's over 2 weeks since I last updated my blog but we've just been really busy and the time has flown by. I've got my first marathon of 2015 this weekend and the weather forecast is not looking good at the moment. I'm hoping it all changes by the time we get to Sunday!

What's been happening? I'll start with a brief recap of Christmas (and I use the word "brief" loosely). There was a large jigsaw which we started after lunch on Boxing Day. It's massive and took over half of the dining table. It was a Charity Shop find which was brand new and only cost £2.

Tilly helped enormously!

Our pretty Amaryllis flowered well and is still flowering with another flower spike growing before our eyes which is an added bonus.

I should have written about my Panettone beforehand so that people could try it for themselves. For anyone who has never heard of it, Panettone is that wonderfully decadent Italian bread bejewelled with candied peel and dried fruits that you see packaged in boxes before Christmas. I've been making my own for many years now and always use a recipe by Linda Collister whose recipes are always reliably good.

Often a recipe will tell you that you need a special Panettone tin which has really high sides (and costs a lot of money) but this is what Linda Collister suggests and it works a treat. In Italy bakers take great pride in producing the tallest Panettone.

You grease the inside of a loose-based tin and then line the sides with a double layer of grease-proof paper which protrudes about 3-4" above the top of the tin.

Then you add a double layer of silver foil around the outside of the tin and  attach it to the foil with a paperclip.

When your Panettone has been proved and been shaped and placed in the tin it will be quite low down in the tin but after its final rising it will have come a long way up.

This is what it looks like when it's just come out of the oven

It's quite fragile whilst still warm and so you lay it on its side to cool and firm up.

This is what it looks like just before we attacked it. Oh my, it was gorgeous! We had it for breakfast for 3 days and then the remainder was used up in a bread pudding which was equally scrumptious - I can't think why we put on weight over Christmas!!!

Mike's given me permission to share his Christmas project on here. He decided that he wanted to do a portrait of me based on this photo of me sitting in a green chair (you need to scroll down the page a bit). He's been experimenting with oil painting for a few years now and he has a natural talent for drawing and painting and he's just getting better and better.

Here I am in a few stages. Each day he brought it into the lounge and we looked at it to see if it needed tweaking. I found it odd staring at myself but we both agreed that it's his best yet and I feel honoured to have been captured like this.

Thanks Mike xxxxx
I think that's enough for this post so in my next one I'll write about what I've been up to and my plans for 2015.

No comments: