Sunday 21 June 2015

Gluten free cooking at River Cottage

If you've been reading this blog for a while you'll know that a couple of years ago, 'im outdoors was diagnosed as a coeliac. Its been an interesting challenge, but as we make a lot of our meals from scratch anyway it's just meant learning some new ways of doing things.  I've managed to get most things to work, but the one thing I've been really struggling with is savoury pastry.  

As I was looking round on the internet to see if anyone could help I stumbled across the River Cottage cooking classes and the fact they run a gluten free course.  'Doesn't that sound cool' I said to 'im outdoors.  Next think I know I have two tickets for the gluten free class for my birthday.  Six months later and its finally time to use them.

We decided to make a long weekend of it and found a lovely B+B to stay in just 20 minutes away.  The day itself was beautiful, Devon at its best.  We got the tractor down from the car park with great views across the farm on the way down.

The class was run by Naomi who was very knowledgable and un-judgemental about how our baking turned out.  We made Sourdough loafs, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Shortcrust Pastry (which we then turned in to mini Bakewell Tarts) and Sourdough Sea Salt Crackers. 

We also had a chance to wander round the veg garden (where we glimpsed Hugh having lunch!) and had a beautiful two course cooked meal for lunch.

It was a brilliant day.  It probably helps that I'm used to baking so I found it really easy.  All I had to do was listen carefully to everything Naomi had to tell us, then copy her.  All the ingredients were all ready weighed out for us and all our dirty things were taken away and reappeared clean.  If only that happened in real life.
At the end of the day we went back to the B+B with boxes full of tasty treats.  And seeing as we weren't very hungry for dinner, we bought some nice ripe brie and had a picnic on the beach.  Bliss.

Tuesday 16 June 2015

June Writers Group

As summer kicks in so the writers group gets smaller.  I won't see some of them until September now, lucky things.
But it was still a good meeting, with some nice pieces read out, including one I wrote.  Yes I know, I actually finished a piece.  And I got some good feedback for it too, so feel that I can add to it and make it even better.
We also had a really good discussion about how to show not tell - the first rule of creative writing.  Its interesting how the script writer had a different idea from me, a prose writer.

Homework: Use the following as the starting point or inspiration for a story or poem: I had a black dog…

(inspired by the title of Matthew Johnstone’s book of the same name, which I haven't read - I just really liked the title)

Sunday 14 June 2015

Copying your clothes

Yesterday I went up to West Norwood in London to Tilly and the Buttons HQ for the Copy Your Clothes Workshop.  I was pretty excited about the class - I really enjoyed making my Coco dress and want to make more of my own clothes.  But what really excited my about this class was the fact it would let me recreate my very favourite skirt which is slowly dying on me.

The workshop was run by Zoe who was hugely enthusiastic and happy to answer all our questions.  It was a small group too, just 6 of us so we all got the personal treatment.  Not the biggest room in the world, but perfect for our needs. As was the constant supply of tea, coffee and biscuits. 

By the end of the 4 hour session I had a pattern for my skirt drawn out, and a second pattern for a top pretty much ready to go too.  The idea that I just need to find some material and I can get making is really exciting.

So if you are interested it recreating your favourite items of clothing, this might be the course for you.  I really enjoyed it and keep thinking of items which I could make pattern's for now.  And best of all, once I'm happy with a pattern there is no reason why I can't tweak it a bit to make it even better.

Sunday 7 June 2015

Another 5k race

Today I was back to Basingstoke for their 5k race.  This is the third year they have run it and the 3rd year I've competed.  They changed the route a tiny bit this year and although it does mean a biggish hill I think it was a positive improvement.
Considering the last couple of months, where I've been injured and ill, I don't think I did too badly coming in at 26:14.  Quicker than my first attempt at any rate.  Of the 300 who ran I came 113; 26th lady!  I'm happy with that. 

It's all been running and knitting on here recently, hasn't it.  Don't worry I've got some other pretty cool stuff coming up soon.