Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Following on ....

.......... from bread making in the last post.  I am hooked, I've made more baguettes using a starter dough & they turned out well, even the 50% wholemeal ones.  So there's another starter fermenting tonight ready for tomorrow!  I've made more yoghurt, this time for topping with fruit or whatever takes our fancy -it's nearly all gone & I think I'll have to buy another pot as a starter I don't think Joe has left me enough to start the next batch, I'll also need to stock up on long life milk as well.  Relevant to this post is one I just read over at Simple Green Frugal Co-op about making from scratch.  I've a long way to go but I'll get there, well as far as the Anorak's lack of interest in the process will let me.  While we make just about every meal from scratch, he's as happy to buy some things that I'd rather make.  Time will tell.

Sunday, 21 February 2010


I borrowed a book about bread making from the library last week & have been busy trying some of the recipes.  The family is just about full up now!  Some of the recipes contain more salt than I would have expected so will alter them for next time, & yes there will be lots more next times.  You can make the dough & leave it overnight in the fridge to rise as long as you allow it to fully reach room temperature before using it.  I did, & it was a tasty loaf.  In fact I can see that it is fully possible to make bread by hand during a busy week, just needs a bit of forethought, ie planning!  The Anorak is a committed supermarket white sliced type but even he conceded that tonights baguette was quite good!  Not as "heavy" as previous attempts but he still likes the one I make the dough for in the bread maker.  Oh dear.  That baguette is good but not as light as tonights offering.  Partly because it contains porridge oats & partly because a breadmaker can only mix ,not knead, the dough!!
We used tonights bread to mop up the gravy from a chicken cassoulet based on a good old M & S recipe from the 1980's not in any particular order: Chicken breasts, chopped sausage, tin of baked beans, onion, garlic, dry white wine, chicken stock.  The sausage happened to be an Asda special from last summer found in the freezer, pork & sweet chilli, I thought I'd get it by the Anorak in a casserole but he decided it was too spicy for him.  Yet he'll eat prawns dipped in  sweet chilli sauce?
I made another pair of baguettes tonight from half wholemeal, half white bread flour & they too have risen nicely, having used the remainder of the starter dough from earlier.  Tomorrows lunch.   I also dug out the yoghurt maker yesterday & made some using semi skimmed long life milk.  I've never had much success using anything less than full fat before & this didn't look like it was going to be any better but I decided to strain it & make cream cheese.  8 hours later & the cat is demanding the cheese (no chance) it is gorgeous on this fresh bread, & I just used some of the whey to make up fruit scones & they are nice & light.  Morning break me thinks tomorrow!  Soon I'll be back to overweight if I'm not careful!!

Monday, 15 February 2010

Progress, backwards or forwards?

I have managed to find a helpful manager at work to assist me move up the career ladder.  He doesn't know it yet though!!  He is willing to push some funding my way.
Simply I need to earn more.  Not so simply - it isn't that easy to do.  So I decided I need to further my skills with a useful qualification.  Then I can offer a wider service to clients at work as well as privately.
Now my dream is to be able to make bespoke bras.  Hopefully the new area cancer centre is going to be based where I work.  Masectomy patients, bras ........... you get my drift?  BUT while it isn't easy getting suitable bras (you have to travel, Windermere seems to be the nearest so not that far) or buy mail order, choice is a bit limiting, talking to patients, it is obviously possible & a bespoke bra is going to cost far more than the dearest RTW bra & are these vulnerable women going to be able to afford or even want what would be a luxury purchase?  I'm not sure.  It is a plausable argument in my favour for the funding to be made available to me.  IMHO. 
I suspect though that it may be more beneficial to get some funding, to do a tailoring course.  Now I have always wanted to do this too & I'm quite sure that asking for funding for both won't result in a positive outcome!!  So do I venture down the tailoriing route, knowing I will be vastly undercharging at work to keep a steady supply of work coming in, which I know will infuriate me, my work is of a standard that demands a higher price, but will keep the bosses happy that we are providing an income generating,  non profit making  business, or what?  Currently I do lots of alterations that I hate doing & a fair amount of curtain making that I am qualified to do.  What a waste of my C & G level 3 cert, in soft furnishings.  OTH work funded that course & seem happy enough with the outcome so why should I worry?  I worry because I feel my sewing work at the hospital is way under valued & it gives a false impression of true price to joe public who will then expect our prices to be the norm when they are SO not.  I do have a few clients there who appreciate the value of my work & compensate me accordingly but this is stricly off the record.  You didn't read it here!
Actually what I need is a change of direction altogether into management but I'm not sure about wanting to be so involved in the politics at our place, having just seen at first hand how bad it is!  Oh decisions, decisions.  Now what would make it all so easy would be a nice little BIG win on the lottery instead. 
The other drawback to doing another course is that this time it would have to be distance learning & right now I'm having a hard time getting motivated to do anything much.  I need to be getting on with the ironing right now but here I am sat at the computer, then it's TV for an hour, first, The Lakes, followed by Raymond Blanc with a programme on chocolate.  Wish I had some chocolate, I feel a need.  It helps you know.