I Heart Baking!

30 Mar

After buying a bag of wholegrain spelt flour over the weekend, I decided to enter the foray of baking my own bread this afternoon. With all my recent mishaps in the kitchen lately ( I have burnt everything from rice to spinach pies and pizza!), this could have been a lil’ bit of a disaster. But surprisingly, it turned out better than I could have imagined. Check out the evidence below, and if you’re like me, you might even be brave enough to give this a try ( It’s very, very simple!).

Ingredients:

500g Wholegrain Spelt flour ( I chose an organic brand)

1/2 tbsp sea salt

1tbsp yeast

1tbsp honey

400ml warm water

1tbsp rice bran oil ( the original recipe says olive oil, but I use rice bran for all the extra Vitamin E )

( This recipe has been adapted from the recipe on the back of the flour pack. Thank you Dove Farm Organics!)

Steps to a delicious spelt bread:

The first step is to mix the flour, yeast, and salt together in a bowl. Mixing in a heart shape is totally optional!

Once you have mixed the dry ingredients, dissolve the honey in the warm water, and stir in roughly. Next, in goes the oil – be very careful to mix this in thoroughly. This is where the trusty wooden spoon gets put to good use! Next comes the fun part….the kneading! Knead your dough for a few minutes, then put to rest inside your favorite cake or baking tin. Leave aside in a warm place for 25 mins to give the dough a chance to rise.

Once the dough has risen, it is ready for the oven. In a pre-heated oven with a temperature of 200 degrees, place your bread, to be baked to perfection for between 35-40 minutes.

Now you are ready to enjoy your labour of love! Take gently out of the oven, place on a cooling rack for a few minutes, then carefully cut and enjoy however you choose. I had mine with yummy wholegrain mustard and salad…delish!

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My Owl Friday

28 Mar

Pottering around at home on a lazy Sunday, I usually contemplate beginning some new project or other, and yesterday was no exception. The only difference is that I finally acted on one of the projects that I had been wanting to make for a little while, and having a few hours spare, I decided to go for it. And the result are these cute little owls. I found out about this little project on the totally awesome site Cut Out and Keep – a social networking site for crafters and creative types who love to get their hands dirty – chock-a-block with all sorts of things to make, from bags, jewelery, to collage, sewing and knitting, and mixed media.  I chose these little owls quite simply for the reason that I love owls! They are so cute and easy to make, and because Spring is just around the corner, I think these little guys are right appropriate!

If you like the look of these little ‘ un’s and would like to make your own, full instructions for this project ( and countless others! ) can be found here .

Inspirations

24 Mar

So I’ve been away for a few days. Mostly to finish wrapping up my creative writing course ( which was brilliant, yay!), but also to get my head together and figure out what I am going to do next. Not being one to rest on my laurels for long, I am already looking at other avenues to continue my creative journey and indulge my passions. I have had a look at the list that I cam up with at the beginning of the year and have been referring to it often to fuel my inspiration and get those creative juices flowing. Until the time comes to make a decision about the next step forward, I have been quite happy to simply sit back, enjoy view, and wait for the voice inside to point me in the right direction. The days here have been beautiful – the lovely Scottish sun has made an appearance after many weeks of hiding, and with spring around the corner comes renewal and new beginnings.

I noticed that one of the PostADay topics a few days ago asked ‘ How do you find your Muse?’. This poses an interesting question, one which fascinates me, as for everybody this is so different. One of the things I love about the creative process is finding out what inspires other people – from famous writers and artists, to normal, ordinary people on extraordinary creative journeys. I love to read others’ blogs – whether about photography, art, writing, or simply daily life, it fills me with wonder that we are all unique, different, and have so much to offer the world and each other. Personally, how I find my muse, is surrounding myself with beauty and beautiful things. The glimpse of a majestic seagull against the brilliant blue of the sky, the dusky colours of sunset silhouetted against the mountain outside my window, a  burst of colour across a piece of art. Mozart. Vivaldi. The pan-pipes of South American Andean music. The brilliant yellow of the daffodils sitting on my vintage wooden dresser. The smell of my cinnamon incense mixing with the coolness of the air from my open window. The stack of books I have placed on my desk – the beauty of the written word, woven together to open up new worlds, the poetry of the word flowing across the pages. Moleskine notebooks filled with my ideas and drawings. My latest vision board hanging from a piece of ribbon, spinning slowly, depicting places, people, art . As I sit here now, I have an amazing view of the moon rising slowly over the hill, peeking slowly between wispy clouds, hanging suspended in the inky, clear night. These are all the things that help me to find my muse, to call him out of hiding ( yes, my muse is a him!) and whisper softly to me.

I was recently asked to choose one picture which would describe my inspiration in life right at this moment in time. The one I have chosen is this :

Photo courtesy: per original copyright at:
http://www.foilprints.com/hjn/ascension/11usnationalmemorialservice.htm

If you would like to share your thoughts on your muse, your creative process, or anything in-between, I would be more than happy to hear from you!

Is 50 really such a big number? Yes, it is!

17 Mar

I have realised today that I have reached 50 posts since the beginning of the year when I first began this blog. Now I know that there have been more than 50 days since the year began, but for me to have kept this up for as long as I have, is a big deal for me. In all truth, the commitment-phobe in me never actually expected to reach 5 blog posts, let alone 50, so I am actually quite proud to have made it this far! In my very first PostADayblog post, I outlined the fact that I would most likely have trouble doing this – I predicted there would be tears, tantrums, laptop-throwing, and one obsessively clean flat ( NONE of which happened, I might add!) . Having said that, it hasn’t been the easiest task, and I have skipped many a day, but overall the experience  has been a wonderful one! Starting this blog has been enriching, a way of branching out of my comfort zone, and doing something different for myself. I have found the courage to express what I have wanted to say, and I hope that I can continue to build on this and all the other ideas that I have, to keep it going for another 50 posts, and another 50 after that, and so on until the end of the year! So if you are a regular reader of my little blog tucked away into this tiny corner of cyber-space, thank you for tuning into my musings, I hope to be able to keep entertaining you for a while longer! Or, if you are just passing through, I appreciate you taking the time to make my blog a pit-stop on your travels!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Fictional Crushes

15 Mar

I am going to totally have fun with this one!

1. Aragorn II  – The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R Tolkien

Anybody who is introduced into a work of fiction as Strider has got to have something good going for him. And he proves himself to be such a gentleman as well as a nobleman to the end, if a little rough around the edges at times.

2. Mr.Darcy – Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

He is the character that I loved to hate, which just turned into love by the time I finished the book. Through his arrogance, superior attitude, and aloofness lies a genuine man, wanting to simply win the heart of the lady he loves, but being greatly misunderstood in the process.

3. Mark Darcy – Bridget Jones’ Diary – Helen Fielding

Maybe this one has a lot to do with the portrayal of Mark Darcy by Colin Firth, but there is something about the quintessential Englishman that is so hard to resist.

4. Atticus Finch – To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee

The appeal of Atticus is in his character, and his moral standing – how he teaches his children, and his stand for what he believes in,and his refusal to back down from what he feels is most important to him.

5.Zorro – Created by Jonathan McCulley and serialised in pulp fiction

This may also have a lot to do with Antonio Banderas’ portrayal in the movie, but there is something incredibly attractive about a man who risks it all for what he believes in. It also doesn’t hurt to be good looking, fit, passionate, and a gentleman all rolled into one – it is hard not to have at least a little crush on Zorro.

6. Lestat de Lioncourt –  The Vampire Chronicles -Anne Rice

The original irresistible vampire. Intense, intelligent, sensual, yet vain, insecure, and evil ( he is a vampire after all), what’s not to love? Well, maybe the vampire part, but when he’s also six-foot tall and blonde, I can overlook that part!

7. Guy Montag – Farenheit 451  – Ray Bradbury

Mostly because he has the whole futuristic ‘fireman’ thing going on, even if in this dystopian society his main task is devoted to the burning of books.

8. Noah Calhoun – The Notebook -Nicholas Sparks

Who wouldn’t want a Noah in their life, loving and loyal through the years until the very end. Allie is one lucky woman to have found such a man, despite the many trials and tribulations of their love.

9. Westley  – The Princess Bride – William Golding

Described in the book as being quite a catch, I love a good-looking man in any story.

10.Trip Fontaine – The Virgin Suicides – Jeffrey Eugenides

Everyone needs a ridiculously good-looking, loping, kinda- hippy teenage crush, and Tripp Fontaine is mine.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Home

14 Mar

 

A photo of my lovely house keys on a backdrop on some of my musings

The Complete Polysyllabic Spree….who??

10 Mar

By Nick HornbyI have finally finished this! It didn’t take me so long, it’s just that I found this to be so entertaining, I quite simply didn’t want to put it down! I had my reservations when I first picked this up – while I love Nick Hornby and was thoroughly engrossed by the genius of High Fidelity and the sweetness of About A Boy, I hadn’t known he could write so well, apart from fiction, let alone heard of the Polysyllabic Spree ( the odd-numbered, white-robed, often naked, board members of UK literary review magazine the Believer, who seem to really have it in for our boy Hornby – suspended writer, anyone?). What this book is is essentially a collection of the column articles that Hornby writes for the Believer from September 2003 to June 2006, reviewing the books he has read that particular month, as well as listing all books bought, those not read, and those abandoned in fits of rage and frustration ( and can’t we all relate to this one!).

Among these pages, I found many books to inspire my own reading journey – I even made a list of all the ones I am adding to the wishlist! ( Not added here otherwise we’d be here into next week!). Hornby’s commentary on what he has read has this effect – fast-paced, witty,downright funny ( I even found myself laughing out loud in places, and I NEVER do that!) , and sometimes you just don’t quite know whether he is being serious…or just pulling your leg ( I strongly suspect the latter). The books he loves, he LOVES, and the ones he doesn’t…well, he’s not allowed to mention by name ( Believer rules!), so we never find out which ones they are, though he does drop hints, in the hope he’ll give the game away! From reading biographies and writer’s collected letters ( Dylan Thomas, Anton Chekov, and Phillip Larkin to mention a few, along with an abandoned biography of George ‘ Dubya’ Bush – I don’t blame him ), to serious books such as Jonathan Lehman’s The Fortress of Solitude, True Notebooks byMark Salzman, What Good are the Arts by John Carey, and a lot of Charles Dickens and J.D Salinger, to his repeat reading of Quitting Smoking – The Lazy Person’s Guide!, there is much to be found between these pages ( he even has me convinced me I really, really need to read The Men Who Stare at Goats, Jon Ronson’s paranormal-meets-military book on combating the War on Terror!) . But the highlight for me? Hornby and his take on the Motley Crue autobiography The Dirt . Uncoventional, unexpected, hilarious, and very rock and roll, read his review and weep. With tears of laughter.

I recommend this book to anyone who loves reading books about books, willing to open their mind to some interesting book choices, by one hell of a reviewer who is thoroughly amusing, and will keep you entertained until the last page.