Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Checks and Plaid at Cardz 4 Guyz

This week at Cardz 4 Guyz we'd like to see masculine makes featuring gingham, checks or plaid as a prominent feature of the design.

I thought about using one of several Scotsman-in-kilt images that I have on various CDs, but I rather thought that *certain* readers <looking very hard in the direction of one or two people here> might start speculating about what they were wearing under their kilts and lower the tone if the whole thing! So instead I chose to use this tranquil fishing decoupage from the CD "The Best of la Pashe 2014" teamed with checked paper and vellum from my snippets box.

The purple check is a vellum that was part of the pullout section of Making cards magazine, years and years ago, this time adhered to white card, and the greeting panel and printed "ribbon" were from the same issue. Goodness knows where the green/cream check paper came from, it's leftover from something but exactly what has been lost in the mists of time!

Monday, 25 May 2015

Rudolph for Rudolph Day

It's the 25th of the month, and that means it's Rudolph Day at Scrappymo's, so here's my card, featuring Rudolph himself. Actually my five year old granddaughter would be very cross with me for calling Rudolph a "he", last Christmas she pointed out to me that only female reindeer keep their antlers through the winter, and therefore Rudolph must be a SHE. So, I'll rephrase that..... here's my card featuring Rudolph Herself!

The banner came from an old Craftwork Cards goody bag, and I rummaged through my snippets box  to find snippets to go with it. I die cut the square using a Nestabilities set that I really don't use often enough! Rudolph is coloured in with Promarkers and the snow highlighted with Wink of Stella.

As well as Rudolph Day, I'm popping into the Snippets Playground at Pixie's Crafty Workshop  and also joining in with Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge - use a die cut or something punched  and Christmas Card Challenges - Anything Goes as well as making another visit to Addicted to CAS - Animal with a very different card to the one I shared yesterday!

Fougasse with almonds and fennel

Yesterday's Grand Prix was the Monaco one - usually my favourite race of the year. I didn't see it, as we were out at the Fleet Food Festival (there'll be a full report of this super day out on Mark's blog later this week) but last night's sports news was full of reports of team failures and temper tantrums so I'm sure I'd have been disappointed if I'd seen it.

Anyway, it means that F1 Foods at Caroline Makes is looking for recipes for Monegasque dishes. I did a bit of research on the topic, as I thought everybody in the Principality lived on champagne and caviar, but apparently they do have a few traditional dishes, one of which is a variation of Fougasse with almonds, aniseed and sometimes orange in it. I couldn't find a recipe, so I devised my own, using fennel seeds because I had no aniseed,   and omitting the orange because I wanted to use the finished bread for dunking in some of the rather gorgeous lemon and thyme infused rapeseed oil that we'd bought at the food festival.

Incidentally one of the references I read suggested that the slits in the fougasse are supposed to represent an olive branch. If you squint hard enough, maybe you'll be able to see the resemblance!

Fougasse with almonds and fennel (makes one loaf)

Make your dough by either hand or machine, using the following ingredients:

400g strong plain flour
80ml olive oil
225ml water
1 tbs coarse crystal salt (yes, it's a lot of salt - but you don't eat this bread every day!)
1 tbs fennel seeds
1½ tsp dried yeast
(You will also need a further 2tbs olive oil and a large handful of flaked almonds, about 50g,  to finish the loaf)

When the dough has had its first rising, turn it onto a baking sheet lined with non-stick paper (it's too hard to move it once you've shaped it!) and press into an oval shape about 15cm x 25cm, then cut slits in the centre and diagonally either side. Using your floured hands, gently pull and stretch the dough to enlarge the holes and give the traditional Fougasse shape. My bread rose a lot and the holes closed up quite a bit during cooking - try to get them as big as possible to allow for this. It helps if you start at one end of the loaf and work towards the far end, always pulling the dough towards the un-stretched end.

Now brush the entire surface of the dough gently with olive oil and sprinkle with the flaked almonds, pressing them gently to try to encourage them to stick to the surface.

Cover the loaf with oiled clingfilm and set aside until puffy and risen, about 40 minutes. Heat the oven to 190C/170C fan/375F/gas mark 5.

Remove the clingfilm and bake the loaf for around 30 minutes until golden. If you want to use the traditional "tapping the bottom to see if it sounds hollow" test for doneness, lift it carefully rather than turning it over, as some of the almonds WILL fall off, however careful you've been.

The bread was absolutely delicious - in fact as well as dipping in the oil, we both grabbed an extra chunk to mop up the last of the sauce on our pasta main courses. The fragrant fennel seed and toasty almonds were a gorgeous combination.  Definitely one I'll make again!

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As well as F1 Foods

I am also sharing this with Bready, Steady, Go - bread with bits in it at Utterly Scrummy Food For Friends and Jen's Food.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

A bit of extreme CAS

Several years ago, I bought a Hot Off The Press Christmas kit that included lots of large metal embellishments that were designed to be held in place with brads. I've used most of them, but still had this silver coloured  "Joy" one left. Somehow none of the brads left in the kit looked right, consisting as they do mostly of brown squares, and the hole in it was too small for most of my other brads.

Until, that is, today when I realised that my Cropadile can punch through thin metal, so I could use it to enlarge the hole. That meant I could brighten up the word by adding a star shaped brad as the centre of the O. I placed it on a black die cut circle to show off the metal, and all it really needed then was layering onto gold and silver circles to complete the card. Very extreme CAS, I know, and yet anything else would have been Too Much.

By the way, as always, the gold and silver card look rubbish in the photos! I really have NOT mastered the art of photographing metallic card. In fact now I've uploaded it to the blog, the silver word looks gold too....... think I might try a second photo.....

Ho-hum, now you can see the metallic card - but the black looks grey!

I'm sharing this with
Less is More - Metal
Shopping Our Stash - Silver and Gold

Are you being ignored?

If you own, or have ever owned, a cat, you'll know what it's like when they have decided to ignore you. They don't just take no notice of you, they ignore you with every muscle in their body! This cat silhouette stamp, which I think was a covermount on Craft Stamper a few years ago, always makes me think of a cat, rigid with "I'm ignoring you"-ness, sitting with its back firmly pointing in your direction.

Somewhere, years ago, I heard the quotation "You have never been truly ignored until you have been ignored by a cat." I've tried searching for it and although I couldn't find the exact quote, I found dozens that expressed the same idea. Being ignored by a cat is obviously a very common occurrence! I really wanted to use the saying along with my silhouette stamp, so I computer generated it and printed it onto my card. The font I used is Kristen ITC in size 18 point, and I found that by using Print Layout in Word at 87% size, the page on the monitor came out exactly the size of my card, so I was able to hold a thin sheet of  copier paper up to the screen and view my text through it, in order to position it perfectly before printing.

Then all I needed to do was cut the card to size and stamp my cat, using Promarkers to add a little shadow for interest, because obviously as well as ignoring me, the cat would have chosen the sunniest spot in the house and therefore be casting a shadow.

I'm playing along with Addicted to CAS - Animal

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Last night's dinner

I hadn't intended to blog about the meal I cooked last night, but Mark took such lovely photos of it that I couldn't resist sharing them! I'd planned to make an old favourite, Lamb and Mixed Fruit Pilaff from an ancient copy of Supercookery,  and serve it with a plain green salad, but having been flicking through my copy of Persiana by Sabrina Ghayour, I spotted a couple of other dishes I fancied making.

So here we have Lamb and Mixed Fruit Pilaff,  grilled asparagus marinated in harissa and lemon juice, and roast butternut squash with a parsley and pistachio pesto (the recipe has coriander and dill in the pesto too, but Mark is allergic to coriander, neither of us likes dill, and the parsley is threatening to take over the garden) with pomegranate seeds and crumbled feta cheese. The finished plateful has even more colour added with a few of Mark's home-dried tomato slices.

Love birds

The inspiration for this card came from the current photo inspiration at Addicted to Stamps and More

It reminded me of a set of Polkadoodles stamps I have - I've always used the pretty spring pastels that go with the papers on the accompanying CD when using the stamps, but by using it separately from the CD and taking this colour scheme as a guide, it's taken on a completely different look.

I've used just two shades of purple Promarkers for the colouring, plus a white gel pen for the flower petals. Leaving everything else uncoloured has given it a dramatic monochrome effect.

I stamped two birds, heading towards their love nest, to make is suitable for a wedding card to fit the Purple and Love/Wedding theme at Inkspirational.

Having left the CD firmly out of things, there is no patterned paper on this card, it's all stamping, so it fits in with the current No Patterned Paper challenge at Fan-Tastic Tuesday.

I'm popping back to Make my Monday for a second flutter into the Things with Wings challenge

And last but not least, I'm also joining in with Birds and/or Bees at Sweet Stampin' Challenge blog (and I hope to be back with a bee themed card later in the week, time permitting).