I thought I'd show one or two of the dolls I've been busy with over the past month or so. I didn't manage to take photos of all of them, as I had to whisk them off to their owners pretty sharpish (working to a deadline is not one of my natural strengths). I'm very much enjoying making them and when they're finished I pat them and fuss with them and sometimes give them a little cuddle. (Good grief, what an admission to make! I am probably certifiable, but generally harmless). I've had some great feedback from my friends though, one said her niece was taking the dolly to bed, which I think is the finest compliment I can get.
I've noticed I'm developing a definite doll-making style. I can't help but make a little knitted corsage for most of the doll, and always feel it necessary to give the doll "big hair". I have made a straight haired blonde doll, but for me it just wasn't the same as making a curly-girly! The next doll I shall make will have different feet though, Jenny's new ones have feet you could slip a shoe on, this would be a definite improvement to the dolls I make.
Anyway, the brown haired girl went to my friend's granddaughter this weekend, and I'm not sure what the little girl has named her, but the one below was given to my youngest one, as she fell in love with the red hair when I was making her. We've called her Aishling, after the lovely Christy Moore song.
Also this January I've set myself the task of learning a few new recipes. Seeing as I have a certain avoir du poids ce moment I haven't been baking as much as usual. Well, apart from that carrot cake I made the other Sunday, oh, and that cheesecake I made when Sarah came a-visiting. Well, okay then, I have been doing a fair amount of baking, but some of this baking has been sickeningly virtuous.
The cake that looks a little like malt loaf or tea bread below is actually made from All-Bran and contains no egg or fat. No, don't say "yuck" it's actually jolly nice, does taste somewhat like an old-fashioned malt loaf, is a doddle to make. I like it spread thickly with butter. There really is no hope for me. Oh, and if you eat the cake neat, there are no more calories per slice than a bowl of cereal with raisins. Here's the recipe.
4 oz All-Bran
5 oz caster sugar
10 oz dried fruit
1/2 pint milk
4 oz self-raising flour
Put All-bran, sugar and dried fruit into a bowl and mix well together
Stir in milk and leave for at least 30 minutes
Sieve in flour, mixing well and pour mixture into a well greased 2 lb loaf tin.
Bake in oven at 180c for about 1 hour.
Next up I've been trying out new recipes for various stews and casseroles. I don't know about you, but I developed a stew recipe years ago and I've pretty much stuck to it. I do so many slow braises and stews in the winter-time and it was all becoming a bit same-y so I thought I'd have a go at something a little different. I can highly recommend the Blessed Delia of the Mispronunciation's Beef in Designer Beer, and also Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's Savoury Beef Cobbler and Chicken in Cider with Rosemary Dumplings. I shall link to a page where the nation's favourite gentleman farmer has waxed lyrical about stews and pies, a nice read, good recipes, with the added bonus of a picture of the man himself...I find him personally quite charming.
Oh, and talking of photos, here's a picture of the aforementioned Beef Cobbler, looks quite similar to the one on Hugh's page. Am I the only person in the world whose food looks rarely like the picture in the cookbook? I imagine this is because I am a bit of a sloppy worker. Well I think that's enough for today! Anon, gentle reader and happy housewifery to you!