Thursday, 5 February 2009

Notes and Queries, Hidden Art, and the Give-Away Announcement

Well, I want to thank you all for the nice comments you left in my previous post, they were all very much appreciated. However, without further ado I shall announce the winner of the book, magazine and dishcloth...drum roll's Angela! I know that Angela is a very creative person, so I think she'll really enjoy "Hidden Art." It's a great book, and not just for homemakers I think, all about how Christians can bring beauty and artistry into their every day lives all for the glory of God, something which I think we modern Christians tend not to do, but I believe is of real importance.

Home Chat is a bit of Edwardian fun, a penny magazine, aimed at the women of the lower middle classes and full of interesting tips and remarkable advertisements...those poor Edwardians seem to be horribly (ahem) "bunged up"...probably due to over-consumption of suet pudding!

Next up is this knitted dishcloth. I used the Quaker Ridge pattern as featured on the Mommy Cooks blog (a great blog, still online but no longer updated) cloth turned out rather differently to hers, but nevertheless I still like the pattern!

So now on to the Notes and Queries section of the post!

Seraphim, now joyously untormented by those of us who leave it to the last minute to post our tax returns, wanted to know about knitted dishcloths. I'm pretty passionate about knitted dishcloths (I know, what a thing to be passionate about). They're eco-friendly, frugal, last forever, ethical, a good way of practising new stitches, a great beginner's project and more importantly they're rather pretty. Anything which glamorizes the washing-up is okay in my book, and they follow that great tradition Christian women of yore had of making everyday items beautiful. There's a great online resource for dishcloth patterns, that you'll find here, or you can make your own pattern and experiment! In the UK you can by dishcloth yarn, quite cheaply in most craft shops, but you may have to go to big cities to find the nice self-striping colours you find used on American cloths.

Next up, Niki from Rural Writings asked for a recipe for a classic Victoria Sponge, but converted into US/Can cup measures. I'm really glad she asked the question as it's something I've been discussing on Nan's Letters from a Hill Farm blog. Most British women know the recipe well because it follows a specific pattern of ounces. So for a small, 6 inch, cake, you'll need 4 oz of butter, 4 oz self-raising flour, 4 oz of sugar and 2 eggs. For a larger cake the pattern is all the 6s and 3 eggs, for a big cake all the 8s and 4 eggs.

But the trouble with converting this into cup measure is that a cup of flour and a cup of sugar do not weigh the same, so if you put the measurements into one of those online cooks' measurement converters it comes up with all sorts of unmanageable decimals. Another problem with this kind of conversion is that the way flour works in different countries is not standardised. What rises in the UK, may not rise in Canada, may not rise in the USA. So what I've done is email Niki with a Nigella Lawson recipe which has been specifically written for the American market. I trust Nigella, her How to Be a Domestic Goddess book is an excellent bakers resource and she's really well read on her subject, so I reckon this cake is a pretty decent approximation of the English classic. Also, have a looks at Nan's blog about Laurie Colwin, the book sounds wonderful, so I imagine the cake recipe featured is pretty good too.
Edit: have now proof-read this post, I hang my head in shame, thank you for putting up with all of those errors!
Edit Number Two!!! Here's Erin's recipe for an American Victoria Sponge
1/2 cup soft margarine
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs(1 tsp vanilla extract)
1 cup self-raising flour
As four ounces of flour is one cup, but four ounces of sugar is a 1/2 cup.


monix said...

I'm sure Angela will be thrilled with her gifts. Now you have inspired me to start knitting dishcloths, something I haven't done for years.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe it....I've missed another giveaway in blogland...this happens to me all the time...sigh.

Congratulations to the winner, I've wanted to read that book for ages...(sob).

Love your dishcloth pattern too. Hope you're keeping cosy. :)

Angela said...

Thanks SO much - I have never won a blog-giveaway before, and am ridiculously excited!
Hope the snow isn't too bad your way, love Angela

Angela said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dulce Domum said...

Hi Angela
I've noted your address and I'll send you the package once the thaw begins! Hope you like it!

My kids have been loving this snow, they made a snow armchair with a cup holder...well, it makes a change from a snowman.

Erin said...

US Sponge Cake Recipe:

1/2 cup soft margarine
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
(1 tsp vanilla extract)
1 cup self-raising flour

As four ounces of flour is one cup, but four ounces of sugar is a 1/2 cup.

Angela said...

Thank you! Looking forward to receiving my parcel

debbie bailey said...

I'm going to make this cake tomorrow for my bookgroup. I first had Victoria Sponge Cake while visiting at Chatsworth House. I thought I had died and gone to heaven! It was the best cake I had ever put in my mouth. It had almost paste spread on top. Incredible! I'll let you know how it turns out.

Dulce Domum said...

Hi Monix
There are some great patterns about, they're a nice project when you feel short of patience!

Aww, Tina! You can find first editions of the book quite cheaply if you keep your eyes open in second hand bookshops. It's just called Hidden Art in the UK.

Hi Erin
Thanks for that recipe, I've popped on the blog post in order to help out your fellow country-women!

Hi Debbie
I love almond paste, that's quite an unusual addition, but I bet it works really well. Let me know how your cake went. Chatsworth is such a beautiful house.

Anonymous said...

Good ol' Nigella!

Anonymous said...

Happy, Happy (Belated) Birthday! And Yippee to the winner!! ♥

Erin said...

I forgot to say that I always make it with butter! =)

Seraphim said...

Thank you for the information! I went to my local market yesterday and had a poke around the yarn stall, I think i've located something suitable so as soon as I can afford a couple of balls... off I go!

Oh its so sad how excited I am ;))