3 February 2013

Honey, I'm Home!!

Phew... apologies for the lack of blogging over the past week, but I have been caught up in the throws of moving house!! As we were moving just ten miles from our rented house of the last six months, we (read: Dad) decided to book a small removals firm for one trip, and then hire a van to carry the rest of the stuff across, so it has been a full on weekend. There are boxes and homeless pieces of furniture absolutely everywhere, so I've decided against photographs of the new place for now. Moreover, there is a lot of scary wallpaper and mismatched carpets to deal with! There seems to be something of a running trend throughout the house involving square-based designs on all of the wallpapered rooms.

Luckily there is no structural work at all that needs doing, so we can slowly get our way through all the cosmetic work that needs doing. It is a 1930's semi with the most amazing views over the fields behind it. Aside from the kitchen and utility areas, there are two main rooms downstairs; we've turned the front reception room into a library and study, leaving the back room with the views as the main living and dining area.
To my Mother's delight, and all her female friends and relatives awe and jealousy, we have a proper larder. The kitchen isn't exactly big, so it lets us use all our cupboard space for crockery, pans and other bits and pieces. I've already claimed a whole cupboard for all my baking bits! And I'm dropping hints about how great a KitchenAid would look in the corner cupboard -somehow though, I think that may be something that I have to fund for myself! I can't decide on a colour though -I like the pistachio green, but I haven't seen it in any of the shops that I would by from. What is your favorite colour?
I haven't been able to do much with my room yet, as we haven't had the chance to haul up the big desk upstairs. It will be great to have space for all my work, but the desk doesn't *quite* fit with my plans of a French country-inspired room. If I thought that I could get away with it, I'd try and steal Mum's gorgeous bureau, but perhaps not....
 Excellent desk; not-so-good renaissance piece.
 I do have one little oasis: the shelving units in my built in wardrobe are now nice and neatly displayed compared to the mess elsewhere. At the top, I've got a couple of boxes with Royal Doulton crockery in that my mother bought for me shortly after I was born. It was picked partially for it's name, Isabella, which I was nearly named. One of my oldest friends, my mother's Goddaughter, also has a set from Mum.
Between homework and unloading the van I christened our new house's oven (electric again, sadly, but at least it is by Leisure) with a couple of loaves of bread from Paul Hollywood's How to Bake. This was bought for my Dad, the chief breadmaker, but I knew that I would be getting just as much use out of it as him, if not more!
I made a white milk loaf, which was a nice simple mix to start with. I decided to use buttermilk to give the loaf an extra depth of flavour, which worked well. When kneading, Hollywood specified spreading a little olive oil across the work surface rather than flour, which I hadn't tried before. It helped to give the dough a really nice glossy finish after a few meditative minutes working with it.

I was pretty pleased with how these turned out, despite being in the oven five or so minutes too long (I need to get a timer for this oven!!). They could have done with a deep cut across the top to encourage a better rise. It is a lovely recipe; the milk and in the dough give a soft texture with (to use a phrase of Mr. Hollywood!) a nice crumb.

Speak soon, and I'll be keeping you all updated on the redecoration projects to come!

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