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      Crochet and Lamingtons

      27th February  

      Last night saw the close of my first ever run crochet classes.  They have been six glorious sessions
      Australian Lamingtons
      and I have enjoyed every element of them.  Well perhaps not every element.  Half an hour before the first session, I felt sick, dizzy, incredibly nauseous and wondered why on earth I had put myself in this position.  I needn't have worried and am a tad embarrassed by how I felt.  All the ladies were lovely, I believe they have enjoyed the course, four of the six are definitely returning for another session of six and the remaining two, may well come, home circumstances permitting.  My on line tutee has been incredibly patient with me and I apologise for not being as on the ball with my correspondence with you this week, I will rectify that all today.

      I thought long and hard about what to teach on this course, it was designed to inspire a love of crochet but aimed mainly at beginners.  As always with my life that was not what happened, I had an eclectic mix of crochet ability that signed up which made me think even deeper as to what I should be teaching.  Challenge was what I decided upon.  No granny squares for us as beginners and not just the basics.  I threw the group into making a full size blanket/afghan, with a multitude of stitches.  Let's not keep things simple, lets not worry that tension with different stitches comes into play or indeed that these wonderful women did not know I was making them use stitches many who have crocheted for years have not tried.  So we covered, chain, slip stich, double, treble, puffy spike, bobble, granny and the cosy stripe (an Attic 24 ism)  And... they achieved it all. 

      This lady had never crocheted before!

      This lady was very enthusiastic and tried several colour
      combinations for her edging.  This completed blanket
      has now been gifted to her daughter and taken away to university.

      Each class I make a cake to satisfy any sweet tooth cravings whilst crocheting, chatting and generally having a jolly good time.  On IG (Instagram) this week I noticed a photograph of a chocolate covered something with desiccated coconut on.  Not knowing what is was, I asked and the reply from Australia came back with 'Lamingtons'.  Now I have very good Australian friends, but I have obviously led a sheltered Australian  life as I had no idea what they were.  A quick google later and I had this weeks cake all sorted.

      There are many slightly different versions out there on the net and as usual I couldn't decide on which to follow, so I mashed a couple of three recipes up, taking what I liked from each and created my own.  Although I am sure if I searched hard enough, this recipe might be 'out there' too.


      You will need:

      125g soft butter
      1 cup sugar
      1 tsp vanilla extract
      3 eggs
      1 3/4 cup self raising flour
      1/2 cup milk

      raspberry jam

      150g dark chocolate
      300ml double cream
      desiccated coconut

      Preheat oven to 160 degrees (fan oven)

      Grease a square 30 cm tin and line with baking paper.

      Beat butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. This will take a few minutes.

      Add eggs, one at a time and a spoon full of flour with each help to help prevent curdling and beat well.

      Stir in half of the flour over the butter mixture.  Once combined add half of the milk. Stir till combined.

      Repeat with the remaining flour and milk.

      Spoon into cake tin, smooth the top of the mixture.

      Bake for 30 minutes or until skewer when inserted comes out clean.  Do not over bake as the lightness of the sponge will be lost.

      Leave in tin for approx. 10 mins before removing to cooling rack.

      Once cooled cut cake horizontally in half.

      Some recipes at this point call for the cake to be covered with a tea towel and left over night.  Others say put the cake in the freezer for half an hour.  The idea being that the sponge then will be less likely to crumble when being covered with the chocolate.  You decide what suits you best.  I went with the freezer option and I will do that again.

      Melt chocolate and cream together in a Bain Marie, do not allow the mixture to boil. 

      Remove from heat.

      Place coconut on a flat plate.

      Remove cake from freezer or wherever you chose to have it and cover one half with raspberry jam, don't be too stingy with the jam.

      Sandwich layers together.

      Cut cake into generous bite size squares.

      This is the messy bit, cover each square in the chocolate mixture and then roll in the coconut.  Place on wire rack.  NOTE:  if the chocolate mixture become too gloopy, place in the microwave for a few seconds to heat it to a slightly runnier consistency, do not over heat!

      Once all squares are covered place in fridge to set the chocolate and remove from fridge 30 minutes before wishing to indulge!  They should keep for a couple of days.

      NOTE:  I did not cover all the squares as not everyone likes coconut.  For those people I gentle simmered fresh raspberries to make a semi coulis sauce and served tehm with a small pot of very thick cream.  Yum!

      I meant to take a photograph of the Lamingtons
      with and without covering, but we ate them
      before I remembered!

       Thank you to all those of you who over the last few weeks have told me if you have made any of my bakes.  I love hearing from you and to any adaptations you may make.  Keep baking and letting me know.  Also if there is a cake you think I should try, lead me to it!

      ♥  Have you ever made Lamingtons?  Do you know the history behind them?  ♥

Sunlit Sunday in Kenya

22nd February

My daughter is in Kenya.  She returns home to us tomorrow. How different will she be? Not in looks but behind her beautiful brown eyes. How will she have been affected?  How will her experiences shape her future, the woman she is


becoming, the woman she will become? It may not be obvious as her plane touches down tomorrow early morning but in the days, weeks and months to come, I wonder. 

The Nasio Trust has been phenomenal in keeping us as parents informed about our volunteering children and the activities they have undertaken. We have been able to follow them on a daily basis which has been an unexpected pleasure. We had no expectation of being kept informed, all the young people were asked not to bring phones, iPods etc so we thought, assumed, expected not to hear from them until airport arrival. Thank you to The Nasio Trust. I wouldn't hesitate to send my younger child with you. What an incredible charity you are, what an amazing thing you do and how well you look after your volunteers. The founder of the trust this year won Inspirational Woman of the Year here in the UK and I can see why. Nancy has a personality and enthusiasm that is infectious and a vision along with her team of dedicated people that will directly reach out and better and help orphans in Kenya. I believe this will be a charity that now stays close to the hearts of our family forever.  

I am not commenting on these photos on purpose. I think they speak for themselves. The fact that 15 year olds from the UK have had the privilege and ability to experience this different world to their own is truly fantastic. How many will return again as adults? Our future generation...

Sharing my thoughts with you and in conjunction with Karen for Sunlit Sunday. Do follow the link and see what others are posting today. 

           ❤️ Enjoy your Sunday  ❤️

Glorious England and a fall

20th February 

How many times have you heard someone mutter here in the UK "If it wasn't for the weather I would never leave these shores."  I don't know about you but I have moaned and groaned and said as much myself more times than I have fed my children and I like to feed people, it makes me happy.  But onto the real business, we live in a beautiful and compact country where within the same day you can experience so many different sights and sounds it is totally breath-taking, not to mention all the seasons within 24 hours.

This half term (a weeks school holiday in February, for you non UK readers) we had plans to holiday en mass as a family.  A first for us.  Location: Lake District  From rural Oxfordshire, where we live in the South of England it is a 5 hour plus drive northwards.  I packed lots of layers and thermals, a girl does not want to be cold.  I needn't have bothered, the weather in UK during a school holiday did what it never does, it was wonderful.

So this week my five on Friday are all connected with my time this winter holiday with the Lakes, as they are affectionately known here.


Breakfast and morning view, Hellvelyn
is just off camera to the right

Shrove Tuesday in the UK
was greeted in abundance

Each night a different tipple was
sampled, this is the before picture!?!?

What a British holiday without visiting a local pub,
the chips here were to die for and so many different varieties

 VIEWS ~ no words just breath taking


The cottage we stayed in

The local village, a walk away

It may be broken, but it still had its beauty


We were 14 people and 2 dogs

Spot the small herd of deer, the following
day we saw a herd of about 30


What's a walking holiday without a fall? ;)

I confess to not taking as many photographs as I would normally due to my fall and some of the Five on Friday here are a little tenuous, but I was very keen to share with you the beauty that is our country.  All because today I wanted to take five minutes of my morning to share with you Five on Friday with Amy from Love Made My Home.  Do go and follow the link and see what others all over the world are sharing from their corner today.


♥  Have a wonderful Friday  ♥