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Sunday
Oct202013

Les Fermes de Gally

As the season for apple picking is coming to an end, we decided to take a trip to our favorite orchards at Les Fermes de Gally, not far from Versailles.

 

There were actually quite a few fruits and vegetables available, from lettuces...

 

...to strawberries (quite surprised to see these at this time of year)...

 

On our prior visits the farm, I never noticed the fresh herbs.

 

Or the wildflowers -- really lovely

 

On the way out, driving through Saint-Cyr-l'Ecole, I couldn't help but stop and take a picture of the autumn foliage.

Saturday
Oct122013

Liberty Quilt

I've decided that my next quilting project will incorporate several Liberty fabrics I've picked up over the years. Some of the fabric I bought awhile back, with plans to make dresses for my daughter. But most of it I just picked up here and there because I liked the pattern, without a real plan about how I would use it.

The quilt pattern will be simple, similar to this Happy Squares quilt from Cluck Cluck Sew, with ivory cotton fabric separating the Liberty squares. The fabrics have such colorful, dense patterns that I didn't want another color to compete with them. I plan to spend a short amount of time every couple of days on this quilt, with hopes of finishing it over the next few weeks. 

Sunday
Oct062013

Weekend Baking: Irish Cupcakes

Not the best picture I know, but it was pretty late when I took this -- I'm not always very realistic about what I can get done in a single weekend. I've been wanting to make these cupcakes ever since I read about them here on the blog 'Nook & Pantry'. Finally got around to it 4 1/2 years later(!)

Also known by the less politically-correct name "Irish car bomb" cupcakes, these are made with Guinness in the chocolate cake, Irish whisky in the chocolate ganache and Bailey's in the frosting. I think it would be fun to make a layer cake version of this. Or perhaps one of those really large cupcakes -- though you'd have to be more strategic about where you put the the ganache.

Here's another version of the recipe for those who don't have access to cream cheese for the frosting. Also, if you're not a huge fan of desserts with alcohol in them due to the sometimes overpowering way it tastes, no need to worry -- in these cupcakes you could really only taste it in the frosting, which could be easily adjusted.

Sunday
Sep292013

Halloween Feltboard

Since October is just around the corner, this weekend I couldn't resist pulling out this Halloween-themed feltboard I made one year ago for my daughter.

Last year at this time she was a little too young for the board -- she didn't really recognize the shapes or know their meaning (other than the cat, since he looks like our Simon), and it took her no time at all to stretch the cat's tail and the witch's broom bristles. So I redid those two and put the board away for a later date.

This time around she could recognize and name almost all of the shapes, though Halloween still remains an abstract concept (if that) for this 3-year-old. One of the broom bristles has already been stretched, the owl has gone AWOL, and the fence is now curved instead of straight (an improvement, I think), but she loves playing a little each day with "Simon", the moon and her "bébé punkins".

Sunday
Sep082013

Weekend Baking: Apple Pie

Even though apples are widely available several months of the year, I closely associate them with September: going back to school (bring an apple for the teacher), apple-picking at the local orchard...

So pretty much every September I look for a new apple pie recipe to try out. Pictured above is my latest tentative (Apple Pie I, using the recipe for Deluxe Butter Flaky Pastry Dough, both from the 1997 edition of Joy of Cooking).

Here are a couple from last year. First off, Russian Grandmother's Apple Pie Cake, from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: from my Home to Yours.

 

And inside:

 

Mile High Apple Pie from Martha Stewart's Martha's American Food. Very pretty to look at, and to eat, but the inside was not so pretty as the apples fell and left a large cap between the top crust and filling.

 

All of these pies are very different, and each one delicious in its own way, but I think my favorite is the most recent one I baked: Apple Pie I (though in all honesty, I almost always think the last one I baked is my favorite).