Blogtober 2021 : Day 8

And it’s Friday!

Hasn’t this week gone quickly?  Thank you for being here with me, and thank you to everyone who has told me you’re enjoying the daily posts – not bored by the same old, same old just yet!

It’s been really good for me to write every day simply because it is the same old, same old – I’ve found myself looking more closely at what I can see around me so that I’ve got something new to talk to you about.  Take today’s walk, for example.  Another day, another woodland path …

A woodland path obscured by fallen leaves

Really, the path is there, it’s just hidden under the leaves!

But just as I had taken the photograph, something caught my eye.

A den made of tree branches stacked along a low-growing branch of a tree.

A den!  I wouldn’t have spotted it at all if I’d carried on walking at my usual pace but there is was, and of course I had to go and investigate.  I do love a den!  There was a log inside to sit on and if it hadn’t been wet and I hadn’t needed to get home, I might have risked a wet bottom to sit for a few minutes under that twiggy pile.

As it was, I needed to get home to get changed out of my shredded dog walking trousers (honestly, I look like I’ve walked through bushes not round them!) because I was off to meet Lindsay from Making Stitches podcast at Black Sheep Wools for a brew.  You might remember that I was featured on Lindsay’s podcast a couple of weeks ago and we had such a lovely time chatting whilst we were making the episode that we thought it would be a fine idea to meet up for a brew.  Lindsay is based in Manchester so it was quite an easy (though potentially expensive) decision to meet up at Black Sheep Wools where they not only have lots of yarn but also Very Good Cake in their cafe.

Yes, yes, I know all good bloggers are supposed to show you arty photos of cake and tea but I’m afraid I hoovered up that orange drizzle cake as if I hadn’t eaten for a week and it was only after I’d resisted licking the plate clean that I remembered about the photo.  Sorry … not! 🙂

A cup of tea in a saucer is next to a plate which only has crumbs and a fork on it as the cake has all gone. Across the table is another plate with a half-eaten toasted teacake on it.

It was really lovely to sit and chat to Lindsay and apart from my Horrible Cough which derailed the conversation a few times (it really isn’t Covid, I promise!), we talked non-stop about all kinds of things from Lindsay’s life in Gibraltar (she lived there for 11 years and documents her time in this blog) to the type of equipment that’s best for recording sound to school and college choices … it was a really good way to spend the morning!

Lindsay, on the left, and Christine, on the right, stand in front of the Black Sheep Wools front door and logo. Lindsay is wearing a rainbow scarf and Christine in wearing a purple coat (and more clothes but you can't see them)

Lindsay’s latest podcast episode which is out today is all about Yarndale.  It felt strange for me not being there this year but I know that I made the right decision to bow out when I did and if you went to Yarndale, I do hope you had a lovely time.  Actually, one of the things that I missed was being really nosey and having a good look in people’s shopping bags when they came to find me in the Knit n Natter lounge so I guess that’s something you’ll have escaped this year! 🙂

Back home, I was still in cake mode and decided to have a go at making a shortbread recipe that I found on the Doves Farm flour website.  It was for wholemeal rye and almond shortbread and if you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you may know that I am quite partial to a packet finger of shortbread or two when I have my brew (so much so that I have had to stop buying it but home made would be perfectly acceptable!).

Although the recipe called for butter, I usually replace that with Flora these days as big daughter is lactose intolerant and although I knew it might affect the flavour a little, I thought it would be OK.

A metal mixing bowl containing a spoonful of Flora spread is resting on a digital scale. Next to the bowl is a blue packet of Doves Farm flour, a packet of ground almonds and the open tub of Flora spread.

The shortbread is surprisingly easy to make.  Perhaps all shortbread is surprisingly easy to make but I’ve never managed yet to produce anything that tastes like the one I buy so it’s not something that I do very often.  I’ve not used rye flour before either, and I tried to ignore the fact that it looked like sand.

A conical pile of flour rests on top of creamed butter and sugar in a metal mixing bowl.

Forty-five minutes later, the shortbread came out of the oven … and I couldn’t tell if it was cooked.  I had a poke at it and put it back in for a bit, but to be honest, even another twenty minutes later it didn’t look any different.

A square tin lined with greaseproof paper containing brown shortbread.

But of course you want to know how it tasted!  Er … not my finest baking achievement, to be honest.  Was it the Flora or the unfamiliar flour?  I’m not sure, but both big daughter and not so small daughter helped themselves to a piece and then did that thing where you keep chewing and chewing but can’t quite swallow so I knew they weren’t that keen.  I didn’t tell them I had done exactly the same thing a few minutes earlier!

Ah well, you have to try these things out, don’t you?  I’ll always use the ground almonds up on something and I’ll have another look on the Doves Farm website to see if they’ve got any more rye flour recipes to use up the flour.  They’ve got LOADS of free recipes, you can find them all here.

And now, as it’s Friday night, it’s fish and chip night here so I’m off crack open the tin of mushy peas and possibly a glass of wine too!  See you tomorrow! xx


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18 Responses

  1. Corinne says:

    Great den! Isn’t it nice to be able to meet people again?
    Shortbread is easy to make…3 parts plain flour, two parts butter and one part sugar. Don’t handle too much or overcook. You might be better off using solid marg if it’s suitable for your daughter.
    Leftover almonds can be made into macaroons with egg whites and sugar. Also very easy to make. Happy baking!😊🎂

    • winwickmum says:

      I will definitely try your shortbread, thank you! I think it’s the butter that really makes it so big daughter might just have to miss out … although it’s not like I don’t make other things for her to eat! 🙂 xx

  2. Geeha says:

    Baking block from your local supermarket should be a butter substitute for cakes, shortbread and pastry. My husband now has to avoid dairy and soya for medical reasons. Not suitable if you’re avoiding palm oil or she is very allergic as has the “may include” warning, assume made in same factory. Do check label as same brand baking spread has butter/milk. We are learning which substitutes taste good and which to avoid

    • winwickmum says:

      I think that might we why we started using Flora and not the baking block as we couldn’t confirm where the palm oil came from. Flora is actually really good for cake, they turn out much better than the ones I used to make with butter, but clearly it can’t handle shortbread! 🙂 Cathedral City lactose-free cheddar is the best “cheese” we’ve come across and we’ve discovered that big daughter can handle mozzarella in small quantities which is interesting – perhaps buffalo milk is a different make-up to cows’ milk. It’s not easy avoiding both, she often just goes for the vegan option especially if we’re out, but at least there is more variety in supermarkets now. Hoping it all gets easier for you! xx

  3. Melinda Gallagher says:

    Your post has given me a much needed big 😊 smile! I enjoyed your “slice of life”!

  4. Charlotte says:

    Avoiding dairy is very difficult as it shows up in many things. Try another butter substitute or even coconut oil. Rye flour sounds like an odd ingredient in shortbread. Yes, I am enjoying the daily post.

    • winwickmum says:

      We’ve found it really quite hard work for big daughter to get herself to a situation where she feels she can eat normally without dairy. At least these days there are lots of vegan substitutes but many of those are more expensive than we’d like so we try to make our own versions when we can. Flora actually works brilliantly in cake but clearly not shortbread! 🙂 xx

  5. Caro says:

    Rye four is delicious and Flora is the work of the devil. Try butter next time and perhaps half rye and half regular plain flour. If you don’t fancy making the shortbread again try half rye and half plain flour in a crumble. I have no suggestions for the Flora but palm isn’t good for either you or the orangutans.

    • winwickmum says:

      We’re right with you on the palm oil, it’s a big concern for us too which is why I stopped buying Tunnock’s biscuits (which I love) as they never officially confirmed where their oil came from. Flora is from a sustainable source and I would prefer not to use it but big daughter is lactose intolerant so I can’t cook with butter. I will, however, try the rye flour again so thanks for the tip on mixing it with plain flour. We’ve not had a crumble for ages so that could be on the menu this weekend, thank you! 🙂 xx

  6. Ruth Howard says:

    Oh!! Christine – I haven’t read all your post day 8 properly- just the end part & shortbread! – you will have that many recipes winging your way now I am sure – but try this one !!! – I am gluten free !!!
    1 x pack of ground almonds – about 6 ozs – 2 oz of fat – (margarine or butter) 2 oz of caster sugar – put it all in the food processor & whizz – when it comes together put it in a square lined baking tray (I use a larger piece of baking parchment and fold over sides to press the dough into the sides of square) – fork all over if you wish and bake at 180 until just light brown – about 10 mins
    This is my own recipe – I use it for a crumble topping on fruit too but leave it more crumb like!
    I will go and read your post properly now !!! Happy Baking
    Love Ruth x

  7. Ruth Howard says:

    Hello again- just remembered that flora type margarine/spread seems to make this type of tray bake chewy!! – block margarine is better- just a thought
    Love Ruth x

    • winwickmum says:

      Yes, it was rather chewy but it also just didn’t taste good at all! I’ll have a look at the margarine block and see if we can use it, thank you! xx

    • Ruth Howard says:

      Another thought on the Shortbread saga!!! The almonds do make the shortbread a bit chewy but it does taste nice – well I think so anyway- I can’t eat many things now !! Which is a pain but if you can use Doves flour – try 1/2 Doves plain flour & 1/2 Ground almonds – I also cannot take semolina – but Mother!! used flour and semolina – it was a bit gritty but we liked it as children – just a bit like 2ozs instead of almonds – guess that was a leftover from the war rationing – you can also use ground rice!! – right I think we have rung all the goodness out of that !!! – enjoy- love Ruth x

  8. Audrey Sayers says:

    Love my shortbread too .Make it for my family at Xmas time .they love it .Mine I use my old Bero book recipe .it turns out beautiful every time .might not be perfectly shaped ,but so what ,it’s the taste that counts .

    • winwickmum says:

      I think maybe I need to invest more time into finding the right recipe for us but it’s so much easier to buy a packet of it and then hide it from the rest of the family! 🙂 xx

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