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New things in April

May 5, 2013

Rather belatedly it is time to write about new things in April.

I had a birthday and thus attained a new age. I think that is all we will say about that. In future I may begin counting backwards.

Anyway for various reasons I’m not going to go into around the time of my birthday cake was a sore subject. So for my joint birthday celebration with a friend I decided to attempt lemon meringue pie. I consulted several books and recipes and after rejecting both the Hummingbird and Mary Berry ones for being very extravagant went with Delia. It was a mixed success. The lemon filling and meringue topping were superb but I feel my blind baked pastry (that was a new technique) needs some work. It was certainly hard enough to contain the filling and didn’t leak but I was concerned that I’d need expensive dentistry after consuming it. I feel it was a little too solid.

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Another new recipe for April was making bread. I’ve been making my own bread in my Mum’s breadmaker for years but last month I made it myself from scratch and I was amazed by how easy it was. You have to allow plenty of time. At least four hours for the first rise and about two from the second but mixing it only takes about ten minutes and kneading only another five. Once again I relied on Delia’s trusty recipe and all was well although I did drastically reduce the salt from one tablespoon to one teaspoon I only wanted enough to get a rise. My new loaf tin performed like a star and I felt very smug.

My final new thing was Devonshire splits (I need to get better at having my camera to hand before my family consume…) for the Jane Brocket baking challenge once again I was amazed by how easy it was and how good the result tasted. I think we can safely say I’m over my fear of yeast cookery.

Despite this I have still spent my birthday money and an unexpected Amazon gift voucher on a breadmaker of my own. In the working week it’s good to let the machine do the work.

I almost forgot the frosted chocolate brownies. These were a gift for a colleague who got a new job. She was thrilled and its an excellent move for her but I’m going to miss her. I dealt with this in my usual manner. I baked! I got her to choose the cake she wanted then I took it in so our division could celebrate her new job and mourn her departure with baked goods as is the tradition.

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My new author was Kate Lord Brown who wrote The Beauty Chorus. This was my commuting novel for several days and I found it hard to put down. It is a fictionalised account of the Air Transport Auxillary something which has always fascinated me. She wove fact and fiction together into an incredibly convincing narrative. I know Megan, Evie and Stella did not exist although most of the other characters cited such as Amy Johnson and Diana Barnato Walker did but I wanted them to and part of me could almost believe that they did.

The new knitting is this jumper with a lace edge. It is destined for a friend’s small daughter. The back is finished and the front almost so. Of course then I will have to turn my attention to interminable sleeves… In other news I have almost caught up with the baby knitting backlog. If people could kindly hold off reproducing for a few more weeks I should manage it.

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New places are a bit nebulous for April as I’ve not been anywhere big or exciting and there hasn’t really been any big adventures. Can I claim the new Spanish restaurant in the village where my parents treated me to a birthday lunch and going to get my nails done in the new nail bar that has opened in the high street? I also went to the Fortune Theatre and saw the Woman in Black – the play was also a first for me. There were cocktails in the Strand Palace Hotel’s cocktail bar – very civilised and the new pub we celebrated K’s birthday in. So it isn’t that there were no new places just that it was all small things rather than big excitements. Sometimes I think the small things matter more anyway. There will be more on that anon.

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