Book #16 “The Complete Machine Quilting Manual” by Joanie Poole

My sewing machine has lots of features for quilting and I have only used a few of them. SO I thought this book would inspire me to try a more of them.

I had to read the book twice as there was a lot of background information in the first half, some of which didn’t have any context until later on. I have tried a few of the techniques on sample squares, and have renewed my loan of this library book to try some more.

Book #15 “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio

This is a book about a 10 year old boy, and the target audience is children, but it makes a great read for adults as well.

The book is told in a number of voices, as Auggie moves from home schooling to joining a main stream US school. Auggie has a facial deformity which he does not describe but says “Whatever you are thinking it’s probably worse”.

I really enjoyed this book.

Book #14 “200 Fun Things to Crochet” edited by Victoria Lyle

The full title of this book is “200 fun things to crochet : decorative flowers, leaves, bugs, butterflies and more!” it is a collection of patterns by different authors. I borrowed this copy from the library.

All the makes are short and can be finished quickly. I doubt anyone would make all 200 items, but I was looking for flower patterns and there were lots in the book and I made some of them multiple times in an evening. I think the book would be an ideal gift for someone who enjoys crochet.

Gluten Free Chocolate Mango Loaf – no added sugar

I have adapted my Chocolate Loaf, to use mango instead of pear, I have also adjusted ingredients so there is no added sugar (the original loaf used maple syrup – which does count as added sugar).

**Note having tasted it we decided it was ok – but the recipe needs work ***

Ingredients

  • 100g gluten free plain flour
  • 30g UK corn flour
  • 60g teff flour
  • 2 rounded tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp each of: gf Baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and xanthan gum
  • 60g ground flaxseeds
  • 200g ripe mango
  • 175g natural yogurt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 70 ml vegetable oil
  • 50 ml milk

Method

  1. Heat the oven to fan 160 C (conventional 180 C )
  2. Grease a 2lb/900g loaf tin, and line with baking parchment/greaseproof paper
  3. Sieve the flours, cocoa, baking powder, bicarb and xanthan, add the flax seeds and stir well.
  4. Blitz the mango to a puree. Then add to the flour mixture.
  5. Beating the flour mixture add all the other ingredients (one by one).
  6. Bake for 60 minutes, until the top is firm and springy. If it feels liquid inside it needs cooking longer – if necessary cover the top with foil to stop it over browning.

I used thawed frozen mango.

Testing

When the cake came out of the oven it had risen more than previous loaves.

The cake was definitely edible, but seemed more like a bread than a cake. I am not sure if it was the mango that didn’t add sweetness as other fruit does, or the complete lack of sugar. So the is going down as a version not to be made again!

Book #13 Human Croquet by Kate Atkinson

I have read several books by Kate Atkinson. “Human Croquet” was her second book, written after “Behind the Scenes at the Museum”, which was her first boat I read and I still remember details of the plot. There were many similarities between “Human Croquet” and her other books, there are some overlaps of characters, and her style is similar across her books.

I found “Human Croquet” slow at first, before it became gripping. The plot is complex, with different threads of the plot, and twists that confuse. All in all a very good book.

Book #12 Knit and Crochet Garden by Arne & Carlos

As part of a crochet project I am making flowers – that can be worn as brooches. I had found some patterns on the Internet, but thought it may be easier with a book, so I had a search of the local library catalogue and found there was two suitably titled books in stock locally. “Knit and Crochet Garden” by Arne & Carlos was one of these.

The projects are all pictured around their beautiful cottage garden in Norway. The projects are not mostly knitting, with some crochet, there is also embroidery and cross stitch. The book was easy to skim read with beautiful pictures, quotes, a bit of background information and patterns. The patterns range from a toy mouse with a full wardrobe to blankets that can be turned into tepee covers.

I wasn’t really inspired by any of the projects, but I did enjoy looking at the pictures.

Gluten Free Tea Bread No Added Sugar Take 2

Having made a gluten free tea bread with no added sugar. I decided to try and make it with slightly different ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 200 ml tea (traditional or fruit)
  • 200g currants/sultanas (or other dried fruit)
  • 45 ml oil
  • ~350g of ripe pears (I use 2)
  • 25g teff flour
  • 25g UK cornflour/US cornstarch
  • 60g GF flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • pinch of salt
  • 40g ground flax seeds (linseed)
  • 2 eggs beaten

Method

  • Put dried fruit and oil in a bowl, pour over hot tea, allow to cool.
  • Heat oven to 160 C fan (180 C conventional), prepare a 2lb/900g loaf tin (grease and line with parchment).
  • Blitz the pear including the skin, but not the core.
  • Sieve flours, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, xanthan gum, salt. Add the flax seeds. Stir well to ensure mixed.
  • Combine flour mixture, cooled fruit (including any excess liquid), mashed banana and beaten eggs to create a smooth thick batter.
  • Pour into lined loaf tin.
  • Bake for about 65 minutes, until an inserted skewer comes out clean. If the top starts to brown, cover with tin foil.
  • Cool in the tin, store in a cake tin or slice and freeze. Should keep for about 1 week – if not eaten.

Testing

Just tried it – and quite acceptable – I suspect there was more tea than needed. Next time I’ll take that back to 180ml. The pear seemed to work well, not sure whether to try mixing with banana. I might also increase the quantity of flax seeds to about 60g.