These amazing crafty things were made by my awesome friend Devil’s Elbow. She’s always been quite crafty – I still have a turtle she made me many years ago – and these items are just as cool. Really cool. They have googly eyes and bright colours! What more do you need?!
The owl is perfect for sitting on a ledge to offer wise words of sage advice. What’s that you say, he can’t talk? What do you mean, he can’t talk?! Just me who talks to such items? Oh, ok then…
And the earrings! Just perfect for brightening up an outfit, with a splash of colour and fun.
Anyway, these have inspired me to have another go at crafting – crocheting and knitting and jewellery making and anything else that takes my fancy.
My first attempt: the blue crochet flower brooch, which I shall give to my mother for Mothering Sunday (she has to like it, I made it; that’s how it works :-P). Once you get the hang of it, crocheting’s quite easy really. It’s easier to make more complicated things than it is with knitting – or is that just me too? I’m still on the knitting squares stage of knitting: I made a whole blanket that way.
In my hunt for sugar-free cakes and cookies and other such treats, I found a recipe for banana blueberry muffins. It looked good. Banana cakes usually are; blueberries are quite a good ingredient for such things. I thought I’d give it a whirl. What could possibly go wrong?
I collected the stuff required. I did, though, make one change to the recipe. It wanted about 125ml of water, but since I had about that much of cream left over from my chocolate making at the weekend, I thought I’d use it up in the cakes. I mashed banana and stirred in flour. The process went along in a cakey kind of manner. The oven warmed up as it should, the berries managed to spread out relatively evenly throughout the mixture, I didn’t even make too much mess pouring it into cake cases.
I tidied up while they baked. I do like the smell of things baking! They continued in a merry, cake-like fashion. They rose happily and became nice and golden on top. The berries didn’t sink like stones to the bottom, and I even managed not to burn them. All in all, a successful experiment.
However, the reason I am not at this moment sharing the recipe, is that, while edible and not unpleasant, they leave an interesting, soapy kind of aftertaste. It is peculiar, but not disgusting. I feel, though, that this recipe needs further experimentation. Please bear with me while I try to work out what went wrong…
Today, I figured that I needed a chocolate which was less bitter than the dark stuff I made last week. The cacao liquor gave an almost overpowering taste. I thought this time I would go all the way to the other extreme, to the chocolate which some people say isn’t really chocolate. To White Chocolate.
Normally, white chocolate is largely sugar and milk. I can’t have the sugar, so mine will be mostly cream (double; I rarely do such things by half) and cacao butter. Since we still have some of the apple juice left over from the flapjacks, I add a splish of that too. It all goes into a saucepan over a low heat to melt and mix together. I add a generous sprinkle of ground cinnamon as well. The butter melts and it all gets well and truly stirred. I pour the mixture into my well-used moulds and leave it to set on the side.
Turns out, I may have used a tad too much liquid. The chocolates don’t fully set. They are, in fact, slightly crumbly, but quite creamy. A bit like the cream cheese that my mother used to make. But tasty. I prefer it to the dark chocolate I made last week, I must say. Next time, I must remember to use less cream and juice. Now if only I knew precisely how much I used this time….!