Friday, 20 September 2013

Success! And some cookie information

Well it was a success. I spent a few hours wondering if I was about to wake up. I went to see the very lovely Lorraine from Church House Designs in Congresbury on Friday and within a very short time she picked out 5, yes 5, pictures that she would take. I keep wondering whether I dreamt it, but the pictures definitely aren't here any more. And she is interested in more. I spent the whole journey home hyperventilating. Good feeling. Hope they sell. I wanted to tell you about it straight away but the exhilaration subsided into exhaustion and a weekful of daft petty but time-and-energy-consuming errands.

I have been working on a few more pictures on and off. I have started some of more of my little tall thin sea pictures to put into frames for the gallery as Lorraine was very keen on the idea. She also liked this one and will probably have it, once I've got round to framing it:-


It is based on a place in France I know but actually isn't that place any more as the hill turned out to be much steeper than the one in my head. I have never done one with the waves going in a different direction before and it was a struggle to know where to stitch, and even more so where to sew beads. But I am pleased with the result. Even if it isn't quite the place I had intended.

The manic cake-baking for workmen continues. I have given up on a pledge I made with myself last week and made the same one twice for them: the rather lovely Norfolk apple cake (great cake but there's something a bit weird about it: I spent 18 years in Norfolk and never remember eating an apple cake there ever). The appreciation of several workmen of a good cake is very heartwarming. Today I felt the urge to cook something Bulgarian. Not something I've ever wanted to do before, but I have my reasons. One of the workmen, the fastest, hardest-working and the least likely to complain, is half-Bulgarian and I felt some trepidation when he lent me his Bulgarian cookery book after days of talking about food. I leafed through it over a weekend and half-heartedly copied the least unappealing recipes, all three of them. I ignored the tripe soup. But walnut and honey cookies sounded OK. So today I thought I'd give it a go. I adapted it a bit because it looked a bit spartan and I was a bit wary of making an ex-Soviet bloc breezeblock of a biscuit: so double the honey (by accident) and instead of the oil suggested, I used melted butter. And you know what? They are great. Really moreish. Really easy to make. Everyone loved them, even my fussy picky spoiled children. They will become a regular in our house I think. Admittedly they do look a bit dull and worthy, don't they? But in that way that central-European biscuits often seem to look a bit boring, they can often be tastier than some prettier concoctions we know. So here, thanks to a strange book by a Mr. Atanas Slavov and a half-Bulgarian guy with a Spanish name, comes my version of...

(I can't believe there were only 4 left to take a picture of, shocking gluttons)

Bulgarian Walnut and Honey Cookies

10oz plain flour
1 egg
2 tablespoons honey
4oz caster sugar
1/2 cup melted butter, cooled slightly
1 teaspoon baking powder
Walnut halves

Preheat the oven to Gas mark 4, 180 degrees C or 350 degrees F. Mix all the ingredients except the walnuts until a big firm ball of dough develops. Shape the dough into balls the size of a small ping-pong ball, and place on a greased baking tray, spacing them apart by a few centimetres. I think I made around 18. Top each with a walnut half if you wish. I did some without to let my nut-allergic boy have some, and topped some with pecans because I'd run out of walnuts. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes. Put them straight onto a cooling rack. My friendly workman got really excited when I told him what I'd made, tried one and at the first taste said "Yes!" and started talking about his grandmother making them, with a faraway look in his eye. I don't know why I feel proud to have made something that a Bulgarian granny could have knocked up, but I do.