Cookery & Creative Crafts News
Welcome to the Cookery & Creative Crafts News: with details of recent courses, upcoming courses and crafty, foodie news!
Reflections on ‘Denman At Home’
from the Cookery and Creative crafts committee
Committee member Julie Alen highlights this new way of on line learning…..
At the start of lockdown our WI College, Denman, closed. However, Denman staff then put plans together to start ‘on line learning’ via ‘zoom sessions’ to benefit both WI members and non-members. Emails and social media advertising plus WI Life/Essex News has helped spread the word and the take up for courses has grown and grown. Like me, I expect zoom was an unknown term prior to lockdown!
Courses/sessions on offer cover a variety of interests. Each session is usually one to one and a half hours long and costs only £5! Booking and payment is all done on line and course details/recipes etc. are then sent to you via email. Most of the tutors have taught at Denman and are well known to many. Historical talks, London tour talks, cookery demonstrations and cook along sessions, craft courses and well- being sessions, there really is something for everyone!
New courses are being added each week and some have proved so popular they are being repeated, with some on a Saturday. WI Dolly demo, Make do and mend- The Land Girl, being one of them. 400+ viewers first time round!
Click here Denman At Home (or google ‘Denman at Home’ and you will be taken to the web page) and you will see full details for each course currently on offer as you scroll down the page.
On a personal note I have joined historical talks and both cookery and craft sessions. I have thoroughly enjoyed each one and have learnt a lot along the way. It is also lovely to see and connect with so many people in these strange times when social contact with others has been so restricted.
On the cookery front an ‘Artisan Soda Bread’ has now been perfected and is a weekly bake and the Frangipan Tart will also become a regular make. Pity there were only two of us to eat it the first time I made it!! At the time of writing (end of July) I have signed up for four more sessions.
Despite the proposal to close Denman permanently being announced, these courses will continue. In the longer term a new educational model will be launched by NFWI.
Fellow Craft Committee members have also been participating in theses wonderful sessions and below they share their own reflections on the courses they have participated.
Moyra writes, “I’ve been on two talks with Simon Gregor, one about remembrance of WW1 and another about D-Day and the beaches of Normandy. Both were excellent and accompanied by very good photographs and slides. Another I was on was ‘Murder, Sex and Mayhem in English Churches with John Vigar – it was fascinating. These talks are such good value at £5 and so easy to join.”
Angela who has been kept busy during the past few months found time to register on one of the very first Denman at home courses. The session was run by Kelly and participants had the choice to either cook along, but you did need to have all the ingredients weighed out, or just watch.
Angela commented “both recipes were handy as you could use up bits of nuts and fruits that you had in the cupboard, and that is was one of my 1st Zoom meetings and was very easy to install and get connected to.” Here are the recipes if you would like to have a go:
This is a great recipe for using up old bananas and any nuts or dried fruit that could be lingering in cupboards.
225g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
115g caster sugar
3 very ripe bananas
100g extra ingredients eg. roughly chopped nuts, dried fruit of your choice, chocolate chips etc.
2lb Loaf tin
Baking parchment/Loaf liner
Plate and fork (to mash the banana)
· Preheat the oven to 180C/360F and line a 2lb baking tin with parchment or a loaf tin liner.
· Place the flour, butter, baking powder and salt into a bowl and crumb with your fingers for 4-5 minutes to form a fine crumb texture.
· Mix in the sugar.
· Separately mash the 3 ripe bananas and beat the egg, then add both to the bowl of crumbed ingredients.
· Beat the mixture together with a spoon or spatula until just mixed, then add the 100g of extra ingredients of your choosing and fold through until evenly distributed.
· Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 45-60 minutes until golden brown and an inserted skewer can be removed cleanly.
· Leave to cool.
CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
These cookies can be flavoured with vanilla, cocoa and/or spices and contain various fillings, including chocolate chips, nuts, dried fruit and oats.
125g butter, softened
100g light brown soft sugar
125g caster sugar
1 egg – beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
225g self-raising flour
½ tsp salt
200g chocolate chips
· Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugars together in a bowl until pale.
· Once creamed, add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until fully incorporated.
· Add the flour and salt to the mixing bowl and mix thoroughly, then add the chocolate chips.
· Roll into a long, thick sausage shape and place in the fridge for 1 hour or the freezer for a minimum of 15 minutes to harden. (Can also be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months)
· To bake, preheat oven to 180C and prepare the baking tray with parchment.
· Slice the cookie dough 1 cm thick and place on the prepared trays. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the cookies are just setting. (Lightly browned on outside but still pale in the centre.)
· Take out of the oven and leave to harden for 5 minutes before consuming.
“Well The New Normal in lockdown has been watching Zoom meetings and I have thoroughly enjoyed the meetings that Denman at Home have been offering. I have made needle-felted robins and tried eco dyeing and nuno felting with Sue Pearl . There is a needle-felted Mr. Fox next week and, a couple of days later, Felted Jewellery.
I’ve also watched a workshop with Claire “Make do and Med” to make a Land Girl Doll. It included pattern and instructions and is a work in progress for me. (Although there have been pics on Facebook from members). There was also a walking tour with Simon on “ Walking the River Thames” and directly from Canada a lovely and informative talk about “Adelaide Hoodles”.
“I thoroughly recommend you having a look at the Denman at Home page as it is being continually updated. If you get the chance have a look on the WI Wanderers Facebook page too, you can look at the events for the next day. I hope you all find a subject that inspires you to join many other WI members from all over the country. Enjoy”
Gill has also been enjoying the on line sessions too:-
“After the initial hiatus of lockdown, clearing the cupboards lost its appeal so I began looking for something more stimulating and came across the Denman Facebook page and their online courses via Denman At Home. It’s been brilliant with most of the sessions just £5, the cost of a couple of coffees pre-lockdown and great fun.
I’ve cooked along with Kelly Mauger and Ali Haigh – well, to be fair, I only ‘cooked along’ some raspberry flapjacks, for the other sessions I’ve ‘sat along’ and taken notes but definitely will make the avocado and lime cheesecake, it looked amazing. I’ve ‘walked’ with Simon Gregor through London and the First World War Battlefields, listened to John Vigar’s ballroom and cemetery anecdotes and practised some chilled out yoga with Elaine. And then there was the Needle Felting with Sue where I spent a happy 2 hours (without any injuries) and created my very own Old Spot.
Whilst restrictions may have eased, happily there are still more courses running online. Indeed, I’m not sure how it happened but I seem to have signed up for a few more!! “My name is Gill and I am a Denmanathome-aholic” “
We hope that you’ve enjoyed hearing about the experiences of the CCC committee members and that you are inspired to give some a go if you have been taken part in some courses we would love to hear your experiences of Denman At Home – please email them to our Chair, Fiona, at email@example.com
Kind regards from the Committee members of Cookery and Creative Crafts.
What have Cookery & Creative Crafts committee members been up to?
The committee members of CCC have been busy over the lockdown period with a variety of crafts, gardening and cooking and this month we are going to hear from Jo, Lesley, Angela, Sheila and Moyra.
“ I have been working on finishing started projects. First of all I completed a cross-stitch tapestry cushion (2 parrots), which I am very pleased with. Secondly, I have completed a seashells crocheted blanket (pattern from Attic 24). I love the colours I chose to do it. It was a dodgy scarf in width before the lockdown and then grew remarkably quickly once the hibernation got under way. Last of all I have a work in progress…. A seashells crocheted scarf in Christmas colours which will be for my Mum hopefully for this Christmas coming, but possibility for 2021!”
Lesley has been finding that she can cook!!
“At the start of the lockdown I realised that I would get very fed up cooking everyday with out the occasional take away. So I looked for a way to help me keep interested. I found Mindful Chef . Now I have two or three meals delivered every week depending on what they have. Who knew I could cook?!! This pic was Cajun Chicken & Roasted Veggie Lettuce Tacos .
She has also been working on another stumpwork project this time a white swan in stumpwork, finished article to appear in next CCC webpage.
Angela has been very busy!
She has been supplying customers with afternoon teas, Angela was due to tutor a cake decorating workshop that had to be cancelled but look out for new date for 2021. Some of Angela’s afternoon teas and cakes are shown below, if you were not hungry before you will be now!!
Sheila has been inspired by Graysons Perrys Art Club programme to do some projects that she is hoping to do a talk on, so watch this space. She writes that her time in lockdown has “unleashed some creativity which has been fun but I do wonder where it has come from!!!! “
Moyra has been busy!
“Life continues chez Jackson with a lot of reading, crafting, gardening and a lot of zooming!
Lynsey and I have been making baskets for friends. One of them was sent to a friends who has just had a beautiful baby girl and it’s now in her nursery.
I’ve been busy gardening. I’ve even found an unused space on our drive for plants leftover from our allotment. Have already had a great crop of tomatoes and courgettes. Helped with the planting in the village too – 1200 plants now making Elsenham look blooming lovely!
The lovely Katie Lynn of Molten Wonky delivered some pack and the whole family were involved making pictures and sun catchers which Katie takes away to fuse in her kiln. Watch out for Katie returning to WI Centre next year for one of her Fused Glass workshops.”
CCC committee have not met now since early In 2020 but are meeting virtually in late July to plan the programme for next year and we do hope that we will be soon welcoming you back to Hatfield Peveral for workshops. Whilst we are still unsure when this will be don’t forget to look at MY WI for ideas on craft, gardening and cooking and if anyone has any pictures of the projects that they have been doing over the last few months please send them to Fiona at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will include them in our monthly webpage.
During lockdown I am sure like me you have all missed meeting your WI friends and I know that many have been using technology to keep in touch but it will be so lovely when we can all meet in person. I have been using these past few weeks to do a number of craft projects, I have to confess I have now completed Christmas presents for most of my friends!! I am sure, like me, you all enjoyed the Great British Sewing Bee, I was amazed at the innovation sewing challenges and the garments that were produced. In my spare moments(!!!) I have been exploring Pinterest for different needlecraft ideas and have a long list of projects in my head to start. My daughter Meghann thought she would tidy my craft cupboard last week and got vey exasperated when I kept saying “ I’ll keep that you never know when I might use it”- does this sound familiar? But you never do know do you when you might need that piece of material, button, odd bit of braid?
Have any of you been doing the on line Denman classes and if so why not write and let me know how you got on, it would be great if we could include this in our next web update. Updates regarding CCC workshops will be sent from Fed Secretary as decisions are made but rest assured we have not forgotten you.
With best wishes from myself and the members of CCC.
June Jottings from Gill Hathaway, our ‘newbie’ committee member
‘Would you like to come to a Cookery & Creative Crafts (C&CC) committee meeting as an observer?’
I’d been to several of the craft workshops, so I thought, why not, it’ll be interesting to see how the programme is put together. The last thing my husband said as I went out the door was ‘Don’t put your hand up for anything’. He knows me too well!!
The meeting was great; I’m more of a dabbler than an expert in any particular craft but I didn’t feel out of my depth as the Chair, Fiona Cattermole, and the Committee made me very welcome. Everyone was contributing, be it about new workshops, analysing comments on the feedback sheets to see what was working / what could be done better or discussing launching the workshops to venues outside of WI Centre. Of course, I did put my hand up, and with a small task to report back on at the following meeting; the next step to join the committee was an easy one to take.
Last year I’d also been going to the Climate Action workshops. We keep up to date with what NFWI are working on and the environmental campaigns they support which led to me becoming a Climate Ambassador. But more importantly, we get to share with other Essex WIs plans and hear how they are involving their members and communities – so inspiring. There is input too from our Federation Public Affairs committee, with their initiatives such as the Plan Bee. Happily we’ve been able to continue to meet up virtually as these issues haven’t gone away and it’s good to talk.
So, whilst most of the C&CC plans for 2020 had to be shelved and I’ve only been to one more meeting, the committee keeps in touch; ready to resume once the green light is given. And, as you would expect, they are all keeping busy:
Paulette has been busy doing lots of projects, she writes “I have been making memory wire bracelets and button men (they are bag or key ring attachments. I have finished my WI pattern jumper. I have made a sandwich holder, another WI pattern, and am now starting another quilt.”
Julie writes “With the weather being so glorious I have spent a lot of time outside working in the garden. There is always something to do! The rock-hard ground has been challenging and watering has become a priority for us as our ten water butts are very nearly depleted and greenhouse plants have to be watered with tap water otherwise there is a chance they will damp off. We are collecting water before it goes down the drain in the kitchen sink, transferring to buckets outside and then on to watering cans, ‘every little helps’, especially as we are on a water meter here!
The garden is looking lovely despite the parched grass and fingers crossed we will get some much needed rain soon! I love Hostas and have built up quite a collection over the last few years. Some are grouped in pots near to the house and others near our pond. This group are also in pots but are stood inside metal containers. I never have a problem with slugs! Copper is supposed to be a natural slug barrier but good old galvanised metal works for me! Crushed egg shells are the deterrent for pots near the house and this also works well.
On the craft front I have made a number of Birthday cards. I keep used pretty cards and eventually repurpose them, creating new cards.”
Fiona has been getting ahead of herself making Chrismas presents! These are crewel work embroidered small cushions and feature a red poinsettia outlined with gold. She is now trying to get to grips with freestyle machine embroidery and is hoping to make a lap quilt.
Moyra is still crocheting and gardening and celebrated her pearl wedding anniversary best wishes from the CCC committee.
Back to Gill…
I continue dabbling!! Crochet mask mates, mask headbands, a waistcoat for my 1 year old great-great nephew (I was a very young Aunty!!) and, of course, decorating our windows (basically, anything except housework).
If you are interested in getting more involved, I would say, don’t wait to be asked. Once we are through this and the committees are up and running face to face again, just get in touch. Maybe the Public Affairs committee is the one for you: they are involved in bringing the national resolutions to life as well as more local initiatives, which can make a real difference. Or there’s Arts and Leisure which cater for all hobbies from photography to poetry. You’ve nothing to lose!
Keep Safe and Keep Crafting
May Musings from Committee member Julie…
After so many weeks of social isolating there has been plenty of time to get to grips with things on “The List”. Like me I expect you made one too! During the first week in lockdown I looked at the list but couldn’t get motivated to action anything. However, following my visit to Denman back at the end of February where I did the Bumper Craft Takeaway Course I had come home with one unfinished project, so stirred myself and set about completing it.
On the course I particularly enjoyed making Fabric flowers and was due to cascade these on to members at my own WI’s June meeting so I also set about putting kits together. Each flower needs six fabric circles and this led to me successfully searching through the stash in my workroom for suitable material. My workroom…. one of the jobs on “the list”. One job leads to another and I went on to have a massive sort out and tidy. It took me a week! I have never seen my room looking so neat and tidy with everything in its rightful place. The only downside was the amount of rubbish I generated. Did I really need a large box full of pringle and whisky bottle tubes or a large box of boxes collected over the last ten+ years just in case they may be useful at some point? No! Most of the cardboard is destined for the compost heap and the remainder (magazines etc) for recycling.
The following week the weather turned and the garden became the place of work and relaxation. Spring colour and birds and butterflies in the air. No traffic noise and only the occasional plane to be seen. All very surreal.
Having no time constraints on any jobs on “the list” brought a new sense of calm to proceedings and no guilt when deciding to sit and craft either! After four weeks I also finally got some flour so can bake again.
Fellow committee members Angela, Paulette and Jo have been productive as well.
Angela shares her Sour Dough Bread recipe with us this month. I can now testify that this is worth making:
390g Plain flour
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
580ml Buttermilk (or milk with 2tbs of vinegar or lemon juice added and left to stand for 15 minutes)
Mix flours, salt and bicarbonate together.
Add milk and mix well (it makes quite a sticky dough).
Make into four equal amounts.
Briefly knead into rounds.
Dust with flour.
Make a large cross on the top of each about 1/4 of the depth of the loaf.
Bake in a fan oven 180 degrees for 22 minutes.
Paulette has been working on her bargello quilt ‘I have machine quilted it and attached the binding by machine and I am completing it by hand sewing the binding down’ and reports on her knitted jumper featured in February WI Life. ‘I have still to sew it together and knit round the neck. It appears to be quite big so not sure what will happen when I put it on. It was made with big needles and thick wool so I’m afraid my knitting wasn’t very even!’ Photos show the quilt, jumper (pattern pic and the work in progress!) and also bags and hearts Paulette has made as well.
Jo shares photos of her work. ‘The blanket was a dodgy scarf for a very long time and then we went into lockdown. All of a sudden it turned into a blanket, which I must say that I am proud of. The pattern is seashells by Attic 24. The card was embroidered by me. I posted it to my Mum at the beginning of lockdown. As I ran out of ideas, I now post a sheet from a colouring book with an excuse for a letter on the reverse. I promised my sister (lives near mum in North Coventry) that I would phone Mum daily and write weekly. So far I have achieved this! Although I am looking forward to seeing them when the lockdown is over’.
And finally, during my workroom purge I came across this…..
Reasons for buying fabric…
- It helps keep the economy going. It is our duty to support cotton farmers, textile mills and retail stores.
- A sudden increase in the Bole weevil population might wipe out the cotton crop for the next ten years.
- It’s not immoral, illegal or fattening.
- It keeps without refrigeration and you don’t have to cook it to enjoy it.
- It insulates the cupboard(s) where it is kept.
- Because it is on sale.
- It calms the nerves, gratifies the soul and makes me feel good.
- Because I am worth it.
Julie Allen – C&CC Committee
CCC March Update from Moyra Jackson
Has there ever been a better time to dig out those half-finished projects, find patterns you always meant to try or to learn a new craft? They do say every cloud . . .
Thought you might like to see what some of the Cookery & Creative Crafts team have been up to in the first week.
Lesley is always busy with crafts –
and they are always a bit out of the ordinary too.
At the moment Lesley has been sorting through some of her amazing craft stash
(she assures me there’s a lot to get through).
This is her most recent make.
In Lesley own words “A chop stitch, a slice of wood, stuffing and a old scarf with a doily.
Not sure if I will make it into a pincushion or an ornament?”
Another of our very creative crafters is Sheila Gunson.
“Yes I am also enjoying some crafts, no pictures yet as I am midway with it, unless you want a picture of a pile of patchwork squares!!! I am making a patchwork bedcover out of scraps of fabric that have been sitting in my workroom for some time.
I have been in the garden over the last few days and have opened up a compost bin to find some really lovely compost there which will be very good for the veg patch and my runner beans.”
So, what have I been doing?
Well there is no shortage of half-finished projects in her house.
At the bottom of a bag of wool I found a knitting kit my daughter Lynsey gave me, probably six or seven years ago. Well – it’s almost finished now. Who remembers doing tea cosies like this! I still have sparkles to sew on (obviously this is a posh tea cosy for when the WI Committee come round!)
And it doesn’t end there – I have recently discovered the joys of amigurumi crochet.
I have crocheted for years but not from any pattern. Not any more! Finished a 70cm tall Dragon and would also have finished an equally large pink rabbit if I hadn’t run out of yarn.
I have moved on to a cute little goblin now with no sign of my new love abating. Give it another week.”
I am still making baskets – these are in 10mm macramé rope and not the most gentile or elegant of crafts to crochet in public as it’s more of a fight – but worth the battle in the end.
My family all have one – some of them are wondering what to do with them.
I am sure they will find a use now.
Lyns is a regular at many C&CC workshops and a keen online crafter having recently completed one for an Easter wreath.
It sounded great fun if the laughter from the kitchen was anything to go by.
She also crochets and is a keen pom-pommer, and is about to start a giant basket in natural rope to be decorated with pom-poms.
Now over to Fiona for an update on her crafting
I have been knitting for my great niece, yes I know I look too young to be a great auntie!!
But she is to the gorgeous Charlotte and new baby Troy.
Here is the picture of the cardigan and matching hat for Charlotte, hopefully it will be worn on Easter Sunday.
I have also just finished a crewel work cushion for a friend’s birthday present.
I really love crewel embroidery and am hoping over the next few weeks to start on Crewel work Christmas cushions.
Yes thinking about Christmas as I try to make as many as I can, I really enjoy making them and do hope that my friends like receiving them.
In between I too found some cotton wool at the bottom of the cupboard and am hoping I have enough to crochet Meghann, my daughter, a top for the summer.
This recipe is courtesy of Sue Johnson of Elsenham WI.
Sue is a keen cook and I asked her if she had a recipe for us that was delicious and would not test too far our limited shopping choices, and items we might have in our larders and freezer. Sue, who has a regular cookery page in the local village magazine, came up with a fabulous Kedgeree. Many thanks to Sue.
SMOKED HADDOCK KEDGEREE (serves 4)
½ lb (¼kg) smoked haddock, filleted
2 tablespoons (2 x 15ml) butter
½ lb (225g) long grain rice, cooked
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon (1 x 5ml) garam masala or curry powder
2 hard boiled eggs, quartered
2 tomatoes, quartered
Freshly chopped parsley to finish
Poach the haddock gently in water to cover until tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Test with a fork; the flesh should flake easily. Drain, remove the skin and any bones, and flake with a fork.
Melt the butter in a frying pan. Add the rice and haddock and heat through, stirring gently. Season well with black pepper and garam masala or curry powder. Transfer to a hot serving platter and garnish with quarters of egg and tomato. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve immediately.
Hazel has been very busy in her garden catching up on the weeding and has this tip for ensuring gorgeous roses in the Summer.
It is still not too late to prune the roses, if they are in leaf it feels brutal but they quickly catch-up and flower better for it. The same applies to the beautiful colour stems of the cornus, just cut about a third of the stems down to about 2/3 inches chosing the oldest stems, which can be used to form new plants or saved and dried to use as canes.
Back to Moyra
I am sure many of you are using the time well and getting out into your gardens. I have been working at the allotment and will continue to do so while I still can. I have moved all of my seedlings from the greenhouse I have there to a temporary mini greenhouse at our house. Well, that was the plan but after this morning’s snow shower (just shows how far north Elsenham actually is!), these have been moved into the relative warmth of the garage.
And just to end – as our allotment is not very picturesque at the moment, some photos from late summer last year. Hopefully we will have lots of these little helpers this summer.
Best wishes to all of you.
Cookery & Creative Crafts Committee