Welcome to the Cookery & Creative Crafts News: with details of recent courses, upcoming courses and crafty, foodie news!

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:




Wholemeal flour
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 2

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.



MOYRATalking of family, I am in the very lucky position of sharing my self-isolating space not just with my lovely long-suffering husband but also with our aforementioned daughter, Lynsey.

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.

Cookery Update

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.



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.

Gardening Round-Up

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.

Stay safe.


Cookery & Creative Crafts Committee