Daisypath - Vacation

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Lack of Coal...Lack of a Secure Gas Connection!

We took the boat out today! Only down the canal just so we were near to the chandlery so we could stock up on coal from Andy. We're staying on one of our old moorings too as we have a gas guy coming on Monday.

Seeing as we were here and closer to the bus stop, I went into Poynton this afternoon to do a bit of food shopping but also picked up this little chap:






It's not the clearest picture I know, and i should have took it closer up - its the heather on the gas locker Im talking about! In one of the local florists they were selling them - only £2.95 and quite big, with really nice bright purple flowers on them. I needed something for the gas locker as all the autumn bedding plants have had their day already. Looks fab I think and adds a bit of brightness over winter.


So, on Monday we have a gas guy coming but our normal mooring - it's difficult, if not impossible, for people to access it by car if they don't already know the place. Even giving the postcode (we've got one of those!) shows up as somewhere different on most SatNavs and Google and ends up taking people to a completely different place!

Anyway, the gas guy is coming Monday, as we have known for a while that the gas connection isn't secure or safe really. There's welded joints on the gas line - and firstly, that isn't allowed by BSS and also it's a risk as a boat vibrates/shakes/moves and so the joins could split. It's all a bit scary really. At the moment, we're switching the gas bottles off when we're not cooking just to be on the safe side!

I tried phoning the guy who originally did the gas for us - he was on Gas Safe Register and was listed as being competent to do work on boats. He was quite an old boy, and when I called last week, his wife picked up ( Im guessing it was his wife!) and told me he was dead!! Trust me to put my foot in it! I apologised to her and put the phone down but then couldn't help but have a little laugh - trust me to pick a gas guy that drops down dead!

Insensitive? Maybe! But I'm pissed off he took £250 off me and didn't know what the hell he was doing and now I'm going to have to pay again!

It was a great day to go cruising that's for sure. Sunny (a bit blinding at times!), still, and with just a hint of a chill in the air. I wish we could have gone further... Lovely autumnal feel to it all.































Smile!!!







Monday, 25 November 2013

Well Oiled!

Well I finally got the worktop oiled and sorted now. It's iroko and still quite light in colour - I've seen some that turn almost mahogany coloured with age and light.

Anyway, it took six coats of oil in total.... Sanding and tacking off between coats, it was a bit of a nightmare to be honest but its definitely worth it as it really does look fantastic. I just have to keep it that way now - I guess that means Pav is banned from the kitchen ;)






Rob also made an extension that we can 'bolt on' to the 'bubble' (ha! Love that name - I mean the circle that curves out on the worktop).

Basically, it turns the worktop into a larger area and makes it square shaped, meaning we can have people for dinner or even cake and coffee if we want to - there's easily enough space for 4 people.

I haven't got any pictures to hand tonight but I will take some tomorrow and show you show it all works. Rob came up with the idea and did an amazing job on it as usual. We only originally wanted him to make a piece for us to add on - but he went all out as usual and fitted it for us too on some slide out supports.

There's not a lot else been happening today really. Spent most of it writing really but also managed to fit in a bit of baking - a cherry and marzipan cake.

It was really nice - perfect for a cup of coffee in the afternoon....


Sunday, 24 November 2013

Peek a Boo!

I got busted trying to take a picture of Pav re-tying the ropes today!






Ha doesn't he look impressed. I think its one of is favourite past times - pottering about on the mooring and inventing jobs for himself ;)

Anyway, not a lot has been happening really. I went searching for some wallpaper today ( it's a surprise, I won't tell you where it's going yet!) but I couldn't find any that I actually liked, it w really a wasted journey! The only one I did see that we both liked was an 'online exclusive' and not available in the shop! Annoying or what?!

We found a place for the new weather station too - on top of the log store, and this means (hopefully) that it won't end up in the canal this time!




We've used way too many logs already too! Think we will have to plan for another 2 cubic meters to be delivered soon - we won't go cold though, as we always have plenty of coal too.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Authentic Tiramisu

I've had a really busy day in the kitchen today. I make bread most days ( I get up too early for my own good!) and am currently addicted to my crusty white rolls/baps/cobs/barms (however you call them, depending on which part of the country you're from ! )

The crusty rolls are a variation on my basic white boule ( which can be found on My other site - The Narrowboat Baker

It's mostly the same but uses a little bit more water and uses a folding technique rather than just kneading , however, the wet dough can be 'beaten' in a food mixer using a flat beater to achieve a similar result and is a bit quicker and less messier on the 'ole hands!

Proving done and ready for the egg glaze and oven:














The good thing about these rather than a huge loaf, is with every bite, they're really crusty and they cook in half the time too, meaning you can make them really quickly. I'll be posting the full recipe soon.

They are so good!!














Lunch time was good - what's better than a fresh, crusty roll with warm egg mayonnaise and cress?! MMmmmmmm!!

Can you guess what else I was making?







A cocktail?

Nope....

A tiramisu! It's just the two of us so I always make a half recipe and just layer it up in two martini glasses - it looks really nice, makes it feel really special and means I have to buy any other bowls that I've no room to store! Martini glasses double up for drinks and deserts!

****************
Authentic Tiramisu
Serves 2 - easily enough for 3

I love tiramisu - it's got to be one of my favourite ever deserts, but I didn't make it for years because it always seemed really daunting. It's actually not though when you break it down step by step.

I think most people are put off by having to temper the egg yolks and making a custard base - but it couldn't be easier!

I always make mine the real italian way - using egg whites instead of cream - but you can always replace the egg whites with double cream if you've got a bit of a hang up about using raw egg whites - however, it is only the same as making a mousse!

Ingredients:

* 80ml of very strong coffee, at room temperature
* 3 tbsp of either rum or brandy - use what you have!
* 1tbsp of Tia Maria (optional but enhances coffee flavour)
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 3 large egg yolks
* 3tbsp of sugar
* 125g mascarpone cheese
* 3 egg whites
* Around 10 Boudoir biscuits (trifle biscuits - the hard ones that need soaking)
* Cocoa powder and/or dark chocolate for grating in between layers

Method:

For the coffee syrup:

1. Using 80ml of boiling water, add a good teaspoon of instant coffee, 1tbsp of brandy/rum, Tia Maria a tbsp of sugar and vanilla. Leave to cool to room temp.








1. In a bowl, add the remaining brandy or rum, 2tbsp sugar and egg yolks. Place the bowl over a simmering pan of water - do not have the bowl touching the water though. Now, whisk continuously until the egg yolk mixture thickens - don't stop whisking at all - it'll take a few minutes to thicken up nicely.














2. Take off the heat and whisk in the mascarpone until you have a smooth, thick , hazelnut colour cream. Allow to cool














3. Whip the egg whites until stiff. Whisk a good heaped tablespoonful into the egg and mascarpone mixture and them carefully fold the remainder of the egg white into the mixture. It will deflate - that's normal and don't over stress it - it'll be fine!







4. Now, take your serving dishes or glasses and add a couple of teaspoons of the coffee mixture into the bottom of each. Then start soaking your biscuits in the remaining coffee mixture. Hold each biscuit for around 2 or 3 seconds and then line the bottom of your glass/dish.







5. Add some of your filling - judge by eye how much you will need. For my martini glasses I do 3 layers - traditionally its only two I think, but the glasses are very thin at the bottom and widen at the top. Basically, just judge how much you will need depending on your layers.














6. Add a layer of cocoa powder on top of the cream and the continue the layering process until you have finished.







7. Finally, on top of the final layer ,finely grate some dark chocolate - or, like I did today - use white chocolate.





















8. Chill for at least 6 hours in the fridge! Enjoy!

if you want to replace the egg whites with cream, use 100ml of cream , whipped until light peaks form but not quite fully whipped.


Flowers...

What a great gift. They look fab.








Thursday, 21 November 2013

I'm impressed!

I really am! And believe me....it takes a lot to impress me. Especially when it comes to getting yer money back!

Remember how I got a weather station for Christmas off Pav? Here:






Well, not long after I had it, the wind speed indicator had broken and being lazy/not bothered, we never took it back at the time. Then, another piece of the outdoor apparatus went and it all ended up in the canal ( don't ask!)

Well, a few weeks back we bought another digital indoor/outdoor thermometer from Clas Ohlson. Anyway, the other day, it all went off and it wasn't reading the outdoor temperature - more crap we'd bought!

Incensed, I decided I was gong to take that back AND the original weather station back to Clas Ohlson to get them replaced or refunded.

Today, I needed to go into Manchester with Pav , so we headed in this morning with two weather stations! We went into the shop, explained what was wrong with both and they refunded the indoor/outdoor thermometer we bought the other week and replaced the weather station we got last December. We did get another, but had the option to have a refund too - all with no hassle or arguments!

That's impressive. There's not many companies around these days that would honour things like that.

Normally it's a refund / exchange in 14 or 30 days and after that you can "go fuck your sen!"

Well done Clas Ohlson! I'd link, but they have enough money to pay for advertising ;)

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Bevel Design

Wow, what a cold day it's been today. There was evidence of a frost when I woke up , but as I woke up a little later than usual, I didn't see the full impact! We went for a little walk around 11AM though as it was a gorgeous, clear and sunny day, but in the shade, you could still the see frost on the grass and the hills were all white!

I've got a new weather app as the BBC one didn't seem that accurate and always seemed way out from our outdoor thermometer.

Anyway, as I sit and write this (its 17:15!) my thermometer says its minus 1.7c! Here's what the app is saying:

The temp forecast for 18:00 is minus 2 - left hand side on the screen shot:





So I'm expecting it to be a bit worse, frost wise in the morning!

Anyway, I'm making the most of the weather by doing a bit of slow cooking on the wood burner. I've never done it before, but we actually got some cast iron cookware in the summer so I will be doing it a lot this year.

I made a beef bourginon , frying off the beef first and adding the wine etc this afternoon and then literally putting the lid on and sticking it on the stove - who needs an electric slow cooker?!

It should be ready by about 7PM. I've checked on it once or twice and its bubbling away nicely and not stuck to the bottom so a good way of cooking! Oops! Just remembered I need to add the baby onions and mushrooms for the last hour or so.... Good job I didn't forget!

Here's a pic - excuse it though - bad iPad cam makes it look darker than it is in here - makes it look dirty, cave like and like I've got no proper lights in here!




****************


Well, after Rob had finished replacing the glass in the doors last week, it wasn't until the day after that I managed to do a clean up of the silicone off the glass so I could start my bevel and leading design - cleaning the silicone off was a right job and took me over an hour to clean just the two little windows. My OCD may have played a part in that ;)

Anyway, next step was to finally apply my bevels which I had been wanting for over a year but just couldn't do because of the broken glass!

Firstly, I had to make a diamond template - the same shape as the bevel. I wanted to apply that to the glass first and look from different positions to make sure it was completely level and looked right - "measure twice, cut once"and all that!




Once I was happy with the placement of the paper template it was time to go outside to bond the bevel onto the outside of the glass - always get nervous when I do this- I don't know why!

Anyway, I got everything together and headed outside....




The bevels went on and got them into the perfect position - even though it was a dull day, the bonding agent was going off really quickly:



Next job was the leading. I chose a gold leading to match with the door hardware:

One pane complete:





Both panes complete:



Final adjustments to be made with the leading


Voila!


The final stage was to add a stain glass element to the glass without overpowering the whole design. I was originally going to do a red coloured border all the way around the edges of each pane.

When I sampled it out though it just looked a bit too much. I decided to just do it onto the bevels without applying the film right up to the edge of the bevel - doing that would mean you would lose the benefit of the bevel and the way the light dazzles through them on a sunny day etc.

So here is the finished product - on the first picture you can see the light fragments that the bevel creates:











From outside:









The boat now looks like it has a smiley face - the bevels look like two eyes!