Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Farewell golden leaves of Autumn 2013

The last of the golden leaves of Autumn

At a certain time of the afternoon, round 4pm, on a blue sky Maine day the leaves set afire and beauty abounds.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The best apple galette ever...seriously!!...for Great Maine Apple Day

I do have to blow my own trumpet and stand behind the title of this post as, indeed, I have perfected this recipe over the last few weeks to an amazing level of sublime. I will tell you in detail how I achieve above pictured deliciousness in hopes you will try this galette and be taken to realms of swooning only thus far imagined in your dreams - OK maybe that's a bit over the top but this is a WINNER!!!!

And one again we start with my go to delight:


2 1/2oz/ heaped 1/4 cup sugar 

1 1/2 oz / 3 tablespoons salted butter

2 tablespoons cream or half and half

..and if you really like that salty tang - which I do - a good pinch of extra salt.

1. Put all three ingredients in a pan to melt together, mix and keep mixing whilst letting it bubble a couple of minutes until it gets a bit thick - allow to cool and pour over (reserving about 2 tablespoons for the pecans) about 6 - 7ounces of sliced apples of your choice - I am still using the rag, tag and bobtail apples from my old apple trees behind the house:
 Now add about 12 pecans to the reserved sticky toffee sauce and stir them over medium heat in the pan until they are fragrant and a little toasted - about 3 or 4 minutes - set aside.
Set your caramelled apples aside also and now start making the pastry - if you do it exactly how I am saying you should get a crust that is like a crispy, melting cookie/biscuit - it is glorious!

PASTRY: Please do weigh your ingredients if you can - the result will be much more reliable!

Start with everything cold, cold, cold - I even put my flour and sugar in the fridge for at least 1/2 hour before I start making the pastry!

5ozs/ 1 1/4 cups of white flour

4ozs salted butter - hardened in the freezer

2oz/heaped 1/4 cup of sugar

about 2 to 4 fluid ounces/1/8 to 1/4 COLD water - the amount will vary depending on the weather and your flour

METHOD: This is by hand and not in a cuisinart but if you want to use a machine adaption should be easy - you just swish a couple of times for each step until the dough comes together in a ball.

1. Sift the flour and add the sugar and blend.

2. Grate the hardened butter into the flour:
 3. Gently work butter into flour until it resembles coarse meal or swish in a food processor to achieve the same.
4. Add some of the water and start squushing the pastry and keep adding bit by bit of water until it can be formed into a non-sticky ball - less water is better so squush hard until it comes together:
How your pastry ball should look
5. Put into the fridge to rest for at least one hour - or as long as you like.
1. Take your pastry ball from the fridge and on a lightly floured board roll out to about 11" diameter - doesn't matter if the edge is raggedy - in fact it adds to it's rusticity!
2. Place the pastry on a well buttered tray - my tray is black so try for a black tray also or you're cooking time will vary from mine - a lighter coloured tray will take longer, I have a nice square baking tray that is perfect for the job, a tray with an edge is preferably to catch the possible running juices - you never can tell if it will run or not.

 Dollop the cold caramel apples in a high blob in the middle of the pastry:
3. Fold the excess pastry over onto the top of the apples trying to make sure there are no little holes/open spaces for the juices to escape...
4. Wet the top of the galette with water, just a little bit to dampen - or use any remaining sticky toffee sauce from the pecans - and sprinkle sugar atop the little darling:
5. Now pop her back into the fridge for about another hour - or longer - as you prefer - this is a necessary step to help the galette keep it's shape.
When you are ready to bake set the oven to 425F and when it's hot put the galette in for about 25 minutes - remember every oven is different so keep an eye on your galette - turn if necessary - my oven does brown more on one side than the other so I turn half way through - don't worry if juices leak, I have only managed a small percentage of none leaking galette's thus far - it will be OK, and bake until it is nice and toasty brown.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool before tumbling the pecans atop and then make a couple of tablespoon of sugar icing with a little milk (a couple of teaspoons to start) and lots of icing/confectioners sugar - drizzle over and allow to set and VOILA - the best ever apple galette!!
So Happy Great Maine Apple Day - here is a link to MOFGA's events for the day - Happy Baking!!!

On a fragrant note - if, like me, you have lots of grungy windfall apples available that are not fit to cook with I have found you can add them to a pot of boiling water - we keep one on our wood burning stove in the winter months to humidify the air - and let them simmer away and they'll make your house smell like delicious apple sauce!

Just FYI - I have had the occasional partial collapse of the pastry during cooking and don't know the cause but it still has come out tasting fine if looking a little lobsided.
As you can see one of our dear, gnarly old apple trees still has quite the bounty to give up so I see a lot more of these galettes in my future!!

The Pee Gee Hydrangea's are spectacular right now o I thought I'd share a couple of pictures with you!

Be in touch and let me know how your galette goes.

This delicious morsel is part of the AUGUST TEA TIME TREATS blog hop organized by the ever lovely LAVENDER & LOVAGE and The HEDGECOMBERS  

Click in the box below to go to the August tea time treats and peruse all the fabulous recipes!
Tea Time Treats
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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I love PINK, FREE worldwide shipping and an updated tote bag from Society6!!

As evidenced by the amount of pink designs I create for all my print on demand online shops - there are links to them all under the 'My Online Stores' tab above!
My art prints are available HERE
 Herewith are some example of the pink designs I have available in my SOCIETY6 shop which - hooray - is having FREE worldwide, no less, shipping until Sunday October 27th 2013!!
 My Galaxy S4 cases are available HERE -  when you click through to the page you have to click on an iPhone case design you like and then choose Galaxy S4 from the drop down :)
 My pillow/cushion covers (with inserts is not eligible for the free shipping) are HERE
 My newly designed allover printed tote bags are HERE
 My iPad cases are HERE
 My stationery cards are HERE
My Laptop and iPad skins are HERE
My iPhone and iPod skins are HERE
 My iPod touch and iPhone (including iPhone 5, 5S and 5C) cases are HERE
and my t-shirts are HERE

Thank you so much for perusing my pink designs and happy shopping and free shipping - Patricia

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Monday, October 21, 2013

It's the Etsy Maine Team 2nd Annual Cash Mob on November 8th!

I am part of the wonderful Etsy Maine Team - a community of over 700 online shops with over 13,000 items that supports and helps one another promote their shops through the wonderful auspices of Etsy, obviously, Facebook, Twitter and most recently Pinterest.

We are having our 2nd Annual Online Cash Mob (from Wikipedia "A cash mob is a group of people who assemble at a local business to make purchases. The purpose of these mobs is to support both the local businesses and the overall community.") - unlike a physical cash mob ours will be all online to support our team in Maine and hopefully bring an infusion of cash into our local economies. 

So mark your calendars please and on November 8th go to then in the search box type 'maineteam' - all of the items tagged with this word will show up and from there you can narrow your search with the categories listed on the left of the page.

How wonderful to be able to support so many small online businesses from the comfort of your own home with a nice cuppa and still in your PJ's!! No holiday crowds, no driving - just you and your computer, or maybe your mobile - ahhhh!!!

Please help spread the word and thank you in advance for your support of our big day!

Patricia - who, just FYI, designed the poster, illustrated the chickadee (nicknamed Chicka Dee), and created the blueberry background to boot. 

Here's a link to my own Etsy shop:

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Rustic Pumpkin and Apple Upside Down Cake

This may sound like it could be a heavy carrot cakey like confection but surprisingly it turned out very light and delicate! and so very more-ish! I adapted it from this RECIPE from Aunty Beeb (the BBC) and found yet another way to use up some of my seemingly never ending supply of apples from my trees out the back:

The first order of the day is to peel and slice 2 medium sized apples and keep the slices in cold water with either a spoon of vinegar or lemon to stop them from browning. Now make my go to Sticky Toffee Sauce which I am finding can be added to almost any sweet recipe out there - I am a BIG fan.


2 1/2oz/ heaped 1/4 cup brown sugar 

1 1/2 oz / 3 tablespoons salted butter

2 tablespoons cream or half and half

1. Put all three ingredients in a pan to melt together, mix and keep mixing whilst letting it bubble a couple of minutes until it gets a bit thick - allow to cool and pour into a 9" diameter cake pan.

2. Take apple slices out of the water, pat dry and arrange in the cake pan over the toffee sauce in whatever manner you chose and with as few or as many slices as you like. 
Now to make the batter for the cake:
CAKE: Have everything at room temperature
Pre heat the oven to 350F

3 1/2 ozs/ 1 stick minus 1 tablespoon of melted butter (I always use salted because that's what I like - if you don't use salted butter add a pinch of salt to the dry ingredients when you sift them) 

2 large eggs beaten 

5 ozs/ heaped 1 cup white flour  

1 1/2 teaspoons spice - your choice of combination - I used 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg and 1 teaspoon of cardomom, you may like nutmeg and allspice, nutmeg and clove, cinnamon and nutmeg - yes I like my nutmeg 

1 teaspoon baking soda/bicarb of soda 

8 oz shredded pumpkin (or squash of your choice)

1 tablespoon apple juice

4oz/ 1 cup sugar - brown works really nicely in this recipe 

1. Whisk the melted butter (cooled) into the eggs with the apple juice. 

2. Sift all the dry ingredients together. 

3. Fold the dry ingredient into the wet until evenly mixed. 

4. Fold the shredded pumpkin into the mix.

5. Gently dollop the batter onto the apples and sticky toffee so as not to disturb the apple pie order of the apples:
6......and smooth your batter nice and gingerly and seal the edges by smoothing the batter right to the edge of the tin - so the sticky toffee won't escape so much:
 7. Bob into the oven for about 45 mins until nice and evenly browned:
8. Leave to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes then gird your loins and flip over onto a pretty plate:
This is the first one I made it was paler and stickier - I think because I used more apples and they were juicier too - maybe I also baked it for less time. This is the second one I made -
...which I decided to cover in some more sugar and broil/grill until the sugar bubbled and not only did it look nicer but it was drier in a good way.
First one stickier, wetter:
 Second one drier and more holding it's shape better - which all goes to prove it's hard to make things the same way twice even with the so called same ingredients because things like the weather, how juicy your fruit is etc can have an effect on the outcome - suffice to say they were both very good and I wouldn't even begin to say which one was better.
I should have gotten a better pic of the cake inside - but I didn't naughty moi - anyway you can see the little pumpkin shreds and the outside gooieness - yum!!

This cake most definitely should be eaten on the day it is made though as the following day it had gotten damp and moist in not a good way so bear that in mind - most of the cakes I make taste better the next day - not this one!

I hope you enjoy baking this cake and let me know if you do and how it comes out.

If you have an interest in either of the background fabrics featured in this post you will find them in my SPOONFLOWER shop - click HERE to bob on along there - thanks!!

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Monday, October 14, 2013

Autumn's glowing leaf canopy!

 One of my favourite things to do at this stunning time of year in Maine is to wander along the crinkling, leaf strewn lane beside our house and take pictures of the glowing leaf canopy at a certain time in the late afternoon when the sun is low the leaves are set afire.

 We have been so lucky with the weather these last couple of weeks - the temps are above normal, the skies a singing cerulean blue, the air dry and clear, even warm some days, and the leaves and trees are just beautiful, as ever - full of textile design inspiration!!

What is Autumn/Fall like where you are?

Later today I will have a lovely seasonal recipe for Apple and Pumpkin Upside Down Cake so check back soon - thanks, Patricia 
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