Wednesday, June 27

Wishful Wednesday....These boots are made for walking

I often come across things I love and want to rave about, so from now on the middle of the week will be Wishful Wednesday on Plum Kitchen. Each Wednesday I will round up anything I think you might like, from the best winter boots, to the book I can’t put down, and anything in between. First up, those boots!

I last wore 'off the shelf' knee high boots when I was about 10. In fact the moment is captured for posterity on my Aunt's wall. There I am beaming away next to Uncle Terry (looking vaguely embarrassed, I think he realised I might regret this in years to come........). My sister Wou is on his other side, cute as a button in a pretty floral frock and pigtails, I am a symphony in green, emerald Adidas tracksuit top (zipped up over my turtle neck) with matching 3 stripe tracksuit bottoms, tucked in (I could even tuck!) to my knee high zip up tan boots, replete with faux western stitching . I look like Kermit the Frog collided with Annie Oakley and spawned.

So when I discovered Duo boots I realised I could put the horror behind me and move on...........looking rather foxy at the same time. Duo are a UK based company who specialise in narrow AND wide fit boots. So if like me, you have legs that could be described as "heavy" you can still wear gorgeous leather boots. Similarly if you have skinny pins (I wish!) you can also wear boots without them flapping around like gumboots. I have the double bogey of chunky calves and small feet, so boots balance things out nicely, and mean I can wear dresses and funky tights, without looking like my tiny feet might snap under the weight of my legs.....

You simply measure your calf at the widest point, and match it up to one of the boots available, they do about 21 different widths. Delivery is free to NZ (and many other destinations), and speedy via DHL, I ordered my last pair on a Monday, they arrived Thursday!

The black pair (Florence) I brought at the Duo store in Bath when we were in the UK in 2008. I have had them soled twice, they are still going strong. So while they seem expensive I think they are a great investment long term, and wonderfully comfortable. Please excuse the photos, it is very tricky to take a picture of ones own legs…..
So, are you tempted?

Monday, June 25

Afternoon tea, make mine cake......

Friends coming for afternoon tea, and as per usual I am running late . I made these great Vege muffins, but wanted something sweet, quick yet special . The answer, an old fashioned jam and cream sponge.

I don't know why I don't make sponge cake more often, it was just delicious. Light, delicate, yet still feeling like proper cake, perfect for visitors. And so easy! Although two year old Matt was much more interested in the icing sugar than any actual cake.......

Growing up I don't really remember Mum making sponge cakes. Dad played cricket with a man whose wife Barbara made the ultimate sponge. Mile high and light as a feather, she would always turn up for functions with her signature and no one else was about to compete! Mum's Black Forest Cheesecake was her signature, I must say a sponge is a heck of a lot quicker to make........

Sponge Sandwich  (based on the Edmonds Cookbook.....of course)

3 eggs
Pinch of salt
125 gr sugar
Splash of vanilla extract
25 gr cornflower
50 gr plain flour
1 tsp baking powder

Preheat your oven to 190C . Beat the eggs, with the salt, sugar and vanilla (or use vanilla sugar). I use the Kitchen-aid, but you could also use an electric hand beater, or a whisk. I know the whisk works because the finest sponge I ever made was with a small balloon whisk. Looking at my bingo wings I should have kept making them. 
Beat until the mixture is very thick, pale and fluffy. Fold in the cornflour, flour and baking powder VERY gently with a metal spoon. Spoon into two 20cm sandwich tins, greased and lined with baking paper. Bake for 15-18 minutes.
Cool for a couple of minutes then turn onto a wire rack to cool. Peel the paper off and when cool fill with good tangy raspberry jam and fresh whipped cream. Dust with icing sugar

If you look at the picture above you can see the marks where the top layer has cooled on the wire rack, to avoid, flip over when you first turn out of the tin!