Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Lovely Catherine!

This post is to say a huge thank you to the lovely Catherine at Bumpkin Bears who very kindly let me use some of her artwork on my new autumn sale banner

I started the autumn sale at Cottontails today (well, okay, truth be told I have renamed the summer sale and added some new reductions - oh no, hope I am not turning into one of those furniture stores where the sale never ends?). Anyway, I needed a new banner and inspiration / skill were lacking... so I asked Catherine if she could help and she sent me this lovely image from her Halloween range to play around with:

Don't you just LOVE the little bunny dressed a ghost? I think Humphrey might be getting ideas for Halloween. This is just one of the many, many lovely drawings that she creates for her cards and prints. I have some for sale at Cottontails here or do visit her blog or etsy shop to see lots more.

And to finish, here is one of her lovely toadstools...

Thank you Catherine!

Monday, 27 September 2010

Colette, Baking and the Perfect Plain Scone

I've absolutely loved watching The Great British Bake Off on the BBC over the past few weeks and this, along with our ever expanding children's cookery range, has inspired a spot of baking here at Cottontails. And of course, I have had a bit of help from some of our fabric friends...

First up was the lovely Colette, one of our pretty new soft toys from Moulin Roty, and she decided she'd like to have a go at making The Perfect Scone.

The contestants on The Great British Bake Off tackled 'perfect scones' in the second episode and we decided to use their recipe by Paul Hollywood which you can see here. The thing I really love is the specific instructions about how to knead scone dough - apparently there is a particular technique called 'chaffing' : "Lightly chaff the mixture - use your hands to fold the dough in half, and then turn the dough a quarter turn and repeat." (Obviously Colette knew all about this - being French she is of course a natural in the kitchen).

Anyway, it all went very well and Colette created a batch of delicious scones which were all well risen and just begging for lashings of cream and jam!

To be honest I think if I make them again I would add some dried fruit - but this was an exercise in creating the perfect plain scone and it definitely worked a treat. Do have a look at Paul's recipe if your scones (like mine) are a bit hit and miss and you'd like to go back to basics on a baking classic.

And in the next post I'll share Mrs Mouse's posh individual apple and blackberry crumbles with you... another Cottontails baking triumph!

Update... just a thought but I noticed on the forum for Paul's recipe that a few people had a problem with too much of a baking powder taste. I think mine were okay but in retrospect maybe there was a hint of it in the taste? I might be tempted to try less baking powder and use self raising flour next time. I'll see what Colette thinks first though.