All dressed up and nowhere to go

My brother-in-law just held a reception to celebrate his recent marriage. This triggered a rush to the closets to see whether there is anything halfway decent that fits anyone, as, well, smart casual is a step above what normally passes for attire around here. My daughter was in-between dresses. Even though she gets several hand-me-down dresses each year from her cousins that do not get worn as, well, jeans and shorts are just so much more practical. Especially for a girl more likely to be found hanging upside down from a climbing frame than playing tea party. So I knocked out something on the quick, for cheap.
Yep, just a longer version of the smock top. With fewer pleats as I changed my mind about which side of the fabric was the 'right' side halfway through. I estimated instead of measuring the pleats. And did a horrific job on hemming the lining, as I was rushing it at the last minute.
Still, it turned out ok.
Then we arrived at the reception and it was whipped off her, as apparently they had a dress for her that matched her cousins'. It turns out that they had bought some little girl dresses for the cousins back when they were considering a church wedding. So, I had a late night of sewing for nothing. Still, at least I was spared the stress of having my daughter be a flower girl in front of a crowd of people. I didn't even know that they had been considering it. I wouldn't have put it past her to cartwheel down the aisle...
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I might shorten it into another top. Otherwise it will probably gather dust like the other dresses.
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Regarding the flour: it's not that 'English flour' is a special variety, it's just that American flour is made in a different way to English flour. Something to do with the weight of it or whether it is bleached or how much protein is in it or the amount of salt or whatever - so that the same recipe will turn out differently depending upon whether you used the American variety or the English variety of self-raising flour, for instance. I had been wondering why everything that I baked over here turned out awful, when I happened to see it mentioned that a cookbook author travelled to England to use their ingredients for the English version of her book, because of the differences. Now the difference in the sugars is fairly easy to see, but I had been unaware that there was a difference in the flour.
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So I did more research and came across a wonderful article that went into the exact composition of the different types of flours in each country and how they differed and what you should add extra / how you should adjust the weight etc. to compensate for the difference, so that your baking will turn out as planned. Then I forgot to bookmark it. I have been searching for it ever since. So, in the meantime, I am just buying the imported flour, as that is the one my English cookbooks have been written for. Hopefully I'll find that article once more - or will at least replace my English recipes with American recipes that use the American ingredients on hand...
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I'm supposed to cleaning the house, so no translation of the day today...
Take care.

Just a little bit hungry

I had to take a 'cultural snack' to my daughter's preschool today. This is the kind of task that makes me nervous, as I have the ability to even mess up a cake mix (nb.English Muffins were included on their list of ideas from previous years. I hope they were meant to represent American culture, as further research into finding out what on earth they are turned up that they were invented in America).
I decided on scones, as my mum is from Devon (and I took a battenberg cake last time and decided that the likelihood of my making another one turn out as well was poor). Luckily for the preschoolers the import store was out of English flour, so I just bought a scone mix to make the scones with. They look ok. Hopefully they taste ok. I felt a bit daft using a mix to make something as simple as scones.
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You might have noticed that I mentioned that the import store sometimes carries English flour. Yes, they are ridiculously tiny bags for a ridiculously high price, but while my search for an American sponge recipe continues, they at least mean that I can produce this
instead of this
See that? There's even a gentle rise there!
And once they are dolled up with some English cake decorations (very generously sent by Ali - what a sweetheart!), they disappear quick...
I made quite a few snacks from my childhood for the kids this summer. I'm not sure what has happened to me, but despite still not enjoying cooking, I've been spending more time in the kitchen lately and, gulp, even trying out a few new recipes for dinners! These are just a few old favourites, though, like chocolate crunchies
and flapjacks
as suggested by my golden syrup can.
I'm not showing you a picture of my Bran Parkin Cookies, mind. I'm still trying to figure out what went wrong there. They turned out looking more like rock cakes...
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While on the subject of disasters, I finally tried dyeing. No, not my rapidly appearing grey hairs. Fabric. Luckily I didn't start with the bag and did a trial run on some old t-shirts instead. The process seemed a lot easier (and cleaner) than what I was expecting, but I think that I should have left them in a lot longer. What should have been navy turned out the colour of surgical scrubs. That wouldn't be so bad, except that I chose to dye a loose fitting v-neck t-shirt that, well, now looks like surgical scrubs. Now I'll never be able to wear it in public, for fear of a medical emergency happening in my presence and everyone turning to me with expectation in their eyes. It's probably been about 20 years since I earned my First Aid badge...
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My mouse-wielding (the computer variety - not rodents...) arm is still giving me grief. So, I've been spending very little time on the computer. Ah, I miss my blog-reading. I will one day reply to e-mails and comments, but it might not be soon (ask my mum - she hasn't been getting replies to her e-mails to me, either).
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Plus I've apparently got arthritis, because the rapidly appearing grey hairs just weren't making me feel ancient enough...
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I'm off to eat some leftover scones. All these food pictures are making me a wee bit peckish.
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Translation of the day:
UK English: peckish = hungy in US English. Well, moderately hungry. Not starving, just a little bit hungry. That doesn't mean that 2 scones will be enough, of course...