So easy – knitted expandable shopping bag using one ball of wool, The nostalgia that certain foods bring, Recipe for Banbury/Eccles Cakes, Volunteering, Spring is on the way in the garden

So easy – knitted expandable shopping bag using one ball of wool

Have you ever thought about knitting your own shopping bags, extremely relevant at the moment with the phase-out of plastic bags at the supermarkets?  Recently the South Gippsland Spinners & Fibre Arts Group, of which I am a member, held a workshop conducted by one of its members, Deb,  who had devised a pattern for these bags.  The beauty of them is that they are expandable and are capable of holding a large amount of shopping but fold down so small that they take up very little space when not in use.  Saves all that cluttering up the back of the car.  

Since the workshop, the ladies have been beavering away making their bags and displaying them on the group’s Facebook page.  I’d like to share the pattern with you but first here’s a sample of what you can expect to produce:

 

 

 

DEB’S AMAZING SHOPPING BAG PATTERN

MATERIALS: 100 g of acrylic yarn, 6-7 mm  x 60cm circular needle, 4 mm x 60 cm circular needle

PATTERN

 Using the larger needles, loosely cast on 40 stitches.  Work 30 rows in garter stitch.

Place marker, then pick up and knit 15 sts along side of work, 40 sts across the cast on stitches and 15 stitches up the other side of your work.  Knit across the original 40 sts. You should be back to the marker now (110 sts)

Working in rounds, work 10 rows of stocking stitch

Pattern rounds

Round 1 : * Yfwd k2tog* rep until you reach the marker again

Round 2 :   Knit until you reach the marker.

Repeat these 2 rounds until work measures desired length. Approx  25cm (10 inches)

Change to 4mm needle (and black yarn optional).   Work in k1, p1 rib for 5cm (2 ins) Remove marker on last round

Handles – Flatten bag out to determine where sides are.  Rib to the closest side position and place marker.

Rib 20, cast off 15, rib 40, cast off 15, rib 20 to the marker.   Next row: *Rib 20, turn work, Cast on 15, turn work, rib 20 * rep from * to*.   Continue in rounds of rib for 5 cm

Frill Top –  Work rounds of stocking stitch for 2.5 cm (1 inch) 

Next row: *K1, M1 * repeat until the marker is reached again.   Cast off loosely.  Weave end through work to finish off.

The nostalgia that certain foods bring

Do you often long for foods from your childhood that are no longer available to you or if they are they are produced in your country of origin or have disappeared from menus?  I absolutely love Banbury and Eccles cakes (they are the same thing but shaped differently).  They are rarely found in Australia but I’m always on the lookout.

For those of you who don’t know or may be interested in the history of these cakes, here goes:

Banbury Cakes, a special fruit and pastry cake, are still produced. At one time they were being sent as far afield as Australia, India and America.

The town of Banbury is on the edge of the Oxfordshire Cotswolds, England and has been a busy market town for centuries.  A nursery rhyme, ‘Ride a Cock Horse’, has made Banbury one of the best-known towns in England.  It has been suggested that the ‘Fine Lady’ of the nursery rhyme may have been Lady Godiva or Elizabeth I. More likely it was a local girl who rode in a May Day procession.

Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross

To see a fine lady ride on a white horse

With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes

She shall have music wherever she goes.

The written history of this ‘nursery rhyme’ goes back to 1784

Eccles cakes are named after the English town of Eccles, historically part of Lancashire, but now classified as a town in Greater Manchester.   It is not known who invented the recipe, but James Birch is credited with being the first person to sell Eccles cakes commercially.

So it transpired that I wanted something really nice for a morning tea with my daughter to celebrate a milestone birthday (which by the way I am trying to deny because I can’t believe I am so old).  A Banbury cake was what I desired most so I had to make them myself.  I have a cookery book handed down to me by my Great Aunt Helen called Farmhouse Fare which is a collection of recipes sent to the publisher during the second world war.  The recipes give the name and town from which the author comes.  I have to tell you there are some very grisly recipes in the meat section.  However, the Banbury cake recipe is superb and to me authentic so I’ll share it with you.

Firstly you need some flaky pastry.  You can buy puff but you won’t get the proper effect.  I use Deliah Smith’s easy recipe.  110g of plain flour, 70g of butter, iced water.  Freeze the butter then grate into the flour, fold in gently with a pallet knife, add 3 tablespoons iced water slowly and combine.  Rest in the fridge before rolling out.  

Filling – 60g butter, 50g candied peel, 150g currants, pinch ground cinnamon, pinch mixed spice.  Beat butter to a cream then mix in fruit and spices.  Roll out pastry, cut out large rounds, place about a dessert spoon of mixture in centre, pull pastry over and pinch together.  Turn over and flatten, score two cuts in surface and brush with egg white and sprinkle with granulated sugar.  Bake in a hot oven for about 30 minutes but check to make sure they are not browning too much.    SUPER YUM

Having dusted off my Royal Dalton Tea Service and baked the Banbury cakes my morning tea was ready:

 

Volunteering

What people see and what they don’t about volunteering.  I absolutely love this description sent to me by Noelene Lyons who is a long time volunteer.  I wrote about Noelene’s talents in a blog some two years ago (could be longer) under the heading:  Meet 2 interesting and gifted ladies.  Noelene is a genealogist and family history researcher.  Go to the Category Interesting people to read again or put her name in the search box.

volunteer.jpg

 

I think Spring is on the way in my garden

I think Spring is on the way in my garden but sitting here at my computer with the wind blowing and the rain pelting down outside, it sure doesn’t feel like it.  However, the plants certainly think so and the blossom is out on my almond and nectarine trees, though a lot of it is scattered on the ground.  The pea pods are swelling, the broad beans have flowers, I’m harvesting carrots and swedes and the beetroot should be ready soon, so things are looking good.  

 

 

I hope you are all keeping busy with your various activities and enjoying retirement.  I’ll take this opportunity to send all good wishes to Joan Blain, a dear friend and longtime reader of my blog.  Joan has just turned 85 and has been laid up with two broken legs after a fall.

Until next time:

DOING WHAT YOU LIKE IS FREEDOM, LIKING WHAT YOU DO IS HAPPINESS

 

Janice 

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This entry was posted in Enjoying good company, Frienship, Interesting people, Joining a Club, Knitting and crafts, Recipes, Uncategorized, Volunteering on by .

About Janice Graham

I was born in England in 1938 and migrated to Australia in 1976. During my working years, along with my husband Ken, I managed a goat dairy and distribution business supplying health food products. At the same time I took up the challenge of helping build a mud brick home and lived a somewhat 'alternative' lifestyle. Since retirement I have published three e-books, two on vegetarian cookery and a collection of short stories from my younger years. My pastimes are studying the Spanish language, volunteering as a Crisis Counsellor and Community Visiting. I have been married for 54 years, have a son and a daughter and five grandchildren plus a little terrier called Sophia.

3 thoughts on “So easy – knitted expandable shopping bag using one ball of wool, The nostalgia that certain foods bring, Recipe for Banbury/Eccles Cakes, Volunteering, Spring is on the way in the garden

  1. Teresa Verney

    I really enjoyed your blog, I am definitely going to bake the pastries and I thoroughly enjoyed Ken’s film, thanks again, Teresa

    Reply
  2. Denise

    Thank you for the Eccles Cake recipe – I left England in 1973 and it is one of the tastes I still remember nostalgically. I was in the UK in 2012 and and needless to say bought and thoroughly enjoyed Eccles cakes at a little bakery in Whitley Bay.
    Thank you for your blog

    Reply
    1. Janice Graham Post author

      Hi Denise – thank you so much for your comment on my blog. If you try the recipe you’ll not be disappointed. We came to Australia in 1976 by the way. As a matter of interest, my dad was a chauffeur before the war and I often heard the story of how the lady of the house required him to take her to Banbury to buy Eccles cakes a trip of some 60 miles.

      Reply

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