this week

With a week of dry spring weather behind us, the landscaping around The Barley Barn has progressed well as drainage pipes and cables have been laid, the ground compacted, walls built and the areas prepared for paving and concreting.  While the heavy work has been going on outside, Ruth and I have played at being ladylike and domesticated inside as we try out ideas for the Creative Hen Parties that have been attracting particular interest.

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Making roses from crepe paper has been strangely therapeutic, though it felt a little like being back in primary school cutting out paper shapes and getting tangled with sticky tape. These paper roses will be wired into a foliage covered wreath or garland, hence the lack of green stalk.

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Bunting anyone? We’re working out what to put into packs so people can make bunting with all sorts of different things or make pompom garlands to adorn the walls.

Mostly though our preparation for opening day is a little more mundane and while Ruth is finding customers, planning workshop days and organising an Art Trail, I’m in my kitchen trying out some ideas for refreshments.

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Baking chocolate biscuits for the morning coffee break. The last in a line of experiments. The recipes all make about a hundred biscuits and even cutting down the quantities we still seem to have eaten rather too many just recently. I think we’ll serve biscuits for the morning break and cake for the afternoon or should we just stick with biscuits for both? Decisions, decisions.

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Trying another quiche variation for lunches on the full day workshops, using Mary Berry’s nifty tip for lining a tin by rolling the pastry on top of the removable base, folding in the sides and lifting the base into the tin. This is so much simpler than draping the pastry over a rolling pin and trying to unfold it in the tin. I rarely drop the pastry dead centre and usually tear the pastry as I try to manoeuvre it, so with this method I hope to have fewer leaking pastry cases. Don’t worry, I won’t roll out the pastry on a wooden surface when I’m doing it for real.

Our next job is to find some suitable railings to stop people falling from the path that will lead from the car park to the main door. It’s only a small drop but apparently railings are a legal requirement and doubtless there’s a raft of health and safety regulations to be adhered to. If only it was as simple as deciding which sort of biscuit to make.

25 thoughts on “this week

  1. sophiezest says:

    Ooh, it almost makes me wish I could get married again, just to have a creative hen party! What fun! The crepe paper flowers are beautiful. Not so keen on the brown butterfly biscuits (something about the colour perhaps? But no criticism intended) so I would definitely go with biscuits in the morning and cake in the afternoon. Good luck, I hope it all goes swimmingly!

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  2. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial says:

    Creative Hen Parties? Does that mean you get to dress up your stripper in whatever costume you choose? 😉 It all looks fun and hands-on and very relaxing at your place. I quite like the chocolate butterflies (those cookie presses take a bit of practice, don’t they?) and I don’t think they look particularly poop-like. Mind you, I once made chocolate meringues with a smooth piping nozzle – that didn’t turn out so well. 🙂

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    • Anne @ Life in Mud Spattered Boots says:

      Celia, you can dress however you like. There’s even the chance to make nipple tassles, though I hope that the printing or wine tasting will be more popular. I haven’t quite mastered the cookie press – it seems to work fine for a bit and then it all goes wrong. Definitely need more practice.

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  3. Sarah says:

    Did someone say bunting?!! You know I love bunting! If I was a hen I’d be there with bells on 🙂 Your blog is looking amazing as do all the projects you’re working on. Makes my figs look a bit boring. Perhaps I can string some bunting amongst them to liven things up?

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  4. Jenny says:

    Your butterfly biscuits look great, as do all the preperations. I’m definitely trying that Mary Berry trick next time we’re making a pastry case for something. I also like Raymond Blancs trick for rolling out pastry between two pieces of clingfilm so that your rolling pin doesn’t stick. You then remove one piece pop the pastry into the tin and smooth it all out and finally remove the second piece of clingfilm. Works a treat but does get through quite a lot of cling film!

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  5. knitsofacto says:

    I’m always disappointed if I don’t get cake at least once during a workshop day, just saying!

    I imagine a mix of excitement and trepidation prevails at Slamseys! Good luck x

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  6. dianeskitchentable says:

    I’m glad to hear that you’re finally getting some dry weather. It all sounds very exciting to have progress at the Barley Barn. Love those crepe paper roses but in the photo under I notice that you’ve cut out maps which is very cool. I think I know but just need to ask what a hen party is – would that be what we call a shower over here? Either a bridal or baby shower? I assume it’s for the ladies.
    That looks like a very clever way to handle the pie crust. My crust is usually very good but not very pretty – lots of patching.

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  7. Glenda says:

    The barn projects sound wonderful Anne. You are clearly very talented. And I do like your pastry idea. I am going to try that next time.

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  8. Sarah says:

    Creative hen parties sound like a very good idea – much more civilized than some we see in town on a Saturday afternoon! My son is the pastry making expert in our house, but I reckon I might be able to impress him with your tip for lining the flan tin…

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    • Jan says:

      How absolutely lovely Anne, I love the crepe paper roses. Nipple tassels sound like an absolute scream -ahem – so long as I didn’t have to do it. I once booked in for a Tibetan Monks throat singing workshop because it fascinates me and I find the sound thrilling but I failed to note the word ‘workshop’ which meant you had to take part! Good luck with the Barley Barn it sounds wonderful.

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  9. Christina says:

    I wish I’d had a creative hen party! I got married just 5 months after I moved to Britain and was in shock for weeks after because of the hen night my new friends had organised for me.. and it was a tame one, too. I would happily scoff those butterflies, maybe even dunk them in my coffee.

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