Hampshire Federation Christmas Sugar Craft Workshop Saturday 14 November 2015

Christmas is a while away yet, but Sotonettes members have been invited to the forthcoming Hampshire WI sugar craft workshop in Burley, where you can come along and make two Christmas-inspired cake decorations for your Christmas cake, led by Josie Smith.

Members will be able to create Christmas-inspired flowers and figures to top your cake – the two hour session will be divided into two with afternoon tea in the middle. All materials will be provided, including fondant icing and colourings.

Parking will be available at the workshop, held at Myrtle Hall, Copse Road, Burley, 2 – 4 pm.

Book now to avoid disappointment; the closing date for applications is Friday 16 October 2015.

Contact sotonettes@gmail.com or talk to one of the committee at September’s Sotonettes meeting if you would like to book a place; tickets are £12.50 each.

The Romsey Show, Saturday 12 September 2015, Broadlands Park

A last call to arms for all you crafters out there…


It’s now just three weeks to the Romsey Show, Broadlands Park, Romsey!

Sotonettes members have been invited (individually or as a group) to enter the WI Tent Craft Competition. The categories are:

• Individual Entry: “Jam and Jerusalem” – any craft
• Group Entry: “This Green and Pleasant Land”

And for the WI meets Bake off…..

• WI Sugar Craft Competition: 100 Years of the WI – 3 hours on 12 September in the WI Tent to create something wonderful out of sugar paste!

More information can be found here and at www.romseyshow.co.uk, plus see what our former President, Hannah Farmer, had to say about last year’s event.

Calling all budding Sotonettes craft teachers!

We’ve been contacted by the Hampshire Federation on behalf of Creative Arts, who are looking for craft teachers to exhibit at their Craft Selection Day on October 10th 2015 in Weyhill, Andover.

The day will be a great opportunity for craft teachers to spread their talents and skills throughout the WI in Hampshire. There will be lots of people coming on the day, looking for ideas for next year or even the year after’s programme.

If you’re crafty and you’d like to find out more, please contact jen.best@hotmail.co.uk for further details. A couple of the Sotonettes committee will also be attending this event as visitors, so we look forward to seeing you there if you have a craft to share!


A Crafty Event: Craft, Material and Fabric Sale at Denman

For those of you who might like a trip a bit further afield, there will be a sale of donated papercraft items, threads, fabric and sewing goods at Denman, Oxfordshire, on Saturday 15 August 2015, 10am to 5pm.

Entrance and parking is free, and this event is open to Sotonettes members, friends, family and any other crafty people!

For more information email Joan Sherrin at vjoansherrin@ntlworld.com.

Please note: There will be no demonstrations, house and garden tours or lunches provided at this event. It is volunteer run and all proceeds will go to Denman.


Calling all Sotonettes bakers!

No Limits, the Southampton-based advice and advocacy charity for young people in Hampshire, is holding a Great British Baking Competition on Monday 31 August, 1-3 pm, at Southampton’s Dolphin Hotel.

Everyone is welcome to come along to enjoy tea, cake and live music to raise money for No Limits.

Sotonettes are also invited to submit a cake for the competition itself. So if you have a spare couple of hours and are missing the fun of preparing for the New Forest Show, why not get that mixing bowl out again and contact Natalie on the details below!

To enter the competition, bake a simple sponge sandwich with your choice of filling, flavour and decoration. All entries are submitted with a suggested £2 per cake to be donated to No Limits. The winner will be judged on flavour and presentation.

The winning prize is afternoon tea at the Dolphin Hotel.

Further details can be obtained from Natalie Hutchins on 02380 224 224 or emailing Natalie.Hutchins@nolimitshelp.org.uk. The Facebook event can be found here.


The New WI Cookbook

Sotonettes Member Liz Coe was generous enough to write us a book review of the latest WI Cookbook! Read on to find out what she thought… If you’ve tried any of the recipes in the book, we’d love to see the results!

WI001In this 100th anniversary of the WI it seems that you can buy all kinds of commemorative items, however I wasn’t interested in the scarves and badges, I decided to buy yet another cookery book to add to an already large collection.   The book is very beautifully put together, with historical introductions to each decade with some wonderfully evocative photographs of the WI and quotes from current members.

In each section are original recipes from the time, updated to grams rather than ounces, and in some instances have slightly different ingredients. For example Spanish omelette with bacon from 1954 is renamed as Spanish Tortilla with chorizo. I wasn’t sure I actually approved of this as it isn’t as if the original ingredients aren’t available. However, both recipes are in the book, so old fashioned types like me can make that choice. The recipes are very varied, for example Rosehip Jelly, economy cake, beef curry, sloe gin and Risotto Milanese.

As I wanted to do a proper review, I’ve made two things from the book – the first item, home-made lemonade, a recipe from 1919, and then to make the very last recipe in the book, the Centenary celebration cake, a recipe that will be made for the 100th AGM this year.

Fresh Lemonade

WI004We make home-made lemonade quite regularly. Our normal recipe entails zesting, juicing, adding hot water and sugar, leave overnight, strain and chill. This recipe started with making a syrup by heating water and dissolving sugar into it, then leaving the lemon rinds in the syrup, then adding the juice and more water, then straining it. It felt slightly more of a faff to me, why dirty a saucepan unless you need to? Perhaps that is the difference between 1919 and now – we expect boiling water to be almost instant rather than waiting for an Aga to boil up the water.

When we tasted it, it was light and refreshing, although not quite as zingy as the lemonade we usually make.

Centenary Celebration Cake

WI005I love baking fruit cakes, so this recipe didn’t seem too much of a strain for me. It is a typical fruit cake recipe – cream butter and sugar, beat in eggs and flour, and then fold in the massive amount of fruit. As I’m a coeliac, I was making this with gluten free flour, so there is always the possibility that the cooking time is slightly different and the texture crumblier.

WI006This recipe was a good example of those in the book, it assumed a certain level of knowledge and confidence in the kitchen. For example, it asked for a ‘wineglass of rum’.   What does that actually mean? Our wineglasses are varying sizes and so I just added a good slug of rum. There is an official measure for a wine glass (20cl), but most people wouldn’t own these!

WI007I was also slightly confused by the way they worded the length of time it took to bake. They even said “Use your common sense” which I wasn’t sure was particularly helpful for new cooks. A handy hint was to use newspaper to wrap around the outside of the tin, which is far greener than using acres of greaseproof paper or brown paper. The cake was crumbly, moist and packed with fruit. Lovely!

There are a lovely selection of recipes in this book which reflect the changing face of cookery in Britain in the past hundred years, as well as how the WI has changed in that time. I hope to try many more recipes soon.