Sunday, 2 May 2010

Ofsted, Wonderwool, Cheesecake

So, Ofsted (the school inspectors) finally came in. They were around for Wednesday and Thursday this week, but I didn't see them, except when they introduced themselves on the first day, at briefing. I should be pleased but after all the effort I put into preparing, I am kind of disappointed. We passed. They have set teaching and learning as a priority; funny, I have deja vu - that was the priority last time. Perhaps some people at the top of the chain will pay attention, now. At least in September we'll have 3 new SLT members (if you count the deputy head who was new this year and hasn't been able to focus on her proper job due to the assistant head leaving at Christmas) so we might see some new and exciting things happening.

Anyway, it rather ruined my week. I was off sick on Monday thanks to some bug I picked up at Wonderwool on Sunday, so I got the news at lunchtime but was stuck at home with no marking to do - and I was I left home by 6.30am on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and left school 12 hours later each day. Joyful. And then on Thursday my Auntie Carol and Cousin Michelle, who I haven't seen for 14 years and 7 years respectively, were in Bath from NZ for one night only so we had dinner at Jamie Oliver's Italian, which was delicious (I had a salad with prosciutto and pears, yum), though I fear my conversation was a bit lacking.

On the plus side, though, I have absolutely NOTHING to do this weekend, since I am now as up to date as it is possible to be, and the meeting I was supposed to present at on Tuesday is now filled with Ofsted debrief so I've been shunted to the next one. So this has been a truly joyful weekend off!

Wonderwool was a lot of fun, though there were some hairy moments with the car on the way back. The car does NOT like hills anymore. I am looking forward to the arrival of the new car. Anyway, I managed to pick up some really nice bits and pieces -

That is 3 skeins of camel/silk blend and a skein of cashmere laceweight from Knitwitches (who got so sick of me hanging around dithering that the woman ended up yelling, "Oh for God's sake JUST BUY IT!" at me...great sale technique, though, because I did); a skein of alpaca/silk/cashmere laceweight from Artyarns (the pink one) and 100g of roving. Don't get excited, I'm not going to spin it - it's for thrums. It's got some silk in it so it's really tactile.

I also bought an old Vogue Knitting from 2005; it's amazing how quickly things date. And I bought some awesome vintage buttons. They are really stunning - Victorian black glass, mostly, and some mother-of-pearl ones. I was tempted by a pair of riveted Victorian buckles but I couldn't think of a good use for them and they were very dear. I am still thinking of a way I could use them, in case they turn up at another fibre show in the future.

I am in a laceweight place at present. I have a couple of laceweight jumper patterns high up my must-knit list, not to mention a burning desire to cast on something else from Victorian Lace Today. Also, laceweight can be stashed in sweater quantity without taking up too much space. I do, however, need to finish the blue laceweight jumper of endlessness before I cast anything else on. I am very nearly done. I might even finish it tonight.

We're having a barbecue tomorrow night, because it might not rain. I am baking a rhubarb cheesecake for the occasion. Rhubarb is another favourite thing about this time of year and I hope it works well with the cheesecake. Here is the recipe I adapted for it.

For the base:
Packet of ginger nuts, crushed
About 75g melted butter
For the cheesecake:
500g cream cheese
200g caster sugar
3 eggs + 3 egg yolks
175ml creme fraiche
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Optional - 1-2 tablespoons liqueur - I used some Creme de Framboise we've had knocking around
1 cup stewed rhubarb
Preheat oven to gas mark 4/180 degrees C and put the kettle on to boil.
Mix the biscuits with the butter and press mix into base of a loose-bottomed tin. Chill until required.
Beat the cream cheese until smooth and add sugar. Add eggs and egg yolks one at a a time. Pour in the sour cream, vanilla and liqueur and beat until smooth and creamy. Then stir in the rhubarb. Taste to see if it's sweet enough.
Pour the cheesecake batter over the biscuit base and put in the oven with a roasting tin of boiling water on the shelf below. Place in the oven for one hour, until set on top and slightly wobbly underneath.

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