Archives for April 2018

Cleanliness is next to happiness

Sorry to those of you who only read our blog for the pretty pictures of our creations, this is the blog equivalent of the safety warning at the start of a holiday flight – a bit of necessary admin before the relaxation can commence. Sewing machine maintenance isn’t the sexiest of topics but it is really important.

When truly inspired I can thrash my sewing machine, forgetting that every now and then it needs a little love too. All fabrics leave lint and fluff in the machinery of sewing machines. These collections of lint and fluff will cause your sewing machine to get sluggish. Sewing machine mechanisms are lubricated, allowing the belts, plates and leavers inside the machine to move freely. Over time these mechanisms can dry out. If you use your sewing machine a lot you’ll know when it’s not running at its best and/or making funny noises; a sure sign it needs a good clean.

The key to keeping your sewing machine stitching along healthily is oiling it and cleaning the fluff out periodically. Advice for cleaning sewing machines is universal and basic. There are a plethora of videos available on YouTubeand generic tutorials. I would recommend the first time you clean your machine that you look for a video about your specific machine model to help build your confidence with tools. Sewing machine oil is specific, don’t use domestic cooking oil to lubricate your machine. Compressed air features in a lot of tutorials and videos as a recommended to get fluff out of small spaces in your machine.

I personally keep a soft paintbrush near my machine and give the boobin holder a little dust off when I sit down to use my machine. I also have a reminder set on my phone to oil my machine once a month, which I ignore if I’ve not used it much. While cleaning and oiling your sewing machine won’t fix all issues but it will help keep your sewing machine running smoothly.

I promise to stick to more creative sharing in my next posts but having cleaned two sewing machines this weekend, it seemed timely to remind others of the importance of taking a few minutes to look after our beloved machines.

The perfect homemade pizza!

In one of my previous posts, I have illustrated the technique you need to use to make your very own sour dough starter.  As an Italian, I am a little obsessive about pizza. The Homemade type is a very different thing from the one you eat in a restaurant, as the oven is rarely appropriate and recipes need a little adaptation.

My favourite pizza to make at home is the “Pizza al Trancio”, this type of pizza is easily made and is normally higher, fluffier and softer than the restaurant options, it is normally served in Italy in the “Panetterie”, the many little bread shops you find on the street and is very popular as it is served in big single square portions and eaten as street food. It can be done with dry yeast or sour dough starter, I think that using natural yeast for this type of pizza gives an incredibly superior end result.

So I thought to share with you the recipe to make your own homemade pizza with the sour dough starter!


500 gr of strong flour
330 ml of water
150 gr of liquid sour dough starter (natural yeast)
12 gr of salt
30 gr of olive oilk

Melt in your stand up mixer the yeast (that you will have revitalised 4 hours prior to use), with all the water, slowly add the flour untill water is fully absorbed. Let the dough rest in the mix for 15 minutes, then add the salt. Let the dough rest another 15 minutes, then add the 40 gr of oil. At this point, you need to fold the dough , do not fold it more than three times, with a break of 20 minutes between the folding or the dough will become too “strong”. Once this folding process is done, put the dough in a bowl, well covered and let it rest in the fridge for 8 hours.

Take a square oven tray, with high edges, and pour a spoon oil on the bottom, distribute the oil evenly on the pan surface. Take the dough out of the fridge and let it rest 1 hour, then flip it upside down on the tray, use your fingers to make the dough take the square shape, stretching it but without making holes in it. Once this is done, cover it and let it rest in a warm place away from cold drafts for 3 hours.

Take a fresh mozzarella (one or two depending on how much cheese you want), drip it from all water, you might want to press it is a clean kitchen towel to drain all liquid from it, and then mince it very small, maybe with the help of a mixer.
Heat your oven to 200°C – Put a good quality tomato sauce with NO added herbs, on the pizza evenly, letting a o.5 mm margin for the crust. Add a spoon of oil on top, salt, and put in the oven for 15 minutes, then take it out, add the mozzarella evenly and put the whole tray and pizza in the oven for further 10 minutes  and voilà! It is done! You will love it!

Let the pizza cool down at least 10/15 minutes before serving, this type of pizza is very versatile, it is good even if eaten the day after! If you enjoyed the recipe and where happy, do let me know by commenting below! Always remember when making Pizza or any Italian recipe, that if you want to keep it original and have the best results, keep it simple, the fewer ingredients there are, the better, this is particularly true for homemade pizza.

So what tools do I use to bake my pizza’s? Here they are:



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