Friday, 21 August 2015

My bake - Easter egg Caramel Blondies featured in a local magazine!

I forgot to post one of the most exciting things that has happened in my little baking life! My caramel easter egg blondies were featured in the local free magazine! They were delicious of course but very rich!
Each month the baking club has an advert in the magazine and my recipe was the feature back in April......

Here is the article and my finished bake...

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Homemade Pizza

I have never made Pizza before - there I have admitted it! I now know how easy it is and am ashamed of myself... But only slightly because sometimes you just can't beat a  Dr ooooeeeeetttkkkeeeerrr pizza!
Baking club last month was all about Pizzas! We had our lovely artisan baker Paul come and give us a demonstration on how to make pizza. So I am now a convert and will be making some of my own pizzas however in my defense making pizza hasn't been on my list of priorities since I have 2 children under 3 - just getting through the day is an achievement in itself ! But now that Molly is getting a little older I will definately have a go.

This is my finished pizza

I only took one photo as I was so busy chatting to everyone ! I've said it before but I will say it again! I love baking club! the people are lovely and we have a great laugh.
The pizza sauce that we used was a Jamie Oliver one it was delicious and can be easily frozen. My toppings were mushrooms, peppers,onions and of course cheese. It was delicious - homemade pizzas are the best!
It wasn't just pizza that we ate at baking club - we were all asked to bring something homemade and this months topic was anything Italien. So I made Cantuccini which is like biscotti but doesn't need baking twice.

They were delicious - I chose to make them with dark chocolate and almonds , they were so easy to make and they would be fabulous with coffee.

 - I am going to make some for christmas presents, making them christmassy with  cranberry and white chocolate.. Mouth is watering thinking about them....

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Hello Fresh - Cooking made easy

This week I have had a free box of 3 meals from Hello Fresh that my lovely friend Sarah sent me. I have tried Hello Fresh before and they are fab - delicious and easy to do with fantastic results.
My 3 meals were vegetarian and all of them are meals that I wouldn't have bothered to try normally. The meals are : Coconut Dal with Homemade Chapati, Sweet Potato Wraps, Minted Tzatziki & toasted Almonds and Bodacious Black Bean, Halloumi and Quinoa Salad.
So first one is the Halloumi recipe. The box comes with everything you need this recipe included - Quinoa, Salad onion, red pepper, spinach, Organic black beans, coriander, corn on the cob, Halloumi, smoked paprika and lime. The recipe was quick and only took 25 mins.
The recipe cards are easy to follow I love how there are photos to show you how to do some steps.

This is my finished meal .....

And this is the Hello Fresh version.......

I really enjoyed this meal - I haven't used Quinoa ( apparently prounced Keeenwaaaaaaa!) before and was worried that there wouldn't be enough for me and Stephen - I was also convinced that it would be bland but I was very very surprised!!! It was delicious, there was a lot of taste and each mouthful was lovely and crunchy. There was plenty for 2 people ( stephen had seconds and took a large portion to work the next day). I would make this one again and pleased that I had a go...... Next one to try is Coconut Dal with Homemade Chapati.............

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Rabbit Cake pops....Scary version...

I love Baking Club, its a small group of women of all ages and abilities in baking and each month we do something that I either have never thought of making or can't be bothered to make so am really excited every time. This month it was Cake Pops now I love the idea of cake pops and have always wanted to have a go at making them but normally don't have the time to make them or when I have made them what do I do with them? yes I could eat 20 cake pops but don't think that would be very wise.... What do other people do with all the bakes that they make and can't eat?? Would be really handy if there was a Police station or Old Peoples home next door, could then pass on my bakes! - cooking for fun has taken a bit of a backseat recently now that I have 2 children so I am always pleased to spend a couple of hours with like minded people gossiping and making things.

Now as with most things I always think 'oh they look easy' ......... Well I was a little bit wrong with  cake pops.... Yes they are easy to make but decorating is another story!!!

So here is what I had in my minds eye that I was making...

Lovely bunnies from Bakerella (she makes them look soooooooo easy!)

And then this happened....

Errrrr not really what I was hoping for! To be fair it was really hot in the room we were baking in and the white chocolate wouldn't set.. and I was also a bit over zealous with the red food colouring.....Pathetic excuses!

Here are the rest of them...

I was very sad! Firstly they don't look like fluffy little bunnies but very scary vampire pigs! Needless to say I am not going to try cake pops for a long time......

Monday, 18 May 2015

Sewing - A crayon roll

I love Pinterest !! My life was very empty without it , I can spend hours and hours browsing and pinning things I want to make and cook and don't get me started on the house of dreams pinning - but speaking to friends  I don't think I am alone in my obsession - I even have one friend who has a Unicorn board! I digress .... what does this have to do with a crayon roll? Well I keep pinning how to make them and they look so easy... (thats what I say about everything!)

So I decided to have a go and they were easy to make! I was so pleased with the results that I made another and have also cut out patterns for another 3! They use a small amount of fabric which is great and you can have fun playing around with different fabrics, All of my friends who have children will be getting these as presents!

The clasp (if thats what you can call it ) to close the roll is one of Mollys hairbands and I have just bought some buttons that I will be using for future crayon rolls

There are lots of other ideas for these 'rolls' - you just alter the size of the roll and pockets. Some ideas are for crotchet hooks, knitting needles, make up brushes or one that I am going to have a try at a first aid kit that I can keep in the car and nappy bag.
There are a lot of patterns available - I used this one 

I love an easy sewing project! Molly loves it as well and keeps taking the crayons out and putting them back in! Right off to sew another one......

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Rhubarb, Apple and Date Chutney

Rhubarb always reminds me of being at my grandparents house - my brother and I would race to see who would pick the most rhubarb from their garden. We would dip it in sugar and eat it raw - not sure I really enjoyed it but Grandma used to make the best rhubarb crumble.
I have a lot of rhubarb in the garden and have been wondering what to do with it all apart from good old crumble - Also Stephen doesn't like rhubarb so I needed some way of disguising it! Then inspiration struck - Chutney! He'll never know! You can't taste the marrows in Harvest chutney!

 I dug out my mums recipe she uses for Harvest chutney and halved it  for 2 reasons , I didn't have a big enough pan and just incase it all turned out wrong ( had a nasty experience making Rhubarb and Ginger jam - made moutains of it and it tasted awful! Had to throw it away felt so guilty what a waste so didn't risk it this time.)
I made use of what ingredients I had to hand - frozen ginger pellets that have been lurking in the freezer for a while, frozen cranberries that have also been in the freezer waiting for a staring role in something delicious! Also I used a mixture of demerera, light brown and dark brown sugar as I didn't have enough of one sort!

It is an easy peasy recipe and just required a lot of chopping but I find that very theraputic - plus as I had halved the recipe there wasn't that much to chop - also you don't have to be so precise!

Here it is bubbling away. You can mainly see the cranberries - there is rhubarb in there!

I managed to make 3 large jars and and a small jar which is perfect to begin with - it needs a month to mature so if it is good then I will make lots and squirrel it away for christmas hampers!

Ingredients - makes about 3 and half jars

  • 6 Pellets of frozen ginger
  • 150ml red wine vinegar
  • 250g eating apples, peeled and finely chopped
  • 100g Chopped dates
  • 100g frozen cranberries
  • 1tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1tbsp curry powder
  • 20g light muscavado sugar
  • 350g rhubarb sliced into small chunks
  • 250g red onions chopped
  • 2tsp salt

  • Method
  1. Put the onions in a large pan with the ginger and vinegar. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 mins. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the rhubarb, plus 2 tsp salt to the pan and bring to the boil, stirring. Simmer, uncovered, for about 10 mins until the apples are tender.
  2. Stir in the rhubarb and cook, uncovered, until the chutney is thick and jammy, about 15-20 mins. Leave the chutney to sit for about 10-15 mins, then spoon into warm, clean jars, and seal.  Keep for at least a month before eating.

By the skin of my teeth I am entering this into the Great British Rhubarb Recipe Round-Up that is being hosted by Karen from Lavender and Loveage and Janice from Farmersgirl Kitchen - Have a look at the other recipes - so many things you can make with rhubarb!

Blog Hop and Linky Party: The Great British Rhubarb Recipe Round-Up!

Saturday, 25 April 2015

A simple tote bag

Hello neglected blog ...... Where does the time go? Oh I forgot I have 2 children under 3 keeping me busy! But I have found the time to do a little bit of sewing....
I got a sewing machine for Christmas and have been busy playing with it! I enrolled on a learning to sew course in January at Carolyn Rose Sewing School in Leamington It was 2 Sundays and I could take Henry with me as well! Bonus as I am breastfeeding so can't leave him for long periods of time - On my first Sunday I was told that there were going to be a couple of other people but they cancelled at the last minute so I had individual tuition! And to top it all Henry slept throughout both the Sundays so I had some me time! I loved it - The project was a tote bag ( I love a tote bag - have gazillions of them!) I learnt so much from how to draw the pattern , pressing the fabric, where to put the pins, sewing a zip, making pockets and sewing a button hole using my machine ( OMG how easy is that! I was so proud of myself!) .... I was so pleased with myself when I had finished that I bought some more fabric and had another go a few weeks later so that I wouldn't forget all that I had learnt. This time I didn't do a pocket inside but I did line it again I feel like such a clever clogs!
Here is the finished article - the first bag

It is a lovely green and white spotty fabric with a front pocket ( notice the lovely spotty button! I'm very proud of that!)
And then inside the bag there is another zipped pocket - this is a shot of the bag inside - looks a bit weird! I opened the bag and took the photo! wasn't too sure how to show you otherwise!

For my second bag that I did at home I decided to dispense with the pocket inside and have a go at lining it - using the button hole foot on the machine took some getting used to - I had to watch a lot of YouTube videos before I managed to get it right.
Here it is ....

This is a flowery one with a spotty button ( love a spotty button) and to carry on with the red spots I used this for my lining fabric... The lining was a bit fiddly but again I had a look at YouTube to sew how to do it ( They always make things look so simple!!!)

I was really pleased with both of the bags but more impressed with the second one as I did it all by myself and it has given me a lot of confidence in attempting more projects.
So everyone will get a bag from me for Christmas! ha ha ha - I have been busy sewing lots of other things that I will post in the next few weeks..