Sunday, 27 February 2011

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Belated Birthday...

I thought about posting but completely forgot - I have to tell you about Friday (my Birthday), I spent the morning mooching around the shops (on my own - no buggy to shift in small aisles or little men making me hurry in fear they might be hungry or tired).

We had a very quick birthday snack time before the boys went to stay with their cousins overnight and DH whisked me away to a secret getaway. I was taken here:-

The Cotswold Water Park, 4 Pillars hotel and Spa6.

I was treated to a stress relieving back massage, dinner and a night away from home - phew what a treat it was, can't believe how rejuvenated and special I feel after all that.

Thankyou to everyone who passed on Birthday Wishes, cards and gifts - I had a lovely time and as I pass into this my 30th year (gasp!), I have some plans to mark this year a little differently than some others. More on that another time though.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Pavlova Palava...

I was doing baking today and had to use 2 egg yolks in some bread I was trialling and thought it was a real shame to waste the whites I'd spent ages separating out.

Aha, meringue - but I had no caster sugar so I had yet another aha moment, I thought it would be worth trying with icing sugar instead and boy did it work well!

I used 3 egg whites and approx 500g icing sugar (this weight would vary depending on the size of your eggs - mine were all odd). Then I hunted in the back of the fridge and found my emergency long life cream and I knew I had fresh strawberries - although I do always have frozen berries at the ready.

I poured all the meringue onto a baking paper lined tray and dug out a hole in the middle for the cream and fruit and voila - 2 1/2 hrs baking at 100 in my fan oven and all ready for piling on.

Won't be making it again for a bit. Whilst it tastes lovely, my sweet tooth is in overdrive right now!

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Date & Walnut No Fat/Sugar Tea Bread...

Ok, so straight off the bat I should say there is no refined sugar/fats other than that in fruit or honey.


2 medium bananas (7" approx)
Honey - set or runny
Boiling Water
Juice of one orange (or 50ml from carton)
3 Tablespoons Oat-bran or Porridge oats
3 Eggs
Tsp Baking Powder
Tbsp Mixed Spice or any other flavour you like (ginger works really well especially if you swap a lemon for the orange)
250g Plain Flour or Spelt (if you use spelt this can be kinder on those who suspect wheat intolerance)
100g Chopped Walnuts
250g Sultanas
100g chopped dates

  • Preheat oven to 160 or 140 (fan oven)
  • Mash the bananas in your mixing bowl with a fork
  • Boil the kettle and using just boiled water, add 2 tablespoons of honey to 100ml of very hot water, stir and wait to dissolve
  • Add the eggs to the banana mush
  • Squeeze the juice from your orange and if you like a really zingy loaf - grate the zest into your bowl too
  • Add the honeyed water and using a whisk beat it all together lightly
  • Now it's time for the dry ingredients, add the flour (I never bother to sift it personally), Oatbran, Baking powder and Spice - fold it all in gradually
  • Give it a good stir and add in the rest of your dried fruits and nuts
  • Place at the bottom of your oven and bake for 40 minutes, after this, test with a skewer to make sure cooked through - if not, allow the cake 10minutes more. The texture should be quite dense and heavy and won't collapse if you press the top.
  • There are a couple of changes you can make to lower the calorie content of this (probably 3300 for whole loaf) - they are to use wholewheat flour/spelt, don't add the walnuts or dates and replace that content with skinned small chunks of apple instead - cuts out over 1200 calories wow! Although I have to say that sometimes calories isn't the whole story - there is a lot of good fat in nuts and fibre in the dates etc bleurgh to it all.
  • Slice whilst still warm and serve with a lovely steaming mug of tea (the bread is lovely with a nice spread of butter - but there goes the no added fat thing)x

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Lemon & Ginger Shortbread...

I'm experimenting a lot with my own flavours and mixes and whilst I know that there is bound to be a very similar recipe out there - the ones you'll see in coming weeks will be my own take.

After eating quite a bit of different types of plain shortbread over the festive period - I came to realise that I'm not a big fan - so I searched for a couple of plain recipes to use as a foundation and develop my own.

So here after a few trials and more than one error is my take on:

Lemon & Ginger Shortbread

  • 150g Vegetable Baking Fat (I use Asda's 'Just for Baking')
  • 100g Icing Sugar
  • Juice and Zest of one unwaxed Lemon
  • A large Egg Yolk
  • 300g Plain flour
  • 2tbsps's Ginger
  • Icing Sugar, Lemon Juice
  1. Cream together the fat, sugar, lemon zest and egg yolk
  2. Slowly add the flour and ginger (I do this in about 3 goes). mixing well after each addition - you'll need to use your hands towards the end. If your dough seems particularly sticky this will be because we can't gauge the amount of lemon juice exactly so simply sprinkle in some more flour until it smooths up a bit.
  3. The dough should be given resting time in the fridge - about an hour is fine, you can if you want to - freeze the dough ready to bake at another time.
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 200 or 180 for fan ovens
  5. Roll out your dough to 5mm thick and cut out any shapes you want - remember that if you go for a larger shape then don't roll the dough as thin to help prevent breaking.
  6. Place on a greased baking sheet and cook for 10mins on until golden.
To decorate:

  • You can ice your biscuits as I have by flooding the top with white icing (I make my icing up with water and lemon juice for an extra zesty tang).
  • Prior to baking you can wash the cut biscuit dough pieces with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.
  • Leave plain and enjoy x

Monday, 14 February 2011

First swap items sent ...

...for 2011, I joined in with the Spread the Bloggy Love swap and I know my partner, the lovely Linda from BlingaBlong has received her package and opened it today so I'm happy to post what I made, found and sent x

I sent:

Ceramic Heart Dish
Heart Dangly
I love you toast impression maker
Pom-pom scarf
Jelly Roll
Heart Shaped glass beads
Patriotic Hearts Hot Water Bottle Cover
Classic Chocs
A skein of Sirdar 'Flirt' DK
Strawberry Shopping Bag
Home Made Retractable Tape Measure

I had a lot of fun reading a new blog and trying to find valentines related items that weren't all too cheesy (lot of cheese out there right now!).

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Raspberry Red Velvet...

I recently made these to take to work with me, seriously chocolaty and too moreish (I was sat too close to the tin all day).

Rich Belgian Chocolate sponge with real raspberry pieces, Cream Cheese Chocolate Frosting, topped with a silver heart shaped dragée.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Can we have a comment vote...

I couldn't take a good photo of this one - not by myself anyway, I think I need to open it out to a comment vote - You've seen a series of beret style hats upon my noble (not really) brow - Yay or Nay to the Beret? What should I make that won't make me look very very odd??

Pattern for this one here.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

I am not a moonhead...

In search of the perfect hat pattern (for my head that is), I came across this slouchy beret type - Ravelry again but also here. I duly knitted up the pattern and then modelled for DH, 'what do you think?', 'hmmm you look like a moonhead'.

Least inspiring comment award goes to... but still, it is my most worn hat to date.

In an effort to get the next hat just right (in his opinion), I asked DH to search for a pattern with me and he came up with 2 more, 1 I've photographed and will post tomorrow, the other is yet to be knitted.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Littlest Blunn was 1 - we ate hedgehog...

Not much more I can add to that title - but here's the incredibly late Cake Pictures...

A 'mare to get the buttons into runny choc - but oh so gooey and yummy once finished. Kept the sponge a plain madeira so that everyone could have either some plain sponge or some picked off chocs or both! The little hogs were normal vanilla cupcake, a piped sausage of choc butter cream, some buttons and mini smarties for eyes.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

First of Many...

I went on a bit of a mad crazy hat making session in January and here is the first...

I made this for my Sisters Birthday, it took me a while to 'get' the pattern and all of a sudden it zoomed off my needles. Less than half a skein of Ethical Twist.

The Ravelry Pattern Page is here (you need to be a member to see it, but it's free to join and this pattern is free to download).

I'm not a great hat wearer so please excuse the expanse of forr'ed as we say in Glawster!