Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Kelly's Birthday

My daughter is horse mad, so I decided to do something different this year and booked a beginners trek. We hired the horses, Kelly invited a couple of friends and booked the party at the stables which had its own cafe.

The trek itself was really good - I even had a ride on a horse myself (a huge stallion that wouldn't leave the female next to it alone)!

But the cafe - Oh Dear! It was absolutely awful - and filthy!! How we got away without food poisoning I'll never know. I started drinking my coffee and there were bits in it - Ugh!

The kids seemed to enjoy it though - but next time we take our own food!!

Sunday, 18 July 2010


I don't normally sew - well when I say sewing I mean actually making something from scratch such as a dress, skirt or cushion etc. I love other crafts but apart from the odd bit of sewing a button on or hemming a garment I am absolutely useless!

This is not really in keeping with the way I was brought up. I learnt to knit when I was 3 and my grandmother was a seamstress. She spent hours and hours teaching me all she new about everything. But sewing had me baffled! I admit I don't have the patience to keep pressing seams and going from the sewing machine to the ironing board - and I really don't know why!

And sewing machines - well they're another matter! I inherited a little old singer from a family member. It had worked for years - until I owned it! Thinking it was just getting old I decided to buy a brand new one with grand ideas of making all my own clothes and soft furnishings.

Yeah sure! - the machine is wonderful when its working - but why do they play up so much? I faffed around with the thing one day that by the time it was working I had completely gone off the idea of doing any sewing at all!

I have come to the conclusion that I am much better sewing by hand. I managed to produce a lovely little patchwork cushion and a Shabby Chic rabbit, without even going near that flaming sewing machine of mine!

The machine (out of use as there is something wrong with the bobbin - I think it is the way I wound it, but I don't have the patience to find out) is now at the bottom of my wardrobe hiding away from me (I think it may have found itself through the window if I had spent anymore time with it)!

But I have had much better results sewing by hand - without going near that metal contraption. Maybe the seams are not as strong - but a least I am still in control of my mind!!

One day maybe, I will become friends with my sewing machine - but I really can't see it myself!

Jaffa Cake Pudding

I came across this recipe in Best's 'Just For Kids' recipe collection, however I changed the make up slightly as I thought is was a bit fiddly.


1 Orange Jelly, cut into squares
375ml Orange Juice
1 x 10in Sponge Base
275g Plain Chocolate
350ml Double Cream

Heat 150ml orange juice until boiling and use to dissolve jelly, add remaining juice. Leave to cool and partially set for a few hours - jelly should be quite thick but not completely set.

Spread jelly onto the sponge flan case and refrigerate until set.

Break chocolate into a bowl and add half the cream. Set over a bowl of hot water and stir until dissolved. Leave to cool.

Whip remaining cream until it forms soft peaks and fold into chocolate mixture. Refrigerate until set.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Sunday, 28 February 2010


As tomorrow is St David's Day, here are a couple of my favourite recipes.

250g Plain Flour
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
Pinch Salt
125g Butter
100g Caster Sugar
75g Currants
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 tbs Milk

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl and rub in the butter. Stir in the sugar and currants. Add the milk and egg until the mixture makes a firm dough. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and roll out to approx 5mm/1/4in thick. Cut out rounds approx 2 1/2 - 3in in diameter.

Heat a little butter in a heavy based frying pan (if you have a bakestone - even better). Cook the cakes for approx 4-5mins on both sides. Transfer to a wire rack and sprinkle with caster sugar. Leave to cool.

BARA BRITH (speckled bread)

225g Mixed dried fruit and chopped mixed peel
225ml Strong Hot Tea, strained
225g Self Raising Flour
1tsp Mixed Spice
25g Butter
100f Brown Sugar
1 egg, Lightly Beaten

Put the fruit in a heatproof bowl and pour over the tea. Cover and leave overnight.

Pre-heat oven to 180'C/Gas Mark 4, Grease a 21b loaf tin (or use a liner).

Sift the flour and mixed spice into a large mixing bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, then add fruit with it's liquid along with the beaten egg. Stir well to make a mixture with a soft consistency.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared loaf tin and level the surface.

Bake in the oven for approx 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Turn out on to a wire rack and leave to cool.

Sunday, 14 February 2010



1 Medium Egg

50g Caster Sugar

50g Soft Brown Sugar

75g Golden Syrup

80g Butter

1 tsp Mixed Spice

1/4 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

375g Plain Flour

Preheat oven to 180'c. Rub the butter into the flour and then stir in the dry ingredients. Add the egg and golden syrup and bring together to form a dough.

Roll out onto a floured board and cut out hearts using a heart shaped cookie cutter. Arrange on a greased baking tray and bake for approx 20mins, until they are a golden colour.

Decorate with icing or icing pens.

Saturday, 13 February 2010


I have been after a good cupcake pattern for a long time now, but have never been able to find a really good one until now. I popped over to the Little Cotton Rabbits blog and came across her wonderful patterns. I bought this pattern from her site on Folksy, but she also has lots of lovely free patterns on her blog - they are absolutely wonderful. I can't wait now to knit some more of them!


At last!! I've managed to make this patchwork bag. I've been meaning to make one for ages and kept putting it off. In the end it took just over a week to make, evening only, so not too much time spent on it. The pattern was from last month's Let's Knit magazine, which was well worth the money as there were lots of good patterns in it this time as well as the free handles.

I lined the bag with some gingham which was one of those things which I bought for those 'it may come in handy for something' moments!!

It's smaller than I imagined it to be, so I think it will be used to hold my current cross stitching project. Very pleased with the result!!

Monday, 18 January 2010




1/4 Cup Warm Water

3 1/4 Cups Flour

1 Egg

1 tsp Salt

1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar

3/4 Cup Warm Milk

25g Margerine/Butter

1 Sachet Dried Yeast


115g Butter, melted

1/2 Cup Chopped Mixed Nuts

2 tsp Ground Cinnamon

3/4 Cup Demerara Sugar


1/2 Cup Icing Sugar

Enough milk to make a thin icing

Place all the ingredients into the bread maker in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Set breadmaker to dough programme.

Preheat oven to 180'c. Grease and flour a bundt pan (a large sandwich tin works just as well).

Place the chopped nuts, cinnamon and brown sugar into a small bowl and mix. Place melted butted into another bowl.

When the breadmaker has finished, pull pieces off the dough and roll into 1/2 inch balls, roll the balls into the butter and then roll in the nut mixture to cover. Arrange in the pan in a circle.

Bake for approx 20 - 25 minutes or until browned and the bread sounds hollow when tapped underneath.

Leave to cool. Make the icing by sieving the icing sugar and mixing with enough milk to form a runny consistency. Drizzle over the bread and leave to set.


I own lots of American recipe books, but some of the measurements have often been awkward to work out. I do now have a set of cup measures, but this chart still comes in handy for liquid & butter measures etc.

1 Cup US = 275ml
1 Pint US = 550ml
1 Quart US = 900ml
1 Level Tablespoon Flour - 15g Flour
1 Heaped Tablespoon Flour - 28g Flour
1 Level Tablespoon Sugar = 28g Sugar
1 Level Tablespoon Butter = 15g Butter
1 Cup Rice US = 225g Rice
1 Cup Flour US = 115g Flour
1 Cup Butter US = 225g Butter
1 Stick Butter US = 115g Butter
1 Cup Dried Fruit US = 225g Dried Fruit
1 Cup Brown Sugar US = 180g Brown Sugar
1 Cup Granulated Sugar US = 225g Granulated Sugar

Sunday, 17 January 2010



150g Stale White Bread or Brioche

Vanilla Extract

1 tbs Caster Sugar

Finely Grated Rind of 1/2 Lemon

200ml Milk

50g Butter + Extra For Greasing

300ml Coconut Milk

4 Eggs, Separated

2 tbs Bramble Jelly

100g Caster Sugar


Preheat oven to 180'C (350'F) Gas Mark 4. Grease a medium sized oven proof dish.

Process the bread crumbs and tip into a mixing bowl. Add a few drops of vanilla essence with the tablespoon of sugar and the grated lemon rind.

In a small pan, heat the milk with the butter. Just before it boils, pour the hot milk over the breadcrumbs, then add the coconut milk. Lastly beat in the egg yolks.

Pour the mixture into the greased baking dish, put into the oven and bake for about 30mins. The cream should be just starting to set.

Warm the jelly gently and spread it over the cream, when it has cooled a little. Whisk the egg whites until stiff with a pinch of salt, add the sugar (reserving 2 tsp) and whisk again. Spread the meringue over the cream, sprinkle with the remaining sugar and put in the oven for about 15 minutes, just long enough for the meringue to brown in places. Serve hot.


Just recently I seem to have accumulated one or two 'things' - what with Christmas and everything and just wanted to show them off.

The first things are a lovely red polka dot tea pot, 2 make up bags and a matching 2 tier cake stand. The were meant as Christmas presents but arrived too late. I couldn't possible send them back now could I? Lol!

The other thing I had was a set of cookery books in a hat box. Each little book was given such appetising name such as Strawberry & Guava, Apple & Pear and Orange Flower Water & Violet. I am planning to do some of the recipes from these in the next couple of days - I just don't know which ones to do first!

There is also nothing nicer than something for free and I had this gorgeous little sewing tin as a free gift with a magazine - so no more lost scissors.

Sunday, 3 January 2010


2 tbs Coffee Essence (eg Camp)
175g Butter, softened
175g Caster Sugar
3 Medium Eggs
175g S.R. Flour
100g Walnuts
For The Filling
125g Butter, softened
250g Icing Sugar
2 tbs Coffee Essence (eg Camp)
8 Walnut Halves

Pre-heat oven to 180'C/Gas Mark 4. Grease and flour 2 x 7in sandwich tins. Place all the ingredients into a bowl and beat until smooth. Divide between the sandwich tins and bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until just firm to the touch in the centre.

Remove the cakes from the oven and cool in the tins for 5-10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the filling, beat together the butter, icing sugar, and coffee essence until smooth, adding 1tbs boiling water if the mixture is too thick. Use to fill the cake and spread on top. Use walnut halves to decorate.