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Monday, 28 December 2015

Is Spring springing early?

I went to the park on one of the few dry days we had last week and was surprised to see Spring flowers springing up!




Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Gingerbread House


Not done as much Christmas crafting as I would like this year but I did make a gingerbread house, it is becoming tradition to attempt to make one every year with my other half but this year's has to be the most successful yet - thanks to Lidl for the kit!




...when Santa got stuck up the chimney...

It looks so good and it took ages to make that it now seems a shame to eat it :)

Friday, 18 December 2015

Slow Cooked Ham in Cider (great for Christmas!)



With all the spices this is great for an alternative Christmas meat on Christmas day.

Ingredients:

1.2kg gammon joint
Approx 30 whole cloves
500ml bottle of cider
100g soft dark brown sugar
100ml maple syrup
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp ground ginger
1 orange, quartered


Method:

  1. Pierce small holes on the surface of the joint with a skewer or sharp knife and insert the whole cloves into the holes. Try to spread them out evenly.
  2. Pour the cider over the joint in the slow cooker.
  3. Press the sugar into the surface of the gammon joint around the cloves.
  4. Gently pour the maple syrup over the meat, so as not to wash off too much sugar.
  5. Place the spices (cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger) into the cider.
  6. Squeeze the juice from the quartered orange over the meat and place the remnants of the orange skin into the cider as well.
  7. Slow cook for 4-5 hrs on high for the first hour then on low for the rest.erve with roast potatoes and vegetables for a lovely Sunday roast.

Serve with roast potatoes and vegetables for a lovely Sunday roast. 

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Pottery Painting Party



For my birthday I had a pottery painting party with some of my girlies, we had lots of fun painting different things, Christmas decorations, cups, plates etc

I decided to paint a cake stand as I love baking and did not have one previously.


There is also a spotty base which I forgot to photograph.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Chicken and Mushroom Pie



Ingredients:

250g ready to roll puff pastry
50g butter
500g chicken pieces
salt and pepper
1 medium onion
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 bay leaf
1 tsp thyme
250g mushrooms
100ml single cream
1 tbsp flour
1 tsp mustard
300ml chicken stock
milk to glaze

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 200C.
  2. Melt the butter on a gentle heat and add the chicken, season with salt and pepper as necessary and fry for a few minutes.
  3. Add the onions, nutmeg, bay leaf and thyme and continue to fry until the onions are beginning to soften.
  4. Then add the mushrooms and continue to fry until they are softening.
  5. Add the cream and flour mixing together well, add the mustard and chicken stock.
  6. Mix well and turn to a low heat to simmer gently for about 5 minutes.
  7. Place into a pie dish and top with pastry and glaze with milk.
  8. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until the pastry is nicely golden brown.
Serve with roast potatoes or mash potatoes and seasonal vegetables.


Friday, 4 December 2015

Melted Snowman Cupcakes


My toddler loves snowmen, so these were on the list for things to make this festive season...

Melted Snowmen





I think this last one looks quite like the snowman from The Snowman film and book


I love them all, they're all different, unique & cute!!!

Honey and Orange, Sausage and Root Veg Roast


Ingredients:

1 large onion, sliced
a selection of root veg, ie swede, carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes, turnips etc
8 sausages
2 tbsps honey
an orange, zest and juice
olive oil


Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 190C or Gas Mark 6.
  2. Peel and chop the root veg into inch squared chunks.
  3. Mix chopped vegetables and onion into olive oil.
  4. Place in roasting tin with the sausages and roast for 10-15 mins.
  5. Mix together the honey, orange zest and juice.
  6. Turn over the vegetables and sausages in the roasting tin and drizzle over the honey and orange mix.
  7. Return to the oven for another 20-30 minutes until the veg is soft and sausages are cooked through.

Serve with some delicious creamy mashed potato as a Sunday roast alternative.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Christmas at ours

Christmas has arrived a little early here, but I worked out if I didn't get the Christmas decorations up this weekend it probably wouldn't happen this year...





...cannot wait to see my toddlers reaction when he sees it in the morning :)

Friday, 27 November 2015

Carrot & Sweet Potato Mash



I was planning on cooking sausage and mash for my family tonight but wanted to make it with a difference, so we had sausage, homemade potato wedges and vegetable mash with onion gravy. It was delicious.

Ingredients:

5 medium carrots, peeled & sliced
3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled & chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
25g butter
black pepper

Method:

  1. Place the carrots, sweet potatoes and garlic cloves into a pan of water and bring to the boil.
  2. Simmer until the vegetables are nice and tender (easy to mash).
  3. Drain the vegetables and add the cumin, butter and other seasoning if required and mash.

Serve as an alternative vegetable side dish to many amazing meals or as I did an alternative to sausage and mash!

Friday, 20 November 2015

Butternut Squash Soup



Ingredients:

1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
Olive oil
1 butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded and cubed
1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 tsp turmeric
800ml vegetable stock (I made with 2 vegetable OXO cubes)


Method:

  1. Heat the oil slightly in a large pan, adding the onions and garlic to gently saute until soft.
  2. Add the butternut squash, sweet potato and turmeric heating for another few minutes.
  3. Add the vegetable stock and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the vegetables cubes are tender.
  4. Allow to cool a little to puree in a blender, before re-heating slightly to serve.

Serve with some fresh bread and butter, will warm up any winters day.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Sprouts with bacon



Ingredients:

2 slices of bacon, chopped into fine strips
450g sprouts, halved
2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
half a chicken OXO cube, dissolved in 120ml of boiling water
salt
pepper

Method:

  1. Pan fry the bacon on a medium-low heat, until crispy.
  2. Remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon.
  3. Add the sprouts to the pan and saute for a few minutes, until browning.
  4. Add the garlic and continue to saute for a few more minutes.
  5. Add the chicken stock and cover for 5 minutes. Uncover and continue to simmer for another 5 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated.
  6. Add the crispy bacon and season as necessary.
Serve as a vegetable side dish alongside a roast or other meal.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Thanksgiving Dedication & 30th Birthday Cakes



Both myself and my husband are 30 this year which feels like a significant milestone, so we chose to celebrate combining a dedication ceremony of thanksgiving for our son and a big party with family and friends. But every party needs a cake... 






Here are the efforts of my first fruit cake using a good old traditional recipe from the Be-Ro cookery book, iced with marzipan and ready to roll icing. The leaves, writing and other details are piped on using royal icing of different autumnal colours. Very impressed with the final outcome, now just hope everyone loves it, from it's appearance to it's taste!

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Out Of This World @ 30


It's my husband's 30th birthday so I have been creating cake!


It's a lemon curd cake with lemon buttercream icing....scrummy.


Here's a close up of the sugar crafted rocket :)

Friday, 16 October 2015

Sausage & bean casserole




Ingredients:10 pork sausages
olive oil
1 onion, chopped finely
a handful of chopped fresh parsley 
1 carrot, chopped
half a swede
1 parsnip, chopped
1 tin of beans
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 tsp mustard 
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
300ml veg stock


Method:


  1. Preheat oven to 190C.
  2. Place sausages in the casserole dish and put in the oven to cook.
  3. Heat the oil in a pan & add the onion & half the parsley for a minute.
  4. Add the chopped vegetables (carrots, swede, parsnip) & fry for 4-5 minutes.
  5. Add the veg stock, beans, tomato purée, Worcestershire sauce & mustard along with the remaining parsley, allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Once sausages are cooked, add the simmering ingredients from the pan on top of the sausages & place back in the oven for 30 mins.

Serve with mashed or jacket potatoes and some fresh green beans or broccoli.


Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Friday, 9 October 2015

Ratatouille




Ingredients:

1 aubergine, chopped
2 courgettes, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 peppers, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
a handful of fresh basil, finely chopped (I was able to use fresh basil from the garden)
2 tins of tomatoes
1 tbsp of red wine vinegar
Olive oil


Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a pan. On a medium heat fry the onion, garlic and half the basil for a few minutes.
  2. Add the aubergine, courgettes, peppers and carrots for a 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add the tinned tomatoes, red wine vinegar and rest of the basil and bring to simmer.
  4. Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
  5. Serve with pasta or crusty bread, topped with some grated parmesan cheese.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Poppies at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Last year there was a magnificent display of ceramic poppies in the moat of the Tower of London. Each poppy represented a man from the Commonwealth who had fallen during World War 1. It was an amazing display and proved very popular. Sadly, I was unable to make the trip to London to see the piece of artwork, but saw many photos of it.

Now, some (not all) of the poppies are touring different places in the UK, one being the Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP). As we did not get to London and YSP is on our doorstep we took a trip to see them.

Here are some of my photos from the exhibition...





Monday, 7 September 2015

St David's, South Wales

We did our first camping trip for a few years to St David's in South Wales, we had a fabulous time with great weather & beautiful views. Here are a few photos to tempt you with...

Newgale Beach

En route to the campsite this was the first beach we saw, although we never ended up visiting it.

View over Whitesands Bay & Ramsey Island

South Welsh Countryside

South Welsh Coastline, north of Whitesands Bay

Beautiful views

Our Campsite is somewhere out there

Wild Welsh Ponies

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