Friday, 31 July 2009

Something for the Weekend

I am really looking forward to the weekend - it's gonna be a good one! We're heading back to our old stomping ground of Staines for what is sure to be a very spectacular wedding - our friends Duncan and Reena will be tying the knot on Sunday. To make the most of catching up with old friends we just don't see often enough, we heading down on Saturday and staying over night with my sister-in-law. With invites for lunch and sleepovers I've been busy baking 'thank you' treats for our hosts and wonderful friends - my fail-safe Brownie recipe in pretty little boxes.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Sugar sprinkles and dolls with pink hair

This morning Lily had her lovely friend Misty over to play. They baked some beautiful muffins topped with icing, sugar sprinkles and smarties. We followed a recipe from one of Lily's library books - yes, she loves to get cook books out the library ... is that a typical 4 year old? ... maybe she's just a chip off the old block!

A Bit of Summer Cheer

The weather has been a bit dull so far this week for July. Today's pick-me up was not food, but a simple vase of flowers, hence my first non-food post .... but I'd say that flowers are second to food for me. I picked these wonderful pinky orange Dahlia's up from my local supermarket ( a snip at £4) and homed them in my favourite vintage vase. The Hydrangea in the other vessel was picked from my garden. Together they bring a bit of summer to my living room, when outside there is July rain.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Recipe Request No. 2

I was delighted to receive a request for my flapjack recipe from a lady in America - apparently flapjack is a little hard to come by over there. Well, as promised I am posting up my favourite flapjack recipe. This is for Jo and Andy too - parenthood is obviously resulting in a sweet tooth in their household!

Orange & Walnut Flapjack

250g butter cubed, plus extra for greasing
250g golden caster sugar
175g golden syrup
425g porridge oats
50g walnut pieces
finely grated zest of one orange
3 tbsp of orange marmalade

1. Heat the oven to 180C / fan 160C / Gas 4 and butter a 20 x 20cm tin, or a size with similar dimensions.

2. Melt the butter in a pan, adding the sugar and syrup. Stir over a medium heat. Once it is all combined take it off the heat and stir in the oats, walnuts and orange zest.

3. Tip the mixture into the baking tray and level the top. Bake for approx 30mins, but check at 25mins - once it is golden brown around the edges and still a little soft in the middle, remove it from the oven and mark into 12 pieces by cutting half way down with a sharp knife. When it has completely cooled, heat the marmalade with 1tbsp of water until syrupy. Brush this over the flapjack and leave to cool before cutting into 12 pieces. Enjoy! x

Recipe Request No. 1

The lovely Josephine Machon has requested my cupcake recipe. So here you go Jo, bake these for little Roo when he's a bit older - I'm sure they will go down a treat!

Everyday Cupcakes.
(Makes approx 10)

1 tbsp milk
3 eggs lightly beaten
110g caster sugar
115g self raising flour
85g butter, softened

and for the butter icing ...

100g butter, softened
200g icing sugar
1 tbsp milk

1. Heat oven to 190C. Fill a bun tin with 10 cake cases.

2. Using an electric whisk, beat the milk, eggs + sugar until thick and glossy and doubled in bulk - it should leave a trail when lifted. Add half the flour and half the butter and fold in. Then fold in the remaining flour + butter.

3. Fill the cases almost to the top with the mixture and bake for approx 10mins or until risen and golden.

4. When completely cool ice with the butter icing. For the butter icing, place the butter in a bowl and beat with a wooden spoon, then sift in the icing sugar and combine with the milk. If you want your butter icing thicker just add more icing sugar. Add a drop of colouring if desired. All that's left is to let your inner 'artist' go wild with the sugar sprinkles!

A Cupcake for a rainy July Afternoon

It's July; the school summer holiday's are here; the beach is on our doorstep; but it's raining. Better stay in and bake then .... A freshly baked chocolate cupcake will brighten the afternoon!

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Save our Flapjack!

WARNING! .... I'm about to go on my first blog rant.
I really do think that this country has gone mad. I have read in today's newspaper that the Food Standards Agency want to put a stop on flapjack being sold in supermarkets to help combat our countries growing obesity problem! Yes, flapjack is full of sugar. so you eat it as an occasional treat like you ought to with most sweet treats. What's next, shut down sweet shops, clamp ice-cream vans, tax people who take sugar in their tea! To me flapjack is very British and nostalgic. It's fudgy aroma transports me back to my childhood when my mum would bake a tray of it for us to indulge in. I would of course rather bake my own flapjack than buy a mass produced version from the supermarket - it's hardly rocket science to make - but for heavens sake Food Standards Agency, get a grip on reality, let people decide for themselves if they want to buy flapjack!

A Salad in the Garden

A quick lunch enjoyed on a sunny day in the garden last week. The salad comprised of mixed salad leaves, tomatoes. cucumber, green olives, feta and beautiful artichoke hearts quickly fried to faintly golden in a drizzle of peppery olive oil.

My Kitchen

I love my kitchen. I love any 'good' kitchen. Nothing too slick and minimal - I like a kitchen to be used, loved and lived in. I often come across a few 'finds' for my kitchen such as these vintage Biba food jars which I like to display. I am a huge Biba fan so these are my pride and joy. One once contained dried chickpeas, one dried onions and the other brown sugar ... and there is still some of the original sugar in it!

Cupcakes for the Teachers

Yesterday was a sad day - Lily's last day at playschool. It's the end of an era that bought a tear to my eye. The wonderful team of ladies that run the SeeSaw playschool, put on a party for all the children leaving to start school in September. They threw a wonderful party that the children loved. As a very small token of my thanks to them all for
making Lily's time at playschool so wonderful, I baked them some mocha cupcakes to enjoy with their morning coffee. I shall be sending Arthur to the same wonderful playschool in a couple of years, but in the meantime I dare say I will be baking cakes for the new school's fete's and fairs.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Coffee Scandi Style

This beautiful Swedish coffee set is currently on 'sale' at Plumo. I just love the blue coffee maker and old fashioned filter!

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Pretty In Pink

My daughter Lily has a favourite cake - these pink cupcakes - I made them for the first time for her birthday party, which took place on a sunny day in late March. They were a hit with all the children - boys included!

So Good I Made It Twice!

With the arrival of Arthur 6 weeks ago, we've been welcoming friends and family into our home to meet the little lad. Life is somewhat chaotic at the moment so to cook a meal for visitors is a little ambitious, but a simple quick-to-prepare cake to serve with coffee .... I just couldn't help myself. This Almond and Orange Cake was so easy and tasty that I made it twice ...

A Cake for Sue

I can get buy with an icing bag, but prefer to decorate my cakes with seasonal fruits, herbs and flowers. I made this 'blueberry cake' last week for the wonderful Sue, Lily's playschool teacher.
It was for her surprise party to celebrate running See-Saw playschool for 20 years.


Welcome to my blog. Some people eat to live and others live to eat - I fall into the latter! I've loved food and cooking it from an early age. I grew up on my mum's home cooking and it rubbed off on me. Home cooking is the tastiest, most satisfying way to cook and eat. I love nothing better than cooking for loved-ones, friends and family - I will spend an age trawling through recipe books old and new creating a menu to suit the season and occasion. I like to cook in tune with the seasons and incorporate local and homegrown produce when I can. We're lucky enough to have an allotment and our now in our third growing season.

I hope to pass on my passion and knowledge for cooking to my children - it's a gift for life. Lily, aged 4, loves to help in the kitchen especially when I'm baking cakes, and I hope that our latest addition to the family, Arthur, just 6 weeks, will follow suit - he certainly has a great appetite for milk!

There is much I'd like to include in this blog - recipes (my own and others I love to cook), allotment updates, beautiful cookware and bits for the kitchen that I come across, children's food, food places I love .... this list goes on.

My real passion is baking, so to start things off, I am going to post some of my recent 'sweet treats' .... I've made lots of cakes for friends birthday's, plus a couple of weddings and would love to expand a little to selling my cakes in the very near future. Watch this space .....