Sunday, 30 January 2011

Sleepover Whoopie

How far would your heart sink if no. one child announced a sleepover, in your house with 14 of them expected? Mmmm I know! Well let me tell you that my heart sank just as low. With hind site though it needn't have bothered.

I used the occaision to try out Whoopie pies. I hadn't made these before and an audience of teenagers was not to be missed.  They didn't look too promising prior to baking.....

I think they lasted about 5 minutes after they were baked and filled. Definitely a recipe to be repeated! Chocolate Whoopie with marshmallow filling. The actual "pie" is not too sweet which is just as well as the filling certainly is..

The evening was great. 14 teenagers in the house, playing poker of all things, as well as twister and playing the piano, extremely well!
They ate lots of food but that's ok as we had made lots. In fact we may be eating pasta bolognese for quite some time.
One of the highlights of the evening though, was when they asked if they could bake. Actually this had been on the cards for quite some time, baking "lessons" having been mentioned before. Everyone joined in and two lots of cupcakes were produced and decorated by said teenagers with very little input from me, including the washing up.

Icing was added using lots of sparkles and sprinkles. There's a little kid in them all yet! 

Most also had a go at piping shapes with the royal icing which was then left to dry where Suzy the cat had a great time overnight sampling it all......cue one sticky table in the morning.
I'm not sure exactly how much sleep happened during this sleepover but all helped to tidy up, have breakfast and were all gone by lunchtime. Roll on the next one.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

A Jaunt

I know it's Burn's Night and awe that, but I'm sure plenty of other people will post about it and the merits or otherwise of haggis with or without gravy, (don't get me started). So I thought I would tell you about a discovery that was made today. Well actually the theoretical discovery was made sometime before Christmas when one of my friends told me about the website, and we had a lovely afternoon exploring by computer.
BUT today we went and saw and oh yes bought. It was tempting, very, very tempting. beautiful things as well as some bits and bobs that would be very welcome to come home with me....

Some lovely, soft French string perhaps?

Some feather dusters? Small, large or enormous?

And then the things that were too tempting to ignore..... The Pink Milk Glass Cake Stand...
(Sorry about the picture, by the time i got home the light wasn't too good. I'm sure it will feature lots in posts to come.)

The dishcloths all presented in a special carton. Available in a variety of toning colours.

Or how about matching French soaps and washing cloths.... no I didn't succumb to those as well but another visit may well be on the cards...

And where is this fabulous place? Follow the link (fingers crossed it works)... just don't look if feeling weak in the face of temptation. You have been warned!

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Afternoon Tea for a Princess

When you are 5 nothing will do except for a pink princess cake! Cue Barbie redone as Princess Cake...

Of course, mums and even dads, may prefer an oozey lemon sponge...

Or how about some Millionaire's Shortbread. Known in some circles as chocolate caramel shortbread but known to me as Goo.

Or how about some Ginger Snaps (recipe courtesy of Delia)....

Finally mini meringues always seem to be popular. I think people assume they are difficult to make as they always seem to get more attention than the amount of time they take to do....

Voila... One party tea for a small girl, friends and parents!

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Award Ceremony

Firstly I would like to thank Penny  at The Hen House for the award. It is my first ever and I am overwhelmed.
Apparently now I have to tell you seven things that you don't know about me (and that you might be interested in). I am sure these should also be clean and suitable for a family audience as well as my dad who occaisionally pops in. Mmmm will have to have a think about this. In the meantime I also have to nominate 5 blogs who I think are deserving of an award too. here goes in no particular order. Hopefully the links will work and you will be able to have a look too.

 I would like to nominate

Lucy over at Attic 24 because hers was the first blog that i ever read having been nosing around the Dorset's Cereals website. Lucy you were and are an inspiration and a very colourful one at that. Thankyou.

Baking Brownies for Motzart is a new blog to me but her baking is fabulous, pop over and have a look.

Just Me, also I feel deserves an award for sheer brillliant blogging.

Hummus Boy Another new to blogging persona

Sue at The Quince Tree that some of you will already know but has given me some of the oomph to try out different pictures, headers and samplers.

Congratulations to you all and hope you get a few more people dropping by.

Now for the seven new things:-...

1. I am really not bothered about milk. A bit of an odd one I know but t means that we do run out sometimes and I don't really care. I take juice on my cereal and hot drinks black so what is the use of milk?

2. I embarass my children, often! Mostly by telling people in shops that their spelling is wrong or, that they have an apostrophe in the wrong place. Coming from me this is not good as my own spelling leaves a lot to be desired.

3. I bite the heads off jelly babies first so they can't scream.

4. I hate toast crumbs left on the work surfaces.

5. I have a Bronze Medalion for swimming am a qualified swimming teacher (lapsed) and once pulled a revolting child out of the pool and then wished I had left him in.

6. I have a motorbike license but am really quite scared of the bike.

7. I love love love new socks. The luxury Mmmmm.

Stylish Blogger Award

I am overwhelmed! I have been given a Stylish Blogger Award by Penny. In fact I am so overwhelmed that I am speechless! I am going to go away and have a think and will post a bit later today, because this award involves some work. And speech writing and stuff.....

Friday, 14 January 2011

Crossing the Border.

I'm writing this as I click clack my way over the border on the way to Aberdeen.

Usually I drive but as this is not an option at the moment I am venturing out by train. Actually I love the train. The steady rhythm and hum from the rails, but often have too many people, too much stuff and the need for freedom at the other end to allow for train travel.
As I write we have crossed the border. The mists are creeping in and Scotland is at her wintry best. It's dreich, it's right. I'm heading for the capital before, how do you say it?, onward transition.

Isn't it amazing how many people have to constantly eat while travelling. Even Scotland can provide food at the other end. And the phone! Surely anyone with a need to know is already aware that you are on the train. It will arrive when it arrives, they don't need to know every small hamlet you have passed and, where the train doesn't stop anyway, honestly they don't.
A weekend away, my parents as yet unaware of my visit, possibly a surprise, possibly a shock as I'm staying in the child free zone that is my sister's.
Maybe I'll see the sea this time, cold but spectacular in the granite city. I've got the camera packed so watch out for the next post.
From abroad, or home depending on how you look at it.....

Friday, 7 January 2011

Cake and Jam

Today has been a cake and jam sort of a day. Well it was really cold and what else is a girl to do?
I started off with the cake, although yesterday I had a go at some dairy free cupcakes as I have been asked to do some for a birthday and wasn't sure how they would turn out, so needed a practice. ...

They look fine and tasted ok but a little bit different in texture to the usual ones. Any tips greatly appreciated.
Today's cake was a birthday present from D to one of his friends. (who happens to be a girl) hence the Red Velvet and Roses job. He has just come back from the party where it seems to be much appreciated....

I tried to do the full presentation bit and came up with this...

Now for the jam. This turned out to be VERY high faff jam. I had been given Tessa Kiros's book, Apples for Jam at Christmas and it has a recipe for mandarin jam. It took ages to prepare the fruit and seemed to take longer than suggested to reach a set. But, this may have been down to Agnes the Aga having been used a lot today. From a first taste it is almost a cross between marmalade and jam, not too sweet and nicely citrusy.

I've used my new Moo Cards as little labels this time as I was sooooo excited when I got them and have been desperate to use them since they hit the doormat.
All of this activity has taken my mind off my arm but I'm getting a bit tired now so may have to calm down a bit tomorrow.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Pleasant, pheasant presents.

Some presents come wrapped and ready to enjoy, this one needed a little more work, the enjoyment being postponed just a little. The anticipation was all a part of the deal.

Some of you, I know would be put off by this whole process but as I grew up watching the real deal it wasn't a problem.
First undress your bird. Actually the recipe called for plucking which I wasn't about to do and opted for undressing followed by using the legs and breast only. (you'd think I was a bloke!)
Add extra ingredients such as these suggestions from "Snow Flakes and Schnapps" by Jane Lawson....

The result a very tasty roast matched beautifully with creamy mash and cabbage. A part of the pleasantness was the fact that I only got one complaint and that was from K, who in the food stakes, doesn't count.
I have sooooooo many recipe books and have decided to actually try out some of the recipes instead of sticking to the same old same old.
All in all a very pleasant pheasant!

Monday, 3 January 2011

Quiet wanderings

This may be something that I haven't mentioned before. Well it is a bit strange but I love wandering around old graveyards or cemeteries. On New Year's Day I went out for a bit of fresh air and ended up in the local churchyard. Everything was very quiet as you might expect. Everything was also very brown or perhaps grey. Indeed with us here in Cumbria the whole week has been pretty grey, the very opposite of the sharp, cold, sunny days in December. There was no one around except for some men digging up the road, ( I suppose you need to get an early start with making more holes in the road), and so, I took the opportunity to take some photographs. If other people are around they think you are a bit mad photographing the graves. Oh well found out at last.....

I think that the general grey-browness added to the atmosphere....

Just as well it was still light or it may even have been a bit spooky....

I think I will try to remember to go back later in the year and see how the atmosphere has changed....

I will try to find some more colourful images for next time.