Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Cakes and Tea Towels

My eyes have been opened to a brand new world. The previous occupants of my middle drawer were from Tesco, Primark and a very dodgy looking one from Centerparcs! (no I didn't steal it, I bought it!!). Anna then posted on her blog about having too many tea towels. A new obsession was born. Cath Kidston...Emma Bridgewater...Heinz Ketchup?! Fortunately for me (or my purse), CK had a sale on, as did EB... When I took a good look at my collection I realised I had MORE Christmas tea towels than anything else! I got a nice Santa one from my parents this year too. Maybe they were trying to tell me something when they came to stay. I even checked Ebay for tea towels - well you can get anything on there!!

Then...came the Ginger Cake, with picture. Of course I HAD to make it but I didn't have ginger in syrup. Feeling a little under the weather, I ventured to Waitrose miserably on Monday. I wanted to curl up in front of the TV watching Dirty Dancing for the 100th time but also I wanted to make that cake!
I should have gone straight to the syrup, but no....I ambled from aisle to aisle browsing, thinking "ooooh that looks nice", "so does that" (plant, flowers, magazines x 3, early birthday presents, nice soap, chocolate, Lavazza Carte D'or - I was ill!). "Yes, and I definitely need a pink whisk". I shouldn't have got a trolley!

£125 later (I kid you not) I had everything I didn't need, but what did I forget?!! It's OK, I remembered as I got into my car! (People who know me well, will know that I do this a lot).

Our printer is in for repair so I hand-wrote the recipe down. Meticulously followed the instructions: omitting the dried fruit on the purpose, and the sugar by mistake. It ended up sloppy though (I beat the hell out of it), lined the tin and popped it into the oven with a baking parchment lid on it so it didn't burn (very wise A). The smell from the oven was delectable (I have regained my sense of smell thank goodness!).

So here it is....together with one of my new tea towels :-) I am now going to cut the BIGGEST peice of cake, make a Latte and watch Dirty Dancing.

This was a very expensive cake!!!!! But totally worth it. I think I'll have to add it to my regular cakes when the coffee shop opens!

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Awarded for Rambling....

Anna from All Things Lovely has awarded me an award (bad English!) for my mutterings. Am very chuffed!

So now I have to share 7 facts with you...

I used to have a fork-lift truck license. I think it has expired now but I once used to work as a sales administrator and as we were a small company, all employees had to learn to drive the fork-lift. It was great fun, and a great laugh watching a 1970s safety film called “The Colour of Danger”….

I have been with my husband since I was 14 years old. First kissed him at the tender age of 12……we got married at 23 and have been married for 11 years. He asked me out when I was 12 and I said no so he didn’t speak to me for 2 years. He asked me to marry him in 1988!!!!!!

I wanted to be an accountant when I was a little girl….then a nurse and then a florist. Got to be one of them!

I HATE wasps….they paralyse me with fear.

When pregnant with my daughter, I was sick so much I dislocated my jaw….

I love Alan Rickman, Russell Brand and Eddie Izzard!

I still suffer with homesickness and I REALLY don't like change! For example, it takes me a good 2/3 days to settle into a holiday and when I first started work, I was so nervous and anxious that I used to burst into tears at lunchtime. I'm much better now.....(as you all back away from the computer!!)

So do I have to nominate another blogger? Well I will the person who got me into 'all this'. This woman is responsible!

That's all folks! (for now, anyway!)

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Getting Fruity

I always find it harder to get my two to eat fruit during the colder months. Whilst I pack their dinners with veg (some of it they can't see - although my daughter can spot a courgette a mile off!), fruit seems to lose it's appeal. I'm giggling as I remember getting my children to try new veg by candlelight - it's amazing if they can't see if properly they will try it!!! Doesn't work now though....
I'm not a fan of stewed fruit and so to be honest it doesn't occur to me to get them to try it (although I have an idea what would happen!!). My freezer is full of it though as I don't want to waste it. I think a few people might be getting apple pies over the weekend!!
C and I went fruit shopping today in Marks & Sparks. Perhaps because she chose it, she devoured quite a bit after dinner tonight, as did H - especially the Strawberries and Cherries.

I'm really pleased with the photo of the apples and plums. Having had my camera for 4 years, I discovered that if you press the 'food' button on the menu, you get a better picture (better late than never I guess!)

As part of a New Year Resolution and pre-building project sort-out, I had an amazing discovery. I'm amazed that they were unopened and hadn't been discovered by one of my children during a rummage through the cupboards to find something....anything to eat (other than fruit!!!!).

I had 4 with my tea and now feel sick! They were gorgeous. Now they are open, I can hear them calling me from the cupboard! I hope R comes home and hides them somewhere else before I end up eating them all!!!!! Uh-Oh...C has just found them!!!

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Some pictures from the Weekend

We went to The Millennium Dome, a.k.a The O2 (I prefer the former name as when we mentioned to friends and family we'd been to The O2, they looked confused and said 'huh?' and then we had to explain!

I wish I'd taken a picture of this prior to going in, as the sky was sooo clear and blue. But by the time we came out it was cloudy. Hey ho.

A clue to where we've been. Took the children to the Tutankhamun exhibition, which was fabulous and well worth it.

I just love this picture, I'd love a lampshade like this!!

Back to school tomorrow......(groan).

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Post-Christmas and New Year

Happy New Year!

Well it's been busy. Before Christmas I was ill, so I had a little rush on, finishing presents. This one for my friend Amanda, who I work with. (little felt ice skates were so wonderful to make, an idea from Montessouri by Hand). The heart was a little extra for her tree, and the X-stitch was from here and was particularly apt for her (I've since learned that it made her cry, with joy hopefully!!).

Running a Craft afternoon at my Church for the children while the parents helped making 400 Christingles. It was great fun. My two were guinea pigs....

UP at the crack of dawn? Get sewing young man....

C loves stuffing....

After Christmas we went to visit my brother and his family in Cardiff. Staying in a really gorgeous hotel with a roaring fire in each room to sit and sip Baileys next to and get nice rosy cheeks. The following morning while the children played,

We sat reading, and stared at the view.

On returning home, despite not having cooked on Christmas Day, I still seemed to have a plethora of leftovers. Well, we did cook a turkey, ham and acoutrements for the following few days after Christmas, as we did have quite a few visitors.

Poor hubby has been in bed since we returned from Cardiff on Saturday afternoon. He's not usually poorly so I know when he's feeling rough as he never sleeps during the day and doesn't like lying in bed. He's done both every day. (He is also catching up on Season 2 of 24 which means we can continue watching it together once he's caught up with me!!)

Anyway....we have lots of leftovers as he hasn't been hungry enough to eat, so I've been busy making in the kitchen.

Turkey Soup
Yes, yes - I know, a good ole Turkey recipe. However this one is really nice. (Turkey carcus, 1 parsnip, stick of celery, 2 carrots, 1 onion, 2 bay leaves and sprigs of rosemary, 2 litres of water, bung in cooking pot and bring to the boil, simmer slowly for 2 hours). They say that a good chicken soup is good for the soul, and the enzymes released while cooking it is a good cure for colds and flu. R has just eaten a bowl so if he miraculously springs from our bed tomorrow I will let you know.

Broccoli and Stilton Soup, Cheese Sauce
Why Oh Why did we buy a "cheese board". Well I know why, because before Christmas I had a tummy bug and when I finished doing my shopping online, I had no appetite for food so ordered something that would suit all tastes. The Somerset Brie was decimated by the mother-in-law and so there was some Stilton, French Brie and Edam left. I leafed through my Nigella Express Recipe Book and found Broccoli and Stilton Soup....I actually wouldn't touch Stilton with a barge pole if you handed it to me on a cracker, but in a soup, I likes it :-D

It's really, really simple and I'm having it for tea.

First of all fry 3 chopped salad onions in garlic oil.

Add 500g frozen broccoli, together with 1 tsp of dried thyme
Crumble in Stilton....add 800ml hot vegetable stock.

Cook for 5 minutes, liquidize and serve with a little red chilli crumbled on top.


I also made batches of cheese sauce for the children, ready to throw on pasta with some of the leftover ham, chicken and some broccoli.

Split Pea and Ham Soup
I have made this before and it's gorgeous. It's also low fat which means it tastes better!!!!

Now that all our guests have gone, the tree is down and things are getting back to normal. I'm already planning what my next sewing project is going to be. I have a few birthdays coming up so better start thinking! (especially as one of them is a big know who you are ;-) )