Friday, 31 December 2010

This moment - Winter Warmer

This Moment was inspired by Soulemama

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Warm Winter Night

As the old year goes out I made a warm winter dish to satisfy the soul.

Sausage and Root Vegetable Stew

2 tabsp. olive oil
6 Lincolnshire sausages
1 glass of cider
1 onion - chopped
1 leek – sliced
2 potatoes – peeled and cut into chunks
1 parsnip – cut into chunky cubes
Large handful of chopped mixed herbs – parsley, rosemary and sage
Black pepper
Cornflour to thicken

Pre-heat oven to Gas 4/180C.
1. Heat 1 tabsp. oli in a large saucepan and brown sausages over a medium
heat. Transfer to casserole dish.
2. Pour the cider into the pan and stir to degalaze, scraping to release any
bits of caramelised meat from the base of the pan. Pour over the
3. Heat the rest of the oil in the pan and add the onions and leek. Cook
gently for 10 mins until softened.
4. Return the sausages to the pan and add the potatoes and parsnip. Add
The mixed herbs, black pepper and enough water to cover all ingredients.
5. Bring to simmer and then pour all ingredients back into casserole dish.
6. Cook with lid on for approx 1 hour 30 mins or until everything is tender.
7. The potatoes should have thickened the sauce a little.
8. If you would like the cider sauce a little thicker, then make up a cornflour
paste with a couple of teaspoons of cornflour and water – stir in until
required thickness is achieved.
8. Serve with extra chopped parsley.

Baked Apples with Mincemeat

2 Bramley apples
2 dessert spoons mincemeat

Pre-heat oven to Gas 4/180C
1. Core and wash the apples (no need to peel them)
2. Place the apples into an ovenproof dish and make a score around each
apple, to allow them to cook without bursting too much.
3. Fill the centres of each apple with mincemeat, pressing the mixture well
4. Bake the apples for approx 45-50 mins until tender.
5. Serve warm with single cream

NB I use mincemeat left over from making mince-pies. The apples can actually be filled with anything, as you only need a small amount:
- mixed dried fruit, pinch of mixed spice and teasp. brown sugar
- dried cranberries and a pinch of cinnamon
- blackberries and a teaspoon brown sugar
- chopped dates and apricots

I like single cream poured over the apples, but you could use plain yoghurt, vanilla ice-cream or warm custard.

A Spot of Cooking

The last day of the year and a spot of cooking is called for.

Macaroni Cheese with Leeks and Bacon

1 leek
25g butter
25g plain flour
250ml milk
150g Red Leicester cheese
Pinch mustard
Black pepper
4 rashes bacon
150g macaroni
50g garden peas
1 slice wholemeal bread

1. Pre-heat the oven to Gas 4/180C.
2. Bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the macaroni for 10 mins.
3. Grill the bacon and chop into small pieces, leave on one-side.
4. Wash and slice the leek.
5. Melt the butter in a saucepan and gently sauté the leeks for 3-4 mins.
6. Add the plain flour and cook for a few seconds.
7. Add the milk and stir until the sauce begins to thicken.
8. Add the 100g of grated cheese, black pepper and mustard.
9. Add the peas to the macaroni and continue to cook for another 5 mins.
10. Drain the macaroni and peas.
11. Add the cheese sauce to the macaroni and mix well.
12. Make breadcrumbs using the slice of wholemeal bread, add the
remaining grated cheese and seasoning.
13.Pour the macaroni cheese into a large oven proof dish and sprinkle on
the breadcrumbs.
14. Bake for 20-25 mins until golden and crunchy on top.

Whilst the macaroni was baking I decided to make some Digestive Biscuits to have with coffee.

Home-made Digestive Biscuits

250g spelt wholemeal flour
250g butter
250g oatmeal
75g soft brown sugar
2tsp. baking powder

1. Pre-heat oven to Gas 4/180C
2. Place flour, oatmeal, butter, baking powder and sugar into food processor.
3. Pulse until all ingredients combine into a sticky dough - add a drop of milk
if too dry.
4. Gather mixture into a ball and gently knead until smooth. Wrap in cling
film and leave in fridge for 15-20 mins.
5. Roll out on floured surface – cut out shapes and place on a baking tray.
6. Bake for 10-15 mins until golden brown – DO NOT over bake.
7. Leave to cool on a wire rack and then store in an airtight box.

These are really yummy with a cup of coffee.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Noggin Bops - What has made you smile this Christmas?

Two gifts at the bottom of a Christmas bag brought a smile to our faces. Noggin Bops - just wind them up and watch them twist. Our Christmas table has been piled high with magazines, books and newspapers. As we sit drinking coffee, eating the odd mincepie and chatting about snippets that we come across the Noggins have kept us company. We stop what we are doing every so often to wind them up and watch them go - such simple pleaures that make us smile.
What has made you smile this Christmas?

Monday, 20 December 2010

Merry Christmas to The World

Where-ever you live in the world I wish you a Merry Chistmas and a Happy New Year.

Sunday, 12 December 2010


Two little tutu's waiting for two little poppets. Faryl and Poppy love to dress up and I came across this idea - a no sew version, and so easy. Once I had cut out all the strips it took about half an hour. A last minute Christmas gift - go on have a go. Purple for Faryl and pink and white for Poppy

Friday, 10 December 2010

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Snow Snow and more Snow

Well it was forecast and down it came, snow, snow and even more snow. Scotland has probably been the worst hit with temperatures reaching as low as -21 (thats what I call cold). School was closed to-day as many of the staff could not travel into work. I am sure the children had a blast in the snow and I will hear all thier storeis over the next few days. I had a walk in the wonderland, baked bread and generally got caught up on lots of little jobs.