Saturday, 31 December 2011

Hapy New Year

Where-ever you are, what-ever you are doing and who-ever you are speniding it with I wish you a very Happy New Year.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Christmas Celebrations

Quiet celebrations sharing thoughts across the sea to Savannah. Not quite the same as when my son was at home for Christmas, but treasured moments. We opened our gifts whislt eating breakfast, laughed at the funny ones and said grateful thanks for the useful ones. We ate roast pork, with roast apples, parsnips and carrots, not fogetting the sprouts. This was followed by a snowy trifle made with blackberries harvested in the autumn. A late phone call announcing the arrival of a new baby boy for my neice - how wonderful and on Christmas day.
To-day we walked across Chanock Chase - 3 hours - with a friend and her two dogs. She gave us supper and I made a mincemeat slice which we had served warm with cream.
A perfect end to the quiet days of celebration.
A toast to absent friends across the world and those who are not with us any more. We love and miss you all.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Epic Hot Chocolate

I am packing a large basket of goodies to take with me to-day, as I am visiting my sister for the pre-Christmas chit chat. among the items will be a jar of Epic Hot Chocolate drink. I came across this recipe from Jamie Oliver. He was dipping waffles into his drink and it looked amazing. It is so easy to do and store in a jar until needed. Just make sure you have plenty of milk and once started you will find it difficult to stop, your guests will want more.

Epic Hot Chocolate
2 tabsp. Horlicks (malted drink)
2 tabsp. cornflour
3 tabsp. icing sugar
4 tabsp. cocoa
100g dark chocolate - grated
good pinch of cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and then put into suitable storage jar with air-tight lid.

To Use
Heat approx 2 pints of milk in a saucepan
Add approx 6 heaped tablesp. chco mixture and stir until just simmering
The mixture wil thicken slightly.
Pour into mugs and serve.
You can top with extra whipped cream and marshmallows, but it is very rich.

I, of course double the recipe and make sure I have plenty of mixture - it really is that good.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Christmas Game

Came across this game from Normandy Life so come on join in the fun and play along.

Care to play along?
Simply cut & paste the questions below.
1. Hot Chocolate or apple cider?
Hot chocolate - Epic Chocolate from Jamie Oliver
2. Turkey or Ham?
Neither this year we are eating Pork with crackling
3. Do you get a fake or real-you-cut-it-yourself Christmas tree?
Usually real, but this year tiny fake
4. Decorations on the outside of your house?
Holly wreath on the door
5. Snowball fights or sleddin’?
Snowball fights - we are expecting a white chritmas
6. Do you enjoy going downtown shopping?
No, little places are best
7. Favorite Christmas song?
White Christmas
8. How do you feel about Christmas movies?
Magic to have a tear in our eye at Christmas time
9. When is it too early to start listening to Christmas music?
10. Stockings before or after presents?
11. Go to someone else’s house or they come to you?
My house
12. Do you read the Christmas Story? If so when?
Christmas Eve
13. What do you do after presents and dinner?
Walk in the woods
14. What is your favorite holiday smell?
15. Ice skating or walking around the mall?
Would prefer to read a book
16. Do you open a present or presents on Christmas Eve, or wait until Christmas day?
Christmas Day
17. Favorite Christmas memory?
Spending Christmas with my son who lives in USA
18. Favorite Part about winter?
Cold, fresh air
19. Ever been kissed under mistletoe?
Many moons ago

Christmas is coming, just a few more days to prepare. I am busy making new aprons and will put in my sisters bag of goodies.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Christmas is Coming

At last I can get back to blogging and catch up on all the news. I finished school yesterday for three weeks. Christmas cakes all made and despatched, apart from one which was left behind and the lady never came for it. Some presents bought and now for the big cook session to make gifts for family and neighbours. Some where I have read about the best ever mincemeat cake to make, but can I find it - I will spend another looking and then I may have to settle for second best. This afternoon I have made some lollipops and wrapped ready for the children.
Recipe is from Lorraine Pascale - Home baking made easy. Also from her book the peanut truffles - so yummy I am surprised they have reached the boxes.
Snow is expected, so I will making some soup later.
Made a start at decorating - not bad for the firts day of the hols.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Chocolate Roulade

<strong>Chocolate Roulade
6 egg yolks
175g caster sugar
175g plain chocolate - melted
6 egg whites
2 tabsp. cocoa powder
small carton double cream
small carton creme fraiche
icing sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to Gas 4/180C
Grease and line a swiss roll tin with greaseproof paper
Melt the chocolate over a pan of boiling water and then cool
Seperate the egg yolks and put the whites into a dry clean bowl
Add the sugar to the egg yolks and whisk until thick and creamy
Fold in the melted chocolate
Whisk the egg whites until thick and firm
Fold in half the egg whites and cocoa powder and then the rest of the egg whites
Make sure the mixture is well mixed - use a metal spoon to avoid air loss.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 20 mins
Leave to cool in the tin covered with a t.towel
Whisk the double cream and fold in the creme fraiche
Tip the roulade out onto greaseproof paper sprinkled with icing sugar
Spread over the cream filling and roll up.
A good roulade cracks as you roll
Sprinkle on extra icing sugar and admire your handy work.

Put the kettle on to make a nice cup of tea and take a slice just to test you have made it OK

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Christmas Fayre

Hello everyone. I seem to have been away for ages. Time has been against me over the past few weeks as I was preparing for our school Christmas Fayre. The pupils helped me of course, but the fews days leading up to the event were pretty hectic. I also have 50 Christmas Cakes to make and decorate before the 16th December when we break for the holidays.
The Christmas Fayre was excellent, with lots of interesting stalls and very busy. People were actually queuing outside to get in. The atmosphere was vibrant, music playing and people buying. I sold out - well just a couple of jars of mincemeat left, which I can use as gifts. 'Cake Pops' and 'Candy Cones' were very popular.
Hope you like the photographs - will post recipes later as I have so many jobs to get done to-day.
Happy weekend to you all.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Cake Pops

Well I must be behind the times as I have only just heard of 'Cake Pops'.
Take a cake, make it into crumbs and add frosting to bind it together. Roll it into small balls and put onto a tray - leave in the fridge for a few hours until they are firm. Insert a lollipop stick and dip into chocolate - decorate and leave to set. I have our school Christmas Fayre next Saturday, so decided to make some - well try them out to see if they work. Brilliant - so easy. I even made 'Christmas Pudding' ones from a crumbled up Christmas cake,dipped in chocolate and decorated with a marzipan holly leaf. The reindeer ones are fun to make, but you must check out

See what designs you can make. Enjoy!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Curry Night

As a group of friends we met to swap news and share stories from the past few weeks. I made a selection of curries and another friend made the desserts.
What could be better than a warming curry on a damp evening just before Halloween.
I made Cumin-scented chicken curry and vegetable curry for a crowd. Such easy recipes that I wanted to share them with you and to save writing them all out again I have put links to BBC Good Food.
I served them with tumeric rice and naan breads and of course a glass of beer.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Oyster Cakes

Searching through my bookcase I came across a Be-Ro recipe book from 1967.
Be-Ro books were very popular in the 60's and were written by the flour manufactuer Be-Ro.
So many favourites but this one is absolutely delicious.

Oyster Cakes
Shortcrust Pastry

8oz plain flour
4oz margarine
cold water
3oz margarine
3oz caster sugar
1 egg
4oz ground almonds
drop of almond essence
Raspberry Jam
Fresh whipped cream

Pre-heat the oven to Gas5/190C
Make the shortcrust patry by rubbing the fat into the flour and then add enough
cold water to make a dough
Wrap and leave in the fridge to rest whilst you make the filling
Cream together the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy
Add the egg followed by the ground almonds
Roll out the pastry on a floured surface and use a large cutter to cut out 12 circles
Line the patty tin with the circles of pastry.
Put a teaspoon of mixture on the top of each pastry circle
Bake for 15 - 130 mins until risen and golden brown.
Leave to cool on a wire rack
When cold slice off the top and fill with jame and cream
Place the top at an angle to resemble an oyster

Note: I made butter cream instead of fresh cream and piped it on one side of the jam

What could be better with a cup of tea in the afternoon

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Chocolate Christmas Cake

I was looking for something a bit different this year and came across this recipe for:

Chocolate Christmas Cake
200g butter
200g dark brown soft sugar
100g dark chocolate (80%)
75ml Brandy
250g raisins
250 currants
100g dried cranberries
100g dried sour cherries
200g SR flour
100g ground almonds
3tabsp. cocoa
1 tsp mixed spice
3 eggs

Put the butter, sugar, chocolate, brandy and dried fruits into a very large saucepan
HEat gently, stirring occasionally until everything has melted together. Remove from the heat and leave to cool
Heat oven to 150C/Gas 2
Line a deep cake tin (20cm) round or square with a double layer of greaseproof paper(baking parchment). Wrap a few layers of newspaper around the outside and tie with string.
Mix the flour, almonds, cocoa and spice together in a bowl
BEat the eggs with a fork
Once the fruit mixture has cooled, stir in the eggs and then the flour mixture
Mix well together.
Scrape into your prepared tin and level with the back of a spoon
Bake for one and half hours or until a skewer comes out clean.
Cool in the tin.
Leave wrapped in the greaseproof paper until ready to decorate.

Not sure if mine will get to the decorating bit - will let you know.

I am hoping to make several Christmas Cakes using difdferent recipes ready to sell out our school Christmas Fayre on 19th November.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Baking Week

Last week at school it was bake, bake and bake. We love baking and to celebrate National Baking Week we made cakes and cookies to sell to the students for 50p each item. We made £120.00 to donate to children who suffer from malnutrition across the world. We certainly Baked a Difference.
The favourite recipe was for Chocolate Drop Biscuits - well who could resist chocolate.

Chocolate Drop Biscuits (16)

225g butter
140g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
2tsp vanilla essence
225g plain flour
55g cocoa powder
55g choc. chops
4 tabsp. chocolate spread

1. Pre-heat the oven to Gas 5/190C
2. Flour a tray
3. Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and mix together with a wooden spoon,
then beat in the egg yolk and vanilla essence
4. Sift together the flour and cocoa
5. Mix well together and add the choc chips
6. Divide the mixture into 16 balls and place on the baking tray – you may need
2 trays
7. Flatten the biscuits and put a thumb mark on each to make a small dip in the
8. Bake for 12-15 mins.
9. Cool on a wire rack
10. When they are cold put a tsp. chocolate spread into each dip and top with a
chocolate button

Collection of Recipes

My Mom collects recipes from all over the place. Recently she has made the decision not to bake anymore due to pains in her arms (she is 80 yers old) This is so sad, as her baking is legend. However she came across a recipe for Pear and Ginger Pound Loaf Cake and she asked me to bake it for her. I love baking as you know and my kitchen had that wonderful smell of warm ginger and pears whilst it was baking.

Pear and Ginger Pound Loaf Cake

7oz butter
7oz golden caster sugar
2 large eggs - beaten
1tsp. vanilla essence
7oz SR flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 balls stem ginger - chopped
2 pears - peeled and diced
3 tabsp. ginger syrup (from the jar)
3 tabsp. sugar

Pre-heat oven to Gas 4/180C
Grease and base line a pounf loaf tin
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy using a wooden spoon
Add the eggs and beat well.
Add the vanilla ess.
Fold in the flour, baking powder
Then mix in the ginger and chopped pears - folding
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin - level with the back of a spoon
Bake for approx 1 hour until a skewer comes out clean

Make the glaze by heating the ginger syrup and sugar togehter over the heat.
Pour over the cake and allow to cool in the tin

Remove from the tin and store in an airtight tin.

Serve sliced with a cup of tea.

I will be delivering the cake to Mom tomorrow - hoping for a slice (just to make sure it tastes alright of coure)

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

White Chocolate Cakes

To-morrow at school we are holding our annual McMillan Afternoon Tea, raising money for cancer.A chance to bake, share recipes, eat cake and donate money to a good cause.
Baking is the theme for next week as well as it is National Baking Week. To help that cause along my Home Economics Department is baking cakes every day. We will be selling Breakfast Bars/Muffins between 8.00am - 8.30 am, then cakes at break-time and after school until 4.00pm. The money we raise will help children who suffer from malnutrition across the world. Bake a Difference and join our good cause.
Post your recipe so I can share it with my students.

One of my cake recipes is

White Chocolate Cake

25og butter
250g golden caster sugar
300g SR flour
½ tsp baking powder
4 eggs
150ml pot natural yoghurt
4 tabsp. milk
Few drops vanilla essence
100g white chocolate roughly chopped

250g soft cream cheese
100g icing sugar
100g white chocolate melted

1. Pre-heat the oven to Gas 4/180C

2. Grease and line baking tin 20cm X 30cm

3. Place butter sugar, flour, baking powder, yoghurt, eggs, milk and v. ess. in
a large bowl and beat until lump-free.

4. Stir in the chopped chocolate.

5. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 25-30 mins until golden, risen and
skewer comes out clean.

6. Cool in the tin.

7. Melt the rest of the chocolate. Stir icing sugar into the soft cheese,
then the melted chocolate. Chill.

8. Spread over the cake, then cut into squares and decorate.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Christmas Cake

I was chatting to my neighbour last week and she was telling me that as soon as the children go back to school in September she makes the Christmas Cakes. I have never been quite that early and usually make mine during the October break, which happens to be in a couple of weeks.
I am looking for the perfect recipe - or at least something interesting to make. If you have anything to share then just let me know.
I am also planning to make Christmas Cakes with the children at school - a tradition that seems to be disappearing.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

New Home Economics Room

A place to work, enjoy cooking, developing new recipes, learning skills for life and of course having a chat about 'this' and 'that'.
My Home Economics Room has always been a hive of activity and now I have a brand new room. I returned to school in September and there it was, just about completed. A few more tweaks and I will be there. I can teach 8 pupils at a time and I just love it. We are having an open day on Saturday and as always we like to make Chocolate Muffins - always a favourite as the smell just wafts through the building and attracts lots of customers.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Little Eaton Produce Show 2011


The day dawned bright and I was in the kitchen early to make some cheese scones, an apple pie and a lemon drizzle cake. Today was the viallage produce show. A gathering together to show off prized onions, tomatoes, beans, potatoes, home-baking, flowers and a whole host of other competitions. The children from the village school painted pictures and showed off their talent. The entries for all the competitions had to be in the hall by 12.00 noon. My kitchen was hot and I really enjoyed the baking session (even though I had been at work all week). So I loaded up my basket and off I went to enter my produce. At the last minute I decided to take a jar of Blackberry Jam, Orange and Ginger Marmalade and a rather large courgette which had decided it was a Marrow. The hall was bustling with people all eager to display their wares. I placed my entries and left them to it - the judging takes ages and the villagers were asked to return at 3.00pm. A pleasant afternoon looking at all the entries, chatting and drinking tea. What better way to spend an afternoon. It is all good fun and for me its a bonus to win.
This year I had three 'Firsts' for my cheese scones, lemon drizzle cake and apple pie and a'Second' for the marrow.
Take a look at the slide show to see what everyone entered. I just love the flowers.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Roasted Tomato Passata

I thought I would just pick a few tomatoes and I ended up with a whole boxful. Tomato Passata is an essential store cupboard ingredients which I use for pasta sauces and curries. It more or less makes itself.

Roasted Tomato Passata
2kg ripe tomatoes
1 large red onion - peeled and thinly sliced
4-5 cloves garlic - peeled and thinlty sliced
A few rosemary springs
1 tsp. salt
large pinch black pepper
1 tsp sugar
30ml olive oil

Pre-heat the oven to Gas 4/ 180C
1. Cut the tomatoes in half and place cut side down onto a tray.
2. Scatter the onions and garlic over the tomatoes
3. Sprinkle on the salt, pepper and sugar
4. Place the rosemary amongst the tomatoes
5. Pour over the olive oil
6. Roast for approx 1 hour until well squidgy and softened
7. Remove from the oven and press through a sieve to extract all puree
8.. Heat the jars to be used in the oven
9. Place the puree into a saucepan and bring to the boil
10 Pour into the jars and seal.
11. Stand the jars in a large saucepan with a folder teatowel on the bottom
12. Cover with warm water and bring to simmering point over a 25 minute period
13. Simmer for 10 mins
14. Remove the jars and leave to cool. Tighten the tops and leave until cold

Use with 12 months, but if you are like me you want to use it straight away.
I may use it tomorrow to make a pasta dish with courgettes.
Perhaps I should wait until next month - it will taste even better.

Yesterday I picked apples. I made Apple Butter, Apple Sauce and Stewed Apples for the freezer and I still have a whole bag left. Looks like we will be eating apples over the next few days and weeks.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Elderberry Syrup

Around this time of year I collect elderberries to make a syrup, pour it into bottles and use it over the winter as a warm drink ( I pour some into a mug and top it up with hot water). It is soothing, warm and full of Vitamin C so keeps those colds at bay. I had some left from last winter and used it this summer with lemonade, what a wonderful refreshing drink it made. So now I know I can use Elderberry Syrup all year around.

Elderberry Syrup
Large bucketfull of elderberries

1. I gather as many berries that will fill a bucket. I use a fork to remove the
berries - a job usually done outdoors as the berries can fly everywhere
2. Put the berries into a large pan and half fill with water.
3. Bring to the boil and leave to simmer for 25-30 mins until the juice is extracted
4. Strain the juice into a clean pan.
5. Add 1 lb of sugar for every 1 pint of juice into the pan
6. Add juice of 1 lemon for every 1 pint of juice into the pan
7. Add about 20 whole cloves
8. Bring the juice to the boil and leave to simmer 10 minutes making sure all the
sugar has dissolved, it will thicken slightly into a syrup.
9. Strain again to remove the cloves and leave to cool.
10. Pour into clean bottles, seal and leave in a dark place. Once opened leave in
the fridge until needed

It really has the most amazing colour and taste

Friday, 26 August 2011

This Moment - Cat in a Bag

A bit blurred, but all was quiet and then POW! there was the cat jumping out of the bag of shredded paper.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Roasted sweet beet relish

I decided to use some of the ingredients from the garden. I made Pickled Green Beans - something new for me, my old favourite Blackberry Jam one of
Hugh Fearnley -Whittingstall recipes. It smells great, looks even better, but so messy to make that I think I will stick to my original recipe of Beetroot Chutney.

Roasted Sweet Beet Relish
1kg small beetroot, trimmed
glug Olive Oil
250g granualted usgar
150ml red wine vinegar
2 tabsp. balsamic vinegar
1 large red onion, peeled and finely chopped
50g finely grated fresh horseradish
Roasted Tomato Puree
1kg tomatoes
2tsp sea salt
4 cloves garlic - peeled and sliced
50ml olive oil

Pre-heat the oven to 180C/Gas 4
1. Start by making the Tomato Puree: cut the tomatoes in half and place them skin
side down on a baking tray. Sprinkle with salt, garlic and olive oil.
2. Roast them for approx 1 hour.
3. Remove the skins and rub through a sieve to remove the seeds
4. You should end up with approx 300ml tomato puree
5. Put the beetroot into a baking dish and trickle with the olive oil.
6. Roast for 1 hour 30 mins until the skins go black - allow to cool
7. Remove the skins and finely chop the beetroots.
8. Place the sugar, vinegar, onion, horseradish into a large pan and bring to the
boil - cook for 5 mins
9. Add the tomato puree, then beetroot
10 Cook for approx 10 mins until thickened.
11 Transfer to sterilised jars, seal and label.

Use within 1 year and keep in fridge once opened.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Scarborough, East Riding of Yorkshire

Scarborough lies on the East Coast of the UK and proudly boasts two bays. The bays are sepearated by a hugh headland on which sits the castle. The south bay is a hustle and bustle of shops, slot machines and donkey rides. I spent the day in Scarborough on Monday and it brought back memories of family summer holidays. We would rent an appartment for the week, self catering and spending our time on the beach and exploring rock pool, bring back sand in our shoes. We stayed on the North bay of Scarborough, not quite so busy and less amusements (we liked to make our own amusements.
So had Scarborough changed? Yes and No.
It still has the same tourist points:
The Grande Hotel towers over the South Bay with its 4 towers and 365 bedrooms, a majestic hotel in its day.
The donkeys still carry their riders along the south bay beach, although now it costs £2.00 per ride.
Peasholm Park still has a navel warfare presentation in the afternoon, beautiful flowers and pools of water.
Minature Steam train that goes from Peasholm Park to Sewerby in the North Bay and the new Open Air Theatre which looks amazing.
Open top bus that goes from the South Bay to the North Bay along the promenade - this now costs £4.00 for a return trip, in my younger days we would back it twice a day.
We walked, we talked about days gone by and of course we ate fish and chips with mushy peas.
Scarborough used to be a holiday destination for just 8 weeks in the year, now it is all year round which is great for tourism. Candy floss, ice-creams and winkles can all be bought at a price.
I enjoyed my day out, but it was too busy for me - perhaps I am getting older and long for a different sort of holiday now.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Duffield to Wirksworth by train

Last year this little line openend after lots of hard work and fund raising. Now you can catch a train from Wirksworth to London St. Pancras (changing at Duffield and Derby of course). Quite fun to hear the station master announcing that you can catch a train to London from this tiny railway station.
We caught the train from Duffield (Derbyshire) to Wirksworth this afternoon bringing back lots of memories of travelling by train 30 years ago. The train leaves Duffield every hour on Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday (too bad if you want to travel to London on a Monday. The train travels diddly de, diddly de along the track through pleasant countryside with fields of cows and maize. A few fields are full of sheep but the train slows down as they wander onto the line. Lovely little houses showing gardens full of flowers and vegetables are dotted along the way. The first stop is Idridghay, a one stop village with a few houses scattered around the station.
Wirksworth is the end of the line and to-day like lots of other people we enjoyed the walk through the town, which centres around the church. The last time I visited Wirksworth the snow was on the ground, but today we saw a different veiw. Quaint shops, organic fruit and veg shop, art gallery and past times ( a shop full of curiosity things). We drank tea and ate ice-cream and just took in the views.
A pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Blackberry Jam

As a child I remember picking blackberries in late August and September. This year I have been picking them since late July. Each day I gather a large bowl of the juicy fruit, which I eat with my cereal, make crumbles and pies, but the time has come to make jam and I will need lots of fruit. So armed with a basket I gathered the blackberries. Last time I posted on how to make blackberry jam I used my electric jam maker, but this year I decided to use my trusted jam pan, which belonged to my mother.

Blackberry Jam
6lb blackberries
6lb preserving sugar (added pectic)
1. Wash the blackberries to remove any dust etc and drain well
2. Place the blackberries, sugar into the preseving pan and leave for 1-2 hours
(the juice will start to come out)
3. Sterilse the jars by washing and then heating in the oven.
4. Put the preserving pan over a low heat and stirring with a wooden spoon continue
until the jam starts to boil.
5. Boil the jam for four minutes and test for setting on a plate.
6. Pour the jam into the clean, dry jars.
7. Cover and label.

I just love to taste the jam on bread and butter as soon as it is made.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Useful Contact

As I dip and dive in and out of blogs I often come up with something of interest. I was looking for some ideas to make labels for my preserves this year instead of the boring ones that I always use. I came across:

You may want to check it out.

Bakewell Cakes

Bakewell Cakes and a variation of the famous Bakewell Tarts made in the town of Bakewewll, Derbyshire. I made them this afternoon to have with our cup of tea whilst sitting in the garden. Thy turned out different to what I thought as I had no glace cherries in the cupboard and used Orange Slices for the top instead. However they tasted just as good.

Bakewell Cakes

150g margarine
150g caster sugar
150g SR flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
drop of almond essence
1 tablespoon jam
Glace icing - to decorate

1. Preheat oven to Gas 5 /190C
2. Place margarine, sugar, flour, baking powder, eggs and almond ess. into a large
mixing bowl
3. Using an electric mixer whisk all the ingredients together until light and
4. Place 12 paper cases into baking tin
5. Divide the mixture bewteen the paper cases. Bake for 15 - 20 mins until well
risen and golden, springing back when touched.
6. Cool on a wire rack.
7. Use an apple corer to take the centre out of the middle of the cake once cold
8. Place jam into the hole and replace the cut out sponge
9. Make glace icing with icing sugar and a drop of water until quite thick
10 Decorate the top of each cake with the glace icing allowing it to run down the
sides. Top with a glace cherry (or whatever you have in the cupboard)

Serve with a nice cup of tea.

Friday, 12 August 2011

What to make with Courgettes?

My courgettes seem to be coming thick and fast, so I decided to make a Courgette Pasta and had enough sauce to use for a Pizza Topping.

Courgette Pasta

I large courgette - washed and diced (no need for peeeling)
150g pasta twists ( or pasta you like)
1 small onion - peeled, diced
2 mushrooms-sliced
3 cloves garlic
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato puree
large pinch mixed herbs ( or fresh basil)
handful of cherry tomatoes
glug of olive oil

1. Fill a large pan with water, add a glug of oilve oil and pinch of salt and
bring to the boil
2. Heat a glug of oil in a pan and add onion,garlic, mushrooms and courgette
3. Fry for a few mins until start to go soft.
4. Add the tin of tomatoes, chopped cherry toms and tomato puree
5. Add herbs and leave to simmer for 10 -15 mins until sauce has thickened.
6. Meanwhile add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until tender.
7. Drain the pasta, spoon into a large bowl and top with the tomato sauce
8. Serve with crusty bread or garlic bread.

Great for supper with a glass of red wine.

Monday, 8 August 2011

What do you enjoy about Monday?

I just seem to be spending all my time pottering in the garden and harvesting what I can. Another Monday dawns and I am picking blackberries ready to make Jam, although I love them with my cereal first thing in the morning and of course with my home-made ice-cream in the afternoon. I am also picking my runner green beans and freezing them. Beetroot will require pickling soon and of course making my beetroot chutney Courgettes are coming thick and fast and I have been making courgette chocolate cake."
I harvested my first lot of red skin potaotes and they taste great with a knob of butter. The peas are already in the freezer. I just love pottering.
What do you enjoy about Monday's

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Savannah Granny Give-away

This is just a great site to visit and as she celebrates her 300th follower she has a give-away. How could you resist having a look.

Good Luck everyone

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

The Green Thing

This was sent to me last week and I though Iwould share it with you.

> The Green Thing>
> In the line at the store, the cashier told an older woman that she
> should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for
> the environment.
> The woman apologized to him and explained, "We didn't have the green
> thing back in my day."
> The cashier responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not
> care enough to save our environment."
> She was right -- our generation didn't have the green thing in its day.
> Back then, we returned milk bottles, lemonade bottles and beer bottles to
> the shop. The shop sent them back to the factory to be washed and
> sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over.
> So they really were recycled.
> But we didn't have the green thing back in our day.>
> We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every store
> and office building. We walked to the market and didn't climb
> into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two hundred yards.
> But she was right. We didn't have the green thing in our day.>
> Back then, we washed the baby's nappies because we didn't have the
> throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling
> machine burning up 220 volts -- wind and solar power really did dry the
> clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters,
> not always brand-new clothing.

But we didn't have the green thing back in our day.>
> Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every
> room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember
> them?), not a screen the size of Yorkshire.
> In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have
> electric machines to do everything for us.
> When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used a wadded up
> old newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.
> Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn petrol just to cut the
> lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by
> working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills
> that operate on electricity.
> But she's right; we didn't have the green thing back then.>
> We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or
> a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water.
> We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we
> replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole
> razor just because the blade got dull.
> But we didn't have the green thing back then.>
> Back then, people took the bus and kids rode their bikes
> to school or walked instead of turning their mums into a 24-hour taxi
> service.
> We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to
> power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a computerized gadget to
> receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in
> order to find the nearest pizza joint.
> But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old
> folks were just because we didn't have the green thing back then?

Home-made Ice-cream for those hot, hot days.

What could be better than eating home-made ice-cream on these hot sunny days.
I have found the perfect, easy recipe for ice-cream.
Vanilla Ice-cream
1 carton whipping cream
1 tin condensed milk
2tsp.vanilla extract

1. Put a large bowl into the freezer whilst you get out your ingredients.
2. Pour the whipping cream into the cold bowl and whip until thick and creamy
3. Pour in the condensed milk and vanilla extract.
4. Whip again until thick.
5. Pour the ice-cream into a suitable container for the freezer.
6. Freeze.

When you are ready to eat the ice-cream just take out of the freezer and leave for a couple of minutes to soften.
Scoop out and serve with whatever you fancy.
Today I fancy strawberries and ice-cream

You can stir in 2 tablespoons chocolate spread to make chocolate ice-cream or make a fruit puree and stir through the ice-cream before freezing. Infact you could proboalby add whatever you like to ring the changes.
I made this ice-cream with my class at school and it was rated the best ice-cream ever. I have to agree it really is that good.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Old Age Powerpoint Slides

This is amazing, sit back and relax, listen to the music and see the beautiful photgraphs
HJope this helps those who were unable to see it before.


Sunday, 24 July 2011

What would you do with this garden?

We all love our garden whether it be large or small, but in to-day's Mail on Sunday newspaper there was an article about a very long garden.
What would you do with this garden?

Dovedale - Derbyshire UK

Blue skies and plenty of sunshine. We put a pin in the map and off we set to Dovedale, Derbyshire. It is perhaps a 45 minute drive onto narrow roads with passing places and dry stone walls everywhere. Of course sheep are everywhere and you can see for miles across the green fields.
Our walk to-day took across the stepping stones and into the limestone valley of Dovedale.

I took photographs along the way, but we decided not to climb over the top of the hills today and just wound our way back along beside the river. We came across a fallen tree which had been filled with coins. They had been knocked into the wood. What is this strange custom and what does it mean? We have yet to find out but will let you know when we do. Perhaps some tradition to do with the pack horses who travelled the route many years ago.

We then drove over to Manifold Valley for a pot of tea at the mill. We will go back another day to cycle the Manifold Valley.

Friday, 22 July 2011

This Moment

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

Home-made Yoghurt

I have made yoghurt from time to time with mixed results. But I have just tried the recipe from Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall - River Cottage Every Day. So easy and just the thing to serve with fresh fruit, cereal, stir into soup or just eat straight from the container.

Home-made Yoghurt

500ml whole milk
30g dried milk powder
3 tablespoons live plain yoghurt

1. Put the whisk, spoon, thermometer into a measuring jug full of boiling water and
leave for 2 mins - rinse out.
2. Make sure everything is well sterilised to avoid bad bacteria.
3. Rinse out the saucepan with boiling water.
4. Pour the milk into the saucepan and add the dried milk powder - mix with the
whisk until blended and no lumps.
5. Heat the milk to 46C - watch it like a hawk.
6. Remove from the heat and add the natural yoghurt. Do not have the milk too hot
or cold or it will not work. Temperature of a very warm bath is about right.,
7. Pour the mixture into a warm container and leave covered overnight in a warm
place. I use a wide necked thermos flask - as it cools the yoghurt is made.
8. Pour the yoghurt into a container and leave in the fridge until required.
9. Remember to save 3-4 tablespoons for the next batch.

It really is so easy and the dried milk powder makes it quite creamy.


Thursday, 21 July 2011

Pesto Scones

I made lots of these for our end of term bash. I made them tiny so it was just a mouthful, people came back for lots of mouthfuls.

Pesto Scones with Cream Cheese Topping

300g SR flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
75g margarine
pinch salt
pinch mustard
black pepper
100g grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons pesto ( I used green pesto)
Yoghurt and milk mixed - you need enough to bind the mixture together

1. Pre-heat oven to Gas 7/220C
2. Sieve the flour into a large mixing bowl, add the seasoning, mustard.
3. Rub the margarine into the flour until it resembles fine crumbs.
4. Add the grated cheese and pesto. Rub in carefully until well mixed.
5. Add enough yoghurt and milk to bind the mixture together - not too wet.
6. Turn out onto a sprinkling of flour.
7. Fold mixture in half, turn and repeat this process several times trapping air
into the mixture.
8. Use a small cutter , cut out a many shapes as you can until all dough has been
9. Brush the tops with milk.
10 Bake 10-12 mins until golden and firm to touch
11. Cool on a wire rack.
12. Put cream cheese into a piping bag and once the scones are cool, cut them
in half and pipe cream cheese on the top.
13 Top each scone with a slice of tomato and basil leaf.

If you can't be bothered to pipe the cream, just cut the scones in half and sandwich the cream cheese inbetween.
They are just so yummy. Of course you can make them any size you want.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

I'm Back

Well at long last I am back to the blog. School holidays started yesterday at 12.00 noon. As I drove home I thought of all the things I want to do, but most of all be in my garden - just pottering. The end of term was just full of events and ensuring the students went home with everything they neeeded. I baked 120 scones for the cream teas at our Summer Fete, then it was onto Awards Evening where I made a huge batch of sundried tomato and cheese scones and an even bigger batch of pesto scones topped with cream cheese, slice of tomato and basil leaf. Along with the savoury dishes I made Rocky Road (a school favourite), caramel shortbread, lemon drizzle squares and carrot cake. It was all washed down with jug after jug of Pimms made with strawbrries, cucumber,lemon, oranges and fresh mint. What a way to spend a summer's evening celebrating the achievements of the students.
And so into holiday mode and to catch up on my new recipe books and of course cooking and gardening.
I will also need to spend some time catching up on all your news.
Hear from you all very soon.
PS I will get around to posting the scone recipes over the next few days.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Churnet Valley

Perhaps a typical Bank Holiday Monday with grey skies and rain. But, we put a pin in the map and off we went. We found the Churnet Valley and parked the car at Froghall station and had a walk along the canal and then back to see the steam train. The liitle tea room in the station was delightful with a 1940's feel and the best cup of tea.

The Churnet Valley Railway runs steam and historic diesel trains between Leekbrook Junction and Froghall. It is a remnant of the North Staffordshire Railway, built through the valley in the 1840s. Currently, it has stations at Cheddleton, Consall and Froghall but it will, eventually, extend to Alton, Oakamoor and Leek. It also connects with and sometimes runs on Moorland & City Railways' Cauldon Lowe Branch, which reopened in November 2010, and the line to Stoke, due to reopen in 2012.