Sunday, 30 January 2011

A Simple Pudding

A busy weekend trying to get ready for a wedding in a few wekks time - more about that later and so a simple pudding was the order of the day.
Simple Pudding

8 plums - stoned and cut in half
4 Conference pears - peeled, cored and cut into slices
50ml freshly squeeezed orange juice
4 tablespoons honey

1. Pre-heat oven to Gas 4/180C
2. Place all fruit, juice and honey into a large roasting tray.
3. Using your hands, mix all together to coat the fruit in the honey
and orange juice
4. Bake for approx 40 mins until the fruit is soft
5. I put the skins of the freshly squeezed oranges into the tray whilst it was
baking to add some extra flavour.

Serve warm with custard, but as it is a simple pudding I used natural yoghurt. I had some left for breakfast. Enjoy?

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Lessons on Life

This was sent to me this morning and I thought I would share it with you all.


Just keep clicking onto the next photograph


Friday, 7 January 2011


You may have been aware that I have been searching for a recipe 'Cut Rounds' which are Devonshire Scones and served with clotted cream and jam - just so yummy.
I had watched a programme on TV called 'Edwardian Farm' and the 'cut rounds' were featured. Well I searched high and low and eventaully decided to email the chef at The Grand Hotel in Torquay. He very kindly shared the recipe with me. I have made them and they are just perfect. IF you want something badly enough just keep on trying.

Recipe for Cut Round (makes 12)

500g plain flouor
50g milk powder
25g baking powder
50g butter
220ml buttermilk
70ml milk
If you like a sweeter version add 30g sugar

1. Pre-heat oven to Gas 6/200C
2. Put all dry ingredients into a large bowl
3. Rub in the butter
4. Mix in the buttermilk and normal milk and bring together until you have a
soft dough - use your hands
5. Roll the dough into a cylinder shape about 3in across
6. Cut into 12 pieces approx 60g each
7. Slightly press into shape
8. Place on a baking tray - glasze with milk
9. Bake for 14-18 mins until golden and risen

The dough must not be soft not dry and you may need more liquid.

Allow to cool slightly before filling with jam and clotted cream.

Oh! boy are they good?

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Birthday Apron for a little man

Archie will be 5 years old in a couple of weeks and I thought I would get myself organised with his gift. I have made him a 'Chef Apron' and will fill a jar with muffin ingredients so he can make 'choc.chop muffins' just like grandma.

I used a piece of fabric I found lurking on the shelf at IKEA.

I used a newspaper to make the pattern - dead easy.

Cut 2 pieces approx 22inch long and 15inch wide. The top of the bib was 7inch.

I used a plate to draw the curve for the arm shape.

Cut 3 pieces 3inch wide by 22inch long.

Pocket piece approx 8 inch high by 12 inch wide

Make the pocket first by pressing under 1/4 inch all the way round. Top stitch one
Place the pocket one the RIGHT SIDE of the apron approx 4inch from the bottom and make sure it is the centre.
Machine stitch around the pocket, remembering to leave the top-stitched edge open at the top. Machine down the center of the pocket.
Make the two tie straps and neck tie. Press each long edge towards the centre and then fold in half. Machine stitch around the 3 pieces - I used a fancy wavy stitch.
Place the 2 tie straps at the edge of the apron just below the curve and stitich in place.
Place the neck tie on the bib top approx 1/2inch from the edge. Machine in place.
With RIGHT SIDES together pin the two apron pieces together making sure the ties are inside.
Machine stitch all around the apron leaving a space at the bottom to turn through.
Trim off any access and cut the corners and snip the curves.
Turn inside out, press
TOP STITCH all around the apron.

Hey Presto! one little chef apron for a little man

Next time I will take photographs as I know it is often easier to see a picture to help with the instructions.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Riber Castle - Derbyshire and Scarnthin Book Shop

Our walk this afternoon took us to Riber Castle. First a drive through the Derbyshire coutryside, past Matlock Bath and onto Riber.

Riber Castle Riber dominates the country side around Matlock. It is perched on a hill 260 metres (850 feet) above sea level, which is about 200 metres (600 feet) above Matlock. It looks forbidding. Indeed, it would not look out of place in a horror movie.

It was designed and built by John Smedley in 1862 as his residence. The Griststone for the building came from a local quarry and was carted up hill by a series of pullies. Smedley employed skilled craftsmen. Plasterers, for example, came from Italy to work on the Castle. There was electricity and gas, plus a deep well for water. The Castle's salon was vast.

It has been the former site of a boys' school, a food store during World War Two, and later a nature reserve.

The castle remained derelict for many years until, in the 1960s, a group of zoologists set up a Nature Reserve for British and European Fauna.

This Nature Reserve is no longer open to the public as it closed in September 2000 amid much criticism.

It is well worth a visit, especially for the views of the surrounding area.

The future of Riber Castle has continued to be the subject of much debate.

We left Riber driving down the narrow lanes to Cromford and the little bookshop that takes over your life. You really could spend all day browing the shelves and taking coffee in the little cafe.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Devonshire Scones

I really must engage brain before cooking. I watched a programme on TV last night about an Edwardian Farm set in Devon. They were making Devonshire Scones filled with clotted cream and strawberry jam. Of course I really wanted to make them - well who couldn't resist them? I found what I thought was the recipe and made the most amazing scones. However I didn't have any clotted cream, but what the heck they tasted just great spread with butter and home-made strawberry jam.
The recipe I used was for Deveonshire Splits. I will have to find the recipe I intended to make, which are called Cut Rounds.

Devonshire Splits makes 8

450g plain flour
pinch salt
14g dried easy-bake yeast ( sachets)
2tsp caster sugar
30g butter
300ml milk

1. Sift the flour,salt and sugar into large mixing bowl.
2. Add the yeast - mix well
3. Heat the butter and milk in a small pan, then leave to cool (finger hot)
4. Pour the milk into the flour and gather together until you have a sticky mixture
5. Using one hand knead the dough (no flour necessary). It will be very sticky to
start with, but perserve and eventually you will have a dough.
6. Using two hands knead the dough for approx 5 mins until smooth and elastic.
7. Place the dough back into the mixing bowl, cover with cling-film and leave
to double in size - approx 1 hour
8. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured table. Cut into 8 portions and knead
each one until smooth. Place on a floured baking tray and leave covered with a
tea towel for approx 15 mins. Pre-heat the oven to Gas 6/200C
9. Bake the scones for 15-18 mins until well risen, golden brown and sound hollow
when the bottom is tapped.

Serve split in half and filled with clotted cream and strawberry jam. What could be better than a warm smell of baking on the first day of the year? I suppose sitting eating them with a pot of English tea.