Showing posts with label how to. Show all posts
Showing posts with label how to. Show all posts

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

autumn fruit pudding & whisky double cream

A classic, warming pudding just right for Autumn evenings especially now that it's turning a little chillier. I used damsons from my trees in the garden and apples given to me by my neighbours but I'm sure other fruits would work well too.

2kg damsons or plums, pears and eating apples
a large knob of butter
100g brown sugar
1 vanilla pod
3 bay leaves
a pinch of ground ginger
a pinch of ground nutmeg
a pinch of ground cinnamon
1 x 300ml pot of double cream
1 tablespoon icing sugar
a shot of whisky

For the batter
200g butter, room temperature
200g golden caster sugar
4 large eggs
200g self-raising flour

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4.
  2. Peel and core the apples, damsons/plums, apples and pears, then cut them into large pieces. Halve and stone the damsons, leaving the skin on. 
  3. Put into a large saucepan with the butter, sugar, spices and bay leaves. Stir it all together and stew for 20 to 30 minutes covered. When the fruit is soft, take out the bay leaves and place to one side.
  4. For the batter, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well, then fold in the flour. 
  5. Place half the fruit into the bottom of an ovenproof dish (without the juices) then top with the batter. Finally, spoon over the remaining fruit and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until golden brown and risen. 
  6. Using a knife, slice open the vanilla pod and scrape the seeds into a bowl. Pour in the cream and whisk together with the icing sugar until it forms soft peaks. Stir in the whisky.
Serve warm with lots of the cream and a little of the fruit juices. Delicious! Clean plates are guaranteed! Enjoy!

Monday, 7 July 2014

how to make iced coffee

One of my favourite things to do on holiday in Greece is to sunbathe on the beach and drink iced coffees, that the best bars make so well. Now that summer has arrived I wanted a little of the holiday feeling at home, but when I searched on Google for how to make iced coffees, there was little that inspired me. Should I use espresso, ground coffee or instant; milk, evaporated milk, condensed milk or cream? So, I made up my own recipes.

To make this iced latte, which is quite large, I added three teaspoons of high quality instant coffee and 3/4 of a mug of milk to a measuring jug. Then I added two dessert spoons of condensed milk and two teaspoons of vanilla flavoured syrup. You could use sugar instead of the syrup. Whichever you choose, the sugar is what helps to create the foam that is all part of the look. Then I used a hand blender, to mix and froth it all up, for about thirty seconds or so.

I then filled the jar with ice and slowly poured in the coffee to the top. Absolutely delicious! A perfect summer drink. Once you try it, you will be hooked!

For this iced coffee I used double strength cafetiere coffee which I then chilled. I wanted these to look pretty, so I put a heaped tablespoon of condensed milk on the bottom of the glass and then added ice to the top. Over this I poured the chilled coffee and served. Before drinking, you just give a quick stir with the spoon.

Which do I prefer, well I like them both. However, contrary to what you might think, the good instant coffee perhaps had the edge and probably makes better froth for a latte. It is also faster to make when you want to get in the sun as quick as possible.

What is your favourite iced coffee/latte?

Have a great week lovelies.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

ouefs en cocotte (eggs in pots)

This little dish is so modest that it barely needs a recipe. I made it as a starter last weekend, but it also makes a light, tasty supper. There are all manner of ways in which you can glam it up, but this is the humble eggs in pots.

Ingredients (serves 2)
about 80g creme fraiche
2 eggs
salt & pepper
to garnish
few leaves parsley
sweet chilli sauce

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Season the creme fraiche with salt and pepper and a pinch of nutmeg, and place a tablespoon full in the bottom of of a ramekin dish.
  3. Crack one egg on top and add another tablespoon of the creme fraiche. Sprinkle a little salt, pepper and nutmeg on top. Do this for both pots and place the pots in a dish of lukewarm water that comes halfway up the pots.
  4. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the eggs are cooked to your liking.
  5. Add a teaspoon of sweet chilli sauce to garnish and top with chopped parsley.
Perfect with crusty bread. Enjoy!

We are hoping for lovely weather on Saturday so we can go out and explore, and on Sunday we are off out for Sunday tea with friends. Have a great weekend lovelies. 

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

honey caramel pears with goats cheese

These honey coated lovelies, with soft cheese and crisp rye wafers, make a simply mouth watering and delicious dessert for dinner parties, or an indulgent treat. Depending on the time of year, you could also use plump black or purple figs for a similarly decadent delight.

If you want to make them, be sure to check out the tips before you start

Ingredients (serves 2)
2 firm ripe pears
50g light brown sugar (you could use golden caster sugar)
30g runny honey
tiny pinch of salt
tspn white wine vinegar
30ml water

  1. Cut a thin slice from the bottom of each pear so they can stand. Stick a fork into the bottom of each so you can hold it.
  2. Add the sugar, salt and water to a heavy based pan. Heat it gently, stirring with a wooden spoon, until all the sugar has dissolved. Then stir in the vinegar and honey.
  3. Stop stirring and turn the heat up to make the mixture bubble steadily. Heat until the mixture reaches 140 degrees Celcius on the sugar thermometer, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. 
  4. Working quickly, hold each pear by its fork and twist it in the caramel to coat it. Keep twisting in the air for a few seconds whilst the caramel hardens. 
  5. Carefully use another fork to ease each pear from its fork onto a piece of grease proof paper. Keep the pears upright, standing on their bare bases.
  6. Serve with soft goats cheese and crisp rye wafers (I made my own).
  • HOT CARAMEL BURNS. Keep a bowl of cold water very nearby, to immerse your hand if the caramel touches your skin.
  • If you don't have  a sugar thermometer, you can test it by pouring a little into a bowl of cold water. It should harden instantly and be brittle and easy to break. If you can still squash the toffee it needs further heating. (I didn't do this with the pear you can see and the caramel wasn't crisp).
  • The vinegar gives the caramel the structure it needs.
  • Serve within three to four hours.
Enjoy! Have a great day. 

Friday, 18 April 2014

how to decoupage a set of ikea drawers

As it's the holidays, I have finally got around to finishing this little set of drawers that I bought from Ikea many years ago. They were looking tired and past their best, so I had to find a way to make them look good enough to stay in my bedroom. I decided to use pictures from old Gil Elvgren desk top calendars.

It is my third decoupage project on the blog as I have also decoupaged a serving tray and a jewellery box.

You will need:
  • wooden drawers, or any other piece you want to decorate
  • pictures on paper
  • water-based primer
  • water-based matte varnish
  • polyurethane varnish
  • PVA glue
  • wooden knobs with screws
  • satin finish paint (for the insides)
  • paper towel
  • fine sandpaper (wet and dry is best)
  • soft cloth
  • paint brush
  • glue brush

What you do:
  1. Wash off any grease from the drawers.
  2. Lightly sand down all surfaces.
  3. Apply two coats of primer, lightly sanding after each coat.
  4. Use the satin finish paint to coat any surfaces you are not decoupaging.
  5. Plan each face by laying out the pictures. Cut each one out and glue it onto the wood, taking care that there are no air bubbles by pressing lightly with a damp lint free cloth. The pictures can, and should overlap to some extent. Let it dry.
  6. Brush on at least four coats (I used six) of water-based matte varnish, sanding lightly after each to remove bumps.
  7. After wiping to remove dust, finish with two coats of polyurethane varnish for extra toughness.
  8. Finish by giving the knobs a coat of primer, a couple of coats of paint and a couple of coats of oil-based varnish. Screw them onto the drawers from the back.

Tip: Give each picture a few moments to stretch after you apply glue. Then, as long as you avoid air bubbles, they will dry flat. Don't be worried by bubbles that seem to keep lifting, as they will flatten when the paper dries.

Have a great Easter weekend. I hope the Easter Bunny brings you lots of chocolate eggs. I'm hoping to make the most of this lovely sun. I'll see you on Wednesday.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

how to make a hanging herb garden

What a lovely day it was today, so I just had to get out in the garden to start making it look pretty for the summer. This year, I am determined to grow more of my own herbs for cooking, as well as lots of rocket and other leaves for lovely fresh salads. 

I want everything to look lovely without breaking the bank. I have been collecting cans with lots of projects in mind, and I knew I had a tin of paint in the shed. So, this afternoon I made this lovely little herb garden to hang on my shed. It was so quick and easy to make and this is how you can make one, too.

First peel the labels and remove the remains of any glue off the cans using nail varnish remover. Then make a hole for the string, about an inch from the top of each can. You can use a sharp nail and a hammer. Make four more holes in the bottom of each can for drainage.

Then rub all the shiny surfaces with sandpaper or wire wool, to provide a key for the paint. After wiping off any dust, spray the cans with two or three coats of paint, leaving a few minutes between each. I used a tin of multi-surface spray paint I have had in the shed for years. When the paint has dried, for each can, take a 10" piece of the string you are to use and knot it at one end. Thread the string through the hole in the can from the inside out.

At this stage you can fill each can with compost and plant herb seeds, leaving them on a windowsill to germinate or grow. Or you can do what I did and replant pots of herbs from a garden centre or nursery. I used mint, coriander and basil.

When the cans have herbs, tie each of them onto a longer piece of string, spacing them out as you wish. Then hang your herb garden somewhere sunny and give it a good watering.

A quick, easy and cheap shabby chic herb garden. Perfect for all size gardens or even a balcony.

Friday, 11 April 2014

figs in honey with yoghurt - a perfect breakfast

I am loving the fruit and veg that is coming into the shops right now. Just in time for the warmer spring weather and for thoughts of fresh and varied food after all the comfort eating of the winter.

Not long ago, I discovered the delights of a Turkish owned continental supermarket, which is full to the rafters of the most unusual and varied produce from all parts of the world. I spend ages in there, just looking, fascinated by it all. And don't get me started on the pastry section!

Whilst I was there I bought some figs, which are a lovely reminder of holidays in Greece, where we picked them off the roadside bushes to have on yoghurt for breakfast. With that in mind, I thought I would try something a little different with them. I wanted to make a delicious breakfast to eat outside in the long awaited morning sun; a little taste of Greece.

I poured three or four tablespoons of honey in a small frying pan and heated it gently. I halved the unpeeled figs, placed them face down in the honey and cooked them for five minutes or so. Whilst they were cooking, I lightly toasted a handful of walnut pieces. To finish, I flipped the figs over for a minute or so, to cook the outsides.

All that was left was to fill a bowl with delicious Greek yoghurt, lay on the figs and drizzle over the honey from the pan, which by now looks and tastes divine. The walnuts, sprinkled on the top of all this lusciousness, add a lovely texture. Perfect for an alfresco breakfast!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

super skinny pasta

Full of goodness, healthy and ready in twenty minutes! I make this yummy pasta dish on a regular basis as it is perfect for a quick midweek supper after work. The combination of spicy broccoli and salty anchovies gives it so much flavour!

Ingredients (serves 4)
250g linguine
50g tin anchovies
350g tenderstem broccoli, trimmed
500g cherry tomatoes, whole
4 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 red chilli
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2tbsp mini capers, to serve

1. Cook the pasta in boiling water according to the pack instructions.
2. Drain 11/2 tbsp of oil from the anchovy tin into a pan and finely chop the anchovies. Gently fry with the garlic and chilli for 2 minutes until the garlic is golden. Add the broccoli and cherry tomatoes, along with 3tbsp water and cook for 5 minutes, until the broccoli is tender and some of the cherry tomatoes have burst.
3. Drain the pasta and stir through the lemon juice. Add the veg and capers, then top with a sprinkle of lemon zest and a grind of pepper.

Who thought low calorie could taste so good?

Monday, 6 January 2014

how to wear a knitted crew jumper

I am so in love with crew jumpers right now. Perfect for layering in this chilly weather and let me tell you, it was a very cold day! You will be able to see from the photos how windy it was from the way my hair was blowing about!

Can you believe my daughter and fiancee both bought me this same jumper for Christmas but in different lengths! Great minds think alike! I must have mentioned that I liked them on more than one occasion. This is the one my daughter bought me as the shorter one didn't fit as well! I felt bad taking it back but I did manage to get a coat that I had been wanting in the sale with the refunded money, so all is good.

My fiancee bought me this lovely skirt and blouse for Christmas too. I was so happy with his choices, he knows me well! The blouse has such a gorgeous collar, giving the outfit a feminine look.

Topshop cream blouse - still available in some stores
Topshop black skirt - still available in some stores
Topshop bag - wardrobe
Primark booties - still in store
Primark tights
Primark sunnies
River Island bracelets - wardrobe

Have a lovely day

Linking up with Elena from DC in Style, Kristin and Megan at BonBon Rose Girls, Molly at still being molly and Claire at clairejustineoxox.

Monday, 9 December 2013

a green tomato chutney for christmas

Home made chutney anyone! A friend of mine was kind enough to give me some green tomatoes to make some. This is my first attempt making chutney and I am so looking forward to eating this with a cheeseboard at Christmas. You can also add the chutney to a winter stew giving it a fruitiness. It is surprisingly easy to make and I am really pleased with the result.

175g/6oz light brown sugar
150ml/5 fl oz white wine vinegar
1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
2cm/3/4in piece fresh root ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 red chilli, finely chopped
125g/4 1/2 oz sultanas
600g/1lb 5oz green tomatoes, quartered

1. Heat the sugar in a frying pan until it melts and caramelises.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring the mixture to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for an hour, or until the chutney has thickened and you can draw a wooden spoon across the bottom of the pan so that it leaves a channel behind it that does not immediately fill with liquid.
3. Spoon the chutney into sterilised jars. I used a recipe by James Martin on Saturday Kitchen.

Have a lovely day

Friday, 8 November 2013

how to make a quick prawn balti curry

This is a perfect quick meal when you come in late from work, and it is healthy too!  I usually make this if I am feeling really tired as it doesn't require much effort! As it is ready in under 15 minutes, and the ingredients are mainly from the store cupboard, it is just so convenient. The spicy tomato sauce, together with the prawns, is just delicious.

desert spoon oil (rapeseed, ground nut or similar)
2 tablespoons medium or balti curry paste
1/2 medium onion, peeled and finely sliced
1 tablespoon mango chutney
4 ripe tomatoes, quartered
200g cooked prawns
100g spinach (fresh is best but frozen is okay)

  1. Pour the oil in a non-stick frying pan or wok on a low heat. Add the curry paste and onion. Turn up to a medium heat and cook for 3 minutes, stirring often, until the onions is softened.
  2. Add the tomatoes, chutney and 200ml of cold water. Once it is simmering, leave to bubble for 4 minutes. Stir occasionally until the tomatoes have softened, but still keeping their shape, and the liquid has reduced by half.
  3. Add the prawns and spinach. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes until the prawns are hot. Serve in warm bowls; wok-like balti bowls would be perfect.

Have a lovely weekend and have lots of fun!

Saturday, 26 October 2013

how to make the best apple and blackberry pie

I felt like baking today and, as it was on my October bucket list, I decided to make this lovely seasonal apple and blackberry pie. It's a tasty way to use any blackberries you have picked and frozen this autumn. The apples, blackberries and ginger work so well together. I've never been particularly confident with pastry, but this is very easy to make.

Sweet shortcrust pastry
500g organic plain flour, plus some for dusting
100g icing sugar, sifted
250g cold butter, cubed
zest of a lemon
2 large eggs
splash of milk
  1. Sieve flour onto clean worktop then sieve icing sugar over that. Work the butter, with your hands, into the mixture until it is crumbly and fine.
  2. Add the eggs and milk into the mixture and work together until you can make a ball of dough.
  3. Flour the worktop and place the dough on top. Pat it into a flat round shape, lightly flour and wrap in cling film. Put in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Blackberry and apple pie
50g butter, plus some for greasing
100g golden caster sugar, plus some for dusting
2 Bramley cooking apples, peeled cored and cut into 16 wedges
4 Cox's apples, peeled cored and cut into 8 wedges
1 heaped tablespoon chopped stem ginger in syrup
150g blackberries
1 large organic egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
  2. Put the sugar and butter into a pan. When the butter has melted, add the  apples, stem ginger and tablespoon of ginger syrup. Slowly cook for 15 minutes with lid on.
  3. Add blackberries and stir and cook for 5 minutes with lid off.
  4. Dust the worktop with flour. Cut the pastry in half and use a floured rolling pin to roll out one of the pieces, until it is just less than a centimetre thick.
  5. Butter a shallow 26cm pie dish and line it with the pastry. Trim of the excess with a sharp knife. Don't trim it too close as I did, as the pastry shrinks a little.
  6. Tip the cooled blackberries and apples into a sieve, saving the juices. Make a mound of the fruit in the middle of the pie dish and spoon over half of the reserved  juices. 
  7. Brush the edge of the pastry with beaten egg. Then roll out the second piece of pastry like the first and lay over the pie. Trim the edges and crimp with your fingers
  8. Brush the top of the pie with the rest of the beaten egg. Sprinkle generously with sugar and cinnamon. and make a couple of cuts in the top of the pastry.
  9. Place the pie on a baking tray and place on the bottom of the oven for 55 to 60 minutes until the crust is golden brown and crisp.
Serve your pie with lashings of rich, golden custard and enjoy.
This recipe can be found in 'Jamie at Home'.

Monday, 21 October 2013

how to wear polka dots and spots

I am in so love with polka dots and spots right now! The Zara jeans I have had for a while, they are very similar to a pair of Marc Jacobs jeans that were retailing at £110! These were £30; a bargain! I have always wanted a polka dot blouse so I was very happy when I saw this one in Topshop. I think the blouse and jeans work well together. What do you think?

We took these photos in a cute little village not far from where we live. The sun kept trying to come out! We were on our way to a quaint pub for lunch. A great way to spend a Saturday!

What would you wear a polka dot blouse with? Linking up with Patti at Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday, Elena from DC in Style for Monday Bloom, Renae from Simply Sequins for Fashion Friday and Rachel from Rachel The hat for Passion for fashion, Friday Fab Favourites and What I Wore.

I'm wearing
Zara jeans (last seen here)
Topshop blouse
H&M shoes
Ted Baker bag (last seen here)
Primark sunnies
Topshop necklace and rings
River Island bracelet

Monday, 14 October 2013

how to create storage with style

This was my perfect solution for the extra storage I needed for my crockery. I fell in love with this shabby chic dresser as soon as I saw it. For those of you who know me, you will already know how much I adore all things shabby chic!

The beauty of it is, the dresser is shallow and doesn't intrude too far into the room. Everything is easy to see and reach when you need it. With the shelving being open, it does give me an excuse to buy colourful, pretty pots. I buy many of my pots from the flea market and Jules china shop in Hebden Bridge. Check her goodies out here.

I like to dress it up at different times of the year; see here how it looked at Easter. It won't be long until I'm dressing it up for Christmas!

Have a lovely Monday.

Monday, 7 October 2013

how to make the best eggs benedict

We needed an early start on Sunday morning, to do everything we had to do, so Steve decided we could make the most of the Indian summer and have breakfast outside. We are trying to get outside in the garden as often as the weather allows us.

I'm afraid I can't take credit for making this, as Steve is by far the best eggs benedict maker in our house. I have never tasted ones better than Steve's recipe; creamy, smooth and divine!!!!

It's a bit of a fiddle, but the more you do it the easier it becomes. It is my favourite breakfast or brunch by far, and it tastes even better when someone else makes it for you.

Hollandaise sauce
500ml of white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of peppercorns
a bunch of tarragon
125ml of melted butter that you then skim
a small squeeze of lemon juice

1) Add the vinegar, tarragon and peppercorns to a pan and boil, reducing it by half. Strain the reduction and keep it in a jar for use later.
2) Boil a large pan of water. Add the egg yolks and 2 teaspoons of the vinegar reduction to a bowl that will fit over the pan, and use a balloon whisk to beat.
3) Keep heating a little over the pan of water then removing to whisk, to prevent the sauce getting too hot. Scrape the sauce off the sides before you heat each time.
4) Whisk in the butter, a spoon at a time heating a little afterwards. Repeat until all the butter is added. The sauce should be a thick, mayo-like consistency.
5) Finally, whisk in the lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Poached eggs
3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
4 large free range eggs
2 muffins (I used toasting muffins but I also use oven bottom muffins)
4 slices of Serrano ham (Parma or Torchon ham are tasty in this, too)

The secret to great poached eggs is using a large pan of water and stirring it quickly to make a vortex. The egg slides into the centre from a bowl, and it forms a tight shape.

1) Boil a large saucepan of water and add the vinegar.
2) Whilst that boils, crack the eggs into separate small dishes or cups and warm two plates.
3) Cut the muffins in two halves and toast them.
4) Swirl the water as described and poach the eggs, one at a time for 2 to 3 minutes, removing them with a slotted spoon onto a warm plate.
5) Spoon a little of the sauce on each muffin half, and curl on a slice of ham.
6) Carefully lay an egg on each and spoon on the hollandaise sauce.
7) Serve immediately and enjoy.

Friday, 20 September 2013

how to make lemon curd marble muffins

Today's Blogtember prompt is: React to this term: comfort

These muffins are my idea of comfort food. They are gorgeous to eat on a cold, autumnal day by a roaring fire. Brilliant too if I fancy baking something tasty and delicious but I don't have a lot of time. As they should be eaten while they are still warm, it's a great excuse to have more than one!

This recipe makes about 12

225g plain flour
2 tsps baking powder
100g caster sugar
a good pinch of sea salt
125ml milk
1 medium egg
125g plain yoghurt
75g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
150g lemon curd

 First, place muffin cases in a muffin tray. Then in a bowl, put the flour, caster sugar, salt and baking powder and mix together lightly.

 Stir together the milk, melted butter, yoghurt and egg in a jug. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix lightly. 

Put six or seven dollops of lemon curd in and quickly 'marble.' A couple of light stirs will do.

Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases and bake in a pre-heated oven 180C/Gas Mark 4 for about thirty minutes. Leave to cool and eat while slightly warm.


I used a recipe from the River Cottage Everyday cookbook by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

Enjoy. Have a lovely weekend.