::Easter Simnel Muffins::

ImageHappy Easter everyone!!

Here is a little treat post, won’t be a long one I promise, for those of you who enjoy a Simnel cake but find the cooking of it takes an age! These Simnel Muffins are amazing and are from the BBC Good Food cookery Book. I discovered them through a Facebook friend, who posted a picture of her muffins fresh from the oven. Ooooooh I wish I was able to smell them as they promised to be AmAzInG!!I have included any dairy or gluten free adaptations.  Anyway here are the recipe and the pictures.

They really are easy, peasy, lemon squeezy!!!!!Image

Soak 9oz Mixed fruit for an hour with the juice & rind of an orange, (keep back 2tbsp juice for the icing) – or microwave for 2min if you forget!

Beat together:
6oz butter (or free from margarine)
6oz golden caster
3 eggs
1tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
10oz self raising flour (I use gluten free)
5tbsp milk ( I use rice milk)

Add in fruit.

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Half fill muffin cases then put in a flattened ball of marzipan ( I put in small chopped chunks). 6oz will do all 12 muffins
Top with remaining mixture.

25 – 30 min 160-180C

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Make a thick ish icing with 8oz icing sugar & the orange juice then top with Mini Eggs

Then you can have your very own TA-DAH!!! moment and once the icing has stuck a little bit, enjoy them. They are really delicious!Image

:: First Quarter ::

It doesn’t seem two minutes ago that I was putting together my end of year review photos, of colourful makes, practical projects and little bits of my creative life. Here I am with the First Quarter of the year flashing by in images!! What a treat it is again, even though it wasn’t that long ago, to refresh, recap and revisit these happy snaps.

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What an amazingly colourful and creative first quarter it has been; there have been trials and tribulations, illness, difficult weather and changes to our working lives. But as a family, and with the support of good friends and trusted colleagues, we have weathered it all and are happy, safe and positive about what the next quarter will bring.

Many new projects on their way, new yarn purchased and also my kaleidoscope blanket to continue- it’s a lovely surprise every month! And I can’t wait to start my poncho with my beautiful Cascade peruvian yarn too. Busy busy!!

Happy hooking people!!

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Good for my tummy brownies

Good-for-my-tummy-Brownies

I love making hess brownies, especially as they are good-for-my-tummy, and I know I can enjoy them without feeling ill. They are gluten and dairy free so don’t keep so well (oh dear!), I just eat them and treat myself when they’re gone they’re gone.

How to make Good-for-my-tummy- brownies:

200g dark chocolate melted- no dairy (70% is good)

100g gluten free flour

100ml sunflower oil

2 eggs

100g sugar

1tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp gluten free baking powder

Method::

Mix all the ingredients and put into a lined 23cm square tin and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes at 180c. It should be a bit soft, but not sinking , in the middle. leave to cool and sprinkle with icing sugar before devouring! :O)Image

::Breakfast pancakes::

Well it's the end of the official half term week, before the normality of weekend and back to work, so what better way to end the week than with a deliciously different breakfast.

We sometimes have them on the weekend but it's such a treat to have them in the week, being a working Mum and all that- so when I asked Little J if he would like pancakes for breakfast his response was sheer delight!

Not the french crepe style pancakes… no, no, the fat, podgy, spongy, american style pancakes, that I used to eat as a child covered in golden syrup, or lemon juice, sugar and sometimes a bit of banana and jam! Yum, yum!!

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So batter up!!

I always make the batter up the night before- but you don't have to, you can just mix it up and splodge away!

150g plain flour

2tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

25-50g sugar

2 eggs

100-125ml milk

25g melted butter

fruit of your choice, mashed banana, raisins, raspberries, etc

sunflower oil

::Method::

Mix all of the dry ingrediants together and in another bowl place the milk, eggs and melted butter, then mix them together whisk the life out of it so it's really bubbly.

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CAM00064I use my Aga warm plate- not the other one as that's the hot plate!You have to oil the plate slightly first. I just put desert spoonfuls of batter mixture on and use a pallette knife to slide them over once the bubbles start 'a' popping on the top!

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CAM00067Silly me forgot that I have to put sunflower oil on the hot plate – not BUTTER- 'cos it burns the edges!!

CAM00070But, they must have tasted goooood, as Little J happily ate most of them with his juice and a sprinkling of sugar- he left the slightly 'darker' ones for his Dad who has them with jam! He said they were delicious!

So ready for anything now me thinks!!

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More MixTures

::This week so far…::
::Relaxing::
::Transition::
::Handpicked, harvesting and homemade::

::Something sticky, sweet and delicious – raspberry muffins::

It is half term, and there I am full of cold, feeling more than just a tad under the weather- (whatever does that mean?) and needing something that will cheer me up!

Check out the fridge…

Fresh raspberries, minstrels, plenty eggs and milk…. MUFFINS!!!!

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I found a great little recipe here which I accessed on my MacBook on the kitchen island for quickness, instead of printing it out on the computer in the study, or evn worse running backwards and forwards to get it right – you can tell I’ve done that before!! Laptop in the kitchen it is.

 

Buttery melting lovliness.CAM00046This was quite a needy fix- sweet sugary muffin mix, butteryness, and sharp raspberries mixed with the lush lovely minstrels… Oh stop, drooling alert, they’re not made yet!!Buttery melting lovliness.CAM00047Don’t over mix or they won’t rise as much, they really do look quite messy when they’re ready.CAM00048Generous spoonfuls.

They smell GoRgEoUs – I wish you could smell them too..

Then for the smartie chocolate ones for ‘the boys’… I found this recipe here, but didn’t keep any smarties for the tops- J ate some so never mind!

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15 minutes later…

CAM00056Ooooh can you smell them – they’re cooling just now, otherwise J would have scoffed the lot, and probably given himself tummy ache (that’s what my Grandma always said!)

CAM00057Hooky at the ready, CHECK, Chai Latte at the ready CHECK, homemade raspberry and chocolate muffins, it really is my very favourite drink at the moment, sweet, spicy, creamy and lovely. When I’m not near a Starbucks or a Costa, and lets face it I live in the middle of nowhere (7 miles to the nearest shop) I have to find the next best thing. Lucky for me Sainsbury’s deliver the next best thing and here is the website for it here. I love the pink one, spiced.

CAM00059That definitly hit the spot and did the trick ( and all those other phrases people say when they are quite satisfied).

Lovely.

P.S. J said the chocolate ones were good too. :)

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More MixTures

::Handpicked, harvesting and homemade::
::Homemade Artisan Bread::

::Homemade Artisan Bread::

Hello!  Mmmmmmm.. can you smell it, it's just out of the oven!!

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It all started a week or two back when, over on Lucy's blog, there was this post about homemade Artisan bread and how easy peesy it is to make at home. The link , here, describes the method and ingredients perfectly.

It looked amazing, and even without the benefit of smellivision or sniffable computer screens, it was still sending me 'make me' messages.

So I did just that!

Using the link on Lucy's blog, I gathered all of my ingredients and implements together ready to start. Complete with soapy bowl of water at the ready! (Thank you Lucy It was definitly needed.)

Now living in such a lovely part of the world, The Lake District, we have some amazing little businesses such as Little Salkeld Mill, where they mill and grind their own flours. So with my own favourite to hand, I set about weighing and measuring.

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…and gently stirring (you don't need to mix it very much)

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Then I left it covered over neat the Aga overnight- YES!!! over 20 hours, and when I came back to it is was beautifully, yeasty, bubbly, and pillowy and it smelled so homely and comforting even at this stage.

 

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It was then plopped, actually more like a pouring crawl out of the bowl onto the floured baking parchment and then I floured it to death!! Without kneading it at all, and yes I did get very sticky hands. Once that was done, it was covered in cling film again and I put my big blue Le Crueset casserole in the oven to get hot!

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It went in the oven for half an hour with the lid on then 15 minutes without the lid and then

LOOK!!!!CAM00026

 

I did manage to wait for it to cool down a little bit before I decided, along with J and little J that it just have to have butter and jam on it. Little J had it without anything and he said it was "lush". Hmmm, praise indeed from my youngest teenager!

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Deliciously crusty on the outside and soft and airy on the inside – it really was heavenly.

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It didn't last very long, but Oh MY!! It was a complete delight. Now to make tomorrows batch ready for baking tomorrow.

Me thinks a revolution has begun, thanks Lucy!

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other mixtures

::Happy, Homemade, Homegrown, Happy::
::Handpicked, harvesting and homemade::

:: All is calm… All is bright::

Merry Christmas everyone… as the good song says!

It's been a little busy leading up to the Christmas break, and now Christmas day is over, I'll be having a well deserved and longed for rest. Christmas cake turned out well – I use Mary Berry's Aga recipe and it always works wonderfully well.

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Busy making and crocheting Christmas decorations, presents and organising all of the food, housey things and family timetables(after a very intense end of term at school) almost drove me over the edge of tiredness into can't be bothered ville! However, family, sleep, food, sleep and family all rallied around to make christmas special, warm, cosy, and filled me up with good old fashioned family love and warmth. Aaaaaahhhhhhh…. (sigh of contentment.)

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(Got to love my youngest son's sense of humour – handmade cards!!)

Enjoy your Christmas and New Year, and I hope that the coming new season brings everything you need for a happy, healthy and homely life.

 

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A selection of other Mixtures!!

::Autumn wreath – Ta-Dah!!!::
::Ta-Dah!! Meet little Owl::

::This week so far…::

WOOOHOOOOO it's the half term holiday!

Lots of jobs and bits and bobs to tick off my list!

Well half term in my house generally involves lots of sleeping (me), eating (me) and catching up on housey type jobs (everyone) that I either can't be bothered to do or haven't time for in term time. These include (in no particular order):  pulling out the sofa for hoovering, refolding the towels in the airing cupboard so that they all fit in again, putting back the increasing pile of shoes, boots, scarves, hats and gloves that pile up on the hall settle, moving winter clothes out of storage and summer ones back into for another year!

Tick!

The half term week started for me in Edinburgh!! Yes, I went with a couple of work friends and we ran the Race for life twilight around Arthur's Seat.


EdinburghIt was amazing and we LOVED it. I have done many runs but not one in the dark- the atmosphere and the twinkly lights were fabulous. But we did get VERY wet. 
Really enjoyed the weekend and pootling around Edinburgh on Sunday morning – christmas shopping in Jenners is always a treat.

Tick!

I went into school at the beginning of the week to get a few bits and pieces done, and it's so much easier when there are no children around – although they are kind of the point of it all anyway!!! You know what I mean!

Tick!

That done, time to concentrate on recharging my batteries and doing some family things.

With all of those jobs done and dusted (yes I did that too), time to snuggle down and get on with some crochet. The weather has been very hit and miss- in fact more miss than hit!


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Lovely coffee ( a Starbucks Christmas blend – I'm testing it out you see!!), walnut whip (oh how I love a walnut whip from M and S), candles, a warm glow, gorgeous yarn and lots of ideas to get on with!! Heavenly!


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and with a few more leaves and a marigold…


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Tick! Tick!

Then the task of cooking and making and with an Aga that decided to get hotter and hotter yesterday – lots of cooking, baking and making was needed to cool it down and regulate the temperature again.

So here you go, as you can see the oven was very hot as a couple of the next items got a little 'flashed' as Mary Berry says in the Aga cookbook!!


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 Yorkshire puddings LOVE a hot oven, but it was even a bit hot for these little guys! Still they'll freeze well enough.


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The choclate cake will get icing, and a chocolatey top in time for tea! Also made HUGE pans of chilli, soup and a very large ginger parkin ready for bonfire night.

Tick! Tick! Tick! Lots of jobs done there then!

My favourite though is the cherry, gluten and diary free flapjack- Yes I can actually eat it!


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The recipe is here if you would like to make a gluten free and diary free person VERY happy!

350g (12oz) sunflower margarine

3 generous tbsp golden syrup

175g (6oz) light soft brown sugar

1tsp valilla extract

75g (3oz) Doves farm plain flour

375g (13oz) Gluten free oats

Mix marg, syrup, sugars together in a pan and melt until smotth, add vanilla. Add to the flour, oats and stir to mix. Pop into a lined swiss roll tin, 25x38cm and into the oven for about 20 -25 minutes. Cut into squares, fingers or triangles – what ever you fancy whilst it's still warm and allow to cool completely on a wiire rack. I add 100g of natural glace cherries into mine but you can add 100g of banana, sultanas, chocolate chips. Anything at all!! 

Enjoy with a lovely cuppa!


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Oooooh forgot to tell you, my new book arrived. I've been following Arne and Carlos for a while and their book came out in English!!


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So what's next for the rest of the half term week.

Well we've booked a lovley hotel in Shipley, you can have a peak here. We're going to visit E in Leeds and I've wanted to go to the lovely and exciting sounding Salts Mill for AgEs and so we're heading there on Friday together. E will get the train over from Leeds and meet us there, we'll have food, look at the exhibition, hopefully have a wander around and genrally relax! Phewwww. Deep breath! There is an exhibition of Rock and Roll music etc that will appeal to my two big boys VERY well, and even to J too.

There are the Hockney paintings which will appeal to me VERY much and lots of things to pootle about at. I'm really looking forward to going.

Then we will be visiting my Brother's new little family and Baby M before we travel home and back to the prospect of getting back to school. 


Relax-it-s-the-half-term

Hopefully as ell as ticking off lots of jobs and things off my list, I'll feel refreshed and ready to take on the run up toChristmas in school – that's no mean feat I can tell you!

So, that's my week ahead and so far. What about you?

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::Busy, busy, busy – lampshade and pizza ::

Just another quick post, two updates.

::Update 1::

I have been busy, busy, busy, making my newly named Tutti-Fruity Lampshade (Inspiration from Delquilter on Ravelry) see my previous post here and I've begun to work out and crochet the circles I will need. I am going to adapt the original Apple-Cherry-Fizz-Bomb version though and add some crochet ripples into it too and maybe have a crochet bobble border. I can see it finished in my head!

I'm using Stylecraft yarn I bought from the Wool warehouse and I'll be placing an LED bulb in the shade once finished (no heat therefore safer), much to J's relief. I think he thought I was going to have a safety hazard on our hands, but he feels reassured now. Phew!!

So I've started my circles and chosen my palette.


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I'm figuring out the circles needed, and I've made the first 8 for around the top. I've started crocheting the first of 8 larger ones and then I'll make 8 panels for the sides with crochet inserted shapes. It's all a bit take-it-slowly-and-see-how-it-goes but so far (fingers crossed) it's going well. I LOVE it!!


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So I will keep you up-to-date and maybe even write a tutorial for this – depends on how transferable the sizes are as the shades may differ. It is a great upcycling project and recycling at it's best me thinks!!

Remember how yesterday I was busy, busy, busy with baking, homemade, things and homebaking? Well.

::Update 2::

…on the pizza and bread buns. Sad I know, but I'm soo impressed with gluten free homemade bread – it tastes like Bread!

Ta-Dah!! I have successfully made gluten-free bread for a pizza and it was delish!!


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As you can see I had already taken a chunk out when I took the photo – it looked too good to wait!

It was lovely and crispy on the base ( the Aga does that very well) and I topped it with tomato puree, mozzarella cheese, rocket leaves, ribbons of courgettes (freshly picked that morning) cheddar cheese, olives (green and black) and dried basil.
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The pizza was lovely with my homemade coleslaw and the bread buns turned out really well too – in fact I think they've now gone!

It's great having the time to get on and do these things, I just hope I can be organised and disciplined enough once back to school to ensure I bake, make and have time for crafty things. They make me soooo happy! :)

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::Handpicked, harvesting and homemade::

This is just a quick post – I promise I'll try – having been very happy and busy harvesting and handpicking and then homebaking.

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It was lovely this morning to go and check on the courgettes – and WOW!! There were loads of courgettes and the beans are coming along nicely too! All that sun and rain recently, and there is no stopping them, turn your back for a minute!! I also picked some of the sweet peas and other lovely flowers in the garden to brighten up the kitchen – and the sweet peas are so fragrant and sweet smelling.

_DSC0011Now to decide what to do with my lovely new crop, I'll come back to that later. Then I set about baking some gluten free scones – cheese scones are Little J's favourite so that's what i did. I must admit to being inspired and left mouth watering at Lucy's scones the other day – they did look lovely. Anyway I got them made, then plain and chocolate fairy buns, then I put some gluten free bread dough to prove. Stilll waiting on the bread buns to have their second prove before going into the hot Aga - then coleslaw and ham (as promised ) awaits. Have decided with the boys, that we will make pizza for dinner later, and use homemade bread dough, homegrown courgettes and other yummy things for the toppings. Will let you know how they turn out! 

Then I made both E and Little J's favourite – flapjack all warm, buttery and sticky, they have it on it's own or with sliced banana. And it is quite delicious. 


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I've been making flapjack for years, since I was little (about the same age as the bread, ham and colelslaw sandwiches in my last post here) and whatever variation we decide on they are always delicious. Banana, chocolate, raisins, fruity, nutty, seedy (with seeds in), there are so many ways to make it. Of course now I hahve to make it with gluten free oats. But it is still delicious.

So now for my snack, and a cuppa! I'll enjoy this.


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Ta-dah!! Kept it short and very sweet! :o)xxxx 

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