::Food fest at our house::

I love summer food. A food fest. Salad, coleslaw, especially red cabbage coleslaw, and lots and lots of lovely juicy fruit salads. Then there are the savoury salads, oh my! Avocado, walnut and peach – yum yum. Feeling inspired to try a new salad courtesy of my blogland friend Loopy, I decided to team it with some homemade pizzas too. Here is the post that set me off on this food fest at our house extravaganza.

20140805_185434Look I made it- however I didn’t have pumpkin seeds so I used toasted walnut pieces instead and I used cider vinegar (not as sweet or sugary). It was yummy. Hmmm… but what to have with it? A good fest needs to have … more food!  So I started some gluten free bread in the bread maker – I know cheating but I was busy packing for my holiday and writing this post!

I used 450g of gluten free bread flour,  270ml of warm water, pinch of salt, 1 yeast sachet, 1 teaspoon of sugar, knob of butter and that was it.

If not using a bread maker then mix and combine, and once mixed put in a warm bowl and cover with cling film for about 1 1/2 hours. then knead it until soft and forgiving. I used it to make two bases by rolling it out. I covered two large baking trays and then left them for about 15 mins whilst I did the rest.

20140805_184047I fried off some red onion and some portobello mushrooms which were not going to last a three week holiday, no they weren’t. Added garlic to some chopped tomatoes and whizzed them up to make a tomato sauce for the base.

20140805_184100This one had the tomato base, the onion and mushroom mixture, olives, and some ricotta cheese blobs. I added the rest of the grated cheddar towards the end.20140805_191900Then I made one for the boys with plain pepperoni, ham and cheddar- they don’t do olives and ricotta!20140805_190335

It was all so very delicious and food fest like. So a blogland friends post about her well-being and recipes turned into a food fest at our house! Oh how lovely it all was, and there is even a bit left over for lunch tomorrow. Hmmm… what to have then- I’ll be checking with Loopy to see if she has anymore ideas!

 

::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

::Outside again::

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It always amazes me how quickly you begin to feel better when you’ve been ill, if you can venture outside again. Half term took a turn for the worse when my asthma decided it didn’t like the bronchial virus that struck mid-week, so staying warm and cosy became a priority. Not being able to breathe is a very scary feeling, typically like ‘the elephant on the chest’ that people often refer to when having an asthma attack. But this asthma attack didn’t work like that: it crept up on me over time making me feel tired, cold and breathless. I wondered when I would be able to go outside again.

So this week I took advantage of being at home, snuggly warm (and somewhat tired) to complete projects, watch T.V movies that had been stored on the hard drive since Christmas, enjoy tasty foods (my tastebuds were seriously struggling, everything tasted so bland) and generally fully recharge my batteries. I really did enjoy the full Lord of the Rings trilogy, all nearly 10 hours of it… but my goodness I just wish they’d got there sooner! In the end my week turned out very productive, and I did get lots of rest. More than once I discovered myself asleep on the sofa, snuggled under my blanket realising that poor Frodo had suddenly taken a turn for the worse too without me noticing!

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::Monday: I completed little Em crochet granny square blanket.

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::Tuesday: I wound all of my beautiful yarn for my next crochet projects.

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::Wednesday: I designed and transferred my blog to a brand spanking new home (here!) including a montage of all my bits and bobs and crochet, knitted and patchwork makes.

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::Thursday: I made yummy food. Gluten and dairy free brownies the recipe is on this post Good-for-my-tummy-brownies.

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::Friday: Hooray! I ventured outside again and filled my lungs with Cumbrian, oh-so-fresh-and tinglingly-cool air and paddled in the mud. It was glorious and so exhilarating to finally be outside again and to feel the air and the sun on my face, my cheeks glowed and it did make my nose run rather a lot (tissues were definitely needed). But my lungs did thank me for the pleasure of new air with a sound sleep and virtually no coughing! No, not much at all!

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::Saturday: I went outside again to the market in the wonderful town of Keswick and in my basket I bought…

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…some lovely fresh beetroot, a beautiful watermelon, a deliciously scented bunch of parsley and some vintage-styly cup cake cases. Aren’t they adorable? I also visited the Cafe26 and had… lemon drizzle cake with blueberries and a lovely Americano Coffee! (Can you see my beautiful crocheted neck warmer cowl- I’m wearing it right now as I write, it really does keep me so snug – I got that finished too but that’s for another post).

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It just shows how sometimes your body will let you know when it really has had enough and it needs you to Stop, take a moment and sit back and recover. I’m getting better at reading the signs that my body has had enough, this time however I didn’t take heed, I thought I could win through and keep going, half term was looming, it would be fine. Clearly not.

So it is with renewed lungs, recharged batteries and faith in my resolve that I return, excitedly and very welcomed, back to my class and job as Deputy head in school. It is a very demanding job, in reality it isn’t 9-3.30 as anyone who knows or lives with a teacher will know. I will try my best to ‘take it steady’ next week, as the asthma nurse has recommended. But I am feeling better and longing to be going outside again.

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::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::

:: Keep calm and breathe. It’s half term!::

Half term – longed for and needed desperatly as the cold weather and long darkness takes its toll on my asthmatic health. Soooo very tired…need sleep and crafty creative time to recharge my batteries.

So my lovely hubby and big boys decided to take me out to my favourite eatery ‘Green’s of Grassmere” on Sunday, before E returns to Leeds after being home for ‘reading’ week. (Not sure any reading was actually accomplished!!) 

We had a lovely bistro-type meal, mine of course gluten, dairy free- but so tasty and lovely. They make you feel so welcome and Grassmere is so beautiful. 

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We only need to travel 35 minutes to get there but through the most glorious scenery.

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Yes, we have a sprinkling of snow and it is CoLd!!

So after eating my fill, it’s back home to my crochet project- Little Em blanket. You might remember little Em is my best friend D’s daughter, we went to Cambridge last year, we visit them around 5 times a year and since it takes us a long, long 5 hours in the car just to get there it’s a feat of amazement that D and I have been friends for over 30 years, through secondary school, A-level college, University, marriages and babies!! Em has just turned 7 and of course wanted Aunty K to make her a crocheted big girls blanket.

Little em blanket 7It’s beautiful Stylecraft yarn in a bunch of lovely shades. Emperor, meadow, parchment, raspberry, violet, silver – Style Craft DK from the Wool Warehouse.Little em blanket 3These pics are a bit better than the other ones!

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_DSC0159So far I have hooked about 35 squares and so I have a long way to go before it is double bed sized, however each square will be bordered with two rounds of parchment, then joined with parchment and then the whole blanket witll be edged and bordered with something pretty- don’t know what yet.

THEN…

I have a number of projects on the go afterwards. My lovely kind hubby got me a blanket CAL for Amanda’s beatiful kaleidoscope blanket over at the Natural Dye Studio, you can check it out here.

My January pack, complete with pattern arrived and the February pattern update as been emailed. I’m so excited about getting started- just need to get the Little Em blanket finished and I’ll be off!

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Then…. sneaky man that he is, this arrived shortly after as a cheer me up January present! Awhhh. Cheer me up it definitely did!! A subscription to the website, magazine and two balls of delicious kidsilk. Discount on the yarns in stores and workshops! How to fit it all in! 

_DSC0154I’ve always loved Rowan yarns, so soft and gorgeous and I have a number of the books dating back about 20 years! Time to dig them out  me thinks!

So with the weather being nasty and horrid, I am loving that my tiny weeny baby narcissi are trying their best to shine and add delight to my kitchen table, although some of them have exhausted themselves!! Will be visiting the market tomorrow to purchase Tulips – I love tulips!!

_DSC0152My bundles of Lucy stylecraft arrived for my pending ripple blanket- yes I know eventuall I will get it done!! It was on 10% off so thought now was a good time to buy from Deramores – see here.

 

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As you can see my studio needs a little bit of attention with all these parcels and projects waiting patiently!_DSC0158A Well, it’s been lovely chatting but a scrummy cup of coffee and a gluten /diary free raspberry and lime muffin await (made them on Saturday – don’t know how there are any left!)- and a bit of hooky for little Em’s blanket, and a read of one my very favourite books, Ashlyn Gibson’s Creative Happy Home, you can find it here.

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Happy hooking and enjoy half term!!

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More MixTures!!

:: Tulips::
::Busy, busy, busy – lampshade and pizza ::
-A happy ending-