Tag Archives: Recipe

A Cupboard Full of Cake

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Greetings one and all, it’s been very quiet round here lately. First I was ill then we enjoyed a marvellous weekend with family in Edinburgh so life has been busy as ever. Even though I miss it when I cannot blog I am enjoying the ease of sharing snippets of my days on Instagram. It is a great way of trying to order my ideas and stop the obsessive mental stockpiling of things that I want to share on here!

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As I mentioned, I was knocked sideways by a bout of sickness the other week. I am rarely ill and do not make a good patient. Having caught the bug from the Little Man I was once again overcome with respect for the stoicism that my children show when they are poorly.

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For me, there are two things I need when I am under the weather – cake and chocolate. For inspiration I turned to the wonderful Lillian’s Cupboard. So let me take you on a tour of the treats that helped restore me to strength!

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I first made this Swedish Dream Bar for my colleagues a while ago and it proved to be such a hit that it is still commented on now. Therefore I do not understand why it has taken me so long to give it another go. Moist and chewy on top with a crunchy, biscuit base this makes the perfect sweet snack with a cuppa and is easily transportable for picnics.

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It was unfortunate timing that I caught a bug on the weekend that both my hubby and parents were away. When the craving for cake hit and I realised that the fridge was egg free I nearly cried. There was much internal cheering when I looked up one of my favourite of Lillian’s recipes, the Boiled Raisin Cake, and discovered it to be egg free. Oh happy days! (Incidentally the Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake is also egg free and definitely on my to-bake list!). This is a 1940s tea bread and I adore the simple, sweet cinnamon hit it delivers. It is also very popular with the Little Man as he is not a fan of sponge but loves fruit cakes.

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The final treat in this weekend bakeathon was another WWII era Cake, the Orange One Egg Cake. I blogged about this cake a couple years ago here but it was even better this time. I used half juice, half milk and whisked the frosting until it was extra light and fluffy. Delicious!

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And finally, for balance, there has been plenty of non-cake related feasting around here as barbecue season has hit. You know how much I love a picnic so you can imagine how excited I get about this sort of al-fresco dining and the Little Man thinks that they are the best thing ever! Ironically my favourite aspect of barbecues is not the meat but the salads (my husband says that this is sacrilege but hey ho).

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Here we have Mary Berry’s Coleslaw, made with half vinaigrette, half mayonnaise, roasted vegetables with balsalmic vinegar and, my latest obsession, Delia Smith’s Very Red Rice. Made with Carmague red rice, this salad has a lovely nutty texture. I saw it originally on Instagram and the secret I find is to leave it to cool slightly then stir through chunks of good feta cheese and a load of coriander. So good!

I shall leave you with a final, gratuitous snap of my darling Little Lady who joins in with all of this feasting with an (almost) permanent smile on her face!

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Cinnamon Apple Roses

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Hello! Remember these little beauties from the other week? They proved so popular that I have already made a second batch. Obviously I gave you the link to the superb video of the recipe but I felt that it would be much more convenient to have a written version. This is not to replace the video but will be a handy reference for when I (or anybody else!) next want to whip up another bouquet of roses.

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Halve and thinly slice 2 red apples and put them in a bowl of water with lemon juice. Microwave for 3 minutes then drain.

Mix 3 tbsp apricot preserve with 2 tbsp water and microwave for 1 minute.

Roll out 1 sheet of puff pastry into a longer, thinner rectangle and cut into 6 strips. Spread on the apricot jam.

Lay the apple slices along the top of each pastry strip and sprinkle liberally with cinnamon. Fold the dough in half to hold the fruit in place (watch the video to see this process in action!).

Roll up the dough strips into roses and bake in a muffin tin at 190 °C/375 °F for 45 minutes.

Sprinkle with icing sugar before serving warm with a blob of ice cream.

Enjoy!

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The Week In and Out

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Hello my dears, I hope I find you well. Thank you for your kind wishes for the Little Lady. Her spots are now clearing and normality has returned.

Do you like the yarn play that I enjoyed with my Little Man the other day? He is not the most enthusiastic artist/crafter but, with a bit of encouragement, we have some lovely sessions together. I am planning on creating a spider to live in his colourful web so it can hang in his bedroom.

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There are times when I get myself in a tizzy about this blog, planning posts, not writing them and then ending up stressing so I am hoping that this post clears a backlog. The last fortnight has been a busy mix of mundane, comfortable at home time (the in of the title) and merry outings here and there, picnicking with family and friends. Bits and pieces that make for messy posts but are a truthful reflection of everyday life. My latest obsession, Instagram, is a wonderful outlet for these moments but I still love writing my blog. If you’re on there please come and say hello @rosy_hill!

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On Bank Holiday Monday we had a magical day out at one of our favourite places, Shugborough. I have taken you there before here if you want to look around but on Monday it was a relaxed, family affair that centred around the little people and the picnic!

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It makes me so happy to see the joy my Little Man gets out of life’s simple pleasures. Chasing a ball around. Picking dandelion clocks.

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Bless him.

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Another wonderful moment from last weekend was creating these little beauties. So simple, so effective, so delicious and so much fun! I have never used YouTube videos to cook from before but these worked out really well. Check it out here.

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Served warm with a blob of ice-cream they made quite a spectacular dessert!

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Today we are down in Kent with family and we took a trip to Riverhill Himalayan Gardens. We timed the visit well with the woods being carpeted with bluebells. What a smell!

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The little people had a wonderful time and the weather was kind to us. It only rained a little bit and the sun even came out to say hello.

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The Little Man was here, there and everywhere…

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…even getting up close and personal with the sculptures! I took so many pictures of the flowers, the views, the art but mostly it was pretty overcast and they just don’t do justice to the beauty of nature. Trust me, we shall be visiting again!

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Finally, we have been busy setting up the garden for the summer. Seeds have been planted, bushes have been mulched and some dubious seed potatoes have been plunged into the ground with fingers crossed! I hope to have some more to show you soon when things get going.

Thank you so much if you have made it to the end of my musings. Flicking through it all looks pretty bright and colourful so I shall leave you with a reminder that we’ve had the rain and clouds too, we’ve just carried on regardless! 🙂

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Curry Comfort

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Good evening all, I hope this post finds you well. I was all set to do a ta-da post for a couple of pieces tonight but I am frankly just too tired to find the words. Illness has struck again as it is now the turn of Little Lady to be blighted by chickenpox. The poor little lamb is covered in spots, much more than her brother was. Luckily she does not seem to be overly unwell, just incredibly itchy.

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For the past few days I have therefore given myself over to a lot of sofa snuggles. She is a bit restless, waking regularly from her naps and needing extra comfort so I have kept her close by, resigning myself to a few days of films and crochet (well that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!).

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I have taken the opportunity to resurrect a long forgotten project, my Summer Garden Throw. Using Lucy’s (Attic24) Summer Garden Granny Square this blanket is a colour bonanza and I am loving every minute of it.

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Yesterday I did manage to rouse myself from our cosy nest to create a rather delicious Carrot, Tomato and Lentil Soup. (Simply softened onions and garlic with paprika, salt and tomato puree with chopped carrots, tomatoes, red lentils and parsley).

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And today I took some time out to cook up a batch of comforting vegetable curry from Be Healed, Be Healthy, Be Happy. I absolutely love this recipe and, best of all, it’ll fill my stock pot with enough for 2 meals for the three of us and 3 lunches for me. The only real changes I make are using swede instead of butternut squash (cheaper and quicker to prepare) and adding a tonne of coriander (1 tbsp ground and as much fresh as I can get my hands on). I also only use 1 can of coconut milk, making up the difference with water.
Anyways, I have just fed and resettled the Little Lady so I am going to take the opportunity to grab as much sleep as possible until she stirs again.

Enjoy your weekend. 🙂

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Filed under Baby, Crochet, Recipes

Springtime Catch Up

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Hello! Hope you’re keeping well. I’ve been out of action for a little while as we’ve been battling a bout of chicken pox whilst simultaneously organising (and attending) a hen party for my lovely friend. It’s been all go! Luckily the Little Man bore his illness well but he found being confined to the local area a little bewildering. He could not understand why we were not venturing much further than the park! I am just so grateful that we had the glorious sunshine and spring blossom to keep our spirits up and allow us to enjoy the fresh air as much as possible.

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We are still trying to enjoy as much alfresco feasting as possible whilst the weather holds and a favourite treat at the moment is these wheat free pancakes. I originally began my search for a simple, flourless pancake recipe when the Little Man began weaning but I was disappointed with the results. They generally contained apple or banana and the results were somewhat on the heavy side. These, however, are light and fluffy. Let me be clear, they do not compete with a proper, rich, butter laden scotch pancake but they are an excellent substitute whilst project ‘shift some baby weight’ is still in action. They will also no doubt prove to be useful when the Little Lady begins exploring solids. So here’s the recipe:

35 g / (1/3 cup) porridge oats
240 ml / (1 cup) yoghurt
3 eggs, beaten
Ground cinnamon

Simply mix together the yoghurt and oats then stir in the beaten eggs. Add cinnamon to taste. Fry in batches. When bubbles begin to appear on the surface, turn and cook for a further couple of minutes. Enjoy sweet or savoury with your favourite pancake topping!

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Mexican Brunch with One-Cup Pancakes

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I don’t know about you but I normally like to know what I’m cooking for dinner the next day before I settle down to bed at night. It is therefore unusual for me to be standing there at 4 o’clock pondering what to cook. However, that was me today. All I knew was that we had a lot of eggs. A quick Google search later saw me perusing 32 Jamie Oliver egg recipes and, hey presto, tonight’s dinner was sorted.

The Mexican Breakfast turned out to be simple, healthy and delicious. As the original recipe was for 6 I only used one can of tomatoes and a single pepper but I did cook two eggs each (this was dinner after all!). I also added a courgette and a dozen cherry tomatoes to the onion, garlic and sliced pepper and cooked them on medium for 15 minutes with some mixed herbs and paprika.

Then comes a tin of chopped tomatoes and a dash of Worcestershire Sauce and simmer for 15 minutes until thick and flavoursome. Next, slice 2 tomatoes on top and crack 6 eggs into holes in the mixture. Cover and cook until the eggs are cooked but still runny.

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With this I served the One-Cup Pancakes (or 2/3 of a cup to serve 3!). Simply whisk together 1 cup self-raising flour (wholemeal works well) with 1 cup milk and some salt. Then stir in the kernals from one corn on the cob or a large handful of frozen sweet corn, defrosted. The recipe calls for 20g feta cheese but I omitted this.

Simply ladle the mixture into a pan and fry for 2 minutes until bubbles appear. Flip and cook for a couple of minutes until golden brown. Delicious!

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Bread, Baking and Barbeques

Bread Baking

Sunday was such a wonderful day. I spent the majority of it in the kitchen preparing for the evening’s festivities. It was time to crack open Paul Hollywood’s ‘How to Bake‘ and indulge in some good, old-fashioned bread making. What a luxury! On today’s menu were Rosemary and Sea Salt Focaccia and Wholemeal Barm Cakes. Both were recipes new to me and both were a great success.

Focaccia

The focaccia was a delight to make and eat. (If you wish to have a go, Paul Hollywood’s recipe can be found here as well as in the book). The dough was springy and silky smooth and surprisingly easy to manipulate considering its stickiness. Watching those episodes of ‘The Great British Bake Off, Masterclass’ paid off at last!

Focaccia

I sprinkled one loaf with sea salt and oregano, as the recipe suggested, but the rosemary and sea salt version was the real hit. So moreish, we did eat a lot of bread!

Barm Cakes Dough

Wonderful as the focaccia was, I was proudest of my Barm cakes (another name for soft rolls, perfect to use as burger baps). They were soft, light and floury with a wonderful nuttiness. (I had run out of white bread flour so had to substitute wholemeal bread flour. All good!) Being so soft, their texture is quite different to most home-made breads where the crust is the best part. As these were so delicious I have written up the recipe in case you want to have a go.

Barm Cakes

  • 500g strong bread flour
  • 10g salt
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 10g instant yeast (I used active dry yeast and it worked well, I just left it a little longer to prove)
  • 40g butter, softened
  • 320ml cold water

Mix together the flour, salt, sugar, butter and enough water to form a rough dough. Knead for 5 – 10 minutes until smooth.

Cover with a damp tea towel and leave for 1 – 3 hours until at least doubled in size.

Tip out and knock back before dividing into about 12 pieces or balls of 70g. Leave to rest for 30 minutes on a heavily floured surface.

Flatten slightly with a rolling-pin and place on lined and floured baking trays. Sprinkle with flour and place the trays in a carrier bag and leave to prove for about an hour until doubled in size.

Bake in an oven pre-heated to 210 °C for 10 minutes before cooling on a wire rack.

Store in a lidded container to keep them soft.

Chocolate Orange Cake

The final preparations came in the form of cake baking. Gizzi Erksine’s Chocolate Orange Truffle Cake to be specific. This recipe was actually the top layer of my wedding cake – sweet, gooey and delicious.

Chocolate Orange Cake

It is incredibly rich but the orange gives it a slight tang and stops it from being too sickly. Nom nom.

Worm Hunting

The Little Man was amazing all day. He spent most of it in the garden with various family members, endlessly walking up and down, playing football and searching for worms in our vegetable beds! We have experimented with putting the kitchen waste straight into the soil at the front so we can grow courgettes/squash on the freshly composting peelings. It seems to be going well as a lot of the matter has already decomposed and the bed is now full of worms, always a good sign in these situations and an excellent source of entertainment for 2 year olds.

Barbeque

Finally it was barbeque time. There is nothing quite like the glowing embers of a barbeque. Any of you who visit regularly will know that I am a fan of open air eating. Yes, this is England. Yes, it is February. Yes, it is cold outside. However I do not see why that should spoil our fun. It was time to celebrate my lovely brother-in-law’s birthday in style. (This was party take 2 as he had missed half of his own celebrations last week – see here). What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday evening. We all ate lots and laughed lots. The weather remained dry and relatively mild.

I love parties! 🙂

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Pepperoni Pizza Soup

Pizza Soup

Last week my interest was caught by a post entitled ‘Hearty Pepperoni Pizza Soup‘ on Simply Made Kitchen and Crafts. Ever since I read the recipe it has been on my mind so, when my sister suggested dinner tonight, there was no decision to make.

I did adapt the recipe somewhat. Indeed, although I have kept the title, my version did not actually contain any pepperoni at all. I much prefer the sweeter, smokier flavour chorizo so used that instead. I also added a lot more seasoning as, for me, the herbs are the secret to this dish. At the end of the day, my soup still delivered exactly what it said on the tin – pizza in a soup. Brilliant!

So here’s my recipe:

  • 4 – 6 onions, minced
  • 1 chorizo, sliced
  • 4 peppers, chopped
  • 2-3 courgettes, diced
  • 6 cloved garlic, minced
  • 20 tomatoes, blended
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp dried mixed herbs (the dried oregano is what gives this soup the flavour/smell of pizza)
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 500ml – 1l water
  • 50g parmesan cheese, grated
  • Cooked meat – I used left over sausages and chicken (optional)
  • Cheese to sprinkle on top

Fry the onions and chorizo until the onions are soft and the chorizo has released its oils. Add the peppers, courgettes and garlic.

Stir in the tomatoes, seasoning and water and bring to the boil. Cook for 30 minutes.

Stir in the cheese and meat and cook until hot all the way through.

Serve with crusty bread and cheese sprinkled on top.

Enjoy!

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Creamy Sweet Potato and Pear Bisque

Sweet Potato and Pear Bisque

Yum yum yum! This was today’s dinner, kindly prepared by my dear husband: Sweet Potato and Pear Bisque (or soup for those of us who are not used to such fancy terminology!). I was inspired to make this dish after reading Teresa’s rave reviews of the recipe on her blog, Can’t Stay Out of the Kitchen. It sounded exactly what we need at the moment – healthy comfort food to warm one up on these dark January evenings. And indeed, it did not disappoint. This soup was delicious. Sweet and tasty, like velvet flowing down my throat.

And what better to serve this creamy dish with but fresh No Knead Bread! As I was running low on flour, this loaf is a bit of a mish-mash. 1/2 cup white bread flour, 2 cups wholemeal bread flour and 1/2 cup plain (all-purpose) flour. However it was none the worse for it! The wholemeal flour added a delicious nuttiness, enhanced by the addition of poppy and sesame seeds (it needs some sunflower/pumpkin seeds for some real bite but I am also out of those).

Plate

The other rather exciting element of this simple supper was that it gave me the chance to use my wonderful new plate, a Christmas present from my lovely mother. Happy days!

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A Sunny Saturday

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Evening all! I hope you have had a lovely weekend. We’ve been enjoying a bout of beautiful weather, bright sun and blue skies, giving hope that Spring is just around the corner. Above is the rather lovely view that I came home to this evening – soft, hazy light causing the surface of the water to shimmer and shine.

Blue Sky

Saturday was a particularly spectacular day – dazzlingly blue skies with a sun that gave off real heat. Now I am back at work, it is even more important to make the most of our valuable family time. I have decreed that we must have at least one proper outing at a weekend. This week we chose a trip to the park to soak up the rays and get a healthy dose of Vitamin D.

Sutton Park Picnic

We set up camp and brought out a quick picnic.

Courgette Picnic Scone

My Picnic Scone is becoming a firm favourite for such outings – quick, easy and transportable and the Little Man loves it! This time I decided to make a courgette version:

In a bowl put 200g self raising flour, 0.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda, and 1 heaped tsp each of paprika, rosemary and Dijon Mustard.

Add a small courgette, grated, and snip in 10 black olives.

Stir in 100g natural yoghurt and stir to combine.

Form into a ball and place on a lightly greased baking tray.

Flatten slightly, cut into wedges/chunks and sprinkle liberally with rosemary and grated cheese.

Bake at 200 °C for 20 – 25 mins. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

I even splashed out and made pudding – Microwaved Rhubarb Steam Sponge.

Rhubarb Steam Sponge

The method was based on this Pineapple Upside Down Cake that can be found on the rather  sweet Old Fashioned Values cookery site. Instead of pineapple I chopped 200g of rhubarb and a cooking apple, added 50g of sugar and microwaved it until soft. Placing this in the bottom of a buttered Pyrex bowl, I then made the sponge mixture (with the addition of a good tsp of mixed spice) and poured it over. It was a marvellous recipe – 10 minutes and you have a delicious dessert.

After lunch we spent a while enjoying the weather, lounging on the grass and being entertained by the Little Man who was chattering away merrily, whizzing about the place and demonstrating his walking prowess (he needs still needs to hold your fingers but can move his legs confidently on his own ).

Sutton Park

We finally managed to drag ourselves up and enjoyed a stroll through the park.

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I loved light filtering through the trees.

Sutton Park Path

The afternoon ended with a cheeky (and probably unnecessary!) ice-cream. Afterall, what’s a picnic in the park without a Mr Whippy?!

Sutton Park Ice Cream

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