Well the last couple of days have seen a delightful shine in the air. Birds have been chirping, sky is blue with cottonwool balls of clouds dancing along (I know, the words are a tad whimsical but that’s how I feel today 🙂 enjoy it!). My garden is showing signs of life too. Lovely, although it is a teensy bit early so hope we don’t have too much of a downturn on the weather front (forecast is looking a little chilly ahead)
Anyway, I digress. I have found myself recently with a little time off. Apart from napping, I have also been crocheting like a demon and also a spot of baking again. Lovely.
Todays venture has resulted in a batch of lemon curd for my daughter to take back to Uni with her tomorrow so that she can make some lemon curd and white chocolate muffins. Check out my recipe here, for the lemon curd. Keeps for about two weeks in the fridge although we’ve never had it long enough to test that theory!!!
I am hoping she sends me some pics. I have also finally got all the pieces together for my latest blanket, here is a sneak preview of some of the pieces 🙂
The other thing I have been doing is trying to get better at my food photography skills, looking back over the last year to try and find a picture of spring flowers, I stumbled across some pics I took last year that never really got showcased. Apologies for the self indulgence but I really like them despite the fact that one of them is of the peel of a garlic bulb!!! Not to mention that this is the best pic I have produced in the last year (I think!)
As always, Christmas Eve is made up of me and mine making gingerbread houses. See my previous Christmas posts for recipes (although there are very many fabulous ones online). This year we also made two miniature houses for gifts as well as a gingerbread star tree. I have to say Christmas Eve is truly my favourite day during the festive period. Have a wonderful time, love and sparkles xx
Not much baking seems to be happening these days in my household. The children have grown and are all busy living their lives. There simply isn’t the need for all the baking that I used to do. That coupled with my passion for crochet that has developed over the last few years has meant that baking has slipped from my daily routine.
I decided that this quite possibly was not the way forward for me. Welcome to my mini lime meringue tarts.
Sweet Shortcrust pastry
125g plain flour
50g unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 medium egg yolks
50g caster sugar
4 medium egg whites
225g caster sugar
1 tbsp cornflour
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tsp white wine vinegar
around 5 – 8 limes (depending on size), squeezed- warm them up first to get lots more juice and zested into the bowl
350g caster sugar
4 whole eggs
Firstly you need to make your pastry as this will need to be rested in the fridge for at least half an hour, an hour is better 🙂 Preheat your oven to 190 degrees c
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry –
Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Chuck in your butter
Rub the butter in until it looks like breadcrumbs.
Using a fork you can then add your egg yolk and if needed a tsp or so of water.
Gather the dough together with your hands and wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge.
Once your pastry is rested you can line your tins. I used muffin tins that I had lightly greased with butter. I pricked the bottoms of the tarts and then baked for around fifteen minutes or so until they were just turning golden. Basically you want them around 90% done I think. This recipe was very much about winging it so play with it to suit. You can use baking beans if you wish, up to you. You could also make a large tart as well.
Whilst your pastry is chilling you can get on with your lime curd.
in a double boiler (one bowl over a saucepan of simmering water) pop all your ingredients, whisk together over a gentle heat until the sugar dissolves and then heat gently for around 20 minutes. Leave it to cool, it will get thicker. Hey presto lime curd. This will make a reasonable amount so any leftover curd can be popped into a jar and then stored in the fridge for up to two weeks, yummy spooned straight from the jar into my mouth 🙂 Other citrus fruit works just as well, lemons (obvs) but also orange and although I haven’t tried it I suspect grapefruit might be a bit yum too.
Meringue – whisk your egg whites until stiff peaks form. Mix your cornflour, vinegar and vanilla in a small separate bowl.
Add the sugar whilst whisking, a spoonful at a time. Once your mixture becomes stiff and glossy you can add your cornflour, vanilla and vinegar mixture. Whisk for another minute or so. Pop your meringue into a piping bag or you can spoon on the meringue. Whatever your creative juices require really.
This mixture makes enough meringue for a dozen tarts plus a couple of trays of meringue kisses or you could even make some small pavlova bases. It will depend on how much meringue you got out of your four eggs and how generous you were on the tarts 🙂
In your pre baked tart shells spoon in some curd and then pipe on or dollop on your meringue. Pop into your oven that is now around 190 degrees c for around 5 – 10 minutes, keep an eye, you want the meringue to start browning. Once they are going brown, turn your oven off and leave them in it with the door slightly ajar to finish drying out the meringue a bit more.
All of my recipe components came from the wonderful step by step cookbook by Good Housekeeping. I have had various versions of this over the years including my Mum’s 1957 version. Cannot recommend it enough. You can often find a version in charity shops and pretty cheaply online too. Have a hunt.
Too hot to work on my Mandala at the moment so inspired by my kids love of Pokemon and the new craze of Pokemon go, I decided to make some small crochet Pokemon for them to find 🙂 I also needed to use up some of my teeny tiny bits of yarn scraps left over from my Mandala Madness blanket.
Had a look on Ravelry for patterns and found to my delight Nicole’s Nerdy Knots. She has created for free, some great teeny patterns that are really straightforward to do. Although they are free, you can make a donation to her page if you fancy. I have not been asked to do this on her behalf, just felt her stuff was good so we should 🙂
Stupidly I only took photos on my phone so forgive the quality and enjoy the following creations.
This last one, a Skarmory, did not have a pattern that I could find so for the first time in my crochet life I had a go at making something without a pattern. Luckily the internet is helpful with plenty of pictures. I am thrilled with the result and now wish I had written down what I did!!!
Every month now for a few months, myself and a few friends have been getting together every month. Primarily, so that I can teach them what I know about crochet (not masses, but enough!) and also to eat more cake than we probably should, washed down with gallons of tea.
Anyway, as we crochet, we chat. It transpired that one of my lovely new crochet buddies is planning a wedding for this month. It will be decorated with lots of handmade or grown at home stuffs (see cute pic of sweet peas given to me by lovely groom’s Mum!). It was decided that some crochet bunting would be a good teach as quite a simple pattern, and very pleasing to do as it works up quite quickly.
The leaves and the daisy flowers I created myself without a pattern.I may have a go at writing the pattern up (watch this space). I used them to embellish and trim the bunting. The tassels were, quite frankly, an example of me getting carried away. This was really my first foray into designing something myself. I quite enjoyed the process and the groom’s Mum seems pleased with the result, so all in all, a win methinks.
Well I have finally got round to taking some pictures of the small single colour Sophie I made recently. This is intended for a baby due this month and I hope will be used as a pram blanket. I am really pleased with how it turned out. In one colour the texture of Sophie really speaks for itself.
Lately we have been trying to improve our eating habits. Us and the rest of the country it seems. We have massively reduced our sugar intake in the week, although not quite balancing with our weekend “more relaxed approach” to food!!! The other thing I have been doing is finding more recipes that are vegetarian, low calorie, tasty and easy to cook. Enter my new fave cook book, Elly Pear’s Fast Days and Feast Days Seems to be widely available to pick up fairly cheaply.
There are a few recipes in here that we have done a few times, the red lentil chilli is excellent and hubby is surprised every time he finds out there is no meat in it 🙂
I decided to try to make the above cauliflower dish as it is so far removed from my usual fare. I have to say although delicious it is probably not something I would cook regularly as it was a bit of a palaver to prepare. My main reason for posting though is how much I managed to make mine look “almost” like the picture in the book. I was ridiculously happy with the presentation, so much so that I spent more time than I should have photographing this delight (yes, my dinner was a little cooler than I would have liked 😦 )
Anyway, if for no ones pleasure but my own, here is my dinner!
I have wanted to do this pattern for ages and ages but never seemed to have the time, the eyes or the right yarn. Anyway finally I put one together and I love him so much.
All about Ami is the owner of the pattern and the most delightful blog. She has so many cute and adorable amigurumi things to make, many of them are also free patterns. Here is the link to the free patterns but do have look through her whole site as it is a beautiful thing.
Here is my Spring Bunny 🙂 no name as yet, he is intended for my sister’s class of seven year olds and they like to name the new creatures that I make for them.
This blog post is pure indulgence on my part for one particular member of my family. Harry has always been very particular about how his pasta is cooked and it would appear that I am the only one that can nail it exactly. This was not my plan when I had my three kids!! I was pretty sure that we were all going to eat the same things at every meal and they would all grow up having a healthy and balanced approach to food. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, I make myself laugh 🙂
Roll on twenty plus years, an Autism diagnosis for one child and a leukaemia diagnosis (happy ending there 🙂 ) for another, and there’s me in the kitchen doing three kinds of pasta.
Best laid plans are a sure fire way to set yourself up for something else entirely 🙂
Pasta Penne – boil as per packet instructions, usually 10-12 minutes. Perfect texture is, apparently not too soggy 🙂
I find the amount I serve varies on how much I absent mindedly tip into the water!!
To serve, after draining the pasta, pop it back into the pan with a small amount of the water it was cooked in, chuck in a dollop of butter, a drizzle of olive oil (not extra virgin) Mix sprinkle a little garlic salt over and let Harry add a “little” more if he really, really wants it/needs it.
I am part of a family who appear to be fairly partial to a curry. I however, do not normally like curry’s as they all seem to contain coriander (shudders) that has been applied with a somewhat heavy hand 😦 not to mention far too much heat. I don’t mind some warmth but do not enjoy the sensation of a burning tongue while I am eating.
I must admit as well though, to being influenced in part by the pretty dodgy curries I had tried as a teenager. These put me off for the best part of twenty years. Vesta curry anyone?
Anyway, after much deliberation, a fair amount of procrastination and a nagging husband, I decided to have a go at a curry to see if I can make something that I would like as much as the rest of the family.
I turned to Madhur Jaffrey’s book “Curry Easy” that I had picked up fairly cheaply online, had a scroll though and found a recipe that had no coriander in it and a fair amount of spices that I already had in my cupboard. There is nothing worse than wanting to try a recipe and then have to go out and buy half a dozen ingredients that you will never use again 😦
The curry in question is called Kerala-style Chicken Curry. It is a really flavourful curry that is not hot. We served it with a wholemeal basmati, but I would certainly advise perhaps making more accompaniments for this if you are feeding hungry family members. The recipe claims to serve 4, we only served 3 with it, but we are gannets at the best of times 🙂
I sadly or stupidly did not take any photos of this curry as it was my first attempt, I genuinely did not think it would be blog worthy. Turns out it was the most delicious meal I have made this year and resulted in husband and first born offspring making all sorts of yummy noises 🙂
3 tbsp rapeseed oil or olive oil
1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds
1/2 tsp whole brown mustard seeds
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced into half rings
2 tsp peeled and freshly grated fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1.25 kg chicken pieces, skinned
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon of sweet red paprika
15-20 fresh curry leaves or 8 fresh basil leaves (I used the basil as that is what I had)
250ml coconut milk
1 tsp salt
Oil into pan and heat up.
Once hot, add cumin and mustard seeds. Once the mustard begins to pop (seconds) add your onions and stir fry gently till browned lightly.
Now add your ginger, garlic, chicken, cayenne pepper, paprika, salt and curry leaves. Stir for a minute
Add 250 ml water and bring to a simmer.
Cover, lower heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Stirring occasionally.
Remove lid and reduce down. Add coconut milk and cook for a minute.
Serve with rice.
Instead of a picture of a yummy curry, please enjoy this fabulous picture of one of our cats, Bernard 🙂