Bread

I was getting fed up of paying nearly €4 for a loaf of reasonable bread that I wanted to make my own. The search for bread flour started. The supermarket sells all sorts of (expensive) bread mixes, but I wanted some ordinary strong flour so I could do what I wanted and I knew exactly what was going in my bread. If you watch Jimmy’s Food Factory on BBC1, you will know what I mean.DSC01244Eventually I found some large bags in the cash and carry and we haven’t bought a loaf of bread in about 6 weeks. It is so simple, so quick and delicious. Now I’m off to have some toast and homemade plum jam.

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Until next time………

For my Birthday Boy.

birthday cakeMy little boy turned 7 recently. I really can’t work out where those  years have gone to. He is such a confident, and intelligent boy, and such a pleasure to be with. He has lived in 4 different countries and consequently knows he is British but doesn’t call Britain home. Home is where we live! I love that.

He loves Star Wars so there was nothing else for it, he had to have a Star Wars cake, and what a delicious cake it was. Yum Yum!

Yummy cookies

I have recently had a thing about baking cookies, I don’t know why. Apart from the fact I LOVE eating them. For a while it was cupcakes, followed by more cupcakes, but now it is definitely cookies.

Coconut cookies

These were the delicious ones I baked up the other day. The recipe was taken from the BBC Good Food magazine March 2007, and the basic recipe can be found on their website. All you need to do is add 100g dessicated coconut, roll the dough into small balls, push your thumb in the middle to make a dip and fill with a little jam. 

Cookies

Yum, Yum, enjoy with a nice cup of tea.

Recipe Box Swap Thursday


swap blogpost

This is the first Recipe Box Swap of 2009!  The Brain child of I have to say blog

This month’s theme is “Fun Foods”.   You know those foods, you don’t make often, but they are staples in your family’s menu just because they are fun.  Fun foods are usually sticky, salty, sugary or fattening, and we all love them! 

My favourite fun food is chocolate brownies. Whenever I need to think of anything for a party or just ‘because’, it’s these, they are sweet, deeply chocolatey, high in fat and 1 square is extremely satisfying with a cup of English Breakfast tea

The recipe I use is taken from Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess.

I strongly believe that a good brownie is down to the quality of the ingredients, however I’m not a food snob, and if you dont have/can’t afford the best dont let it stop you making these, they will still be very good.

Because I have been feeling under the weather today I haven’t made any to show you (I will force myself into the kitchen tomorrow and photograph them)

Note: Nigella adds 300g walnuts to the recipe – I don’t because I don’t like nuts – they taste good without.

Ingredients

375g soft unsalted butter

375g best quality dark chocolate (I use 70% Lindt Excellence)

6 large free range eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

500g caster sugar

225g plain flour

1 teaspoon salt

tin measuring approx 33 x 23 x 5.5cm

Preheat oven 180c. Line brownie pan with parchment

Melt butter & chocolate together in a large heavy based pan. 

In a bowl beat eggs with the sugar and vanilla.

Measure flour into another bowl and add the salt.

When the chocolate mixture has melted let it cool abit before beating in the eggs and sugar, then add the flour. Beat to combine smoothly and then scrape out of the saucepan and into brownie pan.

Bake for about 25 mins. When ready the top should be dried to a paler brown speckle, but the middle still dark and dense.

Makes a maximum of 48

These freeze really well. Allow to cool, cut and freeze.

Enjoy!!

 

 

 

Stollen for Christmas

Now, what to bake when you have an excess of delicious homemade marzipan? Mmmm? Stollen of course!

Stollen

I had never made it before but have eaten the Dutch version (many times). It just so happened that BBC Good Magazine, which my husband kindly brought back from London, had a Stollen wreath on the front. So of course I had to give it a go.

If I was making this as a centrepiece for a party then I would have made the wreath because it looks so pretty. But I wasn’t, because there is no party, but that won’t stop me making it, and so I divided the mix in half and made 2 scrummy loaves. All that needs to be done before they are served is sprinkle with icing sugar or make a glace icing to drizzle over the top.

Until next time….

Christmas Treats

Yummy treats from a friend in Minnesota

Just look at the fabulous goodies above, sent from a friend in Minnesota, yummy. I love the postman, well not LOVE him,  but love it when he rings the bell with goodies – you know what I mean! The little ones can not wait until we have time to make the gingerbread house, and neither can I, I am a child in an adult body.

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I have been busy today finally making the Christmas puddings. I have put off making them, and then was overcome yesterday with a desire and a will to get them done but after weighing out most of the ingredients I was missing 2 crucial items: sugar and eggs. How did that happen? Never mind, the local shop had the necessary items and ta-da I have 3 puddings. We don’t eat all 3 on Christmas day, I mean we do love this delicious traditional pudding but even we can only manage one on THE day. The puddings keep for quite a while so the other ones will be used up in the coming few months.

img_5370Then I had a bash at making marzipan because I couldn’t find what Brits call marzipan in Holland so I made some. I need to make the royal icing to cover it, but I can not find any glycerine to keep the icing from setting rock hard, so I will have to ice it nearer to Christmas Eve when we will have the first slice with the essential piece of cheese.

Until next time…..

Goings on

The manic rush before Christmas started last week. My son had his school performance where he did a sterling job as a snowman. They sang so many songs I was amazed that they could have learnt them all. After the perfomance we were invited to have mince pies and mulled wine – yum. Tomorrow is my daughters turn where she too will be a snowman, she has been singing a lot of Christmas songs, and I believe her class are singing Frosty the Snowman. It should be good, 3-5year old singalongs are usually entertaining.

Both the children have had bugs this week, along with the dog. I really hope they are over it now and can enjoy Christmas. I really am not keen on sick children….!

I haven’t been up to much except rushing here and there sorting things out and looking after sick children. I have however found some time to quilt the boat wall hanging, although I am yet to add the binding, that will have to wait until after Christmas and our guests have left. 

img_3053Above is a picture of last year’s Christmas cake, I need to get on with this years now.

Until next time…..

Spotty Trousers and Cake

Yesterday I decided to look at what I wanted to make for Christmas and I have now re-done my TO DO List so that it doesn’t look overwhelming or confusing – which I am pleased with.

So because I felt organised I decided to have a bash at the ruffle pants/trousers from Portobellopixie. I had some pink spotty flannel which I tried to shrink as much as possible as per a post on the Superbuzzy blog. The pattern came together really quickly, but it would have been quicker and easier if I had a serger, I don’t, and certainly I won’t be able to persuade my darling husband to part with even more money (our washing machine broke yesterday) in the near furture so I had to go over all the seams with zig-zag, not difficult, just time consuming. My daughter, as ever, is one of my biggest fans and she is delighted with them and intends to wear them later when she gets home from school.

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I have noticed in blogland a few people are already baking their Christmas cakes so I really have got to get the ingredients at the weekend to start mine. I love Christmas cake served with a piece of cheese. My Mum is from the North of England and as well as having yorkshire pudding with golden syrup for pudding (not something I have ever fancied to be honest), she has passed on the tradition of having a piece of Wensleydale cheese with our fruit cake at Christmas – yummy.

Truly Scrumptious

I was browsing blogs the other day and came across Chanelle’s delightful one. She had made some truly scrumptious pumpkin cupcakes which I just had to try as I was feeling very autumnal.

I bought a pumpkin and checked that I had the ingredients for the pumpkin spice recipe. (Living in Europe means you have to bake from scratch!) And wow they were gorgeous. I confess to eating alot of these myself – I did share them but mmm, I kept making the excuse for afternoon tea – even at 9am in the morning. Ha Ha!!

The children go back to school on Tuesday after their half term break and I am looking forward to getting back to doing some sewing. I have got a number of projects I want to finish before starting anything else. Well, that is until something else catches my eye and I just have to make it.