Chatter · Home

A new member of the family!

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Meet Louie our 8 week old Cavapoo (King Charles Cavalier x Miniature poodle). He’s certainly been keeping us on our toes! We collected him last Sunday and it’s taken me till now to sit down and post about it :) We have been thinking about getting a dog for a while now and so this really is a dream come true.

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He loves a cuddle!

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He sleeps a lot!

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But most of the time he wants to PLAY! At the moment we’re trying to get him out of the bitey stage, and we have a lot of war wounds to show for it. Toilet training in an upstairs flat is proving to be a challenge too! He has his booster jabs tomorrow and then he will be able to go out. We can’t wait :)

Baking · Home

Festive Mince pies

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In the past I have been a bit too lazy, when it comes to baking. If a recipe needed pastry I would have bought it. This time though I thought I would give it a crack, and boy am I glad I did! It was surprisingly a lot easier than I thought it would be, and they tasted delicious (if I’m allowed to say so). They were so fun and satisfying to make I’ve already made another batch. You can’t beat the smell of mince pies baking throughout the flat, very Christmassy and left me feeling very festive.

mince pies

What surprised both me and hub was how lovely the pastry was. I said to him I would hold on to the recipe till the day I die! I will however share the recipe with you dear readers. What I didn’t know is that you can use icing sugar, and I’m guessing this is what made them almost crispy tasting, if that is the right word. I’m certainly not scared of pastry anymore and will be having a go at more recipes. I will though still be buying puff and filo pastry. One thing at a time hey?

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Pastry Recipe

85g Icing sugar, sifted

125g Butter, softened

1 egg

275g Plain flour, sifted

1 Jar of mincemeat (vegetarians check the label!)

 

Preheat oven to 200C/ 180C fan. Grease a 12 hole mini muffin tin.

In a large bowl cream together the butter and icing sugar until pale and fluffy.

Beat in the egg and a tablespoon of flour (to prevent curdling) until fully incorporated.

Add in the flour and bring the mixture together until evenly combined.

Lightly knead the mix and turn out onto a floured surface.

If it’s very warm in your kitchen you may need to let the pastry rest in the fridge for 20minutes.

Roll pastry as thin as possible about 0.3cm. Using a round pastry cutter cut out 12 circles.

Gently press into tin, using little scraps to cover up any hole.

Spoon about 1 tablespoon of mincemeat into each pastry, be careful not to overfill.

Using a smaller round pastry cut out 12 smaller circles. I used the fluted end for a bit of decoration.

Place the smaller on top of the pie cases and gently press down to seal the edges.

Sprinkle a little caster sugar over the tops.

Place in the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until the pastry is a light golden brown.

Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Sprinkle a light dusting of  icing sugar to finish (optional)

Serve while they are still a little warm, and enjoy the wonderful smell in your home :)

 

Baking · Chatter · Home

Cherry Yoghurt Bundt Cake

cherry yoghurt bundt cake

I’ve been meaning to buy a Bundt cake tin for a while now, and when I came across a recipe in The Clandestine Cake Club book, I was compelled to go out and buy one straight away.

The recipe was Raspberry Yoghurt Birthday Bundt Cake. The icing was a lovely bright pink colour and with raspberry being one of my favourite flavours I knew I had to try it.

The problem was when I went to buy the raspberry yoghurt there was none, so I made a snap decision to get cherry yoghurt instead, another favourite of mine.

I was pleasantly surprised how the cake turned out as I was not sure quite what to expect. Despite the only raising agent being 1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda it was light and fluffy and yet had a delicious moistness from the yoghurt. It took longer to make than I thought it would as the cake needs to bake for an hour in the oven, you then have to wait for it to completely cool before you turn it out, I’m guessing so it doesn’t break apart? The recipe said to use vanilla essence but because I was using cherry yoghurt I thought it would be quite nice to use almond essence instead. I also flavoured the butter icing with a couple of drops of the almond essence which made it taste so good!

cherry yoghurt bundt cake

cherry yoghurt bundt

Please excuse the not so good pictures, by the time the cake was finished  the lighting was not so good.

Being more of a pastels sorta gal I decided to just add a hint of pink food colouring, but you could have some real fun with the colours!

The recipe suggested this was a birthday cake, and it would be a bit different. I would say it’s a healthier option because of the yoghurt but there was 225g of butter in it which was rather a lot, despite that it didn’t taste greasy, although I did have to pat it down with a kitchen towel once it was out of its tin.

 

Recipe:

For the Cake:

225g Butter, softened

450g Caster sugar

4 Eggs

350g Plain flour

1/2 teaspoon of Bicarbonate of Soda

1/2 tsp of Salt

250ml Good quality Cherry yoghurt (or another flavour you may like!)

1 tsp Almond Essence (or 1sp of Vanilla essence if you are using a different flavour yoghurt

 

Frosting

200g Butter, softened

450g Icing sugar, sifted

3 tbsp. milk

Pink food colouring (optional)

3-4 drops of Almond essence (optional)

Sugar stars to decorate (optional)

 

1. Preheat oven to 170’C / Gas Mark 3 and 1/2.  Grease and flour a 2.5-3 litre bundt tin

2. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy

3. Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition, adding a tablespoon of flour with the final egg to help prevent curdling.

4. Mix the remaining flour, bicarb and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl mix the yoghurt and almond essence.

5. Sift a third of the flour mixture into the egg mixture and stir until just combined, then add half of the yoghurt mix. Repeat until everything is combined. Mix on a low-speed for about 15 seconds or beat with a wooden to spoon to give it a good mix.

6. Transfer the mixture to the tin, spreading evenly. Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre. Leave to completely cool in the tine before turning out.

7. To make the frosting, beat the butter until softened, then gradually sift in the icing sugar until well combined, adding the milk to get your preferred consistency. Add the almond essence and food colouring and beat well until light and fluffy. Spread over the entire cake and decorate as desired.

Hope you enjoy!

 

Chatter · Home · Photography

Cute on Sunday – what makes me smile..

I’ve been procrastinating, I can’t get motivated. The sun was at least out for a little bit today so I thought I’d take advantage of this and take some pictures. I have literally 100’s of pictures of my guinea pigs, so thought I would go into my little sewing room and take some pictures of some of the things that make me smile.

 

Hello Kitty

 

Hello Kitty! Now this is where I admit I’m ahem… 32 and so technically I’m a little too old for this, but I say who cares they make me smile! It’s not just Hello Kitty I love all things Kawaii, which is the Japanese word for all things cute, loveable and adorable, and is a huge part of Japanese culture. If I were to live in Japan liking Hello Kitty would be a normal thing :) A sociology professor from Musashi University in Tokyo has actually said that the word cute is a magic term that encompasses everything that is acceptable and desirable in Japan.  I think we all need a bit more cute in our lives.

 

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Even their stamps are cute!

Love bug Momiji Doll

 

This is just one of my Momiji dolls I own and the newest, which was given to me on my birthday, its my new favourite! You could call me a collector but I don’t have that many… maybe 7, I do have quite a few other Kokeshi dolls. I was sad to find out that the original meaning behind the Kokeshi dolls were, they were made as a substitute or reminder for a lost child. However when I spoke to my Japanese pen pal about this she did tell me there were actually several meanings behind them, one being that people in North Japan believe children have great power and they thought the Kokeshi doll was a cute souvenir to symbolise this. I like this it’s not so sad :)

 

Pretty cute cards

My other  obsession collecting is stationary, I love these pretty pop up cards from Paperchase. I recently got into back into penpalling and have been really enjoying sending and receiving the letters and getting to know some really lovely people from around the world.

It does mean of course that I am able to fuel my collecting with replenishing the collection with pretty new cards and letters, stickers, stamps and tapes.

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