Tuesday, 20 November 2012

What we're eating this week

So even though I haven't been posting we have been eating.  I made a really yummy birthday cake for Fluffrick's birthday, much nicer than the one I made for my birthday.  

This is what we are eating this week:

Risotto - well it was supposed to be until I realised we had hardly any risotto rice, so we had Risini instead, with Leeks, Courgettes and Peas

Carrot Humus, Baba Ganoush, Pitta Chips and Tabbouleh

Roast Chicken, Stuffing, Carrots, Broccoli, New Potatoes and Gravy

Chicken Byriani - sort of 

Pasta with Squash and Sage

Cauliflower and Broccoli Patties, Chips and Peas

Mushroom and Cavelo Nero Lasagne

And as we got yet another squash in the veg box this week, here is how I make Pumpkin Pie


For Base: 
20 Ginger Nuts (or however many there are left in the packet if I didn't tell Fluffrick they were for something specific)
50g of Melted Butter

Blend the biscuits in the food processor and them add the melted butter and blend again.  Press into a 25cm flan tin and chill

For Filling
500g Cooked Pumpkin/Squash
410g Can of Evaporated Milk
2 Free Range Eggs
125g Sugar
Half a teaspoon of Salt
3 teaspoons of Spice (Nutmeg, Ginger, Cinnamon, Mixed Spice)

Blend the cooked pumpkin in the food processor, add the evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, salt and spice and blend until smooth.

Pour over the chilled biscuit base and cook in a preheated oven at Gas Mark 6 for 15 minutes and then a further 45 minutes at Gas Mark 3.  Allow to cool before serving.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Where has my blogging mojo gone?

So it's been well over a month since I last posted.  Where has my blogging mojo gone? 

 I wonder if it's that most of the blogs that I read seem to have become Christmas centric and that is just not going to happen her at "Rolling Eyeballs".  This is a Christmas free zone.

But do you ever ask yourself, why am I celebrating Christmas?

Updated: I feel I turned into an utter Grinch with this post.  If you had told the child me in the 1970's that one day I wouldn't celebrate Christmas I would not have believed you, because to most children all Christmas means is PRESENTS.  I think for adults Christmas can bring out the extremes in our personalities, everything is taken up a notch and not always in a good way.  Christmas has the power to bring out the control freak in me, the delusion that I am the only one that can do everything.  Add to that a desire to make rather than buy everything and also a desire not to leave anybody out and it is a recipe for mega stress.

I am looking forward to a nice quiet December, a lovely meal on the 25th with lovely family and sitting down to enjoy Dr Who's The Snowmen. Stress free. 

Monday, 8 October 2012

Lovely Sunday Lunch

So this is what we had for lunch yesterday.  This has to be one of my favourite meals (it's even one I can get my very non-veggie friend to eat).  On my menu plan I said I was going to make Dhal as well, but I forgot about it until almost everything else was ready, so I didn't bother, but this was more than enough for the three of us.  It is probably more of a spiced mushroom stew, than an authentic Mushroom Dopiaza, anyway authentic or not here is how I make this yummy dish.

Mushroom Dopiaza

3 Medium Onions, sliced
350g Mushrooms, cut into quarters
1tsp Cumin seeds
1tsp Coriander seeds
1tsp Garam Masala
1 tin chopped tomatoes, liquid only (I used the tomato flesh on the Saturday night Pizza)
1tbs Sunflower Oil

Heat the oil in a large lidded pan, add the sliced onions and fry gently for a few minutes.  Then turn the heat down to it's lowest, put the lid on the pan and cook very gently for between 30 minutes to an hour.  Long, gentle cooking of the onions gives this dish a wonderful sweetness.
Once the onions have cooked, turn the heat up to medium and add the spices and fry for a minute or two.  Add the chopped mushrooms and fry for a few minutes, then add the tomato liquid and simmer for a further 15 minutes.  The liquid should reduce by about half and the flavours intensify.  Serve and enjoy.

Friday, 5 October 2012

What to Eat This Week

To I haven't posted up my menu plan for a few weeks.  In my defence I've been busy (now don't faint) working.  I am back among the employed, albeit working part time, from home, with very variable hours, but it's work and I'm being paid and in a few months time I will have the joy of completing a self assessment tax return.

So what are we going to eat this week.

Tartiflette (with totally inauthentic smoked salmon) followed by Chocolate Cake

Sweetcorn Chowder


Mushroom Dopiaza, Dhal, Naan Bread (approved foods) and Spiced Courgette Fritters


Veggie Sausages, Home made Baked Beans (white beans from approved foods) and Roast Potatoes (Fluffrick loves a Roastie)

Scallops, Couscous salad and Fennel

This chocolate cake was a much better success that the one I made for my birthday, that cake was rather dry, but the post about it has proved very popular.  I let everybody eat the cake and tell me they enjoyed it before I told them the secret ingredient.  Drum roll please...courgette.  Here is the recipe for the Chocolate Courgette Cake, it doesn't say in the recipe how finely to grate the courgette, but I did it on the fine side of the grater and apart from the moisture it adds to the cake you can't tell it's in there.  For the icing I just made a simple ganache with plain chocolate and a little warm milk (rather than cream). Yum, yum, yum.

Approved Foods

So I've been reading Frugal Queen's blog for a while now and every now and then she refers to things she has acquired from Approved Foods.  So I thought I'd google them and fine out what it was all about.

So this is what I bought in my first order (I took advantage of the free delivery on your first order over £30).  Apparently I have saved almost £60 compared to the RRP, of course it won't be a saving at all it I don't actually use this stuff.  I'll have to try an remember to comment if I'm using approved foods when I post my meal plan.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

The Amy Pond Scarf

In honour of the departure of the lovely Amy and Rory from Dr Who, I have knitted myself and Amy Scarf.  I'm going to miss those two crazy kids.  I'm sure the new companion will be great, it's just going to be an adjustment.

So as we bid farewell to Amy and Rory I can remember them via the medium of knitwear.  It isn't an authentic Amy scarf, it's more a homage to both Amy and the Tom Baker Dr Who.  It is also just about the easiest scarf to knit. 19 stitches, garter stitch and 5mm needles and continue to knit until your hand drops off.

I maybe went a little over the top with the length (it's about 3 meters long), but as I wanted the two ends the same colour, I had to wait until that colour appeared in the ball of yarn again.  I can't remember where or when I bought the yarn and I seem to have lost the band so I don't even know what composition the yarn is (wool I think as it is a little itchy).  I think I must have bought the yarn to knit some socks (I have a stupid amount to sock yarn waiting to be used), but I think it works much better as a scarf, now I just have to try not to trip over it.

You've got to keep an eye out for those damn cats

Monday, 3 September 2012

Sunday Cinnamon Buns

As I have been asked, I thought I'd most up my recipe for Cinnamon Buns, perfect for a leisurely Sunday breakfast.

Ingredients - makes 12

For Dough
290ml Warm Milk
75g Caster Sugar
1 Teaspoon Easy blend yeast
Half Teaspoon Crushed Cardamom Seeds
90g Butter, melted
1 egg - half in the dough and half to glaze
500g Plain Flour

For Filling
50g Butter
200g Dark Soft Brown Sugar
1 and a half Tablespoons Ground Cinnamon

For the Dough

Put the caster sugar, flour, cardamom, yeast in a bowl. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the milk to warm it.  Add to the dry ingredients, then add the half egg. Knead, I use a hand mixer with a dough hook and combine and kneed for about five minutes, this will take quite a bit longer if you are doing it by hand.

Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to rise until it had doubled in size.

For the Filling

Combine the butter, sugar and cinnamon.  I find the filling easier to spread of the butter is half melted.

To form the buns

Put twelve muffin cases in a muffin tray.  On a very well floured surface place half of the dough.  Knead lightly and them spread out with your fingers, until it is a rough rectangle, about 30cm by 20cm.  Make sure it isn't sticking underneath.  You can use a rolling pin if you like, but this is quite a sticky dough and I have found it mush easier to just push it out.  Once you have your rectangle of dough, spread with half the filling mixture, try to spread it as evenly as possible, leaving 2.5cm clear along the top long edge.  Roll the dough up, from the long side, cut into 6 even rolls.  Place in the muffin cases, so that the spiral of the roll is uppermost.  Repeat with the rest of the dough and filling.  Glaze with the remaining egg and sprinkle with a little sugar.

These Cinnamon Buns do not keep well once cooked, however, they do freeze well uncooked.  

If cooking straight away, leave to prove again for 30 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C/Gas Mark 6.  Cook the Buns for 20-25 minutes.  These Buns burn quite easily, so keep a close eye on them.

If you have frozen the Buns, defrost overnight, the Buns will prove whilst they are defrosting, and cook as above.

Enjoy warm from the oven, with a good cup of coffee.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

What to eat this week

I haven't written about our weekly eats for a little bit, maybe because it all gets a bit samey.  Well my lovely Mum in Law gave me a book voucher for my birthday, so yesterday when we were in town I heard Waterstones calling and I cam away with Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's new book Three Good things... on a plate, so hopefully my menus will get more interesting.  Well we still have to eat this week, so this is what I'm going to inflict my Mum and Husband.

Courgette Spouffle - this has been in heavy rotation over the last few months, but it is very yummy

Cannellini Bean and Tuna Burgers, with Sweet Potato Chips and Salad - this was the first time I have made these burgers and I think they need work, if I can improve on the recipe I will post about it

Roast Chicken, Potatoes, Carrots, Broad Beans, Stuffing and Gravy, followed by Cinnamon Buns - the broad beans came in the veg box this week and they had to be podded, blanched and skinned, talk about a hard work vegetable

Chicken Biryani and Pea Cakes - must remember to put the split yellow peas on to soak, or else we won't be having these tomorrow

Mustardy Mushroom Stroganoff

Butternut Squash and Sage Spaghetti -  haven't tried this one before, we will have to see how it turns out

Stir Fry Vegetables and Noodles

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Birthday Cake

Is it sad to have to make your own birthday cake?  It's a pity my lovely Mum in law couldn't be here for my birthday, as she it a great baker (and it would have been great to see her too, she hasn't had a chance to visit since our abortive holiday in June) and would have been able to make a far better cake than this.

I saw Lorraine Pascale make this cake on her programme last Monday and claim that it was easy if a little fiddly.  It is her "Crouching Tiger Hidden Zebra Cake" and it is the only recipe not to be on the BBC website. 

It is supposed to have vertical stripes, but mine has more splodgy swirls.  I think I made the batter a little stiff, which is why it is a little bit dry, but the addition of a chocolate ganache and then a dollop of cream seems to alleviate that satisfactorily.  It is probably a good thing we only have a birthday once a year, as I will be eating far to much of this cake in the next few days.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

6 o'clock in the morning - just the two of us

So, it was just Hagrid and I out this morning.  Being a lovely and generous wife, I am currently sharing the cold that has been mithering me for the past week with the lovely Fluffrick. Aren't I generous?

We have had a bit of a week with the lovely Hagrid.  We were taking him out for his evening constitutional last Thursday, when a "Staffy-Cross" came barrelling down the road, off the lead and launched an unprovoked attack on Hagrid.  Hagrid may be quite big, but he is also a great big wuss, so by the time the dog's owner managed to pull him off Hagrid, the poor boy had four nasty bites.

Needless to say Hagrid has been feeling very sorry for himself and can't understand why we won't let him lick his metaphorical and literal wounds.  The bites are healing quite well, although we have had to resort to the "cone of shame" to prevent the licking.  But Hagrid is on the mend and hopefully the whole incident will not have traumatised him too much, he was a very nervous dog to begin with.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

What to eat this week

I am really wanting to cook quick things this week, but that isn't always easy when you cook everything from scratch.  The Olympics are sustaining me, do we really need to eat as well?

If I can drag myself away from the TV, this is what we have and will be eating this week.

Twice Baked Potatoes


Salmon and Prawn Skewers with Couscous Salad

Sweet Potato and Peanut Gratin with Salad

Mushroom Diopiaza, Gobi Aloo, Pea Fritters and Rice


Smoked Salmon, Mushroom and Cream Sauce with Spaghetti

A Lie In - 6:45 in the morning

Hagrid was kind enough, as it was Saturday morning, to allow us a lie in.  So it was at 6:45 that we headed up to Graves Park, to be honest we wouldn't go much later, as it is a very popular puppy park.
We were not the only ones enjoying the early morning

Graves Park was hosting a Fair

My attempt at an arty photo - into the early morning sun

The reason we don't mind getting up early, even on a Saturday

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Skirt Refashion

This project has been dismantled waiting to be refashioned for well over two years now, but it is finally done.

Don't you just hate it when you find a skirt you love in a charity shop, but it is several sizes too small, why are all the cute things in a size 8 or 10 (UK sizes that is)?  I love the print on this skirt, I actually bought it new in a different colour way from H&M many years ago, but there was no way a size 8 was ever going to fit me.

I think I must have originally bought this skirt with the idea of making a bag, but all that happened was I ripped the skirt apart and put it in the deep dark recesses of my fabric stash, until it finally saw the light of day last week.  As I also found some pale blue linen in my stash, I decided to make a panelled skirt.  Of course I modified New Look 6106, which has been my go to pattern this summer (this is now the fifth iteration and I still haven't made the skirt up as it is meant to be).  I worked out the largest panel I could get from the skirt as was and worked out how big I need to make the side panels.  I then redrafted the pocket opening to fit with the side panel width, the original pocket opening is quite wide and shallow, I made it narrower and deeper to fit.

The only other change I needed to make was the addition of a button and buttonhole.  The pattern calls for the zip to go to the top of the waistband, but as I wanted to utilise the existing zip in the skirt (really why make extra work for yourself) I extended the waistband at the back and added a button.

So from a skirt that was never going to fit me, to a skirt that fits very well, is a one off and will go with lots of t-shirts I already own.  But again I ask, just why did it take me so very long?

Busy Busy Sewing

So there is very little point having a self imposed "Sew Spend Stoppage" if I don't actually start using what I already have; stash busting is the main aim after all.  So I had a rummage (literally, my fabric stash is not the most organised) and found some patterns and fabric that had been waiting to be utilised for far too long.

These trousers are from an issue of Knipmode I bought when we were on holiday in the Netherlands back in 2007 - Mei 2007 Broek 10b.  So it has only taken me 5 year to make them.  The fabric is a cotton/linen mix I think, bought at the Shuttle in Shipley last year, so that hasn't actually been hanging around too long.  Apart from having an excessively large hem, these trousers came out very well and I have already cut out another pair to make.  Fortunately I didn't need to follow the instructions in order to make up these trousers, as my ability to read Dutch is very limited.

 So I've come to the Tulip skirt a little late, but now that I have a really like it.  I'm not pear shaped, so I don't have issues with extra volume at the hips, so I don't know why I didn't embrace this style sooner.  Again this is an old pattern, Burda World of Fashion September 2007, 116b.  I had some of the blue/grey cotton/linen left over after I had made the trousers, so I decided to make this skirt.  It is a really easy to wear skirt, it has pockets which I always love.  I lengthened the skirt a little as I knew I would want to wear it without tights and as I have be insanely clumsy all my life my knees are just a mass of scar tissue, I needed the skirt to be a tad longer.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Six O'clock in the Morning

Just a few more picture from our early morning sojourn with Handsome Hagrid.

Handsome Hagrid and his Dad

A new sculptural addition to Meersbrook Park

It might not look it, but this is really quite a steep hill

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Why did it take me so long to make this t-shirt?

So I started this t-shirt at least 2 years ago and by started I mean, I bought the pattern (downloaded actually as I had to have it immediately) and acquired 2 charity shop t-shirts to refashion.  And then nothing.  Fabric and pattern sat in a bag, somehow migrated up to the attic and waited for me to find then again.  And that happened on Tuesday.

Apologies for the really bad photo, it is a very grey rainy day here.  So I traced it out and cut it out (that was fun as the pattern says you need 1.5m of fabric and I had two not massive t-shirts) and sewed it up yesterday.

In hindsight I probably would have been better off testing this pattern out with regular fabric rather than trying to refashion two too small t-shirts, but we live and learn.  The fabric I used for the body, should have been a little drapier, the cowl just doesn't drape.  But I actually prefer it without a cowl.  The shawl should have been cut from a double layer of fabric and folded in half, but I just didn't have enough fabric.  So it is cut from a single layer and the front edge is hemmed and would probably drape much better if sewn as intended.

I don't know how I actually managed to line up the striped between the sleeves and the shawl collar, it was completely unintentional, a fluke if you will.  However, there was absolutely no way the sleeves were going to fit into the armhole, hence the puffy sleeves.

This is a simple pattern to make (the foibles of jersey fabric not with standing) and I will definitely make it again, although I try to remove the drape of the cowl all together and reduce the size of the sleeves so they actually fit.  So I really don't know why it too me so very long to make.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

I didn't tell her there was a catch

Back in March I asked my Mum what she wanted for her birthday and she said I could sew some things for her.  So I refashioned a dress into a skirt and then Minnie became ill, so I didn't get anything else done in time for Mum's birthday.

That was 3 months ago, but as I am now back in the sewing swing of things, I decided I should probably make good on my promise.  However, I didn't tell Mum beforehand that I would want to blog about my sewing for her and that that would require a photo.

Here she is the new top, the pattern is Simplicity 2371.  If was quite a straight forward pattern to make, I made a few minor alterations.  I shortened the notch at the front and shortened the sleeves and put in small side vents.  Mum seems to like it.  I think she would quite like me to make her the trousers now.

Six o'clock in the morning

In recent months I have discovered how often it is lovely at six o'clock in the morning and by 9 o'clock it can be grey and miserable.  

Mr Fluffrick and the lovely Hagrid on our early morning walk.  There were lots of wonderful smells this morning and we got Meersbrook Park all to ourselves.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

What to Eat this Week

I wish the weather would make up it's mind.  Is it going to be cold miserable and grey, or lovely and sunny as it has been today?  Do I want salad or a nice warning bowl of spaghetti?  Weather won't you please make you mind up, so that I can decide what to eat.  Anyway this is the menu, provided the weather doesn't make to dish too inappropriate.

Pizza - I do most often make my own pizza, but instead we ordered in the lovely pizza from Nibbles the best pizza in Sheffield.

Sushi - I have never made sushi at home before, it took a bit of trial and error to make up the sushi rolls but it seemed to work okay. It also involved a trip to the local Oriental food shop.  

Moussaka - this is in no way a traditional moussaka, for a start I use turkey mince, but it is tasty not the less.

Mezze - Falafel, Foul, Bulgar Wheat and any other dippy, picky thing I can think of.

Mushroom and Stilton Pie with new Potatoes and vegetables.

Stirfry Vegetables, Noodles and Potsticker dumplings.

Spaghetti with Walnuts and Crumbs.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Stash Busting

So I've had this pattern so long that it is not discontinued.  This is Amy Butler Lotus Tunic (not the perfect tunic because it required a zip or buttons), made up in two different but coordinating Amy Butler cottons (now discontinued I as well I think).

The fit is really good on this pattern, it didn't require any adjustments.  Once again I have found the yardage requirements on a pattern truly ridiculous  How could a simple fitted top require 2.5 metres of fabric?.  With a few minor adjustments to the layout I got this pattern from only 1 metre of fabric.

I will definitely be making this pattern again, although the sleeves are a little puffy and I may need to tweak them. 

Saturday, 7 July 2012

A Quest for a Perfect Tunic

I am on a quest for the perfect tunic pattern.  A quest and a pledge in one week, Fluffrick's current fantasy readings are obviously having a disturbing  influence on me.  I just want a little top, that is relatively relaxed but just a bit smarter than a t-shirt.  Is that too much to ask?

I do like the Tova top from Wiksten.  I have made it twice since I bought the pattern back in May.  But I was wanting something short sleeved and that doesn't need to be worn tucked in.

The pattern for the Poppy top by Make it Perfect also appealed, I really like the contrast yoke and border, but it is sleeveless and the neckline is a little high.  Oh and I'm not buying any patterns at the moment. 

These are three different tunic that I have made in the past and I like them all, but none of them are quite perfect.  They all just seem to be too full in the front, but they need to be loose enough to put on without having to insert a zip.

If I have any joy in my quest (without buying a new pattern of course) I will be sure to write about it here. 

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

The Pledge - The Sew Spend Stoppage

So at the end of Me Made May'12, I made a half-arsed pledge to stop buying sewing more patterns or fabric and use what I already have.  I didn't give myself any guidelines, any kind of time-scale, just a maybe I shouldn't buy more stuff.  And as a consequence I went the following days and bought Sew magazine, because I liked the Lisette pattern that was included free with it (hardly free as the magazine costs £5.99).

Now it's a nice enough magazine, like the dozens of other sewing magazines I have bought and kept and hardly ever made anything from. It was a typical sewing impulse purchase and when I got the pattern home and had a closer look I felt less and less likely that it would be a pattern I would make a great deal of use out of.  But with my new ethos fresh in my mind I have actually used this pattern and this is the result. 

I cropped the dress to make a top instead, the check fabric is a remnant from a shirt I made Fluffrick several years ago and I also used it to make my own bias binding.  The plain fabric I bought when we went to Bradford and blogged about here.  I even had the perfect colour of cotton already in my stash.

So mostly stuff I already had, but the purchase of a new pattern none the less.

So here is what I pledge.  

For the remainder of 2012 I, Katrina of RollingEyeballs, will not purchase any new patterns, fabric, notions or sewing magazines.  I will use what I already have and I will only purchase haberdashery if it is essential to the completion of a garment. 

We can just overlook the bag of 27 zips that I bought at Oxfam in Buxton for the princely sum of £2.99, how could I pass that up?

How I've saved a third on our weekly food bill

Right off I should say I hate going to the supermarket.  I am not one of those people who is happy to trawl around several supermarkets just to find the best bargain.  I love watching Extreme Couponing (not that you can get such deals in the UK) but the notion of spending eight hours or more in a supermarket makes my blood run cold.  So just how do you go about cutting your food bill (without cutting quality).

1  Make a Menu  
The lovely Fluffrick and I have spent many a Friday night (we know how to live it up) wandering aimlessly around Sainsburys putting stuff in our trolley, getting to the checkout and having very little to make a meal from.  

If you know what you are going to eat, you can plan what you are going to buy.

2  Write a List
This may seem obvious, but it is something I have only started to do within the last year or so.  It means you will get all the ingredients for all the meals you have planned and if you happen to put Chocolate on the list then you will just have to buy it.  Having a list does not mean you will never make an impulse purchase, but it will mean you will buy what you need.

3  Cut Down on the Meat
I know not everyone will approve of this notion, but meat is expensive especially if you want to buy higher welfare meat (as I do).  Meat Free Mondays is a fantastic idea (although personally I don't find Mondays a good day as it is the only day we are likely to have leftover chicken).  Just one day a week will save you money, but we now have 3 or 4 days a week meat free (sorry Mum) and it has definitely had an impact on what we spend.  I have found that the more spice you have the less you miss the meat, try a mushroom curry and lovely dahl and gobi aloo with naan bread and see if you miss the meat.

4  Don't Waste Food
 If you have made a menu and written a list, you shouldn't end up with a fridge full of things going out of date or spoiling.   I like to buy apples and bananas, but invariably don't always get them eaten before they start to go a little sad, but don't bin them, make an Apple Cake or Banana Bread.  Love Food Hate Waste is a great resource for ideas to use up leftovers and to guide you about not making too much to begin with.

5  Make Your Own Lunch
Today (well everyday this week actually) the lovely Fluffrick will be having Spiced Couscous with Vegetables, last week he had Brie, Cranberry sauce, salad and a homemade bread roll, next week it might be spicey bean tortilla wraps.  It costs a whole lot less to make you own lunch than to buy a sandwich everyday.

There is nothing earth shattering here, but there is no doubt it is saving us money.  We could undoubtedly save even more money if I was willing to cut down on quality.  I don't really "do" brands, that doesn't say quality to me, shop own brands are fine with me. To me quality is buying high welfare meat, sustainable fish and organic or locally produced fruit and veg.  

It does pain me to say that the way to save money is to plan, a menu, a list and the eat what you buy.  The added bonus of using a shopping list is that I can get round the supermarket a whole lot quicker and that is always a plus to me.

Friday, 29 June 2012

What to Eat this Week

I've missed a couple of weeks as we've been on holiday.  We didn't go very far, just twenty miles away in the Derbyshire Dales and but wasn't a resounding success,  We (Me, Fluffrick, both Mums and two dogs) were staying in a very pleasant cottage that was supposedly dog friendly, personally I would only regard it as dog tolerant. I completely understand the rule of no pets on the furniture, but this is the first time I have encountered a rule about no pets in the bedrooms and that didn't end well for us.  In brief a spooked Hagrid vaulted the stair gate at the bottom of the stairs, ran up to our bedroom and in his attempt to clamber under our bed knocked the radiator off the wall.  We ended up cutting our holiday short and coming home the next day.  We did all get a break, but not quite the one we intended.

But now we are back and so is "what to eat this week".  So in the veg box this week we got, the lovely tomatoes above, courgettes, an aubergine, red onions, a pointed cabbage, flat green beans and sweet potatoes.  We were meant to receive spinach rather than sweet potato, so I had to jig the menu a little and drop the Spouffle.

Pizza - well that is if I get off my backside and start proving some dough

Sweet potato and Peanut gratin with salad - another lovely recipe from Hugh which I tried last week and everyone said they liked. 

Roast Chicken with potatoes, stuffing and vegetables.

Chicken with rice - using the leftover chicken, this is an Allegra McEvady from Economy Gastronomy.

Spaghetti with a salmon, mushroom and cream sauce - especially asked for by Mum, previously blogged about here

Vegeree - another recipe from River Cottage Veg Everyday.

Veggie Sausage and Chips.

I'm watching the European Athletics Championships at the moment from Helsinki which puts me in mind to look at my Nordic Bakery book and rustle up some yummy Scandinavian treats. 

Monday, 11 June 2012

Easy Apple Cake

This is a really easy, but very delicious Apple Cake.  It's derived from a Delia Smith recipe for Sticky Tea Bread, I think from her Frugal cookbook, although I don't stick to her instructions.


150ml Water
150g Caster Sugar
75g Sultanas
100g Butter
1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
175g Plain Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 Large Egg
3 small or 2 large Apples

Place the water, sugar, butter, sultanas and bicarbonate of soda in a saucepan and heat gently.

The mixture will froth up, don't let it boil over.  Let it gently simmer for 10 minutes, so that the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved and the sultanas have plumped up a little. You can use this time to peel and chop the apples into 1cm dice.

This is where I diverge from Delia's instructions (she would leave this mixture to cool), but you have to work quite quickly.  Add the flour and baking powder to the hot mixture and mix well, then add the egg and mix again.  Finally stir in the apple and tip into a greased 20cm square tin.  And place in an oven preheated to Gas Mark 4.

No cake mixture looks particularly appetizing before it is cooked.  And this is quite a wet batter.    As the batter is warm before it goes in the oven it only need to be cooked for 30 minutes.  If you let the mixture cool before adding the egg, flour and apple, it may need cooking a little longer. 

Here is the finished result, great eaten warm, but also keeps well and is lovely cold.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

What to Eat This week

So what are we going to eat this week?  I do have a process for the weekly menu and it starts with the veg box delivery on Thursday.  This is what we received this week...

New Potatoes, Onions, Salad Leaves, Lettuce, Cucumber, Carrots and Spring Greens.  I have to admit this is not the most inspirations selection I have ever received, but it made the decision that Fluffrick will be having salad for lunch an easy one.

Of late my trusty copy of River Cottage Veg Everyday has been my first port of call when deciding how to make best use of the weekly veg box.  It is a wonderful book with a vast selection of great veg recipes, the Spouffle has made a frequent appearance on the weekly menu.  

So what is actually on the menu...

Tartiflette - veggie style made with potatoes, onions, cheese and double cream

Salmon & Prawn Skewers and salad

Roast Chicken, New Potatoes, Carrots, Spring Greens and Stuffing

Chicken Biryani and Naan Bread - this is not an authentic biryani more of a spiced Chicken rice really, but very yummy

Chilli Cheese Polenta with Tomato Sauce - courtesy of Mr Fearnley Whittingstall

Toad in the Hole (with Veggie Sausages) with Carrots, Spring Greens and Onion Gravy

Macaroni (well Penne actually) Cheese

I also plan on making a simple Apple Cake at some point this week, which I will document if I can get the camera working again.

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