Sunday, 27 January 2013

How to Bake - part 1

I got given Paul Hollywood's How to Bake book for Christmas and am going to try and work my way through it.  I am totally astounded how following the recipes to the letter that I've done so far has given me such totally amazing bread!!

First up was a white tin loaf.

Next up a wholemeal tin loaf - this was the lightest wholemeal loaf I've ever eaten :) 

And then this amazing cob loaf

Next up - an 8 stranded plait!!! :O

Monday, 21 January 2013

An epic catch up!!

WOW!  How have two months nearly gone by since my last post and how are we nearly at the end of January already?!  As you will see in this post I was very busy in the run up to Christmas with makes and bakes and since Christmas we have all been poorly with a really horrible bug and today is the first day I've felt like doing anything other than making a big dent in the sofa with my bottom!! lol!!

So where to start - well not with the playhouse as nothing has happened on that front due to Christmas and poor health.  Really want to get back to that this week as well finishing the kitchen curtain which is really needed at the moment as we are under a good foot or so of snow and it's freezing! I also have big plans for Isaac's second birthday party at the end of March so I really need to get my foot into gear!  Oh and I was also given a lovely craft book at Christmas by my brother and sister in law which I was studying last night and now have even more ideas of makes (as well as my ever growing pinterest addiction!) and my brother and sister gave me a gorgeous new knitting bag, knitting book and some lovely wool that I also need to start using :)   As is always the case too much craft - not enough time!!

So firstly some random food makes:

Chocolate buns and a small chocolate loaf in my new chocolate loaf tins.  So cute!! 

Homemade pizza which is soooooooo much better than Dominoes although my hubby doesn't agree.  Very easy to make the dough - mix 500g strong white flour with 5tbsp of olive oil, 300ml of warm water and 1tbsp of yeast.  Knead until smooth and then leave to double in size and then roll out into pizza shapes - I tend to get two big ones and two small ones out of this dough.  Whilst that is rising again (I'm very laid about how long this takes as it usually fits around Isaac's bath time!) I fry some onion and then add some passata (oh I love passata!) and let it bubble away until its thick.  This weekend I also added some frozen spinach which was nice and of course some worcester sauce.  Then spread that on the bases and top with whatever you fancy - I use cheese, pepperoni, sweetcorn, mushrooms, bbq sauce....the list is endless.  LUSH! 

This was a sweet potato, spinach and bacon tart made from the intolerant gourmet book - was very very nice and easy to make.

And a few jam tarts with the left over pastry! 

Homemade rolls which were lovely and some little cakes that Isaac made - these were from a box (shock horror) but as he had put them in the shopping basket himself how could I refuse!!  And they were very easy for him to make.  We made buns today but to get them mixed properly involves some equipment and I don't really like him to close to the beaters and he cried at the food processor!! He's a bit sensitive when it comes to loud noises! 

A victoria sandwich - a treat for the hubster! 

An epic Toad in the Hole - Nigella's yorkshire pudding recipe is ace!! 

 Pork meatballs pasta bake - this is amazing and I always forget how lovely it is 

Christmas makes:

This years Christmas cards were green felt Christmas trees that I cut out and and stuck onto cards and then left Isaac to his own devices to decorate them with seasonal foam stickers 

This was the grandparents Christmas present - Isaac's handprint and a lovely poem which made one Nanny cry!!!   I then framed them in white wooden frames. 

My decoupatched Ho Ho Ho - I was so happy with this.  I got the supplies from Crafty Crocodiles - papers, brushes and cardboard letters.  Then I mixed PVA glue with water and Isaac helped me wet the cardboard letters with this glue mix and then we stuck torn up bits of paper over the letters.  Once they were dry I varnished them and added glitter.  They will be fab to get out each year and I've got plans for family initials for the living room wall...another thing to add to the list! 

I made a double batch of Nigella's suet free mince meat which is amazing - full of apples and cider.  As you can see it made a good few jars - some of which I gave away - but the others were used to make these lovely mince pies - mmmmmmm!!

Candy cane anyone?

I made my last minute Christmas puddings - these went down very well as usual - very boozy! 

After my initial problem with making my Christmas ham in that the ham was bigger than my slower cooker, I managed to get it in and cooked it all day in water and some apple juice.  Once it was cooked through I put it in the oven covered in a whisky and marmalade glade. Unfortunately everyone was too full on Christmas day for this at tea time but it made lots of lovely lunches cold, a batch of pea and ham soup and there's three bags full in my freezer for ham and mushroom pies- good times and very good value as it was from Aldi for £6!  I do love a bargain. 

Cakes for Christmas day tea - I made a selection of loaf cakes - lemon, vanilla, coffee and walnut and sultana and cherry.   Plus chocolate buns - which Isaac loved - and biscuits which were  gifts for family members. 

Biscuits bagged up and covered in squirls of chocolate  

Not more sausage rolls and mince pies surely?!?!

Not everything went to plan - these chelsea buns for breakfast on Christmas day were horrible, stodgy and not at all cooked properly!!  Something to try again another day.  

The big meal!  The picture really doesn't do it justice but look at those yorkshires!!  Will be making them in muffin tins again I think!!  Was a lovely meal and worth the effort. 

Hope everyone had a good day although it seems ages away already.....and I've already started thinking about the next one!!!