Thursday, 31 October 2013

Vintage Housekeeping - my new new obession

Yep that's right I've got a new obession!!  Regular readers and friends and family will know that I do get these ideas of fancies and then generally ending up beating myself up as I can't achieve them all.  But life is about learning and moving on and through each obsession I take what works and bin the rest or save it for another day.

So...Vintage Housekeeping - how fabulous does that sound?  Well I stumbled on this book on amazon and downloaded it to my kindle app on my phone...WHOAH  yes I said Kindle app on my phone. I know I know I hate bloody kindles and the whole idea of electronic books (I'm the girl that was known as the book lady at our local fete as I bought so many of the damn things, when choosing a new book I take three or four to bed to pour over the back of before choosing and despite then saying the left over ones will be read next I still go through the same ritual;  you could lock me in a book shop or library for at least 6 weeks before I got even the slightest bit bored) but *whispers*  I think I might quite like a Kindle!  They could be very handy during the day whilst the little man is about and it's a case of pick up put down all the time!  Would be time spent much better than browsing facebook.  And there are lots of books out there that are only published online (who knew?!).  So it's on the list....but not too close to the top!

Anyway I digress....I stumbled upon Scruptious Treats for Vintage Housekeepers, then Life, Love and Vintage Housekeeping and then a whole blog!! And I've become slightly obssessed with the ideas on it to the point that I've bought myself a new notebook to capture them all in (it's not just me that does this is it!??).

So the big ideas that I've taken from these so far is that housekeeping (sounds so much nicer than just cleaning, housework or just being the general dogsbody doesn't it?) has to be done whether we enjoy it or not and it generally falls to us ladies (yes Hubs I know you help a lot) so why not take some pride in it and make it as lovely as you can.  The blog and books talk about Puttering Treats - little things of loveliness that you can do to make everything so much nicer.  Such as:

'Assign a jam jar the title of Puttery Pennies' and use it to save for something completely irrational.  Reward yourself everytime you empty the washing machine'

I have already started this one but in true vintage style I need to pretty it up a bit.

'Bake yourself a Happy Wednesday Cake.  Get utterly carried away with your toppings and serve it with candles and a whole lot of hullabaloo after tea.....'

How fabby does that sound?  And I know some people would say why would you bother but ask yourself why would you not?!?!

Not sure how good it would be for the waistline but she has another idea a comfort drawer.  I love love love this idea.  The idea of having a drawer (or a shelf in my case) of things that bring you comfort, and proper comfort.  We have a treat cupboard now but it's filled with chocolate and crisps and things that just make us feel guilty afterwards for indulging - so much better to have a drawer filled with things that bring proper comfort. Which got me thinking - the things that bring me comfort are always the same, away from the family, music, books, aromatherapy and yoga, baking and crafting but often these are the last things I do when I'm feeling down.  So a comfort drawer is a definite must and is on my list to create when the little man goes back to preschool next Monday!!!

I'm going to sign off now - I have a pretty notebook that won't fill itself!

Thursday, 24 October 2013

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Monday, 21 October 2013

Meal Plan Monday - 21 October 2013

So autumn is definitely here and as a result I've been wanting to eat more stodge!!!  (like I didn't in the summer!! haha!)

Last week I didn't stick to my meal plan much at all - partly due to the husband being poorly and messing up my plans!! So on Tuesday we had Mash, Fishfingers and spaghetti hoops (why do we not have this more often?!?), Wednesday we had sausage pasta, Thursday and Friday we stuck to the plan but on Saturday night we treated ourselves to fish and chips and yesterday I totally forgot to get the pork out of the freezer so we had ...

Sweet and Sour Chicken and Egg Fried Rice - all home made!!!  This is the egg fried rice recipe and the sweet and sour recipe was from a friend but think I might try the Hairy Bikers version next time as the sauce was missing something.  The mistake was having a bowl full of prawn crackers on the table which the little man thought were the best thing ever and ate them like Bugs Bunny eats carrots!!! 

We finished the meal off with Sticky Toffee Cake from the Clandestine Cake Club cook book which went down very well!! 

I decided to have a go at a balsamic vinegar and red onion bread to show James Martin how it's done!!  And this is the result.  It's lovely although need a bit more balsamic and would have been better cooked separately to the cake as it was a tad under cooked. However it's one of my first experiments rather than following a recipe so I'm quite pleased.

So onto this week and the plan is as follows:

Monday - Meatballs and Pasta
Tuesday - Beef Stew and Sweet Potato Topping
Wednesday - Jamies Meatloaf
Thursday - Smokey Bacon and Tomato Soup and HM Bread
Friday - Sweet Chilli Dogs and Chips
Saturday - out
Sunday - Will try again with the Roast Pork!! 

Also very excitingly it's the first week of our new baking club at the library so I need to do a special bake for that.  And it's the final of GBBO - gonna be a good cake week :) 

Friday, 18 October 2013

A new yearning

Having become totally addicted to Australian masterchef (thank you Facebook friends for that addiction!! You know who you are!!!) and still loving the Great British Bake Off I'm feeling that my cooking skills are lacking.  I want to learn how to cook properly or at least expand my reportoise - which fits in nicely with with my new spreadsheet of recipes I've started (oh I do love a good list!)

So yesterday. Day one:

I learnt to make a proper cup of cocoa for the husband.  However he didn't enjoy it as much as hot chocolate but its a skill to have.

I learnt that dark chocolate chips in an apple and pear crumble can only improve things :) (have I previously mentioned oatmeal in crumbles?!? Makes them all crunchy - just add a handful)

And I learnt that James Martins bread mix is really not very good!!! It didn't rise and was very stodgy - does this look like a good loaf to you?!?


So onto today - Day 2

I learnt that sometimes an oven chip sandwich is the only thing that will do

And I cooked these potato cakes for the little mans dinner. 

Very easy to make - mix leftover mash potato with 2tbsp of flour, an egg and a handful of cheese. I then shaped them into patties and open frozen them before putting in a freezer bag.  To cook I started to fry them as stated in the recipe but they were cooking in the middle so I shoved them under the grill.  

The possibilities of these are endless and I will add some other bits another time - such as peas, ham, tuna.  

Monday, 14 October 2013

Meal Plan Monday - 14 October - and how fab are Roast Dinners!?

So a few crafty things to get started this week - this is a crocheted star garland that has gone up for sale on my page - isn't it lovely!! Although you can't see the sparkle so well in the wool - it definitely twinkles :) 

These little guys went to their new home this week :) 

And I'm working on these fellas - am thinking plant pot friends.  What do people think?

Food wise it's been an ok week - I'm really making an effort to try to make some different things and use the amazing amount of recipes I have on Pinterest and my cookbook shelf!! The spreadsheet is helping!! 

So we had Calzones on Friday night and I made four so we've two in the freezer for next week.

The dough is made my mixing 700g of bread flour with 14g yeast, 1 tsp of salt and 450mls of water and 2 tbsp of olive oil.  Then knead as you would a bread dough and leave to rise for 15 mins.

While it's rising, mix 75g tomato puree with 1tbsp olive oil and 1tsp of dried oregano.  Once the dough has risen, divide into four pieces and roll into circles (I really struggle with this - any tips?) and cover one half with the tomato paste and top with your fillings - I used mozzarella, pepperoni, mushrooms, olives and sweetcorn.  Then fold over the other half and slash the top three times.  Bake at 200 oC for 25 mins until cooked.  If you want to freeze them - once rolled up before cooking.  

I made bread!! Only a tin loaf but it's a start again!! 

With the remaining Bara Brith I made some bread and butter puddings for the boys for the week

And then yesterday we had a lovely Roast Chicken - which was amazing!! I do love a roast but often forget how much!!  And I think it's brilliant how everyone does them differently.  

So onto this week:

Monday - Egg Fried Rice with Chicken
Tuesday - Chicken Stew and Dumplings
Wednesday - Toad in the Hole
Thursday - Soup and Bread
Friday - Calzones and Chips
Saturday - Chilli and Rice
Sunday - Roast Pork, BBQ Beans and Jacket Potatoes

Nothing majorly adventurous there but it's using up what I've got in.

Have a good week all.  

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Bara Brith...worth the wait!!

So who's watching the Great British Bake Off then?  Isn't it fab!!!  I'm rooting for Becca to win - partly because she makes me laugh, partly because a few people have said they see a similarity to me but mainly cos she makes the kind of food I want to eat and with minimal faff!!  (can't stand faff!!!)

So I decided I wanted to make her Bara Brith as it looked yummy!!  The plan was to make this last week in the afternoon that was then spoilt by the accident.  Next I decided to make it on Tuesday afternoon this week but this was then spoiled by the insurance company phoning to discuss my car situation (a write off very very annoyingly) which kind of spoilt my baking buzz!!!  So then I decided I was making it Wednesday morning come hell or high water - and there was some - an unexpected visit from the little man's preschool keyworker, a very sore and stiff arm and shoulder and this.....

Yep that is flour all over the floor!! *sigh* but needs must!!!

And this is what I ended up with!!! :)  It's blooming gorgeous - best thing she's ever tasted said my friend (who knows her food!!!) 

It really was worth the effort and wait!! 

Unlike my sourdough which was a disaster.....not sure I'm cut out for sourdough at all!!! 

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Meal Plan Monday - ish!

I'm late again I know!!!  But at least I'm here which is one up on last week but I have a good excuse!  Last Monday I was full up with cold so left meal planning till the evening and then got distracted setting up a brand new spanking spreadsheet listing all my usual recipes and adding new ones I want to try - mainly from my ridiculously organised folder of cut out recipes from magazines, pinterest and Paul Hollywood's baking book (anal me?!?!).  I really want to get my food groove back on and work my way through new recipes and new techniques and hopefully tell you lovely lot about my adventures.

So that was all very exciting and organised and we went off shopping on Tuesday morning with a plan in hand and then BOOM - literally!  Someone bumped into the back of my car and all plans went out the window!! Thankfully me and the little man are both ok - well I'm suffering but with lots of aches and pains but thankfully nothing major but it threw my week off totally.

In amongst the chaos I did manage to do a bit of cooking

Jack Monroes Soda Bread - I've been wanting to make soda bread for ages but as I'm dairy free I've been put off but had a go at this with soya milk and a bit of lemon and it worked quite well but did have an odd aftertaste.  Think I will try again with oat milk or coconut milk next time.  

Me and little man made some cheese scones - or 'teese' scones as he would say.  Was adorable as we were rolling them out he went and got his play dough cutters to make different shapes! And this morning when we were doing play dough he went and put the cut out shapes on the oven to cook!! <3

And then on Sunday I quickly made this - Chocolate Cobbler.  Which was slightly overcooked as the sauce wasn't really there but the little man still managed two portions of it!!  I did significantly cut down the amount of sugar in it (probably by half) and I was not worse for it :) 

So onto this week and I've made the following plan:

Monday - Mince Beef and Onion Pie
Tuesday - One Pot Chicken Pasta
Wednesday - Gammon, J Potatoes and Veg/Beans
Thursday - Pea and Ham Soup & Bread
Friday - Chilli Dogs and Chips
Saturday - Calzones
Sunday - Roast Chicken - if I can remember to take the damn thing out of the freezer!!!