Thursday, 13 December 2012

The Gingerbread House...

So here it is (finally) the gingerbread house!
sorry for the delay, losing my card reader then forgetting where i placed my camera!!!

Admittedly its not the best looking house- well tent as i've come to call it! but given it was my 1st time EVER doing this, and i'm not creative in any way shape or form, i think i did pretty darn good!!! i will definitely be investing in a gingerbread house cookie cutter set! i cut this out myself freehand and it worked, but i want a house for sure next year!!

Friday, 7 December 2012

Gingerbread house inspiration

Tomorrow afternoon I'll be finger deep in sweets, icing and gingerbread. I've decided to have a go at making and decorating a gingerbread house, with the trimmings that i can load it with, I'm a huge fan of gingerbread! its been may favorite thing since i can remember, and of we're all familiar with the witches gingerbread house from the tale of Hansel and Gretal by The Brothers Grimm, a house covered with all the sweetness children love and adore!

Hansel and Gretel
Michael Hague
Its safe to say that building gingerbread in Germany and other European countries is pretty big, and its all apart of the festive celebrations, Since 1991, the people of Bergen, Norway, have built a city of gingerbread houses each year before Christmas. Named Pepperkakebyen (Norwegian for "gingerbread city"), it is claimed to be the world's largest such city. It's free for every child under the age of 12 to make their own house with the help of their parent.

Pepperkakebyen, The Gingerbread city of Bergen

^ pretty impressive right?

So i decided to have a go at it myself, I'm headed to a friend house to do it, shes got a little boy who i know can't wait to have a go himself. I'm off up to the shops later on tonight to pick up some goodies, and I've been looking on the internet for inspiration, there are some fab creations out there, not sure I'll do as well, but its all apart of the fun!

Roll on tomorrow, think hot chocolates and festive music will have to be included as well!
Will up-date as soon as i can! 

Hope you're all keeping warm and toasty.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Last nights dinner....

Last night the Mr cooked - he cooks far more often then i do, I'm more the baker in our little household. we did a shop last week and Lee picked up a stir in spice packet by Schwartz, he went for the  Pork Apple And Cider Casserole Mix. out of all the stir in items you can get i have to say the I'm more than happy to go for the spice ones, sometimes we don't always have the "right" spices to hand and the spices them selves can be a bit pricey. so we bought some sausages (the packet suggests pork loin or chicken)   - the apple and cider variety. I've been using my dutch oven a lot as well, I'm so please with it! only £20 from TKMaxx my first purchase from there, i think I'll be going back again soon!!

So here's the recipe

1 tbs oil
450g (1lb) pork, cubed - (We used 6 sausages)
1 onion, chopped
125g (5oz) mushrooms, sliced
1 packet Schwartz Pork, Apple & Cider Casserole Winter Recipe Mix
300ml (½ pint) cider
1 apple, cored and cut into wedges

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C, 350°F, Gas Mark 4.
2. Heat the oil and fry the pork for 4-5 minutes in a deep frying pan until browned.  Add the onion and fry for 2-3 minutes, then add the mushrooms and fry for a further 2-3 minutes.
3. Blend the packet contents with the cider, add to the pan and bring to the boil.  Transfer to a casserole dish, cover and cook in the oven for 30 minutes.
4. Add the apple, cover and cook for a further 30 minutes.
5. Serve with creamy mashed potato.

I think it turned out pretty damn well!!, the mash was amazing! Lee doesn't like it so much but he knows how to make it super creamy and melt in the mouth!, i reckon i'll be picking up some more of these mixes, they do a slow cooker range, we have one but haven't used it so with the festive season creeping ever more upon us, i don't want to be spending all my time in the kitchen, i want to come home and dinner is ready and waiting! ... i love cooking but at this time of year i like things quick,easy and hearty! but also healthy!

Happy Cooking

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Oh Canada!!!!

Last Friday i booked our holiday to Canada!!!!
I'm totally excited! I've been before but that was nearly 8 years ago, scary how times fly's by so quickly!
I've got Family out there who we'll be staying with, which is going to be soooooo lovely! we'll be gone for two weeks in March, the girls break up for spring holiday, we'll have the 1st week to ourselves as they don't breakup till the 8th. We're headed to Ottawa, Canada's capital, theres so much to see and do in the city that i hope we get to do most things, on our list of things to do also included :

visiting a Sugar Shack -small cabins or series of cabins where sap collected from sugar maple trees is boiled into maple syrup. this is a must!! i LOVE Maple Syrup, it is pancakes best friend!!

Watching  a hockey match! i've always said to Lee that when ever we visit somewhere we have to do what the place is know for, and Hockey is huge in Canada so it would be so silly to miss out on this!. the home team being The Ottawa Senators, i just hope the NHL sorts whats going on out!

A bit history and architecture with a visit to Parliament Hill - a bit like the houses of Parliament in London.

Skiing/Snowboarding- Fingers crossed we can have a go, even if it means going on a hunt for snow! as i'm not really sure what the snow conditions will be like.

Shopping and food trying! it would be wrong not to do these two these, more saving for spending! not sure how much to put aside but enough so i can really enjoy ourselves!

I can't wait!!!!!!!! 14 weeks and counting!!!

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Mini Doughnuts!!

I love doughnuts, well to be perfectly honest anything that's sprinkled with icing is a winner for me.
A few months ago i went to visit my Nanna who lives on the mainland near Reading,as the Island is quite bad for shops we all went shopping in main city center, and of course i had to pop into Lakeland! the mecca to all bakers and cooks alike, If you don't know what lakeland is then let me just fill you in a bit, its a store where you can buy pretty much everything you need for your kitchen, they sell all sorts - pots and pans, baking trays, jars for persevering and Topsy turvey cake tins,decoration tools to name but a few of what they sell, Its pretty amazing and as the island doesn't have one - which by the way i think would be far better then Pirmark or primarny as people like to call it. so yeah off i went, i picked up a silicon mini doughnut tray, £4.99 which for making 20 doughnuts actually pays for its self, now i must admit it took me longer to actually get around to making them, but as the laptop at home is down and my Mr is playing Halo4 i took my opportunity to give it a test run.


For 12 sugar dusted doughnuts

  • 75g (2½oz) plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 55g (2oz) caster sugar
  • 60ml (2¼fl oz) milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp olive oil (If preferred 10g (½oz) melted butter may be added in place of the olive oil)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Extra sugar for dusting

For 36 sugar dusted doughnuts

  • 225g (8oz) plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 175g (6oz) caster sugar
  • 175ml (6fl oz) milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (If preferred 30g (1½oz) melted butter may be added in place of the olive oil)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Extra sugar for dusting


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C/Gas 3. Lightly brush the doughnut pan with cooking oil.
  2. Take a large roomy bowl, and sift the flour, baking powder and salt into it. Add the sugar and give it a stir round to combine.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the milk, beaten egg, olive oil and vanilla extract together and add this to the dry ingredients, mixing thoroughly.
  4. Using a teaspoon carefully fill each of the doughnut cups around ¾ full with the batter. Place in the oven and bake for about 8 minutes, or until firm, but springy to the touch. Cool slightly.
  5. Sprinkle a little caster sugar onto a plate or other flat surface. Turn the doughnuts out and dip them (bottoms first!) into the sugar and Hey Presto fabulous sugar-dusted doughnuts in no time at all!

These were pretty darn good!, will definitely be making these again, will get a little more festive when December arrives and the parties start!

I've never really gotten on well with silicon in the past but this one worked, next on my list is the silicon molds that were used in the Great British bake off, when they did chocolate tea cake, i think i'll but that from Lakeland also.
If you want to buy the tray click on image.

Happy Baking!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

New book... well kinda...

I love books! the smell, the sound they make when newly opened and how there worded can make me sink in to the pages and not rise for many hours.
My book collection i think is a perfect representation of who i am, there's fantasy, spiritual and homely- cooking and gardening, there's also the collection that I'm building up, not only for me but my little ones! that's not to say I'm getting ahead of myself, as i wouldn't want to put that pressure on myself, but I've already got quite the little gathering of children who mean an awful lot to me and i hope to always be in their lives, the fun adult who makes them pancakes and reads them fairy-tales about brave princess's and tall tales of falling down that rabbit hole. But my focus today is to tell you about a wonderful little book that i picked up back in May when i went to London to see an old friend.. another friendship reignited due to the sad passing of an old school friend. We were browsing the shops in islington when i saw this book, it had a simple cover nothing outlandish, had a very homely feel to it nothing sleek about it - and that's not a bad thing, it drew me in like a beacon, the title "Friends At My Table" by Alice Hart seemed to be too good to pass by.

As you may have read, In my about me section i try and live as much as i can via the seasons, eating whats in and enjoying the celebrations that are held to each month. And this book is perfect for that way i like to live, For Spring there's a lovely meal for 8 which is designed for a bridal shower, spring being the time for new things a bridal shower seems most fitting, Summer caters for the main event a "Laid Back Country Wedding for 20" - from sweet pepper sausage rolls to the pie de resistance - Strawberry and Vanilla wedding cake -which looks amazing!, the drinks are the most refreshing sounding drinks that i will most defiantly be making for next years summer gatherings. My favorite being Raspberry Crush and Elderflower vodka, these make for delightful party drinks!

In the same summer section theres  ideas for camping and a perfect beach barbecue.
As we fall into Autumn there's a recipe for fire-pit Venison, with instructions for your very own fire pit, which goes perfectly with a night of fireworks,sparklers and warm gloves!

And as we look into Winter its all about spending cosy nights in with those you love, it includes a menu for new year, mezze night and some of the best sweet delights I've had the pleasure to read.

I have yet to make anything from this book, but the Bacon Scotch Pancakes i think will be the first that i try.
this is one book I'm very happy to have on my bookcase.

Buy here- Friends at my table - Alice Hart
*Images take from the book on my phone. but taken by Emma Lee.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Plum and Apple chutney

I'm getting rather into this preserving chutney making, there's something so oldy worldly about it that it makes me feel very comforted by it. This recipe took a while to prep but on a Saturday afternoon when the weather is a little to wet and nippy, and you have plenty if tea and good company to keep to going, its perfect to just close yourself away for a few hours. I don't have as much time as i'd really like to really spend making things, i think that's something i might have to add my news year resolutions. I've already got two on there, another can't be so bad.

So here we go - 

Recipe for Spicy Plum and Apple Chutney, now on the recipe say it will fill 4-5 jars well, i took 4 190ml thinking that would  be enough- oh how wrong was I! in total it made up 9!! 2 200ml jars and  3 250ml jars! plenty to go around if like me you're making these for Yule/Winter Solstice/Christmas.

  • 1 garlic bulb
  • thumb-size piece fresh root ginger
  • 2 large onions
  • 1kg Bramley apples
  • 3 star anise
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 500ml bottle cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1kg plums
  • 450g golden caster sugar


  • Start by getting the ingredients ready. Peel the garlic cloves and cut them into slivers. Peel and thinly shred the ginger. Halve, peel and thinly slice the onions, then put them in a large, wide saucepan or a preserving pan with the garlic and ginger. Peel, core and chop the apples, then add to the pan with the spices, vinegar and salt.
  • Bring the pan to the boil over a gentle heat, give everything a good stir, then turn down the heat and cover the pan (if you don't have a lid use foil). Simmer for 30 mins until the apples are cooked and pulpy.
  • While the apples are simmering, stone and quarter the plums, then add them to the cooked apples with the sugar. Stir well and leave to bubble away, this time uncovered, for another 40 mins stirring regularly until the plums are cooked but still retain some of their shape. Ladle into the sterilised jars, seal and label. This chutney is best kept for about a month before eating as the vinegar needs a bit of time to mellow. If you don't want the flavour of the spices to develop any more, then take out the cinnamon and star anise before potting. It will keep for 1 year in a cool place but once opened store in the fridge and use within a month.

Fingers crossed the family like my efforts, still to be made -  Red Onion Chutney and Beetroot and Orange Chutney.


Friday, 9 November 2012

Gabrielle Aplin - Home

I’m a phoenix in the water
A fish that’s learnt to fly
And i’ve always been a daughter
But feathers are meant for the sky
So I’m wishing, wishing further
For the excitement to arrive
It’s just I’d rather be causing the chaos
Than laying at the sharp end of this knife

With every small disaster
I’ll let the waters still
Take me away to some place real
'Cause they say home is where your heart is set in stone
where you go when you’re alone
Is where you go to rest your bones
It’s not just where you lay your head
It's not just where you make your bed
As long as we’re together, does it matter where we go?

So when I’m ready to be bolder,
And my cuts have healed with time
Comfort will rest on my shoulder
And I’ll bury my future behind
I’ll always keep you with me
You’ll be always on my mind
But there’s a shining in the shadows
I’ll never know unless I try

With every small disaster
I’ll let the waters still
Take me away to some place real
'Cause they say home is where your heart is set in stone
Is where you go when you’re alone
Is where you go to rest your bones
It’s not just where you lay your head
It's not just where you make your bed
As long as we’re together, does it matter where we go?

'Cause they say home is where your heart is set in stone
where you go when you’re alone
Is where you go to rest your bones
It’s not just where you lay your head
It's not just where you make your bed
As long as we’re together, does it matter where we go?

Monday, 5 November 2012

Bonfire Night!!!


Today as you all know is November 5th! the night best known for Guy Fawkes -

Its history begins with the events of 5 November 1605, when Guy Fawkes, a member of the Gunpowder Plot, was arrested while guarding explosives the plotters had placed beneath the House of Lords. Celebrating the fact that King James I had survived the attempt on his life, people lit bonfires around London, and months later the introduction of the Observance of 5th November Act enforced an annual public day of thanksgiving for the plot's failure.

But the celebration of lighting fires is also shared by others, "In the ancient druid religions, bonfires were held between 31 October and 5 November to celebrate Samhain, a harvest festival where they used bonfires " bone fires" to burn the bones of the slaughtered livestock they had prepared and stored for the winter months. People and their livestock would often walk between two bonfires as a cleansing ritual and the bones of slaughtered livestock were cast into its flames. Some modern day Druids and Pagans see bonfire night as a significant celebration to end the harvest festival."

So yesterday i was very much in the foodie mood and thought about making something fitting for this time of year. firstly i baked!, a parkin cake.

Parkin, is a cake most associated with Yorkshire and being eaten on bonfire night. Its a rich taste and very filling!!
Now I've made it before so I'm not sure if i did the right recipe but here's the one i followed -


  • 200g butter , plus extra for greasing
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • 200g golden syrup
  • 85g treacle
  • 85g light soft brown sugar
  • 100g medium oatmeal
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger

Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Grease a deep 22cm/9in square cake tin and line with baking parchment. Beat the egg and milk together with a fork.

Gently melt the syrup, treacle, sugar and butter together in a large pan until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat. Mix together the oatmeal, flour and ginger and stir into the syrup mixture, followed by the egg and milk.

Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 50 mins - 1 hr until the cake feels firm and a little crusty on top. Cool in the tin then wrap in more parchment and foil and keep for 3-5 days before eating if you can - it'll become softer and stickier the longer you leave it, up to 2 weeks

The smell of this baking is divine!, rich sweet and spicy!!
once it cooled i cut me a few slices, sat down with a brew and just relaxed for a little while.... well a few hours actually. but sometimes its needed.

So as the day worn on, around came tea time, and what with being the festive kind of mood, i decided to make something that would be perfect for those of you holding your own bonfire party,

As I've mentioned before, sometimes your fridge can be your best inspiration, and on the occasions mine did just that.. as well as a little foodie hunting on the Internet.

Here we have-
Sticky Sweet Sausages with melted cheese topped baked potatoes. 

6 Sausages
1 Medium Red Onion
2 Shallots
50g Cheese with Garlic and Herb (cheese counter at Tesco) or any cheese of you liking
5  Potatoes
2 Tbsp of Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp of  Sweet chill with garlic sauce -  I get mine from The Garlic Farm here on the Isle Of Wight
2 Tbsp of Honey

preheat the  oven to180c/ gas mark 4.

Place under the grill the sausages and while their cooking, in a
bowl mix the honey, soy and sweet chili together, move over to one side and chop your onions and shallots.. big or small its totally up to you, mine were a bit mixed and matched.

In a pan cooked the onions and shallots until soft, aid it on by using a bit of oil not to much as you don't want them greasy, they'll produce there own juice which is helpful to the softening process,

 Once your sausages are cooked through, place in a oven proof dish and pour over the sticky sauce and add the soften onions in as well.
Mix them up abit so you get a good amount on all the sausage, then pop in the over for about 20mins.

pierce the potatoes and pop them in the microwave, at a high heat for about 10/15 minutes,While there cooking, grate up all the cheese and once the potatoes are done slice down the middle, open them all up and sprinkles each side with the cheese, then place in the over for the last 5minutes to allow the cheese to melt.

Fresh out the oven!

It was a perfect way to end a very chilled out day, a no fuss cake and a no fuss dinner.
Tonight i'm headed to Sandown to watch the fire works with some friends, i'm takin the parking and marshmallows and a friend is bring a hot flask of hot chocolate!

What ever you get up to tonight keep warm and of course safe!!!


    Thursday, 1 November 2012

    Blessing this Samhian and a very happy Halloween

    Evening readers,

    I hope i find you full of treats and not to many tricks, from last nights magical and spooky wonder!

    I know of many people who see this as a US holiday gone mad over here in the UK, and that shops are all out to make a pound or two from something that has no place over here. When actually Halloween or should that be Samhain goes back hundreds of years!!! if you look into it you'll see it was celebrated up and down the UK, Traditionally, Samhain was a time to take stock of the herds and food supplies, it is one of the four main festivals of the Gaelic calendar,(Imbolic,Beltain, Lughnasadh) it marks the last harvest and beginning of winter. Like all beginnings and endding, theres always a celebration, and Samhain is no different, people would gather and have big feasts, eat drink and get merry and mark the end of the harvest year, some places would even light big bonfires on the high hills to warn off evils spirits,. and where does the dressing up come into it? Well back then people were very superstitious, so by wearing costumes and masks it may have been seen as a way to befuddle, ward-off or represent the harmful spirits and fairies  so as not to be taken away into the night. Guising or mumming was common at winter festivals in general, but was "particularly appropriate to a night upon which supernatural beings were said to be abroad".
    So its alot more than just seeing how many sweets you can get!

    Samhian/Halloween is a perfect way to spend time with friends and family, celebrations are always fun, i don't need to tell you but a party with dressing up and themed food is always a winner, I look forward to the day when i have my own little ones, who will get all dressed up and enjoy the fun of the season, Many don't like it when the night gets darker and it feels like it'll be a long old time before the warm nights are with us once more, But for me Halloween and Bonfire night make it all worth it, Apple bobbin, sticky toffee apples, mulled cider and watching fireworks blast the sky it with a rainbow of colour is great!!! 

    So what did i get up to? We stayed in watched "The Walking Dead" and ate delightful feast of cider glazed sausages in ciabatta bread!

    I found the recipe on Tesco Food! it was from the Bonfire night recipe ideas!

                                             Before                                                             After

    • 800g (1.75lb) echalion shallots
    • 200ml (1/3pt) English cider
    • 2 tbsp honey
    • 2 tsp wholegrain mustard
    • 12 pork sausages
    • 2 ciabattas, split lengthways and cut in thirds
    Preheat the oven to gas 5, 190°C, fan 170°C. Put the shallots in an ovenproof dish, sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of water, cover with foil and roast for 1 hour. Set aside and leave to cool slightly.
    Put the cider, honey and mustardin a small saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes, until the mixture has reduced by about two-thirds.
    Meanwhile, put the sausages in a roasting tin and cook for 10 minutes, then coat with half the glaze and put back into the oven to cook for a further 10 minutes.
    Squeeze the cooked shallots out of their skins, roughly chop, then stir in with the sausages. Brush the meat with the rest of the glaze, then return the tin to the oven for 5-10 minutes until everything is golden brown and sticky. Put the ciabatta in the oven for 5 minutes. Season the sausages, then spoon 2 sausages and some shallots onto each warmed ciabatta bap and serve.

    This was sooooo tasty!!! perfect comfort for a night such as last night, what with it being very windy and stormy, I hope you all had a lovely eve!!!


    Tuesday, 30 October 2012

    Time spent with Mum!

    This should have been posted at the weekend, but i didn't find the time to do so, so here it is now.

    Ever since i move out, I've made a point of going to see my Mum every weekend, of course things do crop up where we can do it, but when we do we normally go for a bite to eat or i just spend the day at mums,

    This weekend we did lunch which was lovely,it took a while to decide where we wanted to go but in the end we agreed on giving Bluebells ago, its a cafe that's been placed in the old winter housing for the cows at  Briddlesford Lodge Farm, Its a proper working farm and has been in the same family since 1923. In the cafe theres an education centre where i believe schools go to learn about what working on a farm is like and how milk it collected and then turned into cheese and yoghurt's, i think its an important part of learning to learn about where our food comes from.

    Lunch was lovely, we had a cheese and homemade onion chutney sandwich and a roasted chicken and bacon sandwich, me and mum split them so we could both try, very tasty and they didn't hold back on the filling, I will head back with the Mr that's for sure. a nice evening meal i think will be in order.

     I have a  huge thing for anything farm like! I'm the person who can find a farmers market even without knowing its market day, and living on the Isle Of Wight there's plenty of farm shops to keep me happy.
    One of the first things i noticed.. and of course it wasn't hard to see but i was still very happy to see that their farm shop was open, lots of good island produce filled the shelves as well as the farms own dairy products. I was a bit naughty and picked up a bottle of mulled cider naughty that wasn't from the island and naughty that i know i can/will make my own! but i couldn't resist,  I'm trying to hold on to until Yule as i think it will be the perfect festive drink along with mulled wine.

    So once we'd finished, we headed out over to Godhills, its a little village on the south of the island nestled outside Shanklin and Rookley, there was once a shop called Godshill Organics but unfortunately business wasn't doing great so instead of shutting down they've turned into the a chilli shop!- The House Of Chilli, admittedly it is a little of the way and not on a every regular bus route, but not to worry as they have another store which is in Newport (the islands biggest shopping town), The Mr and i LOVE chilli! as you may remember my last food post include chill.

    As you may have guessed from the name, the shop has a whole host of different products of chilli, from sauce to infused oils to jams and chutneys with even a selection made on site from the chillis they grow. they also have some imports from America such as Bourbon BBQ sauce and others to many to name really.

    I know i'll be heading back as i think these chutneys will be perfect for a few foodie friends i know!! 
    Mum had already been and picked us up a bottle of their Gourmet Blackberry and chill balsamic, we've not used it yet, but we do enjoy having tapas nights, so this will be happily used when that time comes again.

    So all in all i had a lovely Saturday with mumma bear.

    Till next time, keep safe warm and happy

    Wednesday, 24 October 2012

    Sloppy Joes!!!

    Hello there!!!
    I'm not sure how many of you out there enjoy chilli, but i love the stuff!!! its easy and fool proof.
    Yesterday morning i got out some mince to defrost ready to cook with when i got home, But We had to pop to the shops to pick something up for my Mr's Mum.We left with a copy of "The Cynobal Diaries"( i bought a copy for me and the Mr the night before- will let you know what i think once we've watched it) a box Ferrero Rocher for lee's mum, and mixed salad leaves and fresh rolls, out the window went the cottage pie i decided to make the night before, based on that i really needed the use the carrots, and in came the idea of Chilli in fresh rolls with salad and cheese.This combination of mince served on rolls is called a Sloppy Joe in America and I've always wanted to try them, not sure when I'll make a visit to the states, but for now I'm happy to try and make my own versions.

    I love that I've gotten to the point where i don't need to worry about not having the right spice or not having the basics in my fridge/cupboards (peppers, onions - both red and white, blocks of butter, cheese, milk. lots of spices -to many to name,tinned tomatoes/bean and chickpeas,plenty of eggs, different pastas and noddles,condiments- again to many to list,  chillis - i cheat and use Lazy Chilli, and i have no shame in that!) as I'm pretty socked up, so i can make most things if the mood so takes me.

    So on to my Sloppy Joe.
    this is all made from what i had in my fridge, i just grabbed what had and made do. the best meals i find are the ones that just happen.

    1 large White Onion.
    2 small sweet peppers red and orange
    1 tbsp of Veg Oil 
    250g Fresh Mince Beef -Local is important and i try to buy organic as often as i can.
    (i have used qourn mince for my chilli before and it works nicely, but i know this wouldn't work for vegans but of course you could use beans and quinoa to create the same bulkyness, that meat does.)
    Tinned chopped tomatoes
    1 tsp of Lazy Chilli
    1tsp each of Hot Chilli Powder and Ground Cumin and cumin seeds (break down with pestle and mortar)
    1 tbsp of Lea & Perrins
    1 tbsp of Green and Blacks Choco powder - it works trust me!!
    pinch of brown sugar.
    Salt and Pepper to season.
    4 Fresh rolls

    In a pan heat the oil,
    Chop the onions and pepper and pop into a blender... or finely chop.
    I'm very pleased with my mini blitzer, it  most handy, plus no teary eyes when doing onions,Add the onions and peppers to the heated oil and gently cook for a few minutes. once soft add the spices

    Then add the mince,dicing and breaking it down into crumbly pieces, cook till browned, onions and peppers and spiced have been mixed all together, add in a bit of tomato paste, then pour in the tinned tomatoes, add some lea and Perrins, the sugar and choco powder give it a good stir, season then leave to simmer on a low heat for about half an hour.

     The beauty of this dish is it can be left and the flavors get better, me and the Mr had to go see his mum as it was her birthday, so once it had done a good half hr on the hob, i turned it off covered with a lid and off we went, we got back about 2hrs later and all i needed to do was re-heat, slice the rolls, grate some cheese and rinse the salad off  which took no more that 10/15minutes - mainly due to the rolls being grilled.
    and here we have it "Sharons Sloppy Joes"

    These were so tasty, and perfect comfort food given that the eve was foggy and damp.


    Friday, 19 October 2012

    Dinner, Catch up and Chilly Jam

    Good Morning! i hope i find you all well.

    In the last few months me and an old school friend (Stacey) have picked up from where we last finished, I've know her since i was 10, we were always seated next to each other, lived within a 2min walk when i first moved to the island, and even though i wasn't the most polite person when i first met her, our friendship grew pretty quickly, weekends were spent out on our bikes cycling to little spots on the island,shopping, trips to the cinema and walking up to Mc Donald's for a cheeky happy meal. Unfortunately for us when it came to high school we were parted, we believe our middle school played a hand in that, we were two peas in a pod and we'd stand up for each other if a teacher got to heavily spoken with us, i blame it on the hormones and feel for those teachers who were only trying there best. When we  found out we wouldn't be in any of the same classes let alone being in the same band (there was 4 middle schools that all joined the high school, so the school split all the schools so you would met new people and learn to mingle and learn new social skills) we were devastated, shocked, and so upset. how could they do this to us!!!, I was lucky that in my band and tutor class i had my cousin and 4 other girls that i hung out with/went to school with before. Stacey on the other hand had people she knew but none of those she hung out with. Our friendship slided abit and from being girls who did everything together,we turned into people passing each other with a simple hello, we were always polite and would stop and natter if we bumped into each other at lunch or town. And of course there comes the time when you leave school and you really do leave old friendships behind, you go out on your own, i went to college as did she but we had different days, she had a different group of friends as did i and life just takes you on your little way.

    But that changed last year when a school friend passed away, Stacey didn't have my number or the Internet at the time but i got a message from her mum asking if i could give her a call, so i did and it was easy, like i only saw her yesterday, needless to say we chatted and made plans for the coming week. after that we went back to our lives, but started chatting more, but still not as involved as we used to be, Then i got a message from her with an idea to do something, we met up had a few glasses of wine, and well lets just say its like those 8yrs being parted never happened!

    So as often as we can we meet up, we cook dinner and bake something for afters, and last night was no different apart from we made some jam for Yule pressies - still not sure who's getting them yet but it was fun and they look fab!!

    First on the menu was a recipe from the "Hairy Bikers -  how to love food and lose weight" this book is amazing! its full of hearty meals but all low cal so you don't have to worry about your waistline, the meals I've cooked up so far are so full of flavor you wouldn't even tell that it was good for you.

    Click for Hairy Bikers Cassoulet recipe

    Pudding was rice pudding with a plum compote, again from the "Hairy Bikers- how lose weight and love food" We added abit of cinnamon to the plums as its a spice we both like, and i worked so well.

    Click here for Hairy Bikers - Rice Pudding and Plum Compote

    While the pudding was doing its thing we got on with the chilli jam, We did the jam thats in Nigella's Christmas.

    Recipe For Chilli Jam

    Serves: Makes approx. 1.5 litres

    • 150 gram(s) long red chilli pepper (deseeded and cut into 4 pieces)
    • 150 gram(s) Red peppers (cored, deseeded and cut into rough chunks)
    • 1 kilogram(s) Jam sugar
    • 600 ml cider vinegar

    so glad i went for gold capped jars with the red they look very festive!! I know i'm keeping one for myself, and will get some good cheeses and make my own cheese board, next on the list is a christmas chutney and red onion chutney!

    I buy from their collection of preserving items is pretty big, and i'm sure you'll find the style you're after and the prices are very good.

    Wednesday, 17 October 2012

    A fresh start and name change.

    Hello hello, Wow can't quite believe I've not posted since January.
    Well I'm back and with more foodie posts then before just in time what with my favourite season being in full swing, I've been writing as the Kitchen Faery for FAE Magazine for a few issues now, and have really enjoyed it, Food really is my passion so along with trying to cook/bake as seasonally as i can, i want to share my  successes and fails as I'm setting myself the challenge to learn a new technique in baking/cooking.
    I'm a huge fan of The Great British Bake off and after watching last nights final i was so tempted to apply for season 4 but having looked at the application form, I've not baked hardly anything on the list of "whats your most difficult -pasty/tart/cake" i don't do difficult but things i know i like and will work- well most of the time. So instead before applying maybe for season 5 or even 6 i might spend the rest of 2012 and 2013 making something from The Great British Bake Off season 1 book i bought 3 years ago!.

    So here's to a new name and new bakes for me to share with you all.

    I hope you've all been great.


    Wednesday, 18 January 2012

    Blueberry Breakfast

    I'm normally quite the Cupcake fan, there small and perfectly delightful! I don't really go for the Muffin, i can find these abit heavy and stodgy... don't get me wrong sometimes stodgy can be a good thing and much sought after, but not when it comes to cake, so it came as a bit of a surprise when i had a hungering for Muffins! Blueberry muffins to be more exact.

    So as i had everything i needed, i made the mixture up, put it into the cases whacked them in the oven for about 20mins and got myself ready for my Saturday evening. When they were i done placed them on the rack and left them, come Sunday morning it was a prefect muffin and brew moment! they where lovely! so much better than the shop bought ones,always the case i know, but i feel bad for over looking these cousins of the cupcake!

    I followed Paul Hollywoods Recipe


    • 110g/4oz plain flour
    • 110g/4oz butter
    • 65g/2½oz caster sugar
    • 2 free-range eggs
    • 1½ tsp baking powder
    • 125g/4½oz blueberries, or equivalent in frozen blueberries
    • pinch nutmeg
    • double cream, to serve

    Preparation method

    1. Cream the butter and sugar together then slowly add the eggs, mix for three minutes. Add the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, stir to combine, then refrigerate for at least an hour, preferably overnight.
    2. Place a spoonful of muffin mixture into each muffin case, filling each to just over half way. Stud each muffin with about eight blueberries.
    3. Bake in an oven set at 200C/400F/Gas 6 for 20 minutes, or until golden on top. Serve with cream.

    Tuesday, 10 January 2012

    A Little patch for me to grow....

    Hello you lovely lot.

    I know its only January, but thoughts for Summer are already arising. As we've got a little outside space i want to use it to its full potential. Firstly it needs to be cleared of the broken up bits of slate that someone thought was a great idea to use instead of gravel (just as bad) in gardens, no offence if you happen to like this look, but i really don't. We're going to lay down some decking and build some vegetable boxes, In the communal hall theres a window that not only over looks the patio area but is the 1st thing our neighbour see's, so I'm going to put a trellis to cover it and grow a mixture of sweet pea (these were my granddads favourite) and runner/broad beans. so i can't see there being any complaints, number 3 will open their door to pretty flowers rather than seeing my washing. I've also got plans to grow a nice variety of herbs such as basil,mint, lemon balm, chives and that kind of thing, i also want to get a raspberry bush or lemon tree and grow strawberries. i want my garden to be full of aromatic scents,so that  when dusk starts to full on those summer nights  the gentle smell of lavender and jasmine  fill my sense's. I've noticed that we don't get a lot of birds or bugs (well apart from slugs and woodlice) coming into the garden, even though i put out some bird feed its not been touched. So i think alot of Bee/Butterfly attracting plants might be in order too, i love watching these little things fly around doing there thing. I want to also have a go at growing peppers, chills, tomatoes, carrots, celery and potatoes! ambitious? perhaps but hey why not? if it goes wrong theres always next year. Plus after reading "The Edible Garden: How to Have Your Garden and Eat It" by Alys Fowler and her dream of making a difference to how we get our food, and how we relive some of the strain on mother earth by not importing or exporting foods, it kinda brings out the Eco warrior in me, I want to compost, i want to get a water butt, but most of all i want to eat fresh homegrown food and enjoy the bounty that my hard work achieves, knowing that I'm not adding to the carbon foot print, Lee's Nan does alot of veggies so I'm sure i can exchange with her and maybe friends too. Its all rather exciting and of course i can't help but browse the Internet for ideas. i must mention that yes i want a garden for foods, smells, colours and my own little space, but also i want to use it for entertaining, out of all my friends with flats, we've got the only garden, so I'm hunting for floor pillows, collecting jars for tea lights and trying to decide what sort of BBQ to go for!

    I didn't mean to go on for quite this long, the next coming weeks/months I'll show you our progress on the revamping of the patio and my attempted to grow flowers and veg.

    Loves and sparkles

    Wednesday, 4 January 2012

    Happy New Year

    I hope you all had a lovely festive time and that you are looking forward to the new year just as much as me.

    In 2011 I experienced some big highs and devastating lows. Although,these things have taught me that if you want something then reach for it, grab it tight and don't let anyone tell you what you should do. life is to short and should be enjoyed. If this is the only life we have, wouldn't you rather have lived it trying new things, seeing new things and even tasting new things. As they say the world is your oyster.

    While dining and chatting on news years day, Opa asked us all what we wished to achieve in 2012, the teens wished for success in there exams, the adults wished for a speedy recovery of Lee's Step Mum who's been unwell for sometime, but finally getting ever closer to sorting it. which i too am hoping everything turns out well. when the question was asked of me.. well i didn't really know.. of course i hope that my loved ones be healthy and happy, but what do i want for myself? I'm just not sure. Last year was a big year like i said the high was flying the nest and setting up home. the low was Emmaliese passing away. I guess I'm happy to enjoy the ride and take everyday as it comes. maybe a few mini breaks here and there, improve the flat and just enjoy being with friends and family. Until something comes along i'll deal with it when it does.
    I'm thankful for everything in my life and i never (well try not to) to take things for granted.
    Here's to 2012.