Friday, 31 October 2008

Happy halloween!

pumpkin carving

pumpkin carving

big pumpkin little pumpkin


I carved my first pumpkin! Over here halloween isn't as big a deal as it is in America, but it is slowly becoming one. This was my first attempt at pumpkin carving! My pumpkin is the little one, with the polka dot design. I used an apple corer to do it, it was pretty easy yet time consuming! Scott downloaded a template for his Oogey Boogey Man design and I helped a little bit. It was really fun and addictive, I wanted to buy more pumpkins but Asda had all sold out. Apparently there's going to be a pumpkin and squash shortage this year. So with the leftover bits I carved out of mine (there was quite a lot!) I pureed it and am going to make a pumpkin pie. I also toasted the seeds from both of them to keep for snacking, being extra-economical! It does seem like a bit of a waste just using them for decoration but they are pretty...

Tonight Scott's sister is having a small party so I'm baking some brownies and pumpkin pie for it. I'm also getting dressed up but you shall find out what as later! What are your plans for halloween? What are you going as?

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

where are my glasses?....

I wanted to share this cute cute necklace I got last week! It's a pair of teeny tiny glasses on a necklace from h&m, it was only £3.99! It even got the seal of approval from my mum. I had lots of fun putting them up my nose and pretending to read things too... Sometimes I wish I could wear glasses but until I'm old and losing my sight, these will do.

Pumpkin cake and cookies!

Last Monday I made Scott carry 2 very large pumpkins from the top of Bold Street to Lime Street Station (about a 10-15 minute walk I suppose) and his arms really suffered for it. Now, I will say that I did offer to carry one of them but he refused to let me help! So I decided to make some yummy pumpkin baked goods to make up for it and help ease the muscles in his arms.

First, I made some pumpkin cookies.

These were the only photos I got of them really because they were so delicious I had to quickly pack them away and take them to Scott before I ate them all. They had toasted pumpkin seeds in them and sultanas which gave it a really nice texture. The recipe can be found here.

Then, I made a lovely pumpkin cake for after sunday dinner. I've made this before, but decided to make it a triple layer cake, partly because it looks so pretty and also partly because it cooked quicker in 3 seperate cake tins.


It was so yummy, although my Mum & Dad said there was too much icing but I am of the opinion that there can be no such thing as too much icing, so maybe I do go a bit overboard. The icing is flavoured with orange zest and juice and goes so well with the pumpkin, nuts and spices in it. The recipe is a trusty Asda magazine one which can be found here.

I also made a pumpkin cake for the girls following this recipe for whoopie pies, but baked it in a loaf tin. It was a very different texture to the cake above, because it used a lot more pumpkin puree and oil instead of butter, so it was more dense and moist, whereas the above cake is crumbly and quite light. I didn't get a photo of that but I can assure you it was lovely!

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Sparkler fun!


Last night at Corinne's we enjoyed some sparklers! We were rebels and ignored all the rules to have gloves and put them in a bucket of water, but no-one got hurt! I love sparklers, the colour changing ones are probably my favourite. They were always the best thing about bonfire night - fireworks are always a bit of a let down I think (plus they scare the doggies!)

Monday, 20 October 2008

Lovely start to the week

I have had such a lovely day so far! I had to get up really early and it was dark and wet and windy so it wasn't starting off too well. And then the train was delayed and very busy. But then it turned into a lovely day. I accompanied Scott into Liverpool because he had to have his Hepatitis B jab for his course and then we went for breakfast as Qwaff's on Bold Street. I had a lovely waffle with chocolate spread and a cappucino. It was delicious and reminded me of being on holiday it was so indulgent.

Then we decided to go for a walk down by the Albert Dock and visit the Tate but it's closed on Mondays! We felt very silly after trying to open the doors and pressing the button for ages then read the sign that says 'closed mondays' after reading the sign that says 'we are open everyday!' So misleading. Then we wandered by the river and nearly got swept away so we went into the Maritime museum and reminisced about when we used to go their when we were little. The Albert Dock was a prime school holiday attraction!

 
  
  
  
 
I love how blustery it always is by the docks. We saw the ferry across the mersey too which I want to go in because I cannot believe I've never been on it. Plus we can sing 'the ferrrrrey across de merseeeeey' in a fake scouse accent.

Then when I came home I was looking on Asos and went back to look at that red polka dot dress I loved and it was in the sale! Don't you love it when that happens? Half price! So I snapped it up. Also, I had my first submission accepted on Tastespotting, my peanut butter and white chocolate blondies so I felt quite proud (and geeky) about that really. I also bought a huuuuuuge pumpkin from a little fruit & veg stall on Bold Street for only £2 so I'm going to get making pumpkin cake and pumpkin soup this week!

P.S. This week is National Baking Week in the UK, what are you going to bake?! I'm going to bake apple cake, cinnamon halloween biscuits and pumpkin cake (if I can find the time!)

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Peanut butter and White chocolate blondies



I waited in the Asda car park for over an hour for these! I had bookmarked this Rachel Allen recipe in my 'recipes to bake' folder and they could not stay in there unbaked for much longer. I had an urge to bake them! So off I drove to Asda, only to encounter a horrible traffic jam, which meant I couldn't even find a parking space. Due to a road near the exit being closed, there was only one way to go when you left the supermarket and all the cars trying to get out had backlogged so very badly!

It was a futile mission if I was alone but luckily I was with Scott, so after spending 15 minutes standing still in the car, looking at some fierce angry woman vent her rage at anyone nearby and gurning lots, I sent Scott in to get 'the goods'. About 20 minutes later, I had only moved a few feet from where I was.

We survived this torture of being stuck in a car park though, thanks to each others good company and sneakily eating a bit of the white chocolate we bought for the recipe. Then I came home and made these - It was worth it.

Ingredients
125g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
100g butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
150g crunchy peanut butter
175g soft light brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
75g white chocolate, chopped

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 170C/gas 3. Butter the sides of a 20 x 20cm square cake tin and line the base with greaseproof paper.

2. Sift the flour and baking powder into a small bowl and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and peanut butter together until very soft. Add the sugar, egg and vanilla extract and beat until well combined. Add the flour, baking powder and the chopped chocolate and mix to form a dough.

4. Place the dough into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 25–30 minutes, or until golden brown and almost firm in the centre.

5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin, before removing and cutting into squares.

*

Apologies for lack of 'quality' posts this week, the 3rd year of my English degree is already taking it's toll, only 3 weeks in. I have been reading lots and lots (Interview With The Vampire, Dracula, a play called Stuff Happens and Jo Shapcott's colletion of poems Phrase Book all for 1 week!) but I have also been ill with a cold for most of the week which has meant early nights, cosy scruffy outfits, lots of medicine and of course lots of moaning and asking for sympathy off Scott!

I'm also in work lots this weekend and it has been quite bad so far. I'm just hoping things get better from Monday!

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

5 minute chocolate cake in a mug!


This cake is pure laziness and indulgence. The recipe is from Half-assed Kitchen via The Kitchn. Here is the recipe!

4 tbsp self raising flour
4 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp cocoa
1 egg, beaten
3 tbsp milk
3 tbsp oil (I used groundnut oil, but veg oil will do aswell)
Pinch salt
Cooking spray
1 Mug


Spray the mug with the cooking spray, then add the dry ingdredient; flour, cocoa and sugar, to the mug. Mix together. Beat in the egg, then stir in the milk and oil together and add the salt. 

Microwave on full heat for about 2 minutes. I put it back in for another 30 seconds, but could have probably ate it after 2 minutes. It all depends on the power of your microwave really. Heat until it rises and isn't wet to touch the top. 

I think this would be super cute served in tea cups with a scoop of ice cream ontop for a quick and easy dessert for dinner parties. I think a whole mug full was a bit too much, even for a chocoholic like me! It needs some ice cream or something with it I think. I will probably make this again just because it is so bloody easy!

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Today's outfit

 
How cute is my new scrabble ring?! I copied my friend Carly but got one with a H. I was so please H is a 4-point letter! Hehe. I got it from Rock and Rose and they also do scrabble necklaces too. I've already got my eye on their lego rings, or may make one of my own. I wore my ring today with this outfit:

Yes I already have that skirt in red, but I love the cut so much I got it in black and white too!

Pupdate!


Pepe and Nina are now getting on really well. They love playing with each other and wrestling! Nina has a habit of chewing on Pepe's collar and pulling on it and on two occassions we have discovered Pepe collarless and Nina using it as a chew toy!


Over the weekend they really enjoyed playing in the autumn sun together - they are slowly becoming best friends!

Monday, 13 October 2008

Wardrobe Remix Favourites of the Week

1. Ransom Note 10.04.08, 2. Found the perfect jacket, so let the fall season begin, 3. Untitled, 4. Chattanooga!

This week on Wardrobe Remix I loved that everyone seemed to be enjoying the great outdoors and the transitional seasons, whether it's autumn or spring.

Apple Crumb Cake

I made this cake to use up some of the apples I picked last week and it was so lovely. It was totally different to the other apple cake that I had previously made. The apple was actually inside the cake and it was so deliciously moist. The perfect dessert after a lovely roast dinner with pork and apple sauce! Of course we had to serve it with custard.
The recipe is from a book that my Mum bought me and is actually the first thing i've baked out of it. One of the things that irks me about it is that there aren't many pictures, so you can never know what stuff is going to turn out like. I know it's shallow but I usually only bake recipes with photos! This turned out very nice anyway so maybe I should stop judging a recipe by it's photo (or lack of)

Ingredients

140g unsalted butter
450g cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped (this was about 2 1/2 large bramleys for me)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1tsp ground cinnamon (if I made it again I would probably add more, but that's cos I looooove cinnamon)
225g plain flour
150g caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
3 tbsp soured cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb
Pinch of salt


Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180c/350f/gas 4. Grease and flour a 20cm cake tin. Melt 25g of the butter in a suacepan. Add the apples, sprinkle in the nutmeg and half the cinnamon and stir together. Reduce the heat and keep cooking the apples for about 5 minutes, until tender.

2. Rub together 25g each of the flour, remaining butter and sugar together to make the crumble topping mix.

3. Cream together the remaining butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, then beat in the eggs. Beat in the soured cream and vanilla extract.

4. Sift together the remaining dry ingredients, flour, cinnamon, baking powder, bicarb and salt. Fold together gently.

5. Stir in the warm apples and then spoon into the prepared cake tin. Sprinkle over the crumble topping then bake in the oven for about 40-45 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin, then slice and serve.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

outfits from the past week

These are some outfits I've wore in the past week. I've had that belt for ages but have only just started using it actually, it makes that American Apparel skirt look a bit more together rather than just like a bit of overpriced jersey - which I admit is all it is, but it's so comfy! My Mum was quite alarmed that i paid £22 for it. I also love that yellow brooch I've got on in 2 of them - I actually wore it in my hair on the last one too but you can't see it. It matches my beads perfectly and I love yellow almost as much as I love the colour red.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Apple pie


This is the bramley apple pie that I made on Monday, it was delicious. I absoluetly love bramley apples, they remind me of being younger and my Grandad would microwave them for us in winter and sprinkle them with sugar for a delicious, quick dessert.

I used this recipe from The Hairy 'Bakers' which is a pretty good recipe for the pastry. I wanted to find a sweet shortcrust pastry recipe as the last pie I made had no sugar in the pastry at all and I prefer a sweeter pastry for a sweet pie. The only problem with that recipe is that it calls for far too many apples! It says use 8 large cooking apples, and our apples were pretty large as you can see. We started off using 5 originally because I thought it would be plenty, but Scott wanted to follow the recipe exactly. I think we used only about 4 of them in the actual pie though! They just wouldn't fit otherwise. The remaining sliced apples I popped in the microwave with some brown sugar and cinnamon and ate as an afternoon snack - well baking does give you an appetite!

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Apple picking!

On Monday I finally went apple picking with Scott! I'd been pestering him to go for ages, after hearing about Eddisbury Fruit Farm which is only about 25 minutes away, in the depths of the beautiful Cheshire countryside. They specialise in apples and make their own apple juice and Cheshire cider. They didn't have any cider ready yet but I did pick up some James Grieves apple juice which is wonderfully sharp and tasty.

We went and picked our own apples too! They did have some ready you could just buy, but where's the fun in that?

It didn't take us very long, we decided we preferred picking soft fruit like when we went strawberry and raspberry picking, because you have to forage more and it seems like more of a challenge to find a good one! We came home though with 2 big bags of apples, one bag of bramleys and another bag of howgates, both cooking apples so we made a pie.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Wardrobe Remix favourites of the week

Nina's first walk!

We could take Nina out for her first walk yesterday - a very big occassion in a puppy's life! I was sad when it was Pepe's first walk because I was out somewhere and my sister decided to take her out even though I wanted to. Anyway, I got to take Nina out on her first walk!


And here I am with Pepe and Nina. Look how Pepe sits so nicely and poses for the camera, but Nina hasn't quite learnt that yet. It was a lovely autumnal day and Nina really enjoyed her first taste of freedom.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

What I wore today!



Today I feel like a doll in this quite volumious skirt and the ribbed white tights and cute mary janes. The skirt os from Topshop and has adorable heart buttons on it. The t-shirt is from h&m, everyone needs a stripy t-shirt! I'm off out now for some retail therapy at Liverpool One and to a Speculative Fiction seminar.

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