Thursday, 13 May 2010

Oatie Flapjacks

  • 75g (2 3/4oz) butter or margarine
  • 50 - 75g (1 3/4 - 2 3/4oz) light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup
  • 175g (6oz) porridge oats

  1. Put the butter or margarine, sugar and golden syrup into a saucepan and stir over a low heat until the fat and sugar have melted.
  2. Add the porridge oats and mix thoroughly.
  3. Press into a well greased 18cm square sandwich tin.
  4. Bake in the centre of a moderate oven at 180°C or 350°F or gas mark 4 for 25 minutes or until evenly golden brown.
  5. Mark into squares while still warm.
  6. Allow to become almost cold in the tin before removing.
You can also add dried fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, small pieces of fudge or toffee to the recipe if you like.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Caramel Cream Toffees

Makes: 300g (10 1/2oz)

  • 250g (9oz) granulated sugar
  • 250 ml (9fl oz) double cream
  • 25g (1oz) butter
  • 50g (1 3/4oz) runny honey
  1. Lightly oil a 20cm (8in) square cake tin.
  2. Pop the sugar, cream, butter and honey into a heavy bottomed pan and heat gently till the sugar is dissolved, swirling the pan occasionally (don't stir).
  3. Bring to the boil and boil until the mixture reaches 120°C on a sugar thermometer (hard ball stage).
  4. Pour the mixture into the tin and leave to set.
  5. Turn toffee out if the tin and cut into strips and then squares with oiled scissors.
This will keep for 2-3 days but best to wrap in cellophane to prevent from going sticky.

White Chocolate Coconut Ice

Makes: 20

  • 150g (5 1/2oz) white chocolate
  • 4tbsp sweetened condensed milk
  • a few drops of vanilla essence
  • 75g (2 1/2oz) desiccated coconut
  1. Place the chocolate and condensed milk in a small pan with a drop of the vanilla essence. Stir over a low heat until the chocolate is melted.
  2. stir in 50g (1 3/4oz) of the coconut and roll into small balls. Roll in the remaining coconut and place in little paper cases.
These will keep for up to a week in an airtight container in the fridge.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Snowy Marshmallows

Makes: 30 cubes

  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 450g (1lb) caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp liquid glucose (buy from chemist)
  • 12 sheets or 20g (1/2oz) leaf gelatine
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1tsp Vanilla essence
  1. Lightly oil a shallow baking tray (30 x 20cm, 12 x 8in). Dust with half the icing sugar and cornflour.
  2. Pop the caster sugar, liquid glucose and 200ml (7fl oz) cold water in a medium, heavy bottomed pan and heat gently till the sugar has dissolved (swirl the pan occasionally).
  3. Bring to the boil for about 15 mins until the mixture reaches 120° on a sugar thermometer (Hard Ball stage).
  4. While the sugar is boiling, soften the gelatine in 150ml (5fl oz) cold water.
  5. As soon as the sugar has reached the correct temperature, pour in the gelatine withe the soaking water and swirl the pan till it is dissolved. Pour the syrup into a heat proof jug so that it is easier to pour.
  6. Place the egg whites in a large bowl and whisk until the hold stiff peaks, the gradually whisk in the sugar syrup and vanilla essence. Whisk continuously until the mixture thickens enough to hold it's shape when the whisk is lifted (this will take about 10 mins with an electric whisk, be patient).
  7. Spoon the mixture into the oiled tin and leave for 1 - 2 hours or until set.
  8. Loosen the mixture from the edges of the tin with a hot knife and turn out onto a board dusted withe rest of the cornflour and icing sugar. Cut into 3cm (1 1/2in) cubes, rolling each in the sugar and cornflour.
  9. These will store in an airtight container for 3 - 4 days.

Sugar Boiling

I found some really nice sweets (candy) recipes which call for boiling sugar. I know that lots of people (me include) don't have a sugar thermometer so here is a little info on boiling sugar without one.

Tests for Sugar Temperature

To water test, fill a small bowl with cold water, remove ½ teaspoon of sugar mixture from the saucepan and drop into water.
Leave for one minute, then test using thumb and forefinger.

  • Thread 110 - 114°C (230 - 238°F) - The sugar mixture will form a fine thread if pressed together then pulled apart.
  • Soft Ball 114 - 118°C (238 - 245°F) - The sugar mixture will form a soft ball which can be squashed flat.
  • Hard Ball 118 - 138°C (245 - 280°F) - The sugar mixture will form a ball which will hold its shape when pressed.
  • Small Crack 138 - 152°C (280 - 305°F) - The sugar mixture will separate into threads that will snap cleanly.
  • Hard Crack 152 - 163°C (305 - 325°F) - The sugar mixture will separate into threads which are brittle and hard.
  • Caramel 174°C (345°F) - The sugar mixture becomes golden in colour.

Chocolate Honeycomb Chunks (Cinder Toffee)

Makes: 12 chunks

  • 300g (10 1/2oz) caster sugar
  • 200g (7oz) golden syrup
  • 2tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 heaped tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 300g (10 1/2oz) milk chocolate
  1. Line a medium sized roasting tin with foil and oil the foil well.
  2. Place the sugar, 150ml (5fl oz) cold water, syrup and vinegar in a very large pan (the mixture will foam up). Place over a low heat and cook gently without stirring until the sugar has dissolved (swirl the pan gently from time to time).
  3. Bring the pan to the boil until it reaches 150°C on a sugar thermometer (hard crack stage).
  4. As soon as it reaches the correct temperature, remove from heat.
  5. Stir the bicarb of soda into 1 dessert spoon of cold water and add to the pan. Swirl the pan and the mixture will foam up. Let it bubble for a minute or so until it subsides a little, then pour into the tin and leave to set.
  6. When cool enough to touch, score the top into squares if you want nice squares.
  7. When set break up into the squares or random pieces if you prefer.
  8. Melt the chocolate and dip the honeycomb into it and leave to set on parchment.

Tomato and Mozzarella Tart

Serves: 4
Prep: 30 min approx
Cook: 18 - 25 mins in total

  • 250g (9oz) puff pastry
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 8 medium sized ripe tomatoes
  • 140g (5oz) semi dried tomatoes
  • handful fresh basil (stalks removed)
  • 12 black olives
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 175g (6oz) buffalo mozzarella (or feta or goat's cheese)
  • Parmesan cheese
  • black pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C/gas mark 6.
  2. Roll the pastry out until it is just under 1cm (1/2 in) thick. Cut into a circle that is about 25 - 30cm (10-12in) in diameter and pop onto a non-stick baking tray. With a knife score all the way round about 1cm in from the edge and prick the inner part all over with a fork.
  3. Cut a piece of card the same size as the inner part of the pastry and cover it in foil. Place it on the pastry, leaving the edge uncovered.
  4. Brush the edge with egg yolk and bake in the oven for 10 - 15 mins, until the edge is golden.
  5. while the pastry is baking, bring a large pan of water to the boil and have a bowl of cold water ready.
  6. Cut a cross on the top of each of the tomatoes and remove the eye with the point of a knife.
  7. Plunge the tomatoes into the boiling water for 10 seconds, then remove and plunge into the cold water. The skins will peel away easily (if not pop back into the boiling water again)
  8. Cut the tomatoes into quarters and remove the seeds.
  9. Pop the semi dried tomatoes, basil and 1/2 the slices into a blender and whizz until roughly blended.
  10. Remove the cardboard from the pastry and spread the blended paste over the middle bit of the pastry. Arrange the tomatoes on top and scatter the rest of the olives.
  11. Season lightly and drizzle with olive oil.
  12. Bake for 8 - 10 min, then remove from oven and cover with roughly torn pieces of the cheese.
  13. Scatter Parmesan and grind some black pepper over.

More Recipes

I am currently going through a pile of recipes that have sitting around for goodness knows how long, waiting to be filed!! So I am going to attempt to type up as many as I can before it is time to make dinner!

I'll pop each one into a new post so, hopefully, it'll make them easier to find at a later date.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

The Weekend

So I tried the chicken and sausage cobbler tonight, only without the cobbler (scone) part and I have to say it turned out lovely! A success with all the family enjoying it! I did make a few changes to the recipe:
  1. I didn't use the red wine, it's not something either of us drink so there is never any in the house. Plus with a 3 year old eating this too, I am a little funny about putting alcohol in food (I know that the alcohol is supposed to burn off, but....).
  2. I also swapped the chicken for turkey breast as this is what my husband prefers.
  3. And as I said before I left off the cobbler part as my oven is currently on the blink and I refuse to buy a new one until my kitchen is redecorated.

Apart from family time weekends in our house are mainly for catching up on housework and doing any odd jobs around the house. So today I tackled weeding the back garden. A job I detest!! I do not have green fingers at all, apart from when it comes to growing weeds. In fact weeds are the only thing that thrive in our garden! I managed to get most of the weeds pulled out, but I think I will have to spend another wee while in the garden tomorrow.
Despite me only being able to grow weeds, small boy and myself are trying to grow some strawberries and some onions in tubs. The strawberries are growing, but I am not sure that the onions are. I do have some more bulbs to plant is these don't work!!

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Recipe - Chicken and Sausage Cobbler

Serves: 6
20 min
1 1/2 hrs


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onion, roughly chopped
  • 6 sausages, skins removed
  • 1 1/2 glasses red wine
  • 4 chicken breasts, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 5 carrots, chopped
  • 600ml (1 pint) hot veg stock

Scone Topping
  • 200g (7oz) self raising flour
  • 50g (2oz) butter
  • handful parsley, chopped finely
  • splash milk
  • 1 egg beaten (for egg wash)

  1. Heat oil and onions in a large ovenproof dish with lid. Cook for 5 minutes then add the sausage meat and cook until it is no longer pink. Add the 1/2 glass of red wine and simmer until wine disappears.
  2. Turn heat up a little and add the chicken. Cook until white. Add the garlic and the rest of the wine and simmer till wine disappears. Add carrots and pour in the stock. Cook gently without the lid for about 1hr (or 1 1/2hrs is you are not topping with the scones).
  3. For the scone topping: Preheat the oven to 190°C, gas mark 5. In a large bowl rub the flour and butter together till the breadcrumb stage. Stir in the parsley. Add a few drops of milk and mix till the mixture comes together in a dough. Make into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and pop into fridge for 20mins. When you are ready to use, roll onto floured board and cut out scone rounds (about 4cm across). This should make approx 18 scone rounds. Pop these round the edge of the casserole and brush with the beaten egg. Pop into oven for approx 20 -30 mins until golden brown.

Disclaimer - I haven't tried this recipe yet, but it sounds great and have it earmarked for the weekend!! If I try this recipe and make any changes I'll amend the recipe.

Amendments: I omitted the wine and used turkey instead of chicken. Was truly delicious!!


I love collecting recipes. Whenever I see a recipe in a magazine or a newspaper I always rip it out and store it. Trouble is I always just pop it in a pile to do something with later. Now I have a large pile of recipes with no idea what's in there without going through every scrap of paper!!

I also love recipe books but can never find that recipe that I fancied making when I saw it!! I need some way of keeping my recipes organised.

One of my good friends bought me a really nice recipe book that you can write the recipes in yourself but my handwriting is dreadful and I am much quicker at typing than I am writing with a pen.

So today I am going to start typing these recipes out and try and keep them organised on the PC, something I am quite good at.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010


I help to run a local Brownie Unit and a Guide Unit and we are going to have to start a little bit of fundraising so we can store our camp and holiday equipment. So my job for this week is to come up with an idea that will raise us some funds!

The fundraising idea that seems to raise the most with all girls participating and getting the community involved too seems to be a fundraising quiz. You know the sort I mean, a cryptic clue to the name of a sweet, a film or a band. The thing is, I don't want to use one that's out there already as it is so easy to get the answers from the internet. So I'm having to think up ideas for our own quiz. I need to think up a minimum of 50 clues all on one theme. That's no small task.

Oh well, off to think up some clues. I've got till next Thursday to get this done!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

New Windows

Who would have thought that getting quotes for new windows would have been so stressful??

For the past week or so I have been phoning local companies to get them to come and give me quotes for new windows and doors throughout my house. Most of my windows are still single glazed and the 2 windows that are double glazed are about 30 years old!!! One company never turned up, 4 came out the same day that I phoned or the next afternoon!! And one company that I phoned wouldn't come out and give a quote unless both the home owners were there!! Very strange!! Anyway, the quotes came back this week and the range from reasonable to double the reasonable quote. What I don't understand is how the same style of windows and doors can vary so much in price???

I'll take pictures of the windows before and after they are installed and let you see my nice new shiny windows and my rather embarrassing old ones!!

Day One!!!!

Today is the day I start blogging and the day that I (try to) organise my house and my life!! Easier said than done, right???

Here's a little about me.... I am a married 30 something with a very active 3 year old who has no organisational house skills. At work I have to be organised and when I worked in an office my desk was always organised and neat, however my house is a different matter. Both my husband and I like 'stuff' and we horde this 'stuff'. So if we are going to do this, we have to become organised. This blog is our journey on the way to being super organised!!!

Wish me luck on this journey!