Sunday, 26 February 2012

Victoria Sponge

Afternoon tea and cake =
Very British, yummy and perfect for a Sunday Afternoon.

Today I fancied making (and eating of course) a Victoria Sandwhich cake. It's one of those classic cakes that most people like, but not something I make regularly, I'm usually more of a brownie or chocolate cake girl, but today called for fresh strawberries and raspberry jam sandwhiched between two layers of soft moist sponge :) Scott and I worked on this little beauty, and it was quickly consumed by the family!
6 oz  plain flour
6 oz  soft unsalted
6 oz  sugar
3 large eggs
tbsp (ish) milk
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (not essence)

Raspberry Jam
Whipped cream
Icing Sugar
Place all ingredients into processor. Blend until combined, adding enough milk to give the mixture dropping consistency. Then place into two equal sized cake tins.
Put in oven for 25 minutes, Gas mark 4 (180 degrees). If you are not sure if it is cooked put in a skewer (or knife if you don’t have one). If it comes out clean (without sticky cake mixture on it) it is done.

Now for the fun bit
Spread raspberry jam (I personally prefer it to strawberry) on both sides of your sponge, this helps add more moisture and as I'm such a sweet junkie, helps to add a  bit more sugar.
Now slice your strawberries into roughly four slices per berry, and layer on one side. Now whip your cream and spread a generous helping over the strawberrys.

Finally add the top layer. Mix your icing sugar with lemon juice (this again is a personal preference, and you could use water, or even just dust a little powder on the top)  and spread a smooth layer on the top. Finish with a fresh strawberry , and enjoy with a cup of tea.
 I really like the colours od the polka dot Bridgewater plates, they look really pretty next to the whiteness of the icing, and the vibrant red strawberry.


I was supposed to only take a bite of the cake for the below picture, but I got a little carried away eating and forgot about taking pictures. I do however quite like the realistic qualities as it shows that it was some pretty scrummy cake.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Flowers, cake, camera's and creative people

Today I was lucky enough to tag along to a photoshoot in the gorgeous countryside, in a beautiful stone washed barn full of beautiful distressed furniture, yummy cake, stunning flowers and a collection of the finest creative minds in Denbighshire! My mum Hazel, and a handful of other creative women are part of a group promoting Denbighshire for all the talent and beautiful products it has to offer, and today they had their first collaborative photoshoot. The set was beautiful and looked like something you'd find in country living magazine, or perhaps even better!! We had Patchwork pate for lunch, and a delicious slice of cake after shooting. I will post pictures as soon as Holly the photographer (Her blog) has had a chance to go through them etc, here is just a taster from my camera.
I love the French Chalet colour effect of the dresser next to the bright rich red of the chair, and of course the gorgeous Stanley doggy.

 Angharad from Maia florists provided the beautifully coloured fresh flowers.They look extra lovely in the pale floral vase from Homewoodbound.
And this was just a little wooden and distressed ladder in the corner of the barn that I thought was amazing. The little pleasures in life ! I will post the real shoot as soon as I have the go ahead from above ;)

Saturday, 18 February 2012

D.I.Y Teabags

Hello there !
I haven't blogged for a week now and I feel really bad. It's not like I feel I have to blog, its just I think it's so important to document all the little things that happen in our lives that may be forgotten over time without something like a blog to document them. I've been mega busy this week attempting to put some form of a portfolio together for university, and I haven't had much time for my usual things like walks with Scott, cooking and crafty things. But I made time to try out this cute DIY that I found from - Amanda, and can't wait to be back to normal and not so stressed :)
What you will need:
Tea leaves, or the contents of a teabag.
Coloured card
Filter paper (I used coffee filter paper from Tesco)
Embroidery Thread
Sewing Machine
 1) Start by cutting a rectangle into two sides of the filter paper. Then sew three sides leaving one open to add the tea leaves.
 2) Add the tealeaves. At this stage you could add flavourings such as peppermint etc to flavour your tea, personally I like mine plain.
 3) Cut two shapes (whatever you like) out of card. I chose a heart and made it from this lovely red glittered paper.
 4) Use your sewing machine to sew the embroidery thread to one side of your card. Then glue the other piece onto the sewed side.
5) With the other end of the thread, you need to sew the bag to the thread using your machine.
 6) Gently fold over the stich making sure the thread is central, and there is no gaps for the leaves to leak from.
 Finally sew the fold down, and thats all there is too it.

 It's super cute, and although its unpractical for everday use, it looks lovely if your having a tea party, friends over, or even as a gift!

Friday, 10 February 2012

D.I.Y Jar Tops (Toy Figurines part 2)

 Here is Part 2 of my DIY Toy figurines.
What you will need:
Toy Figurines
Glue Gun
Spray can paint in your desired colour
 I have tons of jars of beads and sequins and little bits that need homes. But sometimes all the jars and containers can get messy, so i decided to try out this little technique to make them a little more interesting and fun.

 Some lids have pretty patterns such as jam lids, Bonne Maman in particular and you may want to leave them as they are. Others however can have lots of advertising and rubbish on and would look better sprayed another colour. You can use whatever colour you like, but i think white works well as it doesn't clash with the colourful toys.
1) Place the lids on a surface you don't mind being sprayed. You should do this outside as the fumes from spray cans are really gross. Then leave to dry for at least and hour (Or overnight is best) until they are dry.

 2) Now make sure your glue gun is hot, and glue a large amount of glue to the bottom of your toy. Now stick the snail to the top of the jar. I liked this snail as he was short enough to fit on the lid, but nice and fat so he filled most of the space up.
 And that is all there is too it! It's dead simple and looks really good. Now you can fill your jars with bits of broken or usable jewellery, beads, you name it.

Chocolate and pear pudding

I am fortunate enough to have my Grandparents live next door to us, but although we live so close, we can find that sometimes with all of our lives being so busy, that we don't get to spend much quality time together. So after discussing this with my grandparents, we decided to make Thursday a 'family + grandparnts' night, where I cook the tea and we all eat together.
This was the second week, and we had Beef Stew, followed by Pear and chocolate sponge, and if I do say so myself, it was delicious! 

2x tins Pear halves in juice
125g Plain Flour
125g Caster Sugar
30g Cocoa Powder
150g Soft Butter
1tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
2 eggs
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
Preheat Oven to Gas mark 6.
 1)Firstly you need to drain the pears from the juice. I find if you blot the pears with kitchen towel, it makes the sponge easier to cook, as otherwise there can be too much moisture.
Now lay the pear halves down in a slightly greased oven proof dish.
 Cream together the butter and sugar, and then add all the other ingredients. You can mix by hand, or in an electric whisker, it's up to you.
 Your batter should be smooth but quite thick.
 Now spread the mixture over the pears, don't worry if it doesn't seem enough, the mixture will loosen and spread as it cooks.
Now Bake for 30 Min's, Gas Mark 6.
Check the sponge is cooked by dipping a skewer into the sponge and if it comes out clear you know it's cooked.

 Finally serve with chocolate sauce, custard, or ice cream! (We had custard and chocolate sauce!)
This is my grandad, he loved the pudding and the stew :), and below is a quick snapshot of the stew, roast potatoes and broccoli dinner.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

DIY Fridge magnets (Toy figurines part 1)

 If your anything like me, you're a collector. I love collecting plastic toys, bottle tops, bits of insects etc, you name it , ill probably have it stashed away somewhere. I particularly like children's plastic figurines (mainly insects and dinosaurs) and have a silly amount lying around at home. This D.I.Y (and another one i have been working on which I will post soon) are useful and fun ways to make use of these lovely objects.
 What you will need:
Super glue, or a glue gun
Scalpel or sharp tool e.g knife
Lots of plastic toys
 They look super cute and really make me giggle.
 1) Firstly you need to use your scalpel to slice through the middle of the toy. I know it's pretty pathetic, but I felt really mean doing this bit, I know it's just a toy but he was just so cute! Anyway, there are two types of toy that you could have a) It could be solid like this one which is harder to cut through but easier to stick the magnet to, or b) Hollow, easier to cut but harder to stick the magnet. If you get a hollow one, like the goat, you could try stuffing the hole with fabric or paper, and gluing it down to create a smooth surface to stick the magnet too.
 2) Next you need to stick the magnet to the back of the toy. This is obviously very simple, but make sure you stick the right side of the magnet down (The side with the indent) as one side is magnetic, and the other isn't, which I learnt by trial and error ;).
 And there you have it. One very easy and cool way to stick your letters or notes to your fridge :).
 I like this goats bum, and the dinosaurs face best!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

DIY Satsuma candle

This is a wonderfully simple yet very pretty DIY that I discovered on a blog I like -Honestly WTF
Here is my take on the idea, its dead easy but so effective!

What you'll need :1 satsuma
2-3 teaspoons Olive Oil
Knife or scalpal

1) Start by using the scalpal or knife and cutting just above the middle of the satsuma. Make sure you use the side with the green stem (green nobly bit) on, as the base as this is where the wick will be.

2) Your candle should now looks like this. I then used the scalpal to loosen the edges, and used a spoon to
scoop out the centre (Theres no waste if you enjoy eating satsumas)

3) At the bottom of the satsuma, there is enough pith which will act as your candle wick. Use a paper towel to lightly wipe away excess water and juice.

4) Now add a few drizzles of oilve oil, until the wick is almost, but not quite covered. You will now want to dip the wick into the oil for a few seconds which will make it easier to light.

And there you have it. A stunning glowing satsuma, made from natural ingredients. Remember never to leave candles unattended ! :)

I love the way the smoke moves in this picture.