Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Monk Fish Curry


1 tbsp. oil (vegetable is fine)
1 finely chopped onion (medium sized)
2 cm Fresh ginger grated
3 Cloves garlic crushed
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp medium chilli powder
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp fenugreek
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin (ground)
1/2 tsp coriander (ground)
3/4 tsp garam masala
1/2 tin chopped tomatoes
2 monk fish fillets (ask your fish monger to debone and cut into large chunks)

  • Grab a heavy bottomed pan with a lid. Add your oil and warm it up 
  • Finely chop your onion and cook in a tablespoon of oil on medium heat for about 5 minutes, do not let it go brown. You want them nice and translucent.
  • Add your garlic and ginger into the onions.
  • Then add your spices and stir round for about 2 minutes letting all the aromas come out of the spices.
  • Then add your tomatoes along with the salt and sugar.
  • Cook (still on medium heat) for a further 3-5 minutes then add your chunks of monkfish and about 1/2 mug of water. Stir and put on the lid. you want to turn down the heat now so that it just simmers nicely.
  • After about 1/2 hour to an hour, remove the lid and add 3/4 tsp garam masala. Leave the lid of to thicken the gravy like sauce and simmer for a further 1/2 hour.
  • Once its thickened you can serve either with puri or roti.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Tutorial for paper pod pouches

Take an A4 or A5 sheet of paper or card.
Stick double sided tape to the shorter edge, roll into a tube.
Stick double sided tape into one end of the tube, squash down
Crimp 2cms of the stuck ond to get a pretty finish and a good seal.
Now the time to put any goodies inside your pouch before you seal the other end!
Good ideas are mini eggs, jelly beans, flower or vegetable sheets with mini growing instruction sheets! Possibilities are endless!
Take the other end of the tube and squash in the opposite direction to your previous crimped end.
Repeat the taping and crimping process for that end!
Viola! One paper pod pouch

Monday, 4 March 2013

Hand knitted cushion cover challenge

It took me so long to knit and cost a "real" lot of money to get enough squares (40) for one cushion!
Job done though and is now in my bedroom as part of my handmade bedroom challenge.

Setting out the patchwork squares

Finished cusion

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Home Made Play Dough

Have fun at home like we do with your pantry ingredients!

Still Warm!
 Making Homemade Play dough is so simple and fun. All you need is....


2 cups of flour
2 cups of warm water
1 cup of salt
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 tablespoon of cream of tartar (adds elasticity)
10 drops of essential oil (optional)
food colouring (to make any colour dough you like)

The ingredients

Take a large saucepan and add all of your ingredients to the pan set onto a meduim heat and stir all together, keep adding drops of food colouring until you get the desired colour,
Keep stirring until the mixture resembles dough, once it does simply remove from the pan and roll into a large ball, let it cool for a few minutes then its ready to be played with.

We used green food colouring and ran out so we have ended up with a pale green dough. We also added 10 drops of citronella essential oil so it smells divine!

*Make sure you keep the dough when not in use wrapped tight with cellophane or a plastic food bag, making sure no air can get in and dry out your dough.

And now playing!

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

British Mixed Media Artist

A British Artist called Cara Tilson.
Her work is beautiful and varies from photography to a mix of painting and handcrafted goodies.
I have one of her paintings called Dream Bird. and she also was my wedding photographer, I cannot get enough of her work. The photos of my wedding were beautiful, really natural and just what we wanted. We had a pretty much handmade wedding, so getting Cara in to do the photography with her eye for capturing beauty in the little things is second to none.
She has a shop on Etsy. Click on the word "etsy" to see her online store.
I have also asked Cara to create a new peice for my bedroom. I sent her my mood board on Pinterest and away she goes and creates another masterpeice.
Here is a just small snippet of some of the work she has done for me to tempt you...
You can see all of her work on her website & her Etsy shop,

Natural wedding photography

My mum & I

Dream bird


Monday, 11 February 2013

Herman Friendship Cake

Friendship Cake

This idea originated from the Amish Friendship Bread, we tend call it a friendship cake or Herman cake. It is called the friendship cake because every time you make a batch you pass 4 little portions of the mix away to your friends, relatives or neighbours. Who then in turn pass 4 little portions onto their neighbours, friends or relatives.
It is yeast based and one starter can last a lifetime literally, and it is so simple to make, although it’s a long process with the 10 day cycle it is so worth it and every time I make one and freeze or give away the individuals I always get a sense of achievement.  There are so many variations of the end ingredients, just go with whatever you have in the pantry.
To make the cake from scratch if no-one has given you a starter mix is easy follow my instructions and you’ll always have a great base mix for your delicious cake.

·         5oz Plain flour

·         8oz castor sugar

·         1 packet active dry yeast (7 grams or 2 tsp.)

·         300ml Pint Luke warm milk

·         2 fluid ounces of Luke warm water

·         Dissolve yeast in the warm water for about 10 minutes

·         Stir thoroughly

·         Stir in the warm milk

·         Cover with clean tea towel or muslin cloth

·         Leave for 24 hours covered with the cloth and then start the 10 day process.

Once you have this base mix or one that someone has passed on to you follow these instructions for the next 10 days… Remember this cake does NOT like the cold so no fridge. He grows at room temperature, and must be covered with cloth NOT cling film or foil!


Take your little cake mix and start this 10 day process... 

Day 1: Take your Cake starter mix and scrape him into a large mixing bowl and cover with muslin cloth.


Stir Cake mix 2 – 3 times during the day with a large wooden spoon ( leave the spoon in the bowl as its easier that way)


Stir him 2 or 3 times

Day 4:

Your Cake mix is ready for some action so add

·         200mls milk,

·         250 grams sugar,

·         200grams of self raising flour and stir in really well.


Day5: Stir Cake 2 or 3 times

 Day6: Stir Cake 2 or 3 times

 Day7: Stir Cake 2 or 3 times

 Day 8: Stir Cake mix 2 or 3 times

 Day 9: Now is where the good bit starts:

·         Add 200mls Milk, 250grams sugar, 200 grams Self raising flour and stir really well. Now divide up the mix into 5 portions.  Use Tupperware for this and leave the 5th portion in the large mixing bowl.  Now you can give away the 4 portions to your friends with a copy of these 10 day instructions. Or alternatively you can pop them in the Freezer for up to 6 months and you’ll always have your own mix to start from.

Day 10:

Heat your oven to 170 * Celsius

 Your portion now needs some ingredients to make him into a real cake, Into your mix add

·         150g self-raising flour

·         1 tsp. baking powder

·         1 tsp. grated nutmeg

·         3 tsp. ground cinnamon

·         100g chopped nuts

·         Handful of dried fruit (I use a mix saltanas, currants, raisins, & glace cherries)

·         2 large grated apples (skin on)

·         1 grated carrot

·         200mls sunflower oil

·         3 eggs

Grease a large cake tin about 9-10 inches Diameter. Or a 2lb Loaf tin will be good.

Bake him for about an hour until he’s cooked nice and firm, If he starts to look too brown on top before the middle is cooked place a piece of tin foil over the top loosely to stop it burning on the top.

Also you don’t have to make a fruit and nut version; I know one of my friends cannot abide  traditional fruit cake so she adapted hers into a pear and ginger cake. So she added to her starter mix:

1lb of peeled and cored pears and apples, 1 tsp. baking powder, 3 eggs, 200g melted butter and a good helping of freshly grated ginger.

So really anything goes. I’ve added allsorts to mine; I’ve made raspberry & lemon, coffee & walnut. As long as you add the 150g of flour, the baking powder and the oil/butter and the eggs, you can wing it and experiment with what you have in the pantry.

Friday, 8 February 2013

January money saving month

This is a list of the things we have done in January 2013 to cut costs and improve quality family time in the process

·         Purchased Salveo soap nuts. You have to try these...A years worth of laundry for £10!

·         Exchanged £12 of supermarket clubcard vouchers for £50 restaurant vouchers.  Will book up for us to go over the Valentines period. Romantic savings and food!

·         Brought scraps of fabric and Lampshade frames from ebay and made my own matching lampshades for our new bedroom design.

·         Cancelled Satelitte TV (we have a digital TV) we don’t really need Pause, Rewind and Record TV.

·         Downgraded mobile tariff, we never used all the free minutes and texts.

·         Used old towels that would have been binned as rags, I cut them into dishcloth sized pieces.

·         Used a £60 cash back offer from a Christmas purchase to bulk buy rice, pasta, meat and tinned tomatoes.

·         Cleared the loft by selling on ebay

·         Made my own Herman cake and froze the 3 portions you would normally give away

·         Booked our summer holiday from the newspaper offer “£10 holidays” It never works out at £10 per person but it’s still a cheap holiday for a family of 4.

·         Ordered all my seeds from a discount seed offer website and split the seeds with my mum so cut the price in half. I wouldn't grow 350 carrots in one year would I?!

·         Re-arranged the furniture so that we can use the kitchen dining room during the day which is nice and warm and then in the evenings we light the wood burner and have a cosy lounge.  This means we have been doing a lot more crafting and cooking, and because we are at the kitchen table you tend to talk more and that’s the best bit. Then snuggle time at night is lovely.

There is lots of ways you can save money and so far I think this is a pretty mighty effort for January! If you have any ideas please pass them on.

I will Blog soon with details of Herman Cake and Salveo Soap Nuts.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Bundt Cake

Summer Fruit & Almond Bundt cake

This cake is delicious and has the aromatics of cherry bakewell

You will need:

Bundt tin (sprayed with cake release spray or greased with a little butter)
3 large Eggs
8oz Self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
8oz unslated softnened butter
8oz sugar
4 tblsp milk
1 tsp Almond essence
cup of sliced almonds
2 cups of summer fruits
2 tblsp icing sugar

  1. In a bowl mix your fruits with 2 tblsp of icing sugar. Leave to one side.
  2. Grease or spray your bundt tin
  3. Sprinkle sliced almonds into the bundt tin
  4. In a large mixing bowl cream together sugar and softened butter
  5. Add your 3 eggs and almond essence and mix ( i use a handheld mixer)
  6.  Add your baking powder to your flour and sift into the mixing bowl
  7. Mix in your milk
  8. Pour half of your cake mix on top of the almonds in your bundt tin
  9. Now you get your fruit mix and place on top of your cake mix layer
  10. now pour the remaining cake mix on top of the fruit layer
  11. Bake for approx 40 minutes checking after 30 to make sure its not already cooked, using the clean knife test : if it comes out clean its cooked.
When cooked tip upside down onto your cake stand or plate, this is delicious warm with cream or custard or cold with a cup of tea!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Homemade Quiche

Today I made a simple Broccoli Quiche, it's so basic and it's so much tastier than shop brought.
N.B you will need a flan dish of approx 9 inches across and some baking beans.
8oz Shortcrust Pastry
2oz favourite cheese (grated or crumbled)
1/2 pint milk
3 Large Eggs (beaten)
Broccoli (cooked al dente)
Pinch fresh grated nutmeg
Salt & and Pepper
Shortcrust Pastry
 (you can buy it ready rolled but I make it as its so easy just go with the flow, there's no morals here on shop brought or homemade)
6oz plain flour
2 oz self raising flour
4 oz butter
pinch salt
Water to mix
Sift flours together
use your fingers to crumble up the flour and butter together until its like breadcrumbs, add enough water to make a firm dough. Pop it in a bit of cling film and into the fridge for 30 Min's.
Quiche filling:
Into a mixing bowl, grate your cheese I used 2oz mature cheddar. Add Broccoli, (Can I just say that if you do not like broccoli you can add anything you like from mushrooms and onions to peppers to bacon and tomatoes!). Adding a little Stilton to the equation would be rather yummy here as well. Grate some nutmeg over the cheese, pour in the 3 eggs (beaten) and the milk. Add a little salt & pepper mix it up and there's your mix.
Pre-heat oven to 200 Degrees Celsius.
Now grease your flan dish with a little butter, roll out your pastry on a floured work top, Line your flan tin with the pastry, cover the pastry with tin foil and fill with baking beans, bake blind for 10 minutes, then remove the foil and beans and bake again for another 10 Min's.
Remove from oven and add your quiche filling mix making sure you do not overfill your flan casing.
Bake for about 30 Min's.
Hey presto Yummy Quiche! Eat it hot or cold.