Friday, 29 April 2011

# 65 Fridays recipes: Sour Cream Coffee Cake

This is not the recipe I had planned for today but this morning I was online looking for a cake recipe that would include sour cream  so I could use up a tub of it already past its Best Before date and found this one. The description said it's moist and that's my favourite type of cake. We just got home from a very long walk in Woodchester Park, pictures will follow later, and had a slice of cake with tea and you know what? This cake is so, so yummy and moist I loved it. You can find the recipe here.


Wednesday, 27 April 2011

# 64 Weekend outing to Devon and Cornwall

It felt good coming home on Monday evening after 2 great but very tiring days away. We planned our mini Easter break over a month ago to take advantage of the £29 per room offer from Premier Inn.

On Easter Sunday morning we went to Devon and visited Greenway, the holiday home of Agatha Christie and her family and then it was on to Saltram in the afternoon.

Then on Monday we visited Cotehele and Lanhydrock, both in Cornwall.

We loved all 4 houses but especially the last 2, there was so much to see and explore. At Cotehele they had a display of swords and other similar weapons that people could hold to see how heavy they were. A. loved that, the first sword he held weighed an impressive 6kg!

Also, because the weather's been so warm lately the gardens were looking gorgeous, with so much variety of flowers and colour.

As usual I took lots of photos, over 600 in fact and below there's a very small selection for you. There's more on my Flickr album if you'd like to have a look.


View from the house

The boathouse. The plot in Dead Man's Folly published in 1956 and featuring Hercule Poirot takes place both in the house and in the boathouse.

The boathouse

In the garden


Back of the house.

The library.

In the gardens.


Inside the house
The gatehouse at Lanhydrock.

The formal garden.

Bluebells in the woods at Lanhydrock.
One of the many rooms open to the public.


Friday, 22 April 2011

# 63 Fridays recipes: Hot Cross Buns

Today being Good Friday I decided to try and make Hot Cross Buns. I love these slightly sweet and spiced buns and in the booklet that came with my bread maker there is a recipe for the dough.

I made a few changes to the recipe because both my husband and son don't like the dried fruit or the peel. I haven't had one yet but they look promising and the smell in the kitchen while these were in the oven was very tempting.

Here's the recipe.

1/2 teaspoon fast action yeast
250g strong white flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
Zest of one lemon and one orange
25g butter
1 egg
100 ml water
1 tablespoon milk

Place all ingredients in the baking pan in the order in which they are listed above.* Set the programme to Basic Dough (in my bread maker this takes 2h 20m).

Once the cycle finishes turn out the dough onto a clean surface and divide the mixture into small balls. This is easier if you first rub your hands with a little vegetable oil.

Place the balls on a lightly greased and floured baking tray and allow to prove until doubled in size.

Make a paste by mixing flour with water and pipe a cross over the buns.

Bake in a preheated oven until golden brown.

While the buns are still hot brush with a sugar glaze made from 40g sugar in 4 tablespoons of water, stir and allow to boil for about 5 minutes to make a syrup.

* If your bread maker requires you to place wet ingredients first in the baking pan, you just need to invert the order by starting from the bottom of the list of ingredients and working your way up to the top.


Tuesday, 19 April 2011

# 62 Weekend outing to Dyrham Park

After the very long and cold Winter we had here in the UK it's still sometimes hard to believe that Spring really is in full swing.

Last Sunday we set out to revisit Dyrham Park, a NT property just 30 minutes from where we live. The weather was lovely, lots of sunshine and quite warm too just perfect for a stroll around the beautiful garden at Dyrham to admire the tulips, followed by a tour of the house and then a long walk in the deer park.

Here are a few pictures but there's more on my Flickr page if you'd like to see them.


Friday, 15 April 2011

# 61 Fridays recipes: Roast Pork Chops

This is one of my favourite ways of cooking pork chops plus it satisfies my craving for a quick roast in the middle of the week.

These pork chops can be served with roasted potatoes, chips or white rice and because of the tomato sauce in which they're cooked they also go very well with spaghetti.

I cook for 3 people so I usually use 4 pork chops.

This is what you do.

In an ovenproof dish pour half a can of chopped tomatoes, add fresh coriander, 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, a pinch of paprika or chilli powder and a pinch of salt, finally add a drizzle of olive oil.

Rub the pork chops in this marinade.

Cook in a pre-heated oven until ready. This usually takes up to an hour depending on the thickness of the pork chops you're cooking.

Serve with the accompaniments mentioned above and a salad.



Thursday, 14 April 2011

# 60 Recipe organization

For the last few months I've been working on and off on my recipe filing system trying to find a way of keeping my many recipes organized so I can more easily find what I want when I want it.

After many searches online looking for ideas and inspiration I finally settled for a lever arch file system. I'm using 2 of these one for savoury and the other for sweet recipes.

I'm still working on my savoury recipes binder but the sweet recipes one is finished. I've divided into 4 categories:

Cupcakes/Muffins & other small cakes
Large tin cakes

I'm also using A4 plastic pouches to help keep the recipes clean and to protect them from damage. I've taken some photos to show you my recipe organization system.

Lever arch file with lockable clip to keep pages in place.

Making the most of the space available by putting together several cut out recipes.

Recipes cut out from magazines/newspapers are kept back to back for easier reference.

How do you organize your recipes? What works for you? If you have photos anywhere on the web/blogosphere of your recipe filing system that you'd like to share here too you can add your link and photo below using Inlinkz.


Tuesday, 12 April 2011

# 59 Weekend ramblings

The last few days have been very Spring like with plenty of sunshine, just perfect for outdoor pursuits.

On Saturday I saw my 1st rapeseed field in bloom this year, I love to see all that yellow especially against a blue sky.

Then in the afternoon we went for a short walk in a small wood next to Berkeley Castle and this is what we saw.

On Sunday we visited Lacock Village and its Abbey. The entire village is property of the National Trust and because it's remained unspoiled since the 13th century it's frequently used as a set for films and TV series including a few of the Harry Potter movies among a long list of many others.

The abbey cloisters were used in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

On the way home we stopped to revisit The Courts Garden.

But the weekend didn't end there. N. had Monday off and as A. is on school holiday so we packed a picnic and crossed the border to Wales where we visited Dinefwr Park and Castle.

Newton House

Bog Wood Board Walk

Dinefwr Castle

Dinefwr Castle has many amazing views

It was a busy, wonderful weekend.

If you'd like to see more photos you can visit my Flickr page here.



Friday, 8 April 2011

# 58 Fridays recipes: Trisha's brownies

Today's recipe is not my own but Trisha's, the author of a lovely blog I follow called Roundabout.

Last week she showed her brownie pan and shared her brownie recipe. I loved both and after a quick search online ordered my own brownie pan which was delivered Wednesday after lunch and guess what I did next? If you said went into the kitchen to bake some brownies you're right!

My pan is slightly different from Trisha's in that mine is rectangular and makes 18 brownies. It come with a set of stencils for sprinkling icing sugar and a recipe booklet but the one I wanted to try was Trisha's and they are absolutely delicious. I can see this becoming one of those recipes I'll turn to again and again but don't just take my word for it, try it yourself.

If you don't have a brownie pan you can use any rectangular or square baking tray and then just cut the brownies with a knife.

You'll find the recipe on Trisha's blog here.



Psst - As I type this I'm enjoying the last piece of brownie with a nice cup of tea, so yummy!

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

# 57 Buying second-hand

I'm not a great shopper which means that I always try to get it done as quickly as possible but there are a few shops where I don't mind spending a little more time browsing and craft and charity shops fall into this category.

Until a few years ago the only things I bought second-hand were books but I've since come to realise there's so much more you can find and buy for a fraction of the price not to mention the fact that it helps reduce waste and the money raised will go towards supporting good causes.

All this to show you some of my latest purchases from one of the local charity shops. I have several ideas for using these but at the moment I'm just loving looking at them and admiring their colours and patterns. Any suggestions are more than welcome though, just leave a comment below this post. Thank you :-)


Friday, 1 April 2011

# 56 Fridays recipes: Bacon and spinach pie

I made this savoury pie for the first time a couple of months ago and it's become one of my favourites. It's delicious eaten warm or cold and perfect as a light meal or for a picnic.

Here's the recipe, hope you like it.

Shortcrust pastry

250g plain flour
125g butter softened
1 egg
1 tablespoon cold water
Pinch of salt

Mix well all the ingredients above to make the pastry. Shape into a ball and place in the centre of a tart tin or, if you don't have one, use an ovenproof dish and line it with baking parchment. Make sure the parchment sticks up a little so you can lift the pie out of the dish when cooked and after it's coooled down a little.

With your knuckles press down the pastry from the middle to the edges so it covers the bottom and sides of the tin or dish evenly. Make sure there are no holes.

Blind bake in a preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until it starts to gain a golden colour. Remove from the oven and set aside.


2 slices of bacon per person
1 small onion
200g spinach (approx.)
2 eggs
150ml double cream
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of salt

Grill the bacon so it's nice and crispy. Remove the rind and fat and cut into small pieces. Distribute evenly over the baked pastry.

Finely slice the onion and soften it in a pan with a little olive oil, add the spinach, put the lid on and cook for a few minutes until the spinach wilts. Distribute over the bacon.

Mix together the eggs, the double cream, the pinch of nutmeg and salt. Pour over the bacon and spinach and bake in the oven until the mixture of eggs and cream thickens and sets. Remove from the oven and let it cool a little before serving.

Bon app├ętit!