Wednesday, 29 February 2012

# 186 Winter is on the way out...

or so it seems today. It's nice and sunny outside and warm too just perfect for a long afternoon walk.


Tuesday, 28 February 2012

# 185 February photo scavenger hunt

It's time for another scavenger hunt hosted by Kathy from Postcards from the P.P.

For one reason or another I haven't been out much so most of the photos below are old photos taken in previous years.

Photo taken 2 years ago on a visit to Lydiard House, Swindon. I'm terrible with flora and fauna names so I'm not sure what these are called. Does anyone know?

Ok, not exactly black and white but almost. This photo must've been taken 1 or 2 years ago and it's the church tower here in Berkeley. The tower was actually built a few metres away from the church. The story goes that when the church was being built and work began on the tower, each morning the workmen would find that the previous day's work had been demolished. People started saying it was the work of the devil and the workmen actually started to believe this as each morning the same would happen so they would keep moving the tower further and further away from the main body of the church until it arrived at the location it is now.

Empty benches on the Cotswolds Way overlooking Wotton-under-edge.

900-year old Berkeley Castle.

This photo was taken one evening in October 2011. I looked out of my kitchen window and there was this amazing double rainbow in the sky, I quickly grabbed my camera and was still able to capture it.

One of my early handmade cards.

The February page of the calendar I've been making.

This is a decoupage picture I made for my mum, I love the background paper which was cut from a page on a very old music book.

In October 2010 we went to the Forest of  Dean Railway and travelled on a steam train. This is one of the stations, I think it's called Parkend.

A lovely bowl of homemade soup with a slice of homemade bread.

Old trains at the Forest of Dean Railway.

I couldn't find anything for cupid so in desperation I turned to the dictionary.

You can see what others have come up with here.


Saturday, 25 February 2012

# 184 Sunshine

It's a lovely sunny day today and quite warm too. The washing is drying outside under a beautifully blue sky with a few scattered white clouds, my favourite kind of sky. There's also a fresh loaf of bread baking and I just made myself a cup of tea which I'm having with one of these made yesterday morning.


Wishing you all a great weekend.


Friday, 24 February 2012

# 183 Fridays recipes: Savoy cabbage soup with spicy chorizo

I can't explain why but I always associate soup with Winter and during the cold season I make a fresh pot of soup every 2 to 3 days. I usually keep it simple, lots of vegetables cooked in boiling water with a pinch of salt and a drizzle of olive oil.

This soup however has had a little twist added in the form of a few slices of spicy Spanish style chorizo. If you like really spicy food just add more chorizo.

Savoy cabbage soup with spicy chorizo

3 big courgettes
3 big carrots
1/2 butternut squash
1 parsnip
2 chicken stock cubes
1/2 Savoy cabbage, shredded
A few slices of spicy Spanish chorizo
Olive oil
Pinch of salt

Peel, chop and put in a pot all of the vegetables listed above except for the cabbage. Cover with water, add the stock cubes and bring to boil then let it simmer over a low heat for about 30-40 minutes. Add a pinch of salt if needed, drizzle some olive oil and blend. Add the shredded cabbage and the slices of chorizo and simmer for another 15 minutes or until the cabbage is cooked.



Friday, 17 February 2012

# 182 Fridays recipes: Lemon cake

Weekends wouldn't be the same in our house without cake, in fact I must admit I'm a bit of a cakeaholic (I think I just made up a new word!). One of my favourite things is a slice of homemade cake and a cup of tea.

I made this lemon cake for the 1st time the other day, it's not the moistest of cakes but goes perfectly with a good cup of tea or coffee if you prefer.

Lemon cake

250g butter, softened
250g caster sugar
2 teaspoons lemon zest
4 eggs
350g plain flour
50g cornflour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Juice of half a lemon

Preheat the oven to 180 ÂșC and line a rectangular cake tin with greaseproof paper.

Beat the butter with the sugar and the lemon zest until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time alternating with spoonfuls of flour and the baking powder, add the lemon juice and mix well.

Pour into the cake tin and bake for 30-40 minutes or until done.

Remove from the oven and allow the cake to rest for about 10 minutes or so. Let it cool on a wire rack.

Cut the cake in half lengthwise and spread some vanilla buttercream (I use shop-bought). Put both halves of the cake back together again and enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee.


Thursday, 16 February 2012

# 181 Reader's Bill of Rights

Many years ago while at University I admitted out loud to sometimes cheating when reading. You see I really don't like very long descriptions, I find them boring and sometimes will skip a page or 2. I made the mistake of saying this in the presence of a very exacting friend who was very shocked and who let me know exactly what she thought of it!

Today, quite by accident, I found the Reader's Bill of Rights written by Daniel Pennac, I wish I'd known of it back then!


Friday, 10 February 2012

# 180 Fridays recipes: Mini sausage rolls

 I make these often for A. to take to school in his packed lunch, he loves sausages and these mini rolls are so easy to eat, they're gone in 2 bites and he doesn't have to worry about using both hands to hold them so the sausage inside doesn't somehow escape!

This is not my recipe but Lorraine Pascale's, she presented it the other day on her TV programme Baking Made Easy. You can read her recipe by clicking here.

Easy as these are to make I simplified mine even further even though I pre cook them for a few minutes until golden on all sides. I do this by not adding any further seasoning to them or herbs as Lorraine does (no need really as the sausages are already well seasoned) and I put them straight in the oven as soon as they're all rolled out and brushed with beaten egg.

Enjoy :-)


Monday, 6 February 2012

# 179 Turning a new page...

...on my calendar.

I don't know what it is but I really enjoy cutting images from books and then putting them together to create pictures.

The image above is of my calendar page for February, unfortunately the photo doesn't do it justice.

My latest decoupage project is this set of 3 pictures for my niece. I really like them and hope she will to.


Saturday, 4 February 2012

# 178 January photo scavenger hunt

Kathy from Postcards from the P.P. is the brains behind this Scavenger Hunt. I'm still missing 2 photos from the list she drew up for the January challenge but I've just realised that if I don't post my photos now I'll be too late so here goes. If you'd like to see what others have come up with just follow the link above.

Taken sometime ago at Blenheim Palace, I was trying to get a really close up shot of the little ones but the parents looked so threatening I gave up.

Are these doves? Anyway these 2 have been around my garden quite a lot.

Blurred reflection of a tree on one of the lakes at Woodchester Park.

Side entrance at St. Mary's Church in Berkeley.

This is the most interesting thing in my bathroom at the moment!! I really like the colours with the light from behind, somehow it reminds me of stained glass.

Photo taken last month on a short walk around Coaley Peak viewpoint in Gloucestershire. You can see the River Severn in the distance.

Map at Coaley Peak viewpoint.

Messy room at Stackpole. Taken last July when my son and his class went to Stackpole for a week.

An odd number of pine cones.

I love could gazing.

I'm off now to see what others have posted.


Friday, 3 February 2012

# 177 Fridays recipes: Turkey breast steaks in breadcrumbs

This is a family favourite. These turkey breast steaks in breadcrumbs make a delicious and comforting meal served immediately with white rice, they're also a good option for a picnic or packed lunch in which case I like to cut them into thin strips or into smaller pieces so they look like nuggets.

Turkey breast steak in breadcrumbs

Turkey breast steaks (if they're too big I usually cut them in half)
3 garlic cloves, cut in half
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon ground paprika
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes or mild chilli powder
2 tablespoons red Port wine
Pinch of salt
2 eggs, beaten
Vegetable oil for frying

In a food container mix all the ingredients listed above for the marinade. Add the meat making sure the marinade covers it, add a little more milk if necessary. Cover and put in the fridge for at least a couple of hours before cooking (I usually do this in the morning and cook the meat in the evening).

Dip the turkey steaks in the beaten eggs and then coat them in breadcrumbs making sure they are evenly covered. Pat them down gently and fry in vegetable oil.

Serve with white rice.