Saturday, 12 April 2014

A Bit of Self Indulgence...

I've been feeling a bit under the weather this last week, so in an attempt to get my creative juices flowing and make myself a little get well pressie, I made a rhubarb and custard cake...

Not like any cake I've made before but definitely worth it as it's delicious ;)

Here's the recipe if you want to have a crack yourself...

Rhubarb & Custard Cake

Serves 8

400g rhubarb, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
2 Tbs caster sugar
1 pear, lightly poached and chopped
250g/9oz unsalted butter, softened
250g/9oz caster sugar
4 eggs
250g/9oz self-raising flour, sieved
1tsp baking powder
icing sugar to dust
200ml ready made custard

1.  Pre-heat oven to gas mark 4/180˚. Add rhubarb and caster sugar to a pan. Heat gently until rhubarb softens. Add poached pear and put to one side to cool.

2.  Beat butter and caster sugar until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating in between each and adding a little flour as you go. Then fold in the remaining flour and baking powder.

3.  Stir in the rhubarb and pear and slowly fold in the custard. Pour the cake batter into a prepared 8” loose bottom, spring-form cake tin. Put in the oven for 1-1½ hours (cover with foil if it starts to colour too much). Test to see if it’s cooked by inserting a skewer; if it comes out clean, it’s cooked. If not cook for a further 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, leave for 10 minutes then loosen around the edge of tin with a knife and release spring. Leave to cool before removing from the tin. Dust with icing sugar, slice and serve. 

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Mother's Day Lovliness...

This year I treated Mama Button to a lemon and elderflower drizzle cake which I made following one of Ruth Clemmons recipes...AKA The Pink Whisk. Ruth was runner up in series 1 of The Great British Bake Off. 

I have been itching to try one of Ruth's recipes and she didn't disappoint ;) The loaf was delicious x

If you are interested in having a go yourself, here's the review...enjoy x

Lemon & Elderflower Drizzle Cake

Serves 12

175g/6oz unsalted butter
175g/6oz caster sugar
Zest if 2 lemons
Juice of 1 lemon
3 large eggs
160g/5.5oz self-raising flour

For the topping
Juice of 1 lemon
2tbsp elderflower cordial
110g/3.5oz caster sugar

1. Preheat oven to gas mark 4/180 degrees (160 degrees for a fan oven). Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add lemon zest and mix until evenly combined. Add eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition.
2. Fold in self-raising flour until cake mix is even. Stir through juice of o e lemon.
3. Full loaf tin with cake mixture. Level top roughly with back of spoon and bake in oven for 50 minutes. Check after 35 minutes and if crust is going very dark, cover it with a sheet if foil for the remaining baking time.
4. Remove cake from oven and mix together drizzle - lemon juice, elderflower cordial and sugar, stirring well to combine. Sugar will still be granular. Keep the cake in the tin and, using a skewer, prick holes right across and all round top of cake - aim to go three quarters of the way through, not right to the base. Spoon drizzle over top of cake slowly, allowing it to rundown the skewered holes before adding another spoonful. Set the cake aside to cool completely then remove from tin and serve.

Monday, 28 October 2013

The Handmade Boutique - Birmingham

Having a page on Facebook, I follow various networking pages which leads to me finding lots of lovey pages of independent handmade makers...One I follow is Honeypips who makes the most yummy gifts and via here I stumbled upon The Handmade Boutique.
The Handmade Boutique is a gorgeous little store nestled away in Great Western Arcade in Birmingham. The shop is basically a co-operative run by the eighteen designers whose wares are sold within the shop.
Last Friday as a birthday treat Mama Button and I decided to go on a little road trip to check the store out and we weren't disappointed. We met two of the designers Sue of Smartipants and Jan of Vintage Lovelies D├ęcor who were taking their turn to man the shop...You see not only do the designers run the shop they take turns to work in the shop, so you are actually meeting the people who design, make and sell the items...When was the last time you met the designer or maker of what you bought in M&S or Next...??? Exactly!!!

As fellow crafters Mama Button and I got nattering to Sue and Jan and spent a lovely afternoon in the shop...I could quite easily have crossed a few names off my Christmas shopping list, it is a one stop and presents to suit every purse and if you need a new purse they can help you out in that department as well!!!
I spent a pretty penny or two, well it was my birthday!!! I treated myself to a gorgeous new ring made by Jess of Perlina Jewellery Designs and of course I had to buy a little something from Honeypips!!!

We had a totally brilliant time at the shop, not wanting to leave...the shop was never empty, there was always a customer...some even returning whilst we were in there, which is ALWAYS a good sign.
If you get the opportunity to visit the shop...DO!!! Like us you won't be disappointed

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

A Few of My Favorite Things...Gift Shops.

Well what can I tell you...for as long as I care to remember I've loved cards. I don't just mean birthday and Christmas cards I mean thank you, I'm sorry and even cards "left blank for your own message" cards!!!

My obsession with gift shops started when I was about nine or ten, when I would go into shops in Camden and Crouch End and buy with my hard earned pocket money, pencil and rubbers that smelt of "grapes", mind you, they weren't like any grapes I'd ever smelt before...and my favourite, my swiss roll rubber, it smelt good enough to eat!

Once the pencil and rubber phase wore off I progressed to stationary. I would by cards and notebooks by Paper Moon and like the rubbers and pencils, I refused to use them...I would just covert them in my fact I do believe that I still have some of the pencils and a notebook lurking around in a draw somewhere!!!

Now I'm all grown up, I still get all giddy with excitment at seeing a "good gift shop", like these two...In fact I would even go as far as saying that they are like mini department stores as there's very little you can't buy from them.

I have added a few snaps of their loveliness, after all a picture speaks a thousand words ;) If you're in the areas, drop in, have a mooch and let me know if you agree.

My first favourite is Etcetera, in The Howard Centre in Welwyn Garden City

 My second favourite is The Present on Barnet High Street

Friday, 11 October 2013

The Knitting & Stitching Show...

Starting yesterday, was the Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace.
I managed to bag myself one of their new half day tickets, allowing me to get in at 3 o'clock and avoid the marauding masses AND as it was the first day there were still oodles of goodies to be seen and if your purse allowed....had for the taking!!!

I wasn't after anything in particular, I was just along for a mooch and a good old gander at was on offer. I did pick up some jewellery findings, wool, buttons (of course!) and a couple of beading kits as I am interested in learning some new techniques.

I did manage a couple of snaps to show you lovely people, including one of Stuart from this years Great British Sewing Bee.

Beautiful Beaded Necklace
Stunning Hand Beaded Jewellery
Gorgeous Hand Beaded Jewellery
Amazing Hand Embroidery
Tendance Ruban
Tendance Ruban
Tendance Ruban
Stuart from The Great British Sewing Bee

Remember the Great British Sewing Bee Contestants Here...

Magee Weaving

Alice Caroline Liberty Fabrics
The Taxi Knitted Tea Cosy

Supplies I bought came from the following companies.

Cottage Patchwork

Southampton Beadshop

Spellbound Bead Co

Textile Garden

Thursday, 10 October 2013

The Blokes Birthday Treat...

Well today marks The Blokes birthday, yay! Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you x

Anyways....he is a man of simple tastes, hence why he's with me, tee hee hee!! Only kidding, but he is a difficult what name to treat, however he does like lemon and shorbread SO when I stubbled apon this recipe I knew it'd be the perfect birthday treat...and I wasn't wrong. Along with this biscuit tin they hit the spot with a nice cuppa tea.

If you are fancying them, they are not soley exclusive for birthdays, why not make a batch up this'll thank me for it.

The Blokes Birthday Treat...Lemon Shortbread.

Lemon Shortbread

For the shortbread

220g/8oz unsalted butter, softened
30g/1oz icing sugar
80g/3oz caster sugar plus extra for sprinkling
30g/1oz cornflour
300g/11oz plain flour
1 medium egg yolk

For the filling

14 unwaxed lemons
150g/5oz caster sugar
2 medium eggs
2 TBS plain flour
30g/1oz unsalted butter, melted

1. First make the lemon filling mixture by cutting the lemons in half length ways, cutting off the knobbly ends. Slice the lemons as thinly as possible, removing any pips.
2. Place in a bowl with any juice and add the caster sugar and stir well. Cover with cling film and put in the fridge for eight hours or overnight. Stirring occasionally if possible. At the end of the time, the lemons will have softened and the juice and sugar formed a thick syrup.
3. Heat the oven to 160°c/325°f/gas mark 3. Put the eggs in a bowl and mix. Add the lemon mixture along with the flour and melted butter and mix well.
4.To make the shortbread, put the butter in a mixing bowl and beat until creamy. Sift icing sugar into the bowl and beat in. Add the caster sugar and beat in. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat thoroughly for 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Sift cornflour in and beat. Sift flour in and mix with a wooden spoon to make a crumbly mixture.
5. Tip three quarters of the crumbly shortbread mix into a greased tin (20.5 x 25.5cm x 5cm), gently spread out and press down, creating an even layer. Leave to one side.
6. Mix the egg yolk into the remaining shortbread mix and make a firm dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured worktop and using your hands roll out into a 20cm long sausage. Cut across into 30 rounds, about the thickness of a £1 coin.
7. Spoon the lemon mixture onto the shortbread base in the tin, making sure the lemons are evenly distributed. Arrange the shortbread rounds on the top. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until lightly golden.
8. Remove from the oven and set on a wire rack. Sprinkle with sugar and cut into 20 squares. Leave in the tin to firm up for ten minutes. Remove from tin and allow to cool thoroughly. Store in an airtight tin and eat within two days.

Monday, 7 October 2013

G'dad's Collectables - Vintage Emporium...

Hello...Happy Monday!

I trust that you all have lovely, lovely weekends.

Mine was a little strange...strange in that I did a flea market on Saturday, hoping to sell the old display items I have used at fairs for my jewellery...the market turned out to be a bit badly run, due to some internal politics, however I didn't let that dampen my spirits.

I got talking to the lovely lady that had a stall next to me and she told me of a local vintage emporium.

This roused my curiousity so The Bloke and I went for a scrummage yesterday.

WHAT a little find, or rather large find! It turned out to be a warehouse converted into small sales units, where people rent space to sell all their retro, vintage and stuff!!!

Here's a selection of the loveliness available...
                                                          G'Dads Collectables

Vintage Soda Syphons

Vintage Dish with Lid
Begium Cap

Vintage Ice Skates

Vintage Jam Pot

Vintage Glasses