Monday, 29 November 2010


After collecting an assortment of ribbons in red, green and white, I'd been looking forward to making a ribbon wreath for months. We had a trip to Hobbycrafts on Sunday so I managed to pick up a styrofoam ring which was the only part I needed to get started. Excuse the quality of the pictures, these were taken in the evening so they didn't come out very well!

I tied a long piece of gingham ribbon into a loop and looped it around the top of the ring so that the wreath can be hung up.
The next part was to cut 9 reels of ribbon into small lengths of about 3inches.

Each piece of ribbon is then made into a circle and a pin is fastened through the ends to hold it together. You can then pin the ribbon loops randomly over the ring. It takes a while and it does get to a point when you think it's not really going to work, but it will!
Just keep going and pinning loops over the ring, making sure that it is all covered.

(not quite there yet!!)

And here's the finished article:

Monday, 8 November 2010


I'm feeling quite prepared for Christmas this year and finished my 3rd Christmas cake today. It's wrapped up in foil cooling as I speak. I brushed the top with some brandy before wrapping in the tin so when it's cooled completely I'll take it out of the tin and rewrap ready to store and feed every week! That'll give it a good dose of alcohol before icing day.

The trick with fruit cakes being cooked over a long period of time is to wrap it well before putting in the oven. I used a double thickness of baking parchment in the tin before pouring (or dolloping more like) the cake mixture in. Then I wrapped the tin with a double thickness of brown paper, securing it with string. The paper needs to be at least double the height of the cake tin to protect it from getting scorched.

I forgot to take photos but the recipe I used is the one from Nigella's How to Be a Domestic Goddess. It hasn't failed me yet although with one of the cakes I did go a bit over the top with almond essence. Never mind, I'm saving that one for us as hubby likes marzipan so I'm sure he won't notice!!

Time to restock the fruit cupboard before stir up Sunday!

Thursday, 4 November 2010


See full size imageA reliable source (my dad!!) told me it was a good year for Sloes, so we had a productive picking session around some country lanes not too far away on Friday.
I must admit I'd never have noticed the berries growing on the blackthorn bushes by the side of the road if they hadn't been pointed out. They seem very well disguised! But once you're up close they are very distinctive.
There's only one thing to do with these berries and that's to add them to gin. It's been a long time since I tasted this and I can't quite remember what it was like so I'll have a couple of months to wait before I can remind myself!


450g sloes
350g sugar
750ml gin

If the sloes haven't been out in a frost I have read a good recommendation to pop them in the freezer overnight to start releasing the juices. I didn't have to do this for mine but it's a useful tip and saves time pricking each berry with a fork.Once you've done this you can start adding the sloes to the jars, a layer of sloes to a layer of sugar (I have seen recipes for both brown and caster sugar). Once the conatiner is full you can top it up with gin (this doesn't have to be any special brand of gin). You'll need to turn the jar once a week and it'll need to be left for about 2 -3 months in a cool dark place.


With the Hindu of festival of light upon us I decided to make some Diwali sweets to mark the occasion.
They went down a treat last year and as they are called sweets it means I can get the little man to eat dates without a second thought!!

250g dried dates
68g ground almonds
1/4 tin of condensed milk
desicated coconut

Roughly chop the dates up and put them into a heavy pan.
Add the condensed milk and ground almonds.
Heat gently and stir so that they don't catch on the bottom of the pan.

It doesn't take long before it forms a soft ball.

Take off the heat and leave to cool.
Once they are cool you can take out a spoonful at a time, roll into a ball and coat with coconut by rolling them in a dish.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010


A few pics from Halloween weekend.

Bread fingers

                                                                    Witches Brew