Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Steak Pie

I remembered to make steak pie today ... after forgetting yesterday until it was too late! So Parsnip soup, steak pie, trifle and a choice of scones, brownies, lemon curd biscuits or nutella ones are all on the me-n-u tonight.

The boys' dad is coming for tea now too as they are still unwell :(

They rested this afternoon whilst Piper helped me bake

She's turning into the semi-naked chef!

 Here she is rolling the dough - didn't stick either, what a clever stick!

 Here's a Ta-Daaaaaaaah! moment if ever there was one!

And what they looked like once done

Enjoying the fruits of her labours - she even helped with the crescents and we've packaged some up to take to Granny and Grandpa tomorrow - Dad has a mate that pops down of a Friday night for some tea, homebaking and a 'set the world to rights' sesh ... so it's nice to take the pressure from Mum now and again :D

I crushed some cardamom seeds to flavour the icing sugar we sprinkled on the lemon curd biscuits today though I may just add the crushed seeds to the biscuit dough the next time and I fecked up the scone mix, having doubled the biscuit quantity, I forgot I wasn't doing that with the scones and ended up having to add flour to a very wet eggy mixture *d'oh*
Doubling the mix worked well for both though :)

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

a day late but no short dollars

Due to being pawly, my biscuit trials had to wait til today.  I'm still not great but I am much better ...

So, the lemon curd biscuits ... I used a variation of Nigella Lawson's birthday biscuit recipe for the dough - I don't use vanilla essence as a rule, as my sugar is stored in a large kilner jar with shedloads of vanilla pods!

90g soft unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
1 medium egg
pinch of fine salt
half tspoon baking powder
210g plain flour
tspoon vanilla essence
mix the butter and sugar on a moderate speed until light and mouss-ey, then add the dry ingredients and egg. I add half flour mix, then egg, then other flour and mix slowly - if it takes a while to form into a ball of dough add a teaspoon of milk and it should all come together. Now you can chill the dough especially recommended for intricately shaped cutters but for these particular cookies you don't need to. 

I used a round cutter from a enormous mix box that is 10cm in diameter. I'd reckon the dough would be between 3-5mm thick at this stage.  This meant I could add a generous teaspoonful of lemon curd. I made seven generous dollops from 1 small ramekin of homemade curd (refrigerated).  I still had dough so I made 5 with Nutella. Mostly because I was curious and I didn't want to sacrifice any more lemon curd.

I folded them over then pinched the edges of the crescent together, taking care to not let the filling smoosh out.  I then flipped them and put them onto a prefloured baking sheet.  I baked them for about 12 minutes on 175 C in a fan assisted oven then dusted them with icing sugar and transferred them to the cooling rack.

The Nutella ones I dusted with icing sugar and cocoa - so we could tell the difference.

I sat down and checked my phone, as I knew Sigrid was coming over about 3.30 - this was 3.33 by the way...and she'd requested scones!  Eeeeek!  Half an hour later and these babies were just out the oven :) I like it when they  'laugh' ... and yes, they are huge :) and lovely with a nice smear of fresh butter melting in

I'd love some feedback and if you make the biscuits please let me know how you got on! Pix too if you feel generous :D

Sunday, 27 March 2011


After last night's bananary cupcakes the troops were kind of hacked off there wasn't any for them, so despite feeling like slightly lukewarm death, or at the very least Bill, er...Sky? Door! ... I caved and made them some banana muffin-cakes.  These were a bastardisation of the banoffee cupcakes and the banana and cinnamon muffins, and though I do say so myself, are light and fluffy with just the right amount of banana, spice and sweetness.  I used a combination of cinnamon and nutmeg with caster sugar for the sprinkling which prevented the nice doming shape I got last night, but it formed a wonderfully crunchy crust that is at odds with the moist soft sponge.  I would make them again if I remember to write down what I did instead!

I also made some microwave lemon curd.  I do love this recipe.  So quick, simple, yields just enough for a jar and a small pot (which you can give away) and tastes soooooo much better than shop bought! 

Microwave Lemon Curd

you will need:

1 large microwavable bowl or jug, glass is better but plastic works too
2 lemons, juice and grated rind.
3oz butter (90g)
3 eggs (medium)
10oz (300g) caster sugar

Melt the butter in the microwave for about 30 seconds.  Whisk the eggs and sugar together, then add to the melted butter.  Mix in the juice and grated rind of the lemons.  Whisk together and put into microwave on full power for 3 and a half minutes, whisking every minute until thick.  You may need to zap it for another minute, but whisk and check after 30 seconds.  When thick and lemon curdy pour into a sterilised prepared jar or ramekins. Leave to cool at room temperature, and store in the fridge.  If it lasts three days I'd be surprised, but I wouldn't keep it past a week :D

Of course the reason I wished to make curd, was not just to spread it thickly on my hot-buttered Oatilicious toast tomorrow morning, though that's a perk, it was to make a batch of lemon curd cookies.  I found a pic of some on a blog randomly yesterday and the path to the recipe was buggered.  So I'm going to have a play day tomorrow with some biscuit dough and dollops of lemon curd and will bring you much pictorial evidence of my machinations! I promise to take them in better light too :)

Saturday, 26 March 2011

No. Sleep. Til' Bakin'

It was a while since I'd seen Chris, one of our day managers who has moved on to nights.  What with time off, training, rotas and so forth.  So it was good to see him really beginning to blossom (he'd smack me for such a camp comment but I like it ;) )into the role.  I had promised I'd bake but he didn't say he was in!  So I know Lee and Chris are both in tonight.  I owe Lee some scones, as he missed out the last bake-in.  But tough, tonight it's banoffee cupcakes or nothing!

I bought another Hummingbird Bakery book, which is chock full of more amazing recipes that just scream out for being made.  This time the recipes mention there may be surplus to the amounts indicated, which is a great touch.  For, as an exact science baking can be, sometimes the results vary and you get much more than you bargained for.  These cupcakes call for a fiddly custard/con de leche (I'd assume the caramel condensed milk in the tin would be an ideal substitute for this) topping, but I opted for a slightly soured whipped cream topping with a hint of banana in it, topped with fudgy pieces.  I got 20 out of this recipe, so I'm taking 18 to work and the other two got the thumbs up from my tasters (Piper and Taede) 

The boys are still at their dad's but have opted to come home to sleep, which is a heck of a lot easier to be honest, as it's an early start tomorrow morning rugby wise. 
I feel terrible that they prefer to stay here, but I am a firm believer in them being able to make the choice, though sometimes I steer them in the right direction. 

Next weekend, as it is the wedding, (Tash's, not mine!), Steve will be staying over with us, and I'm sure, while he won't be looking forward to a noisy night in the boys' room (snore?  champions at it!) they will be happy to have him in their domain for a change!

So, having vegetated for a couple of hours after getting up  (couldn't sleep but had no energy!) I've now been fed, and am contemplating a nice bath before getting ready for work. 

See you! x

Friday, 25 March 2011


Sometimes, I seem to have a moment of clarity and rediscover why the people and things that matter to me most do just that.  This week has been full of moments like that!

First out of the starting blocks has to be Piper, who has just this moment managed to use her potty successfully whilst clothed!  No pressure kiddo ;)

If you hadn't already seen these pics, where've you been? ;D

Mafia child in training, I can see I'm going to have problems in the future ;D

Ewan, my eldest can, at the moment, swing from being super adorable big brother, to pain in the arse in the 60 nanoseconds it takes to say the word nanosecond.  Last night we both came to the realisation that we'd taken each other for granted.  Bless him, he can't choose whether he wants to be treated as a kid or as an adult ... a few hugs later, after a dose of really straight talking, we're better and so is his attitude!

Stuart is working really hard at the moment to be a better student and I need to find something which will reward him and show him how proud I am of the effort he's making (has someone swapped my sons' brains while they and I were sleeping? :D )

Taede went out to borrow a car from a friend at the weekend and came home having bought one!  His friend has been very considerate and generous, but even more generous are my parents who, after discovering what he'd done, instantly offered to pay the sum agreed with Colin. So all we need to do is road tax it and we're roadworthy again.  Just need to get my van sorted now. :D

My friends at work make it all worthwhile.  I love my job, but mostly because of those people with whom I work.  One of our team is getting married next weekend, and it was her Hen Night last weekend.  It was good to be out and see some of the gang in a more relaxed setting.  I only wish JoJo could have come too, but we went out for lunch on Wednesday and had a pleasant afternoon :)

Taede has the cold, and is the world's most stubborn man when it comes to taking potions and getting better.  Thankfully the days have been sunny and warm, so work has meant he's gotten better in the fresh air, but nights are currently sleepless.  I'm so glad I'm working tonight and tomorrow!  I'm finishing early on Saturday night (well, Sunday morning really) as there is rugby at Tillicoultry on Sunday morning and we've to be there for 1015hrs!  And don't forget that the clocks 'Spring' forward so there's an hour to be lost in bed this weekend!  It's another medal tournament, so I hope that the team can pick up from last weekend's defeat and keep their heads, hearts and feet in the game :D

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

New Clothes!

I have been awfully norty and bought yet another new frock, erm, and shoes...

I did buy both in the sale though, so I don't feel so tarred by the guilty stick!  And I've made a pair of earrings to match it.  So I'm almost set for my night out on Saturday.  Yes, this Saturday I'm not working, and will be part of a task force of ladies taking over the town and painting it scarlet, or possibly harlot, as  part of a Hen Night.  There's a meal at La Banca (no sangria for me - I'm off alcohol for Lent) and then the traditional pub crawl where Natasha will be selling kisses to strangers for money in her potty.  I'm going to have to re-jig the earrings though, I thought there was a jade green in the print but it's more yellow/cerise/magenta mix ... 
All I have to get now is a nice thick pair of tights! 

What? You want to see pics of the frock and shoes?

I've also been baking from the beautiful book Nicola sent me.  These are the second and third recipes I've tried from the book and so far they've been fabulous!
Chocolate Brownies have long since been a nemesis of mine, with only Nigella Lawson's recipe working for me in the past (but yielding far too many).  This time I think I overdid them (fan assisted oven grrrr) but only slightly, and I'll know next time not to make it over 12 minutes (I've started adding post it notes to the pages with notes)
The Banana and Cinnamon Muffins were supposed to have 4 bananas in it, but I only had three, and I didn't have buttermilk, so I mixed up cream/milk/lemon juice again - which made them super light!  Had I put in the four nanas, I'd have had enough mixture for 24 muffins, instead of the estimation of 12, as it was I had 20 ... not many left now though! I would also advocate adding a little more cinnamon than the 2 tsp the recipe calls for, but I suppose that's just personal taste.  There's no way they'd have made it to 30mins in the oven without being cremated, so definitely err on the 20 minute side of the recommended cooking time! And taste even better the second day!

So, this recipe book is certainly a hit, for when it comes to a single school of cooking (ie baking) I rarely find more than one or two favourites!

Piper's introduction to potty training is going well with few accidents, though she's reluctant to do more than pee in it!  Stagefright ;D
And after my night out, I get to get up early and take Ewan to his rugby away game at Glasgow Accies!  His dad is away at some karate shindig this weekend, so the boys won't be with him overnight like they normally are.  I'm guessing the boys are looking forward to a change in routine too.  Seems a shame all their time with their dad is packed into one part of the week then a whole while without!

Think I should go bake something else now, keep the troops happy :D

Friday, 11 March 2011

Yes, No, Maybe.

Been a week and a half this week! And today's my first work day!

Having had Mum's car I've felt it only fair to use it as much as possible, and have had the use extended as her arms are still too uncomfortable for her to drive.  I chauffeured her all day yesterday, and am glad to have done so, having seen how much discomfort she's in for myself!

Piper's potty training has gone on hold for now, but at least once a day she's getting on it and doing something so it's at least an introduction!

Was out for dinner with JoJo from work the other night and went to a local chinese restaurant where they do a buffet.  We had a grand night gossiping away, and the food was lovely, I was pleasantly surprised.


Sigrid was round last night and we watched Inception - I have to apologise to her because there wasn't much chatter (most unlike us!) and sadly, her hernia op date has been given only a few days before we were due to go on a weekend away beading and retreating! I'm going to admit to being utterly selfish and hoping she can have it rescheduled (preferablybefore) so we can have our away date! 

Beading has rather taken a back seat as has crafting from scratch.  I had some swatches to cut for Sigrid so her daughter can dream up something fancy for her Roman topic at school, and a onesie from which I had to remove the feet for Sigrid too so she can be an Eastery Bunneh for Red Nose Day next week! Still have her skirt to alter as well. Which I had planned to do yesterday but I didn't get home between taking the boys to school and teatime! 

Sigrid has given up snacking after dinner for Lent unless it's fruit or veg, and I have given up wine (shocker, I know) so last night we had two great big dishes of veg and fruit and some dips.  The Moroccan spiced hummus was a hit and I made a yoghurt and also a choccy dip for the fruit!  Boys have some of it for their lunch today too, so it's all good!

Sadly, Sigrid will be missing out on this year's Bead Retreat, as her hernia op is three days before it... how typically bummerish is that? Still, as there are four of us signed up for it, I'll still be doing chauffeur duties ;)

OTTBS are doing a birthday giveaway-, I've been nosing at it for a few months now, but only recently took part in the Monthly Moodboard Challenge, but take a hop over and get yer name down!  And take part if you feel like it, it's all great fun and just nice to have an outlet for that ever growing stash! ;)

Tuesday, 8 March 2011


oh it's been a fab day ... not!

Started last night!  Stuart got a less than glowing report from his teacher on his parents' evening.  All over homework!  He's been doing his homework but not handing it in, and mentioned of late he kept 'losing' it.  I bought a fancy folder for him and as we do the homework together, I know it's being done - I have no idea why he's too scared to hand it in!

Today it has been a lack of potty use from Piper (obstinate refusal, not like her) and Taede having to nip to the local DVLA office in Edinburgh, to get a British licence.  Which cost us fifty quid instead of twenty.  But didn't explain why my card wouldn't work at the checkout in Asda.   That'd be the bank, paying out a few fraudulent payments on our account!  Nothing over 20 quid, but none of them made by either of us!  Eek!  Luckily RBS is fairly on the ball, and the money will be reimbursed by their legal department pending investigation outcome.  I was on the phone to Virgin about my mobile that's buggered, and using another one with the sim card when the battery ran out!  The fact it's Fat Tuesday the boys wanted pancakes and so pancakes it was.  Taede enjoyed them the good ole British way with fresh lemon and sugar.  Boys and syrup never go far wrong! And I was supposed to meet with a friend from work tonight. And running ever so late! So we've rearranged for tomorrow night, even though its rugby night and we've set in motion that Stuart's homework will be completed whilst Ewan's away! 

I've finished a tubular peyote bracelet, which is the first time I've done that, only to find I should have used brick stitch! And here was me worrying that I'd feck it up by it not making it long enough! Ah well, at least I have some thing nice to embellish ...or hack up, I'm undecided!

Least my lappy loves me *strokes it gently*

So much

to do, and so little time!

I'm back on my own laptop now, and feeling comfortable again, though my fingers still weren't used to Taede's continental keyboard, now they're still hitting the wrong keys here!

Right, Stylish Blogger awards

Thanks ladies, it's nice to know I'm putting a smile on people's faces!

For whatever reason!

I've already linked back to Nic at Smitten Kitten, and now must direct you to Donna 'Delicate Sparkles' Sanders!

Seven random things about me.  This is a fairly new blog, so I'm sure there are things that some of you know and that some of you don't

... I lived in Canada for a short while, just on the 'burbs of Toronto.
... I used to dj on a radio station on internetland

...  when I was small my favourite sweetie was rhubarb rock. This was primarily because my favourite snack at home was a stalk of rhubarb and a poke of sugar!
... Piper is the spitting image of me when I was her age (poor wee scone!)
... I'm happy with my lot
... I'm an only child
... I dropped out of Art School

Blogs I follow ... er, well, I'm a sneaky bugger and don't 'follow' blogs, instead I have them bookmarked in my favourites and dip in and out from time to time.

DJ Adam
I've followed this chap for a long time, and consider him quite something.  Not quite sure what though!  He's the most egotistical human I know, but blow me if he hasn't overcome the most badly dealt hand and come out of it not only smelling of roses but the most amazingly well adjusted narcissist I know! But for Pete's sake don't tell him! ;)

For an injection of reality and beautiful inspiration in your daily beading life, this blog is shaping up to be a must-see place to be!  The monthly colour challenge alone is worth a watch, and joining in is simple!  I love the fact I'm being inspired again by things that have lurked in my stash as well as the serious styling that these beaders have!

Of Obliciousness that is.  Lisa's blog is varied, creative and a great peek into life.  What's more she's a local lass!

Delicate Sparkles
Donna Sanders writes about life and beadyness, and soon we'll all get to meet thanks to her organising a beading retreat in Derbyshire later on in the year for fellow like minded bead nuts!

Laney Mead
creates the most beautifully diverse lampworked beads I've had the pleasure to view,  and she's fun!

in the Shed, runs a great little bead enterprise, as well as a forum where beady botherers can get together and feel somewhat normal about their addiction as well as crafting her way out a paper poke!

(do you see a pattern emerging here?)

Smitten Kitten
Nicola does inspirational things with normal components creating fun, kitsch and innovative jewellery as well as naughty things with cupcakes that's just droolworthy!

(okay, this one is a little different, and may not be to your taste)

The sex blog, says it all really, a conundrum of photos, art and written erotica, as well as insightful discussions and humorous opinions on all aspects of sex and porn.

Ribbonry and other whimsicle fluffery
This is just eye candy for me, I couldn't begin to do this sort of thing at all, but the colours are lovely

No Pants
I'm thinking of challenging myself for this in the summer, mostly because I think I could whip up some nice summery numbers without too much tailoring and get away with it! And also, because I think I may unleash my tree trunks without too much comment then!  I ear breeks far to much! :D

Seedy Beader
I know Aster through Bead Buddies, and it's great to see she's started a blog, and with her expecting, I'm looking forward to seeds and more from this talented chickadee!

Crikey Aphrodite
Not really the most bloggy of blogs, but a damn fine excuse to go browse through the rest of the site and all that corset eye candy!

Cake Wrecks
I love this blog, it makes me feel better about my baking disasters, although still slightly horrified people charge for this!

has more than just little treats in store, but lots of huge ones!

Ruthie's Ramblings
Another beader's blog with insight into what drives this talented miss, and an eye for the exotic!

Another Sooz, equally as talented and antipodean, I stumbled into this blog recently after looking for some bag patterns, it does annoy me slightly that what once was free, is now charged for, but everyone is entitled to make a living at what they enjoy :)

Phew!  That was tough, and now I have to comment to them that I'm loving their blogs?  Sheesh, you don't ask much do you Stylish Blogger Awards?! I will get to it, I promise....

In the mean time I must off and scrub the tippex from my child's nails....she found a bottle of it whilst at her Grandparents' house yesterday with her Daddy - who was installing the pc he'd rebuilt for my parents. He thought she was downstairs with said Granny and Grandpa and they thought she was upstairs with her Daddy.  In point of fact she'd sneaked into Dad's office and found a bottle of white correction fluid, and as it looked just like a bottle of nail varnish, she just had to paint her fingernails along with a matching set of piggies....going to have to get her to paint mine! ;)

Friday, 4 March 2011


Last night Taede, in his infinite wisdom, decided to start repairing the busted fan on my old laptop!  Just when I was winding down I got all wound up so off I bumbled up the stairs (ok, I stomped, but I'm not proud of it!) and after seeing Jane Lock's ring the other night at Bead and Banter decided to whip up a variation. 

I don't often work with size 8's but this zipped up quickly, and looked as mean as my mood!  It's a tad snug though, as I made the peyote strip big enough to fit the intended finger (yes, THAT one) and after the simple embellishment, it had tightened up considerably! 

But, the project I am working on is so lovely and girly, I just couldn't face making that whilst in a strop! For once the thread didn't knot every time, and I judged enough for the job in hand....something that never happens when I'm not really in the mood!

I used to be in awe of Sigrid having many projects on the go but I'm beginning to see where it comes in handy :oD

Thursday, 3 March 2011

more monthlies!

I had started with a bead mat full of sumptious sparklies yesterday and have made one side of a clasp (don't roll your eyes!) and started a rivoli flower.  I liked my flower so much I decided to turn it in to a ring that is to compliment the idea I have in my head for a cuff style bracelet.  So I've completed the ring, and now have the RAW(r) base for my cuff and have started the embellishment.  It's going to be a while before it's ready for photo taking, but I have taken a picture of the ring. It's on a band of even count peyote and the flower beads are from a bead soup mix I bought yonks ago, and I only had a scant amount left.  Which is a pity as I can't make another rivoli the same ...

I'm feeling a bit crappy today though, I was stuck in a cold rugby field for longer than I'd anticipated last night with just a T-shirt and a pair of joggers, thinking I was going to make it to the gym.  When I got home, after a day from Heck (I'm the dolt that went in to the supermarket where I work, bought thirty quids worth of groceries and then discovered despite having the purse and the handbag, I had no blinking bank card! So instead of the fast early dinner, it was a rushed affair after having to weave my way back up to the house and back down to the store through rush hour traffic!), I couldn't face turning up late to the gym and the adrenalin that held me up just ebbed and I felt like a washed out rag.  In hindsight I think I should have jumped into the bath and tarted up the heat but I didn't and am suffering today.

Oh well, live and learn.  Might make some scones soon, after having a bath now, most probably with Piper!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Time of the Month

when all the colour/moodboard challenges change over.  So Over on Bead Buddies, they (and I) have been quick off the mark!  There's an alphabetical theme to the colour choices, and this month the colours are Carrot, Charcoal and Chrome.

I have some super dentelles in my stash after being tempted by them on The Bead Shop Scotland's site.  I bought Hyacinth, why, I will never know, but I dug them and all my other coordinating beads out and left a miasma of packets on my bead table.  I didn't appreciate how marvellous these swaros actually are until I had squeezed one from the packet.  Such a depth of brilliance, pity they need to be beaded 

So, in the afternoon while waiting on a call from the other half I knocked out a little cheeky earring.  Sadly despite much trying, a visit to Bead and Banter at the Stockbridge venue of the aforementioned bead store, where the muse still escaped me I was unable to recreate a partner.  It was even suggested I take two separate photos of the same earring and 'shop them!  I was sorely tempted and inhibited only by the fact the lappy is still out of commission whilst awaiting a new fan to be installed.

So this morning, after snipping the damn thing apart about five times yesterday, Piper demanded Toy Story 2 and whilst Woody and the gang thwarted chicken suited villainy, I knocked out another earring.  Funny, it was playing yesterday as well.  It turns out that my muse is Pixar created, or at least, sated by Pixar's creations!

These are the offending earrings - with Miyuki delicas, in some sort of AB coated orange and a matt yet AB coated dark grey, hiacynth dentelles (11mm) and new wild heart shape charm in black diamond both by swarovski with size 15s silver lined clear seeds and sterling silver earwires.  I'd be more specific, but it is one of my pet hates that the bead shop don't list the code numbers or colours on their packaging!

I'm due to go to the gym tonight with Sigrid and her friend Julie, and have managed to get an mp3 player set up and working.  Now if it was just as easy to do the same with my body!  Sigrid suggested that we do Friday night as well, but just prior to work is not a fun option, and I couldn't articulate why doing it prior to working a nightshift was so much more of a horrifying prospect than doing it after work (which is what she does).  I think it's the fact that I am jiggered (it's a word, honest) after a 9 hour shift working hard in a physically demanding role without having slogged my guts out on the aerobic machines before.  That and Friday evening is the only time I seem to spend with the bubs before Sunday as I'm asleep during Saturday and they are away to their Dad's on a Saturday evening, with Sunday being a time of reuniting at rugby.  So, yeah, I think I'll be missing out a trip to the pain chamber before the hellhole

Now all I have to do is link up with all the other places that I frequent and see what they have on the boil as far as colours and themes are concerned.  I hope one of them has lime, I bought lime stuff last night! 

Thanks go to Nic for her Stylish Blogger Award!

Catcha on the flipside whilst I work out what I'm going to wear and my acceptance speech, er blogpost!