Monthly Archives: November 2011

Midweek Munchies: Jam Tarts

There is something truly wonderful about Jam Tarts. I don’t know if it is the simple wonder of having a small open pie that you can fit in your mouth in one fail swoop, or the fact that it bellows nostaliga and they are the perfect elevenses treat.

I whack together a batch of these on days when life is getting a little bit too serious and jam is the only way to cure grown-up behaviour.

Ingredients

  • 180g plain flour
  • 60g icing sugar
  • 120g butter
  • 2 egg yolks (or 1 egg yolk + 2 tsps of water)
  • A jar of jam (I always use my surplus amounts of homemade jam, but I won’t tell if you use shop bought)

Method

  1. You need to make the pastry early as it needs a good hour and a half of chilling.
  2. Sift flour and sugar into a bowl and then quickly rub in the butter. Make sure you only use your fingers for this, as your palms make it all too hot. You can ensure this by lifting your hands up out of the bowl as you rub in the butter. This could get messy so be careful.
  3. Add enough of your yolk mixture to make the pastry come together.
  4. Flatten out into a disc, wrap in clingfilm and pop in the fridge for an hour to chill.
  5. Roll out your pastry onto a floured surface and cut your circles out using a cutter (or the top of a pint glass works quite well as I found out at Uni!). Make as many rounds as you can and place them into bun trays.
  6. Put back in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 200ºC or Gas Mark 6.
  8. Remove Bun trays from fridge and dollop in a small amount of jam into each round. DON’T PUT TOO MUCH IN. You may think it looks meager and sad, but trust a girl who has on more than one occasion, had to hack her jam tarts out of their tins due to jam-like cement that has overflowed.
  9. Bake for 15 minutes. You may need a little longer or a little less dependant on your oven. Don’t let the tarts get too brown, just golden.
  10. Take bun tins out of the oven and let the tarts cool in the tins.
  11. Fish the tarts out of the tins when completely cool and serve.

YUM! You could make these a little more festive by using Cranberry Jam!

How To: Make Plaited Rug Bowl

My plaited bowl rug really came about by accident, I was aiming to make another rag-rug trivet for hot-from-the-oven dishes on the dining table, but due to how I sewed this bad boy, I’ve come out with a handy little fabric bowl for my overflowing bangle collection.

This bowl began as one of P’s old tshirts that had past its prime, I made a small snip in the hem and ripped it around and around, spiralling up the tshirt (more luck than skill!) to make one really really long strip that I then cut into 3 shorter.

I then plaited it together and began to hand sew it on itself around and around like a snail shell. It wouldn’t lay flat, so I decided to go with it and create a bowl.

I guess the lesson I learnt during this little project is to be adaptable! Things don’t always turn out the way you expect.

Sunday Saviours #24

I have been on the hunt for things that make me smile this week. What with my American friends celebrating Thanksgiving this week, I have looked for the little things that make me glad to be around. So if you are feeling down, like I was most of this week, remember, there is always reason to smile and to be thankful.

Like bucking traditon and looking fabulous doing it.

Like remembering my feelings towards food.

Like geekiness is just purely happiness with a theme.

Like a cup of anything at the right time and in the right place is truly magical.

Like singing in the rain.

Like fixing a booboo.

Like friends being the best medicine.

and like realising that even though life is shocking right now…. you never know what might be round the corner.

Happy Sunday everyone…I’m off to munch some cake!

Love!

Allright Gawjus!?

If you haven’t read (or contributed) to Allright Gawjus, you are truly, truly missing out. Men say some actually hilarious things to women on dating websites…. I just wish I’d saved some of the actual corkers I got before I met P.

Pop over and have a giggle.

Midweek Munchies: Banging Chilli & Mash

P complains sometimes that we don’t eat a lot of meat week to week in our evening meals.

The reason meat is so lightly peppered into our diet is due to the fact that it is so expensive. I even pad out of beef mince with breadcrumbs so it goes further, like my grandparents used to. Vegetables are so much cheaper, but I gave in this week as sometimes you do need a bit of meat.

This recipe was born out of P’s need for meat, and my unwillingness to spend too much on our food bill.

Banging Chilli & Mash

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 4 Sausages (of your choice – I used bog standard Pork)
  • 1 400g tin of Kidney beans
  • 1 400g tin of Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded  (but throw in a few seeds if you like it hot hot!)
  • A good old whoosh of Worcester Sauce
  • Potatoes (enough to mash for 4)
  • chives
  • Knob of butter
  • Glug of milk

Method

  1. First of all,  get your potatoes peeled, chopped small and in the pan, bringing to the boil. They will need to boil for 20 minutes. They can do that whilst you crack on with the bangers.
  2. Chop up your sausages into small discs and fry in a teensy amount of oil….because they let out LOADS of their own.
  3. Drain off the excess oil (into an empty can to cool before you bin it…not down the drain you naughties!) and remove from the heat to add your kidney beans and tinned toms.
  4. Return to a lower heat, add your chilli and Worcester sauce, giving it a good stir.
  5. Now let it simmer for 10 minutes and turn your attention back to your spuds.
  6. Drain and mash your spuds, adding the butter and milk to make it creamy and then add your chopped chives. I use frozen chives that I have salvaged from my plant weekly. It defrosted pretty quick and doesn’t make the mash go green which I prefer.
  7. Serve and enjoy.

I know the recipe says Serves 4, and we are only 2, but P had seconds and I used some in a wrap for my lunch today. Was even yummy cold!

THRIFTY – I bought a pack of 8 sausages, which meant that I still have another 4 left, making this quite a cheap, yet meaty meal! You could even add an odd chopped slice of bacon or two if you are feeling flush!

How To: Survive a childless trip to Disneyland: My Top 5 Tips

Alright, alright…I know Disneyland is meant for small children, but having never been to visit as a small child, P decided that as my 25th brithday present, I had earned enough good girl points to be taken on a 4-day Disney adventure to France and the world of Mickey and Friends.

I realised very quickly that 95% of people at Disney are there with sprogs in tow, and you do sort of get odd looks and whispers when you appear childless….like you’ve lost yours. So for those heading out to Disney minus little ones, here are my top tips.

1: Go during the week and avoid the Summer Holidays

Well, come on. If you are going without kids, lets face facts. It’s cheaper to go when the kiddies are at school. We went from Thursday to Sunday, and I cannot tell you the difference. Well I can, on Thursday it took us 5 minutes to queue for a ride, that on Sunday had a 80 minute wait. We got more done on Thursday afternoon than we did on BOTH Saturday and Sunday.

2: Get in, Get out.

When you arrive, check in, dump your bags, and head on out. The fact that you aren’t catering your pace for smaller legs or having to lugging a buggy about means that you can truly vamp up the pace between rides.

3: Learn the back routes

There are loads of walkways between lands, and once we had seen the parades, we stuck to these like glue around parade times as Main Street gets so horrendous that you can barely move. It’s amazing how many people stick to the main areas, there is LOADS to explore! This is also a good way to avoid masses of small people during the Fantillusion parade, as Disney shuts down all the lights in the park and some parents forget that kiddies move and aren’t able to be seen by most adults. P began a plan to create a glowstick hat for our future children for this very event.

4: Do what YOU want

If you want to drink large cockatils and then watch the Disney Princesses trog up and down and all over Main Street, do it. If you want to hit up Space Mountain 5 times straight after breakfast, do it. Nobody under 18 (or a height limit) is there to stop you.

5: Check your embarrass-a-trons at the front door

Were P & I the only two adults queuing to meet Mickey without a child? Yes. Were we embarrassed? No. I wanted a picture with Mickey and there was NO WAY I was leaving Disneyland without one.

Push your embarrassment boundaries, you won’t regret it.

I left ‘Crush’s Coaster’ yelling about how much the shark terrified me and it’s a FINDING NEMO ride. FINDING NEMO. 8 year olds laughed at me, but I then got onto rides they were too small for and nobody told me when it was bedtime. Karma.

PS: I have a SERIOUS issue with sharks…for Halloween this year I made P watch horror films and he made me watch a Shark Documentary…I find them scarier than any horror film on the market.

So they are my top 5 tips for going to Disneyland without sprogs. I haven’t included the sensible things like comfy shoes, foot cream, warm clothing (I took legwarmers that doubled up as extra sleeves in the evening) and a good leg stretching regime for each evening, because you should do those with or without darlings of your own.

Any tips for visiting theme parks you’d like to share? Child-friendly or Child-free!

Calling all Sponsors! Have I mentioned for FREE?

It is very near that month containing Christmas, and despite being nowhere near ready and or even started my Christmas shopping, I’m on the scout for some brand new sponsors, to join my current beautiful sponsors, on this very blog! Come one, come all!

And the most fabulous thing is…it’s absolutely FREEEEEE!

Please check my ‘Sponsor Info’ page for more information.

At the beginning of every month – all my sponsors will be featured in a fabulous group post, have an individual tweet about them and have their button/ad placed in my sidebar. Not bad for a freebie eh? Click my Sponsor Info tab to find out more!

Muppetastic!

I am currently in Disneyland in Pareeee! I shall be putting my face in all things formerly Jim Henson.

I LOVE THE MUPPETS! That is all.

Midweek Munchies: Chickpeas as a Snack Food?

I stumbled on this fahhhhhbulous recipe for Sweet & Salty Roasted Chickpeas by Stef over at The Cupcake Project and I cannot wait to get home after our trip to Disney (I leave tomorrow morning! Eeeee!) to have a go at these as an alternative to popcorn.

Stef’s blog is wonderful and I urge you to head over there and get lost for an hour or two.

Belt Storage

Is it just me or are belts the WORST thing to store?

I recently came up with the best solution for me.

My belts already live in an box in a drawer, but the fact they were resembling a box of snakes was irritating me beyond belief!

I keep all the elastic bands that hold our shop-bought vegetables together (apparently my craziness knows no bounds), and I use these to keep those wily snake-belts under wraps.

Just roll the belts around the buckles and then secure with a band…this is great for when you pack them in a suitcase too!

Any handy hints with belts to share?