Thursday, 30 October 2008

Halloween Cupcakes

One of our half-term projects was to make a batch of Spider cupcakes for Kay's Halloween Party.

We found the idea in a copy of Good Food Magazine

The eyes are made from black and white liquorice allsorts, we had to buy quite a big pack to get enough of these. A dot of black icing turns them into eyes.

Boxed and ready to go, they look rather cute and friendly. We only had enough liquorice strands for 12 sets of legs.

A happy cook.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

The Case of the Missing Chutney!

I have this fascination of making chutney! Everytime I finish making one batch I have the offer of "Do you want any apples?" Looking for a recipe for Apple Chutney I found a cut out one from Prima among my many ripped out papers.

'Spicy Apple Chutney', sounded great! It's the onion seeds and chilli flakes that make it spicy.

Here is the recipe:-

In a pan, slowly cook 3 sliced onions with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon black onion seed, black pepper and a pinch of salt for about 40 minutes.

Add a pinch of chilli flakes, 3 large peeled Bramleys, plus one peeled Cox apple, all cut into chunks, 400mls/14fl.oz cider vinegar and 250g/9 oz. demerara sugar.

Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for an hour until thick. Spoon into sterilised jars.

Bless Husband No. 2. Off he goes each time to track down onion seed spice and yet more cider vinegar and demerera sugar!

Wow! says he, that's not bad at all!

Yet again, from Daughter No 1. Do I want some more Apples? Mother-in-law has some more going.

Husband No. 2 says "I wouldn't mind, but she keeps giving it all away" Oh! What Joy!

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

More Spider Rhymes

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness! This is the song I told Angela about, which I used to sing with my seven year olds when we were doing a topic on Mini-Beasts in my teaching hay-days. I love her photograhs of the orb webs ( go to her food website for another) and just recently my garden was bejewelled with them after the early morning autumnal mists. My little grandson looked carefuly at them and I showed him the fat Garden spiders too.
Try Again
from 'Tinder-box' published by A & C Black
Have you seen the little spider in the corner?
She will spin and she will weave and she will fall;
The thread is thin and breaks , but however long it takes,
She will hang her shiny web upon the wall.
So I'll imitate the spider in the corner,
If at first I don't succeed I'll try again.
Though the way is very long, I will say, when things go wrong,
If I try I'm bound to get there in the end.

Harvest Time

My home town is full of hidden gardens. They thrive and bloom behind high walls and street buildings in the ancient parts of the centre, tucked away out of site, mostly unbeknown to the passer by. Over the years I have become aware of some of these secret places but one gorgeous summer morning in August, Sharon (otherwise known as Kindred Spirit) and I spent a few hours not in a hidden garden but on an allotment out of sight to the motorist or walker, behind a row of unassuming Victorian houses on the edge of town. Wow! What a little paradise!! Angela (Genuine Friend, Quilter Extraordinaire and doer all things creative) and her green fingered husband Chris were off on their first (and ONLY HA! HA! HA!!!) cruise, leaving their allotment laden with goodies. Sharon and I were warmly and generously invited to harvest as much as we liked of Chris’s hard graft.
The agreed morning was one of the few perfect days of this summer – hot but not too hot, and still, with all the scents and sounds of an idyllic summer’s day. Clad in wellies and old clothes we walked along the rough path to find the small group of allotments, all loving tended, all different and all hidden away. A field with pigs, sheep and a cow added to the feeling of green space and peace. No one was about. We started with our little buckets and picked dozens of perfectly shaped, mouth-watering, ripened raspberries, eating several as we picked, marvelling at the quality, quantity and taste of the fruit. We could not believe our luck!! Chris’s polythene bags and our presence did not stop the blackbird from grabbing his fill of the raspberries too.
We dug up tender little potatoes, identified male and female courgettes, picked sweet peas, and harvested broad beans enjoying the scent, sight and touch of them all. We felt torn between taking too much and leaving Chris’s hard work to rot, so we opted for the former.
Sharon and I sat on the bench by the shed and decided it was a little bit of heaven – a place to come, to sit, to contemplate, to close our eyes, to soak up the sun and dream – a place to take time out with a flask and a good book. The whole morning gave us great pleasure and took Sharon’s mind off her hyster-sisters ( !!!

Clap hands,
Granny comes,
With her basket full of plums,
All for Louis!
Victoria plums have to be the most delicious of fruit especially when they're your own straight off the branch. They are also so beautiful.

I went to gather beans for supper and Louis being an outdoor child was already in the garden. He followed me into the fruit cage and I gave him the basket and asked him to fill it with the beans. He was not saying real words at this stage but he understood every word, had only be walking for a short time and so was was still wobbly. Then I told him to take them to Mummy. Well! His little body flew into action and he carried the basket forty yards, manoeuvred it onto the patio, up two steps and into the snug. His face shows how much he wanted to give the beans to his Mum and for that reason I just love this photograph.