Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Diner, Ganton Street London and the Regent Street Festival

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Oreo Marshmallow Fluff Cheesecake

Whenever I buy a jar of marshmallow fluff for a recipe I end up eating the whole jar  - not in one go, but it doesn't usually end up being used in the recipe I intended!

This time around I bought two jars so I could definitely make the recipe I wanted! My husband loves Oreos and I decided to make an Oreo cheesecake and use the marshmallow fluff in the filling.

I kind of made the recipe up as I went along and it didn't set particularly firm - you need to eat this with a spoon rather than a fork - but it tasted really good!

See the recipe below..









You need:
1 packet Oreos
50g butter
213g jar marshmallow fluff
200g tub soft cheese
100ml crème fraiche
100g icing sugar

 
Crush the Oreos either with a rolling pin or in a blender. Melt the butter in a small pan over a low heat or in the microwave and stir in the crushed Oreos.

Press into the bottom of a 7 or 8 inch loose-bottomed cake tin.

In a large bowl, mix together the marshmallow fluff, soft cheese, crème fraiche and icing sugar and spread over the crushed Oreo base.

Allow to set in the fridge, ideally overnight.


I'm sharing this with Baking Crumbs and Casa Costello's Bake of the week (even though there is no actual baking involved!) and CookBlogShare.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Meal Planning Monday 2018 Week 29

I had a great weekend with a friend visiting going into London twice, once with my daughter and once leaving her with my husband - we went to CatFest and the Regent Street Festival. While I was there I had macaroni cheese in a restaurant which reminded me of how much I like it, so I'd like to make it again soon - though with the weather so hot at the moment we will probably be barbecuing a lot again!

Monday - barbecue

Tuesday - out for a family birthday

Wednesday - barbecue

Thursday - stir-fry for me, chicken chargrills for him

Friday - gammon, new potatoes and apple sauce

Saturday
Lunch- bacon sandwich
Dinner- barbecue

Sunday
Lunch- crumpet pizzas
Dinner- macaroni cheese and sausage

Monday, July 9, 2018

Meal Planning Monday 2018 Week 28

It's too hot to think - and to cook! Unfortunately my husband doesn't eat salads or I would consider doing those for dinner every night. Instead we plan to barbecue a lot.

Since having a baby I don't have a lot of time to prepare food so while I'd love to be trying out new barbecue recipes every time, I'm more likely to be found ordering ready-marinated meat and ready-to-cook things from the supermarket, but there are a few easy but tasty things we can do to liven it up a bit.

Monday
Tuna steak, hot dog and potato salad for me, beef kebabs and hot dog for him

Tuesday
Burgers plus chicken kebabs

Wednesday
Watching the football, like most of England - which starts around the time my husband gets home from work so I'll put something easy in the oven from the freezer

Thursday
Burgers, mozzarella sticks, potato salad, garlic bread

Friday
tuna steak, beef steak for him, chicken kebabs

Saturday
Lunch - I'm out with a friend at CatFest (Google it!)
Dinner - barbecued whole chicken, sausages, mozzarella sticks

Sunday
Lunch - I'm out again with friends so will get food while I'm out
Dinner - probably something easy from the freezer

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Pink Unicorn card - Be a Unicorn in a Field of Horses


Unicorns are a really big thing at the moment - I can't really remember when it started but suddenly they are everywhere, from toys to children's clothing to cakes to stationery. Late one night in between feeding the baby I was browsing the internet and decided to look for a rubber unicorn stamp for card making. I thought there would be loads but couldn't find any I liked until I came across this unmounted one from China. It's quite large so just right for the main element of a card.

The backing paper is from a set called Glitter Girl which was from Hobbycraft only a couple of months ago but they don't seem to stock it any more unfortunately. The frames and banner are die cuts I bought pre cut from Ebay (getting out my die cutting machine seems like hard work at the moment!). I stamped the unicorn and coloured it in with Promarker and stamped the sentmiment from a separate set of unicorn-related sentiment stamps.

I'm sharing this with Penny Black where the theme is 'things with wings' as unicorns are usually depicted with wings; Crafting with Dragonflies where the theme is animals; Crafty Friends which is fairy/fantasy; Send a Smile 4 Kids which is anything goes for kids; and the Fairy and Unicorn challenge where the theme is mythical.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Trip of a Lifetime - exploring the Galapagos Islands

Monday, July 2, 2018

Meal Planning Monday 2018 Week 27

I can't believe we are more than half way through the year - I don't know where the time has gone! My little girl is now 4 months old, it seems a lifetime ago that we brought a brand new baby home from the hospital as she has grown and changed so much. Her latest thing is blowing raspberries and as I started writing this with baby S on her playmat at my feet, where I thought I could leave her while I did my meal plan, I looked down and she'd learnt to shuffle and had moved several inches off the playmat! I love that she is learning new things all the time - even if it means I have even less time to myself! And by 'time to myself' I mean time to stay on top of housework and so on... it's rare that I get any 'me time'!

Last week's meal plan was a bit of a write-off. We planned to barbecue a lot and on the first night, the food burnt and was totally ruined, because our gas barbecue had a build-up of fat that caused huge nearly-take-your-eyebrows-off flames. The next day when it had cooled down my husband took the barbecue apart after he got home from work, and the next day I spent an hour cleaning it while I was napping, but an awful lot of elbow grease and four cleaning cloths going in the bin later, it looked like I'd barely started. So I gave up and booked a professional oven and barbecue cleaning company, who were supposed to come on Friday afternoon - meaning we'd be able to use the barbecue once in the week at least, plus the weekend. On Friday afternoon I got a call saying the guy's van had broken down and he couldn't come! I couldn't help but wonder if he just didn't want to do a final job at 4pm on a blazing hot Friday.. they are now coming back on Monday so hopefully we can barbecue next week. I ended up freezing some of the food we were going to cook last week but also having to throw some of it out, which was a shame!

For lunches this week I will try to mainly have salads!

Monday
Barbecue - pizza and sausages with salad, barbecued new potatoes

Tuesday
Barbecue - burgers, fish kebabs, chicken kebabs ,halloumi

Wednesday
Barbecue - sea bass with this sauce for me, steak for him, halloumi, potato salad/ cous cous

Thursday
Something different for a change...lasagne from my batch cooking for me, chicken nuggets and chips for him

Friday
May as well barbecue again! Pork loin steaks for me with couscous, burger/sausage for him, mozzarella sticks

Saturday
Lunch - ham and cheese toasties
Dinner - Barbecue lamb with salsa verde from this recipe for me, steak for him

Sunday
Lunch- bacon sandwich
Dinner - Whole barbecued chicken with limonata, potato wedges, salad and Weber chocolate fondants

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Handmade Peacock Anniversary Card

 
I recently signed up to the Hunkydory Craft club - Hunkydory is a craft brand that is particularly known for ready made toppers and die cut images and sentiments. Their club gives you a discount when you buy, but the reason I signed up was because you could get a set of toppers for only the £2.99 cost of postage as a new member.

The set I got included flamingos, birds - and peacocks. I decided to use one of the peacock images to make an anniversary card for my husband for our second anniversary as we'd had peacocks at our wedding.


You can read more about the venue and our day in my post from 2016 on our wedding at the Larmer Tree Gardens.

To make the card, I chose a larger than usual A5 card blank and covered it with a piece of the cardstock that came with the Hunkydory set. It had a strip of a different pattern across part of the card which I positioned along the bottom of my card and added a border from the same set. The peacock and frame are all different elements from the Hunkydory set too.

Finally I added a glittery thick card word saying 'anniversary' which I think I bought from Tesco (though I could be wrong!).

I'm sharing this with:

Daring Cardmakers where the theme is weddings or anniversaries

TGIF challenges has the theme 'all that glitters'

Alphabet Challenge - G is for great outdoors, and the peacock represents our outdoor wedding

and at Tuesday Taggers it's 'things with wings'.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Meal Planning 2018 Week 26

It's a scorcher this week! I expect we will be barbecuing a fair bit but these days I don't really have the time to make different recipes and it's more a case of just ordering meat. But I don't really like to eat that much meat and never really eat any veg when we barbecue (I only like salad when I have it as a meal in itself, I somehow can't make myself eat it on the side at a barbecue!). So I need to factor in a couple of other meals when I can eat some veg and try to find some easy healthy barbecue recipes as well!

Monday
Barbecue - including cauliflower with a spice rub, from an Ocado recipe and possibly also chicken fattoush

Tuesday
Spaghetti Bolognese to use up mince from Sunday's tacos

Wednesday
Barbecue

Thursday
Chicken chargrills and mashed potato for him, chicken cacciatore for me

Friday
Barbecue

Saturday
Lunch - my husband is working today so I will have a sandwich or salad
dinner- he will probably want to barbecue again assuming I've been able to restock food!

Sunday
Lunch - fresh pasta
Dinner - chicken tray bake

Restaurant review: Finch's pub, Finsbury Square, London

Friday, June 22, 2018

Lotus Biscoff Chocolate Mousse

 
If you haven't discovered Lotus Biscoff spread yet, I urge you to try it now. The little caramelised biscuits you often get with a cup of coffee in cafes have been turned into a spread that is the consistency of Nutella, but tastes like biscuits!

The company's website suggests it as a breakfast food spread on toast which I think might be a bit sweet - I don't even eat Nutella on toast though I do have it on croissants, but otherwise I use it in desserts. Or eat it straight from the jar with a spoon!



I wanted to make an easy dessert for a barbecue with family and found a recipe for Lotus Biscoff and chocolate mousse on the Ocado app. The recipe had  step missing - it didn't tell you what to do with the egg whites that were listed in the ingredients - so I took a punt, and will explain here what I did.

I didn't buy any of the actual Lotus Biscoff biscuits as they are for decoration only and make the recipe quite expensive if you need to buy a whole packet only to use a few, unless you are going to eat the rest of the biscuits later!

The recipe says it serves 8; I did it for 5 and for 8 people the portions would be quite small, so you could use this quantity to serve 6



You need:
200g Lotus Biscoff smooth spread (see link above)
200g dark chocolate
5 eggs
200ml whipping cream - I used double cream as I couldn't get whipping cream and it worked fine

Heat the chocolate and Biscoff spread in the microwave until melted- I did on the 5 setting (medium heat) for 2 minutes.

Separate the egg and in one bowl, beat the egg whites with a whisk until stiff and set both whites and yolks aside. Whip the cream and set aside.

Beat the egg yolks one at a time into the chocolate mixture then fold in the beaten egg whites. Finally fold in the whipped cream.

Spoon into individual serving dishes and chill for a few hours until set; these will also keep overnight in the fridge.

The mousse was very rich but really light in texture, this is definitely something to make again!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Focus on the Journey, not the Destination handmade card


This card has an inspirational sentiment that would be suitable for a birthday or someone who is going travelling - though I actually gave it to my dad for Father's Day.

It's made from free gifts that came with a recent issue of Creative Stamping magazine. I stamped a white card blank with some of the clear stamps that came with this issue - one was a train ticket, one was a passport stamp, one was a postmark that you might get on a postcard and so on. I stamped them in different coloured inks randomly over the card, then cut a circle from a piece of paper that came with the magazine with a map design. I cut a border from the same paper and stuck it around the edge of the card.

I stamped the plane stamp onto brown paper and cut around it, and stamped the sentiment onto white card which I mounted onto brown card and added those to the card as well.

I'm sending this to My Time to Craft where the challenge is a stamped background, Simply Create Too where the theme is 'for a male' and Ellibelle's Craft Wednesday where the theme is 'make it masculine'; Always Fun Challenges - for a male/dad and Stamps and Fun where the theme is travel and holidays.                 

Friday, June 15, 2018

Don't Worry Bee Happy card

Monday, June 11, 2018

Meal Planning Monday 2018- week 24

We had a very successful weekend at my parents - I say successful because it was the furthest S had been in a car (she's now 14 weeks old) and we didn't need to stop en route, she slept really well in the travel cot and apart from posseting milk all over the dress my mum bought her, and met her cousin C for the first time.

As it was a busy weekend I hadn't so much as thought about food for this week though we do have plenty in the freezer, and being on maternity leave means I can go and do more food shopping whenever I want - though the little lady does have a schedule of activities I need to fit it around, like baby massage and My Gym!

Monday
Leftovers from the weekend

Tuesday
I'm taking S into work to meet everyone today so want a dinner that won't take me long - I'll do something from the freezer with chips

Wednesday
mackerel fillet with new potatoes and garlic based on this recipe for me; chicken fajitas for him (bit of a faff to cook two totally different things but my husband doesn't eat fish!)

Thursday
Lasagne from my batch cooking in the freezer, and beef grillsteak for him. Or, BBQ if the weather is nice - it's not meant to be that hot this week

Friday
Butter chicken curry (cheat's sauce from a jar) I planned to do last week but didn't

Saturday
Lunch fresh pasta and garlic bread
Dinner tacos

Sunday - Father's Day
Lunch bacon sandwich
Dinner Toad in the hole with the new Richmond chicken sausages

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Greek Summer Salad and a Photo Board backdrop for better blog photos

I want to tell you about a salad that I made and also a great product I found that will make taking photos for your blog or Instagram better straight away. But first the salad...

We went to a friend's barbecue yesterday which was lovely - my little girl enjoyed laying on a blanket in the shade and watching everything that was going on and meeting some of my friends for the first time. Here's a little photo of her for no reason other than she's cute!


My friend asked us to bring a salad and I decided to make a sort of Greek salad - it was very simple and doesn't really need a recipe! Simply half some cherry tomatoes, cut some feta cheese into cubes, slice some black olives and remove the stones (I actually used ready sliced ones from a jar) and tear some fresh basil leaves. Toss with a glug of olive oil and some salt and pepper for a simple but tasty salad.


I'm really pleased with this photo which I think is called a flat lay in style (i.e. a birds eye view). It was taken on my kitchen table which is made of glass - so it's a terrible surface for photograph and I usually put a mat or table cloth or something on it when I want to photograph food, but my table cloths always have creases and none of my mats are very big.

I came across a company called Photo Boards that makes backdrops for taking photos against. They use 'texture reproduction technology', whatever that is, so the boards look more three dimensional and not like a photo of a piece of wood - I think they actually look like you are using a piece of wood, rather than a large flat piece of PVC. They are lightweight and wipe clean which is great when you are photographing food, come in two sizes (I bought the 60x60cm one, the larger size) and a variety of designs and shades that look like you are photographing against wood, marble, linen etc. They are not cheap at £30 each so I only bought one, but I already want another!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Pink Flamingo and Balloons birthday card

handmade flamingo birthday card
 
Flamingos are a really popular motif at the moment and one night while feeding the baby I decided they would look really good on a birthday card, and bought a flamingo stamp from Dovecraft on Ebay.

I also bought some die cut balloon shapes - it would be cheaper to buy the die in the long run and cut my own shapes but time is something I don't have a lot of at the moment (I'm writing this while the baby takes a nap but can already hear signs she is waking up!) so I just bought the shapes pre-cut.

I was playing around with shapes and thought the card would look nice with several layered embellishments in different shades of pink - there's quite a lot going on on this card but I really like how it turned out.

To start I covered most of a white square card blank with a piece of pink patterned paper, leaving a small white border clear around the edge. I stamped the flamingo onto a piece of cream card and coloured it pink with a Promarker pen.

I cut a scalloped shape around the edge of a slightly larger rectangle of purple paper (which was actually a recycled birthday card envelope I'd received) and mounted the flamingo card on that. I found a wide glittery pink ribbon in my stash that I'd bought and never used - it is quite wide and very pink and glittery so a bit OTT for most cards but I decided it worked for this one! I stuck that across the middle of the card using double sided sticky tape and mounted the flamingo topper on that.

The final touches were two die cut balloons, one in pink and one in purple, and a stamped 'happy birthday' sentiment from the 'Say it with stamps' set from All Night Media on a piece of the same purple paper as the topper which I cut out with a wavy line. The perfect card for someone who likes a bit of glitz and glamour!

Here are some of the products I used:



I'm sharing this with Stamplorations where the theme is 'things with wings'; Crafty Ribbons challenge, As You Like It where the theme is pink or blue, and Creatalicious Challenges where anything goes with the option of 'all that glitters'.