Thursday, May 13, 2021

Handmade Eid Mubarak card

Eid Mubarak! Today is Eid-al-Fitr, a religious holiday celebrated by Muslims that marks the end of the Ramadan month of fasting. During Ramadan, most Muslims (aside from those who are exempt for reasons including illness and old age) fast from dawn until sunset, then break their fast each night with a meal known as 'iftar'. Sharing iftar with others is an important practice for many Muslim families, and it must have been particularly difficult this year and last when Ramadan and Eid took place in lockdown. This year the restrictions aren't quite so strict but still prevent families and large groups of friends from getting together.

One of our neighbours is a Muslim family who have kindly shared iftar meals with us and with others in our street, bringing a tray of food to our door. We've had a delicious chicken biryani and a sweet rice dish called zarda, which I'd never tasted before, and can recommend! I thought I had taken a photo of it but unfortunately can't find it now.

Today on Eid, I gave them a card I had made, wishing the family Eid Mubarak which means 'Blessed Eid' - the traditional greeting you would offer. I have to admit this was a last minute card so was made very quickly, but I'm quite pleased with it, and I hope they were too!

The crescent moon is an important symbol of Eid and often found on greetings cards - Eid begins at the first sight of the new crescent moon. I have a paper pad of galaxy-themed pages from Hobbycraft and cut out a crescent moon from a piece of paper with a starry night sky design. I added some mini blue and silver gems and sequins and the words 'Eid Mubarak' in silver letters; I thought the glitter effect worked really well with the theme of the card.

Next year I think I might bake something for my neighbours at Eid!

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

How to make an Amazon parcel cake

Friday, April 16, 2021

How to make your own bunting

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Strawberry and white chocolate crispy cakes with pink Coco Pops

Friday, February 19, 2021

Spaghetti Tree Sutton - Restaurant/ Takeaway review

In some ways, this Valentine's Day was much like any other - my husband and I have tended to avoid going out to restaurants on Valentine's Day (in fact, I'm not sure we ever have) - partly in expectation that venues will be turning tables as quickly as possible, partly because prices seem to go up that day, and partly- actually, mainly - because most restaurants offer set menus on February 14 and there's hardly ever anything my husband likes.

Dining out with a fussy eater is tricky and dining in during lockdown isn't much easier! I wasn't planning to bother looking for a nice takeaway option for Valentine's Day, but saw an advert for a local Italian restaurant that sounded nice and decided to have a look.

The Spaghetti Tree in Sutton is not to be confused with the Spaghetti House chain - it's a family-run Italian restaurant that has been going for more than 30 years. According to their website they were offering live entertainment before the pandemic, and have now turned to takeaway and delivery - including a Sunday roast which I'm going to have to try.

The Valentine's Day offer was indeed a set menu, but with quite a few options compared to the three or four you usually find - this one had six starters and six main courses to choose from, one of which was any pizza from their menu. That suited us perfectly!

It wasn't cheap at £40 each but that price included three courses, delivery, a cocktail and chocolate covered strawberries. As my husband is teetotal I got to have his cocktail and I can say that even though I'm not really sure of the ingredients (strawberry, peach and vodka came through) they really were delicious.

I chose the tiger prawns with chorizo bruschetta for my starter, which came with rocket and red onions as well as a balsamic glaze. The bread was a little soggy by the time our food arrived but that did no harm and it was very tasty. My husband had deep fried mozzarella parcels - the portion contained four, which is something we probably would have shared between us had we been eating in the restaurant, and he said that while they were very nice, two was plenty as they were actually quite heavy.

I was very tempted by several of the main courses in the set menu, including the prawn and crab linguine, the tagliatelle with meatballs and the seabass with tiger prawns but I plumped instead for 'pollo Casanova' - chicken breast wrapped in pancetta in a spinach and gorgonzola sauce served with saute potatoes and seasonable vegetables. It was excellent - the chicken (two sizeable pieces) perfectly cooked, the sauce not overpowering and complementing the dish well, and the potatoes and vegetables were exactly how I like them. Again, the portion was so large I couldn't eat it all!

My husband enjoyed his margerita pizza and said the brownie he had for dessert was very good. For my dessert I chose the nutella pizza, which the menu described as topped with strawberries and white chocolate swirls - instead, it came topped with sliced banana! (And I don't like banana, but then again I don't like strawberries either). It was far too large for one person and again if we were in the restaurant would have been a sharing dessert - as it was, I ate one small slice and the rest ended up being wasted!

I was very pleased overall with the menu, from the wide choice to the quality of the food (and the drinks!), and would definitely order from here again.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Some simple Valentine's crafts for children and toddlers

My two year old and I have had fun making some Valentine's day decorations! Some of the ideas are based on things I saw online and some are my own design. All we used were some cardboard heart shapes, two heart-shape hole punches, some wool, a toilet roll tube, paint and some heart stickers, and some ribbon to hang what we made.

You can find out how to make all of these and more on my parenting blog Mini Moo Life!

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

How to create pancake art - fun ideas for Pancake Day

 Have you come across pancake art before? It's a great way to have fun on Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday) or indeed any time! Pancake art is simply creating a picture in pancake form, by using a squeezy bottle to draw with the batter in your pan. As the batter cooks, add more details, then finally fill in the gaps, to get different shades on your 'picture'. 

Hop on over to my other blog, Mini Moo Life, to see the unicorn pancake I made for my daughter and also my attempt at her favourite cartoon character Bluey!

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Possibly the best ever Christmas chocolate brownies

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Christmas bauble cakes

Reindeer cupcakes with pretzel antlers

I really wanted to make some time to do some Christmas baking when I had a day off last week as in the past I would have made several festive treats by now and I hadn’t done anything yet! 
These reindeer cupcakes are really easy, the key ingredient is the pretzels - and you can make the cakes themselves any flavour you like!

I made chocolate cakes using this recipe on the BBC Good Food site and made a simple chocolate buttercream.

When the cakes were baked and cooled I topped with a spoonful of buttercream and used salted caramel flavour chocolate coated pretzels (made by Flipz, available in most supermarkets) for the reindeer’s antlers. You can use regular pretzels as well but I thought these went better with the cake!

For the face you can use a Smartie or M&M for the nose but I didn’t have any and these were a spur of the moment bake so I used some icing I had coloured red and used a little piping bag to pipe on the rest of the face. Some of the reindeer have slightly odd expressions but my daughter liked them and so did my husband!

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

The Cocktail Man - Cocktail kits at home subscription box review

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Winter Warmer recipe - Cheesy Sausage, Broccoli and Quinoa Bake

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Lotus Biscoff Doughnuts for Food 'n' Flix - Knives Out

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Black Forest Gateau - GBBO 80s Week

Sunday, November 8, 2020

GBBO Japanese Week - Wagamama's Tori Kara Age and Chicken Katsu Curry

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Mary's Chocolate Orange Tart - GBBO Bakealong