Family Reunited

So, an explanation for last Sunday’s Silent Sunday….. They’re all cousins and this is the first time they’d been together since Brad, the tallest, was under a year old. Here’s photos of the last time the family were all together at Josh’s (middle cousin in the SS photo – erm, sorry, that was a bit obvious!) Christening. That must have been in about the year 2000.

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On left photo Brad’s on far left, Josh in sailor suit at back, daughter on her dad’s lap on right

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2014-02-21

Happy Valentines Day!

As I’ve said, ask me a question and I feel honour bound to answer…. So when Cottage Delight asked about Valentines menus and how you’d use their products, of course I had to rise to the challenge!

We’re very lucky to have a supplier of delicious Cottage Delight products quite close to us – you might have one too, check out the handy Local Stockists section of their website. I thought I’d take two of my favourites of their ingredients and see what I could come up with….. here’s the results.

The great thing about Cottage Delight products is that you can often pick up leaflets and delicious recipe cards, so they’ve done the hard work for you!

YUM!!!

YUM!!!

This time, however, I thought I’d go it alone with my recipes using, firstly, Caramelised Onion Chutney. Thinking along the Valentines theme, I decided that having my first attempt at palmiers, given their heart-ish shape, would be a good idea.

If you fancy a try it’s very easy and pretty effective looking too – as well as being delicious of course! If you’d like to use make-your-own puff pastry then, please, be my guest! Ready made is, however, far easier and has equally great results so I went with that.

Take your pastry square from the fridge and bash it hard with a rolling pin! Yes, really! See, you’re liking this recipe already! The palmiers don’t actually need to “puff” much so mistreating the poor old pastry on this occasion is a plus, not slapped wrists from Mary Berry time.

Now roll out your bashed pastry to approx 30 x 35cm and spread with your Caramelised Onion Chutney. Crumble cheese over the top. I used Blue Stilton given the strength of its taste, but you could use whatever you wanted.

Turning the short end of your pastry towards you, roll each of the long sides towards the middle of the pastry rectangle, so they kiss (this is Valentines remember) in the middle. Brush whisked egg along the join so that they stay together. Place the whole lot in the fridge for 30 mins to allow the pastry to harden. After the time’s up, take the rolled up pastry out and cut it into thick pieces (about 1cm wide). Lay them on a greased baking tray and spread with lots more of the egg. Bake them in an oven heated to 180 degrees for 10-15 minutes until crisp. They should look something like this….

Caramelised Onion Chutney and Blue Stilton Palmiers

Caramelised Onion Chutney and Blue Stilton Palmiers

Okay, better speed things up or it will be Easter by the time you’ve finished reading this, let alone Valentines Day!

I’ve decided to serve these with Beetroot Risotto…here’s the recipe…

500g fresh beetroot
2tbsp olive oil
Knob of butter
1 heaped tsp Caramelised Onion Chutney
1 finely chopped red onion
1 finely chopped garlic clove
250g risotto rice
150ml white wine
700ml hot veg stock
Grated Parmesan

Heat the oven to 180 degrees (fan). Peel and chop beetroot into large wedges, toss in 1tbsp of olive oil, place on baking foil on a baking tray and place in the oven for an hour until soft.

Heat the remaining oil with the butter in a large frying pan. Saute the onion and garlic until translucent. Stir in the rice, ensuring it’s well covered with the butter/oil. Pour over the wine, add the chutney and allow to bubble for a short while. Stirring again, add the stock and allow the mixture to soak into the rice, softening it. Keep stirring as you go.

Remove the beetroot from the oven and blitz them or chop them into very small pieces and then stir into the risotto mixture with the Parmesan. Serve with palmiers….

Tastes as amazing as it looks!

Tastes as amazing as it looks!

Okay, moving on to the second of my favourite Cottage Delight’s products – Lemon Curd and a Lemon Curd Cake.

The ingredients are:-
100g margarine
75g caster sugar
2 eggs
175g self raising flour
1 jar of Cottage Delight Lemon Curd (I leave 2 tsp in the bottom of the jar to eat later….!)
1 level tsp baking powder

If you’re lazy like me, shove it all in your food processor and whizz it until it’s mixed together nicely! Or, the proper way mix it all together for about 5 mins. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees (fan).

Pour the cake mixture into a greased (or, lazy me again, one with a paper case) 2lb loaf tin.

Bake for approx 35-40 mins until browned.

Serve drizzled with honey or maple syrup and top with ice cream or clotted cream. Oh, and champagne given the day of course!

Lemon Curd Cake - more amazing colour from lemon curd and free range eggs!

Lemon Curd Cake – more amazing colour from lemon curd and free range eggs!

Happy Valentines Day and thank you very much to Cottage Delight for the inspiration! I would love to hear if you give any of the recipes a go.

Valentines Gifts in Unusual Places (with SportsDirect.com)

Hahaaaaa! SportsDirect.com have issued a challenge! I cannot resist a challenge!!

This is what they’re asking us to do….

“Bloggers will have the task of finding five products from the SportsDirect.com website that they would deem acceptable gifts to give to their partner as a Valentines Day presents, using their blog to explain which items they would chose and why. Each item must be £20.00 or under.”

So, let’s take a look at SportsDirect.com and see what we can find…

Item 1 – Black Zero Stalking Tripod (£9.99). Now the first purpose of this is not for man stalking as you may assume (if you’re me and you’re thinking Fatal Attraction) but a fishing tripod. However,  if you read the description, you’ll see that the tripod, with an attachment, can also be used with a camera. My husband’s a keen photographer and doesn’t have a tripod at the moment, so this is the first item I’d get for him just to show how thoughtful I am (wanting him to be outside taking photos in our current “beautiful” weather!).

Item 2 – Slazenger Metal Pilot Mens Watch (reduced to £8.50 from £39.99!). My husband works on a building site and, though he has an expensive watch, understandably he doesn’t want to wear it on site. This is a good alternative, particularly as it’s currently so much cheaper than the original RRP (no, I’m not being cheap, but I’m sure you know what I mean!).

Item 3 – Muddyfox Mountain Bike Gloves (£9.99) Someone (!) has tidied up my husband’s cycling gloves, never to be found again. Muddyfox is his favourite brand so I’d be number 1 Valentine if I replaced them for him (hopefully!).

Item 4 – Muddyfox Cycling Jacket Mens  (£19.99) My husband has a Muddyfox Cycling Jersey but not a jacket. This one looks brilliant and would score me MEGA brownie points. Ideal Valentines present!

Item 5 – Calvin Klein 365 2 Pack Boxers Mens (£19.99) Those of a nervous disposition, please do not press the link!! Okay, if I have to explain the thinking behind this then you’re not in a Valentines mood at the moment are you? My only comment is that I hope they come with a note to tell those husbands who just might, that they don’t need to be worn for 365 days non stop each pair….. ‘Nuff said!

So, are you surprised? I was to be honest. When I first took on this challenge I wasn’t sure how easy it would be, but these gifts are actually a very good idea – very low in calories and not a cuddly toy in sight. What a refreshing change! Thank you for the inspiration SportsDirect.com!

pants

 

A New Craft Room!!!!

Hurray!!! I’m allowed a craft room!!

Since we moved we’ve had various discussions about the spare room and my husband did seem to have his eye on it. But over Christmas he actually moved into the garage instead (yeah, the bed looks great out there…..NOOOOOO, just to do work, honest!) which, in my view, left the spare room back up for grabs. My daughter does need room for her GCSE course work (she’s doing photography and art) but she can have the shed down the bottom of the garden (permanently if she doesn’t buck up her teenage moodiness – okay JOKING AGAIN!!!).

Since we moved in last year the spare room’s just been a dumping ground, so I spent ages in there the other morning having a sort out. I filled 2 black bags with rubbish and another with old clothes and thought I’d done really well….until my husband came home, went in there and went mad, accusing me of taking more stuff in there, not taking things out!!

Here’s a photo of what it looks like at the moment….after my tidying!

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A bit disastrous to be honest isn’t it 😦 I keep seeing all these lovely things I’d like for the room on the internet and on Instagram, but the reality of it is that the other side of the room has 2 old white MDF 80’s style chests of drawers, which came from my old bedroom at my parents house 20+ years ago, and also houses the built-in unpainted MDF shelving that the former owner made. That’s so big that you’d need ladders and a head-light, like the ones cavers use, to see the back of it.

Still, faint heart never won a craft fair exhibition…or something…. I have got some primrose yellow paint to enhance the lovely dark green skirting and door frame, so that’s a start.

Wish me luck and watch this space!