Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Crafting - Christmas gift tags

So, this is my first ever attempt at making my own gift tags (or my own anything for that matter, I'm not too creative when it comes to arty things) and I'm really happy with them! Granted they are really simple, in fact my five year old could have probably made a nice job of them. I bought the stamps from Stampendous, if you like them they're here
I'm from the UK so found them on Ebay, along with the ink. I decided to make them all into Rudolph and add little 2mm red crystal noses, here's a close up.

 I put a small amount of detail on the backs too, like these

I'm planning on wrapping my gifts in brown paper with embellishments this year, I'm so excited!

How are you wrapping yours? Do any of you crafty people think my tags could do with something more, or is it enough as it is?

Friday, 12 November 2010


I love profiteroles, even though they are a bit of a stereotypical 80's dessert - anyway everything goes in cycles and comes back in fashion, right?! So, I'm bringing profiteroles back, here's my recipe.

For the choux pastry
60g unsalted butter
2 tsp caster sugar
80g plain flour
small pinch of salt
2 eggs, beaten
135ml water

For the chocolate sauce
50g unsalted butter
200g good quality dark chocolate
1/2 cup of cream
1tbsp golden syrup

For the filling
400ml Double cream
Vanilla pod seeds, or good quality vanilla extract
1 dessertspoon of icing sugar (optional)

Preheat your oven to 200°C.
Line a baking tray with non stick baking parchment.
Place the water, butter and sugar in a good sized pan and heat until the butter is melted and the water is just beginning to boil.
Remove the pan from the heat and tip in the flour and salt, stirring immediately, don't worry if the pastry looks like a gloopy mess, it will all come together if you keep beating. Once the pastry has come together as a smooth dough, return to the heat for a whiles, no more than a minute, until the pastry begins to shrink away from the sides of the pan.
Remove from the heat once more and gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition. You will end up with a smooth, glossy mixture that is dropping consistency.

Spoon or pipe small mounds of the mixture onto your baking tray, about 1 1/2 teaspoons per bun.

Sprinkle the tray with water to help create steam in the oven. Bake for 10-20 minutes until well golden brown, if you take them out too soon they will be too soft.
On removing the profiteroles from the oven, pierce each one on the underside with a skewer to let the steam escape. Leave to dry upside down on a cooling rack.

To make your chocolate sauce, put all the ingredients in a pan and melt together over a low heat, stirring continuously.

Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks, then whisk in the vanilla and if using, icing sugar.

Using a piping bag, fill the profiteroles with cream then serve with a spoonful of chocolate sauce.

This recipe made me 12 profiteroles so would generously serve 4.
Have you got any nice plans for the weekend? I think my girls want to write to Father Christmas, they're so excited and he likes to get a head start on the wrapping! xx

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Cornish pasties

I like fun food on Sundays, nothing that's too much effort but delicious all the same so when my husband mentioned he was craving a Cornish pasty I happily obliged!

We made at least double of the filling so we could freeze some, it's well seasoned, cubed braising steak, potatoes, onions and swede. We gently cooked the steak for a couple of hours before adding the vegetables so the filling would be lovely and soft.
 All inside an all butter rough puff pastry casing
Folded over and crimped together before egg washing & baking, here's the end result, alongside a happy husband!
Pasties were originally designed to give manual workers a hot lunch, miners and fisherman would take a pasty to work in the morning as the pastry would keep the filling warm, and as it was generally carried in a pocket it kept them warm too. It is said that workers with dirty hands would eat the pasty while holding the edge and then discard the crust. Apparently there would often be a meat filling in one end and a sweet, fruit filling in the other, I'm not too interested in trying that combination out!

This weekend has been really lovely, bonfire night celebrations are still in full swing here so there are fireworks going off all the time. We went to a fabulous bonfire party last night at a friends, they have an amazing garden with an old Rayburn (an old fashioned range oven that runs on wood) in it which they use as an outside oven, such a fab alternative to a barbecue! We had chili, soup and a Polish cabbage based dish. I baked brownies but totally forgot to photograph them, the amount of times I do this is unbelievable!

Then today we went shopping and I found this lovely cake stand in a shop full of random items, I'd never usually think to look inside but I'll definately be looking out in there in future, I love it!
You can customise it by changing the ribbon, I love the detail on the stand.

Did you have a good weekend?

Monday, 1 November 2010

Reversible pumpkin

This year was probably the first we'd ever really done anything for Halloween, so we carved pumpkins and realised that it looks good to do both sides so you have something pretty to look at inside too. I've seen some amazing pumpkins around but as this was our first try we kept it old school!
The kids went trick or treating for the first time and loved it, then went to a party at a school friends house, apple bobbing and sweets were the order of the day.
I was never really sold on the idea of Halloween but we had a fab time and will definitely be celebrating next year, and maybe we'll attempt a designer pumpkin too!
What did you do for Halloween? Do you have any fabulous ways to use up the tonne of pumpkin I have sitting in my fridge?!