Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Little Raspberry cakes

I baked these little beauties yesterday and no surprises they are all gone today. A HUGE hit with everyone, the recipe came from this book. I will probably make another variation tomorrow with the girls (they get Wednesday's off school here in France).

I also made the first one of these...

This is a work in progress photo and its actually going to be an egg cosy for Easter. I plan to make one for each of the children. This one is for my little boy. Unsurprisingly, the girls have asked for theirs to include pink wool.....

The weather has been lovely at times over the last few days and we are managing to limp through without any central heating (the engineers are due to arrive in two weeks time to connect the system). Fingers crossed it stays warm. And it has meant Mr Llewellyn has had a chance to start drilling off the render on the cottages.......

Sunday, 27 January 2013

A little help in the kitchen......

My helper appeared to be a little distracted when we made a cake this week. Perhaps the smartie induced sugar rush had something to do with it but he seemed to think the sieve was best worn as a hat.

The cake still tasted good though.....

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Maran Cockerels

Last year we hatched a handful of White and Copper Mix Marans. We ended up with two splendid cockerels but I now need to find a new home for them. I'm linking this photo to French Entree where I have advertised them so if you are interested please contact me.

PomPom Garland

Yesterday I finished a pompom garland for one of the girls bedrooms. It was designed to hang from the bedposts but when I tied it on I had a bit of a Mummy panic and worried that a six year old had the potential to get tangled in it in the middle of the night. A remote chance but Mummy's worry so I decided to hang it over a a picture instead.

I've also painted one of the kitchen doors with blackboard paint. I'm hoping it will help my daughter with her french spellings (and help me in the process!) Anyway, the spellings have taken over so another door may have to be painted for shopping lists. Note to self: Blackboard paint is slightly addictive.....

Finally, Friday baking was Lemon Curd cakes. I discovered a lonely jar of lemon curd on the English shelf in the supermarket and couldn't resist. I baked the cakes with a basic vanilla sponge and then injected (all very Frankenstein but turns out very simple) the lemon curd for a gooey centre. Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Oranges Everywhere.....

Here's a photo of the Birthday Boy's Cake. Its Orange and Almond and he's 42. He hasn't got much of a sweet tooth but he might enjoy a piece of it with a coffee. Do you like the cake tin in the background? Teisen means cake in Welsh (we are Llewellyns afterall).

Elsewhere in the kitchen the marmalade is finished. I stuck with my trusty Sarah Raven Amber Marmalade recipe. I only made 4 jars but its probably enough for us and I find if the quantities get too large the marmalade can become a bit unruly in the pan. If we run out I can always make more.....

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Bake: Cheese Scones

Bake of the Day: Cheese Scones. 

Incredible simple and I even remembered to throw a few poppy seeds on them to finish them off. There's not much time to write today as its Mr Llewellyn's birthday. I've made the birthday cake (it's Orange & Almond Cake - photo to follow) Now I just need to tidy up......

Sunday, 20 January 2013


Its not all baking cakes, knitting and good life around here you know. We actually do some pretty hard graft (mainly my husband granted....) but here's the evidence that I do pitch in as well. We were up until midnight one night this week trying to finish some of the stone walls in the new Sitting Room. Our arms ache and the dust is everywhere......

But its worth it because you end up with fabulous spaces like my new kitchen (which used to an old barn/ dog kennel area can you believe? )

Well done Mr Llewellyn......

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Simple Things

There is a lot to be said for simple pleasures. One of the best is sitting down with a cup of tea in one hand and a new magazine in the other. (Oh and a piece of cake, but that quickly by passes the hand stage and goes directly into the mouth). Anyway, a brilliant new magazine I've discovered is The Simple Things. Its packed full of wonderful and interesting stuff and its totally on my wavelength. I made the Date and Walnut Loaf featured inside the most recent edition - delicious!

Friday, 18 January 2013

Hege Christmas DIY competition

Here is my small contribution to the competition going on over at the Hege in France blog.

I've entered my hand printed 'Merry' Linen napkins. These were made from a huge old sheet left in the French house we now live in. I stamped each one with different things but Merry is my favourite.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Pink Parcel

I was very excited to receive my first skein of BFL wool from the Natural Dye Studio. I signed up to their Rainbow Club at the end of last year and each month they will be sending me a part of the rainbow. Yay! January is pink and its fabulous. 

Now comes the decision of what to make? I'm considering keeping it simple and knitting a blanket. Nice and easy and when the wool arrives I can knit a few rows, watch it grow and put it away until the next month. Normally I would get bored and and said throw would morph into a cot blanket and then end up being a cushion but I'm hoping the 'not knowing whats coming next' element will keep me interested. Plus its nice to have a project to work on for the whole year.

(Back in the kitchen the fruit bowl appears to be overflowing with different types of oranges, lemons and grapefruit. It must be marmalade time...... who said January's were dull)

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Carrot Cupcakes

We made Carrot Cupcakes today using a brilliant recipe that my Aunt gave to me (you add pineapple to the mixture to keep the cakes moist). They are delicious and probably won't last long so here's a photo.

Oh, and it certainly made this little person happy.........!

Update: A couple of people have asked me for the recipe so here it is.

Carrot Cupcakes

200g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of sofa
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
200g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
200ml vegetable oil
100g grated carrot
200g canned pineapple chunks

Icing: 225g low-fat cream cheese
juice of half a lemon
icing sugar

Basic instructions: Preheat oven to 180c. Mix together all the dry ingredients in one bowl and all of the wet ingredients in another. Combine in one bowl. Add the grated carrot and pineapple and mix. Pour into the cupcakes (or a lined cake tin). Bake until a skewer comes out clean (about 15/20mins for cupcakes - longer for a cake) Let the cakes cool. Mix together the icing ingredients and decorate.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

MAKE: What to do with kids drawings?

The children are always presenting me with lovely little drawings. Special things that capture a thought or  something they wanted to express. I love these little treasures but its got to the point where there is simple no space left in my purse, diary or noticeboard for any more. Throwing them away just seems wrong (and if I get caught they would be pretty upset) So what to do with them? I started to keep a few of the most precious ones in a box. I then invested in a cheap laminator and made some fantastic bookmarks. I hole punched most of them and then plaited some leftover wool to make them even more pretty. Really simple and it only took half an hour, start to finish.

Bookmarks are something I ALWAYS need........to mark pages in cookery books, crafty magazines etc and I normally rip up scraps of paper to do the job. Not any more.......

I've put an old shoebox on my bookshelf to collect the kids drawings in and plan to make a few bookmarks every time the pile starts to get too big. Great!

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Pollen Biscuits

I found a jar of pollen in our local supermarket the other day........Pollen? According to the label its supposed to be a really good immune builder and good for anti-fatigue. Seeing as January is normally a time for looking after yourself I thought it might be a good idea to give it a go.

 I love this awesome biscuit stamp.

So I made some pollen biscuits. Substituted the sugar for honey and they turned out really well. I also started adding it to our homemade bread although it only really works for toast (rather than sandwiches) as the pollen does have a honey aroma.

I've been working on a crafty project this week in the evenings.....If I get it finished over the weekend I will share.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Free iPhone cover pattern

This is pretty cool. A free knitting pattern for an iPhone cover. Great for using up wool stash and you can download it here. I'm going to make one so I thought I'd share.......

Monday, 7 January 2013

Filo Curry Parcels

We love curry in our house and few months ago I discovered The Spice Tailor. Its amazing and makes a brilliant speedy curry. Needless to say I stocked up when I went back to the UK and this is a photo of one of the shelves in our pantry. I love the packaging as much as the curry itself.

With the leftover curry we reinvented it and wrapped it inside a couple of sheets of filo pastry brushed with olive oil and put back into the oven. Absolutely delicious as a lunch. Yum! and no waste.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Cherry Chocolate Cake

Well its only January 6th and the diet has already slipped......whoops. I will be better next week.....

In the meantime it seems like so much longer since we welcomed in the new year and one particular bar of chocolate just screamed from the cupboard to be made into chocolate cake. 

In fact, I did have two other good reasons for making this cake. One was that I wanted to use the vintage yellow enamel bain marie that my Mum bought me for Christmas. The other was that I need to start using up the glace cherries I made after the bumper harvest from the cherry tree last year. It won't be too long again and we will be picking more......

Bon Dimanche. I hope your day has been cake filled too!