Friday, 19 October 2012

Family meals

I've recently become a little fed up of the rut we seem to have got into with our meals. We have the same as apparently a lot of the population of England - spag bols, shepherds pie, roasts (though I'll never get bored of roast!), blah blah. The odd curry, though with a daughter slightly allergic to chilli, we have to be careful with curries. Anybody out there having the same problem? Or perhaps we're the only family in a meal rut at the moment. I searched my cookery books, but they are either things the children won't eat, or standard dull stuff.

So I decided it was time to vary it all a bit. I dug out a more interesting recipe for basically a courgette and hummus pie. It was supposed to have olives, which I didn't have, and filo - I had to substitute shortcrust. But I basically followed the recipe (which was touted as one 'even dedicated carnivores are guaranteed to love').

It was delicious and a great success with my children, two of whom I'd say are incredibly fussy.

So, that's a new one we'll be having again. But perhaps not again and again and again! :)

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Eggstravaganza in Covent Garden

 I couldn't resist posting about my wander around Covent Garden in London earlier this year, as I thought I'd lost the photos. More than 200 eggs had been decorated and scattered in various locations around London for the 3 months leading up to Easter, and I saw some of them, but then they all came together in Covent Garden.

It was fascinating having a wander around.

I loved this one:

Amazing detail in the china flowers:

There was all sorts. This was fun - an egg made up of little metal people:

And a world map (with a model pigeon on top):

 And this one

It's so nice when you stumble upon photos you thought you'd lost. I hope you enjoyed ambling around Covent Garden with me. There were so many, they even hung them from the roof!

Does anybody else remember seeing them?

Sunday, 7 October 2012

"A special birthday cake - a desert island, please!"

"...with me in a hammock, and palm trees, and a book, and maybe I can be sleeping..."

So went the latest request for a birthday cake. Many of you know I have loved making my children's cakes over the years (just click on my birthday cakes label on the right hand side). This is the making of the desert island cake. It started with me cutting the island shape (having baked the cake following my trusty Mary Berry recipe - I love her recipes, and I've never been let down by any one of them).

I then decided to add the yellow sand, which meant kneading in the colour to the icing:

and working up some blue for the sea:

The palm trees were never going to be easy. In the end I decided to try rolos. And, of course, colour more icing green for the palm tree leaves.

This was not my best idea. I cut the shapes easily enough, but they were saggy and needed to dry, and I didn't have time for them to dry.

The solution was a wire frame built from chicken wire. This is not a good way to make a palm tree out of icing! So please don't follow my complicated method.

But it went well enough. first! The rolos had a habit of breaking apart and spurting out the toffee centre (not helped by the wire I'd stuck down the middle of each). In the end I substituted a chocolate bar for one and wrapped ribbon around both. But I was thrilled with the result. I'd chopped up the sea to make it look patchey, and then as a final touch added glass shells I bought a long time back, on a holiday in Cornwall. Those of you with sharp eyes will spot the bees that always appear on our birthday cakes, year after year, and date back to one I did several years ago.

And finally, a birthday cake as it's meant to be:
Meanwhile the party goers were enjoying themselves with some brilliant games, including a very messy 'make a mummy' game with two toilet rolls.

It was a brilliant party for a lovely group of 15/16 year olds. Who says teens don't know how to have fun anymore if not glued to a gadget?! The teens I know are absolutely delightful, and great fun. (Though I still made sure I stayed out of the way for them! :) )

Now I've got to find a way to make a helicopter cake in the next couple of weeks. Watch this space!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Make a skirt from a dress - mine cost £2!

I picked up this dress at the weekend for the princely sum of £2 - on a end of season bargain rail. It's not my size, but I loved the material, with its cute parrots, so decided that for £2 it would be perfect to try and make into a skirt.

I found a book in the library and traced a pattern onto greaseproof paper and cut out. I'll try and find the book, as it's a really lovely one, and I plan to make more from it.

I had to jiggle a bit - there's a seam where there's not meant to be a seam, but I'm thrilled with the result. Best of all, it was such a fun project.

I just need to hem. So if you spot something in a shop reduced to a ridiculous price, it's always worth snapping up. [As long as it doesn't end up on the 'things to do' job list. :) ]