Happy Halloween Barley & Pumpkin Risotto

Wednesday 31 October 2012

Use up all that spare pumpkin in a heart warming risotto!


This risotto is very quick, using pearl barley instead of risotto rice, The barley is cooked in the microwave to use less pans. No fuss and gorgeous and creamy. Perfect for those trick or treaters!

You Will Need -

Pumpkin from a medium side pumpkin chopped and seeded
1/4pt boiling water
1/4pt jug pearl barely
1 red onion
2 field mushrooms
2 tablespoons of creme fraiche
1 tablespoon of olive oil
100grams of strong hard cheese
1 dessert spoon of thrifty pesto
6 black olives
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
Sprinkle of fresh thyme
1 lemon juiced
1 stock cube
1 dessert spoon white wine

Go Create!
1. Cook the pumpkin with the sage and thyme so it is soft and tender in a pan.
2. Put the barley in a jug and added equal measures of boiling water. Put on 75% power for 10 minutes in the microwave.
3. Add the barley to the pumpkin and add in the garlic, onion, mushrooms stock cube and cook for a further 15 minutes
4. Add in the pesto, olives, lemon juice and stir.
5. Add the creme fraiche and melt in the hard cheese.
6. Stir and add in the white wine to give a sticky but creamy texture.

Stir straight way with a crisp green salad and Italian breads.

Serves 4


Simple Lemon Cakes in a busy birthday week!

Thursday 25 October 2012

Just cooling and ready for the tasting..



It is a busy week, Daddy has been away and Baby L is one next week. I have been so busy with preparation for her first birthday and now glad that Daddy is back in the country.

Tonight was a quick supper  Spaghetti with a creamy mushroom and spinach sauce. Daddy isn't veggie so I always add some parma ham to his. This is so easy and whilst the spaghetti is cooking I saute mushrooms and add garlic and cream in to make a sauce.

Baby L has really been missing Daddy whilst away and pointing to any wedding picture in the house saying 'daddy!' Very glad that he is come as I think she feel more rested.

I am trying to make felt this week, it more a challenge. I was bought for my birthday so lovely books on vintage and homemade looks and decided to have a bash.One was Kirstie Allsopp's Vintage Style book which has inspired me to take out what I have got in my sewing and knitting bag and just create. The felt has now been made by boiling the jumpers in a pan for one hour and now it can be made into little baby creatures!

Today, I have so nearly finished her party dress, an old vintage 1950's pattern made in cotton. It is been great to dig out an old pattern and learn how patterns used to be written. I just need to finish off the hems and bows as we have a dress.

The lemon cakes are just for us, I had a hot oven and whisked them up. Tomorrow I'll head up to the farm to get some eggs for baby's birthday cake - a double tier sponge iced in butter cream and glazed autumn flowers and pale green icing. So I have party bags to do, beds to make and silver bracelets to finish.. Here is the un-iced lemon and fruit cake ready for icing tomorrow!...Off to bed..

Simple Lemon Cakes

What You Need  -

100g caster sugar
25g brown sugar
2 tablespoons cream
1 zest of lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
125g self raising flour
2 eggs


Go Create!

Pre heat the oven to 180C

1. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
2. Add the eggs one by one and beat.
3. Stir in the lemon zest and vanilla.
4. Stir in the cream.
5. Sift in the flour.
6. Fold the flour in strong folding movements until fully mixed.
7.Take a cake tin and out 12 cases in the tray, then fill 3/4 full with mixture.
8. Bake until golden.

The texture is lovely and light but the sugar gives them a little crunch.


Baby Hand Stitched Keepsake

Wednesday 24 October 2012

New Baby and what a great time to share.

Mark the occasion with this one off baby keepsake card.

Making something personal for a new baby is a joy and very welcomed by new parents or grandparents.. Enjoy the personalising for make your just unique.

These are really easy to make, you will need a card, wadding, bias binding, fabrics, ribbons and embroidery threads. Plus about one hour and you can make your own baby keepsake.

Simple step by step to make your own keepsake

1. Firstly cut out your own heart shape to fit your card. Cut out the wadding to fit.
 2. Bias the edges and stitch on a ribbon and cover the ends with a button.
3. Take your ribbons and buttons and start to stitch your keepsake. I used three pieces of fabric, three beads/buttons and some embroidery threads. Very simple and unique. Make sure your colour palette matches.
 4. It is all in the details, be quirky, use buttons instead of stitching a 'O' .
 5. Take your finished keepsake and stick onto your card with a suitable sticker - why not print your own off your printer. Stamp with a cute nappy pin onto your card.

6. I just love that each time you look at these keepsake you can see different things.

So why not have a go and stitch a keepsake card, you can detach the keepsake from the card and hang on baby's cot.

Autumn Vegetables & Spaghetti in a Basil Grappa Sauce

Sunday 21 October 2012

This dish is halfway to a risotto; rich, creamy with a hint of lemon, basil and grappa...

Sometimes you just don't have the time to make risotto, all the stirring and chopping. This is a great alternative giving you still those key tastes you get with a risotto - lemon, garlic, creamy but much quicker.

You Will Need -

Seasonal Vegetables  -
Half cauliflower
2 carrot
1 white onion
1 yellow pepper

Handful of basil leaves
1 tablespoon grappa (or vermouth)
1 lemon grated and juiced
1/4 pt cream
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon good quality olive oil
1 cup strong cheese
1 small dried red chili
Salt & pepper to taste

Spaghetti for 4

Serves 4

Go Create!

1. Steam the cauliflower and carrots until tender.
2. Saute the onion, peppers, garlic, chili and add the lemon.
3. Add the steamed vegetables to the onion mix and saute.
4. Add the grappa and cream and stir.
5. Boil a pan of salted water and cook the spaghetti as per packet.
6. Just before serving add the oil,basil and cheese to the vegetables and season to taste.
7. Drain the pasta and stir in the vegetables.

Hand Painted Skirt

Tuesday 16 October 2012

Looking for that personal design?

... with a few fabric paints and a bit of creative flair you can make this simple design in a few hours....


You will need fabric paints and a denim skirt. Denim is great as is covers a lot of sins in your painting. As it is distressed you can distress your design as well to cover up mistakes!

Fabric paints can be bought on the Internet or in your local haberdashery. I use the pots instead of paint sticks as you can paint with them using a normal painting set of brushes.

To paint your design, cover your crafting table with plastic and then put an old plastic bag between the skirt so the paint doesn't seep through.

Then create away, flowers are always a safe bet for clothing. Once your creation is dry you can take your sandpaper or even a cheese grater and grate or sand away.

This covers your mistakes and also make it look like you painted it years ago!

Button & Ribbons - Make Easy Cards...

If you are like me and save buttons and ribbons....

dig into your stash for a simple ten minute card...

Rule of thumb is that three is the magic number! Put anything a row of three, vases, tins, books and it is easy on the eye. So if you need to make a card quickly, use this simple design principle. Anything in threes!

I took three small square of linen fabric, a button, piece of ribbon and a sequin and coloured over them with a gold pen. Stitch all on or use sticky pads and hey.. you have a homemade personal card. You will always see something in your stash and think, Mum loves pink of Sister like cats...
So to make a simple card like this just search for anything in a set of three..


 Easy and simple cards to be made in ten minutes!

Autumn Bouquet

With the change in the weather and the last blooms in the garden...

 why not bring those flowers inside in a lovely bouquet?

With little time on our hands as new mums we spend time making a lovely garden, but when the weather changes we cannot enjoy sitting outside and see our achievements grow and flower. So I thought, why not bring in those flowers and give these as a gift or dress your own home?

I took sunflowers and fewer few and the start of autumn berries to make this bouquet of yellows, reds and whites. Tie with florist wire to make sure it is nice and firm.

I buy florist's acetate film off EBay in 10 metre rolls so you can wrap up your own bouquets and still make them professional. You can also buy flower food from your local florist or again or EBay.

Make the most of your garden with a bouquet for your own garden or to give as a gift..

New Mummy Cake

Monday 15 October 2012

Need to fine extra energy or those extra 500 cals?

When Baby L was a few weeks old, I made this simple but naughty cake again and again. Great when people come around and good as you can slice up so your guests can have as little or as much as they need / like.

You Will Need -

2 eggs
100 grams self raising flour
25 grams cornflower
1 teaspoon baking powder
125 grams butter
125 grams caster sugar
1 tablespoon of milk
1 teaspoon  vanilla extract

For the icing -

100 grams of milk chocolate
Half jar of strawberry jam or 4 tablespoons
30grams butter
4 tablespoons of icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Let's Create!

Heat the oven to 190C or equivalent.
1. Cream the butter and sugar together and add the eggs one by one. Beat into the mixture.
2. Beat in the vanilla extract.
3. Take the flour and baking powder and sift together into a separate bowl.
4. Fold in the flour in slow careful movements until no flour is showing.
5. Add the milk to make the mixture lighter.
6. Lightly grease 2 round 8" tins.
7. Pour the mixture in evenly.
8. Put in the oven and turn down to 180C and bake to golden brown. About 20 minutes.
9. Turn out onto cooling racks and leave until icing.

To make the icing -

1. Cream together the butter and icing sugar and extract in a bowl, adding the icing sugar tablespoon by tablespoon.
2. Beat until soft and fluffy

And finally to decorate!

1. Put the jam in a glass bowl and heat either in the microwave or oven the hob in a pan of boiling water until the jam is running. This will make it easier to spread.
2. Spread jam on the bottom cake. Leave to cool.
3. Add the butter cream to the jam mixture and then add the top of the sandwich.
4. Take the milk chocolate and another glass bowl and melt the same way as the jam.
5. Spread the chocolate on top of the the cake before it has time to set. Leave to cool.
Serves 8 easily!

Gorgeous Handmade Baby Sheets

Thursday 11 October 2012

 I Just Loved Making These Baby Sheets ..and saved a fortune!

OK, so you find the perfect cot and moses basket. It is a tradition in some countries that the soon to be grandparents buy the cot or the pram. Then you look at the price of the sheets and bedding and it is so expensive. I thought that the best option so that Grandma wasn't forking out even more on the bedding was to make my own! Make it into a little project.

Get handy with a needle and thread and make them as my Grandmother had done for me as a baby. They then become heirlooms and can be passed down the generations. Most high street companies design there cots to a certain bespoke size so you have to buy the cot sheets to match.

 For some cots you can be paying £50 + for just the basics. For £15 I made four sheets for the moses basket and the cot. A bargain and these took me an evening to sew up on the sewing machine. Try and fine 100% cotton sheets, usually the higher the thread count the softer for baby they are. Dunelm Mill or TKMaxx are great for king size, high thread count sheets.

I embroidered the tag on the corner of the sheet as if you have a pram sometime Moses basket sheets can also fit the pram if you are lucky! Sometime, like mine the Moses basket is slightly smaller. I also stitched lace and ribbons on the bedding as well, they are only babies once and a newborn in pure white sheets all wrapped up is a lasting memory for any new parent.

Italian 'Monday' Burgers

Tuesday 9 October 2012

Always on a Monday we have left overs from the weekend..


Make some tasty 'Monday' Burgers next week and clean out those cupboards of all the tasty bits from the weekend and celebrate the start of the week.


You Will Need-

1 cup cooked chilled rice
1 cup oats
1 tin borotti beans
4 mushrooms
Half red onion
Stock cube (I use vegetable stock)
200ml boiling water
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
Handful basil leaves
1 small red chili chopped
2 cups of bread crumbs
Walnut oil to cook with
1 cup flour
Salt and pepper to taste

Makes 8 Burgers / Serves 2 for a main course (or freeze 2 for a later lunch!)

Time 20 mins

Let's Create!

  1. Chop the red onion and mushrooms and saute in the walnut oil.
  2. Add the chili and breadcrumbs and rice.
  3. Drain the beans and add to the mixture.
  4. Make up the stock and pour over the mixture slowly letting it absorb as you go.
  5. Add seasoning and basil.
  6. The mixture should be of a constancy where it can be moulded into burgers.
  7. Let the mixture cool and divide into 8. Mould into small burgers using your hands.
  8. Roll the burgers in the flour.
  9. Shallow fry for a few minutes each side.

Serve with a creamy pasta with seasonal green vegetables and a freshly prepared basil and yellow pepper salad.

Enjoy a easy Monday and clear out the 'fridge at the same time.

Why Not?

This recipe can be made into Chinese style burgers by adding ginger and soya sauce, replace the beans with black eye beans. Alternatively you can make Tex Mex burgers by replacing the beans with kidney beans and using Tex Mex style seasoning.


Customise Your Babies Clothes..


Create A New Unique Look, customise your baby ...

Take two plain tops and give yourself one hour...

If you are new to customising, the whole thing maybe a little bit daunting, what is safe for baby, can I use this? What happens if she chews it? I think that it always helps to look in the stores and see that the brands do, then make sure that buttons and bows are stitched on properly and knotted at the back so they aren't that easy to take off. And that's it..take one hour and see that you can sew..
You Will Need  -
  • 1m of 5mm Satin Ribbon
  • 1m of 3mm Satin Ribbon
  • Handful of Buttons or Beads
  • 2in Silk Flowers (bought from Haberdashery Dept)
  • 2 Baby Tops (ideally plain to show off your work) These are from Asda Walmart in a 3 piece set.
  • Sewing Needle
  • Sewing Thread
  • Sewing Scissors

Ribbon Rosette & Cute Button Design


If you are new to handling a needle and thread this arty ribbon rosette is for you.
To Make Your Rosette -
  1. Take 30cm of ribbon and holding one end create a loop and pinch in the middle. Make four loops in a circle (a little like a gift wrap bow) then stitch to the shoulder seam of your baby top so that you are left with a small tail of ribbon. Once secure, this is the arty bit, wrap around your ribbon and stitch over the loops however the ribbon falls. Just be careful to tuck the ends in at the end.
  3. The take your cute buttons and beads and stitch on baby's top either with self colour or contrast threads. Secure on the inside and make sure that the knots are flat so they don't press into babies skin.
  5. This design is for a 11 month old as it has bigger buttons and she is past the sucking phase. For a smaller baby I would recommend flatter buttons, but this is up to you, you know your baby. 
  6. For more experienced customisers you can stitch lace, bows, embroider or even use fabric paints on your tops...

 Flowers & Ribbon Design

This design was inspired by a bottle of perfume sitting in my  bathroom. I don't go our like I used to before baby came along. So this is my homage to my Rici Rici perfume..One evening we will go out, but for now you have inspired by baby's top!

These can be made from pieces of organza and beads but John Lewis John Lewis Haberdashery Dept do a great range if you are new to customising. If you are making these yourself, take 5 circles of organza and pinch together and stitch the pinch. Add buttons or beads over the stitching.
Then, take your 3mm ribbon and stitch on from the top and trialing across the shirt adding the floweres at the end.
I customise mine with a ribbon message 'I Love Handmade'. Just to finish it off!


Dolcelatte, Spinach & Walnut Salad

Friday 5 October 2012

A Great starter; crisp leaves, crunchy walnuts and a creamy blue cheese - and quick to make..

Give me ten minutes and this could be on the table..


You Will Need -

Spinach Leaves - 4 handfuls of leaves or one bag prepare from the chiller
75 g Walnut Halves
6 Plum Tomatoes
50 g Dolcelatte Cheese
4 Tablespoons of Cream Cheese
Walnut Oil to cook with
Salt and Fresh Black Pepper
Olive Oil to drizzle
Red Wine Vinegar

For a meat version -
Add 4 rashers of chopped panchetta cooked

Serves 4

Go Create!

  1. Wash the leaves and arrange a handful in each dishing.
  2. Take the walnut halves and light cook in oil until they are crispy.
  3. Pour over the walnuts onto the leaves.
  4. Heat the dolcelatte for one minute in the same pan you use for the walnuts and pour over them.
  5. Take a tablespoon of soft cheese for each salad and add 5 -6 small balls around the salad.
  6. Chop the red pepper finally and sprinkle on.
  7. Drizzle over the olive and vinegar.
  8. Season with salt and black pepper.

Add panchetta for a meat alternative. The cream cheese balances the panchetta and dolcelatte flavours.


Birthday Stampin' and a Cuttin' for cards and wreaths!

Tuesday 2 October 2012

A Busy Birthday Week!

It seems that this week has flown by and I had a great birthday with my new little family!

But I have fitted in time to learn about stamping, make pasta and some very easy autumn cakes.

Baby L and I on my birthday lunch

Here is what I have done in the last week....

Babysitting Cake

After going out for the night and leaving Baby L at home, I felt confident that I could go out more as she was a little star! I made a few cakes for my Mum that babysat for us. which were whipped up whilst I had the oven on for lunch.

Apple Spice Cake


Fresh Pasta

I am proud to say that I have been and bought the special flour for pasta and created a beautiful dish of mezzelune pasta for my birthday supper. It was great and even made some spaghetti for Baby L's lunch. I love fresh pasta for parties as you can cook ahead and then on the day it cooks in boiling water in one minute!

Fresh Pasta


And Stampin' and Cuttin!

I have to admit that I have a very limited knowledge of stamping and die cutting to make cards and 3D items - so I took a course. In 3 hours we made 3 things, a wreath, halloween card and greetings card and they all looked so professional! Thanks for Rebecca Davis and her Stampin' Up creations!

Here are my creations, go to Rebecca's site for more info or the Stampin' Up website.


Autumn Wreath

Made from die cut leaves, papers and stamps brushed over brown paper. I love it!

Greetings Bird Card

 And finally my favourite....

Halloween Cat Card

I just would of NEVER thought of doing this, it looks so great for Halloween with extra sparkles for the kitty eyes.