Sunday, 27 December 2015

Yule 2015

Last Tuesday was Yule (22nd December this year) and I had a chocolate Yule log again. In previous years I've bought one from Sainsbury's. Last year I decided to make my own. It was fun but this year I decided to buy one again, lol. Since some years the Sainsbury's log has been nicer than others, I tried Tesco's Belgian chocolate log this time. I liked it but the cake was a bit dry. Here's a picture:


                              

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Hallowe'en/Samhain 2015

For Hallowe'en/Samhain last weekend (Saturday 31st October) I made my usual fave drink Demon's Blood. I also made some potato salad using a recipe from the book The Kitchen Witch by Soraya. The recipe was for rosemary and garlic but rosemary has a strong taste so I decided to make chive and garlic instead. It came out nice. I had it with some buffet type food, crisps and dip, onion rings and chicken satays etc.

In my Madron post I wrote that I wasn't sure whether to make gingerbread or not. In the end I made gingerbread skeletons using a recipe from Closer magazine. You just make gingerbread men and then use icing to draw on them. I didn't have writing icing so mine weren't as neat, lol. I made 3 gingerbread skeletons and 4 round gingerbread biscuits. They were quite nice as well. I usually use the recipe from the Tesco Light Brown Soft Sugar packet when I make gingerbread for Madron or Lammas  but it made a change to use a different recipe.

Here are a couple of pictures of the food:


Potato salad





Sunday, 25 October 2015

Madron 2015

Sorry I'm late posting this; I had computer problems and had to get a new computer. :)

For Madron/the Autumn Equinox on 23rd September I made a gingerbread cake. It was similar to the one I made last year which you can see here: http://livingseasonal.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/madron.html

I got the recipe from the website Will Cook For Smiles: http://www.willcookforsmiles.com/2014/11/gingerbread-cake.html

The topping was cream cheese, whipped topping like Cool Whip, mild molasses (treacle) and brown sugar but I don't think we have Cool Whip here and I couldn't seem to find a good equivalent so I used Betty Crocker's cream cheese icing again, like I did for last year's cake. It's easier as well! lol. I have made a cream cheese frosting before when I made James Martin's Frosted white chocolate cake for Easter 2013. The frosting was made with Philadelphia cream cheese, butter and icing sugar. It was quite nice once you got used to it, I think it was quite a strong taste. Here's the recipe if you want to check it out: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/10209/frosted-white-chocolate-easter-cake


Anyway here are a couple of pictures of my gingerbread cake:


As the icing was being spread on.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Beach Photos

Last Friday I went to Worthing Beach. We've had a lot of rain here lately but it was sunny for a bit that day and since I've hardly been to the beach this summer and summer is almost over, I decided to go. I took some pictures and thought it would be nice to share a few here. :)













Hope you like the pics and that you had a good summer. :)

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Lammas 2015

Last weekend it was Lammas (Saturday 1st August). Last year I made a Cornish pasty for lunch and gingerbread later. This year I just decided to go with the gingerbread. Maybe I'll make a Cornish pasty again next year or a loaf (a traditional way of celebrating). To see last year's Cornish pasty and gingerbread click on the Lammas link. :)

Here is a picture of the gingerbread. I put icing and sprinkles on the top and the icing got a bit messy around the edges! lol. I made traditional gingerbread men and also two round circles with what was left of the dough. It was too dry and kept crumbling, so I lost some of it but never mind!






 Hope that everyone had a good Lammas and that you're enjoying the rest of summer. :)

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Litha 2015

Last weekend I celebrated Litha /the Summer Solstice (Sunday 21st June) by making lemonade and having it with some ice cream with crushed Digestive biscuits on top.

The lemonade is what I refer to as "Hello Kitty lemonade" since the recipe is from a Hello Kitty book! lol. I also had ice cream with crumbled biscuits last year (click the Litha link above for details). This year I had Mackie's and Cornish ice cream and also some chocolate sauce. It was nice. :)

Here's a pic:



Wishing everyone a happy summer! :)

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Cake Batter Fudge

The other week I made some cake batter fudge. I first made it over a year ago and I wasn't too impressed with it at the time, lol. But I decided to have a go at it again and I liked it better this time. I didn't have any sprinkles last time but I did this time, so that helped! I used a recipe I found on Pintrest that is from this site: http://bakedfromabox.blogspot.ca/2012/07/cake-batter-fudge-10-minute-recipe.html

It's very simple, you just mix it together and microwave it. The recipe uses yellow cake mix. I'm not sure if we have that in the UK. The nearest I can find is vanilla, so I used a basic vanilla cake mix. I liked the fudge, it's good once you get used to the slightly odd texture of the cake mix. Here's a picture:




I'd probably make this again since it came out better than the first time. It's good if you want something sweet that's quick to make. It does have to chill in the fridge for a while though and in my opinion it tastes better when it's been out of the fridge for a couple of hours or so because it's had time to properly set. If you'd prefer to eat it straight away (once you take it out of the fridge) you can though! lol. I think I'll try more microwave recipes in the future.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Beltane 2015

I celebrated Beltane on Friday (1st May). You can celebrate on either 30th April or 1st May. Last year I had salad for lunch and an elderflower drink. See last year's post here: http://livingseasonal.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/beltane.html

This year I made an elderflower and lemon drink using an old recipe from the Co-Op magazine. It's basically just elderflower drink (I used Belvoir's Elderflower Cordial) mixed with fizzy/sparkling water and lemon juice. I did like it but originally I made it too weak. It tasted better when I added more cordial.

I also made my own guacamole using a recipe from my new book The Kitchen Witch by Soraya. I'd never made it before. It's not complicated to make and it tasted quite nice. Green is a colour associated with Beltane, so guacamole fits in with that! I had it with chicken drumsticks, potato salad, coleslaw, shop bought dips (salsa, guacamole and onion and garlic), tomato and a few crisps.

Here's a picture of the salad. You can see the home made guacamole to the left of the plate. It's paler than the shop one.



Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Easter Cake

I was planning to post this yesterday but hadn't uploaded my pictures yet, so I'll do it today instead. :)

For Easter this year I made a Tres Leches cake. I actually made it on Saturday because it had to refrigerate overnight and then did the topping on Easter Sunday (5th April). The recipe was from this site:  http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/2013/09/delicious-tres-leches-cake.html 

The name of the cake translates as something like "3 milks" and the milks you use are condensed milk, evaporated milk and half and half. Apparently in the UK we call half and half "half cream" but it doesn't seem to be widely available, I couldn't find it at Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda or Waitrose! I couldn't find it a couple of weeks ago either when I wanted some for the sugar cookie bars I made for Oestara. So both times I mixed milk and cream together and that seemed to work ok, since that's basically what half and half is anyway. You can also find another substitute suggestion here: http://frugalliving.about.com/od/makeyourowningredients/r/Half_and_Half.htm

The cake came out well. I wasn't sure how much I would like the topping, since it's just cream (the recipe says heavy cream but I think it's the equivalent of our whipping cream), sugar and vanilla essence and I don't like cream, but it tasted quite nice. I put sprinkles on top. I was going to use Mini Eggs as well but I discovered the packet was damaged (must have happened in the shop) and there wasn't time to get any more.

Here's a picture:

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Oestara 2015

I celebrated Oestara on Friday (20th March) by making sugar cookie bars. The recipe was from this site: http://www.highheelsandgrills.com/2012/08/sugar-cookie-bars.html

I'd had the recipe on my Recipes To Make board for a year or so! I pin so much stuff and don't get round to making it, so this was an opportunity to use one of the recipes I'd had on there for ages.

I'd never made sugar cookies or sugar cookie bars before, so had no idea how thick they were supposed to be. I think mine came out too thick and could have done with being cooked longer but never mind! I liked them; I just think they could have come out a bit better. The ones in the recipe have pink frosting and I planned to make mine green because that's a spring colour and I still had some green food colouring left from Hallowe'en/Samhain but I couldn't find the food colouring after all, so the icing ended up being plain. But still tasted nice, lol.

I put Cadbury Mini Eggs on top like I did for the fairy cakes last year. (See Oestara link for last year's post). And then I also added sprinkles. Here's a picture:





These would be good to make for Easter as well. I'm not sure yet what I'm making for Easter, maybe some kind of brownies or chocolate cake and I could put more Mini Eggs on top.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Pancake Day

Last Tuesday was Pancake Day (also known as Shrove Tuesday) in the UK. It falls on the day before Ash Wednesday which is the first day of Lent and the date varies between February and March because Shrove Tuesday is always 47 days before Easter and Easter itself varies. The meaning behind Pancake Day is that since Lent is traditionally the period when you abstain from things (e.g. give up certain foods/fast or stop drinking alcohol) you would enjoy something nice before then and also use up the food in your house by making pancakes. (In particular food you're not allowed during Lent). This day is called "Shrove" because it's a variation of "Shrive" which means either to confess sins or to be absolved from them. (Actually it most likely means both).

Although Shrove Tuesday is now related to Christianity it was originally a pagan festival. (Like quite a few Christian events). In Eastern Europe the people believed that pancakes symbolised the sun and that eating them helped overcome winter and move into spring. The Slavic god Jarilo was worshipped at this time. He is the god of spring, vegetation and fertility. He sounds similar to the Green Man and the Celtic Sun God Lugh.

Pancake Day is also celebrated in Ireland, Canada and Australia. In France and the USA this day is Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday).

I made some pancakes with Nutella. I got the idea from  a blog but made my own recipe, a basic recipe that my mum uses. I only ended up having one in the end because the Nutella made it quite rich! The pancake came out better than the ones I made for Imbolg, lol. They are English pancakes which are bigger and thinner than American ones. They're more like the type called crepes in other countries.

Here's a link to the blog with the Nutella recipe. It's in Dutch but you can translate it with Google Translate:
http://uitpaulineskeuken.nl/2014/12/flensjestaart-met-nutella.html

Alternatively you can follow my recipe below. :)




Plain pancake

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Imbolg 2015

It was Imbolg last Monday (2nd February) and I made some pancakes. Last year I made American style pancakes but this year I decided to do British/English ones. (Click on the Imbolg link to see last year's pancakes). British pancakes are bigger and thinner than American ones, they're more the type that are called crepes in America. You can read more about different types of pancakes here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pancake

I used this recipe from the Co-Op magazine: http://magazine.co-operativefood.co.uk/janfeb2015?page=18#_ga=1.12905271.1282307902.1423407419

It's a kids' recipe but I'm not used to making pancakes and it took 3 attempts to get a decent one! Never mind, lol. I put sugar and lemon on the pancakes and had them with some Belvoir Fruit Farms raspberry lemonade from Tesco.

Since it's Pancake Day coming up on the 17th you might want to use this recipe then. :)



Monday, 12 January 2015

Energy Balls

A few months ago I made some No-Bake Energy Bites which were quite nice. I got them from Pinterest and had pinned a few other similar recipes that I planned to make. So on Friday I decided to make Peanut Butter Energy Balls. (These are also No-Bake). The recipe was written on the pin but it links to two sites and the original recipe is called Peanut Butter Pong Balls. Here are the links: http://doitandhow.com/2013/03/08/nutty-peanut-butter-energy-balls/ and http://thediva-dish.com/desserts/peanut-butter-pong-balls/