Monday, 30 December 2013

Christmas vanilla roll cake

Hope everyone had a nice Christmas! :)

I made a Christmas vanilla roll log for Christmas, using  this recipe:

It's basically like a Swiss roll, a rolled up cake with buttercream in and similar to the Yule log.

Mine was nice but it was quite dry, so I ate it with Nestle Carnation topping (evaporated milk). The buttercream was nice. I couldn't use the batter bits that were in the recipe because I don't think we have them over here. There are also red and green sprinkles in the recipe but I used Sainsbury's Festive ones, which are red, white and green. Here's a picture of the cake:

One of my Christmas presents was Sam Stern's latest book Sam Stern's Cookery Course (formerly Virgin To Veteran), so I'll be making some recipes from that next year.

Happy New Year! :)

Sunday, 22 December 2013


Yesterday (21st December) was Yule, the Wiccan/pagan sabbat. The sabbats are also known as The Wheel of the Year, a cycle of seasonal festivals that happen every year. Yule is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. It represents the rebirth of the sun because after the shortest day and longest night, the days gradually get longer and the nights shorter, until the Summer Solstice (around 21st June). At Yule (Midwinter) the Goddess gives birth to the God (he's the reborn sun). A Wiccan belief is that the Holly King has ruled over the darkening year since Litha (Midsummer/Summer Solstice), and now he gives way to the Oak King, who rules over the lighter half of the year. The date of Yule varies but is celebrated around the 21st. It was kind of like a pre Christmas and has similar traditions.

It's traditional to have a Yule log for this sabbat.  It's a wooden log and you can light it as part of a ritual. Also these days you can have a chocolate Yule log. It would be more traditional to make one but the past few years I've had one from Sainsbury's! lol. (Luxury chocolate yule log). I do plan to make one in the future. I put 3 candles in it (for each person celebrating) and then you can blow it out and make a wish for the coming year. Here's a picture of my log:

I  had green and red candles for Yule (the colours of Yule, along with gold and white) as decoration. Here they are:

 Hope you had a good Yule. Merry Christmas! :)

For more on Yule, visit these links:

Saturday, 21 December 2013


I thought I would do a  post on soups because they're good to have at this time of year. :)

I mentioned in my post on Sam Stern's Potato and Onion Soup before that I wanted to make his Potato and Onion and Herb one. I did make it last month and it was nice but I prefer it without the herbs. It's pretty similar to the Potato and Onion recipe but it has garlic and tarragon in it. Here's a link to the Potato, Onion & Herb recipe:

And here's a picture of mine:

I also made Carrot and Parsnip Soup recently, using this recipe:

It was quite nice but I didn't like it as much as the Potato and Onion Soup. Here's a pic of mine:

 It's quite lumpy rather than smooth because I don't have a hand blender anymore! I need to get a new one, lol.

P.S. Today is the Wiccan sabbat Yule (the winter solstice and shortest day). I will post about what I did for it tomorrow or Monday. Merry Yule! :)

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Hove Park in autumn

I was planning to take some pictures in Hove Park this autumn but wasn't able to get back there, so I'll post a couple from last autumn instead. :) Sorry the last one is a bit dark!

September 2012

Hallowe'en 2012

Monday, 4 November 2013


Hope everyone had a good Hallowe'en/Samhain! I made the Demon's Blood drink again this year but the green food colouring I had was out of date and Tesco didn't have any at all (in fact they didn't seem to have much of anything!), so I used red instead. It came out alright and still tasted the same. :) Here's a pic:

I also made some chocolate ginger bat biscuits, using a recipe from the Tesco magazine:

A couple of them got a bit broken! lol.

Also, here are a couple of  pictures of the decorations: 

Pumpkin lantern (got it last year)


Monday, 28 October 2013

Hallowe'en Drinks

Since it's Hallowe'en (also the Wiccan sabbat Samhain) this week, I thought I'd do a post about some drinks to make. One of my favourites is Demon's Blood, I got the recipe from the book The Real Witches' Kitchen by Kate West and I have made it the last 3 Hallowe'ens. I want to make it again this year.

Here's the recipe:

Demon's Blood


Ginger beer (I'm using Old Jamaica)
Apple juice
Orange juice
Green food colouring

All you do is add the ingredients and  mix it together till it's turned green. You can add whatever amount of each ingredient that you want. I usually mix it in a bowl first and then sometimes add extra ginger beer to my individual drink if someone else doesn't want as much in theirs.

The first time I made this in 2010 I also made another recipe from The Real Witches' Kitchen, which was a "vampire" drink. I didn't like that much but I'll include it here because someone else might like to make it. :)

Vampire's Blood


1 banana
Scoop of ice cream
Red food colouring

Chop the banana (if-like me- you don't like banana that much, you can just use a small amount). Blend it with the milk and ice cream and mix in the red colouring until it's turned red.

I also want to try making this orange hot chocolate:

I found the recipe on Pinterest, along with this one for Fizzy Jack-o-Lantern Milkshakes: (redirects)

And a Martha Stewart one for Boo-Nilla milkshakes:

I can't make them all, so I might make the others next year. Hope you like the recipes if you have a go at making them. :) Happy Hallowe'en/Samhain!

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Potato and Onion Soup

I sometimes make potato and onion soup for lunch. I started making it about a year ago and while I did have it in the summer too,  I thought it was appropriate to post the recipe now because soup is nice to have in autumn and winter. :) I made it for lunch today. It's good if you don't have much money because there are only a couple of main ingredients (potatoes and onion). I don't have bacon on it that often, although I did today. It's also quite healthy (minus the bacon!).

This recipe is called Skint Potato & Onion Soup and it's from Sam Stern's Student Cookbook. He doesn't have that exact recipe online, so I've written it out here. He does have a similar recipe though, for Potato, Onion & Herb Soup, which you can see here:

Skint Potato & Onion Soup
(with Optional Crumbled Bacon)


450g/1lb floury potatoes 
110g/4oz onions
50g/20z butter
850ml/1 1/2 pints water, mixed with 1/2 tsp Marigold veg stock
or own veggie/chicken stock or water
Few sprigs fresh parsley
3 tbsps milk
Salt and black pepper
2 rashers grilled streaky back bacon (optional)

This is similar to Sam's recipe for Potato, Onion & Herb Soup (minus the herbs), which you can find here:

I use Chicken gravy granules or Oxo for the stock. I don't use that much milk because I don't like it too milky, so just pour in a bit. (I think that's why mine is darker than the one in the book picture). If you don't have a handblender (I don't have one anymore), you can mash or sieve it. I use a potato masher. I don't tend to use parsley.

Hope you like the recipe if you try it. :) I'll have to have a go at making the potato, onion and herb one as well.

Check out more recipes I've made here:

Monday, 16 September 2013

Birdies Perch Malteser Slice

I recently made a recipe called Birdies Perch Malteser slice for my belly dance group BD4U's event. I made it before; almost a year ago (didn't know it had been so long!). I decided to post the recipe on here.

The Malteser slice is a Malteser/cake slice with Maltesers, golden syrup, digestive biscuits and milk chocolate in and white chocolate on the top. It's a recipe from Sam Stern's Student Cookbook and he got it from a teashop he goes to in Yorkshire called Birdies Perch.

                                                     Pic from first time I made it

Update 26/5/14- I realised that I shouldn't have copied the whole recipe because of copyright laws, so I'm going to change what I wrote. I came across this article about sharing recipes:

Update 21/3/16: This is a type of cake that's known as a "fridge cake" or tray bake in the UK and I've found similar recipes online which I thought I'd link to here (since I can't post the recipe in full and it's harder to read in the picture in Sam's book):

Here is the recipe:

Birdies Perch Malteser Slice


100g/3 1/2oz margarine/butter
100g/3 1/2oz golden syrup
150g/5oz milk chocolate
225g/8oz digestive biscuits
175g/6oz  bag Maltesers


2x 150g/5oz bars white chocolate
Grating of milk chocolate

I found a link to the recipe page in the book (Page 259). It's small but you can still read it:

Note: You bash the Maltesers bag 3 times but I bashed them a bit extra to crumble them up more.

There you go! Hope you like it, if you make it. :)

If you want to try more Sam Stern recipes, visit his site:

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Hove Park in summer

I thought I would post some pictures I've taken throughout the seasons and decided to start with Hove Park, where I like to go for walks. Here are a couple of photos I've taken during the summer:

                                                                       June 2011

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Summer Drinks

I really like drinks such as milkshakes, iced coffees, smoothies, lemonade etc. I like them all year round but they're especially good to have in summer. So I thought I'd do a post on my favourite summer drinks. :)

Update 14/6/20: I've updated links since this post is several years old now. When McDonald's McCafe gets back up and running I'll add the latest links. :)

Iced coffee


My favourite type of iced coffee would have to be Starbucks' mocha frappuccinos. I don't have them that often because they're expensive. I also like vanilla frappuccinos, I have them occasionally.

See the Starbucks frappuccino range here:


Now McDonald's are doing iced coffees, I've been having them a bit more often because they're cheaper (£2.19 compared to £3+). I like both the mocha and caramel but like the mocha best.


I sometimes make my own iced coffee at home using a Sam Stern recipe and it's nice but never as nice as shop bought, lol. The other week I made some using this recipe which is a DIY Starbucks frappuccino:

I used Sainsbury's coffee whitener for my creamer. I made it too strong and overdosed on coffee! It tasted nice though. I want to have a go at my own mocha one soon.



I really like Innocent smoothies, my fave is strawberries and bananas. I don't like banana but it's ok in a smoothie as long as it doesn't taste too strong! lol.


I recently tried their new strawberry and banana smoothie and liked it. I've yet to try the mango and pineapple.

Check out the McDonald's range of fruit smoothies and iced frappes here:

Update 26/5/14- You can find the latest McDonald's smoothies and frappes at the link for McCafe:



I like Nesquick chocolate milkshakes best of all. Also strawberry.


McDonald's chocolate, vanilla and strawberry milkshakes are good. They do banana too.

Uncle Sam's

I like Uncle Sam's vanilla as well. They're thicker than McDonald's.


Shop bought

I like cloudy lemonade from the supermarket. Also Fentiman's Victorian and rose lemonades are good and the Sainsbury's ones that come in little bottles.

Burger King

They have a new range of  frozen lemonades, lemon and strawberry lemon. I had a lemon the other week and liked it. Burger King also do smoothies and frozen frappes but I've yet to try them.

Visit their site here:

Costa Coffee

Costa did lemonade last year. I had one then and liked it but I'm not sure which flavour I had, I think they did pink lemonade then. This year I had an original iced lemonade and didn't like that much, it seemed quite watery.

Costa also do iced coffee, creamy coolers, fruit coolers and coffee coolers. I had one of their coolers last summer but can't remember which one. I had a coffee cooler last week.

Costa Ice menu:

Update 14/6/20: Costa Ice no longer has its own separate section but you can find the full range here:


I occasionally make my own lemonade. My favourite is Hello Kitty lemonade from the book Hello Kitty's Little book of big ideas, lol. I thought I'd share the recipe here:

Update 26/5/14- I realised that I shouldn't have copied the whole recipe because of copyright laws, so I'm going to change what I wrote. I came across this article about sharing recipes:


What you'll need for approximately six glasses:

Pitcher (jug)
Measuring cup
Fruit juicer
6 glasses
6 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
4 lemons
Ice cubes
Lemon slices

You basically mix the water, sugar and lemon juice together and adjust it according to taste. It's similar to other basic lemonade recipes. :) Here's another recipe:

So these are my favourite summer drinks! :)

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Favourite Things About Summer

Summer is my favourite season because I like warmer weather and the activities you can do during it.

Fave Things About Summer:

The hotter weather
Going to the beach
Walking in the countryside
Going to the park
Sitting out in the garden
Ice cream
Cool drinks (iced coffee, lemonade, smoothies, milkshakes etc!)
Taking pictures when I'm at the beach or in the country

Here are a couple of pictures I took at Lancing Beach recently:

And one of Worthing Beach from August 2010:

Check out my Seasonal board for summer on Pintrest:

Welcome to The Seasonal Life

Welcome to my blog. :) I thought I would start one about "living around the seasons", doing activities and making seasonal recipes and things. My favourite season is summer, then next it would be autumn. I like spring too but winter is just too cold for me! There are some good things are winter though, Christmas for example! Hope you like The Seasonal Life. :)