Curtains for me!

Woohoo! Finally…..after licking and dabbing with paint in various places around the house I get to complete the curtains for our bedroom. Our bedroom needs lick of paint too, maybe it will be done soon…maybe I will find other rooms to do first…like big man’s who wants it blue with green army type stuff on…….well onto the curtains anyway.

Hmmm yes well the old ones were so old that they were literally falling apart and were almost thread bare on the parts where they are pulled together. I’m quite ashamed to admit that by the way! I don’t think they are even usable as dog beds!!

I have had this fabric for sometime now but like I said other things kept cropping up.

You can see that the underneath set are quite see-through but I did love that colour soooooo much and really neeeeeded it and it matched our bed cover so well 😉 ….so another set had to go over the top. Now when closed there will be no peeping from outside whatsoever!

Big man and I have been making lemonade too. Yum! Here’s the recipe if you want to have a go 😉 It’s supposed to serve 5. By the way we added extra water as it was too sharp for Big man. A large jug went in our fridge. A couple of hours later it had vanished like magic!

  • 4 lemons, juiced
  • 1L (1 3/4 pints) water
  • 100g (4 oz) caster sugar
In a 2 litre jug, combine the lemon juice, water and sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Chill in refrigerator. (for the sake of disappearing links)

talking of microwave……flapjack…mmmmm!

We are in need of some supertastic energy. Little man and I have done a lot of walking the past couple of days. Night time with a torch is fun, we had a great time listening to night-time noises such as owls and the scuffle of hedgehogs which we spotted in the undergrowth of some trees. Something ran across the path infront of us, far to quick for us to see with a torch. All very exciting!

On a trip into town we found a weigh your own shop selling jumbo oats which I haven’t seen for quite some time. Flapjacks are on the menu but who wants to wait 45 mins for them to cook then another 10 or so for them to cool enough? Well yes we could if we really wanted to but we are hungary!

Big Man’s Banana Flapjacks.

From the weigh shop a small very sticky bag of glace cherries

about 2 large cups of jumbo oats

2 ripe medium-sized bananas, mashed

3-4 table spoons honey or syrup

Put about 4oz butter into a saucepan and melt with 3-4 tablespoons of honey or syrup if you have it, we haven’t so honey it is for us. Add the mashed bananas and mix thoroughly.

Add the oats and cherries, chopped in half if you can rescue enough from smaller hands that are pinching them for a tasty snack! We had a few chocolate covered raisins left in a bag so they have gone in too. Mix well, everyone can have a stir if they want to! At this point our mixture seemed a little dry so we added about a tablespoon of hot water from the kettle but remember I don’t weigh stuff very often so I go by how it feels. By the way, had we any brown sugar I might have added a tablespoon of that too!

Ours was microwaved for 5 mins on high in an 800w microwave. We used a silicone cake tray thingy that I had put into the cupboard and forgot about (now it’s been discovered, endless ideas are popping into my head). It is about 8 inches square. If I was to cook this by traditional oven I would put in the oven at home on about 180 deg C for about 45 mins. I’m not sure on the conversion but I think that’s about gas 4. You may want to check by a good cookery book or google it.

 Microwave Banana Flapjack

There it is, banana flapjack, thick, sticky and super yummy 😉

Vegetarian Sunday Lunch Roll or maybe stuffing for meat eaters

Still at the caravan, still making good things to eat that aren’t beans on toast. Not that beans on toast isn’t any good because it is. It’s just that you can make more than that even without a normal size kitchen with lots of appliances(I do have a stick blender for soups etc which is what I use to make my breadcrumbs 😉 ).

Enough waffle….Sunday lunch. The boys had chicken where I had my own version of meat. It’s good enough to eat with a hot meal or sliced on sandwiches or crackers. After it’s cooked you can chop it up and add it to your pasta meal, throw it in an omlette(which are also really easy to cook in a caravan too), stuff peppers, mushrooms tomatoes etc with the mixture before you bake them, shape into burgers or sausages or simply have it with salad. The list is endless It’s my trusted Sunday lunch roll.

I normally bake this in a loaf tin but since I haven’t one here i’m making do with shaping it into a log. Fine for batches and round crackers but it doesn’t fit on a sandwich very well, you kind of miss the corners. Oh well not to stress, you will have to have it hanging out of the sides instead 😉

Come on you meat eaters what’s stopping you, give it a go…serve it as a stuffing alongside your meat if you aren’t sure but I bet you will like it.

Here’s the recipe…

A handful of nuts, ground or grated. I use hazel nuts for this but you can use a bag of ground almonds if you want to

4 slices of brown bread, ok i’m being healthy you can use white I suppose, made into breadcrumbs

2 eggs, beaten

1 table spoon tomato puree

2 table spoons soy sauce

1 large spring onion, finely chopped or minced or you can use a shallot or small onion

a dash of smoked paprika

a clove, finely chopped if you have some in or use a dash of ground garlic

salt and pepper to taste

1-2 oz cheese, grated (You don’t have to add cheese if you don’t want to. I think it makes the mixture nice and moist though. I had some cheese with chilli and peppers in so I used a bit of that)

Mix all the ingredients together until well combined. Fill a small greased loaf pan or roll into a log shape. If you find the mixture too stiff or soggy which can depend on egg size or thickness of bread etc then add more egg or a spoonful or two of flour so that it’s easier to shape.

 Bake at gas 6 or 200 deg C for 25-30 mins or until a skewer comes out clean. Or if you are making burger shapes then you can bbq them if you want. It’s raining here today so I don’t really fancy standing under an umberella with the bbq!

Leave for a few mins before you slice for a hot meal or cool and chill in the fridge to slice/chop. Mmmm nice ;-D

I should think it would freeze ok but ours never made it that far. I’m sorry there’s no photo due to the fact I live with a flock of gannets! Next time I make one I will post a pic ;-D

The rain has stopped and it’s getting really sunny. I just made up a small batch with half of the ingredients and white breadcrumbs for a couple of burgers for the bbq. Looking forward to giving them a go soon.

vegetarian lunch roll mixture

vegetarian lunch roll made into burgers

Happy munching. x

Plum Crumble microwave or oven, as you please

After finding a plum-tree with just a few plums on we decided to keep a few for this rather tasty crumble.

Did you ever play this game;

Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor, rich man, poor man, beggarman, thief.

Lady, baby, gypsy, queen, elephant, monkey, tangerine.

It’s where you count the fruit stones as you eat your share of the crumble. If you have say four stones you become a sailor queen or with five stones, a rich elephant. Well that’s how we play. There isn’t a winner just a laugh as you eat your pudding. If you want to tell fortunes with them you can read about it here

So anyway, back to the fruit crumble. A simple recipe with easy ingredients to throw together in an instant.

microwave plum crumble

1 or two handfuls of plums or frut of some kind mixed with a tablespoon of sugar (depending on the sharpness of the fruit really), placed in a microwavable bowl. I use my guess the weight method. Usually the mix is half butter to flour with a bit of sugar to sweeten it. This, I agree doesn’t make much sense to the average cook so here are the proper weights.

6 oz flour, supposed to be plain but I have used self raising without any prob so whatever is in the cupboard

3 oz butter

2 oz sugar

Rub the flour and butter together until they look like breadcrumbs. Mix the sugar through. Place on top of the fruit. Press down lightly then ruffle the top with your fingertips.

Bake for 20-30 minutes.  180 °C / 350 °F / Gas 4.  or until top is lightly brown and fruit juice is bubbling up through the crumble.

Or you can put it in the microwave on full power for about 4-5 mins. Which makes for a very quick pud but obviously isn’t as crispy or brown.

microwave plum crumble

Pour custard over and eat up. Mind the pips you don’t want to miss out on being a lady thief (pudding stealer!) in the game above!

Before I leave you all for today I want to say HAPPY 70th BIRTHDAY MUM for your special day last week. Sorry it’s late on here but since we were with you I don’t suppose it would matter 😀 Hope you had a fantastic day, love from all of us here in Wales. XXX

Hi from sunny Wales…I smell cake, do you?

Technology is a funny thing, just when you think you have gotten away from it all, there pops up this internet cafe in the local town and wifi connection on our campsite. All is not lost I will spend a few mins sharing 😉

Caravan food is like normal food. People think because you are away in a van that you have to eat baked beans all the time. We don’t, I think if we did our tummies might explode or our rear ends would be extremely noisy!

Big man and I baked a cake the other day. The problem isn’t ingredients but what to mix in? Well a pan does just as well as anything with a wooden spoon makes for big muscles and a well-earned cake!

I don’t always bother with scales or cups at the best of times (unless it’s a new recipe) so why bother now? So we put in a few scoops of this that and the other, crack an egg or three, into a tin then the oven.

Voila….all the campsite desperate to know whose van the gorgeous smell is coming from and jammy smiles and sticky fingers from us!

So for normal people with scales, bowls, kitchen mixers or wooden spoons and pans like us here’s how to do it.

2 small baking tins, ours were cheap ones from Wilkinsons. About 80 something pence each if I remember right. Because it’s a caravan with a gas oven we used gas 5, at home I would probably use 180 deg C. I don’t know if that’s the right equivalent but you could look it up with google or in a good recipe book. As for ingredients, you could play guess the weight like we did!

6oz soft butter or marg

6oz sugar, any type

6oz self-raising flour

3 eggs

Do the usual, mix together butter and sugar in the pan with wooden spoon, beat it up like crazy till your muscles look (or at least feel like popeye). Crack eggs into something, anything to hand, a plastic cereal bowl, cup, whatever. Beat the egg with a fork. Mix in a bit of flour and a bit of egg gradually till it’s all mixed in. Put into greased, lined tins. I won’t say what to line them with, it depends what you have, you could use leaves off of the closest bush but we prefer greaseproof, although I have used foil when we didn’t have any.

 

Place in the oven for about 20 mins, wafting the smell out of the windows all the time.caravan cakecaravan cake
caravan cake Cool and spread with the Damson Jam you made. You aren’t going to want the big stones on there so don’t forget to suck them like sweeties before you put them in the bin or give them to someone smaller minding that they don’t choke when laughing at the confusion on people’s faces as they walk past smelling that cakey smell.

Sandwich together then take wedges onto the lawn for your guests or just take a wedge outside the caravan and sit on the grass getting yourself nice and sticky like we did.caravan cake

We made crumble for pudding with some plums that we found too. Yes that was a different day-we don’t look like weeble people! I’m running out of time so will add that another day. 

Nice to see you guys again anyway…..

Vegetarian Sausage Rolls

Don’t be scared it’s just nuts and stuff! Breadcrumbs and a few other ingredients mixed together. The mixture is thrown into some pastry and shoved into the oven! Some people run at the mention of vegetarian food. I have actually managed to fool people with these. I mean meat eaters asking what kind of meat it was!

I have to say that everyone in our family like these, meat fanatics also. Not just for the vege person. They are tasty and easy. You can freeze the leftovers as the made up sausage rolls or just the mixture to put in pastry later. I’m not trying to sell these or anything but honest, give them a go. I don’t think you will be disappointed.

I made short pastry with 12 oz flour, 3 oz trex and 3 oz butter or (vege margarine if you prefere) then chilled it in the fridge for about an hour whilst I did various jobs around the house. It was probably longer than that but it was workable and not too hard. If it does go too hard just leave it out of the fridge for 20 mins or so to soften up. There are plenty of good recipes for pastry out there on the web so you could do a google search if you needed to. If you wanted to make it really easy go buy a pack at the shops!

2 slices bread, made into fresh breadcrumbs
150g mixed nuts, ground up in a processor or chopped very finely (This was the amount in the bag that I bought. A few grams either way shouldn’t really make any difference.)
A handful of fine oats or ordinary ones blended for a few seconds
1 vege stock cube, crumbled
salt and pepper
I have fresh sage growing so I snipped a few leaves and chopped them. You could add dried or another herb if you don’t have any or miss it out.
2 small onions, finely chopped or minced
1 pack silken tofu (If you don’t have this or don’t fancy trying it, no problem you can use 2 beaten eggs  instead)
2tbl sp soy sauce
Small squeeze of tomato puree to help with the colour and flavour
Milk or egg to glaze

Let’s get to it then.

Mix together the breadcrumbs, finely chopped nuts, oats, crumbled up stock cube, salt and pepper, sage and onion. Put the bowl to one side.

In a processor or blender make the silken tofu into a smooth paste. Or if using eggs crack two into a bowl and beat.

Mix into the tofu or beaten egg.  The soy sauce and tomato puree. Add these to the bowl of previously prepared ingredients. After giving it a good mix. Roll the pastry out into four rectangles and brush around the edges with water. Pile the filling into the middle and shape into a sausage shape. Fold the pastry over and press down to seal. Cut the tops with a sharp knife then brush with a little beaten egg or milk. If you remember you could save a tiny bit of the egg if you used it, or just use milk. At this stage i’m usually making a cup of tea anyway so I use milk ;-D

If you don’t want to make big ones you can make tiny cocktail ones. Make one long sausage shape then cut into lots of small ones. I haven’t timed the baking of these but i’m sure you could just keep an eye on them and take them out when you need to. I would think to check them after 15 mins.

Put the rolls into the oven at 200 deg C for 20-40 mins or till nicely browned.

I find these very filling so salad would go well. The boys like homemade chips and baked beans though. I think that goes back to having pie and chips from the chippy!

Now as for a picture, there is one somewhere…this post has been so long in the making that I can’t remember where I stored it. When I find it I will add it. It just looks like a sausage roll to be honest 😉

 vege sausage roll

Finally for today Happy Birthday to our bigger lad whose special day it was yesterday. Hope you had a great day! x

ricotta…hmmmm and rhubarb

We are still eating lots of yogurt here. I haven’t been very successful with making ricotta from the whey though. I have tried twice but both times ended up with a bowl full of whey and nothing in the muslin at the top. Oh well. I still use the left over whey for baking or watering the plants with.

I also made some cottage cheese which did turn out very well but the amount of milk that it took to make a tiny bit, has made me appreciate the shop bought version. The little pots that cottage cheese comes in have been very handy for planting things too. So not all is lost, I will re-use the pots before I recycle them. That makes me feel a bit better about it.

Spring is springing and we have been planting things. I have a window sill of pots and lollysticks, not much to show for them yet though. Under a cloche outside there are seeds sown for radish and spring onions and a few cut and come again salad leaves. Also some rosemary and thyme that I am going to plant in the garden soon. The fruit trees are sprouting leaves and I have a few daffodils in a vase on my kitchen windowsill (only because the dog trampled on them by accident!)

Jade and I are enjoying our daily walk with the sun on our backs and not squelching through deep mud.The mood is happy and peaceful. Little man has been poorly again, another bug. He is at home with me today. We might chalk pictures on the path or do some mixing in the kitchen if he is up to it.

I am searching for rhubarb recipes. It shooted a bit back and we have had crumble and pie but I fancy a bit of a change. Maybe some lemonade or sorbet  or maybe some compote to go with our homemade yogurt 😉

Oh and that left over potato again, I made some basil potato patties which were very yummy!

Hope you are well where ever you are 🙂