Saturday, 30 November 2013

No Telephones or Internet AGAIN!!!

It doesn't feel like 5 minutes ago I was writing a similar post about not having telephones or broardband.
Unfortunately I am writing about it again!
Yes, the cables have been stolen again.
This is now the 6th time in the last 2 years.
We are obviously living in a hot spot for theft.
I am assuming this is because we live in the country but now it is getting ridiculous!
Apparently BT were making the cables more secure so that thieves were not going to be able to even access them.
Obviously this hasn't worked!
It costs them umpteen thousand pounds to replace every time this happens which inevitability will mean price increases so why do they not secure them better?
Surely if alarms are fitted it would act as more of a deterrent?
Or are the thieves just too smart for them?
Whatever it is something needs doing to prevent this theft.
I moan about not having the internet but I have my mobile phone.
What about the older generation that may not have a mobile phone and who rely on their land line.
One day, God forbid, the thefts could cost a life.
If someone needed the emergency services at the moment and had no mobile telephone they really would be helpless.
It is the most vulnerable that are at risk.
We rely so much on telephones and internet it is only when we haven't got it we realise how much we use it.
So if I do go quiet you know why.
We are supposedly going to have our connection back tomorrow but I won't hold my breath!
In the past we have been off for as long as 2 weeks!
At the moment I am enjoying free wifi at the swimming pool while Joseph swims. My enjoyment of being connected will continue at my mother in laws too!!!
Then it will be back to being cut off.
Secretly I think hubby is enjoying it as he says he often feels like a blogger/twitter/social media widower!
So tonight he will have my undivided attention.
This is something which I know I need to do more often!
Homemade pizza, maybe some cheese and wine, a film and snuggling up on the settee sounds like a good plan.
Just the two of us!
Can't wait x

Thankfully its the Weekend!

Yesterday was just been one of those crazy sorts of days!
The morning started off well.
The twins were behaving and playing nicely and I managed to get on with some jobs.
But after their nap it went downhill!
They woke up in a bad mood and from then on their moods escalated from happy giggles to screaming for no apparent reason.
If they weren't playing nicely they were getting into mischief.
I lost count how many times I had to get Taylor out of the nooks and crannies that he sneaks into to reek havoc!
He has suddenly found that he can throw and he can really launch things.
Poor little Isabella has to keep out of his way when he starts.
Dvds get thrown, cds get thrown even his tractor is thrown. If he can pick it up he has a go at throwing it!
He has also learnt the lovely word which is "no!"
So now that is his response to each and every question!
He really is starting to feel his feet in life and has become the more dominant twin!
But now the weekend has arrived. I have hubby home so I have some help get a little break.
Yet again we have another busy weekend.
Today, after Joseph has been swimming, we are going to my mother in laws as my sister and brother in law are visiting so we are going to see them for a bit and exchange Christmas presents.
I still can't believe that it is December tomorrow!
To celebrate the beginning of advent we are going to decorate the house and visit a local garden centre's Christmas wonderland.
It is fantastic.
We try to go there every year as the lights and decorations are so pretty and this year we just know that the twins will love it as well as Joseph!
This year we are not going dare put up our usual Christmas tree. I don't think it would last 5 minutes up. I can see the twins having it over. So we are going to have a lot of ceiling decorations and tinsel high up where no little hands can get hold of it! I am also wanting to have a go at some Christmas creative play with them during the run up to Christmas. After our baking fun I think that they will enjoy having a go.
I am getting excited for Christmas already.
The twins are going to be so much more aware of their presents and what is going on around them.
This year will be the start of their Christmas magic which they will treasure for years!

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Are Pregnancy Symptoms Worse With Twins?

Are pregnancy symptoms worse with twins?

Is it harder carrying twins?

Are there other symptoms which are more common in twin pregnancies?

For any new mum to be these are common questions.

For mums to be of twins or more it is even more daunting as we are given very little information unless we search for it!

As you know I have been through both a singleton pregnancy and a twin pregnancy so I am able to compare my experiences.

Click the link to Wriggly Rascals where you can read my full guest post

http://www.wrigglyrascals.com/blog/2013/11/are-pregnancy-symptoms-worse-with-twins/

If you have had a similar experience please take a moment to complete the following survey:

http://tiny.cc/wriggly202c


Baking Fun with the Twins - KitchenCraft Let's Make Starter Baking Set Review

Yesterday the twins had their first baking experience!
They loved getting involved and having a go!
We recieved a surprise package of some children's baking utensils so it gave me the perfect excuse to bake some cakes with my little helpers.
Not that I really need an excuse!
We used the fantastic Kitchen Craft Let's Make Starter Baking Set.
The set provides little bakers with everything that they need to make their very own cakes.
As I told the twins they were just like mummy's!
The set includes
* 3 different silicone moulds
* spatula
* spoon
* 4 shaped cookie cutters
* mini whisk
* mini rolling pin
As the twins are not yet 2 the whisk and rolling pin have been put away until they are a little bit older but they loved playing with the spoon, spatula and silicone moulds.
As the set incudes both a spatula and a spoon there were no arguments over who got to stir as they had one each!
The moulds kept the twins happy whilst I made the cake mixture. They were fascinated by how they could bend them about. The silicone moulds are great for baking with children as they are so flexible and if dropped they have no weight in them so cause no injuries! They are also easy to pop the baked cakes out once cooled!
Once the mixture was made I took the bowl over to the twins to have a stir.
After showing them how to mix there was no stopping them. They thought it was great fun and said over and over "mix, mix".
After a lot of stirring and mixing it was time to put the mixture in the child sized silicone moulds.
If I am honest I thought that they might have been a bit too young to manage it.
How wrong was I!
Isabella only needed showing a couple of times before she too wanted to try. Whereas Taylor wanted to get his fingers straight it and squelched the cake mixture between his fingers!
The twins enjoyed our baking fun so much more than I thought they would.
For me, it was lovely spending time enjoying something which I am quite passionate about and seeing the twins getting enjoyment from it too!
I can see that as they grow they will want to help me more in the kitchen. After our first baking afternoon I cannot wait until our next!
The Kitchen Craft Let's Make Starter Baking Set is the ideal children's baking set from little beginners, like my twins, or bigger children who love to bake. The utensils were the perfect size and weight for the twins to manage. The silicone mould make perfect mini cakes or loaves just like what mummy makes!
Our next baking task will have to be biscuits! The cookie cutters in this pack are great for even the littlest hands! With them being made of plastic there are no sharp edges which make them safe for the children to use.
All 3 of us had fun and thoroughly enjoyed eating what we had baked!
Everything that a little baker will need

The twins get stuck in!

Taylor getting his hands in!

Isabella putting the cake mixture into the cupcake mould

Our finish cakes and mini loaf of bread

Disclaimer: Tesco very generously sent us the KitchenCraft Let's Make Starter Baking Set. Thank you!
This post has not been influenced in anyway and the review is my honest opinion.

The KitchenCraft set can be seen and purchased at Tesco Direct

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Wednesday Words - Toddlers!

Just recently the twins have had us running ragged.
They are constantly exploring, discovering they can get into different spaces and climb to different heights.
Life is manic at the moment.
They have also learnt to say "no" which we hear a lot during the day and particularly at times when we don't want to hear it.
Today Isabella got hold of my glasses and snapped the arm off which I really was not happy about.
But this is all part of growing up.
They are discovering the world around them and learning about life.
When I saw this quote I knew that it was perfect!

"HAVING A TWO YEAR OLD IS LIKE HAVING A BLENDER THAT YOU DON'T HAVE THE TOP FOR"
Jerry Seinfeld

Except for us it is times two!

Wednesday Words is hosted by Emma at Crazy With Twins who I am sure will know exactly what I mean!
Check out her Wednesday Words at
http://www.crazywithtwins.com/2013/11/27/wednesday-words-autumn-morning/

Settling Ginger Tea Loaf

This is a loaf that started off as a bara brith but thanks to all of my twists it turned into a different bake altogether!
My hubby unfortunately suffers with bad acid reflux and heartburn. He has found that ginger can help his stomach to settle so I decided to bake him something which would help but would also be tasty!
I know that he loves bara brith so I tried to model this bake on that.
This is what I came up with...

Settling Ginger Tea Loaf

Ingredients

180mls strong ginger tea
225g mixed dried fruit with candied peel
200g self raising flour
25g wholemeal self raising flour
150g light muscovado sugar
1/2tsp cinnamon
1/2tsp nutmeg
A piece of root ginger grated
1 egg

Method

1 - Soak the dried fruit in the ginger tea and leave preferably over night or at least a couple of hours.

Pre heat the oven to 180C

2 - Once the dried fruit has plumped up place it in a large mixing bowl and add the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and grate in some ginger this can be adjusted to taste, I grated in a piece that was approximately 5cms long.

3 - Beat the egg and add to the fruit mix and combine together.

4 - Sift in the flour and mix.

5 - Line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper and add the mixture.

6 - Place in the oven for 45 - 60 minutes. Check after 30 minutes as I found out on my first attempt that this bake will get brown quite quickly and if you do not keep a close eye on it it'll burn. When you check on it if it is a good brown colour cover it over with foil and continue to cook until a knife comes out clean when placed through the middle.

7 - Once cooked remove from the tin and leave to cool on a cooking rack.

This is an easy fruit loaf that is not only delicious but is also settling on the stomach.
It has been a real hit in our household and hubby has had to share it with me and the twins!
I have really enjoyed a mid morning break once the twins are asleep with a fresh cup of coffee and a couple of slices with a little butter.
Enjoy x


The Great Bloggers Bake Off is hosted by the lovely Helen and Jenny at:


 
 
Also shared on
 
Link up your recipe of the week


Monday, 25 November 2013

Stir Up Sunday - Wee Dram Christmas Pudding

Yesterday was my usual busy baking Sunday with an extra special bake!
It was Stir Up Sunday, tie to get the Christmas pudding baked!
I love this time of year and I love all the kitchen preparations that come with it. I have already got a batch of Christmas cakes maturing and a second lot of fruit soaking in whisky and couldn't wait to get the pudding made.
I studied a lot of different recipes and adapted to add what we like and that would go with our budget.
This is what I came up with...
 
Wee Dram Christmas Pudding
 
Ingredients
 
400g dried mixed fruit with candied peel
100g dried cranberries
125g flaked almonds
30g chopped roasted hazelnuts
50g butter
50g heather honey
50g dark muscovado sugar
75g white breadcrumbs
1tspn mixed spices
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs
4tbsp whisky
 
Method
 
1 - Place the dried mixed fruit, cranberries, almonds, hazelnuts, sugar, breadcrumbs, mixed spice, lemon zest and lemon juice in a large bowl and mix together.
 
2 - Melt the butter with the honey over a low heat.
 
3 - Add the melted butter, honey, eggs and whisky to the bowl and mix until all of the ingredients are evenly combined. I have used Famous Grouse whisky but this can be replaced by any other and the amount can also be adjusted to taste.
 
 
4 - This mixture will be enough to fill a 900ml pudding bowl, grease the tin with butter and add the pudding mixture.
 
5 - Cover with greaseproof paper and foil, fold them together i a fan style to allow room for expansion during steaming, tie with string to secure.
 
6 - Place the covered pudding bowl in a large pan and pour in water until it reaches half way up the pudding bowl, cover and put on a high heat until boiling then reduce down and simmer.
 
7 - Leave the pudding to steam for 3 hours, checking ever now and then and adding more water when necessary.
 
8 - After 3 hours remove from the pan and leave to cool completely with the foil and baking paper removed.
 
9 - Once cool, cover with a two sheets of greaseproof paper and foil. Secure with string and store away until Christmas day
 
On Christmas day or whenever you want to serve the pudding steam again as before for 1 hour and serve with the sauce of your choice.
We will probably be enjoying ours with some whisky cream!
Enjoy x

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Lemon and Lime Crumble Cake

My favourite cakes and puddings have to anything citrus.
I love the sweet tangy flavour that they gleave in your mouth!
My hubby also enjoys my crumble cakes so I decided incorporate the two and created this beautiful cake!

Lemon and Lime Crumble Cake

Ingredients

Cake
200g baking spread
200g caster sugar
4 eggs at room temperature
225g self raising flour
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Zezt and juice of 1 lime

Crumble topping
55g plain flour
30g butter 
20g caster sugar

Filling
Lemon curd
Double cream whipped
Icing sugar

Method

Pre heat oven to 180C

1 - mix the baking spread and caster sugar until creamy and light
2 - add the lemon and lime zest and mix
3 - beat the eggs together and add the lemon and lime juice
4 - gradually add the egg and juice mix along with a little flour to prevent curdling
5 - sift in the flour and mix until evenly combined together
6 - divide the mixture into two cake tins
7 - to make the crumble topping place the butter, flour and caster sugar into a food processor and blitz until you have a breadcrumb consistency
8 - evenly spread the crumble topping over one of the cake mixtures and place in the oven for 30 - 40 minutes or until baked all the way through
9 - once baked remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tin before removing then finish cooling on a cooling rack
10 - once completely cooled whisk the double cream until thick adding a little icing sugar to sweeten
11 - level off the bottom half of the cake and spread with lemon curd the amount you use can be adjusted to taste I used 3 desert spoons because I love the added tang it gives! 
12 - spread the whipped double cream over the lemon curd and place the crumble topped cake on the top

This cake is a delicious citrus treat that I cannot wait to bake again! 

Enjoy x

Silent Sunday

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Weekend Plans

The weekend is here again!
The weeks seem to be flying by at the moment.
I do not know where the time is going!
We have, yet another, busy weekend planned.
Today we are having an all round family day.
At the moment I am sat watching Joseph swim. He continues to amaze me by how much he is improving. Normally by the time we arrive for lessons all of the prized front row spaces have been taken so I am usually sat towards the back and unable to see. As Joseph is now in the deep end if you are not at the front you won't see a thing. As hubby and the twins have come with us this morning we were earlier than normal so I managed to get a prime seat and can actually see!!! All of the swimming lessons are finally paid off. Joseph is swimming with so much confidence. Everytime I look at him I can feel a proud mum smile come and my heart fills!
After swimming we will be going over to see hubby's parents and spend a little time there and have lunch.
When we get home I will be getting my bake on!
Today I have planned a lemon and lime crumble cake.
This will be a new bake so fingers crossed it turns out as I imagine it to!
Yummy!
Then it'll be my parents turn. They'll be coming down for their regular Saturday night dinner and drinks. My mum cooks for us on Sundays so Saturday is my turn.
On tonight's menu there will be chicken fajitas and lemon and lime crumble cake for pudding.
As for tomorrow's plans I will be getting our Christmas puddings ready as it is Stir Up Sunday!
I have all of my ingredients, thought about my recipe and got my pudding bowl.
I am ready!
Along with Christmas pudding I'll be baking bread and adding some more tipsy treats to my second lot of Christmas cake fruit that is soaking with more family time thrown in!
This weekend is going to be a mixture of my favourite things. Family time, baking and cooking. This equates to a great weekend!

Friday, 22 November 2013

Apple and Stilton Twist Bread

This is a bread that I have wanted to bake for a while now.
So you can imagine my excitement when I noticed that I had some Stilton left over in the fridge!
I love the sharp taste that the blue gives Stilton cheese. I find that it is either a cheese that you love or hate.
I have added the apple because I have always enjoyed a ploughman's lunch because of the cheese and apple combination with the salad and bread.
So what better way to mix the flavours that I love in a loaf!
Here is what I got...
 
Apple and Stilton Twist Loaf
 
Ingredients
 
500g Tesco Finest strong white flour
10g fast acting yeast
8g salt
30g softened butter
300 - 320mls warm water
1 eating apple, grated
100g Stilton blue cheese crumbles into small pieces

Method

1 - Place the flour in a large mixing bowl and place the flour on one side of the bowl and the yeast on the other. Add the softened butter and gradually add the water until you have a rough dough.

2 - Place the dough on the work top and start to knead.

3 - Once your dough has a smooth elasticated finish to it, place it in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave to prove for at least an hour or until it has doubled in size.

4 - Remove the dough from the bowl and split into two pieces. Pre heat the oven to 200C.
 
5 - Flatten each piece of dough into a rectangle. As you flatten and shape the dough you should be knocking out any excess air that is in the dough.
 
6 - On one piece of dough spread out the grated apple leaving a long edge of dough plain. Roll the dough towards the plain dough edge, using this to seal the roll and pinch in and fold the ends over.
 
7 - On the other piece of dough repeat step 6 with the Stilton.
 
8 - Take your two rolled pieces of dough and join two of the ends together and twist the rolls so that they become one.
 
 
9 - Place the dough in the pre heated oven and bake for 30 minutes or until it is a nice brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
 

 
This bread is delicious warm as it is or when cold with some salad, cooked meat and pickle.
With each bite you get a different flavour. One bite gives you a lovely light bread, the next could be the sweetness from the apple or the sharpness from the Stilton.
This is definitely a bread that I will be making again, it really is worth the wait!
 
Enjoy x
 
Disclaimer
Tesco sent me a bag of their Finest Very Strong White Bread Flour to bake with. Thank you!
 
The Great Bloggers Bake Off is hosted by the lovely Helen and Jenny at:


Thursday, 21 November 2013

Trying To Do What's Best

This morning Joseph has made me feel like the worst mum in the world!
Why?
What awful act did I do?
I said he couldn't go to school in his onesie!
He made me feel so bad.
Why did I say no?
Because he told me that someone had told him that if he went to school in his Superman onesie some kids would pick on him!
I said no to protect him from that, plus it is really too cold!!
All the way to school he looked on the brink of tears.
When we got to the playground and he saw all of his friends in onesies the tears came!
Not just from him either.
I had to really compose myself and look away from other mums as I too could feel my tears coming.
I felt so bad!
So what did I do?
Yes, I went home and got him his onesie and I took it up to school.
I gave in!
However when I did drop his onesie off I did tell school why I had said no and what Joseph had told me.
The one thing that I want to protect all of my children from, if I can, is bullying.
I was bullied at one of my school which resulted in me moving to a different school.
Being bullied is an awful experience for any child.
I would not wish it on my worst enemy let alone letting my children go through it.
I remember one time sitting in the school office on the phone to my mum telling her to come and collect me because the bullies were coming to get me.
Why was I bullied?
To this day I simply do not know.
I had not, to my knowledge, done anything to any of the girls that made my life hell during that time.
Yes they made my life at that school unbearable but they did not keep me down. I went on to enjoy the rest of my school days and put what they did behind me.
I wonder how they would feel if someone treated any of their children the way they treated me?
Or what they would do if their child was the bully?
They probably do not remember how they made me feel, but I do and I remember who each and every one of them are.
Will I name them?
I am tempted but no, I would not lower myself to their level.
I am better than that and a better person than them!
There I have said my bit, I thought that it was quite fitting as it is Anti Bullying Week.
I will do anything to try and protect my children but seeing Joseph so upset I knew that I could not leave him feeling that way.
I hope he has a great day in his onesie and I can't wait to collect him later and see him smiling and give him a hug!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Quick Easy Peasy Carbonara

This is a great easy meal for when time is an issue. It is so quick and easy, or as I would say "its easy peasy!"
You can also easily adapt this recipe to taste if you wish for example you could replace the smoked bacon with plain bacon.
Here is how I make it...

Ingredients

6 rashers of smoked bacon
1 red onion chopped
6 mushrooms sliced
Spaghetti
2 eggs
100ml Milk
100g Cheese
Half tspn black pepper

Method

1 - Cook the pasta according to the cooking directions
2 - While that is cooking cut your bacon up onto squares. I find it easier to use some clean kitchen scissors, it is so much quicker!
3 - Fry the bacon and onions in a little drop of olive oil
4 - Once it is starting to brown add the mushrooms and continue to cook on a medium heat
5 - Once the spaghetti is cooked drain and return to the pan
6 - Add the cooked bacon, onion and mushrooms
7 - Beat the eggs in a bowl and add the milk, grated cheese and the black pepper. The pepper sounds a lot but with the saltiness from the bacon it balances out the flavours
8 - Return the pan to a medium heat and add the egg mixture and stir into thhe spaghetti
9 - Cook for a further 5 minutes then serve!

Easy Peasy!

This meal is delicious as it is or with a scattering of grated chesse or parmesan on the top and with an serving of garlic bread.
Any way that you enjoy this meal it is quick, easy and extremely tasty! 

Enjoy x

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Honey Pear Cake

I often like to choose my bakes depending what I have that needs using in my kitchen.
Last week I had a lot of pears that needed using.
I often make a spiced pear cake which we love but this time I wanted to try a new cake.
After the success of my heather honey cake I decided to try a heather honey and pear cake.
I have used some lovely heather honey, that we bought on holiday from a honey farm, but you can use any honey that you like. But if you can get some heather honey I really do recommend getting some. It is so much more tastier that regular honey!
Here is what I got...
 
Honey Pear Cake
 
Ingredients
 
150g baking spread or butter
150g light muscovado sugar
3 eggs at room temperature
175g self raising flour
150g pear, peeled and chopped
1dspn flour & 1tspn cinnamon to coat the pear
2tbsp heather honey
 
Method
 
1 - Heat the oven to 180C
 
2 - Mix together the baking spread and sugar until light and creamy
 
3 - Gradually add the eggs along with a little flour to prevent curdling
 
4 - Cover the chopped pear with the flour and cinnamon mix
 
5 - Add the fruit and sift in the flour and mix until evenly combined
 
6 - Place the mixture in a greased cake in and put in the pre heated oven for 1 hour. After 40 minutes cover the cake with some foil to prevent the top from burning and continue to bake until a knife comes out clean after being put through the centre of the cake
 
7 - Leave to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes then remove from the tin and cool on a cooling rack
 
The added honey makes the cake really moist and when eaten warm it is a great pudding accompanied with either fresh custard or vanilla ice cream.
Then again, it is delicious all on it own too!
 


Monday, 18 November 2013

Onion and Pepper Pickle

When it gets to this time of year I love preparing pickles, jams and chutneys for my homemade Christmas hampers that we give as gifts.
Yesterday I decided to look what I had got plenty of in the fridge and use to make a new pickle to go into them this year.
I found that I had plenty of onions, both red and white, and peppers.
So there it was, my basis for a lovely pickle!
I love how onions and peppers go so well together.
They go together perfectly and create a real sweet but tangy flavour to the pickle.
Here is what I came up with...
 
Onion and Pepper Pickle
 
Ingredients
 
3tbsp olive oil
1.5kg of red, yellow, green peppers, red onions and white onions
250g light muscovado sugar
350ml red wine vinegar
250g raisins
2tspn English mustard powder
1tspn paprika
1/2 tspn salt
1/2 tspn black pepper
 
Method
 
1 - Chop all of the vegetables
 
2 - Place the olive oil in a large pan a heat
 
3 - Once hot add the vegetables and cook on a medium heat for 5 - 10 minutes
 
4 - Add the muscovado sugar and raisins. Heat for about 10 minutes stirring at regular intervals to prevent the sugar from sticking and over cooking
 
5 - Add the red wine vinegar, turn up the heat and bring to the boil
 
6 - Reduce to a medium heat once it has reached boiling point and leave uncovered to simmer
 
7 - Once the liquid has reduced and you can create a channel through the middle when dragging a wooden spoon through the centre of the pan your pickle is ready to pot
 
8 - Take your hot, sterilised jars with wax seal lids, fill with the pickle and place the lids on tightly as the jars and pickle cools the centre of the lid will drop sealing the jar
 
9 - Store the jars at room temperature whilst sealed and can be kept for up to 3 months. Once opened store in the fridge
 
It is so easy to use and can be altered to your taste. I find that pickling is a great way to use up any extra vegetables that may be left over in the fridge and certainly reduces food waste!
I was unable to resist having some of this tangy pickle and have opened a jar today to have with my lunch. It was delicious with some mature cheddar cheese and grilled spelt bread, but will also go well with meat or any other way that you wish!
 
Enjoy x
 


Saturday, 16 November 2013

Tipsy Mincemeat

This year, I am wanting to make as much Christmas goodies as I can. Now that the twins are bigger I have more opportunity to get in the kitchen.
Today I have made some Tipsy Mincemeat.
I have called it this for obvious reasons, it is soaked in some lovely Scotch Whisky!!!
I got the basic idea of what ingredients were needed from various books and magazines but have adapted it to our taste, budget and time that I have.
Here is what I got.
 
Tipsy Mincemeat
 
Ingredients
 
800g dried mixed fruit with candied peel
125g butter, cut into cubes
50g flaked almonds, crushed
225g light muscovado sugar
1tspn cinnamon
2tspn mixed spice
200ml whisky
 
Method
 
1 - Place the fruit, butter, almonds, sugar, cinnamon and mixed spice in a pan over a medium heat and heat until the butter melts. Keep stirring to stop any of the sugar burning
2 - Once the butter has melted turn the heat down, cover and let it simmer for about 10 minutes
3 - Leave to cool completely
4 - Once cooled add the whisky and mix
5 - Spoon into sterilised jam jars making sure the lids are on tightly,  label and store away until needed
 
That is it!
It is so simple to make and will make your homemade mince pies even more yummier and a real treat with the added alcohol.
If you do not like whisky then brandy, rum or sherry would also be a great alternative.
Enjoy x
 

Instagram and Pintrest

Ok, I have given in!
I am now on Instagram!
I downloaded it this morning and am loving it!
What took me so long?
Anyway I am now on as, yes you guessed, hijackedbytwins and hope to see some more followers.
I will post pics of us and loads of pics of yummy bakes and meals!
I have also created a new board on my pintrest for yummy food.
I am on pintrest as kirstypl.
I will add some buttons to my blog when I get chance to go onto the pc as opposed to my phone.
As for today's plans, we are going to get the last couple of Christmas presents that we need. Yes we have just about done all of our shopping!
Eeeek its nearly Christmas!
I am such a big kid when it gets to this time of year, I love it.
Once we've shopped I'm going to be making some yummy mincemeat for homemade mince pies and will get my first couple of Christmas cakes baked.
There will be recipes to follow!
Have a lovely weekend everyone x

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Time To Relax

What a busy day we have had!
I feel as if I have not stopped all day. That's probably because I haven't!
We took Joseph to school this morning amd went straight out.
Me and the twins have been all over and have had a full day out.
Our first stop was at Tesco to pick up supplies for Christmas cakes and mincemeat. However our shopping did not stop there. I couldn't resist picking up a lovely panettone, Christmas pudding and mince pies! Tomorrow I am going to bake the first lot of Christmas cakes.
My first batch are for my homemade Christmas hampers that we give as gifts.
The fruit has been soaking in sherry since Sunday so should be nice and plump now. The next lot of fruit are having a soaking in a secret spirit. It's a secret as the hubby doesn't know yet! I am doing the next one for him!
We next called off at another shop to stock up on jam jars for my mincemeat.
The twins were fascinated by all of the Christmas lights and decorations that were hung up. I can't wait until we get our house decorated.
They will love it!
To be honest I think we all will!
After we had got everything we made our way over to see my nanna.
This journey always fills me with a heavy heart. My heart always gets pulled when I go because part of me keeps on, even still, expecting to see my grandad and hear him shout out "hello!" In the jovial tone that we all loved and miss so dreadfully much. Everywhere I look, I see him, I find going there so hard. Just when I think I'm ok, it knocks me back a little. But each time it knocks me back I get a little bit stronger. Its the silly little things that set me off. Today it was his shoes and trousers. Another day it will be the garden or his desk. I see him everywhere there and it hurts. If I feel like that after a visit I wonder how my nanna copes as well as she does. Today she gave me two teddies that my grandad had bought for the twins but never got round to giving them. The teddies have been put on a shelf out of their reach. I want them to grow up treasuring those beautiful, soft bears as they were the last thing that their gramps got for them. I know that they will have no memories of what a wonderful gramps he was but they will hear stories from Joseph and they will know him from pictures, as they will my other nanna who we lost 3 days after they were born. I will always tell them how proud he was of them and how much he loved them.
After I pulled myself together and wiped my hidden tears I gave my strong nanna the support that I know she needs. I am still keeping my promise, and always will, I am there for her and I hope she knows that.
As usual the twins kept us busy and kept us all smiling with their little antics. They are becoming such little characters. In the last week Taylor has discovered he can say more words. I love how he is starting to be able to tell me what he wants as opposed to making noises at me. After they tore their whirlwind through the place and had me running ragged it was time to go.
I made an off the spur decision to call into tesco on the way home to do a quick weeks shop. I knew we didn't need a lot as we get fruit and vegetables delivered fresh from a local supplier and it is my butchers trip tomorrow so we only needed a couple of items.
Since we started buying our fruit and vegetables from the local supplier we have had more of a variety of vegetables and often vegetables that I wouldn't buy. So I have enjoyed the challenge of using everything that we get and making new meals around the fresh foods. I have found that by doing this I am also using less and less tinned items, which I love!
So by the time we got home it was school pick up and dinner time.
Today has literally been non stop until all of the children were in bed.
I am shattered but am enjoying having a bit more freedom now that the twins are getting older. I feel so proud of them when we are out and about. They are getting more used to going out just the three of us and are learning that we need a little patience and to work together, which they are getting great at!
My little team x

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Winter Veg and Bacon Pie

This is a great hearty winter pie that really is comforting during the cold dark nights. It is packed with the seasons finest fresh vegetables and the bacon will bring around any big meat eaters. My hubby is not a fan of vegetarian meals and always asks "where's the meat?" So I find this pie is great compromise. Plus I always have some of the pie filling left over which the twins love as it is or blended up with some milk and made into a creamy soup.

Winter Veg and Bacon Pie

Ingredients

Pastry:

250g plain flour

150g butter straight from the fridge

2tsp dried rosemary

1tsp dried thyme

2 egg yolks at room temperature

50mls cold water

Pinch of salt

Filling:

Half a large suede or a whole small one 

2 parsnips

2 carrots

1 leeks

4 cabbage leaves

6 rashers of bacon

1 red onion

2 heaped dsp of creamed cheese

Fresh rosemary

Fresh thyme

Black pepper


Method

1 - Make the pastry a minimum of 3 hours before it is needed.

2 - Put the flour, cubed butter and herbs in a food processor and blitz until you have breadcrumbs.

3 - Add the egg yolks and the water and gently blitz until you have a rough dough.

4 - Remove from the food processor and form it into a ball and flatten into a disc, wrap and place in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

5 - Cube the suede, parsnips and carrots, slice the leek and cabbage and wash. Cook the vegetables until tender. I have cooked mine in the steamer as this is great way to cook vegetables and keep in all of their goodness. Once cooked leave to cool.

6 - Just before you are ready to roll out the pastry for your pie cut the bacon into small pieces and fry with the red onion in a little olive oil.

7 - Add the fresh herbs to taste and season with black pepper.

8 - Add the cream cheese and cook until it has melted down and the bacon is cooked.

*Pre heat the oven to 200C*

9 - Remove from the heat to cool while you prepare the pastry for the pie.

10 - Divide your pastry in two and roll out. Place one piece into the bottom of a pie dish.

11 - Mix together the cooled vegetables with the cream cheese, bacon and onion.

12 - Place your filling into the pie dish. You will probably have some of the filling left over ddepending on the size of your dish.

13 - Place the second piece of pastry onto the top and crimp around the edges and place a couple of slits on the top so hot air can escape. Brush over some egg wash and place in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and serve. This pie is delicious served with light creamy mashed potaotes.

Enjoy x

A Good Old White Loaf

When I received some of Tesco's Finest Very Strong White Bread Flour to bake with I was curious to see whether their finest flour really was better.
I regularly use Tesco's strong white bread flour but have not tried the finest one before.
To really see if I could tell a difference I decided to bake a plain white loaf but so that it tied in with the Great Bloggers Bake Off Masterclasses I shaped it as Paul Hollywood demonstrated on the show.
 
Good Old White Loaf
 
500g Tesco Finest strong white flour
10g fast acting yeast
8g salt
30g softened butter
300 - 320mls warm water
 
Method
 
1 - Place the flour in a large mixing bowl and place the flour on one side of the bowl and the yeast on the other. Add the softened butter and gradually add the water until you have a rough dough.
 
2 - Place the dough on the work top and start to knead.
 
I found that with Tesco's Finest flour the gluten built up in the dough a lot quicker and was a lovely dough to work with and had a very elasticated smooth finish to it.
 
3 - Once your dough has a smooth elasticated finish to it, place it in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave to prove for at least an hour or until it has doubled in size.
 
4 - Remove the dough from the bowl and knock the air out.
 
5 - To get the Cottage Loaf shape I followed Paul Hollywood's directions from Great British Bake Off. I split my dough into two pieces, one bigger than the other. I then shaped the two pieces into balls. Starting with the large one I made it into a round and placed my thumb through the middle until I could feel the work top. I then shaped the smaller one and placed it on the top of the large one. I, again, stuck my thumb through the middle then scored all the way round with a sharp knife.
 
6 - Place on a baking tray, leave to prove and heat the oven to 200C.
 
7 - Once the second proving is complete bake for 20 minutes.
 
This created a beautifully light bread with a beautifully crunchy crust. I certainly could tell the difference between the flours and really do believe that it is worth paying a little bit more for the better quality flour. I know that I will be changing my shopping list from now on!
We all enjoyed a few slices with some butter and homemade jam!
 
 
8 - I also made a bloomer loaf which was shaped in an oblong shape and scored along the top before a final dusting of a wholemeal and seed flour. This flour created such a lovely bread I kept them both plain but I am sure that they will also make some great enriched breads that I will definitely be trying!
 
 
I decided to treat myself to a nice lunch yesterday instead of a quick snack whilst sorting the kids as I normally do. This loaf gave me the perfect opportunity!
I grilled a slice of freshly made bread and topped it with parsley and cheese scrambled egg, a rasher of smoked bacon finished with a scattering of butter fried mushrooms.
This was delicious and I will certainly be treating the hubby to a lovely lunch at the weekend.
Enjoy x
 
 
Disclaimer
Tesco sent me a bag of their Finest Very Strong White Bread Flour to bake with. Thank you!
The opinions in the post are completely my own and have not been influenced in any way.
 
The Great Bloggers Bake Off is hosted by the lovely Helen and Jenny at:


Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Letting Go

As the twins have grown I have clung on to every single baby item and the majority of their clothes.
As you can imagine this is starting to take up a lot of room.
2 times everything!
Why have I kept so many items?
I kept them just in case we had any more babies.
I wasn't ready to say that's it, no more.
But now, I think I am!
I have started advertising items for sale, this is me starting to let go.
I love being pregnant, feeling the baby/babies grow inside of my belly, feeling them move, birth, I loved it all! I didn't want to think that I would never feel that again.
My babies are looking less and less like babies. They are loosing the babiness in them and are growing.
But I am happy and content with what we have got.
My hubby asked me a very good question once. He said
"What could another baby give us that the three we already have can't?"
My answer to that is nothing!
We have everything, we have our boys, we have our little lady, we are starting to get more freedom!
Now that the twins are older we are able to do and enjoy so much more.
It was hard to when they were smaller as I was breastfeeding and going out was such a mammoth task, taking everything that we needed, planning outings around feed times and breast pumping times, it was manic!
I love giving my time to the children and if we had any more I would need to divide my time even further.
So that is why I am clearing stuff out and selling as much as we can.
We don't need it and won't be needing it either. It feels good to be having a clear out and de-clutter.

So now, I can happily say that our family is complete.
With my hubby and children, my life, too, is complete x

Monday, 11 November 2013

Spotted Dick Roly Poly

Yesterday I forgot to prepare my pudding until last minute!
This is not like me at all, but we were online shopping for the children's Christmas presents so I have a good excuse.
So I needed to think of a yummy, warming pudding that would be quick and easy to make.
I love spotted dick puddings but I didn't have a recipe to hand but I have an idea what is used to make it so I had a go.
The first, and only other, suet pudding that I made was my Jam Roly Poly so I had the basics for the pudding part.
With a few twists this is what I came up with.....
 
Spotted Dick Roly Poly
 
50g butter
250g self raising flour
1tbsp Steenbergs mixed spice
150 - 200g sultanas, adjust to taste
50g shredded vegetable suet
150mls full fat milk
Caster sugar and cinnamon to sprinkle
 
Place a deep roasting tin on the bottom of the oven and put boiling water in to about 3/4 of the way and preheat the oven to 180C
 
1 - Put the butter, flour, and mixed spices into a food processor and mix until you have fine breadcrumbs.
 
2 - Put the flour mixture into a mixing bowl and add the suet and milk and mix. I found it easier to mix this with my hands, as I would bread dough.
 
3 - Once you have a dough like mixture place on a lightly floured worktop and roll out into a square.
 
4 - Take the sultanas and spread out onto the dough so that they are spread out evenly. You can add more or less to taste. Leave about 1cm free of fruit at the edge closest to you.

5 - Roll the dough towards the fruit free edge and using the fruit free edge seal. This will be the base of your pudding. Roll over the pudding.

6 - Mix a little caster sugar with some cinnamon powder and sprinkle over the top of the pudding roll.
 
7 - Lay out some tin foil and line with greaseproof paper. Smear butter all over the greaseproof paper and place your rolled dough onto it.

8 - Bring up the sides of the foil and greaseproof paper and scrunch them together. Do not wrap the pudding tightly as it will expand!

8: Place the foil wrapped pudding on the shelve above the roasting tin of water and leave to bake for 1 hour

9 - After an hour carefully open the wrap, leave for a couple of minutes then serve.

This is a rolled twist on a classic and is delicious with custard, cream or in our case vanilla ice cream. However you chose to serve it is a lovely warming autumnal pudding.
Enjoy x
 

 
 
Disclaimer:
Steenbergs generously sent me the lovely Organic Mixed Spices to bake with. Thank you!
Visit http://www.steenbergs.co.uk/ for more information and to see their produce.
 
The Great Bloggers Bake Off is hosted by the lovely Helen and Jenny at:

 
 
Also shared on A Mummy Too's Recipe of the Week check out some lovely recipes!http://www.amummytoo.co.uk/tag/recipeoftheweek/
 
Link up your recipe of the week
 

Sunday, 10 November 2013

No More Hospital Visits!

After all my nerves on Thursday and Friday I am so relieved that I can finally say that the twins have both been discharged from hospital!
As you can imagine this has lifted a huge weight off of our shoulders.
We both knew that there was nothing wrong with either of them but we just wanted the doctors to see and acknowledge that.
As always we had the tears when it came to their weighing and measuring but as soon as they were back in the waiting room they both trotted off to the toys to play.
They did well when we had to see the consultant, they were very quiet but they did not get as distressed as they have done on previous visits.
After we answered various questions from the consultant about their development we heard the words that we have been waiting to hear
"I am happy to discharge them both if you are!"
Of course we were happy, we were ecstatic!!!
We have had the best care from the paediatric team and if we had any concerns what so ever I know that they would have kept an eye on them.
Luckily this is not the case!
We celebrated the fantastic news by having a quick drink to toast their health with my parents and then went home and enjoyed a lovely meal and bottle of wine.
I always feel proud of all three of my children but on Friday I felt especially proud of my two little twins x

Spiced St Clements Cake

I got my inspiration for this cake from the fabulous Mary Berry!
After seeing her make her Whole Orange Spiced Cake on the Great British Bake Off Masterclass I knew that this would be a cake that I would love.
I love putting my own twist on recipes by following the basics but adding my own ideas.
I have baked a lovely St Clements drizzle cake in the past but thought it would be nice with some added spices.
This is what I got....
 
Spiced St Clements Cake
 
Ingredients
 
1 lemon
1 orange
200g stork margarine
200g caster sugar
225g flour
4 eggs
2tspn Steenbergs mixed spice
1tspn cinnamon
 
Topping
 
120g Butter
250g Icing sugar
Reserved lemon and orange peel
 
Method
 
Pre-heat the oven to 180C/250F/Gas mark 4
 
1 - Place the orange and the lemon into a pan of boiling water and boil for a about 30 minutes then leave to cool before preparing the cake
 
2 - Once the fruit has cooled cut them in half and remove any pips then place in a food processor and blitz until you have a coarse rind, place in a bowl and keep on one side
 
3 - To prepare the cake place the margarine and sugar in a bowl and cream together
 
4 - Gradually add the eggs along with a little flour
 
5 - Add 3/4 of the citrus rind and mix a little
 
6 - Sift in the flour and add the mixed spices and cinnamon, mix until evenly combined together
 
7 - Place in a prepared cake tin and bake for around 45 minutes or until a knife comes out clean when place through the centre

8 - Once the cake is ready leave to cool in the tin for about 20 minutes before removing and letting it finish off cooling on a cooling rack
 
9 - Once the cake is cool cut in half using a good bread knife
 
10 - Make the topping by creaming the softened butter with an electric hand whisk until light and creamy
 
11 - Add the icing sugar a little at a time, mixing with a spoon before blitzing with the electric hand whisk
 
12 - Add half of the reserved citrus peel to the butter icing and mix until evenly combined
 
13 - With the other half of the reserved peel place a layer onto the bottom half of the cake, next layer half of the buttercream on top of the citrus peel
 
 
 
14 - Place the top half of the cake onto the toppings and the smooth over the remaining buttercream
 
 
 
This is a deliciously moist citrus cake and along with the creaminess from the buttercream it makes a real treat for any citrus lover!
Enjoy x
 
 

 

Disclaimer:
Steenbergs generously sent me the lovely Organic Mixed Spices to bake with. Thank you!
Visit http://www.steenbergs.co.uk/ for more information and to see their produce.
Stork also generously sent me some of their great spread to bake with. Thank you!
Visit http://www.bakewithstork.com/ for more information.

The Great Bloggers Bake Off is hosted by the lovely Helen and Jenny at:



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