Monday, 27 October 2008

Autumn Half Term

I'm loving the fact that I get to spend another week at home - I'm such a homebody! I would much rather stay at home with my family than go out on the town at night. A cup of coffee some needlework and something decent on TV and I'm happy! lol !

In the garden my summer flowers are still blooming.

In the hedgerows the spindle trees are looking their best.

Fay has already been out witching at a party.

Maurice wasn't too sure about being a witch's cat!

Saturday was cold but sunny so OH and I visited a local National Trust house.

I also made some more fairy cakes. These are a lurid green inside and covered with a chocolate buttercream and icing shapes, cut out using my new cutters.

Gingerbread Biscuits

4oz/100g granulated sugar
8oz/200g SR flour
pinch of mixed spice
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 tsp ground ginger
4oz/100g butter or margarine
4 tbsp golden syrup
Preheat oven to 160'C.
Mix dry ingredients together.
Rub in butter or margarine until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Add golden syrup and mix to a dough.
Roll out on a floured surface and cut out shapes.
Bake on a greased tray for approx. 6 - 7 minutes, or until lightly golden, turning halfway through baking. Leave to cool slightly before moving onto a rack.
Can also be made in a processor.
OH returned home from a business trip to New York with these Kisses.
I have a recipe to turn some of these into cookies ... if any are left!!

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Funny Cats

A friend sent this e-mail to me knowing that I am such a cat person.
It made me laugh - I hope you do to.


First you had trouble getting out of bed

You had a stiff neck

You washed your hair and couldn't do a thing with it

You felt like you had a hangover and you weren't even drinking last night

Your new diet really doesn't seem to be working out

You pulled a muscle when you tried to exercise

Your new hat looked better on you at the store

You keep losing things

The boss chewed you out at work

You got caught in the rain at lunchtime

Then the lunch you had didn't seem to agree with you

You feel trapped

Uninvited guests showed up at dinnertime

On top of that you think you're coming down with the flu

And finally, you're alone in the house at night when you think you hear a noise in the basement

Some of these apply to me - I'm not saying which ones!

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Pumpkins & Cats

It's October so it must be pumpkin baking time!

These are our favourite pumpkin recipes:-

Pumpkin Cake

4oz margarine

4oz caster sugar

2 beaten eggs

2 rounded dsp golden syrup

8oz SR flour

1 rounded tsp mixed spice

5oz dried mixed fruit

3/4 cup cooked, mashed pumpkin

Preheat oven to 170'C and grease and line 8" round tin.
Cream margarine, sugar and syrup until soft.
Gradually beat in eggs.
Fold in flour, spice and fruit.
Gradually mix in pumpkin to a soft consistency.
Bake for 45-50 mins or until cooked.

Spicy Pumpkin Cookies
aka Splats! Charmingly renamed by my children!

115g butter or soft margarine
175g dark muscovado sugar
200g cooked and pureed pumpkin
150g raisins
1 tsp vanilla extract
225g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 190'C.

Cream together butter and sugar.
Mix in pumpkin, raisins and vanilla.
Sift together dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture.
Place spoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet, spacing well apart.
Bake for 12-15 mins until golden and spongy.

Pumpkin Muffins

(picture to be added later)

115g butter or margarine
175g dark muscovado sugar
115g black treacle or molasses
1 medium beaten egg
225g cooked and pureed pumpkin
200g plain flour
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1.5 tsp ground ginger
50g raisins

Preheat oven to 190'C and line approx 15 muffin tins with paper cases.
Beat together butter, sugar and molasses until light.
Add egg and pumpkin and mix well.
Fold in dry ingredients until just blended, do not over mix.
Fold in raisins.
Spoon into case and bake for 12-15 mins until spongy.

My first attempt at crochet in 16 years ... a star blanket for Ella.
It's not perfect but Ella seems to approve.

Ella playing with the catnip mouse that I made during the summer.

And finally, this weekend I made a wreath for Halloween.

15th October 1988

Happy 20th Anniversary to us.

20 years on and still very much in love.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Orange October

If October was a colour it would be orange. Orange is normally my least favourite colour but this month that changes. I love the colour of the leaves and pumpkins this month.
I'm looking forward to eating these! It wasn't such a good pumpkin harvest this year, normally we have more than we can eat and I puree and freeze a lot of it, but this year I expect them to have been eaten before Christmas.

With Halloween just around the corner I made some spooky insect cakes.

I'm at home with Jay for 2 weeks as he had his tonsils removed and has to stay off school. It was a very emotional day for me, making light of it all on the outside for Jay's sake but very worried on the inside. Fortunately everything went well and he is a good patient, coping well with the pain, though I might take him to the doctors tomorrow to check out the pain in one of his ears as it is persistent. Being at home has given me the time to bake my Christmas cake and make the mincemeat earlier this year. Normally it is a half term job but being early will just mean a little more brandy in the cake!

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

1st October

1st October - World Vegetarian Day ... yay! I must tell my husband - me being the vegetarian and he the carnivore! Well the first day of October has dawned very windy but gloriously sunny with blue, blue skies. A day for tidying the garden I think, getting it ready for winter and bringing in my geraniums before the frosts.
The weekend weather was unseasonably hot and Saturday we (3 of us minus Fay who doesn't "do" walking/countryside) went on a 5 hour circular walk just below the New Forest.

Making friends.

Our view whilst having a picnic.

OH got very excited over this World War boat of some description (he did tell me what it was but it is such a man thing! lol).


Tiny snails everywhere.

The Watch Tower.
It was just after this point in our walk that things got a little tricky. The walk in the AA book that we were following was a little vague ( a problem that we have had previously with this book) and the gate we thought we should pass through had been tied up by the farmer, so we assumed that we were wrong and took an alternative route. Unfortuately after a long while we ended up in a marsh. I was the first to pick my way through (the others are such gentlemen!) and as I put my weight on one foot on a hummock I sank ankle deep into the swampy water! No help for it but to carry on with one wet foot! The boys decided to back track and ended up with two wet feet each (I'm not laughing, honestly ... he he)! We then discovered that there was no way out, so I took us through a fence and we walked along the edge of a field of stubble. It was good to be on solid ground again. Jay was a little worn out by this time and not a little grumpy! Luckily we found our way back onto the route. Unfortuately we haven't got an OS map of this route - something that we will now change. I have to say that I rather enjoy getting lost in the countryside, but preferably with dry feet! lol

Back on track we found some more friends. Love the haircut!

Hoping for another good weekend and a trip into the New Forest ... armed with an OS map!