Sunday, 21 October 2012

Plum and Apple Crumble

This crumble has white sugar on it, but I prefer brown.

Off to USA tomorrow, so possibly no posts for two weeks. Last Sunday we had lots of American university students at our house to sample the delights of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding - made by Hubby himself.  Lovely.  In keeping with traditional English food, I made a plum and apple crumble to serve with ice cream or cream.  The photo does not do it justice, but as it is all eaten up now, there is nothing I can do about that.

1 lb plums, stoned and quartered
1 lb apples, peeled, cored and thickly sliced
4 - 6 oz light brown sugar
Crumble Topping
6 oz plain flour
2 oz porridge oats
3 oz butter cut into small pieces
3 - 4 oz soft brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preparation method
Place the fruit into a large oven-proof dish.
Sprinkle sugar over the fruit and mix lightly.
Ensure that the top of the fruit lies as flat as you can make it.

Heat oven to 180 degrees C.

Put flour in a large bowl.
Add butter and rub it into the flour until it is crumbly.
Add porridge oats and sugar and mix lightly.
If you wish, you can also add some chopped walnuts.

Sprinkle topping over fruit, carefully covering it and going right up to the edges.
Do not press it down.  You will see that my filling leaked and rose up over the crumble.
This is not ideal.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the top is brown.  Sprinkle a little more sugar over the top if desired.

Hot and cold - a good combination

Thursday, 18 October 2012

My Next Quilt

I love these fabrics and I am longing to get started on this, but on Monday I will be going to the USA for two weeks to see family, so it will have to wait until I get back. At the moment I am busy working and packing. 
The bundle of Libertty lawn fabrics (smaller pieces) are from Very Berry Handmade. If you haven't looked at her blog, do so.  It's wonderful.  I am really inspired by Ali's things and hope to live up to her standards.

The two pieces of mauve lawn (1.3 metres each) will be used as strips between blocks, for backing the quilt and perhaps for sneaking a few bits into the quilt pattern itself.

Mauve lawn from John Lewis

Liberty Prints from Very Berry Handmade

The mauve really compliments the Liberty prints 

Another view of the Liberty prints - delicious! I think this quilt will be for me.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Yummy Monday

Autumn Mondays are not known for inducing cheerfulness, particularly if like today they are a bit overcast and drizzly.  This recipe, which was my late Mother-in-law's, is truly heart warming and will brighten up a gloomy Monday.  As well as that, it is suitable for vegetarians.

The important thing to remember is to cook it  long enough.  The potatoes and onions need to be meltingly soft underneath the crusty top layer.  This recipe will serve four people as a side dish.

Mum's Potatoes Boulangere

2 large onions, sliced thinly
3 lbs potatoes, peeled and cut into thin slices
1/2 pint hot chicken or vegetable stock
1/3 pint milk
salt and pepper
1 ½ oz butter

Preparation method

Butter an 8” x 10” roasting dish
Arrange a layer of potatoes over the base
Add a layer of onions and salt and pepper
Continue until everything is used
End with a layer of potatoes
Pour in ¼ pint hot chicken or vegetable stock
Follow with ¼ pint milk
Dot the surface with flecks of butter
Bake at 350F, 180 C for 1 – 1 ½ hours,
until potatoes and onions are soft and
the top is golden brown. 

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Blue Wedding (Make do and Mend)

The blue wedding outfit comes together.

When a friend's daughter got married in September she requested that guests wore blue to compliment her choice of an eau de nil dress.  This was a problem for me as I already had two newish wedding outfits and was reluctant to buy a third. (How many times do you wear them?)  Having left it until the end of the summer, I found there was nothing left in the shops.
Then Hubby shamed me by buying a new blue shirt and requesting a silk flower for his navy blue suit.  I had to improvise, and quickly.  There was no time to start from scratch and make a new dress.
Riffling through my wardrobe, I found a classic Laura Ashley dress which I thought could be updated.   I hemmed it to knee length and added ribbon trim to give it the appearance of being Empire waisted.  With a pretty cardigan found in the sales and trimmed with coordinating ribbon, it came together.  A corsage of blue ribbon finished the outfit.  Success.

Ribbon trim to suggest Empire waist

The blue cardigan trimmed with ribbon.

The ribbon corsage.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Best Birthday Cake

I have set myself a challenge this week to post something every day. (I missed Wednesday.)   Recently I celebrated another decade (ugh) with a big party (hooray).  At my request, A friend who is a professional cake maker, made this absolutely devine red velvet cake.  I have not made it myself yet, but will definitely do it sometime in the future. It was moist, light, very chocolately and had the most delicious cream cheese icing.  I asked her not to use sugar paste, so she placed fresh roses on the top. Very feminine and beautiful and gobbled down by all the guests.

Jo’s Red Velvet Cake
Yummy… Can’t stop eating it.

225g unsalted butter at room temperature
350 g plain flour
3 Tablespoons boiling water
1 teaspoon red paste food colour (recommended ‘Red Extra’ by Sugarflair)
40g cocoa powder (Dutch process of Green & Black)
250 ml buttermilk
1 teaspon bicarbonate of soda
¼ teaspoon salt (you can omit this if you like)
350 g castor sugar
3 eggs lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
250 g unsalted butter
500 g icing sugar
400 g cream cheese (or mascarpone)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation method
Preheat oven to 170 C.
Grease and line 2 x 8” cake tins.
Mix together buttermilk and red food colouring
Sift the flour, bicarb, salt and cocoa powder
Beat the butter and sugar for 5 minutes until light and fluffy
Beat in the eggs a little at a time.
Mix well.
Turn your mixer to low and add 1/3 of the buttermilk mixture and1/3 of the flour mixture.
Repeat until everything is added.
Stir in the vinegar.
Divide between your tins and bake at 170 C for 40 minutes. (Adjust according to your oven.)
Cool, then ice.

For the icing
Beat the butter until smooth
Slowly beat in the icing sugar, then the
cream cheese until combined.
Do not over beat, as it will become too thin.

Here is a slice for you.  Enjoy.

The Dessert Table.