A Temporary Home

Recently, I’ve been attending a Creative Writing Course, which my talented Sister in law is running on a Tuesday evening. Last week she set us some ‘homework’. I honestly shuddered when she revealed what it was. We all had to write a ‘What am I’ post, describing anything we wanted, using a minimum of 8 descriptions and obviously not mentioning the actual name of what we were describing. I am terrible at this sort of thing, she puts these ‘What am I’ posts on her <a href="http://farmerfarthing.com/category/what

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Vanilla Fudge

Today I decided to make some fudge. I got the recipe from here, but changed it slightly to include some Vanilla.

Ingredients:

397g can Condensed Milk

150ml Milk

450g Demerara Sugar

115g Butter

1tsp Vanilla Extract

Method:

Add all ingredients to a pan and bring to the boil.

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Boil for about 10-15mins, make sure your stirring all the time and scraping the bottom and sides of the pan.

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After about 10mins it seemed to change colour and consistency, it went darker and thicker.

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I put a little blob in a bowl of cold water and it set to a fudgy (not a real word) texture so I took it off the hob.

Continue to stir for a good 10mins again until it cools slightly and gets even thicker.

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Add to a grease proof paper covered tray and smooth down.

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Leave to cool then slice.

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Seriously… this fudge is delicious but very sickly so I could only manage a couple of pieces at a time. I actually think it needed slightly longer than the 10mins on the hob as it still had the occasional sugar crystal when biting the fudge, the recipe does say 10-15mins so I’ll try it for a bit longer next time.

I would definitely make this again!!! Delicious.

 

Blog Stats gone craaaazy

I’m not really the type of person who pays much attention to the Stats page on my blog. I used to, in the very early days, I would refresh and refresh after I put a post live… But that very quickly stopped. Occasionally I go in to have a look, to check what posts are popular and also have a giggle at the search engine terms πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚.

My top 3 posts are always these…

Slow Cooker Lamb Kebab Fakeaway Recipe
How to help and support the Parents of a Premature baby
Slow Cooker Chocolate and Mint Aero Bubble Cake

Today, something strange happened… I woke up to a notification from WordPress saying my blog was getting a lot more traffic than normal. So, I logged straight into my stats to see what was going on. The trusty lamb kebab recipe was still at the top but it had gone slightly crazy!

I’d had 128 views today, to some of my fellow bloggers this might not seem a lot. To me, who usually gets around 20-50 views on a good day, it was a nice surprise. The kebab recipe had 83 views alone! Wow! Then when I scrolled down I’d seen that 79 views had come from Australia and it seemed the clicks where from Facebook.

So, I have no idea what went on while I sweated my arse off peacefully sleeping last night but I hope the Australians enjoyed my post.

If you were one of these people, if be interested to know how you came across my post, maybe it was shared on a Facebook cooking group or something?!

Slow Cooker New Potato Experiment

A Lazy Sunday last week, called for a lazy Dinner… But when you still want something delicious what option do you have other than to shove it all in the slow cooker?!

I made a yummy Sausage and Sweet Onion Casserole in the left side of my partitioned slow cooker/crock pot, and in the right side I put in some new potatoes, coated in olive oil, with a bit of salt, pepper and rosemary and placed them on top of of some chunky carrots.

Totally an experiment for me as I’d never cooked potatoes in the SC like this.

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7hrs on low and hey presto! Delicious meal all cooked in one pot (except the sugar snap peas, I did them on the hob!πŸ˜ƒ).

Both the potatoes and carrots were cooked perfectly. Now I know this works, it will be a nice easy option for when I return back to work.

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Slow Cooker Sausage and Sweet Onion Casserole

This recipe is soooo easy! I’m not sure where it came from but what I do know is it is one of my favourite Dinners at the minute. Not only because it’s super easy to make, and cheap but because it’s tasty too!

Ingredients:

6-8 sausages (depending on the amount of people)

2 large white onions or 4 small – chopped

1tbsp butter/margarine

Small dash of oil (to stop the butter/margarine from burning)

1tbsp sugar (I use white but I suppose brown would work too)

1tbsp flour

2 beef stock cubes (I use OXO)

1/2 – 1 cup boiling water

 

Sorry, I don’t have many pictures of this if your one that loves visuals!

Method:

Add the butter/margarine and the oil to your pan, when the butter is hot add the chopped onions and Cook for a few minutes until they begin to soften. Add the sugar, stir and Cook again for a minute or so, then add the flour.. Again Cook through giving it a good stir. Meanwhile add some boiling water (maybe around 1/2-1cup depending on how much gravy you like) to some beef stock cubes and pour the mixture into the onions, stir well, ad a little at a time so you get the right consistency. You want it pretty thick, not too runny.

You can brown your sausages in a frying pan first if you wish but I don’t bother.

Add your sausages to the slow cooker and pour on the sweet onion gravy.

I usually Cook on the low setting for anywhere between 5-7/8hrs.

I find this tastes best served with dumplings (which I add to the slow cooker on top of the sausage about 45-60mins before serving), mash potato and veg! Yummy!!!! Sorry the pictures I’m using do not feature dumplings or mash πŸ˜‚.

If the gravy seems a little runny by the time you come to serve, I just mix up a little bit of corn flour and water and add it to the casserole until it’s the right consistency.

The next time I make this I’ll take some better pictures for you!

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Rainbow themed 1st Birthday Cake

After the success of Henry’s birthday cake earlier in the year (click here to see my post on how I made and decorated it), one of my best friends asked if I’d make her daughters 1st Birthday cake. Yes! Of course! I love love LOVE baking but the problem is, I never have anyone to bake for. So usually the things I make are just for me, the hubby and Henry. On the odd occasion I do bake cupcakes and such for friends birthdays but it’s not often.

Now, this cake started off going to be a simple Giant Cupcake. Then changed to a Rainbow layered sponge cake inside, then to a mammoth 6 layer Rainbow coloured sponge cake with lots of extra decorations on top AND when you cut into it it was filled with dolly mixture sweets. I’m always happy to give anything a go, I like a challenge.

This picture here was our inspiration:
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We changed a few things along the way, so it didn’t turn out exactly like this one, but it was still pretty special!

Outside decoration:

Firstly I started with some white royal icing divided into 7 balls (for the 6 colours and an extra ball of white), and used some Walton’s gel food colouring, you can find these on ebay/amazon etc. Gel food colourings are much more concentrated than the normal liquid colourings you can buy at the local supermarkets, they don’t change the consistency or flavour of what you are colouring. I just worked and kneaded the colour into the balls of icing until I got the correct colour for our Rainbows.

Coloured fondant all ready to shape and roll

Coloured fondant all ready to shape and roll

I followed this video on YouTube which shows you how to make your Rainbows out of fondant royal icing.

I also rolled out and using a heart cookie cutter, made plenty of these coloured hearts to decorated the outside of the cake. Β And finally I used some more cookie cutters, letters this time, to spell out the birthday girls name for the cake board.

Some of the decorations, I made a selection of sizes of the Rainbows as we were not sure which we wanted to use. In the end we settled for a large, middle and small size.

Some of the decorations, I made a selection of sizes of the Rainbows as we were not sure which we wanted to use. In the end we settled for a large, middle and small size.

I made far too many of these hearts!

I made far too many of these hearts!

I made all the above about a week before the party, I needed the Rainbows to set solid so they would stand up so I left them uncovered. The hearts were tightly wrapped in cling film so they would stay soft for eating!

Baking the cake:

I followed this recipe here for the cake. The party was on a Saturday so I baked the cake on the Thursday afternoon. It took a while to match all the colours to the Rainbows I’d made and as I only had one 6″ tin it took a good portion of the afternoon up baking but I was enjoying myself anyway.

The cake mixture all divided up, coloured using the Walton gel colours and ready to bake in the oven. And Yes, I did use colour coordinated spoons! πŸ˜‚

The cake mixture all divided up, coloured using the Walton gel colours and ready to bake in the oven. And Yes, I did use colour coordinated spoons! πŸ˜‚

6 lovely layers of sponge

6 lovely layers of sponge

The cakes got wrapped tightly in cling film and left in the fridge overnight.

Putting the cake together and decorating:

The day before the party I headed over to my friends house and started operation ‘let’s get this cake looking pretty’.

I made a big hefty portion of buttercream flavoured with vanilla and started to layer the cakes on the cake board. Cutting a circle out of the middle of each one, except for the top layer. This would then mean I could add some sweets to the middle before putting the top layer on and decorating the cake.

The bottom 5 layers, with buttercream in between each layer. I then added the sweets and placed the top layer on top (no hole in the top layer)

The bottom 5 layers, with buttercream in between each layer. I then added the sweets and placed the top layer on top (no hole in the top layer)

Once the top layer was added I covered the full cake in a thin layer of buttercream then put into the fridge for an hour or so.

Once the top layer was added I covered the full cake in a thin layer of buttercream then put into the fridge for an hour or so.

Placed the Rainbows on top and coveted the sides with the fondant hearts.

Placed the Rainbows on top and coveted the sides with the fondant hearts.

Once I was happy with how the heart looked, took a bit of arranging. I added a full pack of small white Marshmallows, arranging the all on the top of the cake so they would look like little clouds.

And here is the finished cake…

All done! Pretty proud of myself for pulling this off!!!

All done! Pretty proud of myself for pulling this off!!!

Looking good on the party table

Looking good on the party table

Some additional buns just in case we needed them. Decorated with pink buttercream rose, edible glitter and some sugar paper butterflies

Some additional buns just in case we needed them. Decorated with pink buttercream rose, edible glitter and some sugar paper butterflies

It was really effective with the different layers once it was sliced

It was really effective with the different layers once it was sliced

Henry enjoying his slice. It went down really well with all the adults and children at the party

Henry enjoying his slice. It went down really well with all the adults and children at the party

I’m back… I found my blogging mojo again!

Hey Everyone,

Sorry I’ve been missing in action for a good while. I update my Instagram account almost daily but I just lost my mojo when it came to blogging! But, I’m back… For the time being anyway!

So, what’s new with Henry first of all…

Well, he is a right chatterbox! He is still super cute and super cheeky! He has started to put a lot more words together (he’s always spoke lots of words but would only usually put 2/3 together in a sentence). Well the other day we caught him singing practically a whole verse from “The Wheels on the Bus”. It was amazing to see and hear and me and Henry’s Daddy were beaming from ear to ear listening to him.Β 

We recently changed his cot bed into the Bed option and took all the sides off. Mmmm, I’ll be honest. We had sort of put this off for a while, mainly because we didn’t see a reason to change him into a bed. Things were going so well in the cot, he sleeps brilliantly 7pm-7am every night. However, I’d noticed a few times he was starting to realise he could stand on the footing of his cot and I was so worried he would fall in an attempt to climb out. So, we took the plunge and changed it to a bed. And, I don’t know why we waited! He’s been brilliant in it. He loves to climb into it on night when we take him up to bed, he loves that we can lay in it with him while we read his story. He looks like such a big boy! 😍

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Next thing it to tackle the removal of the dummies! He only has them for bed and nap times anyway so I’m hoping it shouldnt be too hard!

Anyway talking of bedtime stories… I decided we Henry needed some new bedtime entertainment so I ordered a collection of Dr Seuss books from eBay.

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Wow! I love them, yeah a few of them are a little loooong for Henry at the moment but he adores the Green Eggs and Ham one and a few of the other smaller books. I’m now on the look out for some more books, I’m thinking of getting him the Thomas The Tank Engine collection.

I’ve been a stay at home Mum since having Henry (1 year maternity and then I was made redundant when our office relocated), but I’ve now decided to return back to work. I have loved staying at home with H, and I feel I’m very lucky that we could manage financially for me to remain off for this length of time. But, I now feel it’s the right time. Yes, I’m worried about being away from Henry. It’s not that I feel he won’t be safe (one of my bestest friends will be watching him) but I haven’t been away from him for longer than an hour or so since he came home from the NICU. He goes everywhere with me! When I do go back to work I’m going to feel like my little sidekick is missing! I’m going to really MISS him πŸ˜₯πŸ˜₯πŸ˜₯ Anyway, I will talk more about this new chapter another time.

We have been enjoying the sun and spent lots of time playing in the garden, going for walks, to the Seaside etc.

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A recent walk around Yeadon Tarn.

A recent walk around Yeadon Tarn.

So, that’s it for now. I promise I will be back again soon! Hope you have all been ok and not missed me too much πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜˜πŸ˜˜