Category Archives: House and Home

Cheese, Onion and Sweetcorn Savoury Muffins

Xander and I love experimenting in the kitchen together, and sometimes I like a savoury snack rather than a sweet one, so I thought we’d play around with an idea for savoury muffins and this is what we came up with. It’s a very simple recipe and it turned out delicious! Xander even enjoyed licking the batter off the spoon before it was cooked (he likes to do that with cakes, but I didn’t expect it with savoury muffins!)

Cheese, Onion and Sweetcorn Savoury Muffins
Makes 4 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 30g onion
  • 30g sweetcorn
  • 30g cheese
  • 60mls skimmed milk
  • 60g self raising flour
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of mixed herbs

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 200C
  • Dice the onion as finely as you can, and grate the cheese on the finest grate setting.
  • Lightly beat the egg and milk together, then add the onion, sweetcorn, cheese, herbs and flour, and mix well.
  • Spoon into four cupcake cases.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until cooked through and golden on top.

Info for your food diary (per serving):

  • Calories: 120
  • Carbs: 14g
  • Fat: 5g
  • Sat Fat: 1g
  • Protein: 6g
  • Sodium: 8g

These values are based on the products I used – Asda Smart Price flour and Asda Mature Scottish Cheddar (the rest are generic) – please remember to adjust the values according to the products you use – these are only a basic indication. I think a touch of broccoli and/or carrot might work well. I also like using courgette in recipes like this, so I might try adding some of those next time. If you like extra cheesy, use an extra mature cheddar and perhaps a touch of parmesan, but remember to adjust your values!

The Results:
These turned out fluffy and light and just the right size to pop in a lunch box. Xan’s not keen on sweetcorn, but he only picked out a couple of pieces that he spotted in his muffin and ate the rest no bother. I’ll definitely be making these, and variations on this recipe, again – sometimes it’s nice to have a savoury snack instead of something sweet and these just hit the spot!

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My new hobby – crochet!

I very recently got into a new crafty hobby – crochet! I know, I know, it’s another “granny craft” – my hubby and sister are always joking that with my cross stitch, and now crochet too, people would be forgiven for thinking I’m in my 80s, not my 30s, but I reassure them that needlecrafts are the rock and roll of the crafting world! Yes, it’s now COOL to crochet, cross stitch, quilt, knit and do any number of other needlecrafts.

All the big celebrities are doing it. I kid you not – big stars who like to knit include Christina Hendricks, Felicity Huffman, Katherine Heigl, Kristen Davis, Sarah Jessica Parker, Dakota Fanning, Julia Roberts, Cameron Diaz, and even David Arquette (yes, the guys are getting in on the action too!). And those are just some of the knitters! Crocheters include Madonna, Meryl Streep, Debra Messing and Bette Midler. That’s right – her Madgesty is hooked on the hook!

And with pioneering peeps such as Mr. Cross Stitch rocking the world of cross stitch, being into needlecrafts has never been so cool!

Anyway, back to my own early attempts at crochet. I did a few practice squares of a few stitches last year, but it was only a couple of months ago that I decided to seriously give it a try and I’ve now completed two afghans (the first of which I can’t show yet, because it’s a gift for someone and they don’t have it yet!), and have started work on a third!

Here’s the colourful blanket I very recently completed for my lovely son, Xander. Look at his little face! He was so excited to see it finished and on his bed (which is completely covers, by the way!) that he actually squealed! He doesn’t often agree to pose for photographs, but he was more than happy to sit with Mr. Wuffles and let me snap this picture of him sitting on his newly covered bed. He snuggles down under it watching the television as well as in bed at night. He  loves it!

I also made a cushion to match his blanket. He was a bit unsure at first because he liked the old red faux leather cushion covers we had before, but since then he’s decided he rather likes it after all (phew!) and has it on his bed to lean against when he’s looking at his books. They’re both just a simple granny square design, so the project grew very quickly.

Then I decided to make a cover for my Cyclone tablet computer. I didn’t follow a pattern at all – It’s just single crochet till the pieces were large enough to cover the tablet, then crocheted together in single crochet. I made two little crochet buttons to fasten it.

The front is in lime green, the back is tangerine, and the flap and buttons are lemon yellow, so it’s a very fruity-coloured case!

Now I’ve begun work on an afghan for my own bed. It will be in very muted tones of white, light grey and dark grey, and will feature a circle-in-a-square motif. I’ve actually designed my own pattern for this quilt, which is a big step for me! Watch this space for progress pictures as it grows!

Summer Raspberry Cupcakes

I love the summer – not because of the sunny weather, but because of all the summer berries that come into season! (I’m not a warm weather person – I think I was supposed to be born in the Arctic Circle, but the stork missed his mark and dropped me in the UK instead!).

Xander (my three-year-old son) is having a phase of “I don’t like that” with most fruit and veg, so I have to come up with ways of getting him to eat them without realising it. I based this recipe on the Celebration Cornet Cakes on the CBeebies website, but wanted to cut a few calories here and there to make it a treat I could also enjoy now and then. Here’s what I did:

Summer Raspberry Cupcakes
Makes 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg white
  • 30 mls oil
  • 30 mls skimmed milk
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 20g caster sugar
  • 60g self raising flour
  • 60g fresh raspberries
  • a few drops of pink food colouring (optional)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 200C.
  • Lightly whisk the egg white, and add the oil, milk and vanilla.
  • Add the raspberries to the mixture and break them up to make the mixture go pink (you can add a few drops of pink food colouring if you wish).
  • Add the flour and sugar and mix well. The mixture will be very sloppy.
  • Divide into four cupcake cases and bake for 25-30 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  • Cool on a wire rack, then enjoy with a glass of milk or a cup of iced tea!

Info for your food diary (per serving):

  • Calories: 146
  • Carbs: 17g
  • Fat: 7g
  • Sat Fat: 1g
  • Protein: 3g
  • Sodium: 18g

Values are based on the products I used – they may vary slightly from brand to brand. As you can see, it’s a very simple recipe, and you could easily swap out the raspberries for other soft fruit – blueberries or blackberries, or even cherries might be nice, but remember to change your nutritional values to correct them.

The Results:
I have to say, I’m very pleased with how these turned out. They weren’t particularly pink, but then I didn’t use any food colouring in mine – if you want your cupcakes more rosy, you can add a little extra colour if you wish.  These are very light little cupcakes and have a pleasantly fruity flavour which is complemented by the vanilla, but neither overpowers the other. The verdict from my 3-year-old son is that they are yummy, so I’m happy with that!

If you try this recipe, or a variation on it, please do let me know what you think of it!

Take a look and cast your vote – which version of The Ballroom Blitz is best?

Smurfin' The Web

I thought I’d try some something here and give you guys a poll to participate in. Today I heard a song on the radio, and having hear a couple of version of it, I thought I throw a poll out there to see which is the preferred version.

So please give your shout and today’s song choice is Ballroom Blitz. The original first by The Sweet and then a cover featured in the movie Wayne’s World performed by Tia Carrere.

 

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Movie Review – The Descendants (2011)

Film: The Descendants
Released: 2011
Director: Alexander Payne
Stars: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Amara Miller, Nick Krause, Beau Bridges, Matthew Lillard, Judy Greer

Synopsis:
Based on the novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings, the film stars George Clooney as an indifferent husband and father of two girls, who is forced to re-establish his relationship with his daughters after his wife suffers a boating accident that leaves her in a coma, and deal with the aftermath of learning about her affair.

What I thought of it:
Mixing drama, tragedy and comedy effectively is a difficult task to attempt, but The Descendants pulls it off with flair. This is largely down to the very fine performances, not just by established Hollywood hard-hitter Clooney, but also his young co-stars. Both Woodley and Miller show and emotional depth and ability that belies their age, and they easily match the standard of their BAFTA and Oscar nominated co-star.

It was also something of a joy to watch Krause as the somewhat bumbling Sid, who initially comes across as a brainless, tactless idiot, but is revealed to have surprising warmth, depth and understanding of the situation, as well as offering his unerring support to the family during their most trying and emotional time. He adds much of the lighter, comedy sides of things, but doesn’t skimp on the serious stuff either.

Clooney is, in my opinion, our generation’s Cary Grant. He oozes charm, and has the quick-fire wit, versatility and faultless timing of one of Hollywood’s best loved actors, and he truly deserves accolade for his performance in this heartwarming film.

My hubby’s review HERE.

Rating:
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Kid-speak Sunday

Being a Mum is the best job in the world and sometimes there’s the added bonus of hearing your kids come out with an absolute gem…

~***~

We all know kids love watching television (well, most of them do) and they get bombarded with all kinds of shows aimed at them, from Ballamory to In the Night Garden to Mr Bloom’s Nursery to I Can Cook. However, it’s not always the kids’ shows they like best, as was proven to me this week.

Xander has recently taken an interest in helping me in the kitchen. Mostly I’m baking when he wants to lend a hand – biscuits, cakes, scones, you name it, I’ve baked it – but he’s also been slowly creeping into wanting to help me make our meals too. It started with pizza – helping make he base from scratch, spreading the sauce, grating the cheese, and adding the toppings – but it’s happening more and more often with other foods too.

Although I love cooking, I think one of the main reasons Xander has suddenly shown an interest in the kitchen is because we’ve been watching Fabio Viviani‘s Chow Ciao videos on Yahoo together and he really enjoys them. In fact, whenever we watch one of those videos, Xander shouts out,

“Chow Ciao, Fabio!”

Then he snuggles on my lap and watches, all the while giving a running commentary on what’s happening, “Look, Mummy, he’s putting the oil in. Now he’s got the tomatoes. Now he’s got it on the cooker. Mmmmm it looks yummy. Is it tasty, Fabio?”

So, it seems that children’s shows can take a back seat once in a while, and we can watch a cookery show or two, even if they’re all under seven minutes long, and we can both learn something new together.

And then we can try to recreate  it together in the kitchen!

What did your kid say lately?

All Things Baked And Beautiful

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Continuing with my baking for Xan’s party (which is today) here are the last yummies I put together to take along for everyone to enjoy.

First off, I thought I’d cater specifically for the vegetarians (my sister is a demi-veg and is going to be there today) and thought I’d offer an alternative to the sausage rolls we’ll no doubt be having. My vegetarian (not vegan, I’m afraid) version is cheese and tomato rolls.

I’m afraid I didn’t make my own puff pastry. Rather than leave it to chance, I bought some ready-made stuff (also, I was fast running out of time, so I really needed to go down the route of convenience here!), rolled it out and trimmed off the edges so they were nice and straight and even. Then I painted on a load of tomato puree, grated some cheese on top of that, and finally sprinkled on some mixed herbs. Then all I had to do was roll them up, cut them up and bake them in the oven till they were crisp and golden. Delish!

Then it was the turn of the brownies! I’ve only made these once before, so it was a bit of a risk, but they turned out so good last time I just had to try it again. They certainly look good and while I was cutting them into little bite-sized squares, I tried a little crumb that fell off and it tasted gorgeous, so I’m hopeful these will go down well. I’ve left them in the trays for easy transport so I hope they come out easily and don’t fall apart!

Last, but not least, I made some flapjacks. Chocolate chip flapjacks. Except I mucked them up a little bit. See, you have to melt the syrup, butter and sugar then stir in the oats, and I didn’t leave them to cool long enough before stirring in the chocolate chips so they got sort of, well, melty. Still, judging by the bit I licked off the spoon after smooshing the mixture into the trays, they should still taste pretty good (at least, I hope they will!). They’re all cut into squares, ready to pop out of the trays, so here’s hoping they hold together rather than crumbling – I guess we’ll see when we get them out at the party!