Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Sultana Malt Loaf

Mix 225g plain flour, 1/2 tsp bicarb soda and 1 tsp baking powder in a large bowl.
Stir in 225g sultanas.
In a saucepan gently melt 50g demerara sugar, 175g malt extract (you can buy that in a health food shop - so this must be healthy cake...) and 1 tbsp black treacle.

Pour onto the flour and sultana mix, add 2 beaten eggs and 150ml of cold black tea.
Mix thoroughly until smooth.

I made 6 mini loaves in my new mini loaf pan which took 35 minutes to bake at 160 degrees. 
This mixture should be enough for 2 normal loaf tins, in which case bake for about an hour.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Making stuff last!

Here is my eldest son James wearing his smart red dungarees back in 2005.
And here is Poppy five years later in the same fantastic dungarees.
(They had an airing in 2007 when Anthony wore them but I can't find a photo.)

It's made me think how I love hand me downs!

Monday, 22 March 2010

Cherry bakewells

Mr Kipling Cherry Bakewells are my husband's favourite. 
And he hasn't had any for ages because of my new year resolution to buy no shop cakes.

I had some leftover pastry so I've made him a few and gained points for my indispensible wife status!

Roll out your pastry and cut into rounds and put into the bun tin.
Put a little blob of raspberry jam in the bottom; not too much!
Next put a blob of sponge cake mixture on top. I put a little almond extract and some ground almonds in the mixture too, but that's not strictly necessary.

Bake for 25 minutes at 180 degrees C.
Cool, then ice and put your cherry on top.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Malteser no bake fridge cake

Melt 75g butter and 2 tbsp golden syrup in a saucepan.
Weigh 150g of digestive biscuits...
 ... and bash them up!

Mix the crumbs into the melted butter and syrup, add 2 tbsp cocoa and 100g of bashed up maltesers.
Allow to cool slightly then add 50g of whole maltesers. (Or the rest of the box after you have sampled a few!)

Press the mixture down in a cling film lined container and leave to set in the fridge for 2 hours.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Spring Season Swap

Here is the beautiful felt chicken I received for my season swap; it's fab but I don't know who sent it!

I also received the lovely tissue paper spring star. This is my season corner at the moment. Poppy keeps stealing the ducks to play with.
This is what I made for Fairycakes - a Spring picture and a little knitted duck.

Friday, 12 March 2010


Anthony is off school with a sore throat and he has made me some tulips.

Poppy made some tulips too. She doesn't get to do much craft because she scribbles more on herself than on the paper.

This is her "I'm not really going to eat this crayon" look.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Vegan banana and currant tea loaf

Melt 100g margarine in a large saucepan.
Stir in 1 cup of brown sugar, 1 cup of currants and 2 ripe bananas (mashed.)
Add 1 cup of cold tea and bring to the boil.

Add 1 tsp bicarb of soda, and leave to cool for a bit.

Stir in 2 cups of self raising flour, pour into a lined and greased loaf tin and bake for an hour at 180 degrees.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Making a home

I've been thinking lately (much have too much time on my hands!) about how I came to be a housewife.
Obviously I got married. That was way back in 1998. A year before that we got a house - 1997 - when I was twenty three. But at that time in my life looking after a home and a husband were not the main focus in my life. I certainly took on the lion's share of the housework, but my efforts only occasionally reached bare minimum. I did most of the cooking, but our diet included many pub meals, things in jars and liquid lunches!

Our first son James as born in 2003 and this is when I suddenly thought I should become a proper housewife. After all I had just left my proper (ie wage paying) job and really ought to make myself useful all day at home. Except of course I had a small baby to look after, and that was quite alot harder in real life than my wolly pregnancy brain had imagined.. I had a crisis; I was rubbish at this. I was lonely, I missed talking to grownups, I missed getting drunk in the afternoon, I missed spending my wages on shiny shoes and cigarettes. Eventually I found some mummy friends and settled into a routine of playgroup, coffee and watching CBeebies.

Then I got pregnant again and Anthony was born in 2005. I can't really remember what happened next; it's all a bit of a blur. House was still a mess and while I had no desire to return to work I still hadn't really accepted that homemaker was a valid occupation.

I think alot of change happened around 2007. I found Flylady and gradually I realised I was in charge of this house and I was going to accept the responsibility. So not all the mess was mine, but I was the one who had the time to do something about it. I bought a pinny as a symbol of my new found domesticity.  I don't really follow Flylady's routines anymore, but I still visit the website when I need to find some inspiration.

Poppy came along in 2008, my last baby. I decided to really enjoy her infancy, her dependency. I felt secure and confident in my familial role. As she comes up to two years old I am still not the perfect housewife, but I don't really care about that. I feed my family home cooked meals and freshly baked cake. I provide them with clean clothes and cuddles. I take time to do my hair and make up, I buy fashionable clothes and shiny shoes. Sometimes the house is cluttered and dusty but there are more days when it is fairly tidy. Very occasionally I even dust the skirting boards.

Mostly I am happy, and that is what I think makes a home.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Summer Tunic

Way back in November I bought some Sirdar Calico (50% cotton, 50% acrylic) in a sale.
And this is what it has become - a little summer top for Poppy.
Here is my reluctant model trying it on for size!
She wouldn't smile, but at least she is freshly bathed!

Choc chip oat cookies

Today I had a helper in the kitchen.
Anthony likes to crack eggs.

He likes to mix.

He likes to get sticky hands.

But most of all he likes to eat cookies.