Monday, 29 October 2012

Happy Halloween

I made these cake treats for my daughter and her friends at University for Halloween. I thought I'd share them with you all as I was rather pleased with the end results.

I used a standard cup cake mix for the small cakes. You'll find the recipe  in one of my earlier posts. For the larger cake I used a basic Victoria sponge recipe and cooked the mixture in a rounded pudding shaped baking tin.

Once the cakes were cooked I decorated them with royal icing. For the small cup cakes I made some butter icing and covered the cakes before covering the cake tops with discs of white royal icing.  I then added molded black roses to half the cup cake batch and I made spiders with black icing for the other six cup cakes. 

To finish off the rose cakes I brushed them with silver cake decoration to give the effect of spider web  

The rose cup cakes dusted with silver
I was going to use googly for the spiders but I used icing instead 
I decorated the large cake with a coating of butter icing before covering with black royal icing. I then made eyes using black and white icing and I also made some fangs with white icing that I coloured at the tips with red food dye .
To give the spider a bit more detail I added spots of black icing across the spiders back. To finish I made the spider legs using black fluffy pipe cleaners which I twisted and bent and then added to the cake with small blobs of black icing .       

Hope you have a Happy Halloween. 

Friday, 19 October 2012

Olympic pages

I have just completed a couple of summer scrapbook pages. I took tons of shots over the summer (a fact I may have mentioned in an earlier post) and between preparing for Christmas and Halloween I've started making up some of these shots into scrapbook pages. I thought I'd share my first two pages with you. Others may well follow but hopefully you'll forgive they tend to focus on an Olympic theme. 

The first page marks the beginning of the Olympics.Early in the morning at about 8.10 am  a chime of bells rang out and everyone was encouraged to find some bells and join in . Well Bry couldn't miss out so she got up early and armed with her union flag she went out on the patio and rang her bells. well I had to make this shot into a page and of course it had to have bunting.

The Olympics began early in the morning with a chime of bells 
A close up to see the details of the page

The second page uses a similar colour scheme and of course again I had to have bunting and the union flag well its important to be patriotic.

A  couple of close ups

I hope you enjoy the pages more will hopefully follow.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Scrapbook page class

At my monthly craft meeting on Wednesday of last week, I, along with my other crafters had the chance to work with the very talented Katherine from  http://fruitofmyscraps.blogspot.co.uk/ to create a scrapbook page. It was great everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and we all produced some great pages. The design Katherine brought in was one she has used herself and comes from Once Upon a Sketch  a follows:

This is what I did with the design. I enjoyed do this page it always great to try new and different techniques and to see how others approach constructing a scrapbook page. Next month when the crafters group meet again I will get some pictures of some of the other group members pages and will put them in a post for you to see.  

The finished page

Some close ups 

I'm very pleased with the end results I hope you like it too. If you want to see some other great designs pay Katherine a visit on her blog shes got real style and her pages are always fabulous.  

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Frangipane Apple Tart

Over the weekend my Mum and Dad visited and brought with them a whole sack full of apples.  The problem was what to do with them all. Well some I turned to apple puree, some I made into an apple crumble and the rest I made into a frangipane tarts. I have never made a frangipane tart before so this was a first for me. The results though were great and I will be making more of these tarts in future. If you'd like to make one too here's the recipe. 


1 block of sweet short crust pastry.

125g ground almonds
125g unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
1 Egg +1 egg yolk
1 tbsp Kirsch or brandy
2 tbsp Plain flour

1 lb Sliced Apples
lemon juice

150 g Apricot jam
2 tbsp Kirsch or brandy
Icing sugar for dusting 


Pre-heat oven 200C, 400F and  Gas mark 6

Roll out pastry and line one pastry flan case.

Prick the base of the pastry with a fork and then place in the refridgerator to rest.

To make the frangipane first place butter and sugar in a bowl and with whisk beat until the mixture becomes fluffy.

Gradually add egg and then add Kirsch.

Add flour and ground almonds and mix well.

Peel and slice apples

Spread frangipane mixture over the base of the cooled pastry flan case.

Then add sliced apple pressing the slices slightly into the frangipane mixture.
Place in oven and cook for 12-15 minutes then reduced oven temperature to 180C, 350F or Gas mark 4 and cook for another 25 -30 minutes. 

Make glaze with apricot jam and kirsch spread across flan surface with a pastry brush.   

Finally add a fine dusting of icing sugar.

The finished item 
You could make this flan using other fruit as well. I think pears or plums might be rather nice too.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Pudding Power

Today I did my last little of Christmas cooking for the time being, of course nearer Christmas there will be loads of other stuff to do. Today it was the turn of the puddings. I have used various recipes in the past but two years ago I acquired the following recipe which I found was great and I have stuck with it. 

If you'd like to give it a whirl the recipe I used is as follows. It will make 1 2pint puddings or 2 1pint puddings and its great.


110g Vegetarian suet
110g Breadcrumbs
50g S R Flour
1/2tsp Mixed spice
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
160g Dark Brown Sugar
225g Sultanas
225g Raisins 
50g Cherries
25g Flaked almonds
25g Mixed peel
1/2 grated rind Lemon
1/2 grated rind Lemon
1/2 Apple finely chopped
2 Eggs
3 floz Barley wine
3 floz Stout
2 tblsp Brandy

Mix all the above ingredients thoroughly in a bowl and then cover with a sheet of cling film and leave over night.

Following morning remove cling film and stir ingredients again.

Divide into greased  pudding basins.

You can then choose how you are going to cook them. there are several ways choose the method which works for you.

  1. Pressure cooker, follow manufacturers instructions
  2. Slow cooker- place on high cover pudding and place into cooker which has been filled 3/4 full of water. Place cooker lid on then cook for 10 - 12 hours.
  3. In the oven- Pre-heat oven to 150C, 300F or gas mark 2. Put foil covered puddings into roasting dish which has been filled almost to the rim with hot water. Then cover completely with tin foil to ensure no steam escape. Cook for four to five hours. The longer you cook the pudding for the darker the pudding becomes. This is the method I use as you can cook more than one pudding at once.

After cooking allow the puddings to cool completely then cover with grease proof paper and tin foil.

On Christmas Day steam for another 2hours and enjoy. 

The finished article