24 October 2009

Sunday Family Event

If you're anywhere near the South East on Sunday, here's a great day out for you.

23 October 2009

Foodie Friday - Brownies

I was going to post this at the beginning of the week but then I had the idea of 'Foodie Friday' so this is my new regular feature, a regular little culinary contribution to the week-end.

Last week was National Chocolate Week and I managed to resist the urge to indulge in something chocolate-related on a daily basis, but on Friday we made THE MOST YUMMIEST BROWNIES.

Breaking up the chocolate was the perfect job for my little helper

You need

400g dark chocolate
350g unsalted butter
6 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
300g caster sugar
40g cocoa powder
80g plain flour
1tbsp of vanilla extract

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C
  • Butter a 20cm square tin and put some parchment paper on the bottom
  • Break chocolate into piece and melt with the butter over some hot water, stir and leave to cool a little.
  • Beat the eggs, yolks and the sugar with an electric mixer until it is pale and creamy.
  • Stir in the chocolate mixture mix gently.
  • Sieve the flour and cocoa powder in, add the vanilla extract and continue to mix gently until all ingredients are combined.
  • Pour into the baking tin and bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes. The edges should rise slightly and the surface in the middle should be slightly firm. If it is still a little wobbly leave it in the oven for another 5 minutes.
  • Leave to cool in the tin, then take out and cut into squares. They should be firm around the outside an slightly gooey inside.

I love these with a glass of cold milk. They can be frozen and defrosted in the microwave in about 45 seconds - perfect for a little afternoon treat.

20 October 2009

Words and Pictures

The lovely Sandy at Baby Baby suggested a Photo and Book tag.

These are the rules for the photo tag:

  • Mention who tagged you.
  • Go to your photo files…Select the 6th photo folder.
  • Select the 6th photo in that folder.
  • Post that photo along with the story behind it.

Here we go - my photo folder goes all the way back to 2001 and in January 2002 I had the chance of travelling to Antarctica with my mum. After a long flight to Buenos Aires, then another long flight to Ushaia, we boarded the ship. Three days through the Southern Ocean and we finally arrived - it was, and still is, a truly magical place where we had the chance of staying for three weeks. I think I came back with about 700 photos and the one above is just one of them.


The rules of the book tag are:
  • Collect the book that you have most handy.
  • Turn to page 161.
  • Find the 5th complete sentence.
  • Site the sentence on your blog.

Oh this is going to be a boring one:

"A Creative Commons license is a way to tell them what they can do."

from "Get to the Top of Google" by David Viney. I'm currently reading it because I haven't done much in that sense for my website and I certainly won't have any time for it in the next two months but it's on my to-do-list for the New Year. The scary thing is that that's only two months away.

So if you fancy it, go and do the Photo and Book tag yourself and see where it leads you.

14 October 2009

The Thing With Toys

Last week our local NCT branch had their Nearly New Sale, which is always an excellent opportunity to clear out and sell old and not wanted toys and find nearly new ones for Christmas/birthdays at great prices. The advantages of the clear-out are obvious:

1 - all the space you suddenly have
2 - a bit of additional money which always comes in handy
3 - an afternoon of entertainment for your little one as you get boxes of old toys out that they haven't seen in while

The disadvantage is that said little one could re-discover THE. MOST. ANNOYING. TOY. that you have been trying to hide for the past 18 months and decide to turn it into his favourite toy to the point where it has its own place in his bed at night and you are woken up by it every morning.

But as I started to think about what to get the little man who is now 2 1/2 for Christmas I thought I'd share my his list of favourite toys:

1- Red Bobby car. Still a hit after 1 1/2 years
2 - Quadrilla Marble Run. Age recommendation is from 4 onwards but it's been a great hit since last Christmas when he was 20 months old and I think it will be for years to come.
3 - Brio Train Set. It sometimes stays in the cupboard for a few weeks but when it comes out again it's a hit. And can be extended endlessly.

And these are the ones that were quickly hidden from his view:

1- said most annoying toy that now sleeps in his bed. Actually looking at the Amazon page that the link goes to, I noticed that 17 out of 24 reviewers give it only one or two stars. I am so glad to see I'm not the only one!!!
2 - this wooden push-along. If you have tiled flooring the noise is horrendous. Mind you, it made good fire material for the log fire we had last winter but I think it's a little too expensive just for that.

I can't really think of many more, luckily we are in a position where we can give recommendations to family as to what to buy him for Birthdays/Christmas.

He likes to help out in the kitchen so a toy kitchen came to my mind - but I really don't want to pay over £100 for a nice wooden one. But after a bit of searching I came across this brilliant Blog called Ikea Hacker - basically ideas of what people have made out of Ikea products. And within that blog are a couple of amazing ideas for play kitchens - so here is my pledge: I will make a play kitchen from one of these tuts, I have two months, a saw and a shed, and an Ikea shop not far away. And no excuse now that I've written it here.

7 October 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Baking cakes ... it's his favourite pass-time at the moment. Bad for my waistline but good for the morale, given that it's been raining non-stop for the last three days.

1 October 2009

Holiday Guilty Pleasures

Recently when we were on holidays it struck me that every time we go away and rent a cottage, we have a tiny fridge. And this fridge is never very full, in fact last week it looked like this:

Given that we were 3 adults and one toddler (who really eats just like an adult), it amazed me that our holiday fridges always seems so empty. At home our fridge is gigantic, you could literally fill it with food for a small army. So I started questioning my shopping habits at home, wondering if maybe we just bought too much of unnecessary stuff. But we're quite good and hardly throw anything away. And then I realised that

a) we don't have a little corner shop within one minute where we can quickly stock up on a pint of milk or a box of eggs when needed. No we are in driving distance of event the smallest of shops.

But most importantly in dawned on me that our holiday diet consisted of a whole lot of these

and those

and occasionally even this (mind you this was a kids portion ...)

If you ever pass within 5 miles of Padstow you MUST stop at the Chough Bakery * - but be warned, those are truly the best sausage rolls and raisin buns in the world. I promise you will not be able to eat a different sausage roll ever again ... now come to think about it that might not actually be such a bad thing. 
* And if you follow that link you will see that they even do NEXT DAY DELIVERY, although I have chosen to ignore this for the time being.