Sunday, 28 February 2010

Happy Birthday Lucy!

Today is Lucy, Reg and Ricci's first birthday and we all celebrated with cake!
Tunacake for Lucy and Pippa as above, we blew out the candle for her, but she kept a close eye as you can see.
Very good at standing on her hind legs is our Lucy! She can just reach the edge of the dining tabl e and kitchen worktops... Also still very keen on ''visiting'' us on a Sunday morning when still in bed. And also continues to be nervous of going back down by herself, still.
Birthday kisses mwah mwah mwah.

Oh stretchy mirrors. ''OK , then I'm halfway down, now what? It's too steep those last 3 steps....?''
Calico dachshunds seen on Regent st on Thursday 25 February.
SEE? I thought they were cute, except the tail is a bit on the short side?
Yes OK there were other dogs also, but the dachsies were the cutest!
A few recent photos of Lucy to celebrate how MUCH she's grown since the post here and here.

How she LOVES the snow!
Once there was one and now there are two: Lucy's head is larger than her mum Pippa's.
Muddy river water is always yummier than fresh tap water at home.
'' Hi there, aren't I cute? What do you mean I'm supposed to be on the LOWER cushions of the sofa? Preferable the OTHER- doggy special- sofa???? Mummy's doing it too- oo.''

CHEERS LUCY THANKS FOR A FABULOUS YEAR and here's a toast to very many MORE of the same.
You are energetic and fun and cheerful and charming, friendly to all dogs and humans and outstandingly loyal, faithful and sociable. You have the waggiest tail/ bottom and the longest wettest, roughest tongue. You always come find us when we are sad to comfort and cheer us and you ask to play just when we need a break the most.
We don't really mind the chewed seatbelts, the wiring or the very many cushions ( >10)you have now chewed the corners off and have disembowelled, the ankle chasing or the handbag- any bag!- searching and nibbling, the stolen bread or the raiding of the log basket...
JJ luckily was not too fond of the wool tartan picnic rug which is now a lacy structure with a pile of perfect frayed wool squares right besdie it...
You have the best nose for food or drink for you come running when we open a cupboard and your brown eyes and pleading expression are so hard to resist!
I simply adore it when I talk to you and you tilt your head to one side as in concentration of my possible meaning?
And you KNOW simply KNOW the meaning of many words but one learned in just a day is: TUNACAKE!
Thank you also for being the first of our Sluijter family dachshunds to have perfect RECALL.
I call and you come FLYING along from wherever you are and gladden my heart at such devoted obedience. Ears a- flapping and long body stretched with front and back paws kicked out at full power : you get to my side as fast as you can: good girl!!!!
We all adore you totally: man's best friend and all we could ever wish for:
Ps and this comes at a very very difficult time for us when the comfort of Lucy has been very needed and extremely welcome to both JJ and myself. ( as well as the girls).

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Pear and almond Tart : frangipani frilliscious

Ok so here it is at last, the pear tart and the above variation was made for Valentine's Day.
And it was ever so scrumdidleyumptious I can assure you!!!
It's been a bit quiet I know and that's because in the ''real'' world we have been having many hassles and a few ''challenges'' such as we've not encountered before, but a promise is a promise so here's the recipe:
1 egg and 1 egg yolk
85 g castor sugar
85g ground almonds
35g plain flour
2.5ml almond extract ( 0.5 teasp)
425g frozen ready rolled puff pastry in 2 sheets at room temperature
350g firm pears such a about 2-3 Williams pears
70g smooth apricot jam

optional: flaked almonds - 20 g.

1. Preheat oven to 200 C or 180 if a fan oven.
Mix 70g of the almonds , the sugar , eggs and almond extract together in a bowl.
Roll out pastry onto baking sheet to a 25 cm square.
Roll out the other sheet to a rectangle of 28 by 23 cm and cut diagonally into 2.5 cm wide strips.

2 .Peel pears and cut into segments .
Spread the almond mixture onto the 25cm square pastry sheet and lay the sliced pear on top.
Arrange the pastry strips diagonally, twisting them as you lay them down and seal the edges to the base with a little water.
Then arrange some pastry strips around the edge also and crimp decoratively.( or flute)

3. Bake 30-35 min in oven until cooked and golden brown. take out of oven and let cool for 10 mins. Meanwhile melt jam in microwave with a little water for 1- 1.5 mins.
Brush pastry and pears with the melted jam as an all-over glaze.

Optional: sprinkle with flaked almonds.

Serve warm or cold with cream, ice-cream or custard.

Voila: quick, easy and sooooo DELICIOUS!

aH YES my fine stoneware bake stone broke but I have had it replaced by now.
I thought it looks like a river....
We enjoyed this view of Burlington House for 2.25 hours as we queued patiently for the VAN GOGH AND HiS LETTERS exhibition in half term. It was utterly FABULOUS and breathtaking and stunning and totally fascinating and totally worth every second of the queue.
I especially enjoyed reading the original letters in Dutch. ( my French was not quite up to the French ones...) And getting up so close to those reed pen drawings and the thickness of the amazing paint.....say no more.
Afterwrads we had a lovely stroll up Piccadilly and all the way along Regent St to Liberty and of course TOP SHOP at Oxford Circus.... The former for me and the latter for my daughters of course!!! On the way there was this lovely floral display of recycled materials!

Bye for now, not sure when life will permit a return to more regular blogging.....
Take care and my thoughts are with you even when I'm not blogging.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

February fun with much baking.

The pizza made with a pampered chef recipe on my new stoneware round with handles...: JJ said it was the best one he'd eaten in years.....
Then I also played with another new toy: a pampered chef mini muffin pan and made mini tartlets as below: cranberry and port mincemeat ones and cadbury caramel topped with a white malteser ones....
These got 10 or even 100 ( lol) out of 10 so here's the quick and easy recipe:
Take one of the 2 sheets of a room temperature pack of Jus Roll ( or your own homemade) shortcrust pastry and roll out thinly: cut 20 circles with a mug of about a 7cm diameter and push into cup shapes in any muffin type pan you may have or mould on a baking sheet by hand.
Bake blind with ceramic baking beans for 12 minutes at 180 C in a fan oven or 200 C in a non convection oven.
SEE? These are some blind ones( for the chocolate) some with mincemeat and some with snippets of bacon, an olive and some feta cheese.

After the 12 minutes, remove to a safe place and remove the baking beans.
Fill cooked cups with either a rolo each OR a segment of a cadbury caramel bar.
Return to oven for 6 minutes only.
When they come out again top the melted rolo with a white chocolate button and in the centre of that place a chocolate covered raisin or a chocolate chip.
On the melted cadbury caramel; place a white malteser.
Let cool until safe to eat and ENJOY!!! Very popular with my kids, husband and friends.
OOOh scary ''scream face''.
Then todays desert was the amazing 6 minute microwaved mini chocolate pudding with hot chocolate sauce: yummy yum yums.
It's amazing what you can do with chocolate cake mix in a small glass pudding pot in the microwave! Recipe to follow later in February and I haven't forgotten the pear tart either!
This came this week and 2 of my patterns were in it so I was really chuffed, I just hope they'll get a good reception with the subscribers and the public.
This looks so nice on this lady! It was really warm and cosy and would have been useful in all that snowy weather.
This was ,eant for a secondary school girl, it's a bit too big for this little one and I still do not like the colours!
THIS is what I have been working on and all that brown in sooo many rows is taking a while but the compensation is that Miss Y absolutely LOVES it and it really suits her too.
Must get it finished while we still have such COLD weather. The colour tabs are there so I can remember where I shaped it for when I write up the pattern!
Hope I can sell the pattern one day,fingers crossed.
Cheerio hope to see you again soon when I shall have more recipes and maybe some inspiration or crochet to share.
Take care till then.
x MS