Category Archives: Oh Sweet Food

Cooking It, Eating It, Discussing It

New Things

New months, new things. Happy June, everyone!

I’ve been trying some new things lately. Nothing hectic like flying helicopters or learning Russian, but still a little stretching for me:

*Like learning some html for a page on a website.  I can make my typing bold or italic, add links to another website (and the link can open a new window/tab  – score!), and I can set up a table. No, not set a table, create a columns-and-rows table. Yip, I’m a real computer geek now. Heehee.

[You see, with blogs like this WordPress one, they make it easy for you – there are lovely little buttons and things, no html required!]

*Or using ‘advanced’ (for me) image editing… like Photoshop, but a free web-based app called Aviary. I really wanted to create a cute banner for my blog (instead of using a photo). Man, it took ages to figure out the layers and the tools. After many many hours, I finally had something that I quite liked (thanks to the Friday Freebie for free digital scrapbooking images).

But – oh my goodness me – I just couldn’t get the sizing right and when I tried to put it up as the banner/header it was pixelated and looked awful. So I resorted to my red velvet cupcakes. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s just not something I worked on for hours and hours. Teeny bit of an anticlimax.

*And I’ve been trying to venture out of my ‘comfort zone’ when it comes to the books I’m reading. [Okay, so that’s not a huge big deal, it’s not like I’m reading horrors.]

*But what this post is really about is that I’m trying to avoid supermarkets if possible. For fresh produce, anyway. I recently discovered I have a greengrocer‘s nearby.

A little background info: I’m a supermarket generation gal. Growing up, my mom did all the shopping in supermarkets. As far as I know, there wasn’t really any other option. And by the time I got to England, supermarkets had pretty much taken over here too, so although I saw a few butchers and bakers and greengrocers, I didn’t really take much notice.

While on my many many many walks with Little Man, I spotted the grocer and have recently actually started going in, and am absolutely not regretting at all! The stuff is all fresh and local and seasonal. Great!

And the best best best thing is… the strawberries!

Since discovering that LM will actually eat strawberries (he’s taken his time with the whole solid food thing) I happily ply him with the things. Which means that his clothes and the high chair tray are covered in pink stains, but he and I are both happy that he’s eating 🙂

So here’s in honour of the wondrous strawberry…

Outdoors, wearing only a nappy. Trying to avoid stains on his clothing!

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Embracing with brie

On Sunday we headed off after church to our biggest park, Central Park.

(Not to be confused with Central Park, NY. lol. Which we’d love to picnic in one day, too.)

I had packed in some Little Man-friendly food (roasted sweet potato wedge, blueberries, grapes, baby sweetcorn) but the star of the show for us was our absolute favourite, and oh-so-simple baguette and brie.  We didn’t take any cutlery or plates or anything, just tore into the bread and cheese, squeezing honey onto a bread and brie stack of deliciousness… our idea of bliss 🙂

So to emphasise my point of how much we love this ‘meal’, I just had to share these old photos with you before we get to our ETC picture for today:

This is in Nice, at the end of our honeymoon. We strolled along the beach after stopping in at a little grocery store for the supplies… baguettes, brie, ham.

We couldn’t think of a nicer way to end our time in France than to celebrate with this spread. Again, no cutlery (who takes cutlery on honeymoon??), just a hot evening… dipping sun… icy sea… and our favourite baguette & brie combo.

[I feel like I need to point out that the highway information sign at the bottom left is in Italy, taken while we were driving back to France. That’s why the date is ’24 maggio’ not ’24 mai’. Just in case there are overly critical very observant readers out there 😉  It’s there to show how gorgeously hot it was! ]

And here’s today’s actual ETC photo, taken on Sunday in the park:

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Busy busy busy

Today is turning into one of those I-thought-I-had-loads-of-time-but-suddenly-the-day-is-full-and-I’m-running-out-of-time kind of days.

So, as briefly as I can make this post, this is something I picked up at a charity shop yesterday:

  • Lace on the edges to be ‘repurposed’ –  on gifts instead of ribbon, and possibly another attempt at fabric flowers.
  • Floral fabric – as well as a bit of  ‘bleach & dye’ experimentation (a little bit like this), I intend making a teething/nursing necklace (like this)
And I stopped in at the greengrocer to see what looked good, and ended up walking away with some strawberries and this fruit box:
I know the photos don’t really show the box very well, but I just got so caught up in photographing the lettering and the cool red heart…

I was very chuffed with myself for asking him (Simon, the very friendly greengrocer) about what he does with the fruit boxes… usually I would just gaze longingly but chicken out of actually asking such a question in case he 1) thought it was a ridiculous question and that I was a loony, or 2) laughed at me because of course he re-uses them and would never think of giving them away, or 3) offered to sell it to me, which I would decline and therefore look like a cheapskate trying beg stuff off others for free [which I was].
Great news! He loved that I loved the box and happily emptied the oranges that were being displayed into a different box. He then proceeded to offer me others, even though he does re-use the boxes for home deliveries. I was walking with the pram so I could barely take the first box, let alone any others, but he’s keeping some for me. What a nice man 🙂

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Cinnamon Cookies for Kids

I have recently started helping out with the snacks for the toddler group that my church runs on a Thursday morning. I have mini-panics about how much food is needed, and if the other mums will somehow sniff out my lack of experience when it comes to choosing suitable fruit and baked goodies for their little ones. I envision having too little cake for the parents, un-toddler-friendly fruit, and some kind of allergic reaction to the cake I make for the little ones.

Last week I made cookie-cutter biscuits for the tots, which I had great fun decorating with the icing pens I bought to decorate my royal wedding biscuits… I have to add that ‘royal wedding biscuits’ may sound fancy, but they were not at all. The only fancy thing about them was that I iced them with cute patterns using the icing pens rather than slathering on piles of homemade icing. Rather like cement on bricks.

Anyway, back to the biscuits… they turned out fine: no allergic reactions, and no tantrums caused by a shortage of snack provisions. In fact, there were leftovers. Which were taken to snack on at my friend’s place that afternoon. So this recipe is for you, Helen 🙂

The recipe is from this book, and is called ‘Butterfly Biscuits’.

Baking With Tiny Tots

I cut them in the shape of gingerbread men, though, so I’m just calling them…

Cinnamon Cookies

Ingredients:

275g self-raising flour (+ extra for dusting)

10ml cinnamon (optional)

100g soft light brown sugar

75g butter, cut into pieces

1 egg, beaten

2 Tablespns golden syrup

Method:

1. Sift flour and cinnamon into a bowl, then stir in the sugar.

2. Rub in the butter pieces until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

3. In a separate bowl/jug, beat the egg and syrup together. Add to the flour mix and stir.

4. Form a ball of dough, wrap in plastic film and refrigerate for about an hour. (I’ve put this in bold because I didn’t notice this when checking the recipe and it kind of messed up my timings!)

5. After chilling the dough, preheat the oven to 170degC (sorry, I don’t know how to get a  degree symbol on here!!) This is Gas Mark 3 or 340degF. Line a baking sheet or two with baking paper.

6. Sprinkle some flour on the work surface and rolling pin. Roll out the dough to about 5mm thick and cut shapes with cookie cutters.

7. Bake for 10-15 mins (depending on your oven) – the edges should be golden brown. Remove from the tray to cool before decorating with icing.

*Please note the one hour chilling time before you plan your timings!

*10 minutes was plenty of baking time for my oven, and they get much darker brown very quickly, so keep an eye on them!

*This is meant to be child friendly, but I’ve skipped out a lot of ‘get your child involved’ detail in my version – a little common sense, some hand wash and a big apron is all you really need to get your little one baking 🙂

I’d love to hear about it if you try these…

Sorry about the lack of photos – Little Man was having a ‘there’s-no-way-I’m-napping’ morning, so it was rather chaotic trying to get them done in time. But hey, we all know what gingerbread shaped biscuits look like, right?

PS I made a very yummy lemon drizzle cake for the mums. [Oh, and dads. Yes, we have dads at our group too.]

But I’m not going to post the recipe for that – if you want it, you’ll have to buy our Big Fish Recipe Book 🙂 heehee

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Luscious Lemon Meringue

I love lemon meringue pie. It’s another childhood favourite of mine.

I made one recently, and couldn’t quite figure out why it had been so long since I last made it.Errrm, nope – this one’s not mine. I wish!

If you click on the photo you’ll be linked to where I got the picture from.

{Great, now I want a cake stand like that}

You see, I got distracted (what??) while mine was baking so the top got a little more way more golden than it should have. And I just couldn’t bear the thought of putting a photo of a brown lemon meringue pie on my blog. Yes, I’m a faker.

But still, the recipe is pretty easy and the result is very tasty, even when the top comes out tanned 🙂

Pastry case (although I usually just use crushed digestive biscuits and butter. Have a look at the photo above to see my very high tech biscuit-crushing technique)

Melt 125g butter, then mix in a heaped cup of flour and 3 teaspoons sugar. Press into a pie dish and bake at 150 deg C for 15-20 mins until golden. Leave to cool a little before pouring lemon filling into it.

Filling:

Mix together:

*1 tin condensed milk

*2 egg yolks (keep the whites for the meringue)

*Half a cup of lemon juice

Pour into the pastry case when cooled a little.

Meringue topping:

*Beat the 2 egg whites until stiff.

*Add half a cup of caster sugar and beat briefly until smooth and glossy.

Gently cover the the lemon filling with meringue. Make pretty swirls with a spatula 🙂

Bake for about 10 minutes until golden brown (not brown brown like I did!)

Aha! I was about to type a little ‘warning’ about the uncooked eggs and pregnancy – bingo! That’s why I haven’t made it in ages… So the little 10 minute golden brown-ing time doesn’t really count as baking. The eggs would still be pretty raw, so if you’re pregnant and worried about eggs (as they are in the UK), then don’t make this one. Yet.

PS: Dad, if Mom shows you this, don’t drool too much 😉 My dad and I always had this as our birthday meal dessert.

And another PS: A friend recently mentioned using cream cheese in the lemony filling bit. I haven’t tried it yet, but if any of you have a recipe like that – let me know!

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The Creation Story: Android Cake

Recently, LOML entered a competition via Facebook to win a new smart phone. For me. He worked really hard to get loads and loads of votes for a funny poem he wrote about the phone. He got the most votes. But he didn’t win. ‘Technicalities’. Yes, we still have sour grapes about it.
Anyway, since then he has been obsessed  determined to win me a new phone and manages to find all sorts of giveaways and competitions.

The most recent was to win a Nexus S  by creating something geeky and edible.

We love android, and think it beats the iPhone anyday. Warning: no offence to iPhone users, but an Apple does get harmed in this photo-story…

This is the (tongue-in-cheek) story of our edible entry’s creation:


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Recipe Book Update…

In a very long and blabby post a little while ago I mentioned my recipe book. I know, how boring. But it’s important to me, mmmkay?? I’m going to need a new one soon….

And so far I’ve found the following ideas:

I think this is my favourite in the practical stakes. I’m not a big fan of using a file, but I think that’s the way to keep things organised, for sure. Also, not keen on having to rewrite recipes, but I suppose I could just stick a recipe cut out in the big space.

Via The Kitchn and Pinterest

I like the cover of this binder/file:

Via Prudent Baby and Pinterest

Again, not so keen on using a file, but plastic sleeves (UK: plastic wallets/pockets) solve the problem of different sized recipes (cut out from magazines, handwritten on scrap paper, etc).  Bonus: on the website I can download the templates for that pretty file cover free 🙂

This one is pretty much the same idea, except without the plastic sleeves. She’s prettied it up with scrapbooking paper and things like that, and prefers to type up her recipes. Won’t be doing that.

From See Jamie Blog via Tip Junkie

Inside the binder (See Jamie Blog)

I love the vintagey look of this lettering:

From On Awesome Avenue via Tip Junkie

Oh boy. I think I’ve found my winner. Even if it weren’t the perfect solution, uh, it’s a Cath. And I love a Cath.

So it wins.

Image via Paper Posey

This is the info about what’s inside:

Via Amazon

The outside is pretty (pretty – check)

On the inside cover it has conversion charts (useful – check)

Tabbed sections to categorise recipes (practical – check)

It is a ring binder but also has pockets for cut-outs and ready-to-use punched pages for writing out recipes (works for all the different kinds of recipes I have – check)

*sigh* perfection.

Trust Cath xxxx

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