25 October 2011

What I did this weekend...

We had a lovely weekend full of brilliant weather and celebration. For these last few weeks we have been planning a surprise 80th birthday party for Ian's grandad. I really love organising family occasions and tend  to go a bit 'Monica from Friends'..making sure everything is just so.

Friday evening was spent baking yummy cupcakes (recipes are on the sidebar). We iced them early on Saturday morning and then rushed off to our local shopping center to pick up some BIG '80' balloons and some last minute food.

Those cupcakes are just SO good!

After a long day of helping out and getting everything ready, guests arrived and we all had a lovely time with listening to music from the 30's and eating yummy food! Keeping Ian's little cousins was great fun too : ) Once my head hit the pillow that night I was out like a light!

I love to help organise things but it's a lot always a shame once it's over and done with. 

On Sunday we had an easy relaxing day (with very sore feet!!) The thing I really (secretly) love about throwing parties is the left-overs! I ate waaay too many cupcakes and crisps on Saturday..let alone on Sunday.

Happy Tuesday : )

Gemma x

20 October 2011

Recipe : Cinnamon Rolls

Staying true to my Autumn List and
doing 'a lot of baking', I made some Cinnamon Rolls/Buns.  These are definitely a festive treat...anything with sweet dough and cinnamon is to be honest! 

I had this recipe bookmarked for ages ( there is a whole long list of websites bookmarked with things I want to do/make..but never get around to), and just happened to have the ingredients at home, which doesn't happen very often. I changed a few bits about it but they came out lovely.

These are perfect to make if you decide to stay indoors during the weekend and keep warm. They take a while to make as you have to wait for the dough to rise for a few hours..but they are worth it!!

If I made them again I think I would double the recipe or just make two seperate lots...not sure which would be easier? It makes 18 medium sized rolls but if you have a family like mine (including myself!!!!) you know they will be all gone by the next day if you are lucky.

These are great to share with neighbours or take to work as a Christmas treat, they will love you for it! 

Cinnamon Rolls
Adapted from here 

You will need:

For the dough-

* 1 cup of semi - skimmed or whole milk (I used semi) 

* 3 table spoons unsalted butter

* 3.5 cups of plain flour (you may need more when kneading the dough)

* 1/2 cup of sugar

* 1 large egg

* 2  sachets of fast action yeast (they are usually 7g per sachet)

* 1 tsp salt

For the filling - 

* 3/4 cup of packed light brown sugar

* 2 tbsp of ground cinnamon

*1/4 cup of butter at room temperature

The glaze - 

For the glaze I just used a mix of icing (confectioners) sugar and water. However on the site I found the recipe they used a cream cheese glaze..the choice is yours!

* 5 tsp cold water
*200g/ 7oz icing sugar 

Method -

Put the milk and butter in glass measuring cup and microwave on high until butter melts and mixture is just warmed, about 30 to 45 seconds. Pour into a large bowl .Add 1 cup flour, sugar, egg, yeast, and salt. Mix and occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Once roughly combined add 2 1/2 cups flour. Beat until flour is absorbed and dough is sticky, scraping down sides of bowl. If dough is very sticky, add more flour by tablespoonfuls until dough begins to form ball and pulls away from sides of bowl. 

Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if sticky, about 8 minutes. Form into ball.

Lightly oil a large bowl with nonstick spray. Transfer dough to bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm area until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.

Whilst you are waiting, make the filling. Simply mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl so they are evenly distributed.

After 2 hours, punch down dough. Transfer to floured work surface. Roll out to 15x11-inch rectangle. Spread butter over dough, leaving 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar evenly over butter. Starting at 1 long side, roll the dough towards you into a log, pinching gently to keep it rolled up. With seam side down, cut dough crosswise with thin sharp knife into 18 equal slices (each about 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide).

Spray your baking dishes with nonstick spray. Divide rolls between baking dishes, arranging cut side up (there will be almost no space between rolls). Cover baking dishes with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let dough rise in a warm area until almost doubled in volume, 40 to 45 minutes.

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 190c / 375°F. Bake rolls until tops are golden, about 20 minutes. Whilst they are in the oven make your glaze. Remove from oven and invert immediately onto rack. Cool 10 minutes. Turn rolls right side up and drizzle the glaze all over.

Best eaten warm!

Gemma x

14 October 2011

Last weekend I went for that " long walk in a forest on a sunny but crisp Autumn Day "...unfortunately there wasn't a nice country pub at the end of the walk but i'm sure next time there will be.

The darkened leaves were mostly on the trees but a few had fallen..meaning I could kick and crunch to my hearts content : )

I took the camera (obviously) and took some pictures of the most Autumnal things...Trees!

This was my favourite tree..the only tree in the park with colours of this shade.

So Pretty! 

 Little signs of the end of Summer still lingered, untouched by wind or frost.

I like going for walks at any time of year but Autumn is the best! I think it's just having that chill in air that makes you wear that extra layer or grab that woolly scarf. The slight breeze in the air helps to clear your mind and get rid of that groggy feeling we all get when we just CAN'T BE BOTHERED!

I also think this kind of weather makes you appreciate home a lot more! There's no feeling like getting home from a chilly brisk walk and putting the kettle on or making a hot chocolate. I love the grab a book and cosy up for a day, knowing a yummy Sunday Roast dinner awaits me later.
I hope you enjoy your weekend..I have an eye test tomorrow which I am not looking forward to..EEP!
Gemma x

10 October 2011

Recipe : Melting Moments

So as an attempt to keep cosy and warm this weekend I did some baking. I'd heard about 'melting moments' or 'lady kisses' before, they are meant to literally melt in your mouth and be extremely delicate. 

For some reason this put me off baking them, I thought they would be over complicated to get such a texture in a biscuit. I was wrong!

They are super duper easy, make your home smell of vanilla and....they taste DIVINE! I've never eaten anything like them before. They taste like shortbread cookies but the texture is completely different. They have such a simple flavour and are immensely comforting.

You will just have to make them to find out!!

Melting moments (makes 20)
(sourced from Rachel Allen)

* 127G / 6oz Self-raising Flour

* 125g / 4.5oz cornflour

* 50g / 2oz icing sugar (confectioners sugar)

*225g / 8oz butter, cut into pieces

* 1tsp vanilla essence

For the icing

*50g / 2oz butter

* 125g / 4.5 icing sugar (confectioners sugar)

* 0.5 tsp vanilla essence


Preheat your oven to 160c, 325f or gas mark 3.

If you have a food processor, add all the ingredients and mix until it comes together.

If you do not have a food processor, start by rubbing the butter and vanilla into the dry ingredients. Work all the ingredients together until it forms a dough like look.

Roll the mixture into small balls, the size of a large marble. Place the balls on a baking tray with an inch between each one. Dip a fork into cold water and press each ball down so they flatten slightly.

Bake for 10-15 minutes until still very pale in colour but slightly firm. Allow to cool.

To make the butter icing, mix all the ingredients together. Keep at room temperature.

Once the biscuits have cooled, place a butter knife into boiling water and use the warm damp knife to spread the icing onto one half of the biscuit (be really gentle as they break easily!!!). 

Sandwich with another half & dust with icing sugar.

These are perfect as a Christmas Treat so it's a recipe to keep in mind closer to the time.


Gemma x

6 October 2011

Autumn list 2011

Hello October : )

I'm so glad this Autumnal month has decided to turn up! I've been looking forward to big jumpers, thick socks and cosying up in the evenings but I was annoyed by the random heat wave we had.

Instead of this I had to put on my summer dress I wore in Florida..crazy!

Things seemed to have calmed down now. The mornings and evenings are darker than usual, chillier. The wind is howling, brown crisp leaves are on the floor (I couldn't help kicking them!) and I've heard a few fireworks already...pure Autumn!

As these are my favourite months of the year I'm going to make sure I make the most of them by having an Autumn list (just like a summer list!) and probably a Christmas one closer to the time. Gem inspired me to do this, it's such a good way to make sure you do things!

Autumn 2011 

* I'm hoping to do a lot of baking these next few months. I've been inspired by 'The Great British Bake-off' TV show and all the things they baked that I haven't. With cold weather comes good food and drink, so it's the perfect opportunity to try new and old recipes!

* I want to go on a long walk in a forest on a sunny but crisp Autumn morning...preferably one with a nice country pub at the end of it. I want to put on some wellington boots and feel (and kick!!) the crunchy leaves under my feet.

*It would be nice to wrap up warm in the evening, coats, gloves, scarves..hats..the lot! Invite friends and family over and sit around a bonfire and eat S'mores. We bought some HUGE marshmallows from Walmart in America so these would be perfect. I want to drink hot chocolate (white hot chocolate rocks) and just feel the warmth it gives me.

* I know this one isn't big but I want to light more candles. They just bring a warm glow that nothing else can replace. They bring a cosy romantic element that is perfect for a chilly evening. 

* I want to cook more. Cook lunches and dinners that are heart warming and filling. Soups, Pies, Pizzas, ANYTHING slow roasted...yumm.  I want to find recipes that I can add to my recipe book and use year after year.

*I also would like to finish my quilt! I bought some fabric from Joann's in America as the backing for my quilt. When I got home I realised I didn't buy enough (was quite cross with myself as you can imagine). All is well now though as I needed one more fabric for some squares. Most of them are cut, I just need to dedicate some time to actually put it all together! I am aiming to be snuggling up to it at some point in November........

We shall see : )

I hope you like my Autumn list. Tell me if there's anything you would add to it!

Gemma x


Related Posts with Thumbnails