Baking, Chat


A recipe for you!

Lebkuchen is a traditional German Christmas treat and is like gingerbread but softer. This is my favourite recipe after trying several last year when I was inspired by the gorgeous displays of Lebkuchen in Betty’s window display in Ilkley (Merry Christmas 2016). My attempt to create something similar was pretty dismal but I cut corners all over the shop and am not surprised. This year I’ll take care and make a decent job of it.

I gussied up the recipe with some gold foiling effect in Photoshop – I posted the instructions on how to do this here: Create a quick gold foil overlay in Photoshop. I’m getting into the Christmas spirit already!

Enjoy the Lebkuchen. I know I will.


Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower Soup

I made a lovely big pot of soup. It was delicious. This is the pot that went to table.

When is a pot not a pot? When it’s ajar… (groan all you like, I can’t hear you!). It’s the hue of something that would probably be banned if it was an artificial food colouring… It’s a colour only bogey men would love.

Or Gracie   (just joking, she must have been thinking of FISH here).


It is really amazingly good and simple to make:

I used 2 middle sized bags of frozen mixed cauliflower and broccoli florets (I like frozen veg – it’s ready prepared AND it’s very fresh – limp, withered veg cannot be frozen. It just cannot be used.

Veg is picked, prepared, blanched and fast-frozen. The so-called ‘fresh’ produce in the supermarkets can sit there for days and get sneezed on or picked over by hands that could have done anything.

Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli Soup

  • 2 middle sized bags of frozen mixed cauliflower and broccoli florets, DEFROSTED overnight, spread out on a baking tray, spritzed generously with Fry Light and sprinkled with a little garlic powder and turmeric.
  • Bake for 30 mins on 180º.
  • Fry a couple of onions (I use Coconut oil because I know it is magic and will make me immortal).
  • Add all the cauliflower and broccolli to the fried onions and continue to fry.
  • Stir in 1600 ml of stock (I like Kallo organic vegetable stock cubes and used 4).
  • Up to you, but I added some more garlic powder, some black pepper, some turmeric, a little hot chilli powder and a little medium curry powder. I taste in between  (it’s all cooked so nothing to worry about germ-wise) till I think the flavour is about right.
  • Leave to simmer for about 30 mins.
  • Blend – I use a regular hand blender that does the job easily – and blend it till it’s smooth.

Transfer to a tidy tureen to take to table. Serve with crusty granary bread – I popped a large granary cob in the oven to warm it through and it was like freshly-cooked bread.

So there you go. It might look like Shrek’s snot (I’d never make a food writer, would I?) but it’s hearty and flavoursome. And, pretty healthy, too.

The news says the UK is being battered by storm Doris. Seems such an incongruous name for a wild weather bomb. Sounds like she’d be more at home with the People’s Friend and a knitting pattern. Ireland has been getting some of  her violent winds (she must have had some of my cauliflower soup) and the hoolie woke me around 5.30 am with a raging noise like waves crashing against rocks.

I finally gave up trying to drop back off and got up for a lovely cup of tea. I make a pot every morning and got out some crochet bits I’ve been making on and off.

I didn’t disturb Gracie for long. She soon settled back down and the wind didn’t bother her one bit.

I keep my crochet treasures (lol) in this ‘I love this you much’ – or something like that – box. It came in a set of three, each nested inside another. This was the small one and is very handy for the job. I keep thinking that I’m still new to crochet but actually I’m not a newbie any more at all! I’ve still got things to learn, though, and love reading crochet blogs to pick up hints and tips.

These are for a corsage for a green and lilac coloured-cardigan. The leaves haven’t been blocked so they’re a bit crumpled. They’ve all got their cotton tails on – I use them to help put the group together. Only when I’m happy with the composition do I weave them in. What a chore though, eh? Gah. The leaves are called Dutchman’s Breeches (not really leaves at all, then) or Bleeding Heart (who knows? Not me. I’ve seen the same pattern, more or less, with both names) which I adapted as the original pattern produced leaves that were dense and stiff.

The twisty noodle and small curl are simplicity itself and the hookey internet people share patterns for them just everywhere. The purple and mauve flowers in the middle were from a Mollie Makes free online pattern. Google Mollie Makes crochet flower corsage. Mine are slightly adapted (to make them smaller) but essentially uses the same pattern.

I also made a couple of crochet roses:

The scalloped roses (the orange and grey ones) came from a pattern on Attic24’s blog and the pale lilac coiled rose came from Pink Milk’s blog. Google – you’ll find both very easily.

I’m going to make like Gracie and chill out for a bit now. My domestic Goddess is fulfilled for a while, I’ve been very very good and have the house clean and sparkling (my halo is visible from space, you know) and it’s time to attend to other things. I am currently loading VMware onto my Linux laptop so that I can run Adobe stuff under a virtual Windows 7 machine. That makes me very happy.

Until the next time, it’s bye from me. Be good and be happy.

Baking, Chat

All-Butter Shortbread

Heylo Dare
Did you have a happy Valentine’s Day? Get anything nice? Give anything nice?
I made some all-butter shortbread – Mr Tree’s favourite.

1 lb plain flour
12 oz butter
6 oz caster sugar

Gas mark 2, or 140º for electric ovens for between 40 mins to 1 hour (depending on whether your oven is fan-assisted or not).

Basically, rub the ingredients together (or just tip into a mixing bowl with a kneading tool and let it mix till it turns into a pliable ball. I do this on a fairly slow setting).  Roll out and cut your biscuits. I have a cutter but you can easily make a paper template and cut round it with a knife.

Place on a baking tray giving them some room to spread. Cook till just golden and still slightly soft to touch.

Turn out onto a cooling rack, sprinkle with caster sugar and there you go. Made with love.

Mr Tree also got a family sized pack of mini eggs – a BIG treat.  Around easter he has to take a ten-step programme to get off them. I asked and asked if there was anything he wanted but he said No. He got everything he wanted at Christmas. He’s just not a materialistic kind of guy.

I, on the other hand, am a teeny bit the other way and got a gorgeous phone case and some New Shoes. *Sigh*

Have a happy day!

Baking, Chat

Apple Crumble









Who doesn’t like a good crumble? Apple crumble is a firm favourite and Bramley’s are the queen of apples for this delicious dessert.


  • 3 or 4 Bramley apples
  • 200g plain flour
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 100g butter
  • A little water

Rub the butter, flour and sugar together until they resemble fine breadcrumbs.

Peel, core and slice the apples into an ovenproof dish.

Spoon approximately  8 tbs of water over the apple slices. You want a little puddle of water on the bottom of the dish but don’t drown them.

Cover the apple slices with the crumble mixture and place in a hot oven at 190 for 25 – 35 mins.

Serve with cream, custard or vanilla ice cream.




Baking, Free, Other

Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Topping

Here’s the recipe for the peanut cupakes, the salted caramel sauce and the buttercream icing. The batch I made didn’t last long. Just enough time to drizzle with edible fairy dust before they got scoffed!

Click the link for the free PDF:

Hope you make them – they’re a real treat. Enjoy.

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