30 March 2013

Hot Cross Buns

After watching the Great British Bake Off Easter special this week I was all inspired to make some hot cross buns! I used Paul Hollywood's recipe from the programme and found it really easy to follow. It did take a while with three proving stages but the end results made it worthwhile. They are packed with fruit and it did take a while to knead in all the ingredients but they were really tasty. I think I probably needed to leave them in the oven for another couple of minutes as the were just a little bit doughy. But they were on the top shelf in my oven so I'd put them further down the oven next time. I'd definitely recommend making them!

Before going into the oven

23 March 2013

A Taggy Blanket

I got some fantastic fabric from Plush Addict this week to make a taggy blanket for my daughter. My order arrived less than 24 hours after payment and so I was able to get straight to work! I can only do my sewing in the evening when my children are supposed to be sleeping so it often takes me a while to get things finished but I was able to finish this in less than a couple of hours. It was really easy to make and my daughter loves it! If anyone is interested I've got a couple more to make for friends so I could write a 'How To..' post -  just leave a comment below!

21 March 2013

How To Make... A Fabric Memory Game.

I have been trying to encourage my two year old to speak a little bit more and was looking online for some ideas for games that we could play together. I've got a few ideas on my Pinterest page but they involved materials that I didn't have to hand. My Grandma has gradually been giving me all of her leftover fabric so I really wanted to use some of this. So when I found this I knew it was perfect! I altered the instruction a little to fit with what I had and here's how I did it:

1. Choose 10 different fabrics to be matched and one colour for the boarder and backing of the pieces. I went for blue for my boarder and backing. You will also need some fusible interfacing. (There are 20 fabrics in the picture below but I decided that it was going to take forever so decided to have just 10 matching pairs!)

2. Cut out 40 blue squares 3x3 inches and 20 squares 2.5 x 2.5 inches from the coloured fabrics (you need 2 each from the 10 different fabrics). From the interfacing you will need 40 squares 3x3 inches and 20 squares 2.5 x 2.5 inches.

3. From 20 of the blue squares cut a central square measuring 2x2 inches.

4. Iron the fusible interfacing to the coloured fabrics and the blue squares using the appropriate size squares of interfacing. 

5. Pin the coloured fabrics to the blue boarders. Sew together. (I did this by hand but it probably would have been a lot quicker to do it by hand!)

6. Iron the fusible interfacing to the back of the coloured fabric/ boarder squares and then iron together with the solid blue squares.

7. Use pinking scissors to trim each of the edges. (I probably should have sewn the two squares together but there seemed to be enough interfacing to hold it together!)

My plan is to use this initially as a matching game but there are lots of ways that it could be developed and adapted: 
  1.  Play it as a memory game
  2.  Play snap
  3. Use it to help with colour recognition
  4. Make a similar game but with numbers / alphabet 
  5. Alphabet could also be made up for capital and lowercase letters
I might have to make the alphabet ones from card otherwise there's a lot of cutting and sewing involved! 

Do you use anything similar with your children?

10 March 2013

A Bouquet of Biscuits for Mother's Day

I often read Ruth Clemens' Pink Whisk blog and drool over her baking. This week she published a biscuit recipe for Mother's Day so I decided to make a batch that I could give as presents. The biscuit recipe was very easy and my son 'helped' me make it. (Well he played with the lever on the Kitchen Aid!) The blog has very clear, step-by-step, instructions so the flowers were really easy to make too. They just took a long time! I made flowers and petals for 16 biscuits and it took me an hour - maybe with practise I'll get quicker. But I was thrilled with how these turned out. I've given handmade gifts before and been a bit apprehensive about how they are going to be received - I was proud to give these! And the recipient's loved them too. Thanks Ruth!

9 March 2013

How To ...Make Cake Bunting

It was my Nan's 80th birthday earlier this week and I was given the task of making her birthday cake. I decided on a simple cake (a Victoria sponge) but with some over the top decorating. I used butter icing all over the top and sides of the cake and was going to use hundreds and thousands on the top in the shape of '80'. However hundreds and thousands get everywhere so I quickly abandoned that idea! I decided instead to cover the top completely in hundreds and thousands and make some bunting for the top of the cake. 

1. Cut out 15 mini flags. 

2. Make some bias binding 1 cm wide when folded. You will need three equal lengths.

3. Pin the flags to the binding and sew into place. 

4. Write HAPPY BIRTH  DAY onto the flags.

5. Tie the binding to some wooden kebab sticks and insert into the cake. 

This was a little bit rushed so I'm not completely happy with how this turned out but my Nan liked it so that's the main thing!

2 March 2013

Pain Aux Raisin

I've been wanting to have a go at making danish pastries but have been putting it off because they look so complicated. But after reading the recipe in Paul Hollywood's Bake, I realised that although the process would take a long time (about 14 hours in total!) , there wasn't a lot of hard work involved as most of the time the pastry was resting. 

Once I'd made the pastry I decided to make pain aux raisin with it. I needed to make creme patisserie or pastry cream and this was another One New Thing, but was surprisingly easy. I just followed the recipe to the letter! 

I made these both the pastry and creme patisserie last night. This morning I rolled out the pastry, spread on the creme patisserie, sprinkled on some raisins and a little cinnamon, rolled up into a log shape and then cut into 12. They went into a 200 degree Celsius oven for 15 minutes and viola! Drizzle with a  little icing and they're done. 

They tasted lovely too! I actually only used half the pastry from the recipe so the other half has gone in the freezer for a future recipe.