Friday, 31 October 2008


I have been trying to be more frugal (especially now we have a kid at private school!) and so I was determined to use every single bit of our pumpkin this year! Once we'd carved the face ready to greet the Trick or Treaters on the doorstep (three lots so far... a record!) I saved the flesh and seeds.

The flesh was used to make Pumpkin Swirl Brownies, as suggested by Angel Funk, which were tasty if a little dry for my liking...although that may be because I used gluten-free flour and dairy-free spread to make them?

The seeds I dubiously sifted out, washed and boiled for ten minutes before drying them off, sprinkling them with oil, cinnamon, sugar and a little salt and roasting them in the oven. I say dubiously because I've never actually tried pumpkin seeds and couldn't imagine what they'd taste like. The answer was that they were delicious!

I've been chomping on these beauties all day and may have to lock the rest away to give anyone else a chance of trying them. Apparently they're good for me too ;)

Friday, 17 October 2008

Recycled Top

I've had this lovely monkey circles fabric for while, just waiting for me to come up with something to do with it. I tell you my drawers are stuffed with little fat quarters of interesting fabric!

Today I spotted a stripy-sleeved top for 50p in a charity shop, what Americans call a thrift store, (which sounds nicer actually... maybe I'll use that term from now on?!) and knew I had a winner! With a square cut out of an old t-shirt of the Comedian's in-between I have a perfect top for Povey!

By the way, the same thrift store spree (you know... that does sound better!) produced a sweet red top for me and this lovely flowery thing for Papaya, which is actually meant to be a dress for an 18 month old but paired with jeans on a four year old makes a perfect gypsy, flouncy top.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Beef Mexicano

I had no idea when I first started this blog that I'd be posting so many recipes! I guess it just shows how important food is to me and my family. I love cooking and more to the point I love eating!

This is another tried and tested family favourite. I don't know why it's called Beef Mexicano since there doesn't seem to be anything Mexican about the final flavour. The ingredients for this one look weird but trust me the final result is nothing like you would expect from that combination. You check this casserole every 20 minutes or so and the first few times you'll be stirring it wondering how on earth it is ever going to taste good. Then suddenly it changes, something miraculous happens and the ingredients combine. The result is a rich tomatoey stew with a subtle sweetness and beef that just falls apart. The carrots are a family addition to the recipe as we all love them and I always try to add extra veg to things. The recipe works just as well without them if you would prefer.

Beef Mexicano

500g Stewing Steak (diced)
2 Tins Chopped Tomatoes
1 large Onion (chopped)
2 cloves Garlic (crushed)
6 Carrots (peeled and cut into rounds)
2 tablespoons English Mustard
2 tablespoons Jam (any type)
2 tablespoons Branston Pickle


1. Pre-heat oven to 170 degrees Celsius (gas mark 3).

2. Fry onions, garlic and carrots in a saucepan until softened.

3. Add beef and brown.

4. Add tin of tomatoes and the mustard, cook for 1 minute.

5. Add jam and pickle, transfer to casserole dish.

6. Cook for 2 hours (or more this recipe tastes better the longer it's left) stirring every 20/30 minutes.

I served this up at the weekend with new potatoes but it's great with jacket potatoes or rice too. As with any tomato-based dish it tastes even better the next day!

Friday, 10 October 2008

Avocado Goodness

The original recipe for this came from a pregnancy book, although i'm ashamed to say I can't remember which one..... maybe Gowri Motha? Anyway it became a firm favourite in pregnancy and has continued to be my back-up speedy lunch solver. As with most of my favourite recipes I don't actually have this written down anywhere (who knows what happened to that pregnancy book!) but just throw it together from memory when I have a need. It's a very handy and speedy little concoction that works just as well as a dip with nachos as it does spread inside a pitta bread or spooned into a jacket potato.

Avocado Filling


1 avocado, peeled, stoned and mashed
An equal amount of cheese (any type really, I'm going with sheep's cheese mostly these days)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
A large dash of Tabasco


  1. Just mash everything together!

Povey loves this too (he likes to scoop it up with pitta) perhaps because I ate SOOOO much of it when pregnant with him ;)

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Top for Dolly

As I said before I'm trying to slowly build up Dolly's wardrobe. She's a Lilydoll, which unfortunatly aren't being made any more so clothes are hard to find and expensive. I figured she needed a basic top to go with the new skirt..... and all the others I'll be making for her and Papaya hehe! I bought some new ribbon the other day!

No pattern here, I just took two squares of white cotton, cut out two squares from them to turn them into a T shape and form the sleeves and then sewed it up and hemmed all the edges. The T shape gave it a bit of a boat-neck.

I added some iron-on mini studs I got free with some jeans once.

I made the sleeves too long and thin but they just about fit and I'll remember that for next time, a black top next I think :)

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Our Favourite Roast Lamb

This is our family's absolute favourite way to have roast lamb. I have no idea where this recipe came from originally, only that it was my favourite right from a child. I don't even have it written down anywhere (well until now!) I just know it all off by heart. What I love about this meal is that you cook the meat, veg and gravy altogether in one fell swoop! It's delicious with roast or new potatoes.

Glazed Lamb with bacon

Serves around 4
Takes 30 minutes to prepare, 2 hours to cook

Leg of lamb
Fresh rosemary
Two packs of smoked bacon
Jar of apricot jam
1 onion (chopped)
Bag of carrots (peeled and chopped into rounds)
Chicory (chopped finely)
1 pint stock (lamb or vegetable)


1. Fry up the onion, chicory and carrots together until softened. Put them into a large deep metal baking tray and pour the stock over them.

2. Sit the leg of lamb on top of them. Cut slits all the way along the leg of lamb horizontally and put a sprig of rosemary and a slice of bacon into each slit.

3. Cover the whole leg with the rest of the bacon, cover the whole tray with tinfoil and pop in a preheated oven (180) for 1 hour.

4. After an hour remove the foil and cover the whole leg (over the bacon) with pretty much all of the jar of jam. Pop back into the oven for another hour (or so, it may take less time), stirring the vegetables beneath occasionally.

The bacon on top will turn black, don't worry this is what is meant to happen! The black crispy bits are the best bits :P When you come to serve, lift the lamb out of the pan onto a serving plate, let it rest for 15 minutes or so and then lift off the crispy bacon to carve the lamb beneath. Lift out the vegetables with a slotted spoon and pour the stock into a jug to be the gravy.

It's so good that I totally failed to get a photo of it all cooked before it got eaten! Maybe I can slot one in later as we have this for Sunday lunch quite often. Yum yum!

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Pyjamas for Povey

Finally! I should really have made these instead of the pink ones as he had a far greater need for pyjamas than Papaya did.... all done now though. This batik material was far nicer to work with than the frustratingly fine pink stars material. I added poppers rather than buttons for Povey in the hope he'd be able to do them himself, but forgot they were the poppers I usually use for cloth nappies so are therefore very tough for little fingers!

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