Sunday, 22 June 2014

Strawberry Shortcakes {recommended recipes}

The day I made this recipe was filled with some of the best bits of summer. In England the sunshine definitely worth waiting for, because it brings strawberry season, and trips to Garson's Pick-Your-Own Farm. Last year we went in September, and came home loaded with punnets of soft, sweet, juicy plums. This year they had raspberries beginning to be ripe, perfect gooseberries, broccoli, spinach, and delicious sugarsnap peas. Strawberries were the main crop, the huge field filled with neat rows of ripe strawberry plants.

This year my little sister was old enough to enjoy what was going on and she loved pulling carrots and picking gooseberries and strawberries. Imagine her surprise when she pulled up a plant from the ground and found a carrot! Everyone gets pretty excited actually, to see so much growing and to pick some, especially as our own gardening efforts haven't gone too well. 

As we picked we talked about what desserts we would make, gooseberry cream crumble, raspberry roulade, strawberries and cream. When I was searching for what to make that evening I decided, on a whim, to find out what strawberry shortcake was. There were a lot of big cakes, but Nigella's recipe had perfect little individual scone-like shortcakes with crushed and fresh strawberries, plus cream.

The dough is made with cream and it's very soft, producing a shortcake that with heavenly lightness. For me, they were a definite improvement on scones. Half the strawberries were mushed with sugar and balsamic vinegar (absolutely delicious) and put under the fresh strawberries. It's great to see the strawberries growing, pick them, and then 5 hours later to eat them. Cream would have been an improvement, but they were delicious without. I would totally recommend this recipe, it feels like the perfect celebration of summer!

. . .
Now I am getting a little busy to do so much blogging, I thought I'd start a new series. {recommended recipes} will be reviews and photographs of recipes from the internet that I've successfully made. See all of them here. Enjoy!

Sunday, 15 June 2014


I was inspired to do some painting when I saw this Father's Day idea. It's always exciting to get out the painting supplies and sit down with a fresh white piece of paper! It only took about an hour to create two picture and two greetings cards and it was so fun.
First I tried doing some washes on card with stripes of paint in bold acrylics. I painted the front of a blank greetings card and an A5 piece of watercolour paper in blue-green. Then I got the idea of adding a pen drawing over the top to create a sea scene. To finish it off I added white paint inside the pen outlines, but thin enough so the background comes through.

I cut a sheet of of thin plastic to the size of the painting to protect it. I also created a brown paper bag to store it in.

I also had to make a birthday card so did a rainbow wash on a blank greetings card and then stuck over 'Happy Birthday' cut from white paper. I think it looks quite effective and fun!

I hope this post has shown you how easy and effective painting can be and it has inspired you to make time to create something yourself! Please leave a comment and let me know what you make. 

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Mocha Torte {recommended recipes}

June is full of birthdays for my family, so theres always a bit of a scramble when it comes to who's making the cakes. I got to make my Dad's cake this year, and I knew straight away that it should be chocolate. I searched around pinterest for ideas, as I wanted something different, but I just found loads of 'best ever chocolate cake' recipes.

Then I remembered that I'd been wanting to try a special occasion cake from The Caked Crusader blog, as they always look really good! The mocha torte looked perfect, combining my Dad's love of chocolate and coffee. As I read through the recipe it sounded better and better: a hazelnut base.... baked ganache filling... coffee cream... more hazelnuts.

As I had a busy weekend I could spread the work by making one element at a time. I decided to go for a simple topping of roasted chopped hazelnuts instead of the extra cream and chocolate on top. All the elements were really nice and balanced well, with contrasting and complimenting flavours and textures. It's very rich, which was appreciated, and as we couldn't manage big slices there will be enough left for another slice each (if Dad doesn't get there first!) a rare thing in a big family. So yeah, I would totally recommend this Mocha Torte recipe!

. . .
Now I am getting a little busy to do so much blogging, I thought I'd start a new series. {recommended recipes} will be reviews and photographs of recipes from the internet that I've successfully made. See all of them here. Enjoy!