Wednesday, 25 May 2011

First Strawberry of the year! And Welcome to Elliot.

Hi Guys,
It’s a lovely day here in Oxfordshire-I’m hoping it’s the start of the heat wave :-)

Yesterday I met a very special boy called Elliot. Catherine had this little bundle of cuteness on Sunday and he is gorgeous. I’m looking forward to babysitting!!!

We go on our holiday to Cornwall on Saturday so this week I’ve had so much to do and I still have so much to do. I need to get it all done tonight and tomorrow night. I’ve also got to do a giant cupcake this evening but they are fun to do so I don’t mind!

I ate my first strawberry that I’ve grown at the new house. Totally delish. I’m using strawberry planter bags. They are handy but the ones in the bottom don’t seem to grow as well so not sure if I will use them next year.
Potatoes are also coming along nicely. I cannot wait to eat one of those bad boys- I’m feeling the potato and mint pea salad vibe :-)

At the weekend I did one big job which I’ve been meaning to do for ages- the flower bed at the front of the house. I did one side a while ago and the other one which had basically become part of the grass took a while. Some person who lived there previously thought it was a good idea to bury rock, toy cars, bones and broken pots in there. So after much removing of said things I mixed in some manure and compost and finished it off with top soil. At the moment I just have a sunflower, viola and a very early stage dahlia planted. So lots more to go int.

Another massive job which I want to do over the summer is to make a vegetable patch out of an overgrown old blackberry patch. It looks messy and the blackberry plants are seriously passed it. Not looking forward to pulling those thorny so & so’s out!

Sorry about the lack of pics. I had trouble uploading them so I'll try and do it tomorrow :-)

Anyway I’ll be back with a recipe post soon!
Jess
xx

Thursday, 19 May 2011

I swear I thought it was Friday

When i woke up this morning I was convinced it was friday. I even asked the bin men why they were here on a Friday. They responded "It's Thursday luv". i feel like an idiot!

Anyway lots of plans this weekend. I have lots on my to-do list and I need to pull my finger out and get them done as we go on holiday next weekend :-)

Here are a few things that need doing:

* Much cleaning- I am not listing everything, there is just too much
* Buy compost to do some more planting
* Buy some new variety of roses to plant
* Have a look round the local reclaimation yard for some wood to make some more rasied bed
* Clean the rabbits
* Order supplies for cupcakes
* Source more teapots for the china hire collection
* Put in a new flower bed at the front of the house
* Put shelf up in bedroom (Phil can do that)
* Meal plans for next week and order food shopping
* Fit in a bit of me time by reading my book and catching up on some blogs

There is a lot more to this list but I'm not putting everything down!

I'm aware I haven't put any craft projects on my new blog yet-I'm in the process of trying to get some up but time has been very short in my house and it always gets put to the bottom of the list :-(

What are your plans for the weekend?

Picture for today is Bumper a resident at Peaceful Prairie Sanctury. You can read his story here.



Jess

xx

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Recipe Post- Vegan Maple and Walnut Cupcakes

One of my new purchases was Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. Now as an owner of a Cupcake business I'm looking forward to trying lots of new recipes.

Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World: 75 Dairy-Free Recipes for Cupcakes that Rule

The first one I decided to do was Maple and Walnut Cupcakes. However I used my own recipe for the frosting.

I must say these cupcakes are lovely and are great with a cup of tea. Don't be put off that they are vegan as my other half who isn't vegan loves them!

This makes about 12 cupcakes.

Candied Walnuts

1 cup walnut halves

1/3 cup granulated sugar

3 tbsp maple syrup

a pinch of salt

a large pinch of ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 275F. Arrange walnut halves on a tray and toast walnuts for 10 minutes, until the are fragrant and golden brown. Leave to cool.

2. Line a baking tray with baking paper and lightly grease with oil.

3. In a large saucepan, combine sugar, maple syrup and salt. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon. The sugar should melt and the mixture bubbling. This will take about 5 minutes. Continue to boil for 3-4 minutes, until the mixture is a dark amber colour, thick and smells like caramel. Remove from heat and stir in walnuts and cinnamon. Coat nuts evenly with maple mixture.


4. Spread nuts out onto the lined baking sheet and make sure they are not in big lumps. Allow to cool.


5. Measure out 1/2 cup sugared walnuts and chop finely to use in recipe. Extra walnuts can be used as decoration after the cupcakes are frosted, eaten or stored in an airtight container and refrigerated.

Cupcakes

1/2 cup soy milk, at room temperature

1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 1/3 cups flour

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup canola oil (I used vegetable oil or you can use rapeseed oil)

2 tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup candied walnuts, chopped finely

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Whisk together soy milk and vinegar. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 10 mins to allow milk to curdle.

2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutemg into a large bowl. Whisk together oil, maple syrup, vanilla and brown sugar into the soy milk mixture.


3. Make a well in the dry ingredients and whisk in the wet ingredients in two batches. Whisk just until no large lumps remain, a few small lumps are okay. Do not overmix. Fold in chopped candied walnuts.


4. Pour mixture evenly into liners, filling up to 2/3rds of the liners, and bake at 350F for 20-22 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting with the recipe below.

Maple Syrup Buttercream

¾ cup Vegan margarine (I use Pure)
3 cups Icing sugar
¼ cup Maple Syrup

1. Place margarine and sugar into a mixer and mix until combined.

2. Add Maple Syrup and mix

3. If the mix is to stiff add a little soya milk or if it is too runny add some more icing sugar



Thursday, 5 May 2011

Earthlings

It's nearly the weekend! And I can't wait. After all these bank holidays I'm not used to working all week :-)

I'll start this post by mentioning that some people may not like it. The video I'll be posting is upsetting.

Now why would I put an upsetting video on my blog? Well I truly believe people need to see it. So many people shy away from these things. I'm not trying to preach to people to become vegetarian/vegan but It has affected me so much and totally made me look at how I live my life I felt the need to share.  So if this is not something for you I apologise but please come back as not all posts will be like this. It just one post  I wanted to do and if it maybe impacts just one person in a good way then I'll be happy. But some people may watch it and it might not change them but they will be a little more informed and that's ok too.

I urge you to try and watch it, it will be hard but I feel it is important.

Here is the synopsis on their website:



Earthlings is a powerful and informative documentary about society’s treatment of animals, narrated by Joaquin Phoenix with soundtrack by Moby. This multi-award winning film by Nation Earth is a must-see for anyone who cares about animals or wishes to make the world a better place


And here is the link to the film







I'll be back with some yummy recipes soon :-)

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Recipe Post- Vegan Gooey chocolate pots

Hope everyone has had a good weekend. Did you watch the royal wedding? We did. It was amazing.


We went to a royal wedding party at the Manor house I work at. It was such a fun day. Lots of lovely food and drink. For breakfast I had a field mushroom, roast cherry tomato and brie bap. Amazing. Lunch was a chargrilled veggie bap. Double amazing and I also had a few cheeky Oysters yum!

Here are a couple of pictures from the day.


Anyway onto the recipe. This one is from Mama Pea at Peas and Thank You. One of my favourite blogs. I cannot wait for her book to come out!

For this I suggest you buy some American cup measures. You could convert it via here but it's handy to have these as I use quite a few American recipes.

Vegan Gooey Chocolate Pots


Ingredients



1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup + 2 tablespoon non-dairy chocolate chips, divided
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
garnish: organic powdered sugar and raspberries (optional)


Method


1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2.In a medium bowl or saucepan, combine applesauce, syrup, 1 cup of chocolate chips and vanilla.


3.Heat in pan over low heat until melted, or microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between each interval until melted.

4.Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add flour mixture a little at a time to chocolate mixture, stirring gently until fully incorporated.



5.Lightly spritz ramekins or custard cups with oil or cooking spray. Fill each cup 3/4ths of the way full with batter. Do not overfill.

6.Poke about a 1/2 tablespoon of chocolate chips dead in the center of each cake. You don’t have to poke the chocolate chips all the way down in, they’ll sink during baking.


7.Bake cakes for 10-12 minutes. The edges will be set, but the centers will still be jiggly. Dust each cake with powdered sugar and garnish with fresh raspberries.



Would you be a darling and visit my Facebook page :-)