Saturday, 31 December 2011

Mini Pasties

It's New Year's Eve guys....Are you all excited for tonight? Have you got anything nice planned??
As you know, I've been a very busy girl yesterday and will still be busy throughout this morning baking!
These are mini vegetable pasties! They really remind me of my mum in fact. She always used Sunday dinner left overs to make little pasties for the week ahead.

If you have any food left over, these are absolutely perfect! For party food purposes, I cooked some frozen vegetables for a bit longer than usual so they were nice and soft before chopping them up small.
I covered them in enough gravy to keep them nice and moist and to add flavour to the pasties. You can use absolutely anything, tinned meat, stock, gravy, sauce.....

Your next step is to roll out your pastry. You can make your own (my mum always used to!) But to save time, I bought shortcrust pastry.
I cut circles out with the largest pastry cutter I had (which is still fairly small, but it was perfect for me as I wanted to create 'mini' bite size pasties) Then used a teaspoon to drop some veggies in the middle of the pastry before folding it in half to create a pasty shape. Make sure you pinch the ends shut (some of your pasties will still probably open up, mine did!)

Bake in the oven on a sheet covered in baking paper for roughly 15 minutes on 200 degrees.
Once cooked, your pasties can be served hot or cold and can easily be re-heated. 

Happy Baking and a Happy New Year to all of you!


Friday, 30 December 2011

Apple And Blackberry Pies

Can you believe it's New Year's Eve tomorrow?! Today, I have literally been baking like mad in order for our buffet tomorrow night! Luckily, most can be served cold which is a good thing!!
These are super easy and delicious!
You will need:

200g plain flour
100g butter
50g caster sugar

These are made in the same way as mince pies, mix your ingredients together to form a dough. This dough can be kept in the fridge over night, which is good if you like to plan ahead.
Roll out your dough thinly and cut out circles of desired size.
Place your circles in a greased cupcake tin and fill with your yummy filling. (I used a tin of apple and blackberry pie filling, but you can easily make your own instead!)
To finish off, I cut out slightly smaller circles to place on top.
I put some milk around the edges of the bottom half to stick the tops on and also brushed milk over the tops of the pies, slice a thin slit in the top of each pie, and bake in the oven on 200 degrees for approximately 15 minutes.
My dad just ate one, apparently they taste delicious!!

Happy baking everyone!


Mini Pizzas

As a second part to my 'New Year's Eve Buffet Party', here are my yummy homemade mini pizzas! These are also very simple and quick to make and you don't need LOADS of ingredients either! 
I decided to make my own party food because I am literally in love with baking, and this is just a way to share my ideas with all of you.
I have lots more coming up....
(don't worry about time, they are all very quick to make!)

For the mini pizzas, you will need:

200g self raising flour
1/2 cup of water
1 tsp olive oil

This is your base.
Mix all the ingredients to form a dough. I generally don't measure my water, I just go by eye. If your dough is a little on the dry side, add some more water into the mixture.
Once you have your dough, place on a lightly floured surface and roll out. (Not too thinly, but be aware of the fact your dough will rise slightly)
You can in fact cut out your pizzas any size you want. If you'd prefer smaller, bite-sized pizzas, use a small cutter or cut around a glass or saucer.

Place your pizza bases on a tray covered with baking paper and bake on 200 degrees for approximately 5 minutes or until your bases have hardened up a bit.

This is your topping
Take your bases out of the oven and cover with a thin layer of tomato puree. 
Then, to continue with your topping you can add almost anything you like on top. Usually, I use a can of ratatouille which is a tin of mixed vegetables in tomato sauce along with some olives and cheese to top it all off.
Anything goes, add some meat, vegetables, fish....The list is endless!

Once you have topped your mini pizzas, place back in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until your cheese has melted if you have any cheese on your pizzas!
Serve hot or cold.



Thursday, 29 December 2011

Cheese Straws

New Year's Eve is on its way. Are you all prepared?! I'm certainly not.... But if like me you want some simple and easy to make party food, take a look at these....

These cheese straws are super easy to make with very simple ingredients. I decided to make some ready for our mini New Year's Eve buffet / party on Saturday night! These can be made well in advance as they can be stored in an air tight container for days!
You will need:

175g plain flour
90g butter
90g cheddar cheese or parmesan
pinch of salt
some mixed herbs
1 egg yolk

Mix all your ingredients together to form a dough. If your mixture is a bit dry add a bit of water.
Place your dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out to a quarter of an inch in thickness.
Cut long strips to your desired length.

Bake in the oven on 200 degrees for approximately 12-15 minutes.

Tomorrow I'm planning on baking some:
Mince Pies / Apple & Blackberry Mini Pies
Mini vegetable pasties
New Year's Eve cupcakes!

Happy baking!


Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Christmas Roundup

Here are some of my favourite photographs from Christmas! I have many many photographs of Christmas day, but I will keep those to myself :)

I love watching Christmas films! It really does get you in the festive mood doesn't it?! I had a wonderful evening (although it was by myself) watching Elf with a huge glass of strawberry cider (yum yum!)
It's sad to think that Christmas is over....! But hopefully next year will be even bigger and better!

Although I haven't done as much baking as I wanted to, I did enjoy all the baking I have done. I made some extremely yummy gingerbread all by myself for the first time. And fair play, they turned out nicely!! I really like this photograph as I love how the little gingerbread man seems to be waving! So cute...!

We've had this tree since forever...It's so funny to think when we were little we thought it was absolutely massive! I think I will feel slightly sad when we pull the tree down... It's always such a nice and happy time when you put your Christmas tree up!

My boyfriend's sister's little kitty! She's cute....Although she has a habit of coming into his room and clawing his bed, which is ever so annoying!

More of my Christmas baking! 
I'm rather excited about this weekend, as I have in fact a LOT planned for New Year's Eve. Well, when I say a lot planned, I mean, a lot of cooking involved! I'm super super excited! Our New Year's Eve will consist of a buffet which I am going to be hosting for my boyfriend's family and friends! I literally cannot wait! I have a lot of recipes in mind..... Cue a LOT of party recipes coming up!

After spending a lovely day at Betws Y Coed with the bf last week, I found the most perfect walking boots! I've never had a pair of walking boots before, so this was rather exciting for me, and as I want to become more active and get up and do more things in the new year, I just had to get them!
They are from The North Face and cost £40 (I got them off their website as I knew they had a 20% off sale on - Be sure to check it out, I think it's ongoing until the 31st!)
They're actually from the girl's section (their shoes go up to a size 6!)

I need to do some more photographing in the new year too....I miss it! I love days out with my Canon! I definitely want to do more things and visit new places!

In fact, Santa was kind in the form of my Daddy and brother! My brother had been very thoughtful in his gifts this year, and I received much more than I was expecting (I definitely need to start my Christmas shopping much earlier for next year!)
I did in fact receive melting snowmen from Lush (my brother always gets me a little gift box from Lush for Christmas!) Along with some hand made locally candles, nice perfume and The Hummingbird Bakery book (be prepared for lots of cakes in the new year too!)

Chilling out after Christmas <3
Waiting for the new year to arrive!
I cannot wait for Saturday night! Have you got anything nice planned??
I can't wait for my little buffet! And I can't wait to share with all of you the recipes I have! Here are some of the things I have planned:

savoury muffins
mini home made pizzas
mini vegetable pasties
cheese straws
and many more....!!

My outfit is also half sorted! I found the perfect heels the other day, now all I need is to turn my wardrobe inside out to find a dress to go with them (need to save pennies after spending sooooo much recently!)

I hope you've all had a really lovely Christmas, and an even better New Year!


Sunday, 25 December 2011

Dinner Time

I hope you've all had a lovely lovely day!!
We've had a lot of food, but even more wine....!

Here are just some photographs of my day which I spent with my family at lunch time before going to see my boyfriend and spending time with his family during the evening!

So here you can see the silly bf with a little cracker crown which was way too small for him!! His busy sister cooking away in the kitchen, and a little sneaky peek of my daddy's plate at lunchtime!


Saturday, 24 December 2011

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas / Nadolig Llawen

Happy Christmas to all of you! I've been so behind with the blogging lately so I apologise for being a hopeless blogger! Hopefully in the new year things will get back to normal, the stress of Christmas and new year will be behind us, and I can focus on things!! 
Christmas, I must admit, is not the easiest time of year for my family. I just wish I could spend this time of year with my mum, however, I know she's looking down at us somewhere. 

I hope you all have a lovely day tomorrow and you receive lots and lots of lovely presents!! I can't wait to see all your pictures and read your Christmas day stories!!

Have a lovely weekend


Thursday, 22 December 2011

Christmas On A Budget : Gifts Part Two

So this is the second part to my Christmas on a budget gifts. I hope you enjoyed having a peek at the first one!

Salt Body Scrub
This body scrub is absolutely lovely, and a great idea for someone who likes to pamper themselves! I'm going to give one to my boyfriend's mum and sister, and my boss too!! In terms of recipe, you will need the following:
sea salt or sugar
sunflower oil or any other carrier oil
essential oil (I chose lavender)
food colouring
Mix all the ingredients together with a few drops of food colouring and essential oil and pour into an airtight container or jar. Plastic jars or containers are no good for this, so please use glass!
Decorate with some labels and ribbon, and there you have it, a great Christmas gift on a budget!!
(Make sure you put an use by date of six months from the making!)

cost per jar = £3.50

Lavender Rice Bags
These rice bags are so adorable. Not only do they smell nice, but they can be heated up in the microwave  to soothe any aches or pains, or to keep you warm at night! Just heat the bag up for two minutes!
For these, I used:
250g white rice (39p for 500g at Home Bargains)
dried lavender buds
a few drops of lavender essential oil
old pillow cases (must be 100% cotton so you can place in your microwave!)
Sew up 3 edges of your square and turn right side out with your seams on the inside. Fill approximately half your bag with rice, two handfuls of lavender buds and a few drops of lavender oil. Tuck in your ends and sew to seal the lavender bag!
This is such a perfect little gift! I'm going to be giving one to my boyfriend's mum as she's just had a hip operation, so it's the perfect size for her to use to soothe her hip with! When you're not using them, they can be placed in the drawer to keep your undies smelling nice too!!

cost per bag = £1.50

Apologies for being so behind with the blogging lately! My boyfriend came back last week, or should I say I went back to fetch him. Between working and spending time with him + doing some last minute panic shopping, I haven't had much time to do anything!! So I really apologise. In fact, I haven't had a chance to do half the things I wanted to!!
Hope you're all having a lovely holiday so far!
Happy Christmas lovelies!


Sunday, 18 December 2011

A Festive Weekly Roundup : Betws Y Coed

This past week has been surprisingly long. On Tuesday I took a trip to get the bf and have otherwise been working! So much for a nice 'festive' time with him! So this weekend, we went to Betws Y Coed together, bought matching jackets together, looked at some cute walking boots (which I will blog about at a later date!) and generally had a nice time together! 
So instead of a weekly roundup post as such, I'm posting a few pictures from our cute trip!!

The first photograph is of a cute little candle shop at Betws Y Coed. I loved the fact it looked so festive, plus the man working at the shop looked a bit like Santa too....! So cute!!

If you're intending on visiting Betws Y Coed (which I highly recommend) there are lots and lots of cute little cafes to choose from! I love this cute little French looking cafe called the Alpine Coffee Shop. It has a cute outdoor seating feature too with cute fairy lights round it! Perfect for cold winter evenings sipping hot tea with your loved ones!

I completely fell in love with these super adorable fleece lined mittens, but at £20 I thought I might be able to knit myself a pair (or ask Santa nicely....!) You'll find lots and lots of cute shops in Betws Y Coed, full of hand crafted pieces! It's a bit unfortunate that I was unable to take photographs of some of the cutest hand crafted pieces I found, but never mind!!

I hope you've all had a really lovely weekend full of festive activities!


Thursday, 15 December 2011

Festive Baking : Part Two

On Saturday, I made some cute gingerbread!! This is the yummy recipe I followed...

You will need:

350g Plain Flour
175g Soft Brown Sugar
100g Butter
4 tbsp Golden Syrup
1tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
1tsp Ground Cinnamon
1tbsp Ground Ginger
1 Medium Egg

Heat the oven to 180 degrees.

Mix all the ingredients together slowly. By the end you will probably have to use your hands to bring it all together to form a biscuit consistency mix.

Flour a surface and roll your gingerbread out to approximately 1cm in thickness (or as thick as you like your gingerbread!) Then, using gingerbread cutters or any other shaped cutters, cut out as many shapes as possible! I managed to get around 25 gingerbread men!!

Grease a tray and cover in baking paper. Then place your gingerbread men on your baking tray.

Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until golden. Once you take them out, let them cool for a while before icing!

For a great Christmas gift on a budget, why not bag your little gingerbread men and give them to loved ones? Everyone likes a good gingerbread man!

Happy baking everyone!


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