Tuesday, 26 August 2014

A Dotty Interlude

I've been decorating my bedroom this weekend. But in between picking emulsion out of my hair, washing off brushes, and putting off the glosswork, I finally took some time out to do a dot-to-dot out of my new book,

I treated myself to this book after stumbling across it in the Tate Britain gift shop. You can get also get a Cityscapes version too, and Masterpieces, and Iconic Portraits, but I went for the animals.
The dots are clearly marked in a different colour for each group of 100, and number one begins with a star - can you spot it in the picture below? 

You definitely need to concentrate, I went wrong a couple of times but I don't think it shows. It's quite hard to see the picture evolve as you're doing it but my son could spot it from across the room, I guess it's a case of not being able to see the wood for the trees, or the cat from the whiskers?

If you'd like to try one of these fab books, they are available from Amazon. (no fee for me ~ just spreading the love!) and probably most good book shops.

Much as I would like to sit and do another, I really can't keep putting off painting the woodwork . . . can I?

Sunday, 17 August 2014

BeeBee Loaf

Today's recipe was conjured up specifically to use up some bits and bobs of fruit I had knocking around. I do so love bananas, but in this weather it's not long before they start attracting fruit flies ~ and I do not love fruit flies. Not. At. All.
So, how about a banana loaf?
Meh . . .
Don't get me wrong, cake is cake, but I always feel banana loaf needs a little something. Then I remembered I had some blueberries in the freezer! Not enough for jam, or a pie, but just enough to jazz up a banana loaf and turn it into a BeeBee loaf (Bits and Bobs, Banana and Blueberry ~ geddit?!)
Blueberries are awesome. Not just because they're good for you, but who doesn't love the inky swirl you get when you stir them through a cake batter? Or the melty little pop when you bite into one? No one, that's who!

175g butter or margarine
175g sugar
3 eggs
225g self raising flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 large or 3 small ripe bananas
130g (about 1 cup) blueberries

Preheat oven to 180C / 350F / Gas4
Grease a 1lb loaf tin.

Peel the bananas, crush with a fork then sprinkle with the cinnamon and vanilla.
Beat together the butter or margarine and sugar, then add the eggs one at a time alternately with the flour. Stir the banana mixture through the batter until evenly distributed but not well blended ~ chunks and blobs are good ~ then gently stir in the blueberries, again barely enough to mix them through.
Pour batter into loaf tin, sprinkle with a spoon or two of sugar, and bake for about 45-55 mins. Allow to cool in tin for a while before turning out onto a rack.

Beware!!! If you use frozen blueberries like I did, your cake will take a lot longer to cook! After it had been in for an hour I turned the heat down to about 160C and gave it another 45 mins. Test it by sticking a skewer into the centre ~ if it comes out clean, it's done!

Maybe next time I will use fresh berries . . . .

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Magic Spaghetti

My son is a little old for magic spaghetti, but that doesn't stop me making it. We both had a craving for hot dogs tonight but I had no buns and I couldn't be bothered to go out and get some, so magic spaghetti was the perfect solution.

To make your own magic spaghetti, all you have to do is open a tin of hot dog sausages and cut each sausage into 4 pieces, then carefully poke 4 or 5 strands of dried uncooked spaghetti through each piece of sausage.

Cook the pasta and sausage bundles in boiling water for about 5 minutes until the spaghetti is cooked. Drain, and coat gently in a little sauce ~ I used Tesco's Sweet Pepper Stir Through sauce.


Your little ones will love it because it's magic how the spaghetti goes through the sausage ~ you will love it because it's quick, easy and delicious.

and magic . . .