Sunday, 20 January 2013


It’s a little late this year but winter is certainly upon us and I for one am feeling the cold.  So I have decided to spare a thought for those creatures stuck outside braving the frost.  This is a simple idea that doubles as an activity you can do with children during the half term break.  While we’re at it, why not make a little treat for our four legged friends too.

Select a container, you could use a flower pot, paper cup a coconut shell or string bags from your oranges.  If you use a cup or flower pot, knot the 2 ends of a piece of string together then attach a twig or lolly stick to the loop end.  Thread this through a hole in the bottom and use it to hang your bird feeder from a tree.

Fill the container with wild bird seed then weigh the amount it uses.  Now weigh out an equal quantity of shredded suet.  Over a low heat melt the suet.  Once it has melted add the bird seed and stir well.  Leave the mixture till cool and starting to set, you will see it turning white.  Once it starts to set, fill your container and leave till completely hard before hanging outside.  If you use an orange bag, wait till the mixture becomes firmer then form into balls and place them in the bag. 


200ml Low Fat Milk
1 Egg
340g Peanut Butter
200g Wholemeal Flour
175g Plain Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder

In a jug, combine all the wet ingredients.  Combine the flour and baking powder in a bowl and add the wet ingredients.  Mix them till they form a stiff dough.

Flour the surface and roll out the dough to 1/4” thick.  Cut out your shapes and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment.  They do not spread when cooking so you can fit them in quite snuggly.  Bake your biscuits for 15 minutes at 180C then turn them over and cook for a further 15 minutes till quite hard and crisp.

I have so many cutter but always like to use them as appropriately as possible like the foot shaped one that I only use for cheese biscuits.  I have used a bone shaped cutter which I've had for years but usually only gets an outing at halloween so it's really great to find another use for it.  The dog cutter looks to me like an Airedale, or a 'Stanley' as it's known at a well known vintage shop.  I got it from Sew White, a great little online home, kitchen and craft shop.

Thursday, 10 January 2013


There are some cook books you own that have the most wonderful looking recipes but when it comes to cooking them they may need a little tweaking and should never be cooked for guests unless previously tried and tested.

There are some cook books that you can rely upon to always get it right and give perfect results.  Jo Wheatley's 'A Passion For Baking' is one of those.  It has already become one of my bibles for never fail recipes and I love it.  Jo has managed to produce recipes that can be easily adapted for your own convenience and personal tastes too.

This recipe is a complete rip off of Jo's flat bread recipe.  I use it all the time because it's so easy and quick to make and I usually have the ingredients to hand.  We have it with curry, as a pizza base and now for calzone too.

Calzone is basically a folded pizza which makes it a great portable food.  Treat it like a pizza and add your own favourite fillings, pepperoni, mushrooms, spinach, pineapple......

300g Self Raising Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Oregano
300g Natural  Yoghurt

1 Tin Chopped Tomatoes
1 Onion Chopped
1 Clove Garlic Crushed
1 tbsp Tomato Puree
1 tbsp Ketchup
Small Bunch Basil  Torn
Ham & Mozzarella

Cook the onion and garlic with a little oil, when soft add the tomatoes, tomato puree and ketchup.  Leave to simmer for 10 minutes then add the basil and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Make the dough by combining all the dry ingredients in a bowl then use a knife to stir in the
yoghurt till it comes together.  Flour the surface and divide the dough into 8 balls. It will be a little sticky so dust your hands and rolling pin with flour to make it more manageable.

Roll out each ball one by one and add a spoon of the sauce to one half.  Top with ham and mozzarella then fold the other half of dough over to cover.  Seal the edges like a cornish pasty, pierce a small hole in the top and bake for 25 minutes at 200C