Say Sausages

Rob and I went to a local farmers market last Sunday and had a very nice breakfast bap containing some tasty free range sausages.

The lady who ran the stall was very nice, she invited us to visit their farm in Meopham, Kent. So we took a drive and went to see the surviving relatives of the yummy sausages.

Maybe its best to sample the meat before visiting if you are a little sensitive and coo-coo over baby animals, and are an aspiring veggie who lives with a dedicated carnivore who believes he gets weak if he does not eat enough meat and is a fan of blue steaks! Hmm!

But as my mum says – you do not mind eating meat from ethically reared happy animals and these were very happy pigs with plenty of outdoor space.

I took my camera to take lots of badly composed snaps on the auto setting! Enjoy!

And finally the end product. Yes we bought some chilli sausages in the shop. It was rude not too.

Here’s Some I Made Earlier

Due to fitting a new kitchen in our house – which I believe I may have mentioned before on here! I have not been able to bake – until today. And I used my Kitchenaid for the first time!!!! Wheeeee!

That was an interesting experience, let me tell you…..not the mixer, no that was amazing! I love it! I almost cried with happiness when I saw it spin for the first time! Anyway enough gushing!

Well, let me tell you about my first bake in the new kitchen with the Kitchenaid…… To start with I did not bother to think too hard about what to bake with it first. I was just thumbing through one of my recipe books and saw a marble cake recipe, and thought I would give it a go as I have never made one before.

So off I went, all super organised by getting the three eggs required out the fridge, to bring to room temperature before I went to work this morning. I was so excited about what I had planned, my first bake since early February this year. So far so good!

When I made the cake (and experienced the daddy of mixers) it also was a good test for the new kitchen layout, as I tend to make a mess and use every utensil/inch of worktop I have when baking. It was all new to me. And I guess I got a little over excited when using the Kitchenaid…….because I forgot to put the eggs in the cake!

Hey, those are my excuses and I am sticking to them! Luckily I realised my huge clanger about seven minutes into the baking time! So I grabbed the cake out of the oven and weighed up my options. I could either A) continue to bake it and call it a vegan marble cake, but then I remembered I put milk in the cake. From a cow. Or B) I could just try adding in the eggs and hope for the best. Or C) just give up!

I chose option B. So I gave the mixture around five minutes to cool down then poured it into a bowl (it already had tiny lumps of cooked cake around the edges can you believe!) Then mixed the eggs into the warm mixture (thankfully they did not scramble!) Then bunged it back in the oven and prayed to the gods of self raising flour that things would work out for the best.

Well its not WWND but it turned out OK(ish). Sure It doesn’t look pretty, but it tastes nice and is surprisingly moist! My first marble cake turned into a chocolate cake with a few plain sponge specks/lumps scattered in it! Not what you would serve it at a tea party!

I am far too embarrassed to post a picture of my disaster on here, so in the mean time here’s some I made earlier!

Some have been previously shown on here, but my photos were terrible! I tried to improve them on PicMonkey! The bottom circle pictures are of cupcakes which were baked over six months ago for a friends baby shower and the pictures were taken with Rob’s iPhone.

P.S. I have a top secret baking project for Robs B.day in a few days planned! Wish me luck, I think I need it!

P.P.S Big kitchen reveal pictures coming in about a week, we just need to seal edges and get the window sill fitted. Ha- I just realised all that’s left is to seal and sill. Pah ha ha!!

Vintage Pyrex Etsy Treasury


2 Vintage Retro Pyrex Snowfl…

$25.00

Vintage Pyrex Daisy round ca…

$12.00

20% SALE Storewide / 50s Cas…

$32.00

Vintage Pyrex Spring Blossom…

$12.50

Set of 2 1960’s JAJ Pyre…

$5.00

Pyrex Bluebird Turquoise Whi…

$17.00

Stack of 4 Pyrex Bowls Art P…

$8.00

Vintage Atomic Retro Cloud S…

$20.00

Retro Kitchen Shelves PDF Em…

$8.00

Pink Pyrex Vintage Divided O…

$14.00

Glass and Plastic Cup

$30.00

Vintage Pyrex Platter Steak …

$10.00

Yep love and want it all.

Maybe not the PDF sewing pattern though, I struggle to thread a needle let alone sew something cute!

So far I have blogged about my own Pyrex collection here and here.

My Pyrex Casserole Bowls

Confession. I am a vintage Pyrex perv.

It was a slow burner this love affair and a surprising one too. A couple of years ago I bought two vintage Pyrex casserole bowls at a boot fair.

I just bought them because I liked the pattern. They cost me the princely sum of one whole pound for the two bowls, lids and a stand.

If I remember rightly, when we were packing up our own stall a lady approached me asking how much I wanted for them, thinking they were for sell! At the time I did not realise they had value and how collectible vintage Pyrex is!

I was a bit “meh” about them at first, but I thought to myself that they are better than the boring plain set of three we bought when I first moved out of home. But somehow, and unexpectedly these casserole bowls have grown on me. Now they have become one of the favourite pieces of vintage kitchenalia I own!

I cant explain my feelings for them, they just slowly but surely swept me off my feet! The more I that I saw them, the more I liked seeing them!

I really don’t understand how it happened, or the slight butterflies that I get when I see pictures of other pretty pieces of vintage Pyrex on the Internet! I am slightly embarrassed by it, after all its only a bowl to cook macaroni cheese and tuna bakes etc in….but its oh so pretty with its lovely milk glass (as they call it in America).

Milky glass makes me happy! I think I heart vintage Pyrex more than Cathrineholm!

= happy Helen!

It seems I am not the only Pyrex lover out there! Phew!

Whoopsie!

Bless Rob, sometimes he suggests things I should blog about. While its nice to have his encouragement with this project, most of his ideas I say “nah” to.

He suggested me doing a post about how much I enjoyed cleaning the dust and cobwebs off my light shades and top of the door frames the other day. So satisfying! But…”nah – boring”.

Then he suggested doing a post about a issue we had with B&Q and customer service. “Nah – boring” I said. Then reminded him about how this is a lighthearted thing, I just want to blog about decorating the house and recipes (topics so far of which make up the least amount of content on this blog!)

I also would like this blog to be a record (a heavily edited version no less) of my life at the moment. I know how much I enjoy reading about, and having a glimpse of others bloggers lives. I love all the details no matter how big or small or mundane. What can I say, I am just incredibly nosey!

So readers, remember that bit about all the mundane details, how funny and fascinating they are to read etc, before you go on any further please!

Here is a photo of what Rob suggested I should write about!

While we are still finishing up Project New Kitchen. I now have a nearly full and functioning kitchen with a fridge in it (as opposed to in the lounge) and everything! Its great! We also now have the dishwasher plumbed in, and this is the result of the second time I have used it! Whoopsie!

Yep I managed to ruin these storage boxes we picked up in Ikea with the plans to keep my spices in them.

I’ve never had a dishwasher before and this is the second time I have ever used one. I just popped them in it to fill it up to capacity and to give them a rinse, as its still project clean up DIY dust here at the moment. Now I know not everything is suitable for the dishwasher!

Do they remind you of something? Hmmm?

Image from realitybitesartblog

Slow Cooking Sunday – Cajan Stew

Its a cajun dance party – not yuck! It also turns out that I don’t listen to my own advice! I said yesterday that its probably best to follow a tried and tested recipe rather than improvising when it comes to using a slow cooker.

Today I Ignored that and just made it up as I was going along! I decided I would like to make a cajun type stew/jambalaya type thing. So I gathered what ingredients I could find together and bunged them all into my slow cooker and hoped for the best. It turned out alright! So I can hold my head high and share the recipe here with you.

Slow Cooker Cajun Stew

serves 4

Ingredients
• One smoked sausage
• One onion
• One tin of sweetcorn
• One tin of tomatoes
• 2 tsp Cajun spice mix and any other spices or herbs you fancy. I added a little dried thyme & oregano (not pictured) and a few turns of this chili and garlic grinder I picked up in Poundland.
• Some chicken stock (not pictured). I did not use a measuring jug, but I’d hazard a guess and say I added about half a cup. Go easy on liquids with slow cookers, they are not your friend. Nothing will thicken up in them, and you don’t want dinner to be too watery.
• About a quarter of a bag of frozen sliced peppers (not pictured).

Directions
Chop sausage and onion. Open cans, add it all to your slow cooker bowl with the spices. Mix it. Switch on and cook. Easy!
I cooked mine on high for around three and a half hours, but on the slow setting I guess it would take around 7 hours.
The beauty of this meal is that there is no raw meat, the sausage is already cooked. So its only the onion that needs to be cooked. It is just a case of letting all the flavours meld together.
When you have judged your onion to be cooked, serve it with rice. I served mine with some quinoa (ooh get me! Yep I read far too many food blogs!) as I have a shed load of it about to go off soon.

Top tip – slow cookers are great for when your other half goes out and does not tell you what time they will be home. You can just keep dinner cooking until they finally show their sorry ass, and it wont be overcooked. (Unless they are really, really late. Then you throw dinner in the bin.)

Slow Cooking Sunday (On A Saturday!)

 I have owned a slow cooker for a few years now. I purchased one after years of my mum telling me how handy they are etc. Apparently I could come home from work to a waiting cooked meal! So I caved in and bought one (also after finding this blog many moons ago I must admit!) but the so called time saving device did not really fit in with my lifestyle and working hours.

I used to wake up at 6.15am-ish then catch my bus to work at around 7.35am-ish, in order to start work at 8.30am. Then get home each night at around 6.30 – 6.45pm. Meaning I was out the house for nearly 12 hours, when most slow cooker recipe cooking times are for around 6 – 8 hours. Plus I could not be doing with preparing a meal first thing in the morning. And if I did bother to do so, it meant I would be home to a very overcooked meal.

Trust me this is not nice experience, I once cooked a curry in my slow cooker while Rob and I met our friends down the pub, thinking it would be ready when we got home. We *ahem* got held up *cough* at the pub and came home to a burning smell (yep you can burn stuff in a slow cooker – who knew?) and then had to fish out the chicken thigh bones of our dinner of charred slop. Eww! – Yeah we ate this meal, we had spent our kebab money on beer, waste not want not!

Saying that, not being a microwave owner, my slow cooker comes in handy for those “I cant be bothered to cook” days. These days I currently work two part time jobs and now have more time at home. So I have the option of using my slow cooker more.

I have eaten some really tasty meals from my slow cooker, and then made some really bland, terrible meals in it over the years. So I have decided to make a little feature on here and share some of my more successful recipes on here from time to time. Its called – you got it! Slow cooking Sunday!! It took me all of 5 seconds to think up that catchy little title! – Yep it shows!!

Here are a few little tips I want to share with you first, from what I have learnt over the years using my slow cooker:

Do stick to the times stated on a recipe. If its on the slow setting use the slow time, not the fast setting time. Duh, obvious! But I have served pink chicken thighs to a dinner guest. Whoops!

Do not use bay tree leaves picked from your garden. I once made a sausage casserole and used two bay leaves from my bush♥ in my garden to use as the recipe stated. Unfortunately they made the casserole taste like I had pored some cheap pine toilet cleaner in it! It was so overpowering, bleugh! A word to the wise here – slow cookers do not like fresh herbs, use dried supermarket herbs wherever possible. In fact I think you are meant to dry out bay leaves first for any recipe to make them more palatable! Whoops!

Do not use your slow cooker to reheat leaftovers. My meal tasted luke warm and gummy. Its not safe apparently. We lived to tell the tale though.

You can bake bread in it apparently! I cant wait to try this recipe out!

Finally If you are like me, you are best to follow an existing recipe rather than making up your own one.

 

Coming up on sunday – an actual recipe!

♥ Not funny. Stop sniggering.♥

Today I Learnt I Was Right. Dammit!

I have been open about my IT skills (or lack of!) on here. I want to learn how to be a better blogger at my own pace, and will document my improvements in the “blogging for beginners” posts. Plus if it can help someone else out there reading them, then better still!

In this post I mentioned that a 10 year old probably has better IT skills than me. Today I have been proven right! Today in the news a 9 year old blogger has generated a lot of publicity for her blog “NeverSeconds” after being told to stop posting pictures of her school lunches by her local council.

Well I had a little look at her site myself.

Young upstarts eh?

Yep she is better than me. Yep I have blog envy!

In other news I installed another font plugin. Now I can do this!
Plus I can write in

rainbow

Find it here if you also want to add it to your wordpress blog. I have noticed however that the different fonts I selected do not show up in my google reader. More work must be done. And yes, I do subscribe to my own blog!

P.S. Hands up who thinks Martha gets help from her Dad.

Tuesday Tune

I have not done a Tuesday tune for a little while now. I have kind of lacked inspiration, as I realised that I have been looking back at the music of my youth, rather than forwards at new bands.

But I cannot resist doing a post on Courtney Love as part of my female guitarist theme! Love her or hate her, you cannot deny her on-stage presence.

Glasto ’99 – I was there! Image from metro.co.uk

A few years back Rob and I were invited to our friend C’s 40th birthday party. This was a fancy dress party with the theme of  “Pop music stars”. At the party there were a group of friends dressed as the spice girls, a Sgt Pepper era Beetle, a George Michael,  a Freddie Mercury and many more usual suspects.

Rob and I thought about who we could go as, and decided to do something a little bit different. We decided to dress as Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain in the outfits they famously wore to the 1993 MTV awards. I won a cheap and sort of similar dress on Ebay (it was the best I could find on a small budget/timescale in my size). We found some wigs online then bought the rest of our costumes from Primark and used stuff we already had.

So here we are in our full glory! I have decided to be brave and post some pictures of me on here! Spot the difference! Ha!

What Kurt and Courtney would look like if they ate cake!

We had a great time, I love fancy dress! One thing I will say is the DJ played tunes by all the above characters who people came dressed as, but he did not play any Nirvarna or Hole! Hrrmmpp!

Here is a video of the lady herself. I love her BTW!