Monday, 12 September 2011

Travelling

I recently went travelling with 3 friends around Indonesia; first stop Singapore, then Yogyakarta, Bali, Lombok and the Gilli Islands. Only.. I didn't quite make it to Lombok or the Gilli Islands. I returned home early because I wasn't enjoying myself as much as I should have been for the amount of money I was spending. I don't and won't regret this decision; I don't make them lightly. I do understand that I was in a very privileged position and that lots of people would have killed to have gone in my place, but if I had stayed, I would have been lying to myself and I don't live my life by keeping myself miserable. I know it's hard to understand if you don't have the same thought pattern as me, sorry.  Here are a few of the beautiful things I got to see though;
Incense burning outside a Buddhist temple

The Temple
Offering at the temple
orchid garden on the roof of the temple

views from the zoo
fox dog
sleeping lions
zoo stamp
mosquito bites
first ever visa
Volcano from the plane
Prambanan temple
Temple at sunset
Parangtritis
Sunrise from the top of a mountain
sunrise and moon
Dani and I, sunrise
Mount Bromo
Sunset at Kuta
Day at the beach, Bali
I got to Bungy
I landed safely
beautiful sand
temple
offering pot
mummy and baby
sunset at the temple
another temple
Hindu this time
eroded by the sea
beautiful though.

I don't regret my trip, and I wouldn't change it for anything, but I have learnt a lot about myself which has made me reconsider my life plan. Brilliant. A bit of change has never killed anyone though has it?


Mini-Memory-Books

The other day, I was about to start a scrapbook page for a really good time in my life - The Leeds University Union dance show, in which my cheerleading team took part in two dances. I realised that I had too many photographs that I wanted to include, and knew I'd have to think of something else to do.

That's when I decided to make a mini-memory-book. I considered the photographs and the dominant colours to make sure I chose the right pages, but then thought that our team colours - green, burgundy, white and black would be more suitable. I chose my pages and measured them; they needed to be wide enough for the photograph and any design I wanted to add after. I counted how many photographs I had and how many pages I would need etc. I folded the paper to make sure they were showing the right colour (they were two sided papers) and attached with double sided sticky tape. Then I added the photographs, some writing, hearts and glitter.



I learnt that I should have not folded the paper, but cut it and stuck it back together with the pinker card in between - this would have just given a hint of colour, rather than the block of colour you can see in this photo. I am pleased with this mini-memory-book, but I made another two and learnt from this previous mistake.

This mini-memory-book is for my second year Cheerleading tour. (Please excuse the quality of the photograph, I am only using my iphone- I will start using my Canon)
                                    
I weathered the edges of the dotty paper with some gold and grey ink, and cut out individual letters from an old book. The bottle cap is stuck on with a glue gun. 

These are the photographs included, and you can see how big it is - quite small really.

As you can see, I learnt my lesson. I made sure the joining section was tucked in between both sheets of paper so there was only a hint of extra colour, rather than a block. You can also see that I used Lace on this particular design - that's my favourite pattern, much to my mothers apprehension as it's hers!
I also used Brads on this particular design as you can see on the right hand side, but rather than poke them through and bend, I trimmed the back off and stuck them on using the hot glue gun- I didn't want the page on the back to be different.

Before I made this mini-memory-book, I made this one;

But decided it was too pretty and would use it for something else!


P.S. I haven't figured out how to rotate pictures yet either! If you know.. do tell please.


Apples

I was round my friends house the other day having a good old catch up, when her mum came in and asked if I'd like a bag of home produce! Amongst the beans and courgettes I had a tonne of apples and have tried out a few recipes I've wanted to try for a while; tarte tatin and apple sauce.

While the apple sauce is the perfect accompaniment to our roast pork belly, my tarte tatin did not turn out that well! First of all, I don't have a heavy bottom pan that's suitable for the oven, so I tried to make it in a banana loaf tin which I reckon was my biggest downfall. I followed the recipe as shown, but didn't make my own pastry, I had some pre-made frozen puff pastry, and just tucked the edges around the apples. Good luck if you try!

MissMash

Melted spatual - sugar gets really hot children!


Peanut Chicken Stirfry

I have been asked to remember this recipe as I cooked it for a friend and she really enjoyed it! I have left the actual recipe in Leeds, so I will make any adjustments when I have it in front of me again!

Chicken - 2-3 breasts, depending on how many you're cooking for. I've tried it with boneless thighs and it's not as good. quite bad actually.
1 teaspoon of chili powder- can change to your personal taste
1 inch of root ginger, chopped into matchsticks
1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped
cook in groundnut oil (can use other oil but I wouldn't really recommend olive)
1- 1 and 1/2 onion, depending on how much you like it
3-4 tablespoons of crunchy peanut butter
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
Rice to accompany

Optional;
mange tout or sugar snap
Baby sweetcorn                              as many as you like, if you like

Fry off the chicken in the oil, with the onion, ginger, garlic, mange tout/baby sweetcorn.
When you are sure this is cooked, coat the mix in the chili powder, add the peanut butter and soy sauce, and stir well to mix.

This second step does not take long and you don't want to keep the peanut butter in the pan too long as it will stick and ruin your pan!

Serve with rice and enjoy!




Fish Pie with a Pea and Mint Dip

I decided to make my father and I a yummy dinner this week, so yummy in fact, that I want to share it with you!

I used Rick Stein's recipe (the God of fish recipes) but adapted it to the ingredients I had/like.

for starters, I'm not the biggest fan of eggs, especially hard boiled, so I lost those straight away.
I also didn't have any cream, so that was lost, and I also only had UHT milk, so that was used!
Yeah, and I didn't have cloves or nutmeg so they were gone too.
I didn't get the specific fish either - as long as one was a bit plainer and one was smoked, I would have used any. Tesco's, however, have a handy fish pie pack all ready with the fish cut.
Dad forgot to tell me that his Parsley plant died off in all the rain, so the parsley was left out, but I don't recommend that - I will definitely put it in next time.

Basically I had a very very basic version of this recipe which included;


  • 1 small onion, thickly sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 600 ml UHT milk
  • 450 g unskinned cod fillets                              any fish you like (one smoked)
  • 225 g undyed smoked cod fillets
  • large knob of butter
  • 45 g plain flour (about 2-3 spoons)
  • 5 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1.25 kg peeled floury potatoes, such as King Edwards or Maris Piper (about 5-6)
  • salt and pepper from a pot. 


I made my sauce too thick as I put 4-5 spoons rather than 2-3 and I would do exactly that again because it was extra tastey! Follow the instruction as Rick suggests in the recipe.

To the side of this dish I decided to make minted peas, as I don't like peas by themselves but minted they are bearable! I found in the latest Morrisons magazine a recipe for a pea and mint dip, so instead I tried that..

it went;

peas (as many as you'd like)
fresh mint leaves (probably about 4-5 for every handful of peas)
Garlic clove
small knob of butter
salt and pepper

Boil all the ingredients on the hob until the peas are cooked (not all of the mint leaves, only about 5 and leave the rest out). Drain most but not all of the water, and then place all ingredients (and the extra leaves) in the blender and add some olive oil. Taste to test the seasoning. Pulse until a smooth paste.

I personally found the peas a bit chalky, like humus, so I would not pulse into a paste again, just a little blip for a chunkier side dish.

Drain into a bowl and swirl in some olive oil if you think you're fancy enough.


I also had some garlic bread alongside mine, even though it wasn't necessary with my individual portion sizes being a bit ambitious! and look what I found when I got it out of the packet.


Half cut and buttered. What a con!

Hope you enjoy the recipe :)


Honey Drizzle

I am a good cook but I am not such a good baker. For Christmas, my sister bought me a baking book with a lot of lovely recipe's in. The weekend just gone my father had lots of friends over for a BBQ. For this event I decided I would try bake something new. I attempted Honey Drizzle cakes and they were such a success!

Makes 12;

3oz self raising flour
3oz caster sugar
6tbsp Butter
rinely grated rind of 1 orange
2 eggs
(The original recipe recommends adding a pinch of ground cloves too, but I didn't have or want them)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of grated nutmeg
1 tbsp honey
Brazil nuts, chopped. (The original recipe said walnuts but I hate them, tasted just as good (better!) with brazil nuts)

Topping;
Brazil nuts, chopped
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp honey
juice of one orange

Sift flour, cinnamon and nutmeg into a bowl.
Pu the butter and sugar in a seperate bowl and beat together until light and fluffy.
Beat in the honey and orange rind, then gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition.
Using a metal spoon fold in the flour mixture.
Stir in the brazil nuts, then spoon the mixture into cases.

Bake the cupcakes in a preheated oven - 190 degrees, for 20 minutes or until well risen and golden brown

To make the topping, mix together the brazil nuts and cinnamon.
Put the honey and orange juice in a pan and heat gently stirring until combined.
When the cupcakes have almost cooled, prick the tops all over with a fork or skerwer and then drizzle with the warm honey mixture. Sprinkle a little of the brazil nut mixture over the top of each cupcake and serve.


I was skeptical about the cakes tasting good with the honey and orange, everyone knows that honey and lemon compliment each other the best! So I made two batches, one with orange and one with lemon. The lemon ones were tastey, but the orange ones just had something better in my opinion. The guests did prefer the lemon as they had an extra kick, and I would make both batches again, but the orange was my personal favourite. Oh and I do recommend adding some sugar into the topping mixture if you're going to make some lemon ones.

Hope you enjoy as much as I did!




Writing Book Covers

My mum's friend is now doing craft as a full time job, and mum's been thinking of things that we can make that aren't costly so her friend can sell them for a profit. My favourite idea of hers, that I ran with, was covers for little note books. This one had input from me, my sister and my mum - now that's family planning!

I also made another one for my housemates birthday; she loves home made gifts and I knew something that was right up her street. We both like singing, so I found a quote with this in mind and made her a personal little book <3


We bought little book packs, covered them with a plain colour back and front, and then chose a pattern paper to put on top. On top of that, I wrote words, raised a particular part of the design which I then weathered, and drew rose buds with a redish pen. I think it's beautiful. 


Wooden Hearts

Mum had a draw full of little wooden hearts that she makes into beautiful hanging pieces or adds to other craft ideas. I decided I wanted to make one too! I sanded down the edges, considered what I'd want it to be for, and started searching! I decided the colour scheme would be browns/golds to have a worn/antique look to it, and that I would use my favourite quote. I used an ink pad to colour the edges, and a wooden stamp to get a wood affect of the main part of the heart. I then cut individual letters out of my mums poetry book and used my favourite lace! On the flip side I used extra little sequin details from an old top, made a hole in the top, and used twine to hang it with. Lovely.





My Scrapbook Pages

Here are a couple of pages that I have already created;

 This was one of the first scrapbook pages I made, at a craft day my mother, sister and grandma attended. It was to remember the tour I had been on with the Cheerleaders at my University.


This was a page to remember my friend Helen, who also attended the cheerleading tour I was on - the quote is a very funny memory!


Two of my best friends, Faye and Rosie, are featured on this page. They are very lovely.


This page is for best friend from university. I was very proud of this page - I used these stencil cutters to make the circles.


This page is for my lovely sister, it was very simple as the flower design was already on the page.


This is for my beautiful cat, I'd been playing with the idea of heart bunting for a long while and will probably attempt it again!


This was to remember the summer time during my first year at university.


This was for two of my best friends at university- my mum loved what I did with the card underneath the photograph.


This page was for another friend at university.


This was to remember my halls during the first year at university, and my wonderful flatmates!


I have a couple more to add now but they're sleeping at my sisters house, so I will have to get them another time. 


The Basics of Scrapbooking

You may or may not know, that I enjoy scrapbooking. I have put together a little photographic guide to help new participants take part! Before anything, you need to know what photograph you want as the main focus and any other you want to include. That way, you'll know which colour is dominant and which base papers to look for - e.g. for a mainly green photograph, some wouldn't choose pink or orange as they wouldn't be seen as complimentary (I personally would, but my designs are quirky). But you will need an idea of what you want/have to work with.

First of all, you need to have some good base pattern papers. I only buy my pattern papers in the sale - they're cheaper, and they're still just as pretty even if they're last seasons designs! You can only use so many at once, and some of mine have stayed in my pack for ages because I feel they're too beautiful and need an extra good cause.

I personally have to keep mine in colour order, mainly because I have slight OCD. But I don't think it is a bad thing - if you think, ooh I need a blue to go with this, you can put it next to that section of your papers and see which ones look good, rather than having to sort through them all. 
I also have a lovely box that my grandma bought me for Christmas to keep them all ordered in - because I get very particular with my lovely pages!



Next, you'll need a good set of base colours. These can just go alongside the pattern papers, but if you fancy a half and half design then you'll have colours to match! You can always cut them up for layering as well if you don't like half and half pages.

I also collect any scrap paper that I think will come of use at any time - I won't have a particular idea for it, but I know it will come in handy at some point! I have just ordered my mums scrap paper into her new sorting-shelves (In colour order of course), as my selection isn't as developed and because I don't have a full room I can dedicate to craft! 

Next, you'll need things to make the pages more pretty, my favourite kinds of things are; brads, buttons, beads, wire, glitter, flowers, punches, cut out designs, lace and fabric etc. To organise mine, I have a very handy compartment-ed box.


Then, there's just the standard crafting tools such as; scissors, double sided sticky tape, pritt stick, hot glue gun, ruler, rubber, pencil/pen etc. 

I also believe that you will need a guillotine, I've tried using scissors but it just doesn't get the same results. 


Now you're ready to start!


Old to New

Hello :)

although this is my first post on this blog, I have written a blog before. I went travelling with 3 friends over summer and wrote daily to keep my friends and family up to date with our journey. I have made this new blog as I have caught the blogging bug, but want a fresh start, a blog that I can perfect with my own things. If you like my blog, please pass the link on to someone you think might enjoy it, do me the favour and I'll be sure to return it :)

My previous blog is found at www.beautifullypeculiar.blogspot.com

I will be transferring a couple of ideas from that blog to this one, as it's the avenue I'd like to take, but I'll be adding lots of new things to this one too, which excites me!