Picnic food – Cheese, olive and mustard scones

After another long week at work it was a pleasure to enjoy the long awaited sunshine last weekend. I planned a lazy saturday and a picnic in a nearby park. I stocked up on fresh strawberries and some goodies from my favourite deli Bant a la cart and made some peanut butter brownies (see previous post for brownie recipe) and some savoury scones. These are really simple to make and all sorts of things can be substituted … try different types of cheese, sun dried tomatoes etc. Delicious!

Cheese, olive and mustard scones

Makes 6-8 scones

Ingredients

225g self raising flour

55g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

75g grated cheddar

60g olives, chopped (i prefer green ones!)

120ml semi skimmed milk/buttermilk (+ a small amount for the glaze)

3 teaspoons wholegrain mustard

Method

Preheat oven to 220C/425 F

Lightly flour a baking tray

Sift flour into a large bowl

Rub in butter with fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs

Stir in cheese and olives

Mix mustard into milk

Make a well in the flour mixture and pour the milk into it

Mix well with a dinner knife until a soft dough is formed

Bring dough together with your hands.

Either shape into a ball on the floured tray and score into wedges (looks more rustic) or lightly roll out on a floured surface and cut into circles, before placing on tray.

Brush tops of scones with milk (or can use beaten egg to give a glossier finish)

Place on top shelf of oven for 15-20 mins

Cool on wire rack or eat immediately spread with butter.

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The same recipe can be used for sweet scones by adding 30g caster sugar and 80g dried fruits/nuts instead of the savoury fillings. Serve warm with clotted cream, jam and tea!

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Beginners sewing class

As part of my quest to be more creative and cultivate new interests outside of my work I decided to sign up for a beginners sewing class at The Stitchery in Cardiff. I have been wanting to learn to sew for a while – but the last time I used a sewing machine was at Home Ec lessons in school many moons ago! So feeling enthusiastic but also very rusty and a bit apprehensive I turned up bright and early one sunday morning for my lesson. I was immediately made to feel welcome by Helen and she explained what the plan for the day was. Like myself the other 4 participants were all essentially beginners to so we started right from basics with winding a bobbin and threading the machine. We then spent the morning getting used to using the sewing machines and practicing a variety of hems.

After a quick lunch break we were back at our machines to make a zippered make up bag – using a very simple pattern Helen showed us a step-by-step method to make our bags. I was very pleasantly surprised with mine at the end – luckily the slighty wonky seams are on the inside so can’t easily be seen!

I had a great day at the class. I felt a real sense of achievement at being able to create something pretty and enjoyed the fact that in order to concentrate on the sewing I had to clear my mind of all other intrusions. I hope to book more courses at The Stitchery and in the meantime am off to Ikea to buy my own sewing machine…make up bags all around for Christmas!

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Toffee apple crumble

or a.k.a Friday night comfort food

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As I am currently working away from home, spending my weekdays in work accommodation, I really look forwards to weekends back in my cosy flat. Friday nights tend to be quiet affairs with a trip to the shops on the way home to stock up for the weekend and a delicious dinner of homecooked comfort food. Last week it was Roasted tomato and spinach risotto with a side of griddled fresh asparagus. This was followed by toffee apple crumble with vanilla ice cream. Easy to make and smells delicious while baking. Perfect accompaniment to curling up on the sofa and catching up on trashy TV.

Serves 4-ish

Ingredients

23cm pie dish

Filling

2 Bramley apples (peeled, cored and sliced)

1 tin Carnation caramel

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon demerara sugar/vanilla sugar

Crumble topping

100g plain wheat/spelt flour

60g butter, cubed

60g light brown sugar

40g flaked almonds

40g ground almonds

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Good quality vanilla ice cream/custard/cream/combinaion of above

Preheat oven to 180C

Rub butter into flour and cinnamon until resembles breadcrumbs.

Add sugar, ground and flaked almonds and mix through.

Line pie dish with slices of apple

Top with a generous layer of caramel.

Top with crumble mixture

Place on middle shelf of oven and bake for 20-25 mins

Serve with ice cream/custard