Tuesday, January 7, 2014

LEFTOVER CRANBERRY SAUCE MUFFINS

Cranberry sauce is a big hit with my family. We have cranberry sauce with turkey over the Christmas period, in sandwiches with leftovers, alongside foie gras, with fresh goat's cheese on toast and all sorts. Nevertheless, we always seem to have some leftover in the fridge so I thought it was about time to find a new use for it and what better than cranberry sauce muffins?

I absolutely loved how these turned out and I'll definitely be making them again and again. They are great served warm but the very best part has to be the crunchy top of the muffin.



Ingredients for 10-12 muffins: 200g plain flour, 100g oats, 100g brown sugar, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 pinch salt, 250g cranberry sauce, 100ml milk, 50g sunflower oil, 1 egg, zest of 1 orange.

Method: Preheat oven to 200°C. Place cases in your muffin tin. Mix all dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl: flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together cranberry sauce, milk, sunflower oil, orange zest, and the egg. Add dry ingredients and stir with a spatula. Divide batter between muffin cases. Sprinkle each muffin with extra oats and a little bit of caster sugar to make the tops crispy. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve warm.

Notes: adapted from here.



Saturday, January 4, 2014

HANDMADE BIRTHDAY CARDS

When I was younger I always made sure to keep a few birthday cards in a drawer ready to pop in the postbox when a close friend or family member's birthday was coming up. The last few years studies and work got the better of me and I stopped sending cards by post. I thought I'd start this year off by bringing back this little tradition and making some handmade cards. I've also filled my diary up with important dates and stocked up on stamps.

These are the four different designs a friend and I made. I think the best idea is to sketch out your ideas and then just go for it. Don't be afraid of making mistakes - I love the handmade look of these cards and when you do make a mistake just stick a band of wrapping paper over it and try again!

Supplies: plain cards and envelopes, 4-5 different coloured wrapping paper (1 of which has Happy Birthday written on it), string, glue, paper scissors, a needle. Method: Cut Happy Birthday letters out. Cut strips of wrapping paper. Glue strips of paper onto string like little flags and glue on the letters. Using a needle push the string through a corner of the card, tie in a knot and trim. Repeat on the other side. Once your bunting is attached add the "Birthday" letters to the bottom of the card on top of a band of wrapping paper or straight onto the card.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A LOOK BACK AT 2013'S GOALS



This time last year D and I were up in the mountains in Verbier celebrating. This year, we have just got back from Portugal where we spent a few days by the Guincho beach just west of Lisbon where the waves almost look like snow.

It's the last day of the year and time to look back on last year's goals. I made four goals for 2013 and honestly, haven't done very well at keeping them. My first goal was to start running and take part in the half marathon in April. Although I ran a bit more than I did in 2012, I didn't run the half marathon and have a long way to go before I get back to running every day.

My second goal was to learn how to make perfect macaroons at home. I originally set out to make them once a month which didn't happen. I think I made them a total of three times throughout the whole year. I ended up dreading the process and found it quite hard to get all the ingredients I needed or wanted over here. Nevertheless, I did find quite a good recipe online. Using this recipe, I managed to get macaroons with smooth shells, almost perfect "collerettes" or "feet" and a good texture.

My third goal was to read more classic novels. I intended to read 6 classics which once again, didn't happen. I ended up having a huge list of other books that I was dying to read first. While I didn't reach my initial target, this goal got me reading again and I absolutely love it. I've been trying to get a good balance between fiction and non-fiction. My mum says that the ideal situation is to be reading a fictional book, a non-fiction and a work related book. These are my latest reads: One Day - fiction, Eating Animals - non-fictionish, Nail it then Scale it - work related.

My final goal was to post regularly on the blog and we all know that posting 5 times a week didn't happen. I have sketch books full of ideas for posts but there just aren't enough hours in the day along side a full time job and other projects. Unfortunately, I think this is unrealistic at this stage but it's still something I want to strive for.


How did your goals for 2013 go? Have you set out any for the new year yet?
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