Monday, 28 May 2012

One Lovely Blog Award

Wow! Last week I received my first blog-related award, which makes me very excited but also makes me feel really privileged! The One Lovely Blog Award, which came to me from the Tisa, who blogs at Blessings From My Kitchen (for her post about receiving the award herself, a delicious looking doughnut recipe and details of the other people to whom she gave this award, pop over here). Tisa’s blog is beautiful, with great recipe ideas, wonderful photos, and an encouraging thought and Bible verse at the end of every post. Please do go over to Tisa’s blog and have a look – although I love all her posts, I am particularly inspired by her native South Indian recipes. She definitely has one lovely blog!Now, on to the business associated with this award…

Rules of the Award:
1. Display the blog award (check!).
2. Create a link to the site that nominated you (see above…check!).
3. Write 7 random facts about yourself (that is going to be hard, but read on…).
4. Display the links of the blogs you love and pass on the award (I’ve gone for seven, which are below).

7 Random Facts About Me:
1. I would like to feel sophisticated and to pretend I have a great palate that appreicates dark chocolate...but no matter how much I try convince myself, I really do prefer milk chocolate.
2. I’d choose a gammon steak over a real steak most days (unless it comes from an awesome steak place that I went to in New Zealand last year, in which case it would have to be steak…).
3. Forget cocoa (but not always) – I really enjoy hot milk and honey for a relaxing pre-bed drink.
4. My favourite colour is blue.
5. My favourite author is Jane Austen, and my favourite book of hers is Northanger Abbey.
6. I use cup measurements because I am an extremely lazy person, and getting out the scales and doing precise measurements is just too much hard work.
7.  Like Tisa, I’m not fully comfortable with social networking, though in my case I’m talking specifically Twitter. I can see the appeal but unfortunately I just can’t think of anything interesting that I think others might like to hear to tweet…so if you ever stumble upon my Twitter account (here), I apologise now that it has nothing but tweets with urls to blog posts. You might as well come straight to this blog!

7 Blogs I Love Reading:
1. For honesty and inspiration to be a God-honouring woman – 4littlefergusons
2. For reflections on being a Proverbs 31 woman today – Above Diamonds
3. For baking ideas – The Better Baker
4. For a Mummy Blog that appeals even to people who are not mummies – dorkymum
5. For an interesting blog with beautiful photography and writing – Lily & Amie
6. For delicious Greek and other food – Seemingly Greek
7. For crowd-pleasing recipes – The Church Cook

Thank you again Tisa, and I hope you all enjoy exploring Tisa’s blog and the seven blogs that I’ve nominated!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

I Want to Hear What You Think!

Now that my corrections are nearly over, I have been praying and thinking a lot about where this blog should go, and now I want to hear what you think! I’d love to hear in the comments below or by emailing me (my contact details are here - what you think about each of the things below…

URL and Appearance

Do you like the blog exactly as it is or would you prefer a less busy background – maybe a white background with images just near the blog title? Should I get my own URL, and if you have gone through this process, what advice would you give?

Reviews and Giveaways

I have been approached a couple of times recently about reviewing products and/or services. So far I am undecided but, if I got my own URL I am thinking about including a section on the website devoted to reviews and giveaways. But first, I want to know what you think – bad idea or good idea? Should I start doing product reviews? What about giveaways?

Blog Themes

At the moment, I’d say my blog focuses on the three themes of faith, food and photos. What do you enjoy reading about most when you land here? Should I focus more on any of these? Would you like to read about anything else? Would you like a bit less of me and some guest posts instead? Would you prefer for me to keep it as a personal blog, not change anything and just keep posting as I do now?

Let me know what you think – I would love to hear your feedback!

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Date and Walnut Loaf


There is something very comforting about old family recipes – the kind that you ate as a child, learnt to make as you got older, and then take into your own home to continue the tradition. This recipe is an old recipe from my family, and possibly one of my Dad’s favourite baked things. The walnuts are optional, but I much prefer to add them. All the cup measurements below are based on a 250 ml mug as equal to one cup (yes, that is an old family tradition too…!). Unfortunately, I don’t know the dimensions of the loaf tin that should be used, but a normalish-sized one should do (mine is too small and so I end up making a handful of muffins with the leftover mixture each time I make this).


What you need:

250 gram pack dates, roughly chopped

1 cup walnuts (whole or roughly chopped)

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 cup boiling water

1 cup brown sugar

2 cups plain flour

1 teaspoon dried ginger

1 egg, beaten

What to do:

1. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 5 (190º C or 375º F).

2. Put the chopped dates, walnuts, butter or margarine and bicarb into a large bowl. Add the boiling water to the bowl, mix everything together and let it stand for a few minutes, stirring a couple of times to ensure that everything is well mixed and the butter/margarine fully melted.







3. When the butter/margarine has melted and the mixture has stood for a few minutes, add the sugar to the bowl and then sift in the flour and ginger before adding the beaten egg and mixing everything together thoroughly with a whisk.






4. Pour the mixture into a greased loaf tin and bake in the middle of the pre-heated oven for about 40-60 minutes (depending on the size of the tin) until done.



5. Tip the loaf out of the tin and try to resist immediately cutting off a slice and spreading it thickly with butter before eating it leave to cool on a cooling rack.


Monday, 7 May 2012

Crispy Chocolate Chunk Cookies

These cookies were inspired by the cereal bars that have called my name every lunchtime for the last couple of weeks. They weren’t just any cereal bars, but the type that cuts through the health claims of cereal bars in general with a thick chocolate or yogurt coating that makes all the difference to my eating pleasure – the type that is really a chocolate bar with ‘cereal’ in the title and a handful of nuts and dried fruit thrown in to appease guilty health consciences. These cookies certainly do not tick the ‘healthy’ box but I’d like to hope that they do tick a ‘happy’ box. I was certainly happy when they turned out very close in reality to the way I’d imagined them when the idea was conceived. This makes about 14 cookies (or more, depending on how much raw batter, which I actually prefer to the baked version, you eat). All the cup measurements below are based on a 250 ml mug as equal to one cup.
What you’ll need:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla essence
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
Pinch salt
1 cup crisped rice
100 grams milk chocolate
What to do:
1. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4 (180ºC or 350ºF).
2. Cream together the butter and sugar.
3. Add the eggs and vanilla essence to the butter and sugar and beat together well with an electric beater.
4. Sift the flour and salt into the bowl and fold into the butter/sugar/egg mixture (please imagine a photo with all of the flour incorporated into the mixture – I appear to have forgotten to take one…).
5. Roughly chop the chocolate.
6. Add the chopped chocolate and crisped rice to the bowl and fold into the flour/butter/sugar/egg mixture until the chocolate and crisped rice are well-distributed throughout the mixture.
7. Place dessertspoonfuls of the mixture on a greased tray, at least 1 inch apart and flatten (or rather smush down) with the back of a fork.
8. Bake the cookies in the middle of the pre-heated oven for about 20 minutes or until they are a golden brown colour.
9. Remove the cookies from the oven and either cool on a cooling rack or (my preferred option) eat straight away whilst warm and filled with pockets of melty chocolate.