Category Archives: Baking

Recipes and bakes

Citrus Cream Clouds

This is a recipe for a really nice orangey-lemony biscuit that I made yesterday. Every time I make these they turn out perfect, especially if you make the yummy icing to go on top.

It’s from a book called Mum’ Favourite Bakes, edited by Jane Birch and published by Bounty Books (in the UK). I have made a few recipes from this book (a white bread cottage loaf, onion tarts, chicken pie, lemon tart…) and they have all turned out yummy. It’s great to find a cook book that you would actually do more than one thing out of.

I should point out that in the recipe it says to make a sandwich with the filling in the middle, I just use the filling as buttercream icing on the top and do one layer.


For the biscuits:

180g (6oz) unsalted butter, softened

1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest [I use lime, lemon and orange all together and add a squirt of juice from each for extra citrus-ness]

80g (3oz) icing sugar

225g (7.5oz) plain flour

40g (1.5oz) corn flour

For the filling:

125g (4oz) unsalted butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon each of finely grated lemon, lime and orange zest

160g (5.5oz) icing sugar, sifted, plus extra for dusting


Beat the butter, icing sugar and citrus zests together in a bowl until smooth. Add the corn flour and plain flour to make a dough and knead into a ball shape, wrap with Clingfilm and chill for 20-30 mins until firm enough to roll out.

Either grease a couple of baking trays or line them with non-stick baking paper. Roll out the dough and cut into whatever shapes you like. The recipe in the book uses flower shapes, I just used traditional cutters. Just remember, the bigger the shape, the longer you bake it for.

Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius (350F or Gas Mark 4) for up to 10 minutes, checking on them to make sure they don’t burn. [They are quite light cookies anyway with the corn flour and icing sugar used] Transfer them to a wire rack to cool.

Make the filling by beating all of the ingredients together in a bowl [I like to add a squirt of the juice to the filling too, but not too much as it won’t set enough and will be quite sloppy].

Spread the filling onto the biscuits and enjoy with a cup of tea!

I didn’t make the filling yesterday so here are what mine looked like straight out of the oven. They do keep a couple of days in an airtight container as well.


Things this week

Hello and Happy October to you all!

The nights are drawing in, the fire has been switched on for the first time this autumn, my candle is on at the moment (how very hygge-lish of me!), and best of all…mother returned from work yesterday with the Christmas edition of Let’s Knit magazine as a surprise! So, now I have to knit a robin for her with the free kit, but that’s ok…I can do that kind of thing now!

Have you ever visited a blog called ? Sometimes the lovely lady who writes it has a feature called Taking Stock where she summarises what she has been reading / up to.

So, in a similar vein of things I thought I would share what I have been doing too.


My new favourite site.

Facebook you can take a hike. Instagram you’re pretty to look at but not that memorable. Snapchat – I have never met you so can’t insult you!

But Pinterest? You are awesome!

I see things and the boards just keep growing and growing! Job hunting, writing stuff, recipes, hygge things, funny things, sewing things, crochet and knitting things, Christmas things, Halloween things, Yoga and the good life things…

And so it was that yesterday that I made my first things that came directly from there…a mincemeat pastry Christmas tree. But before you start panicking…don’t! I only made it because the puff pastry was about to go out of date and we had a spare jar of mincemeat from last year. There are no pics coz although it was tasty, it looked a right mess! But here is the link…it says to use Nutella, but ew…gross!–pastry-christmas-tree.aspx

If you have kids this would be a good project to try this winter.

If you haven’t joined Pinterest yet…you should! I have found so many good sites and blogged and have had some crazy ideas for projects after being inspired on here.


I am currently reading 20,000 leagues under the sea by Jules Verne. It’s slow going. That’s all I can say…but I WILL finish it. I am rarely if ever, defeated by a book and I will not be defeated by Captain Nemo of all people!


3 blogs I have started reading / following recently

You should definitely head on over to have a look at these lovely blogs!

My blog

I have been thinking about this blog recently. It started as a way to learn a new skill, to write, to read and connect with other people’s blogs, to share (maybe overshare sometimes?!!), to keep a record of what I have been up to. I have tended to focus on stuff I have made, stuff I have read or would like to read and totally random stuff that I have written or have found.

But I know it is kind of drifting in it’s direction a bit.

Maybe I need to define the goals of this blog anymore, but I quite like the general-ness of it, even if it isn’t exactly the most riveting read all the time! We all think our babies are the only beautiful ones don’t we?

I have been looking for free courses in blogging and improving blogging and here again for tips and inspiration, Pinterest is coming up trumps. I even noticed the Pinterest  link was broken on my sidebar and managed to fix that the other day after looking at what widgets I was using.

So, not a definite something here, but definitely something to think about for the future.

Clearing and sorting

Digital files deleted, emails deleted, spammers blocked and reported (HILARIOUS conversation with a spammer which took her ages to figure out I knew she was spamming me and wasn’t going to give out any details…she got quite ratty at the end with my vague answers and me answering her questions with questions of my own…the Ellen charm…LOL).

Packed up 2 big boxes of German, French, Japanese, Italian, and other language related grammar books. My heart is crying but the shelf looks better and less cluttered. It’s like Finding Nemo where the shark is saying FISH ARE FRIENDS. I always think the same about books  – BOOKS ARE FRIENDS (Yes, even grammar ones)!


Am making time to write a little every day. Aiming for 500 words which is nothing, but after re-doing cv, spending ages on covering letters, looking at applications, I just don’t want to look at the computer screen for longer than I have to. So, 500 words it is for now, with the eventual aim of 1000 a day.

NaNoWriMo is coming up soon but that’s not why I’m doing this. Eventually I would like to self publish a book and I have lots of ideas for some topics / themes. But we shall have to see. I do like writing…after clearing out a few boxes under my bed and taking 3 bags to the charity shop the other day, I found a typed up copy of a short story I wrote in my teens called The Adventures of Harry Hare. It’s interesting to see how I have progressed in my writing style now and also to see how my sense of humour has developed – I am totally seeing the influence of Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett and the like in there. Maybe I should type it here, who knows? Did you know that a book called The Carpet People was written by Terry Pratchett when he was a teenager and then revised and published by him as an adult many years later? It’s one of my favourite books, you should have a read if you can, very droll and creative!


7 books out this time. 2 knitting books, so shall have to see if anything worth asking for, for Christmas, or at the very least trying a new stitch pattern. Also a book for Yoga for Runners…hmm it’s interesting to see the sport side of Yoga, but I think that’s just pretty pictures for me at the mo!


It’s all books and reading and writing at the moment isn’t it? There has also been knitting, candles, designing, learning, and stuff going on but this post is turning into a book in itself.

Hope you have a productive and inspiring week!

Ellen xx

I knit therefore I am!


Been a while since I last posted I know! They say that bloggers sometimes hit a bit of a slump about 6 months into blogging which is what I think has happened to me. So, after spending almost 2 hours sorting out issues with Apple today (phonecalls, updating stuff, troubleshooting EVERYTHING) I decided to get back into the blogging routine now that I can actually ACCESS my photos and stuff.

Thought I would show a few projects I have been doing / learning lately…


OK I wont be making a sweater anytime soon, but after years of thinking I couldn’t do it, it was just too hard, didn’t understand the stitches etc…I decided to Youtube a few basic stitches and was hooked (excuse the bad pun).

I made a grey scarf and a grey blanket as well as a few other little practice things. The grey scarf was made with James C Brett Marble Acrylic and the grey blanket was made with the Marble Chunky version of the wool. I like James C Brett Marble Chunky, I think it has to be one of my favourite yarns because it’s thick which means less time to complete a project, easy to use and knits up really nicely. Also, I really like the range of colours in the Marble Chunky series.

Here is the scarf. 50 Stitches across. 1st and last 5 stitches are just knit. the ones in between stocking stitch. My own design which means simple lol!



It still needs blocking but I am quite pleased with it!

And below is the blanket. It’s not massive and used only 3 balls of the marble chunky wool. But I used CIRCULAR NEEDLES! Not difficult at all!




I am no photographer so please excuse the naff photos…no eye for staging or light sources lol!

I have also been baking bread and making a mess. I have found a good recipe for a farmhouse loaf which I am getting the hang of. Will find it and post it later.

bread 2016

And I have been down the allotment with Dad but that’s another post I think!

Read a few books which have been on my shelf for a long time…

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood – need to read MadAddam now to complete the trilogy

Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne – Meh not impressed with this one I’m afraid

Allain Quartermain by H. Rider Haggard – Not exactly politically correct nowadays but not bad

The Story of English – cant remember who it was by but I do like reading about the origins of English

Of the 40 or so books I had on my list this time last year I have about 16 to go…trouble is one is Vanity Fair, another is War and Peace, and the others include Bleak House, Moby Dick, Return of the Native, Ivanhoe, Rob Roy… talk about motivation – these books could burn for hours they are that thick!

Right that’s it for now..

Have to go do some real work! Back soon!

Ellen x

October Sunflowers and Mouse Rolls

Happy Weekend to you all!

Cue lots of cake, relaxing and forgetting of work-related stresses.

I have been up and about this week.

Yesterday, I made some bread rolls. Now, I have never made rolls before, bread yes, but rolls no. They did not look like the picture in the cook book!! How Mary Berry managed to make EIGHTEEN Dinner Rolls out of this mix I don’t know. Maybe because she is the Bake Fairy? I managed 14. Which wasn’t bad.

What was ‘bad’ was that they were TINY! Mouse sized! Therefore I name them Mouse Rolls…

Still tasty though…

mouse rolls

Is it just me or do they look comet shaped?

I also came across a tablecloth I made a few years ago. Well, I say ‘made’, actually I just mean I cross stitched it. It’s only about a metre squared so it isn’t massive, but it’s ok for a tiny end table…with a vase and a cup of tea.

sunflower 1


sunflower 2

sunflower 3

It was a kit I bought from my local sewing shop. I think they had a couple of other options like poppies, but I liked the yellow of this one. Very bright.

Amazing what you find when you tidy up once in a while! 😉

Have a great weekend! xx

Pumpkins Galore

Afternoon all,

Yesterday was a very busy day for me. Why? Because PUMPKIN that’s why!!!

I spent a happy 4 hours cutting up and cooking the huuuuge pumpkin Dad bought back from the allotment.

I first roasted 2 trays to make some pumpkin puree…medium sized chunks took about 40 mins, let them cool a bit and then pureed them in a food processor.

Whilst that was going on, I readied 2 big pans and chopped up the rest of the pumpkin really small and made 2 batches of soup, one of which is in the freezer now and half is still out (we had half for tea last night).

pumpkin soup

And with the puree I made pumpkin muffins…nom!

Here is the recipe I used:

It is American so you need cups for measuring. I used all plain flour because I didn’t have any wholemeal. Ever heard of Easi-yo yoghurt? Where you make your own? Mum had made a batch the night before, so we had homemade yoghurt in homemade muffins with a homegrown squash!!

pumpkin muffins

Tonight we are going to use up the remaining pumpkin squares in a cous cous recipe with lamb koftas…so that is a lot of meals from one squash!

Yesterday I also went to my local library and borrowed 7 books, some of them crafty ones, I think we should all support our local libraries as much as we can. If we don’t, they will disappear! Did you know authors can get paid every time someone borrows their book? Up to a certain amount and so many times I think, but it’s a little extra, right?

I also did a little bit of my crochet scarf on the go, only another 1 or 2 pattern repeats to go I think.

And today? Presents all round!!

My friend Lizzie sent me a pack of stickers and a German newspaper, it’s good to keep up with my languages! So thank you, that was a nice surprise! And Mum bought me a very thick crafty Christmas magazine, which I will be looking at soon.

And what else this week? My foot keeps getting better, starting to walk a bit more with one crutch, although I do look a bit like the penguin from batman doing a weird shuffle thing. And stairs are easier. Less pain, less swelling. Which is good.

All in all, a good few days 🙂

Sunday Baking: Apple Loaf

Good afternoon to you all!

Are you enjoying the weekend? I am!

The parents and I had a lovely meal out at our local village pub The Wellington Heifer in Ainderby Steeple on Friday night. All 3 of us had the beer battered fish and chips – how very British of us! And it was rather nice too…although so much I couldn’t eat it all. They came with some tasty pea and mint mash which was quickly gobbled up by us all. It’s a small pub but the food is very good and the atmosphere is very welcoming.

And today? I have had a very happy morning baking today. It’s getting so much easier now…still have to watch where I put the crutches or they topple everywhere, but I know I am healing when I can bake a cake. 🙂 The only downside now is I am also able to do the washing up.

I  watched a few cooking programmes today too, so it feels very foody 🙂 And I think just about everyone who knows me will agree – I love food!

So what did I make?

Apple Cake!

You can find the recipe here

I modified it slightly by using half sultanas and half currants instead of raisins. I also heated them up in a small pan of water for about 10 mins whilst I did the rest of he cake because I think it makes the fruit swell a bit and rehydrates them.

I used a loaf tin instead of a round one (because I thought it would be easier to store) and sprinkled some brown sugar on the top before baking which is why it looks quite well done – but it makes the top a bit crunchy which is good!!

It tastes rather delicious if I do say so myself…although as always I have been a little impatient and not waited for it to cool completely, but I do love warm cake. And cold cake. And just cake really…

Apple cake just out of the oven

Apple cake just out of the oven


Slice of apple cake 5 seconds before being devoured!

Slice of apple cake 5 seconds before being devoured!


So, thank you very much for posting the recipe Mrs Blooms! (I may have missed the name – I want to say Jane but I’m not sure :O …therefore I name you Mrs Blooms x)

That is the first recipe I ever followed from another blog. And since it turned out well, I think I might just look to blogs in the future for some more ideas.

I have so many cook books that just get looked at without trying any of the recipes from them. I think from now on I shall try to do at least one recipe from each cook book. Which might take a while!

I want to bake some bread next I think. But I am always very impatient – I want it to rise quicker and prove quicker. So I can eat it quicker!

Hope you have been making and baking this weekend too.

Ellen xx