Sunday, 28 February 2016

Beef Stew with Suet Dumplings

I love to use my slow cooker.  This recipe is another family favourite.

Beef Stew

1lb Stewing Beef
2 Carrots Chopped
1 Onion Diced
1 tin of chopped Tomatoes (400g)
1 tin of Mixed Five Beans in Tomato Sauce
Cup of frozen diced Swede
Stock Cube
1 tablespoon Dry Mixed Herbs
1 tin of Potatoes (optional)

I like to prepare my slower cooker meal in the mornings.
1)   Switch on your slower cooker.  I have three settings on my cooker.  I always use the highest setting.
2)   Place the contents of the potatoes, tomato and mixed beans in the cooker.  Add the mixed herbs.
3)   Dry fry the stewing beef until brown.  Place in the cooker. I like drain off any excess fluids.
4)   Dry fry the carrot and onion together until soft.  Place in the cooker.
5)   Stir the stock cube in 300 mls of hot water.  Once again place in the cooker.
6)   Boil the diced swede for a few minutes.  It is not to cook the swede but to bring it up to room temperature.   And you have guess it, place it in the cooker.
7)   Give the stew a good stir.  Cook for four to six hours.

I often will use any vegetable that need eating in my slow cooker stews such as leeks, courgettes, peppers or left over cooked vegetables.  I never use potatoes other that tin variety.  I have found that they do not cook well and taste bitter.  Why not add a glass of wine or ale.

4oz Self Raising Flour
2oz Suet (Beef or Vegetable)
1 tablespoon of Mixed Herbs
A pinch of Salt
5 tablespoons of warm Water

1)   Sieve the flour into a bowl.
2)   Add the suet and herbs with a pinch of salt.
3)   Add the water and mix all the ingredients together.
4)   You may need to add a little extra water.  Mix with your hands as this will help to determine if more water is needed.
5)   Divide in to eight small balls.  My husbands loves dumplings so I make six balls from the mixture.
6)   Give the stew a good stir.  Add the dumplings and continue to cook for at least 30 or more minutes.  They are cooked by a steaming method so will not change colour, but they so remain soft and moist.

I often leave the stew with dumplings to cook for much longer.  It is all right to make the dumplings
when you have time and leave them cooking until you are ready to serve.  You can cooked dumplings recipe in an gas oven.  They will become crusty on the outside and brown in colour.

I hope your enjoy making and eating this stew.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Another Charm Square Quilt

Charm packs could be used for this quilt or you could cut your own squares.  If you cut your own squares, then you can chose the size of your squares.  As I have a six inch width ruler, I usually cut my squares to the width of my ruler.
In this quilt photo I have used 24 different squares, but if you would a large quilt use more squares. I have used this method with 30 plus squares.   Arrange the squares so that no two colours are next to each other.  When you like your arrangement, sew them together.
After sewing my squares together, the finished square size is 5 1/2 inches.  So cutting down the middle of the square should measure  2 3/4 inches from the sewn seam.    
Rearrange the strips, making sure that no two same fabric rectangles are place next to each other. Then sew the strips together.
In this photo, one quilt top is made with 6 inch squares and the other with 5 inch squares.Then add borders, quilt and bind.
Then add borders, quilt and bind.  This is a quick project that can be made in a couple of hours.   

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Yorkshire Pudding

This is a batter pudding traditional eaten with roast beef.  In Yorkshire it is served separately before the meat, accompanied by hot gravy.  In the rest of Great Britain this dish is served with the meat and vegetables.

4 oz Plain Flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt (I would use a large pinch)
1/2 teaspoon Pepper
2 Eggs
!/4 pint of Milk
Gas Mark 7/220'C

1)    Preheat the oven.  Grease with oil your pan and place in the preheated oven.  I use a Yorkshire      pudding tin.
2)    Now make your batter.
3)    Sieve your flour in to a bowl.  Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
4)    Make a well in the centre and break in the eggs.
5)    Using a whisk gradually mix the eggs into the flour.
6)    Add the milk slowly whilst whisking all the time.
7)    Once all the ingredients are combine (do mot worry if it is still a little lumpy) place in the fridge.
8)    Leave in the fridge as long as possible.  The batter has to be very cold.
9)    Remove the pan from the oven.  Please make sure the pan is very very hot.
10)  Pout the batter mixture (straight from the fridge) into your pan.
11)  Cook for about 25-30 minutes on the top rack of your oven.  Sometimes I find that I need to cook the Yorkshire for longer.
12)  DO NOT open the open until at least half way through the cooking time.  If you have a light in your oven, use it. It is important to 'check' your pudding regularly.  You may have to turn the tin around in the oven.
13)  Cook until golden brown.
14)  Serve with roast beef and vegetables.

This batter works well if your are making Toad in the Hole.

I will make the batter first if I am cooking Toad in the Hole.  It is the same recipe as above but when preheating your tin add some sausages.  Please do not over cook your sausages before adding the batter.  Make the batter/pudding as normal.  Add to the hot sausages.  Cook.  I often cook Toad in the Hole on the middle rack of the oven, it may take 10 minutes more.  

These recipes serve four to six people.

Enjoy.  Please leave a comment if you try this recipe.  I will upload a photo when I next make this recipe.  It is one of my family's favourite meals.

Monday, 15 February 2016


I sometimes do a bit of freelance sewing for a local textile artist when she is snowed under with orders.
I have made ten boxed bags over the last few days.  She cuts out all the fabric pieces and I sew them.
The picture only shows five bags as I forgot to take a picture of the five I have all ready given back to the artist.

I also make these bags for my etsy shop.  Daisychain Quilter Etsy Shop

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Charming Summer Throw

I am still recovering from my trip to London.  So it was a lazy day sewing samples for tomorrow class.  This quilt pattern is from Cotton Cocktails.  It is an easy pattern and very quick to sew.
I used nickle squares and strip roll from Creative Quilting.  I used one strip roll and three sets of nickel squares. My quilt top is slightly bigger than pattern and I have not added the final borders yet.  I have not decided what fabric to use for the outer border.  I still have five paler strips left for my strip roll which I could use.  The other choice could be a cream on cream fabric.  Or maybe both.

I think I will leave it pinned to be design wall for a few days and wait for my 'light bulb' moment to strike.  Then it will be time to wait for another IBM for the quilting!

Thursday, 11 February 2016

A Quick Trip to Town

I have come up to town for a quick trip to visit family.  I do not come up as much as I should because it is a six hour drive.  I did managed to snap a few photos on my phone as we drove through London.
The London Eye.  On my last trip to town I was able to do some tourist things.  I went on the London Eye.  On this trip there will be no tourist visits as I am here to visit family only.
 Big Ben.
 Tower of London.
The view from the free Woolwich ferry towards the Thames Barrier and the city.
I had really forgotten how much I enjoy being back in the city.  It was wonderful to spend time with my family too.  Thanks guys for a great visit.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Hokey Pokey Honeycomb

Hokey Pokey is Cornish for honeycomb.
This is my favourite recipe.

3 1/2 ozs (100g) white granulated sugar 
Four tablespoons (60mls) golden syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda

Mix the sugar and syrup in a heavy duty saucepan.
Heat gently and do not stir.  I leave it until it change to a very dark colour, about five minutes.
Please be aware that the mixture is very hot, so take care. 
I use a jam thermometer to test the setting point of 300F (hard crack).  
Once the mixture has reached this temperature, remove from the heat.
Whisk in the soda.  The mixture will froth up. 
Pour onto a silicone sheet.  Leave for about an hour.
Break into small pieces and enjoy.  Be warned this recipe is moorish. 

To clean the saucepan, fill with hot water and washing up liquid.  It will clean up in two minutes.