Lucinda’s Orecchiette

I often think of baking as being therapeutic, but I think it is the end result that makes me that happiest.  There is something about displaying a pretty cake or cookies that makes me very pleased and of course, the praise helps too.  So when Lucinda Scala Quinn in the October issue of Martha Stewart Living wrote about making pasta as a way to reduce stress I figured she was on to something.

Turns out pasta making – or maybe having to mold tiny pieces of pasta on to my thumb – is not for me.  This drove me mad and I resulted to using a small spoon to shape the pasta although they never turned out as well as the ones in the magazine.

I changed the pasta sauce recipe as I had planned to make this a few days before and when I went to use the brocolli it was out of date.  So I just cooked onions with garlic and tomatoes and added some herbs.

I might make pasta again at some stage for I do own a pasta machine but I won’t be making this again, it was just too time consuming and with the great pasta available now I just don’t think its worth it.

But I can’t wait to see what the other Martha Monday girls made of it.

This was Sara’s pick for Martha Mondays.  If you fancy joining in next month (its my pick and its a good one!) then head over to Brette’s blog for details.

 

~ Pru

Chocolate Caramel Layer Cake

Martha Mondays is back and instead of being a weekly affair, its now taking place monthly with the results shown on the first Monday of the month.  Fancy joining us?  Just head to Brette’s blog.

Megan of Megan’s Cookin’ had the honour of picking the first choice and went with a Chocolate Caramel Layer Cake.

I had high hopes for this.   I had never made buttercream with egg whites or with the addition of caramel and I was excited.  I found the cake didn’t have much taste and kept checking to see if I should have added cocoa powder to the melted chocolate.

The buttercream for my taste had far too much butter.  I don’t see the point in the egg whites either and have found normal buttercream to be more tasty and of a better consistency.  Also, I could barely taste the caramel and ended up modifying it slightly with some powdered sugar and orange food colouring to make it a bit more exciting.

This cake wasn’t for us, but it has given me an idea for a Halloween cake which I will have to get on and make and then tell you about (if it works out okay of course!)

 

~ Pru

Bruschetta

Despite the weather not being that summery, I am finding that summer has come and thrown my schedules and me into a flurry of activity.  I was so pleased that this recipe was quick and easy and required very few ingredients.  I had no time to get to the farmer’s market and the supermarket had no heirloom tomatoes or any tomato other than red.  It didn’t really matter though, as the tomatoes I picked were so wonderful and tasty.  My boss brought me back a bottle of Blood Orange Olive Oil from a recent trip to the US and this brightened the taste of the tomatoes.

Yep, another Instagram photo – I hope to do some photos with the camera again soon.

This was Sara’s pick.  She blogs over at Sassy Suppers and always has wonderful photos of all of her cooking.  I didn’t really stick to the recipe for this, just adding vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper to the tomatoes and spring onions.  This was so tasty though, and probably even better if you follow the recipe!

 

~ Pru

Are you following me on Twitter, Instagram (find me at Pru Singer) or Pinterest?  If not, then click on the links.  It would make my day, possibly my week too!

Strawberry Lemonade (Cocktail)

 

With summer making an appearance very sporodically in London, I have not got into the swing of buying any summer produce.  Apart from a barbecue for breakfast at the allotment a few weeks ago (egg, bacon and toast), we have only eaten outside once.  So Brette‘s idea to make strawberry lemonade had me very quite excited.  I loved the idea of finally hitting the summer berries and having a refreshing drink to make when it finally (I am praying) gets warmer.

 

This was easy to make, although I swapped the lime for half an orange and didn’t use as much sugar as it stated.

 

It wasn’t as fruity and strong as I had thought it would be and I wasn’t that keen on it when I drank it on its own or added water to it.  The answer?  Vodka.  This makes a nice cocktail – vodka, a dash of lemonade and then the strawberry lemonade.

Strawberry cocktail time  (Taken with Instagram)

I was at home on Tuesday instead of going to singing group as England were playing in the football and so at half time we had pavalovas – the strawberry lemonade works very well mixed with the strawberries.

So a win with the cocktail and pavlova and a win with England winning!

 

Fancy joining Martha Mondays?  We are a smallish group (at the moment) who make recipes from any of the Martha Stewart magazines, websites, blogs etc.  Contact Brette for more information.

~ Pru

Are you following me on Twitter or Pinterest?  If not, then click on the links.  It would make my day, possibly my week too!

Clothespin Pinwheels & The Queen

My home is being bedecked in red, white and blue. I have always looked at my American friends with envy in July when everything is prettied-up with the national colours. But the Jubilee is rolling around the corner and so far I have made pompoms (small and large) and now pinwheels in red and blue.

I enjoyed this project chosen by Sara at Sassy Suppers. They are so whimsical. And I found that the card store had red and blue wrapping paper that had a white back so this was perfect.

I struggled slightly to get the drawing pin into the peg but it was so pleasing when they were done. They are currently brightening up the garden but I’m going to take then to the allotment to ward off the birds around the peas soon.

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I also wanted to share a couple of photos from last Tuesday. I took the afternoon off from work and mum and I headed to Richmond Park as the Queen was due to arrive in the afternoon. Friends, I saw the Queen! I have seen her once before, 23 years ago when I was only a nipper, and I barely remember so to see her now was remarkable.

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And even though the sky went from blue to black (and rain and hail) it was definitely worth it!

~ Pru

Strawberry Tart

It was such a hectic weekend that I wasn’t sure if I was going to get time to do this week’s Martha Mondays project, but knowing how much dad likes strawberry jam, strawberry tart, strawberries and cream and strawberries, there was not much chance of me not finding time to make them, and so on Friday night after a very long week at work, I set about making them.  The recipe is here.

 

These were easy to make and although the strawberries in the shops weren’t that great and I ended up mascerating them to bring out their flavour (and therefore my tart doesn’t look as pretty as the Martha Stewart one), they had a lovely feel of summer and I am most certain that they helped to bring out the sunshine at the weekend.

Thanks for a great pick!

Fancy joining us for Martha Mondays?  A super-friendly group of us get to pick a Martha Stewart recipe or craft and then we make it and tell each other what we thought on our blogs.  No pressure, but I can tell you that I have tried so many new things by joining this group.  Go over to Brette’s blog to find out more.

 

~ Pru

Are you following me on Twitter or Pinterest?  If not, then click on the links.  It would make my day, possibly my week too!

Cinnamon Bun Bites

Evening all!

 

Its a bank holiday today and I have enjoyed a peaceful day – the cinema to see this great film and then lunch with mum and dad at Byron Burger – seriously the best burger in London.

 

I needed this extra day.  Finally, Grandad moved into a care home on Saturday and mum and I were up in Norwich to clean his house and then see him in his new home.  I used to work for a housing association in the care homes department so I know quite a bit about them and I was so pleased to find that it is a lovely home where I am sure the staff will take care of him and that he will settle in well.  He decided to stay in his room on his first day and I thought it was a fine idea, the staff will be encouraging him to come downstairs to the lounge and meet other residents and to eat his dinner in the dining room.

 

But anyway, a three day weekend was needed.  It’s Martha Mondays day and it was Brette’s turn to pick and she chose something that our family absolutely loved.  This was a joint effort with mum helping to roll the balls of dough in sugar and cinnamon and placing them in the baking dish.  It is still cold here and so I kept them in the living room where we still have the fire turned on whilst they grew again in size  – they grow soooo big!

I love this Instagram photo I took of the dough after it had risen.

After rising.  They cracked slightly with the sugar and cinnamon making a great crust.

Crusty on the top and then soft in the middle.  They had a good hit of cinnamon and were gorgeous!

We loved them.  I didn’t use all of the vanilla glaze and kept some stored in a little jug which we used the next day when we warmed the bun bites in the microwave.

 

My only problem?  These are too good.  We kept on picking at it and although I know I will make it again, I need a big crowd of people around to eat it so that I don’t eat it all! And I still think these would be a great pot-luck brunch idea.

 

 

~ Pru

Are you following me on Twitter or Pinterest?  If not, then click on the links.  Also search for me on Instagram my user name is PerfectingPru. It would make my day, possibly my week too!