Sunday, 30 November 2008

Rosemary Shortbread

I have made this lovely rosemary shortbread every Christmas for the last couple of years and thought I would share it with my partner in one of the swaps I am doing!  This shortbread is so easy and very tasty and ideal to give as Christmas presents!

340g plain flour
¼ teaspoon salt
225g unsalted butter
140g caster sugar
2 tablespoons rosemary

1.Sift the flour with the salt

2.In a mixer, beat the sugar and butter together until smooth and creamy

3.With the mixer on it's lowest setting, add the rosemary and flour and mix until the dough comes together

4.Shape the dough into a ball and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes

5.Pre heat the oven to 180ÂșC/Gas Mark 4

6.Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of 5-7mm

7.Stamp out the biscuits with a holly shaped cutter and transfer to a lightly buttered baking tray. Prick each biscuit with a fork and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden

8.Leave the biscuits to cool for 10 minutes until firm and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely

Monday, 24 November 2008

The Wassail Song

The choir I sing with are going to be performing the "Wassail Song" - which is possibly my new favourite Christmas Carol .... here are the lyrics and a link to another choir singing it!  Rather than celebrating the nativity, this carol is about New Year festivities!  I love it!
"Wassail! Wassail! all over the town,
Our toast it is white and our ale it is brown;
Our bowl it is made of the white maple tree;
With the wassailing bowl, we'll drink to thee.

Here's to our horse, and to his right ear,
God send our master a happy New Year:
A happy New Year as e'er he did see,
With my wassailing bowl I drink to thee.

So here is to Cherry and to his right cheek
Pray God send our master a good piece of beef
And a good piece of beef that may we all see
With the wassailing bowl, we'll drink to thee.

Here's to our mare, and to her right eye,
God send our mistress a good Christmas pie;
A good Christmas pie as e'er I did see,
With my wassailing bowl I drink to thee.

So here is to Broad Mary and to her broad horn
May God send our master a good crop of corn
And a good crop of corn that may we all see
With the wassailing bowl, we'll drink to thee.

And here is to Fillpail and to her left ear
Pray God send our master a happy New Year
And a happy New Year as e'er he did see
With the wassailing bowl, we'll drink to thee.

Here's to our cow, and to her long tail,
God send our master us never may fail
Of a cup of good beer: I pray you draw near,
And our jolly wassail it's then you shall hear.

Come butler, come fill us a bowl of the best
Then we hope that your soul in heaven may rest
But if you do draw us a bowl of the small
Then down shall go butler, bowl and all.

Be here any maids? I suppose here be some;
Sure they will not let young men stand on the cold stone!
Sing hey O, maids! come trole back the pin,
And the fairest maid in the house let us all in.

Then here's to the maid in the lily white smock
Who tripped to the door and slipped back the lock
Who tripped to the door and pulled back the pin
For to let these jolly wassailers in".

Thursday, 20 November 2008

A Splendid Afternoon in London

It has turned into a bit of a tradition.  Every November/December, me & a friend take a half day off work and do something "Splendid" past years we have had cocktails at Claridges, afternoon tea at The Ritz, very posh martini's at "Duke's Bar" .... this year we went to "The Last Debutantes" exhibition at Kensington Palace followed by tea & cake at Fortnum & Mason's and followed by cheese and champagne at the Plum Brewery!

We had a lovely day! I would like to think that if I had turned 17 in 1958, I would have been presented to the Queen, had a wonderful blue dress (as recommended in Tatler) and had a diary FULL of social engagements.  Mr Plum would have been a dashing "Debs Delight" waiting to meet me at some cocktail party, informal luncheon or at home!  

Fortnum & Mason's was decked out in all its Christmas finery ... we had a lovely pot of tea and piece of Victoria Sponge cake ... then headed home (via the M&S 20 % off day!) to consume lovely champagne and cheese.  A lovely day ... unfortunately it is Thursday and tomorrow I have to get up and go to work .... but the "other" me will be out and about in town, going to exhibitions and taking tea in splendid places .....

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Oh So French!

While on holiday in France earlier this year, I found a lovely little shop selling vintage style French goods... we bought a lovely milk bottle and some pretty napkins.  What a shock then, to walk into "Oh So French" in Cowbridge on Saturday, and find an identical shop.  Have a look at their website - they stock lots of lovely bits and pieces .... 

Monday, 17 November 2008

Kitchen Project - Cabinet Transformation: Part 2

I thought this was going to be easy-peasy!

Anyway ... cabinet is now painted (and re-painted by Mr Plum to a much more professional standard!) 

Lovely Cath Kidston "Chicken" oilcloth has been purchased!

Sewing machine has been brought out of 
hibernation ....

But (arghhhhh!) I have had a nightmare trying to thread the machine - thankfully that has been sorted out now.  Then I tried to sew the oilcloth and the needle was skimming over the material and getting all tangled ..... hmmm

I'm hoping that by discovering an ancient blog which hasn't updated in a while may have solved my problems and I can get on with finishing the cabinet.

Thanks, in advance, Sew, Mama, Sew!   Fingers crossed and the third part of this saga will be the finished product!

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Lovely Cupcakes!

I have a friend who is a pastry chef ... here are some of her cupcakes ... yum! I love this photo so much, I couldn't resist putting it on here!

I am stocking up with muffin cases and pretty decorations for my cupcakes ... which I will be making very soon!

Friday, 14 November 2008

M4 Playlist

After a particularly bad and busy day at work, me and Mr Plum headed off to Wales for the weekend on the National Express bus ... to visit some dear friends who have escaped London!

The fact that I had had a bad day (why do I have to go to work anyway?), was sitting by the heater on a packed bus with a really loud woman behind me on the phone and we seemed to be stuck in traffic for hours, inspired this playlist:

From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea - The Cure
Truth Rest Your Head - Gene
Time - Marion
To You I Bestow - Mundy
Always: Your Way - My Vitriol
Today - Smashing Pumpkins
How Soon Is Now? - The Smiths
My Dark Star - Suede
Tear In Your Hand - Tori Amos
Comes As No Surprise - Mansun
Dirty Davey - The Levellers
Lipgloss - Pulp
Every You and Every Me - Placebo
Play Dead - Bjork
The Only Living Boy in New Cross - Carter USM
Round Here - Counting Crows
Life On Mars? - David Bowie
Only Happy When It Rains - Garbage
A Girl Like You - Edwin Collins
Life Forever - Oasis
Single Girl - Lush
Great Things - Echobelly

These are lots of my favourite songs and mainly stuff that I listened too non-stop while at University in Wales ... it got me through a boring bus journey!

Sunday, 9 November 2008


Whilst browsing through lots of different crafty type blogs, I have often stumbled across "swaps". These can be homemade goods, recipes, buttons ... the list is endless! I have often been tempted to join in - but more often than not, I have missed the deadline or the swaps are "closed" ... 

Today I have joined two swaps! (This may have been a bit ambitious, but heh? I think I am harking back to my days as an avid penpal!) ....

My first is a "Yummy Recipe Swap" - I need to send
* 1 handmade decorated recipe card
* 1 handmade, sewn, felted, crocheted, or knitted food or handmade or any crafted kitchen item or 1 book , cookbook , fiction, non-fiction [related to theme] [Christmas]
* 1 ingredient from the recipe

My second is a "Christmas Swap" - for this one, I need to send
Either a handmade Christmas ornament or a handmade Christmas gift, a seasonal recipe and a little extra surprise

I'll let you know how I get on!

Saturday, 8 November 2008

The Hurly Burly Show!

Imagine this .... 

A friend says to me "some girls from work are going to see the Hurly Burly Show - do you want to come?"
I say "who are the Hurly Burly Girls?"
My friend says "oh, they are a Burlesque Cabaret group ..."
I say "oh - strippers, then?"
My friend says " yes, but it's all very tasteful..."

So, on Thursday night I went to the Hurly Burly Show at the Leicester Square Theatre ... I didn't really know what to expect.  I had watched a clip of the HB girls on the Alan Titchmarsh show ... so assumed that it wouldn't be that shocking .... 

We turned up at the theatre after a few champagne cocktails and a lovely curry ... and were surrounded by London's 40's/Burlesque scene ... girls with fantastic hair do's, full 40's outfits, hats, men in drag .... all this on a Thursday night! How exciting!  

We collected our free drink and took our seats ... Mr Dusty Limits (the compere) took the stage ... very camp and very funny .... "Please welcome to the stage Miss Polly Rae and her Hurly Burly Girls!!!!" .... the audience went mad (incidentally there were more women in the audience - including the fabulous Marcella Puppini of the Puppini Sisters!) .... 

The girls came on all corseted and did a brilliant dance routine, with Polly Rae singing ... it was great!  In fact the first half of the show was excellent....fab costumes, music (Glen Miller's "In The Mood", Benny Goodman's "Sing Sing Sing" [the soundtrack to Victoria Plum's life] ... comedy .... the odd glove, scarf and skirt being removed ... 

The second half was much more risque with more items of clothing being removed ... more tassels, bosoms and bottoms .... the artiness of the first half was lost, with the emphasis being on lots of shimmying their tasselled bosoms! 
I don't think I would rush back to an evening like this!  Although, it was fun to go to a cabaret night like this ... Miss Polly Rae spoke on the Alan Titchmarsh show about the HB Girls being about female empowerment ... but in the end, the girls were just stripping ... would there be a need for strippers if men weren't prepared to pay for them? I'm not sure how empowering it is, really ......... 

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Cupcake Magic!

I have a new recipe book to try out ... it's called "Cupcake Magic" and is written by Kate Shirazi, the owner of Cakeadoodledo.  The cupcakes look divine ... I will be making some this weekend!

Which Jane Austen Heroine Are You?

I am Elinor Dashwood!

Take the Quiz here!

With thanks to Greedy Nan!

Sunday, 2 November 2008


In anticipation of the Spring (!) I have just ordered my seeds for next year - how exciting!  I have spent ages looking through Alan Titchmarsh's "The Kitchen Gardener" (a birthday present from Mr Plum) and "The Greenhouse Expert" and have chosen the following to be planted next year:

Tomatoes (4 different varieties!)

Petty Pan Squash

No Daddy Long Legs This Year? Hurray!

I'm just sitting in my bedroom with the window open and the light on ... and all of a sudden I thought "eek - better close the window or I will be inundated with Daddy Long Legs (ewwwww!)" ... and then I thought "but it's November, surely it's far too late and cold for the little blighters now, isn't it?"  And then I realised that I haven't been tormented by any Daddy Long Legs at all this year ... they used to be a constant pain during the autumn months ... Mr Plum thinks that this is a pointless post and doesn't make sense, but I was just thinking .........

Lovely Lavender!

This morning I finally got around to picking the remaining flowers on my lavender plant.  I have managed to get a good sized bunch, which is now hanging in my kitchen to dry, before I make scented sachets for my drawers!

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Plum's On Tour - Paris

We recently went to Paris with my wonderful family for the weekend, to celebrate Mummy Plum's was lovely! The weekend was taken up with sight-seeing and eating - what more could you want?

One of the highlights was a trip to Mariage Freres a beautiful tea shop just off the Rue du Rivoli. Mariage Freres are the creators of the delicious Marco Polo jelly - served in Claridges with their afternoon tea.  We could have spent hours in the shop looking at the teas, jellies, chocolates .... it was lovely and old worldy!  We were very restrained and got some Marco Polo jelly and tea and some special Christmas tea and jelly ... which will be saved until Christmas of course!  

Have a look at the Mariage Freres website ... it has a very interesting "history of tea" and apparently the French drink on average, 100 cups a year ... I get through that amount a week!!

Don't think we can wait to taste the Marco Polo jelly, I'm off to bake some scones!!!