Monday, 31 May 2010

Afternoon Tea!

Thank you all for the birthday wishes last week ... the truth is that my birthday was a little bit rubbish as I had to go into hospital for a Glucose Tolerance Test as there is a history of diabetes in my family and I am a 'little' overweight. The GTT meant that I had to fast the night before (and for those of you who know me, going without food for any period of time is a NIGHTMARE!). Anyway - I woke up on my birthday morning to lovely pressies from Mr Plum, my family and friends ... but then we had to go to the hospital for the morning ... and a girls only antenatal class in the evening (there are some things that I would rather just not know for the time being!! ) .... we decided to postpone my birthday for a week!

On Friday, Mr Plum and I celebrated four years of married bliss! I can't believe that it has been four years! It has flown by ... we both went to work for the day, but I was under strict instructions not to wear my lovely Joules Shelley sundress (which is perfect for an expanding tum!) but to wear my smarter Mamas and Papas spotty tea dress ... and proper shoes as Mr Plum wanted me to meet him at Victoria Station at 4.30 for a surprise!!

The biggest surprise was Mr Plum paying for a taxi to our destination!! I was expecting to catch a bus! Anyway, I was still in the dark as to where we were heading ... especially as we headed past all the possible places I could think of! Where were we going?

As we drove up Regent Street I was completely flummoxed ... and then we came to The Langham hotel ... I have never been here before!

We were sat in the most wonderful art deco room - a bit like Claridges Foyer, but lighter and brighter and a bit more relaxed. We ordered the Wonderland Tea ... the hotel provided Veggie and Pregnant Lady friendly sandwiches, warm scones and divine cakes ... it was heavenly! Afternoon Tea has to be my favourite meal of the day .... and I think that I am going to be having lots of trips out for Afternoon Tea between now and the arrival of Baby Plum!

I am so lucky to be married to wonderful Mr Plum :)

Here is an afternoon tea we had a couple of weeks ago with the left over cakes (or some of them!) from my birthday party ... mmmmm

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Good Enough To Eat Swap!


I'm a bit behind with my blogging!!

I took part in the Good Enough To Eat swap which was organised by Emma and Claire and my partner was the lovely Jackie from Sew Special are the wonderful goodies I received on Tuesday .....

Such a thoughtful gift for Baby Plum ....

The smell which greeted me when I opened the parcel was AMAZING! Haven't I been spoilt?

Thank you Jackie!

You can see what I sent Jackie here

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

A little treat for me ...

After years and years of having a duff phone ... I treated myself to one of these! It's the snazziest phone I have ever had!!

Monday, 17 May 2010

Salon de the macaroons

My love of macaroons began in Paris in 2003 when me and Mr Plum got engaged. I love the colour and decadence of nibbling away at a macaroon! Every time we have been back to France I make sure I get a couple! It had never even crossed my mind to make some of my own ....

Then, a couple of years ago I spotted a recipe for 'Salon de the macaroons' in the Mail on I had to give them a try!

My first efforts were a tad frustrating ... the mixture was too runny and spread all over the baking tray, or the macaroons stuck to the greaseproof ... so I left it for a couple of years (!) and then had another go .... here is the recipe:

Macaroons - makes about 20 filled macaroons
120g icing sugar
120g ground almonds (I put in a bit more to thicken up the mixture)
1tbs green tea (I used Earl Grey)
2 medium egg whites at room temperature
pinch salt
30g caster sugar
food colouring (green for the green tea macaroons, purple of the Earl Grey...)

140g unsalted butter
80g icing sugar sifted
finely grated zest of 1/2 a lime (for the green tea ... I used lemon for mine)

1. Sift the icing sugar into a large bowl, add the almonds and stir to blend.

2. Grind the tea in a coffee grinder, sift this onto the mixture and stir it in.

3. Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl with the salt until they appear foamy and then sprinkle on the caster sugar whisking each addition until they form medium soft peaks.

4. Stir the almond mixture onto the egg whites in two goes, then colour the mixture with a drop of food colouring.

5. Line two baking sheets with greaseproof paper and drop level teaspoons of the mixture onto the sheets in little mounds. Leave for 2 hours uncovered - the macaroons form a skin.

6. Pre heat the oven to gas mark 2.

7. Dust the macaroons with icing sugar and bake for 20 minutes.

8. Leave the macaroons to cool and then remove from the baking tray using a spatula.

9. To make the filling, beat the butter until light and fluffy then add the icing sugar and a drop of food colour if you want. Pipe or spread onto the macaroons and sandwich together.

Or, you could just head here for a little treat ....

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Birthday Tea Party

It is my birthday on Thursday!

So yesterday I invited some friends around for a tea party ....

I made a nice variety of cakes (from the top pic) ...

Earl Grey and Lemon Macaroons

Scones with Raspberry Jam and Cream

Victoria Sponge

Sparkly Star Cupcakes

Coffee Cupcakes

Lemon Cupcakes

Raspberry Cupcakes ...

Coffee cake ...

Chocolate Cake (I only invited 15 people ... do you think I have made enough?!)

Tea loaf and shortbread!!

Polished off with some Rose Lemonade (everyone else had Pimms!) ... if you squint it could almost be rose champagne ...

Followed by a delivery of fish and chips from the local chippy!

It was lovely to catch up with friends ... and we have a LOT of cake left over ... so if you are passing by - pop in!!

(If any of the cakes take your fancy - let me know and I will send you the recipe!)

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Quilts ... cont

I thought the Quilts exhibition was fantastic! As we went on a Saturday afternoon, it was rather busy - but not so much that we couldn't have a good look at the exhibits. I was amazed at the vibrant colours of the quilts made in the 18th and 19th centuries. There was also a modern quilt by Tracey Emin and another made by the inmates of HMP Wandsworth in 2009.
Of course I couldn't resist picking up some (over priced - but this is the V&A!) fat quarters with prints taken from quilts made in the mid 19th century.
We then headed to the lovely cafe (the first museum cafe in the world!) for tea and cake before heading home.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

V&A Quilts Exhibition

This afternoon I am meeting some friends at the V&A for the Quilts 1700-2010 exhibition. I have read some very good reviews of this exhibition and am really looking forward to it! It may even inspire me to make my own patchwork quilt .... well, now that I have mastered the art of cushion making - there's nothing stopping me!! Right???

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Today's Thrifty Award Goes To ...

My mum and dad for spotting an i candy Cherry stroller in the small ads of their local paper!! Fantastic! The stroller retails at £284! The lady was selling hers for £80! Quite a saving! We just need to get a carry cot and car seat and we will be sorted!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Can I tempt you to some ice-cream? (Weight Watchers should look away now ...)

Last Autumn I swapped some sloe berries for some blackcurrants which my friend had picked from her father-in-laws garden ... they have been sitting in my freezer since then! There wasn't enough to make a decent amount of jam - so I thought I would make some lovely ice cream instead!!

I cooked the blackcurrants for about 15 mins on a low heat with about 4 tablespoons of caster sugar until they went all runny and lovely ... and left them draining for most of the day!

I then whipped up some cream and icing sugar (click here for my Mum's "no fuss, no ice cream maker, just bung it in the freezer" ice cream recipe) and added the the drained blackcurrant juice. I wish you could smell the currants! They were wonderful!!

I really didn't want to waste the berry pulp ... so made a layer of currants at the bottom of the tub ...

and then poured on the blackcurrant and cream mixture.... oh my word, what a fabulous colour!!

My friend and her husband are coming round for dinner on Friday and I think that this will be the perfect dessert! If there is any left!!

Monday, 3 May 2010

I love bank holidays!

I hope you have all had enjoyable Bank Holidays?

We have spent the day at home, clearing out lots of our rubbish for either a car boot sale or the tip to make space for Baby Plum in our one bedroom flat!!

I am very proud of myself as I have finally got my sewing machine out from its hiding place and made a couple of cushions!

I used a pattern in CK's "Sew" book and am very pleased with the results ... the last time I made a cushion was in my Home Economics class many years ago!

I couldn't resist a little polka dot button on the back!

Ooh .... what's in the CK carrier bag?

The winner of my giveaway!!

Well done Kandi! Mr Plum picked you out of the carrier bag ... and something lovely will be winging it's way to you very soon!

Saturday, 1 May 2010

May Day Greetings!

Good afternoon this bright and sunny May Day!! I hope that you are enjoying whatever you are up to today!

We have spent the morning having a bit of a sort out (which means Mr Plum emptying every drawer and cupboard ... spreading it over the floor and then vacating the room ... hmmm) trying to make space for "baby stuff".

I have just spent a glorious hour in my greenhouse rescuing seeds which fried earlier in the week and getting more seeds into propagators. I'm a bit behind with this, but I'm hoping that as Spring took a while to show her face, it shouldn't matter too much! I've got more seeds to get in over the weekend - I'll do a garden update at some point! I've also got my beady eye on some beautiful bluebells which are growing in one of the sadly neglected gardens next to mine ... I'm tempted to go and dig some up and put them into my garden -
is that wrong?

Later on, me and Mr Plum are heading into town for a friends 30th birthday celebration at Tiger Tiger on Haymarket (yes, the bar "they" tried to bomb...). I'm not particularly looking forward to a busy bar, as I hate places like that at the best of times ... but as it is my friends birthday, I will just have to grin and bear it!!

Earlier this week, me and Mr Plum joined some friends in Carshalton for a trip to their local theatre to see a production by a local am dram society. It was "City Of Angels" and was brilliant!!

Thank you to all those lovely people who have entered my giveaway!! I will pull a name out of the biscuit tin and let you know who has one later on!!