Toffee Apple Cupcakes

toffeeapple 

 

Use my basic vanilla cupcake and vanilla frosting for this recipe.

110g unsalted butter

130g light brown sugar

45ml double cream

2 apples, thinly sliced

Bake the cupcakes and, once cool, pipe or spoon on the frosting and set to one side.

To make the super simple toffee sauce, gently heat the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat until completely melted.  Add the sugar and cream and whisk constantly until all of the sugar has dissolved. Bring the mixture to a boil and leave over the heat for two minutes.  Remove from the heat and add the sliced apples to the sauce.  Allow to cool before spooning the apples onto the cakes.  Drizzle over a little of the sauce and add a sprinkling of cinnamon.  A perfect autumn treat!!

Brocksbushes Farm

 

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Sunday afternoons are a perfect time to catch up with all the family.  Whenever we can, we all meet up at my Mam’s house for a Sunday roast (it’s always better when Mam makes it) and I usually offer to bring along the dessert.  

My all-time favourite dessert is meringue! Pavlova, nests, Eton Mess, I don’t care! It was one of the first recipes I learned to make as a child, stood on a chair in my Nanna’s kitchen, whisk in hand, dying to try the finished product with some fresh strawberries and pouring cream! 

Anyway, for a recent Sunday afternoon dessert I decided to make a Pavlova. I don’t think you can beat a crunchy meringue with a gooey centre, combined with fresh cream and mixed berries. It is just heavenly! 

As I was making the meringue from scratch I thought it would be fun to pick my own berries for it too (much better than just picking up a punnet of strawberries from the local supermarket) so on the Sunday morning (fruit picked on the day, it doesn’t get much fresher than that!) my fiancé Grant and I took a trip to Brocksbushes Farm.  

We had passed this place loads of times before when Grant was going to play rugby in Corbridge and I had always wanted to visit.  There is just something so satisfying about picking your own fresh fruit!

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When we arrived I was instantly drawn in by their farm shop with its fresh, locally sourced fruit and veg and homemade cakes, breads and pies.  Everything looked so good! We then went through to the picking fields where we were given our own basket to fill with fresh fruit.  

There was a fantastic selection including strawberries, blackberries, plums and raspberries. The selection changes with the seasons so it is definitely worth visiting again throughout the year.  We spent about an hour and a half just filling our basket full of yummy berries, even Grant got into it, looking for the biggest strawberries he could find, like a big kid!

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I was so surprised when we went to pay for our now overflowing basket and the whole thing came to a grand total of £3!  Not much to pay for a lovely morning out in the sunshine and plenty of delicious fruit.  You can really tell that it has been freshly picked; the flavours were amazing! It all tasted so good piled on top of the Pavlova and fresh whipped cream, everyone went back for a second helping!

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Pumpkin Pie Recipe

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Basic Pie Crust

250g plain flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

110g (unsalted) butter, cubed

Grease a 23cm pie dish and put to one side. Put the flour, salt and butter in a bowl and rub together with your fingertips until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.

Add 1 tbsp water and stir in with a knife until well-mixed. Add a second tbsp water and stir in until you have a smooth dough. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for an hour.

Roll out on a floured surface and line the pie dish, trimming the edges. (I usually put the lined pie dish back in the fridge for around 20 mins.  Chilling will help prevent the pastry from shrinking)

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Filling

Preheat oven to 170°C (325°F) Gas 3.

1 egg

425g tin pumpkin puree

220ml evaporated milk

220g caster sugar

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 tbsp flour

Put all of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix until smooth and well combined. Pour into uncooked pie crust and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the filling is set firm.

Leave to cool completely before serving with a big dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

 

Pumpkin Centrepiece

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Pumpkins aren’t just for making Halloween Lanterns – if you are planning a dinner party or get-together this autumn, this simple but very striking pumpkin vase centrepiece is sure to impress your guests and make yourdinner  table look extra special.

You will need: 1 pumpkin, 1  block of oasis, Your choice of foliage, berries and flowers in autumnal colours

Cut around the top of the pumpkin and scoop out the inside (you can use the flesh in one of my yummy pumpkin recipes).  Once the pumpkin has been hollowed out, soak the oasis in cold water before cutting it  down to size so that it fits inside and is level with the top of the pumpkin.  Next, cut your chosen flowers and foliage down to size to that they can be inserted firmly into the oasis but don’t stick out too far..  Start with the berries and other foliage before finally adding the flowers.  Once all the oasis has been hidden and you are happy with the arrangement, your pumpkin vase is ready to take pride of place on your dinner table.

Lemon Posset

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This recipe is so simple and quick to prepare but you won’t believe how tasty the finished result is!

600 ml double cream

140 g caster sugar

2 large lemons, juice and grated zest

Put the double cream in a large pan with the sugar. Bring slowly to the boil and simmer for 3 minutes. Take it off the heat, add the lemon juice and zest and whisk well.  Pour into 6 ramekins or serving glasses and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.  Serve with shortbread biscuits.

My Mam’s Homemade Lemon Curd

This is just made to be spread over warm crusty bread!

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This recipe is easy peasy lemon squeezy (sorry!) and tastes so much better than shop bought lemon curd.

4 lemons (unwaxed)

225g unsalted butter

450g caster sugar

5 eggs (beaten)

Sterilised jam jars

Add the juice and finely grated zest of the lemons to a bowl along with the butter and caster sugar.  Gently heat over a pan of simmering water until the sugar has completely dissolved.  Remove from the heat and gently stir in the beaten eggs (I like to put the eggs through a sieve first to remove any whites which may not have been incorporated).  Add the mixture to a pan and place over a low heat, stirring often, until the mixture starts to thicken enough to coat the spoon.

Add to the warm, sterilised jars and seal tightly.  The mixture will thicken more as it cools and can be kept in the fridge for up to three months.

Pink Lemonade

The must-have drink for a summer picnic!

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8 Lemons (plus extra to serve)

200g Caster Sugar

140g Raspberries

Ice (to serve)

Pare the zest from the lemons with a peeler, removing as little white pith as possible. Juice the lemons and mix the juice, zest, sugar and raspberries with 1.2 litres of boiling water. Let cool, then sieve, pressing through juice with the back of a spoon. Add sugar to taste and chill in jugs. To serve, add a few lemon slices, raspberries and lots of ice.

Hello World!!

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Working a 9-5 can take its toll, I used to be the kind of person who would stress about work, about chores, about not having enough hours in the day.  Then I realised that life is too short and too precious to waste your time worrying and that it is so important to make each day count by doing what you love.  I am a lover of the simple things in life and spend my spare time baking treats for the family, making crafts, making my home and garden look and feel lovely, and exploring new places with my fiancé and our Westie, Springsteen.

I get my inspiration anywhere I can and a lot of my ideas come from my lovely Mam and my Nanna.  Every Saturday morning as a child my Nanna would show me how to bake something new, so I have been baking since before I could see over the kitchen worktop!!

I would love to be able to inspire others in the same way, so decided to set up my own little blog to give people ideas for things to make and do in their precious spare time and also share with you a little bit about my life and how I strive to make the most of the time I get to spend with my family and loved ones.

I hope you enjoy it, and if you do stop by, please feel free to get in touch or leave a comment.  It would be great to hear from you and I would love to hear suggestions of things you might like to see on the blog.

Laura xx

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