Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Christmas School Fair.

I am in the process of making up diy cake jars, mint crisp, rocky road, mincemeat muffins, snowman poop, reindeer poop and lots of little bits as well as some canvases, (the red writing says... Ihope you dont mind, I hope you dont mind that i put down in words, how wonderful life is now youre in the world)
(words read - Things may change but we start and end with family)

Also making some memory jars and lipbalms! eek! The fair is Friday - guess I best get moving!!

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

A simple lunch...

Again working with the Forman & Field hamper I created a simple but delicious lunch of Scottish oak crackers topped with cream cheese, salmon and caviar.

This is the kind of salmon that deserves not to be messed with and the least you can do with it the better it will taste. (However i still cant wait to try salmon benedict with it!!)
To be honest the caviar was a little too fishy for me - i know thats the whole point but its psychological honestly!! LOL I did devour the salmon, cream cheese and oatcakes though!!

Ben loved it and went back to have a spoonful - each to their own! lol

Monday, 28 November 2011

Leftover Christmas Turkey Curry!

I know, youre sitting there thinking, 'has she gone mad - its only November!' ..... besides the probablity of 'yes actually i am quite mad' please try to think preparation! Planning at Christmas is vital and to be honest the last thing any of us need is a plate of uneaten turkey looking at us screaming 'eat me or bin me' .... i know which one i usually choose! eek!

Anyways, I have had the absolute pleasure of working with a Forman & Field seasonal hamper which contained everything for Christmas day including turkey, salmon, caviar...even down to the fruit to make the curry with!

Marco Pierre White has created a fruit curry with the remainder turkey. This exclusive recipe wont be on the Knorr website until December but I am able to share it with you early :)

I made this on Saturday night and it went down really well, its not too hot but has a little kick. The kids enjoyed it too and as it has lots of squished fruit it surely counts as at least one of your five a day too :)
Ingredients (serves 10)
25g plain flour
2 Knorr Chicken Stock Pots
25g unsalted butter
1/2 a large pineapple, peeled and chopped into chunks (including core)
2 Cox apples (approx 250g), unpeeled, roughly chopped
1 banana
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 tbsps mild or medium curry powder
25g unsweetened desiccated coconut
75ml double cream (optional)
1kg leftover cold roast turkey, taken off the bone and chopped into chunks (you can also add in chunks of cooked ham or leftover veg like roast potatoes, parsnips or carrots, chopped into chunks)

Method
Pre-heat the oven to 220˚C/ 425˚F/ Gas Mark 7. Sprinkle the flour in an even layer in an ovenproof frying pan and place it in the oven for 12–15 minutes until lightly browned.

Meanwhile, as the flour browns, begin cooking the curry. First, take the 2 Knorr Chicken Stock Pots and mix them with a litre of boiling water, stirring until thoroughly dissolved. Set aside.

Now, heat a large, heavy-based casserole dish on the hob. Add in the butter. Once melted, add in the pineapple and sliced apple. Peel and slice in the banana. Add in the chopped onion.

Fry stirring with a spatula over a low heat for around 10 minutes until the fruit begins to break down.

Add in the curry powder, mixing it in well. Cook, stirring, for 2–3 minutes over a low heat. Add in the desiccated coconut and mix in.

Remove the lightly browned flour from the oven and add it into the curry paste mixture, mixing it in thoroughly.

Pour in 250ml of the Knorr Chicken Stock, stirring it so that the paste dissolves into the stock.

Gradually add in the remaining stock, 250ml at a time, stirring in thoroughly after each addition to make sure the sauce is free from any lumps.

Bring to the boil, simmer for 8–10 minutes, stir in the double cream if using.

Using the back of a ladle to press it down, pass the curry sauce through a fine sieve if you wish or liquidise until smooth.

Return the sieved or liquidised curry sauce to the casserole dish. Add in the cooked turkey chunks, bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until the turkey is heated through.

Garnish with toasted flaked almonds and fresh coriander leaves and serve at once.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Winter is here!!

Which means its time to bring out the wooly hats and wrap up warm!! I love it as it means i can stick on my wool dresses thick tights and boots - every inch is covered! :D

Evie has a new little hat and to be honest this is the first time shes worn it - she wont wear it outside and pitches a hissy fit if you try to put it on her but today she wandered in from the passageway with it on her head and posed for pics - bonus!! lol

Ive been busy with a couple more canvases and now have some i need to make for Christmas pressies - plus theres the Christmas fair at the school that I have a table at each year so im going to get busy making some bits for that too!

Whats filling your nights now that it gets dark around 4pm!!??

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Colmans Gravy Paste - review.

We are a meat and veg family - good old fashioned home cooking with stews and Sunday dinners etc....(could explain why i find it hard to lose weight but i digress!)

So, when i was asked if we would try the new Colmans gravy paste I thought why not? Now, im normally a Bisto girl through and through so was a little dubious about this. We tried it with our meal and although its a little thin if made up with the required amount of water, it was still delicious!! The smell is divine and almost as good as homemade (which i love but generally dont have the patience to make along with feeding the tribes!) so this definately gets the thumbs up from all of us here.

Plus the advert is a real hit with the boys and Evie!!
I have just bought the new Hairy Bikers Pie Cookbook so im going to try it out on one of those to see what its like with pie and chips Mmmmm - is that just a Northern thing?? lol

*Although this is a sponsored post all opinions expressed are my own and true*

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Canvases!!

Told you I had fallen for these canvases!! I have so much paper and paints from years of scrapbooking and its so nice to be using them again (no i dont scrap anymore but im ever hopeful that the bug might bite again!)

This was the first full size canvas i made with an angel figure - i love it and it looks like shes been playing in the muck!! Completely unintentional but fits with the quote that I chose for her!
My second is a taller canvas and im still to put the quote on this one but i love her, I love the shape of her wings (again completely unintentional!) and her hair buns, heart and paint splashes! Its a kind of release to flick paint at a project and im loving every minute of it!
Do you know a sweet poem or verse or quote that would go well with Little Miss above??

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Kenco Coffee Campaign - Glass Sculptures.

Michaela Strachan and Chris Packham have partnered with Kenco to award four communities across the UK with their very own giant animal, made from recycled glass. These were created to celebrate the launch of new-look Kenco jars, which save 900 tonnes of glass per year. For more details visit www.facebook.com/kenco

I was given the opportunity to ask them some questions for my blog and what I thought you might be interested in hearing :)


1. What’s the campaign you are doing for Kenco and why did you decide to get involved?


CHRIS: To celebrate Kenco's new-look slender-shaped jars, which save an amazing 900 tonnes of glass a year, Kenco commissioned four wonderful animal sculptures made from recycled glass. They were all in need of a permanent home, so were put up for ‘adoption’ and have been donated to four deserving communities across the UK.MICHAELA: When Chris and I were asked to join this celebratory event we jumped at the chance, not only due to our love of animals – be it glass or real – but also because we’re both passionate about rewarding deserving communities.CHRIS: It also touches on another interest of mine – art in public spaces.

2. If you could have something to nibble on with a cup of coffee what would it be?

MICHAELA: I love a croissant with my coffee.

CHRIS: and I love a flapjack with mine!

3. Are you a biscuit dunker?

CHRIS: Yes, definitely.

MICHAELA: Yes, but only with digestive biscuits.

4. Which is your favourite glass sculpture?

MICHAELA: I love them all but I think my favourite of the sculptures would have to be Lois the Crab – it’s a challenge to create a crab that looks really huggable and loveable; but the sculptor, Rebecca Newnham, has succeeded and Lois looks really friendly!

CHRIS: I think the favourite overall will be the Roberts penguin family because people seem to have an affinity for penguins. Personally, I think Lois the crab is great. She looks really impressive and imposing – and I’m much more interested in crustaceans than the usual cute and cuddly animals!

5. As I am obsessed with crafts, I would love to know if you do any crafting at all....paper crafts, knitting, glass sculpting?

MICHAELA: I’m not that crafty, I’m afraid, although I did used to go to a pottery cafĂ© when my son was younger and made a great mug with his hand print on the front. Chris is much more artistic than I am!

CHRIS: I’m really interested in art and public displays and exhibitions. I’m also making my family some artwork for their Christmas presents using leaves and bark from trees that I’ve collected.

6. Do you have a recycle tip for any of my blog readers out there?

MICHAELA: Make it as easy for yourself as possible – keep a separate bin for recycling so that you don’t need to think about it. I would also recommend keeping a wormery so that your uncooked peelings and leftovers can be turned into compost and used in your vegetable garden.

CHRIS: Be fanatical – if I know there’s a can in a rubbish bin that shouldn’t be there, I’ll empty the entire bin to get it out and put it in the recycling!

Giraffes to be made honorary Geordies

Animal aficionados Michaela Strachan and Chris Packham introduce glass giraffes Connie and Stan, donated by Kenco, to Ouseburn Farm

27th October 2011: Ouseburn Farm in Newcastle has been voted for by thousands of members of the public to win one of only four unique glass animal sculptures, created by Kenco to celebrate its new-look, less-glass jars. Nature-loving TV personalities Michaela Strachan and Chris Packham helped Kenco to scour the country for worthy winners and then presented the sculpture to Newcastle’s best-loved Farm on Thursday 27th October.

The sculptures, made from recycled glass were commissioned by Kenco and designed by artist Rebecca Newnham to celebrate the launch of their striking new-look jars, which save an impressive 900 tonnes of glass per year*. Connie and Stan are thrilled to have been permanently donated to the community to act as a reminder of the importance of reducing waste.

Ouseburn Farm was chosen as a finalist because Kenco’s expert panel felt the regeneration of the area, regular children’s visits and open space would prove a winning combination for the giraffes – and, when the shortlist was put to the public, the 1,274 votes proved that the nation agreed. The other worthy winners were West Meadows Primary School in Barnsley, PeBel Community Wildlife Garden in Wales and the South Lakes Wild Animal Park in Cumbria who won The Roberts family of penguins, Lois the crab and Pierre the snake respectively.

Mandy Oliver from Ouseburn Farm says “I am so thrilled that our farm won the giraffes, we know they will fit in perfectly. The community has been rallying locals and voting like mad over the last few weeks and we’re ecstatic to have been chosen. We will make sure they are well cared for in their new home – please do come and visit!”

Chris Packham said “I was really impressed with the volume and quality of entries from across the UK and was delighted to present the Farm their prize. I hope the local community will come along to see these beautiful creatures strutting their stuff in their new home!” Michaela agreed “I loved being involved in the search for a new home for the giraffes. I’m sure the stunning sculptures will be a great addition to the community – many of whom I enjoyed meeting at the prize giving!”

Steph Okell, Brand Manager for Kenco commented: “Our new Kenco jars have 7% less glass, compared to last year and we wanted to create these sculptures to act as a reminder of the importance of reducing waste, as well as celebrate our striking new look. Newcastle fought off stiff competition to win this coveted prize and it’s great to know that the giraffes are going to a safe and loving new home.”

Connie and Stan are enjoying their new home, living alongside the other animals and Connie would like to thank the public for taking the time to vote. For more information and to see the photos of the prize-giving, visit www.facebook.com/kenco.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Persil and Comfort Cuddleproof Masterclasses

Persil Non-Bio and Comfort Pure has been working with three grannies to create master classes for new parents and have created three short films of the grannies going through how to knit, croquet and quilt.
The films are very sweet, easy to follow and quite funny!

First up is Granny Joan with a little masterclass on crochet

Second is Granny Nick with a little masterclass on knitting

And finally it is Granny Barbara with a little masterclass on quilting

I am off for a spot of crafting myself - now where did i put that crochet hook??!!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

This competition bug...

I must admit to being a bit of an addict when it comes to checking my emails!! Even more so since i started entering competitions....
Look at my little dresser - its starting to buckle under the weight of my wins so far!! I am so happy and so freaked out at the same time - i find it unreal that out of so many people entering the competitions that my name gets pulled out at times!
Not included in the photograph are:

£250 gift card for Homesense/TK Maxx
3 day trip to Japan (eek roll on January 30th!)
Toys ive hidden away for the kids for Christmas including 2 giant hotwheels sets, books etc
Sweet things - ie fudge etc which were gone no sooner than they hit the mat! lol
Oral B Power toothbrush family set (1 mega kit and 2 kids electric toothbrushes & Toothpaste)
Salter Scales
Authentique scrapbook paper kit
Lots of days out tickets - ie Christmas show, Baby Show etc

Won so far for November:

Hexbug nano
Disoronno and Cocktail making kit
Cookery Book

Honestly im not showing off or bragging i just wanted to put a huge thank you out there into the universe as im sure someone is looking out for me right now and it is SO appreciated! (((hugs to all and im spreading the winning vibes and will be posting some of my own competitions on here soon - share and share alike! )))

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Congratulations!!

Congratulations Shirley - you have won the 2 packs of Scotch restickable tape!Please email me your address to debbie(at)countryheartandhome.com and I will get them in the post to you :)

Another comp coming up tomorrow!!