Monday, 31 May 2010

Monday Moodboard - Tea Time

I love tea time and afternoon tea themed goodies, these would be perfect for any tea lover!


Tea Time print by Anek
Wild Blueberry Preserve by Wee Bee Jammin
Art Journal for Tea Lovers by Buechertiger
Eat Me Alice in Wonderland Tags by vintagetwee

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Thursday, 27 May 2010

Simple Shapes

I've been working with a lot of pearls recently, some lovely intricate mother of pearl and some beautiful vibrant lampwork. I sat down to my desk yesterday and made a whole bunch of really simple shapes for some everyday designs.

I like metalsmithing because it allows me to completely handcraft a piece of jewellery and use simple shapes to beautiful effects. The first piece of jewellery I made yesterday was these gold fill earrings. I intended to add some sparkly smoky quartz (yes I'm going into gemstones!) but they looked just as good as they were.

I'm keeping the first pair for myself, they are perfect for everyday wear and the warm colour goes with lots of different things.

These earrings are in my Etsy shop to buy.

More new and simple shapes coming this week, in silver and copper. Watch this space!


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Tuesday, 25 May 2010


We did what pretty much half the country did on Saturday - lots and lots of gardening followed by cider, beer and barbecue food.

We've got lots of things planted up in the garden for the summer - tomatoes, chilis, herbs, beans, courgettes as well as spuds, rhubarb and raspberries which are well under way.

I am hoping for a good harvest this year, the fruit trees are looking well too!

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Friday, 21 May 2010

Free Shipping!

Just popping into say I have Free Worldwide Shipping in my Etsy shop this weekend (Fri-Mon).

I've been a bit quiet on the blog but I'll be back with some recipes next week.

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend in the sun!


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Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Cooking - Ricotta Gnocchi & Sundried Tomato Pesto

I'm a big fan of gnocchi, but I don't have it often enough, mainly because I've always made it with potatoes which is a far more labourious process. This ricotta version does still require a little effort but is less time consuming, from this you get a light and creamy pasta with less heartache from boiling and cooling potatoes.

Gnocchi refers to the shape of the pasta rather than what it is made from - gnocchi is the plural of gnocco, which means 'lump' in italian - so they refer more to little dumplings rather than a specific ingredient.

This gnocchi can be served with any of your favourite sauces - a simple tomato, basil pesto, a cream sauce or sage butter. My new favourite is sundried tomato pesto, it is a great sauce because you can bring it together with storecupboard ingredients and a touch of parmesan.

I made do with normal supermarket ricotta here but if you can find something great from a deli or your local farm shop it will taste even better.

Serves 2
To make the Gnocchi

250g tub of ricotta
150g - 200g 00 pasta flour or plain white flour
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon parmesan or pecorino
salt and pepper

First you need to drain your ricotta, put it in a fine sieve over a bowl and leave for half an hour for any residual water to drip through.

Once your ricotta is ready add it to a large bowl with the egg yolk and seasoning, then your pecorino or parmesan. Stir to combine, then slowly add your flour in a few tablespoons at a time until you have a workable but slightly sticky dough. Make sure to add your flour in slowly so you can keep an eye on the consistency.

Knead the dough very lightly for a minute, the key to good and light gnochhi is to try not to work the dough too much. Cut it into two pieces and roll each piece out into a sausage shape about 1 inch thick.

Cut your dough into little 1 inch pieces. Transfer to a well floured plate or tray and refridgerate for at least 1 hour. If you want to freeze your gnocchi to use later, lay out on a baking sheet and freeze, then transfer them to a freezer bag. Defrost fully before cooking.

To cook your gnocchi, add to a pan of simmering water and cook for 1 - 2 minutes until the gnocchi float to the top.
Remove with a slotted spoon as each one rises to the surface. If you are making the pesto below save a few tablespoons of the cooking water.

For extra texture you can fry your gnocchi after this step. Add oil to a nonstick pan and fry on a high heat for 1 - 2 minutes on each side until golden brown. This step is great because you get a crisp outside and a melty middle.

To make sundried tomato pesto

4 -5 sundried tomatoes
clove of garlic
about 10 pine nuts
2 tablespoons parmesan or pecorino
olive oil
small bunch of basil - optional
salt and pepper

Blitz all your ingredients in a food processor until blended. Add more oil if it seems a little thick. This pesto is a little drier than basil pesto, you can use the saved cooking water from your pasta to make it more like a sauce.

To serve with your gnocchi very gentle toss the sauce with the hot gnocchi in a saucepan, being careful not to break up the gnocchi pieces.

Serve in warmed bowls with parmesan on top, we had ours with some garlic rubbed ciabatta too.

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Friday, 14 May 2010

Weddings at Lazy Giraffe Jewellery

Wedding season is fast approaching, Christmas only seemed like yesterday.
I've been designing lots of new jewellery with brides and bridesmaids in mind.

Fairy Tale Earrings - mother of pearl and vintage glass

Classic Pearl Necklace - Swarovski and sterling silver

I am taking custom orders for spring and summer brides, just contact me for multiples of any design or a custom piece.

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Thursday, 13 May 2010

Cooking - Bacon Brownies

Go with me on this one.

It is good, I promise.

And you know I wouldn't lie to you..

This recipe has been on my list for a while, I spotted it over on 17 and Baking and it totally made sense to me. Rich dark chocolate and smoky bacon with a hint of saltiness - and we all know the food world is crazy about salt and sweet right now (salted caramel anyone?).

It is not miles away from the classic bacon and maple syrup combination, you get a nice hit of sweet and a nice hit of salt, but with the brownies you get the dense dark chocolate too.

I make brownies quite often, I have one recipe which I like to stick to but I've been keen to try new ones, the best thing about brownies is that there are so many great recipes out there offering something different but also still giving you that quintessential brownie - gooey and crispy.
This recipe obviously offers something completely different!

It did feel very weird putting bacon into a brownie mix but I stuck with it and I was not disappointed.Try to use the best quality streaky bacon or pancetta you can find, anything cheap will leach out too much water and your brownies won't be good. It should also be smoked. I used good quality smoked pancetta, this crisps up well and won't be filled with water.

Bacon Brownies
makes approx 12 brownies
4 rashers of good quality streaky bacon or pancetta
50g / 2oz dark chocolate (at least 70%), chopped
4 tablespoons good quality cocoa
100g / 40z butter2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
100g plain flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
150g caster sugar

Heat your oven to gas mark 5 / 375f / 190c.Heat up a frying pan on the hob, once hot add your strips of bacon. Fry on each side for a couple of minutes or until nice and crispy. Transfer to paper towels to crisp up further and drain the fat.
Once the bacon is cool cut or tear up into small pieces, about 1cm wide.

Put the chocolate, cocoa and butter in a heatproof glass bowl and heat gently over a pan of simmering water. Stir frequently until everything is melted and combined. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
Whisk in the sugar and vanilla, then add in your eggs one by one, stir to combine.
Sift in the flour and baking powder and then stir in the bacon.

Add to a grease and lined cake tin or square cake tin (better for brownies, I need to buy one!).

Bake for 30 - 40 minutes on the middle shelf. Your brownies are done when a skewer or knife comes out clean when inserted. Remove from the pan and leave on a board or wire rack.
Let them cool completely (sneak a crispy corner if you can't wait!) before cutting into squares.
Store in the fridge, bring back to room temperature to eat.

I had mine with a nice strong coffee, this motivated me for the rest of the afternoon!

Serve to friends (not vegetarians though!!) and don't tell them what is inside, let them guess - I bet they won't know!

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Thursday, 6 May 2010

Cooking - Lemon Curd

This recipe has been on my to do list for ages, and I don't know why I didn't get round to it sooner because it is so easy to make.

I had never tried lemon curd before I made this batch, it was something that mainly passed me by. And I had some bad memories of a school friend who used to take lemon curd sandwiches to school every day.
But now I am thinking this is not such a bad thing - lemon curd can really go with anything because it is amazing stuff - you know on a crumpet, in sandwiches, a spoonful on a freshly baked cake, or you know just straight out of the jar. That is ok right?

netbooks are very useful for cooking

This will probably take you all of half an hour to 45 minutes to make. The main thing this recipe requires is patience and attention, you need to be on hand to whisk the mixture at regular intervals so that the eggs don't overcook.

Makes about 500g
recipe adapted from nami-nami (my new favourite blog!)

125ml lemon juice - about 2-3 lemons
zest of two unwaxed lemons (about tablespoon)3 large eggs plus one yolk - i was lucky enough to have double yolked eggs from the farm shop so my lemon curd is a little richer.150g caster sugar
100g unsalted butter, softened and cubed

Juice and zest your lemons.
Add to a heatproof bowl (you'll need to set this over a simmering pan of boiling water later) with the caster sugar and the eggs, combine.

Heat over a saucepan with about 1 inch of boiling water in it. Whisk every 30 seconds, your mixture should take between 10 - 20minutes to thicken up, you want the consistency of thick pancake batter.

Take off the heat once it has reached the right consistency, then whisk in your butter and zest.

Pour in to sterilised jam jars (sterilise by washing in hot soapy water and then leaving in a low oven for 30 minutes. Store in the fridge, it should keep for a couple of weeks.

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Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Cooking - The Ultimate Pizza & No Knead Dough

I think I am putting pressure on this recipe by naming it the ultimate pizza, but it really is that good. The key to this recipe is slow fermentation, you want to prove the dough for at least 12 hours, preferably 24. Luckily the dough comes together very easily as there is no kneading involved, so there is very little involved other than waiting.

The fermentation produces a thick deep pan style base which is crisp on the top and bottom but light and fluffy inside. I've tried this dough twice now, once on a 24 hour prove and second on an 12 hour prove, both were great but the 24 hour prove was amazing!

I got the idea for this dough whilst making Pitta Breads, the dough is very similar to pizza dough but has more water giving a lighter and fluffier dough. I added a touch more yeast to get a better rise than pitta breads.
250g (or 1 1/4 cups) 00 pasta flour or strong white bread flour, sifted
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 packet of instant yeast - 7g
175mls / 3/4 cup of warm water

Add your dry ingredients to a large bowl and mix together. Make a well in the centre and add in your water and olive oil. Slowly incorporate with a wooden spoon until you have a soft wet dough - add more water or flour if your dough is too dry or wet.
Cover the bowl with cling film. Leave in a warm place for upto 24 hours, or at least 12.
If you want to prove it for longer, say 48 hours, leave it in the fridge.

After you have proved the dough, tip it out on to a well floured board and very lightly knead it to bring it into a round ball. Roll out slightly, you won't need to a lot as it will stretch when you move it off the board. Place on a well oiled pizza tray (the type with the holes in, very good for getting a nice crisp base) or a baking sheet. Leave to prove once more uncovered for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Heat your oven to the highest heat and set your rack to the highest it will go.

Make up a simple tomato sauce whilst you are waiting for it to prove. This is so easy to do. Blend up a can off plum tomatoes, add to a hot saucepan with some olive oil, a couple of cloves of bashed up garlic, few basil leaves and some oregano, salt and pepper. Simmer on a high heat for 10 minutes. Blend up once more. You can freeze this sauce in little tubs or an ice cube tray to defrost as you need it, it makes about 5-6 pizzas worth.

Top your pizza with a couple of tablespoons of the tomato sauce and then mozarella and your choice of topping. We used some Laverstoke mozarella, this has a proper creamy flavour and much better than the usual rubbery offerings found. Then it was topped with crumbled sausage - do this by removing the skins, breaking up the meat and frying it in a pan with some chili flakes until crisp.

Bake in the oven for 10 - 15 minutes.

I love this dough because it requires no kneading or rolling but has bags of flavour, I'm normally a thin and crispy pizza person but this deep thick crust has converted me!

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