I think my life may be complete, I have made a purple cake batter. Purple is my favourite colour, some of you may have realised this already - purple clothes, purple food, purple sheets ;)
I was given some beetroots from my colleague who grows them, I was a bit stuck for what to do with them in a savoury way. I remembered the lovely recipe featured on River Cottage for beetroot brownies. Instead I popped the nice fresh beetroot into a nice chocolate cake batter and studded it with blackberries and raspberries. Purple batter!
You can still taste the beetroot in this recipe, some people may not like this but I think it is unusual and very yummy. Beetroot is mainly used in cake and brownies for moistness, and that definitely was there too.
You can adapt this recipe and use courgettes as well, we have lots on our plant at the moment so this is something I am definitely going to try. Of course the batter won't be purple though ;)
Chocolate Beetroot Berry Cupcakes makes 12 muffin/cupcake sized cakes
150g butter 150g brown or white sugar 2 large eggs 3 medium sized beetroots, peeled and grated 100g good quality cocoa powder 50g self raising flour 1 tsp baking powder berries, about 2 or 3 per cupcake.
Cream together your butter and sugar then add in the eggs one at a time and beat until fluffy. Sift in your cocoa powder, flour and baking powder. Then fold in your beetroot carefully.
Spoon one heaped tablespoon into each cupcake case, pop a couple of berries in and then spoon over another tablespoon of mixture. Add another berry on the top. Bake in a preheated oven at gas mark 6 / 200c / 400f for 15 - 20 minutes until cooked through.
These are gorgeous whilst still warm, very chocolatey, because they are fairly moist they don't keep for more than a few days, but I don't think that will be a problem in any household! ;)
Somehow I totally forgot to blog last week, where did last week go? Lots happened, I had my blog in the Etsy Storque, a feature in Etsy Finds, a press feature and an Etsy front page. Phew!
No wonder I forgot to blog :)
The press feature was in Look magazine which was ace! I sent my earrings off a while ago and was so pleased that they decided to feature me, I was the only handmade person on there too. yay!
We are also still having great fun with Flossie the kitten, her and Jess cat are getting on really well (playing and washing each other!), she is due for her first vaccinations on Tuesday so we shall expect a slightly down in the dumps kitty for a while.
Last week I was also featured on this lovely blog - My Day is Friday. It is run by lovely european crafter Helis, a beautiful photo blog of peoples days - mixing their crafty life with family and work life.
This week I shall hopefully be more productive on the blog front, I have two new recipes, probably more kitten pics and some new jewellery!
After all this excitement I am popping in with a quick and lovely recipe for a summer squash pasta dish. I picked up these really cute squashes (yes I bought them because they are cute) at the market last Saturday. I have been trying to get my hands on pattypan squash for a while, they are one of the best squashes to eat - sweet and tender.
If you work quickly it will all come together in the time it takes to cook the pasta.
I started by topping and tailing three squashes and slicing them very finely. I fried them off with a glove of garlic in some butter til they were a little bit browned and soft. Then I added oregano, seasoning, chili flakes and a tablespoon of creme fraiche, and stirred to combine. Once the pasta was ready, I drained it, added it back to the pan with the squash, some water reserved from the spaghetti and some parma ham cut into ribbons (4 slices was good enough for 2 of us). Served with some freshly grated parmesan and lots of black pepper.
This pasta was so perfect for summer (we'll ignore the fact that it was raining a lot outside) - very light and with lots of fresh flavour. I'll definitely make it again!
I have been doing a little bit of guest blogging over on the lovely Walden Local Food , check out the site for a scrummy recipe for raspberry fool and shortbread biscuits.
Walden Local Food is a community interest company that promotes local and organic food. They run a fabulous sunday market which sells fruit and vegetables sourced from only a 40 mile radius of Saffron Walden.
If you are in the area please visit them, this time of year they have some real gems on their stall. I picked up some raspberries for this recipe and some beetroot for a rich soup. Everything is fresh and local!
I love bread and butter pudding, and I love french toast. This recipe takes french toast a little higher, with some cream and cinnamon along with fresh eggs.
What you first need to do is go and run yourself a nice hot bath, I assume you'll be making this on a lazy sunday morning, after a nice lie in.
Whilst it is running, take yourself down to the kitchen and get breakfast going.
Custardy French Toast - Serves 1
2 fresh eggs approx 100ml milk approx 100ml double cream 1/2 tsp cinamonn dash of vanilla extract 2 tablespoons of granulated or brown sugar
2 thick slices of good quality white bread
Whisk together all the ingredients for the custard in a shallow pie dish or wide bowl. Dunk in your pieces of bread so that they are nicely covered. Place a heavy plate on top of the dish to submerge the bread further. If it doesn't submerge add a bit more milk.
Then you need to leave it as it is and go and give yourself a nice soak in the bath whilst your bread has a nice soak in the custard.
Leave for about 20 - 30 minutes.
Heat up a nonstick pan and add a small knob of butter, fry each slice of bread for about 3-4 minutes on each side til golden brown and a bit crispy, keep one slice warm whilst you fry the other.
Serve with a large mug of tea and maple syrup, your favourite berries or maybe a bit of creme fraiche or yoghurt?
I have been fortunate recently to work on a really lovely customer from fellow artist and crafter Julie from Moaning Minnie (who makes lovely hats and bags!)
She had a string of vintage freshwater pearls (amazing!) from a relative which she wanted to be put into a new piece. They were absolutely gorgeous pearls, it is very very hard to get hold of vintage freshwater pearls - I have never seen them myself - and they were in perfect quality.
She like the asymmetrical earrings I recently put in my shop and also wanted a necklace to be made from the pearls. The asymmetrical look was perfect for the pearls as each pearl is different, so the different shapes lined up perfectly in mismatched earrings. I made lots of teardrops from silver and strung them together to make the earrings.
The necklace was made from 4 hoops of sterling silver, each a different size to go with the different shapes of the pearls, and strung on sterling silver chain. I love the way this necklace could be worn every day but also dressed up for the evening.
Julie was generous enough to let me keep the pearls leftover from the project, so I have made some earrings to sell in my shops (I am keeping a pair too!). Another lovely thing to match pearls with is oxidized silver, so I put them with some teardrops of dotted wire which really brings out their colour and smoothness.
Moonlit Pearl earrings are for sale in my Etsy, Folksy, Dawanda and All Things Original shops (links to the right).
I so enjoyed working with these beautiful beads, I love coming across finds like this!
We've been growing our own for a few years now and we are getting the hang of it with things we have grown before. This year our sucesses are purple basil, oregano, the chili plant, rhubarb, courgettes and hopefully the tomatoes - no harvest of those yet.
Super fail has been the beans (just leaves, no buds?), spuds (too dry, very small spuds) and raspberries (just super duper fail, birds aren't even eating the meagre fruits).
Also our plum trees are doing really really well, we'll have lots of them in a couple of weeks (hopefully the wasps won't get there first), and blackberries are looking well for the Autumn. I'll be making more jam again!
We are hoping to grow into autumn too, with some leeks going in this week, and I need to research whether I am too late for autumn squashes.