Thursday, 15 March 2018

Homemade Pikelets & Crumpets

Now having lived as an ex pat I am fully aware that we in the UK perplex most of the rest of the world in many ways but in my experience our inability to decide on one word for something is up there as one of the most unfathomable British traits.

Is it a snicket, a ginnel, a passageway, a back passage or an alley? Is it a barm, a bap, a muffin, a cob or a roll. So too we have the great pikelet debate, not so much a debate as Google search nightmare. Picture the scene a pikelet loving young maiden with culinary skills in her Paris apartment longing for a pikelet. She wanders to the internet and searches for a recipe only to be met with endless recipes that are not pikelets. Let me clear this up for everyone right now a pikelet is not a drop scone or a scotch pancake, (they are of course the same thing too with different names). A pikelet is a flat crumpet no argument or debate needed.
Now as it turns out the art of crumpet making is not a big thing anymore so I had to turn to an old recipe book of yesteryear, I collect these. I found a crumpet recipe, success! I had to make a few adjustments because buying fresh yeast is not as commonplace as it once was. When we were snowed in in Yorkshire last week I made a mountain of these, the pile you see in the photo was the tip of the iceberg but fear not they freeze, hurrah! Here is my updated pikelet and crumpet recipe.

you will need;

450g strong bread flour
14g fast acting dried yeast
300ml warm milk (or plant based alternative)
300ml warm water 
pinch of salt
  1. Mix all of the dried ingredients together in a large mixing bowl, the mixture will rise quite a bit so the bigger the bowl the better.
  2. Warm the water and milk so that it is tepid. Pour into a well in the centre of the dry ingredients.
  3. Whisk until the batter is smooth.
  4. Leave in a warm place, by a radiator for example until the batter has doubled in size and filled with lots of bubbles. 
  5. Heat a pan. The old recipe I found said a cast iron skillet but I used a non stick pancake pan so I think you have some wriggle room there.
  6. Drop a tiny amount of oil on the pan and mop most of it up with kitchen roll.
  7. Drop around a tablespoon of mixture down and spread it out in a circular motion. Then wait for the bubbles to appear and pop on the surface. Cook until the underside is quite brown. Flip for a couple of seconds just to colour the top. Set aside and repeat.
  8. To make crumpets grease a crumpet ring, fill with the batter and cook both sides.
  • Important notes. You will need to keep adjusting the temperature as you want them to be in a hot pan but not too hot or you do not get the bubbles appearing and popping.
  • If you make the crumpets turn the pan down to a lower temperature than you will need for the pikelets to make sure that they cook all the way through. 
  • You may need to re oil the pan at some point whilst cooking off the batter.
  • They freeze nicely and can be heated up in the grill, serve with butter this is mandatory.
  • I have not added a number that this mixture makes as the amount dropped from the spoon is not an exact science but it it a lot.
So now I have put the great pikelet debate to rest I am off to the UN to see if I can help with anything there.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

5 Ways To Dress A Window

how to dress a window interior design
When it comes to dressing a window we tend to stick to the safe zone - off the peg curtains, how boring. Well what if I told you you don't have to have curtains at all and you can still have a well dressed window. In fact bad curtains or curtains that are the wrong length can completely ruin a room, I ranted about curtains being the wrong length in this post. I have teamed up with Thomas Sanderson to talk you through some of the various non curtain options of window dressing with you.
how to dress a window interior design
First of all let's talk about small and short windows. Yes you can get short curtains for those windows but please don't they look silly. My advice is to consider blinds for these windows. As the majority of blinds fit neatly inside the window space it is a great way of combating small windows in a crisp stylish way. It is also a fun way to add a pop of colour to a room.
how to dress a window interior design
When you have a dark area in your home you may not want to block too much of the light but a window that has noting on it always makes a room look unfinished to me. In those cases it is time to really think outside the box. In our Paris apartment I used driftwood to dress the courtyard window. You can read about how I did that in more detail here.
how to dress a window interior design
When you have a window with lots of light you can fully embrace your inner Urban Jungle Blogger and fill it with plants. They will thrive in the sunshine, (unless you pick shade lovers - so don't do that). The plants will provide a beautiful organic screen to your window. How wonderful to have a window that will grow and change over time.
how to dress a window interior design
My all time interior design hero Justina Blakeney gathered some lovely examples of using throws, blankets, hangings etc as bohemian window dressings. Using this method you can add instant personality to your home and you can also drape the fabric in such a way that it adds interest and privacy so it is both beautiful and practical.
how to dress a window interior design
Lets look at the last problem window now - skylights. Having a slanted window limits your options. In this case a window blind is the perfect choice. Thomas Sanderson have a great range day/night blinds. These blinds are perfect for a skylight as they allow you to diffuse strong sunlight during the day and block the outside world at night.

This was a sponsored post but all opinions are honest and my own.

My Birthday Wishlist

A little while ago I did a round up of gifts that a new mother really wants and then lots of my friends bought said gifts and felt embarrassed like I had been passively aggressively hinting through my blog. Of course this is all linked to my being unable to accept a gift graciously. So as my birthday is on Saturday I feel there is no time to shop therefore I can make this post guilt free as it is just fun to do a shopping round up every so often and what better excuse than a birthday.

also check out the moody image of me looking out of the window, I think I was just not in the mood to have my photo taken, I rarely am, this was the best of a bad bunch but it makes me look like I should be on an album covers of deep and sad songs not really a birthday vibe - unless you are really down about getting older.
1. I have seen these two Sarah Knight books pop up all over social media and blogs for a while now and I am ready to give them a go especially as this year I am going to read more non fiction. 

2. I have made pasta before but I am looking to up my game and I also LOVE everything in Lakeland

3. I never really wear matching earrings as I have 5 holes so I love these from Oliver Bonas. it is hard not to buy everything in there. 

4. If anyone tells you you do not need green shoes they are wrong. I do not care that they are clunky M&S shoes wide fit are really comfy and I need that in my life, plus look how green.

5. This year I am trying to make a real effort to just chill out, it is not going well so I am thinking about getting into smelly shit and hope that this will help.....I will keep you posted on my success. Either way this diffuser is very stylish 

FYI I also want a wheelbarrow and some garden pots but those wishes do not make for pretty blog posts

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

A Year Of Photos Taken By My Toddler

Even before becoming a blogger I have always been obsessed with photography and hardly ever go a day without taking a picture on at least one device so the fact that Sebastian became obsessed too was not a shock. Children learn by copying, what they see you do they want to emulate so craft, DIY, gardening, cooking and of course photography are all high on his agenda. The thought of letting him hold my very expensive and very heavy DSLR was not an option so from around 15 months I let him use my Diana Lomo camera. It is plastic, even the lens is plastic so far easier for him to handle. The results were actually really impressive and I will share them I just need to get round to scanning in the negatives.

After a while his thirst for taking images was getting too expensive for film so I looked around at kiddo cameras and came away unimpressed. I managed to find a decent point and shoot on Amazon marketplace for £30 and bought it. I let him roam free with it and neglectfully I never really checked what images he was taking until last week when I downloaded all of the images onto my laptop and the results are actually quite amazing. I am wondering if I should get them printed into a photobook for him, what do you think?

There are selfies of course, even reflections of himself Vivian Maier style. I loved seeing how our home and world looks from his perspective. There are a number of shots of adults talking that make you feel like a toddler again when you see them. I also love some of the shots he took of me pregnant and even the towels in a pile the day his baby brother was born in the living room.

So here is a year in the life from the point of view of a short toddler (I have picked my favourites there are in fact over 700 images).