Lemon Sugar Hand Scrub

19 Jun

The following post is a guest blog by Victoria from the lovely blog Butterfly Crafts:

This time of year means lots of gardening for Mum and I, planting up pots and hanging baskets, putting out vegetables and making garden borders look all pretty and full of colour. Gardening has one downside though, mucky hands and I find harsh cleaners make my hands so sore and dry. A natural exfoliant and cleaner is much more preferable and it is easy to make one with items you probably have in your kitchen cupboards.

Lemon Sugar Hand Scrub

To make this lemon sugar scrub you will need 2.5cups of sugar, 1 cup of extra virgin olive all and 4 tablespoons of lemon juice.

In a bowl, mix the sugar with the olive oil, it will take quite some stirring but will eventually become a gritty paste. Then add in the lemon juice and mix thoroughly. Once the scrub is all mixed together transfer it to a jar with an airtight lid. I used 0.5L jars from ikea.

I find it a good idea to keep the jar with a spoon so that it can be stirred before use and making it a little easy to scoop into your hands.

Both Mum and my sister in law are keen gardeners and I think this scrub would make a great gift for them at Christmas, tied with a ribbon and with a spoon.

I hope you enjoy this scrub as much as I do, I certainly find it makes gardening a little easier knowing I have something great and natural to clean my hands up with afterwards.

Thanks Victoria – be sure to visit Butterfly Crafts for some fab papercraft ideas!

Rose wedding cupcakes

3 Jun

I invited the future Mr and Mrs Boyd* round for dinner yesterday so that they could see a test of their wedding cupcakes for the first time!  Having done both the rose pattern icing and the traditional ‘Mr Whippy’ icing, they decided on the rose style.  The cupcakes also passed the taste test after dinner!

I’d never tried the rose pattern but I saw it was popular with weddings so thought I would give it a go.  It was surprisingly easy – the cake below was only my second ever but it came out well!

Jamie and Alec were impressed, but if you’ve piped a cupcake before, you’ll know that the nozzle does all the hard work really.

Wedding cupcake

How to make:

  • Make your best vanilla cupcakes and buttercream
  • Slowly add Squire’s Kitchen colouring paste in Hydrangea to the buttercream
  • Pipe using 1M Wilton nozzle and disposable bags
  • To make the rose shape, start in the centre: hold down for a few seconds then pipe around the centre of the rose in a circular fashion
  • When you have no more cupcake to ice, stop squeezing the nozzle and gently draw the tail of icing round, making it less visible

*Technically they will be Dr and Dr Boyd as both are doing PhDs!

Birthday pavlova

26 May

I was asked to make a last-minute cake for my uncle’s birthday this weekend, which firstly involved a sneaky text to his fiance to find out what his favourite type of cake is!

If I’m not doing a full-on-traditional fondant iced birthday cake, I find it really important to find out what the birthday person really loves.  And it turns out that my uncle loves pavlova!

Aside from the long time in the oven (1.5 hours plus drying out overnight), pavlovas make very quick and easy birthday cakes.  The only tricky part is not over-whisking your egg whites, but that comes with some good judgement and some guesswork.

I made swirls around the meringue with a skewer and topped the pavlova with black forest fruit – it was lovely to eat a summery cake in the summery weather we had today!

Pavlova

How to bake:

  • Make the meringue base the day before to allow time for drying out
  • On the day, defrost a pack of frozen black forest fruit and drain juices
  • Stir 3-4 tbsp caster or icing sugar into fruit, to taste
  • Whisk double cream until it forms soft peaks
  • Just before serving, top the meringue with the whipped cream and fruit

Whilst researching recipes, I found out the origins of the pavlova – it was made by a restaurant in New Zealand for the Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova!  Many people think it’s Australian, including BBC Good Food themselves, which seems to anger the Kiwis.  I hope this fact wins me a pub quiz one day!

Jammie dodger cupcakes

20 May

My lovely friend and bride-to-be Jamie invited me to her hen do a few weekends ago (although it was renamed ‘duck do’ for her love of ducks) and I decided to surprise her with some jammie dodger cupcakes!

To make them extra special, I wrote her name in biscuits using alphabet icing cutters.  The ducks were very happy with my creation, and most importantly, Jamie absolutely loved them too!

I’ve volunteered to make cupcakes for Jamie’s actual wedding (scary stuff) so expect to see the results here – wish me luck!

Jammie Dodger cupcakes

How to bake:

  • For the jammie dodgers, follow this recipe (Note: the more you work the dough, the less ‘short’/tasty your biscuits will be)
  • Make 12 vanilla cupcakes and when cool, cut the tops as if you were making butterfly cakes
  • Spoon a little warm jam into each hole and put the top back on
  • Ice cupcakes with buttercream and stick a jammie dodger on each one

Alternatively, make slightly smaller jammie dodgers and place on your cupcake like my entry for IronCupcake Leeds:

Jammie dodgers at Iron Cupcake

Brownies in a jar

7 Apr

I love the old-fashioned Kilner style jars (if you’re after a bargain, they’re only £1.45 at Asda) and I found this brilliant idea on Pinterest – everything you need for brownies in a jar!  All your lucky recipient has to do is add butter and eggs for some yummy gooey brownies, and I can testify to their yumminess!

Brownies in a jar

How to make:

Layer the following ingredients in order

  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 0.5 tsp baking powder
  • 95 g self raising flour
  • 35 g cocoa
  • 75 g plain flour
  • 135 g brown sugar
  • 150 g sugar
  • 90 g milk chocolate chips
  • 90g white chocolate chips
  • 90 g milk chocolate chips again (or dried fruit/nuts)

Write on the tag:

Combine the contents of the jar with 150g melted butter and 3 beaten eggs.  Mix well and pour into 20cm square tin.  Bake at 160 degrees for 25-25 minutes. Enjoy warm!

Envelope cushion cover

7 Apr

This week, I’ve been lucky enough to write a guest post on the lovely Craft it. Bake it. blog.  I’ve written a guide to making a personalised cushion cover – no prior sewing experience necessary!  The photo below is my first ever cushion cover, made for my friend Kaz.  Visit Craft it. Bake it. to see what I made for my friend Hannah!

P1010691

How to make:

  • Follow the instructions on Craft It. Bake It.
  • Have fun on your first sewing project
  • Share the results with us!

Easter chocolate torte

28 Mar

This is a quick Easter post for people who need to make a quick Easter dessert this weekend!  This no-cook chocolate torte recipe was super easy and should be very tasty when I take it to our friends’ house tomorrow evening!

Easter torte

How to ‘bake’

  • Follow the BBC Good Food recipe – I used hazelnut syrup instead of coffee/cinnamon
  • Dust with cocoa and create your Easter nest with Flakes and mini eggs
  • Eat leftover mini eggs because it’s Easter!
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