Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Syn-free spaghetti fritters.

Yes, fritters. These are based on Jamie Oliver's street food version, but tweaked to be syn-free on Slimming World.

Makes about 9 fritters.


Spaghetti, cooked and cooled- either leftovers, or cooked especially. You can tweak the recipe to the amount you have. For the purposes of this post I used a 'handful', which made about 9 fritters, and would probably have served 3-4 in a pasta dish.
2 tablespoons very low fat cottage cheese
3 eggs
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
'A' choice amount of cheese, grated- either 28g full fat, 42g reduced fat etc. I used 42g Tesco reduced fat medium hard cheese. If you're clever and can do maths then allow 1-2 fritters per person and calculate the 'a choice' value needed  and add extra cheese to the 9 fritter recipe. I am not clever.
Generous pinch of salt
Herbs or spices to taste- I usually use 2tsp parsley and 2 tsp basil, but today I had run out so used a generous amount of a 'Lousiana Creole' spice mill. If you syn for it a generous dollop of pesto works wonderfully, too.
Sunflower oil frylight. Olive oil frylight will SMOKE and BURN, so avoid!

Cook the spaghetti:


Drain and cool.

In a large mixing bowl add the eggs, garlic, cottage cheese, hard cheese, salt and seasoning.

Mix to a thick lumpy paste like consistency.

Add the spaghetti and mix until it is completely coated.

Hmmm. Looks lovely, eh? ;)

Spray a nonstick frying pan LIBERALLY with frylight. Keep to a medium heat.

Using tongs or two spoons (one to 'wind' and one to dollop) dollop the mixture into the hot pan like so:

After 2-3 minutes the bottom should have set and started to crisp. Using a spatula flip the fritters over.

Once both sides are set simply cook both sides until they are brown and crispy.

Place fritters onto kitchen paper and serve immediately.

The 'proper' way is to eat them wrapped in paper, as a 'fast food'.

So there you go- yummy, cheesy, pasta-y comfort food, and free on green & extra easy. :) You can calorify it up a bit with more cheese, oil instead of frylight etc, but I found the 'full fat' version way, way too heavy. This is my new go-to comfort food. Even the 3 year old likes it.

Flattering. :/

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Now we are Three.

Small Roar turned three this week. We celebrated with a lovely little party and then spent Monday at Thomas Land, based at Drayton Manor. More to follow on that one.

This is the first year I have made SR's cake myself. I had seen at least three of my friends attempt (successfully!) the Rainbow Cake, in both dollop and line form. This really appealed to me- if nothing else it takes the pressure off making a highly decorated cake. The beautiful personalised cake topper from Sarah Designs covered that for me, too.

I used Delia's all-in-one sponge recipe (from her Complete Cookery Course), a set of gel icing colours and my Grandmother's sandwich tins. Struggling against a monster of a migraine and aided with liberal doses of codeine and caffeine I set to work. I used the tutorial and icing recipe from Whisk Kid and lots of moral support from friends who had already made the cake...

Come the day of the party I cut into the cake and...

It was worth the hours of baking, £19 on icing colours and kitchen covered in blue icing for the moment when I held aloft the first piece like a newborn Simba and heard the appreciative 'oooohs' and 'aaaaahs' and one 'she has too much time on her hands'. 

This cake will leave you seeing through time with a numb tongue, but looks amazing.

So, the title of this post. Now we are Three. Three years of being a family, of growing together and teaching each other to grow. Three years of being three.

Friday, 2 September 2011

No sew button bunting

I found myself, at 7:30 am, sitting infront of a pack of felt wondering how on earth I was going to follow up on my impulse-buy notion that it would make excellent and cheap birthday bunting.

By 10:30 I had made the garland above, plus two more long strings of bunting without lettering. Here's how:

BTW- I worked this out all by myself with the help of tea and codeine. If it is the same as someone elses method then hey, great minds think alike. And so do we.

I started off with:
  • scissors
  • 2 12 sheet felt packs, £1 each from Poundland
  • yarn
  • yarn needle
  • jar of random buttons
  • tin of pins
  • pva glue
  • small brush
  • letter stencils, traced from a pattern book and cut out.
Take your sheet of felt.

Fold in half.

Fold in half again and score about half an inch with your fingernail at the crease to leave an indentation.

The indentation will mark the point of your triangle.

With the sheet still folded in half, take another sheet of felt and lay from the outer corner to the indentation:

Cut along side the edge to make one side of your triangle.

Take the felt  sheet and do the same on the other side.

When you cut from indentation to corner again, you will be left with three felt triangle bunting flags and extra felt triangles from the edges. Keep the edging offcuts for later.

Have a cup of tea.

You can now use the offcuts as guides for your other bunting flags. Fold each piece of felt in half first so that you cut three flags at a time.

I was making this bunting for Small Roars birthday party, so wanted to add his name to a section. He has a name that you rarely find printed on anything outside of leftwing political biographies. As a template for the lettering I used the alphabet available in Cath Kidston's 'Make' book.

Traced onto paper:

And then cut out to use as templates.

I matched the flags with a contrasting off cut for the name section.

Pinned the template to the off cut. Cut out, and stuck to the flag with pva glue. You could applique, use wondaweb or hand/machine sew if you're cleverer than me.


This is the point to mention this is not meant to be bunting of any longevity. It is quick, cheap, cheerful and made in a hurry. If I were to make pretty bunting, I would use nicer fabric, pinking shears and my sewing machine but this is the anyone-can-do-it bunting with most of the materials available in your local pound shop. ;)

Then I was stumped. How to link it together without ribbon, cotton tape, ricrac or extra fabric? I looked at the never ending ball of red acrylic yarn. I looked at my button jar.

A plan formed.

It's not sewing so much as threading. I reckon a three year old could do it, so it can't be difficult.

I took yarn, yarn needle and button.

I made the length of yarn three times the width of the flags laid side to side.  I simply threaded it through the first flag, right side up.

Threaded a button, and passed the needle and yarn back through the felt to the back of the flag.

Then I loosely threaded the yarn back through at the other top corner of the flag:

Threaded another button, threaded needle and yarn to the back of the work and joined the next flag by starting the process again.

I had millions of buttons:

And here it is!

The rest of the flags ( I got about 40 from the two packs, and didn't use the black sheets of felt) I strung with buttons and yarn, but no letters.

Not bad for a couple of hours of making it up as I went along!

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Art help!

I am just musing over our bedroom, as it pretty close to how we want it (impractical stripped wooden floor aside, I'll have to make do with carpet). There is, however, a bare wall. It's too close to the en-suite door to hold shelves, so a large print would work perfectly. This is the space:

Please ignore the ugly fan (and carpet)!

The artwork already on the walls are these two framed prints, and I am starting a collection of hearts over the bed:

So, what will work? Obviously I have a thing for muted shades of white with the odd red splash, and literary/ scandinavian themes...

This is still on my 'I want' list:

Literary map from The Literary Gift Company. It is beautiful, in the right tones and reflects a large part of my life (literature).

BUT I also have a thing for folk art. Especially American folk art, like Clare Rojas...

(Pic courtesy of Ikon gallery)

See those colours? Shapes? Figures? patterns? O. M. G. That's the kind of work I would love to own.

I don't know whether the map would work somewhere else in the house (craft room maybe?). I am searching for some Rojas-lite-esque prints, but with no luck.

Any ideas?

Oh dear, a month has passed...

Time is evaporating at the moment. I leap from weekend to weekend in 7 league boots.

Things that have happened:

I have grown more stuff. The peppers were meant to be sweet but are actually spicier than the jalapeno's that they share a pot with. Lovely though.

The pumpkins are taking over the garden. I have 3 plants- one is a small kitchen variety and the other two were from Blackheath Market so lord knows what they'll grow into. The two unknowns are currently 9 feet in length and still growing. I keep catching Dr Roar standing at the top of the garden eyeing them menacingly and threatening them with shears.

I continue to win at baking. This was last weeks garlic and basil focaccia, tweaked from Jamie Olivers basic bread recipe in 'Jamie's Kitchen'. Instead of the olive & tomato topping that Jamie suggests, I whizz up sea salt, black pepper, olive oil, fresh basil (and just about any herb I can get my hands on to be honest) and a metric f*ckton of garlic, and then pour it over the pressed-into-a-tin-with-holes-made-in-it bread dough for the second proving. Then bake and eat warm.

Small Roar and I have bene creative this summer, while the playgroups are closed. We have made miniature gardens...

.. A plaster & paint alphabet and number set....

... and played about in art galleries (Ikon toddler mornings are fabulous & free. Next one is early September). We've had many playdough, cake baking, sandpit, paddling pool and nature walk moments too. He starts Nursery School in September and our play-all-day routine will change to school 5 afternoons a week. I'm a bit sad that his 'babyhood' is now over, but so excited about the next step of the journey.

Speaking of which. Behold, the box of many (icing) colours. I have a plan. It involves cake and food colouring and Small Roar's 3rd birthday (which is only 9 days away!). Not too encouraged by this...

Erk. Good job it's not being used in GREAT QUANTITIES at a childs birthday party then... ;)

Finally, I continue to keep sane due to this:

So glad I conquered my inner defeatist and learnt how to knit. I heard an interesting documentary on Radio 4 about how there's been a middle class shift to 'home creation' as opposed to 'home making' where women (and men) of liberated means focus on their children, home and living space as a place to encourage creativity and security through the re-assessment and re-emergence of traiditional hand crafts. Might be sociological claptrap, but interesting nonetheless.

There have been more developments on the fertility front, but they deserve their own post and are still very much in a state of flux. Bah.