Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Untimely Cucumber Pickles

The timing of this blog post is slightly bad in light of recent news/scare stories. But if you buy some lovely local cukes like I did then you will be fine, I'm sure. Trust me, I'm not a Doctor.

There is another disclaimer that goes with this blog post, I don't like cucumber.
There is something about the odd watery taste of cucumber that just sets my teeth on edge. But pickling it in rice vinegar, herbs and chilis takes away the odd unfinished flavour of cucumber. It might sound odd but I know what I mean.

This recipe is super easy, no cooking required, just some slicing and pouring and waiting.

Cucumber Pickles
fills one 250ml kilner jar

1 whole cucumber
1/2 red chili or pinch of chili flakes
handful of soft herbs - thyme, oregano, basil, coriander
100ml of rice wine vinegar or white wine vinegar
1/2 tablespoon of caster sugar
pinch of salt

Slice your cucumber thinly into coins, about 1/2 cm thick, and then half the coins into half moons. Salt them and leave them for about 10 minutes in a colander over a bowl. This will remove some of the water from them so you get nice crunchy pickles. Rinse under cold water.

Layer up the cucumber neatly in a wide mouthed glass jar, a kilner jar is great. In between the layers put in the herb leaves and chili so it is well incorporated. Mix the vinegar and caster sugar together until the sugar dissolves. Then pour into the jar slowly so it reaches all the cucumber. If you find you don't have quite enough vinegar just add a bit more on top.

Seal and leave in the fridge. They are ready to eat after about 2-3 hours, and keep for about 2 weeks in the fridge. And like most pickles they are really good after a few days.

I am mainly eating mine at lunchtimewith cous cous and vegetables, but I am sure they are fantastic with a nice burger.

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The British Larder, Suffolk

The British Larder blog has been one of my favourites for a long time, I love the recipes and the focus on local food, as well as the stunning photography. When I heard they had opened a pub restaurant last year it was on my list of places to go.

It is about an hour and a half from Cambridge, two if you go the scenic route (and your sat nav diverts you through all the horrible bank holiday traffic in Ipswich), so we tied it in with a trip to Orford and Aldeburgh for foodie shopping and a walk on the coastline.

We ate in the bar and had a deli board each, which is a really good way to sample all the different flavours the British Larder has to offer. They are incredibly well thought out and everything is perfectly made, exceptional. And for £12 they are really reasonably priced.

I had the Dingley Dell Pork Tasting Board which featured the most impressive scotch egg I've ever seen and tasted. Shredded slow cooked pork with a perfectly cooked egg and crispy exterior. My platter also had a chicken and pork terrine, puy lentil and ham hock salad, the most beautiful celeriac remoulade (with whole mustard seeds in, something I am going to do next time I make it), a vibrant and sweet pea and ham soup, locally made bread (from the Pump Street Bakery) and a perfect green salad.

The husband had the vegetarian deli board which was also excellent. Aubergine and tomato cavair, pearl barley salad, gorgeous spiced sweetcorn fritters, Suffolk Gold cheddar straws, olives, broad bean and white bean hummus, homemade tomato mayonnaise (I didn't let him call it burger sauce!) more local bread and that lovely green salad again.

The little additions like the mixture of different breads, soft creamy butter and perfectly cooked thinly sliced beetroot were lovely.

Naturally I had to opt for pudding, I always leave room. I picked what was hailed as their 'famous' treacle tart, and it was amazing. It was huge, just the thing for a pudding lover like me. Served with white chocolate ice cream and caramel sauce. The inside of it was lightly spiced, it reminded me of the Indian dessert 'gulab jambu' - which is a pretty impressive thing to achieve in a treacle tart.

We also had coffee and tea which was served with little cocoa dusted meringues.

We will definitely be going back, the Sunday roast looks fantastic, the British Larder hasn't been open long and I think is still getting its name out there, so go and support them, everything is as local as possible and cooked perfectly. I can't wait to go again!

We also visited Orford whilst we were there for bagels and doughnuts from the Pump Street Bakery and scallops from Pinneys of Orford. And then on to Aldeburgh for goodies from Lawsons Deli. A lovely day out! Suffolk has fantastic food.

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Friday, 27 May 2011

Giveaway - Win a Caramel Pearl Bracelet

To kick of wedding season I am doing a giveaway...
This is not something I do very often so it is extra special (well I think so!)

This lovely bracelet worth £45 is part of my bridal range, and would also look lovely for the mother of the bride too.  It is made from caramel coloured glass pearls and handcrafted gold fill circles linked together. 

To be in with a chance to win please leave a comment below telling me which item is your favourite from my Etsy shop and your email address. 

You will receive extra entries for:

Liking my page on Facebook

Tweeting my giveaway

click above or use the words:
"I have just entered the giveaway to win a Caramel Bracelet on @lazygiraffe 's blog  http://t.co/Sp5A8zw"

Just let me know you have in the comments.

I will pick a winner at random on the 3rd June.Comments will close at 5pm GMT.

good luck!

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Thursday, 26 May 2011

Candied Ginger Brownies

You'd think I would have enough brownie recipes on here but I don't think there is such a thing as too many brownie recipes, or too many brownies!

Lately I have been more of a fan of brownies with things in them, before I was more of a chocolate nut and just wanted them to be as chocolatey as possible - which is obviously no bad thing either. But sometimes it is fun to experiment!

Spiced brownies are lovely and these candied ginger ones give you a good hit of ginger in each bite, and a bit of texture from the candied coating.

If you really like ginger I would make your pieces big but if you don't chop them up finer than I did, it will all work out fine either way. These are semi gooey brownies, with a nice crisp top.

100g good quality (70% cocoa or more) dark chocolate
70g butter
100g caster sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
75g self raising flour
1 tsp of baking powder
25g cocoa (or just use more flour)
100g candied ginger, chopped

Preheat your oven to 400f, 200c (180c fan) or gas mark 6

Break your chocolate into pieces and melt together with the butter in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, stirring frequently.
Take the bowl off the heat, leave to cool for a few minutes and then add in sugar and then your eggs one at a time.
Then add in the vanilla. Sift in the rest of the dry ingredients and fold together.
Then carefully fold in your chopped candied ginger, saving some for the top.

Pour into a non stick or greased and lined 9 inch square cake tin and sprinkle over the rest of the ginger. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

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Tuesday, 24 May 2011

25% off on Folksy

If you head on over to my Folksy shop this week I'll refund you 25% off all jewellery.


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Monday, 23 May 2011

weekend pictures

Even though it has been hot for about 2 months now it really feels summery now that strawberries are in season. I got my first fruit and vegetable box from Walden Local Food and it contained a lovely punnet of strawberries which were eaten up in minutes! This weekend our little Flossie kitten turned 1 year old, no longer a kitten *sniff*.
I did lots and lots of cooking over the weekend so I have some recipes coming up this week - elderflower cordial (to be bottled tonight, hope it has worked out!), brownies, pad thai and cucumber pickle.

Watch this space!

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Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Elderflower Fritters - version 2

It's elderflower season!

Well strictly speaking it isn't but the whether has been so warm lately that elderflowers are blooming nearly more than a month early. I know this because I made fritters in late June last year. 

They were so good that I couldn't wait to get my hands on some more this year, so I am glad they are early.

Elderflowers grow almost everywhere so you shouldn't have too much trouble finding your own in the countryside.  I am lucky, I have a tree in my garden!

I am waiting for some more to bloom so I can make cordial too. So check back for a post on that.

Last time I made fritters they were nice but the batter was a little dense and my technique wasn't so great so they weren't all that pretty. I replaced some of the milk for sparkling water this time around, giving them a light batter, much like you would use for tempura.

Elderflower Fritters - serves 2 / makes 6 fritters

6 heads of elderflower - checked for bugs

50ml of milk
100ml of sparkling water
100g of self raising flour
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 egg

ground nut or sunflower oil for frying

Use your elderflowers as soon as you've picked them, if left too long they start to smell strange and lose their floral scent. Check them for any bugs but do not wash them otherwise you'll lose all the lovely pollen, which is where the flavour is.

To make your batter mix together the milk, water and then the egg. Slowly whisk in your flour, salt and baking powder until you have a loose batter - the consistency of single cream. Add more water if necessary.

Heat about 2-3 inches of oil in a large saucepan. Pop a bit of batter in after about 2 minutes to check if it is hot enough.

Dip your elderflower head in and twist slowly to make sure it is fully battered, then pull out and let the excess batter drip off. Carefully put into the hot oil - if you keep the stems long when picking you will have something to hold on to. Fry in batches for a few minutes until golden brown, drain on kitchen paper.

I like to serve them drizzled with honey and with a scoop of ice cream.

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Tuesday, 17 May 2011

15% off on Dawanda - All Week

Hello blog readers!

Just to let you now I am running a sale in my Dawanda shop all week - 15% off everything.

The prices are already adjusted. 
Dawanda is in Euros but you can pay via PayPal in any currency.

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Monday, 16 May 2011

Lemon & Ricotta Breakfast Muffins

I called these muffins so you can eat them for breakfast.
I am kind to you like that.

I made these for three reasons.

1. I had a lot of lemons
2. I wanted to test out my new silicone cupcake breakfast muffin cases

3. I like to eat cake for breakfast.

On a serious note, they do have much less sugar than a cupcake, and of course no icing or buttercream -they aren't particularly sweet, so add more if you want a sweet muffin. They are lovely split open and served with some natural yoghurt and honey.

Lemon & Ricotta Muffins
makes 12 muffins

1 cup (200g) of self raising flour
1/4 (50g) cup of sugar
half teaspoon of baking powder
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons of honey
1/2 (100g) cup of ricotta
1/4 (50ml) cup of milk
3 tablespoons of melted and cooled butter (approx 75g solid)
1 egg
zest of 3 lemons, juice of 2
oats or wheatgerm to sprinkle on top - optional

Preheat your oven to gas mark 4 / 180c / 160c fan.
Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Do the same with the wet ingredients and the egg, whisk them together. Slowly fold the wet into the dry, taking care not to over mix.

do you like my silicone cupcake liners? fancy and useful.

Fill the cupcake cases generously with the mixture, about 1 cm from the top - you want them to rise high.
Sprinkle with some oats or wheatgerm if you'd like.

Bake for 15 - 20 minutes until they are cooked through.

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Friday, 6 May 2011

20% off Weekend

On All Jewellery, All Weekend On Etsy!
And all the prices are adjusted, no need to enter a code.

Happy shopping and hope you have a lovely weekend!


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Thursday, 5 May 2011

Lemon Bars for UK Handmade Summer Issue


I have been a bit quiet on the blog front recently, I have just started a new job and still getting into the swing of things. Also I had a rotten stomach bug last week which left me with nearly a whole week off unable to bake anything!

I did however recently write a recipe for the UK Handmade summer issue, some gloriously summery lemon bars. It is on page 47, please have a read and the rest of the magazine is just beautiful this month.

I will be back very soon with some new recipes :)


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