Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Welcome to my Jam Hostel!

Jam Hostel?! Yes: either that, or Mr Yumptatious has sneakily been writing on my forehead 'Please give me homemade jam' whilst I am at one with my slumbers. Again. How else can I explain the current (currant? ouch!) trend of friends giving me homemade jam? I'm not complaining, although I expect to be surfing a wave of sugar for the next few months, so should we meet, don't let the sugar-fuelled tremors scare you. You may want to keep me away from kettles, small children and the elderly (not because I might damage them, just I never know what to say to old people and I may accidently bore them to death with my lack of sparkling repartee. Unless they're into the 'Mighty Boosh' and the early films of Woody Allen, in which case we'll be fine n dandy!)

For those you with short attention spans, here's the first bunch of jam orphans put up for adoption by the wonderful, yet ruthless Helen:

I love their gingham hats! Hamish ate all the quince
jelly: the ONLY jam he likes. I haven't tried the
redcurrant yet.

delicious breakfast of fresh coffee, multigrain bagel with butter and loganberry jam

A decent jam demands a decent jam spoon: this was given to me (and all the other pupils) at primary school to commemorate the wedding of Charles and Di in 1981.
First person to tell me they weren't born then buys me a car.

I then felt suitably jammed up to actually make something!

A Valentine wip (not literally...but its an idea....)

After going through my blog list (not on here but on a now deleted list in my 'Bookmarks') I came across a recipe for some sweet evil, which, of course, I had to make myself. I would post a link, but to be honest, I can't remember where I saw it, but google 'pretzel rolo' and you'll discover it features in many blogs. Fearful as I am of original thought, here is my effort:

do you think I overdid the photo with the Cath Kidston plate and crushed velvet? I tried to get a couple of songbirds to sit near the plate but they were preoccupied with a forgotten glitterball hanging forlornly from a dusty old anglepoise lamp.

Here's how to make them:
  1. preheat oven to 180oc (I have no idea what gas mark that is)
  2. put pretzels onto a lined baking sheet
  3. realise that the reason the pretzels are in the 'be good to yourself' range is because they are half the size of normal pretzels. Put 2 pretzels side by side.
  4. break up a bar of Sainsburys (or any other own brand) chocolate caramel. (there was a Rolo drought in Tonbridge earlier on this week. I guess.) Put one square on a pretzel twin set. Marvel at just how small the pretzels really are.
  5. thwack the goods in the oven. Leave them for about 5 mins but keep checking every 5 seconds for signs of extreme meltdown.
  6. remove from oven just after extreme meltdown has occured: if you haven't said 'ahhh, bollocks!' when you've opened the oven door, you're too early. Great cooking must have an air of failure about it (besides, the burnt caramel tastes delicious when cooled and peeled from the tray)
  7. get your pecans (ooops! forgot to say that you need pecans. Grab anything to hand: Smarties, walnuts, aspirin etc) and squidge one into each chocolate evil, but not too hard else there will be projectile caramelling.
  8. put in the fridge and leave to cool.
  9. pace the kitchen for an hour. Every 10 seconds, open the fridge door and poke the nearest evil with your finger to see if its set. You may want to ask your evils questions for the last 10 minutes such as 'Are you ready yet?!', 'How do I know when you're ready?' and 'Feeling lucky today, punk?!'
  10. eat straight off baking sheet, preferably before the kids / husband /dietician comes home.

Yesterday, the beautiful and marvellous KT came over with a hamper of homemade wonders and shop-bought trinkets-'o'-joy:

she had filled it with tissue so it looked all profesh and snuggly but I heartlessly put it in the recycling.
The big jar has Sunset Chai mix in it from the Happy Campers book (see my book list) and the jams are cranberry, apple + blackberry, plum+ apple, and pumpkin + ginger.

We then spent the afternoon doing what we have always done best: eat, drink tea and talk: bliss!

delicious fresh Scotch eggs with KT's spiced plum chutney, my evil brownies

KT's white chocolate and cranberry cookies: you cannot have just one. Or just five. I think she's put drugs in them: something addictive like crack or Calpol.

So who's coming round for tea next?

Friday, 4 January 2008

Happy New Year and all that jazz

OK: its a new year and with it come implausible promises of self-improvement and life enhancement. This year, mine are quite simple:
  1. I shall blog every Friday, unless the computer dies, my fingers fall off, I lose my memory and exist in some strange 'Desperately Seeking Susan'-style parallel universe (set in the 80's when the t'interweb was but a geeks wet dream, therefore I wouldn't know what the heckadoodle a 'blog' was, let alone have the technological means to write one), or I don't want to. Or a combination of the above.
  2. I will not lose weight, but I aim to increase my fitness level. This shouldn't be too tricky as I am doing nowt at the mo. My mind is less likely to implode when I get my body moving, so this would be a good idea.
  3. I will not attempt to grow my hair long. It will never be as thick as it was when I was a kid, and therefore I will always be disappointed.
  4. I will NOT stop dyeing it: I know I'm 36 but I am NOT ready for grey hair. Yet.
  5. I need to gain some self control over my brain: my current 5 minute attention span is not doing me any favours. Any suggestions?
  6. I will push my own creative boundaries, maaaan. This doesn't mean that the house of yumptatious will be full of items that make you gasp 'How the hell did she do that?!' but will be full of things I'm trying out.
  7. I should pin my Mum down and get her to teach me to knit and crochet. Again. I think this may be the 4th time...
  8. I will attempt to read more books (see point 5)
  9. I will try and remember people's birthdays and send/make cards and gifts.
  10. I will attempt to celebrate things more: life is short, it is often tedious and frustrating so lets make a big effort and a happy, colourful fuss for those times when it isn't!

Now please charge your mugs and join me in a toast:

Happy New Year!!!