Musings of a tired mummy…zzz…

My very own website!!! Yikes!

April A to Z gluten free vegetarian treats: U is for upside down cake

Another British classic that I’ve never made before! This was another bit hit with the kids (so basically anything with cake in it is a winner!)

Ingredients
butter (for greasing the dish)
2 tablespoons caster sugar
6 slices canned pineapple in juice (plus 3 tablespoons of the juice)
100g self raising flour
100g butter or soft margarine
100g caster sugar
2 eggs

Method
Butter the dish and sprinkle the 2 tablespoons of sugar on top.
Arrange the pineapple slices into a pretty pattern (or not!).

Whisk the butter, sugar and eggs for 2-3 minutes until smooth.
Fold in the flour.
Pour in the 3 tablespoons of pineapple juice to thin it a little (gluten free flour absorbs more liquid so needs extra).

Pour this mixture carefully over the pineapple rings.
Bake for 30 minutes at GM5, then remove from the oven and turn out onto a plate for serving.


How can Artificial Hedge mats and Greenery save you money?

We have been tempted by the first signs of spring here in the UK at last! I am not at all green-fingered so Chris takes on responsibility for the gardening.

I never really considered the expense of owning a garden before we actually had one! Tools, lawn mowers, storage. Plants, vegetables, and – as you may have seen on my Instagram – fruit trees. The financial cost adds up as well as the cost of time which needs to be spent making it child- and dog-friendly.
In these days of money worries and the time pressures we all face, there are certainly many ways where we can make savings. Circumstances arise, situations change and suddenly all those savings need to be carefully implemented. If you are looking to save on something then changing your landscaping with artificial hedge mats and greenery is certainly one thing you can consider.
Potential savings:
Water: Water is a valuable asset. Around 71% of the Earth’s surface is water-covered. While we have plenty around us there still seems to be a hosepipe ban every year! One approach to lessen the requirement for water is to get faux outdoor greenery like plants, hedges and trees. Unlike genuine plants, you will not be requiring the hose to keep them alive or worry about looking after them while away on holiday! We had a meter installed last year so a reduced water bill would be lovely…

Landscaping Services: Many homes and commercial establishments have gardens, however, because of an absence of time, these patio nurseries frequently look a bit neglected. Fake boxwood hedges can help with adding life to any open-air space. The mats, rolls, and panels are splendid in shading, giving you a realistic green look and feel as well as providing sun, wind and rain protection. As a consequence of the decorative elements being simulated, you will spare yourself from booking an unreasonable greenhouse landscape service. Additionally, you can save yourself the bother of purchasing all the additional gardening instruments.
Green waste: When you consider hedges or bushes or even ivy, numerous households trim back their plants several times each year. By getting fake plants, you can expand the space you have in your green bin for things like the grass cuttings. Or you could re-purpose your green bin as a compost bin or manure container. I couldn’t believe that we as homeowners have to pay for a green bin and collection!

Fencing costs: Instant fake hedge panels and topiary plants like Silk Plants Direct’s fake boxwood ball are perfect for commercial spaces and also homes. They improve privacy and security without the costly expenses of fencing and paying for someone to install.
These are just some of the money saving fundamentals you can get once you have equipped your garden with artificial greenery and boxwood topiaries, but along with these you also get the benefits of product durability and investment in your time.
Product specifications are as follows:
Artificial Hedge
Silk Plants Direct’s faux Boxwood Hedge is made-to-order and made to your exact size requirements. They can accommodate virtually any size, application or shape. Also, they can custom make any planter or base desired. If you have a site that requires a custom size artificial boxwood hedge, Silk Plants Direct is your number one choice for the best-constructed hedge in the USA.
Artificial Boxwood Mat
Fake Boxwood Mat is created in a 12″ x 12″ square panel and can be cut, bent, and adhered to virtually any surface whether flat or contoured. Their Boxwood Mat is ideal for walls, ceilings or any other surfaces that could use a lifelike restoration. If you have a site that requires a custom wall made from artificial boxwood mat, you can buy it here.
Artificial Boxwood Screens
Their Boxwood Screen is designed on a 4’ x 7’ rectangular galvanized metal screen and is excellent for large scale applications where installations are made quick with large panels.
Artificial Boxwood Rolls
The Boxwood Roll is available by the linear foot and comes in widths of 2’, 3’ and 4’.
I am so disappointed that this is not yet available in the UK. Silk Plants Direct also have indoor plants which are something that our house is completely lacking 🙁

*collaborative post


April A to Z gluten free vegetarian treats: T is for tiramisu

OMG this is incredible! I can’t begin to tell you how good this was!

As a child, I adored sponge fingers but – as with so many gluten free options – they are so expensive to buy if you can even find them 🙁 The sponge in this tiramisu resembles the sponge fingers of my youth, yay!
Mine was drowned in coffee because the first piece of sponge absorbed all of the liquid before I could scoop it out. The kids loved it even with the strong coffee flavour, yay and also boo for having to share…

Ingredients
For the sponge
1 egg separated
25g caster sugar
25g plain flour and half a teaspoon baking powder
For the mascarpone cream
2 eggs, separated
25g icing sugar
200g mascarpone or cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract
200ml strong coffee cooled (you may not need it all)
cocoa to sprinkle on top (and I also used cocoa coffee beans)
 
Method
For the sponge: whisk the egg whites until stiff.
In another bowl, beat together the egg yolk and sugar.
Add a little of the egg white to loosen the mix, then fold in half of the flour, then half of the egg white. Repeat so all is combined.
Pour into the tin (I used 20cm square) and bake for 20 minutes at GM5.
Remove from the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack.

To make the mascarpone cream, beat the egg whites until stiff.
In another bowl, beat the egg yolks with the icing sugar until creamy.
Add the cream cheese and vanilla and beat until smooth.
Fold in half of the egg whites and then the other half.

Put a thin layer of the cream at the bottom of the dish.
Cut the sponge into pieces (I cut into 4).

Dip pieces of sponge into the coffee and put into the dish. Top with a layer of cream and repeat.
Sprinkle with cocoa powder and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours then eat!


April A to Z gluten free vegetarian treats: S is for Scotch pancakes

I love Scotch pancakes but am seriously annoyed about having to pay at least twice the price for half the number of pancakes just because they are wheat free.

I often make pancakes but have never tried Scotch ones because for some reason I had it in my head that they were too tricky. WRONG!

Ingredients
100g plain flour
50g caster sugar
1 egg
75ml milk
Oil for frying

Method
Combine the flour and sugar in a bowl.
In a jug, whisk the egg and milk together then pour into the dry ingredients.
Mix and beat well until you have a smooth batter.
Heat a little oil in a frying pan.

Ladle a tablespoon of batter into the pan and it should spread out by itself (I’m sure supermarkets must have special ring things to get the perfect circles)
Cook until the pancake starts to bubble then turn it over and cook the other side.
If you are confident you can make several at a time in a large frying pan but I wasn’t so did them one at a time 🙂 The pancakes tasted just like shop-bought ones: I’ll be making these again soon!


Congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge: if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything!

Yesterday I wasted a good part of the day pressing refresh on the BBC website to see if Catherine Duchess of Cambridge had given birth to her third child.
Poor woman (her not me!) with the eyes of the world waiting outside while she is in labour. I wondered – as I did during her previous labours – whether she watched any of the news coverage and laughed.

A new baby is a time for celebration but also for worry. The stakes are much higher when you already have children and are aware of the magnitude of the love that you have for your children and the fear of if things go wrong. Birth is tough and scary but also wonderful.
The Duchess has the added pressure of the world watching her every move and judging her. I rolled my eyes when my mum told me that her stylist had arrived at the hospital about 4 hours before the couple emerged with their baby son.
I am a staunch monarchist. I love the institution and love my country.
However I was shocked at the hatred and spite that were rife on social media yesterday. I wrote a tweet about being excited about the royal baby and someone asked me if I was mentally unstable!

Others used the event to make political comment. I understand that not everyone is in favour of the monarchy but this is a woman giving birth. A new life and a family life changed forever.
I am reminded of Bambi where Thumper is instructed ‘If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all’ (sic). We have a constitution that grants us free speech but with that comes a responsibility to use it wisely. I wish others had shown self restraint yesterday instead of spouting their vitriol to show off.
Yes, there are other news stories which should have been given more air time but this wasn’t the Duke and Duchess’ decision.
Yes, the royals live a privileged life but I wouldn’t want to swap with them! I prefer my simpler life where I can focus on my family out of the public eye.

Yes, thousands of women give birth everyday. But this is a child who will grow up in a world where everyone knows his name and face. A child who will never have privacy. A child who will have duty instilled in him, who will represent his country and his family, who will support and promote charities.
Congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their new prince. Good luck to Prince George and Princess Charlotte who will adore their little brother and be driven mad by him!

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