Afghan biscuits





I have a little biscuit book, it really is tiny, about a 1/4 size of an A4 piece of paper and I remember it from when I was a child.  I am not sure where we got it from, but it is filled with splendid biscuit and cookie recipes and the pictures make your mouth water.  Anyways, I have only every baked one recipe out of it and while leafing through the pages came across this recipe.  It sounded so simple and easy and delicious so I thought I would give them ago.

These biscuits have a lot of butter and a little sugar making them soft, dense and rich and then you get the delightful crunchiness from the cornflakes.  The sweet icing just tops it off perfectly.  They originate from New Zealand but no one knows where they derive from.

Give them a go, I will be honest with you.  I baked 12 and had eaten 5 of them before I had iced them.  They really are so moreish and scrummy.  I didn't top them with the traditional walnut, simply because I didn't have any plus I am not the biggest nut fan.

Afghan Biscuits
Makes 30

Ingredients

:: For the biscuits ::
225g butter
90g caster sugar
200g flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
50g cornflakes

:: For the icing ::
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon boiling water
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
180g icing sugar
a few drops vanilla extract
30 walnut halves

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar.  Sift in the flour and cocoa and then add the cornflakes.  Mix well.  Add spoonfuls onto a greased and lined baking tray and bake at 180 degrees for about 10-15 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.

For the icing, melt the butter on a low heat and remove once melted.  Add the water, cocoa, icing sugar and vanilla and beat until thick and glossy.  Ice the cookies once cooled and press a half a walnut onto each.

Enjoy and Happy Friday!

♥♥♥

Sea field and tribe :: 3 year blogiversary


It is amazing how you can meeting such wonderful people through blogging.  I can't remember exactly how I stumbled across Chelsea's blog, I think it was through one of her clever DIY tutorials or a tasty recipe.  I love reading her blog and about her travels.  I have great admiration for Chelsea and the work she does.

So to celebrate her 3 year blogiversary, she is holding an AMAZING giveaway where you have the chance to win a giveaway package worth $200! The winner will be able to choose their $100 giftcard to any company they desire; and they also win a $50 store credit to the lovely LilyEmme Jewelry and a $50 e-giftcard to the adorable ballet flats boutique, Tieks.  Pretty damn cool.

It is so easy to enter, just use the rafflectoper gadget below.  It really is that simple.  And why not say hi to Chelsea over on her blog.  You can also find her on twitter, instagram and facebook.

Good Luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jack: 8 months









I really think this past month has been the greatest fun.  Jack has become this little person now who is totally and utterly adorable.  I know I am biased but seriously he is the best.  He is a mover now, not officially crawling yet but commando crawls or rolls everywhere and pulls himself up onto everything by any means!  We put the stair gates up this weekend so we are ready for the next stage.  It is hard to believe 8 months have gone by so quickly.

Now we have Jack on some ranitidine (for reflux), he is sleeping way better but still wakes at night to feed.  But thats fine with me because he isnt waking and screaming the place down.  He laughs SO much everyday, it really is a joy to my ears.  And since he is a little mover it is becoming harder and harder to plop him down on his mat or in his bedroom and go do something.  You have to watch this kid like a hawk because he is into everything.  He has taken to shoes, my hairbrush and the will not stay away from the monitor in his room, he loves to feel the cats fur and they are very gentle with him.  He loves his porridge, sweet potato and devours a piece of toast.  He loves to sit outside and feel the grass on his feet.  He lifts his hands up to be picked up now.  And is drinking a lot of water from his sippy cup (always a good thing to learn from a young age in my books).  He is making "mama" and "dada" sounds but more sounds than words I think.  He loves to swim and bath time is still a hit.  He is growing fast, I am going to have to do a clear out of his wardrobe again soon.  I get a bit sad actually when he grows out of a favourite top, especially ones that I remember buying when I was pregnant.  Phew, I cannot tell you how weird it is to see this babe grow so quickly in front of our eyes.  I always remember wishing time would go faster when I was younger but now I just want it to slow down!

I am still feeding Jack and don't really want to stop anytime soon to be honest.  I had the end of October in my mind but it is just so easy to breastfeed plus it is such a comfort for Jack too.  So we will see - we are going away in October for a few days to Ireland (just me & the babe, should be fun!! eeeeek!) and then we are away for nearly 3 weeks in November when to go to Cape Town and then away again for Christmas in Ireland.  I do wonder if it is easier to breastfeed when travelling as then you do not have to worry about bottles etc.  Anyone have any experience or advice on this?

As I have said before, I am just cherishing each and every day with this cherub and Jack, as I say every time when I write these posts....you are the light of our lives and we ADORE you.  We love you to the moon and back my boy.

♥♥♥

A day in the life of a stay at home mom

Being a stay at home mom is awesome.  Everyday I wake up and I am super grateful for being able to have a year off.  It really is the most amazing thing to be able to do and I love every (well almost every!) minute of it.  But let me let you into a little secret, while it is awesome and cool and all of that it is also hard work people.  Especially if you are lacking on the sleep side of things and there are chores to be done and you have a teething baby.  But you learn how to cope and you just get on with it.  Plus, you also have your relaxing days, where you take it slow, you stick the TV on and you let the washing up wait until later on.

Here is a typical day for me and Jack if we are just staying at home and don't have any plans, I try to have 1 or two days a week like this otherwise I just get too tired plus I LOVE being at home, I am a through and through homebody and not ashamed to admit it.  I love to potter and faff and bake and organise so it suits me well.
 A day in the life of Claire & Jack (9th September 2014)
========================================================================
5:45am :: Jack wakes, I feed him and we fall back to sleep
7:10am :: Mani starts to get ready for work and we both wake up
7:20am :: Nappy change & play time on the bed with Dad, I make Mani's lunch and wash up
7:45am :: Head downstairs for breakfast, porridge & mashed banana
8:00am :: Back upstairs to get dressed, Jack plays in his cot while I shower and get ready
8:20am :: Playtime on his mat in the lounge while I do some laundry and various bits and bobs
9:00am :: Jack starts to get tired so I feed him and he goes down for a nap.  YAY!  I pop the kettle on, look at my to do list and decide to write a letter to a friend with my cup of tea.
9:45am :: Jack wakes up, nappy change and then he sits in his high chair in the kitchen with some rice cakes while I wash up and make some cookie dough.  He gets a bit bored after a while so I pop him in the ergo so he can watch what I am doing.  He loves to bake ♥
10:45am :: Go out for a walk in the village, post a letter & pop in at the play bus.
11:35am :: Come home, hang up the laundry outside and then change Jack's nappy
12:00pm :: Lunch time!  Jack has pasta & cheese for the first time and devours it.  He also has some pureed carrot and a biscotti.
12:30pm :: Upstairs for a feed and another nap.  I so some paperwork and admin stuff and have some lunch.
1:25pm :: Jack starts to stir, I head upstairs, and he always is waiting for me with his head peaking out above the cot bumper and his hands holding onto the bars. It melts my heart everytime!  We have some play time in the lounge and facetime my mom.
2:05pm :: We cut and bake the cookies and tidy the kitchen while Jack is in the carrier.  (I seem to tidy the kitchen a lot but somehow it gets messy very quickly!!)  I then cut and peel some apples & pears & pop them on the stove to make Jack some puree.
2:55pm ::  Jack starts to get tired again so we head upstairs and I feed him.
3:05pm :: Jack falls asleep, I have some tea and biscuits and write some ideas down for an etsy shop.
3:50pm :: Jack wakes up, nappy change & we have some play time on the mat, I empty the dishwasher and wash up (again!)
4:10pm :: I switch the TV on while Jack uses me as a jungle gym.  He is trying to crawl at the moment so we spend a lot of time on the floor and his play mat! 
4:45pm :: Have some supper, strawberry jam on toast, butternut and biscotti.  
5:20pm :: Mani arrives home, he spends some time playing with Jack while I get supper read (lasagne and salad)
6:00pm :: Bath time upstairs with Dad, I either sit with them too or lie down for a 10 minute rest in our bedroom if I am exhausted, this time I went outside to get the washing in & pureed Jack's apples & pears.
6:30pm :: Quite time with music and books and then a feed
7:00pm :: Jack falls asleep, we head downstairs and have supper.  Then we do some paperwork for various things and watch some TV. 
7:45pm :: Jack wakes a couple of times, I go upstairs and get him back to sleep.  More TV watching.  I go on Instagram and I chat to Mani about his day, about our day and everything else!
9:30pm :: Bed time - this is quite late actually, I have been known to crawl into bed around 9pm (sometimes earlier!).

========================================================================

So that's it.  Nothing very exciting really!  It was quite fun to write everything down.  Often it gets to 5pm and I wonder where the day has gone and feel like I haven't accomplished anything!  Everyday is different, it all depends on how tired I am, how Jack is feeling, if we are going out, if I am feeling happy or bleh, what chores need doing etc. etc.  Often I have days where I am not anywhere near as productive as this and I just accept those days and get through them.  But I must say I much prefer being busy & pottering around and Jack does too.

I am really trying to savour and enjoy each day left of this year.  I take in every moment and think how lucky I am to be at home with our gorgeous munchkin.  It is such a special time.

♥ 

August round up


 
Seriously, it's the 3rd September and I still feel like we should be in August.  Where did it go?  The days seems to be flying by and I actually feel a bit overwhelmed by how fast time is ticking.  August was wonderful, maybe a bit wet and rainy for my liking but it really was a good month. 

New friendships were made, snailmail was sent and received, walks were taken, the front door was finally painted and there was a LOT of baking.  Home grown vegetables were harvested, lots of family time and really enjoying the little munchkin and watching him grow into such a little character.  This month I have really appreciated being at home with Jack and taking in every moment I have with him at home.  Before I know it I will be back at work so I am really trying to savour each day.

Recently, lack of sleep has made me feel a bit down and I really struggle to cope with everyday life when I don't get at least 5 hours straight sleep every night.  But I know this is just a passing phase and we will get Jack's sleep sorted.  So at the moment I am concentrating on the simple things like enjoying a cup of tea, having a nap, baking when I can and cooking healthy suppers.  The blog has taken a back seat for a while along with many other projects I have on the go but instead of getting upset about it I just accept it.  (Well, not all the time but I'm trying!).

Let's hope September is just as awesome but maybe with a bit more sleep!



Chocolate Pear Cake



OK so we all know I am a fan of chocolate cake.  I mean, who isn't??  But I wanted to make something with the pears I had in my fruit bowl and stumbled across a delicious recipe by one of my favourite chefs, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.  Pear and chocolate are a marriage made in heaven and this cake really is lovely. I have adapted it a bit and I hope you enjoy!

Chocolate Pear Cake
Serves 6

Ingredients
4 ripe pears
35g butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
50g ground almonds
120g self-raising flour
60g cocoa
150g soft butter
150g caster sugar
2 eggs
50ml milk
100g dark chocolate, melted

For the pears//
Peel and quarter your pears, melt the butter in a pan on medium heat and add the sugar & stir until dissolved.  Add the pears and cook gently for a few minutes until tender and set aside.

For the cake//
Combine the ground almonds, flour and cocoa powder and set aside.
Beat the butter and sugar together with a handheld electric whisk or in a mixer for several minutes until very light and fluffy.
Beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding a spoonful of the almond mix with each.
Fold in the remaining almond mix, with a large metal spoon or spatula, then add the melted chocolate & stir in a little milk to get a mixture with a soft dropping consistency.
Spread this mix into a greased and lined baking tin or dish (I used a medium rectangular one about 20 x 20cm) and arrange the pears on the top.
Drizzle any sugary buttery saucy goodness from the pan.

Bake for about 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
Leave to cool in the tin.

You can add a chocolate sauce too if this is for dessert and then have it with some vanilla ice cream.  Divine!!!  Or like me, you can cut a huge wedge and have it with a cup of steaming hot tea and enjoy the moments peace!

Enjoy my friends ♥

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