Nice Buns!

No, really!! Nice buns!  Lemony Buns to be exact.  I made these last weekend and thought I’d put up a little recipe post as I haven’t done that in ages.  They’re an altered recipe of something I made for Christmas treats, I thought at the time that it would be very adaptable so I decided to give it a go using different flavours and ingredients from the original.

The basic recipe is very simple.  Make up a soft cake batter, adding any spices or flavours you like.  Line a muffin pan with 12 paper cases and add about a third of the batter to the cases.  Pop a teaspoon of something nice in the centre of the batter, the original recipe used mincemeat, and use the other two thirds of the batter to fill up the paper cases, and bake.  What you end up with is a soft muffiny type of little cake with a sweet filling in the middle when you bite into it!  An this is where the adaptability bit came into play, because I started dreaming up all manner of ideas for fillings and bun/muffin flavour combos, the world is, quite literally, your oyster.

So my first flavour is Lemon Poppy Seed with a Lemon Curd Filling.  Scrummy.  We ate four of them on Saturday right after they were cool enough to handle and then a few more on Sunday!  I had to put the rest in a container and put it in the cupboard otherwise we would have eaten the lot!

 

And this is how they turned out.  You can see the poppy seeds but otherwise, an ordinary little offering!  But cut it open and you have a soft, gooey, flavoursome centre!

 

So here goes with the basic batter recipe, the American quantities and ingredients are in brackets:

 

Ingredients:

  • 6oz SR Flour (1 3/4 cup of plain flour with 1 tsp of baking powder and 1/4 tsp of baking soda sifted together)
  • 3oz – 4oz of sugar (1/2 cup) Depends on how sweet you like things, I usually do the 3oz only.
  • 6oz softened butter (1 1/2  sticks) I use a mix of butter and a soy margarine type spread at a ratio of 50/50
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of milk, I use soy milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla

To this basic recipe, I added a heaping tablespoon of poppy seeds, the grated zest of a lemon and a good grating of fresh nutmeg to the flour.

Method:

Either by hand or with a mixer, beat the softened butter and sugar together until light and creamy.  Mix any spices, poppy seeds, lemon etc with the flour.  Beat the eggs together along with the vanilla.  Alternate adding the egg and some flour to the mix until it’s all incorporated.  Finally, mix in the milk.

Line the muffin tin with 12 paper cases and use about a third of the cake batter to partially fill them.  Add about a teaspoon of Lemon Curd to each one, make sure the cake batter is mostly level and keep the Lemon Curd in the centre.  Use the rest of the cake batter to fill up the cases.  Don’t be tempted to add too much of the filling, you don’t want it boiling out and making a mess.

Bake in the centre of a pre-heated oven at Gas Mk 5 / 375F / 190C for 15 – 18 minutes.  I’ve always given mine the full 18 minutes but I turn the pan around after about 10 minutes.  Allow to cool in the pan and then transfer to a wire rack.  These do keep pretty well, assuming you have any left to keep that is!!

For the American contingent:  Lemon Curd is a jam like smooth spread made with eggs, butter, sugar and lemon rind and juice.  You beat it all together in the top of a double boiler until it’s thick, smooth and the eggs are cooked.  It’s fantastic stuff, brilliant as a cake filling, on toast or scones or whatever you might normally use jam for.  The trouble is that it doesn’t keep and needs to be used within two to three weeks if you make your own.  However, you can buy it at specialty food stores, good grocery stores and even at Trader Joe’s, which is where mine came from.  Well worth seeking out.

And now this is where the fun begins… Andrew immediately said Ginger and Lemon would be wonderful!  I think Peach and Almond would be pretty great too!  And can you imagine if you know someone who makes homemade jams!  Strawberry, blueberry, tangy raspberry, tart rhubarb… ooh the list goes on and on!

And of course, there is the original recipe.  It’s called Little Mince Pie Cakes and it’s in a little book from the BBC Good Food magazine people that I bought when I was in England last year.  It’s also available on their website and I’ve linked the name in case you’d like to try that too.  I made the originals just before Christmas and took them in to work as some of the Americans I work with had been asking me about English mincemeat.  I thought these buns were a great way of letting them have a taste of my homemade mincemeat, without giving them a proper mince pie that might be too strong a taste for them.  I took two dozen in and only brought one home, so I think they were well received!

Give them a go, and I’d be interested to hear what other flavours you might dream up.

What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday ~ 254

Woot, woot!  Wednesday once more.  I’m in such a happy mood, why you ask?  Well, because it snowed again!!  Frankly, it’s a choice of laughing at the craziness of a nice few days with 21C weather ahead of a winter storm, or crying at the whiteness and -5C that greeted me yesterday and this morning!  Thankfully, the pavement had warmed up so much that it only really accumulated on the grass and open fields, and despite being chilly at night it is melting rapidly.

But there is an upside to all of this, and that is we broke a 133 year old record for the snowiest winter recorded in the Metro Detroit area, and it looked for all the world that we were going to come up short just, 1 1/4″ below.  But the 3.1″, official total, pushed us over. It really made this snowy, icy, freezing Winter seem worth it.  Oh, and if you’re interested, 94.8″ is what we got this year, almost 8ft, and over double the normal 44″ or so.  The old record was 93.6″, set back in the Winter of 1880/1881.  Let’s hope it takes another 133 year to get anywhere close to that cause I don’t want to go through this again in a hurry!

But onwards to a Springy desk.  Would you believe I haven’t made a Christmas card in over a week?  I’ve changed to Spring like cards!  And yeah, I can see the irony in that, lol!

My desk looks really bright because the sun was out and the snow was very reflective.  There are the cards I made at the weekend, one with the punchinella that was on my desk last week, the second one is a Spring-like New Baby card.  If you want to see the punchinella card close up the link is here.  There’s a bit or lace, baker’s twine and a few of the normal bits and pieces lying around.  The multi coloured paper is actually a free pdf from Ranger with all the Distress Ink colours and names in a handy, dandy format.  I printed it on to sticky label paper and I’m about to make a start on properly labeling up my DI’s.  The direct link is right here if anyone else wants it.

So, I just need to point you in the direction of the delectable Julia for all the details on WOYWW, and I’ll be around shortly, so get the kettle on!  I’m still trying to catch up with the last few people who visited me last week too, so I apologise ahead of time if I’m a bit tardy this week.

Sparkles Monthly Challenge ~ Your Favourite Colour Combination

Morning All and as it’s the 15th of the month, welcome to a new challenge at Sparkles Forum Challenge.  The winners from last months  Easter Parade theme have been chosen, pop over to see if it was you.

Our theme this month is a nice easy one, picked by my talented teamie Helen N of Crafting Helen, and it’s to show us your favourite colour combinations.  We’re a multi project challenge so you can make what you like, just be sure to tell us what your colour combo is.

We’re sponsored once again by the lovely Di of Di’s Digis, who is offering a $10 voucher to her store.

I struggled a bit with this as I love all manner of colour, particularly a colour with kraft card, but I do that so much I decided to think about my all time favourite colour instead, and for me that’s green.  So I’ve gone with a sweet, Springy theme of green and white using a cute Lili of the Valley stamp that’s having it’s first outing.

 

 

I stamped the image twice and decoupaged the bunny and the large oak leaf on to the main image after colouring everything in with Prisma pencils.  The acorn and the leaves have a little touch of Eucalyptus Stickles  too.

I trimmed the little panel into a square, rounded the corners and popped it on to a scalloped lacy square cut from green card using a Spellbinders die.   The tag was punched from a McGill three tag punch and the sentiment is individual Doodlebug rub-on letters.  To finish I added a green button, green and white bakers twine and some little cream and light green pearls, and I based my LO on the current one at Sketch Saturday.

So a nice easy theme this month, plenty of options for you there!  I hope you have time to join in with us, and as ever, please pop over to the main Sparkles blog to see the wonderful inspiration from my crafty colleagues.

 

Card Recipe:

  • Card: Blank from Michaels ~ Green card from DCWV ~ GinaK Pure Luxury White stamping card offcuts
  • DP: DCWV Flower Shower Matstack
  • Stamp: Lili of the Valley Little Acorn
  • Ink: ColorBox Q Wicked Black ~ Versamagic Hint of Pesto
  • Embellies: Prisma Pencils ~ Doodlebug Rub-Ons ~ Eucalyptus Stickles ~ Pearls and button from Michaels ~ America Crafts Baker’s Twine
  • Tools: Cuttlebug ~ Spellbinders Lacy Squares Die ~ McGill’s Tag Punch

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Challenges:

Sketch Saturday ~ Current LO

Sister Act Card Challenge ~ Anything Goes

Hazel’s Patterned Paper Challenge ~ Anything goes with DP

My Mum’s Craft Store ~ Anything Goes

Crafty Little Fairies ~ Button Up

Whimsy Stamps ~ Anything Goes

The Crafter’s Cafe ~ Spring

Creative Card Crew ~ Spring

Crafty Catz ~ Animals

Bearly Mine ~ Spring

Pixies Snippets Playground ~ Use Up Your Scraps (The white card pieces)

Colourful

A nice, bright, cheery rainbow card for you today… ahead of the snow tonight!  Yes, I said snow!  24C on Sunday, -4C Monday night with 1 – 3″ of snow!  Still, I put that out of my mind yesterday when I was busy making a couple of projects in my craft room wearing shorts and a tshirt.  I put it out of my mind when we sat on the deck for morning coffee, lunch and afternoon tea.  I doubt I’ll be able to put it out of my mind Tuesday morning driving to work though!  Albert Camus said “No matter how long the Winter, Spring will surely follow”, I wasn’t aware he meant in July though!

Moving swiftly on… I had covered half a sheet of thin card with punchinella (sequin waste) recently and dabbed on a rainbow assortment of inks, using the punhcinella as a stencil.  I’d already made one card from it but had to get it straight in the post so there was no time for photos, so I made use of the other piece and made a card for the card box.  I have another nephew with a birthday coming up in May so I think this will be for him.

 

 

It’s only a small card at 4″ wide by 5.5″ tall but it packs a lot of punch!  The inks are mostly Distress Inks, the yellow is from StudioG, I don’t really think TH has a decent yellow out yet.  The sentiment is from Hero Arts and is stamped it in Veramagic Mango Madness.  I had a hard job finding an ink for the sentiment that was bright enough to stand on it’s own with all those colours and wasn’t too similar as I didn’t want to use plain old black!  I edged both panels with DI Festive Berries, and popped the sentiment up on foam tape.

 

 

I like how this turned out, it’s a good technique for those pesky male birthdays!!  I won’t list the supply list as it was basically just inks, punchinella and one HA stamp!

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Challenges:

Sister Act Card Challenge ~ Anything Goes

Pixies Snippets Playground ~ Use Up Your Scraps (Technically the backing pieces was left over from another card and the sentiment was stamped on a scrap)

Addicted To Stamps And More ~ Photo Inspiration (I chose the bright colours)

Simply Create Too ~ No Digi’s or Stamped Images (I have a stamped sentiment so disregard if that is not allowed)

My Mum’s Craft Shop ~ Anything Goes

Whimsy Stamps ~ Anything Goes

Crafting By Designs ~ Anything Goes

 

What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday ~ 253

I’m having a flash back this week.  A couple of weeks ago I mentioned thinking about using punchinella (sequin waste) to make a colourful, ergonomic, flowing kind of sweep across a card… turns out that’s bloody difficult!  So I revisited the whole thing at the weekend and decided to make a sort of graduated background instead.  You can see the results of the flowing rainbow thing on the right, it’s not exactly very natural looking is it!

I’ll cut a portion of this out and team it with a computer generated sentiment along the lines of “have a bright, sunshiney day” kind of thing.  It’s for a male birthday card, for a soon to be 19 year old.  I don’t know what else to do, lol!  But I like those lovely bright colours.

We’re also having more bright, sunshiney type days in Michigan too, finally, I know I’m jinxing myself but I really think Winter is done with us, for a few months at least!

The Curious Cranes (Sandhill Cranes) also think we’re done, they turned up at a local park recently pretty much en masse.  And they’re still very curious, they walk right up to you to see what you’re doing and if you have any food for them.  We went to that park for a walk on Sunday with friends, expecting to see a few of them as is usual at this time of year, but instead we saw loads and loads.  Some singly, most in small group of about seven or so with huge flocks out on the open water.  We’ve never seen so many, at times they lined the path as we walked by, just looking at us.

They’re pretty big too, standing about 4ft, or more, tall with 5ft to 7ft wingspans, so walking past three or four of them when they’re lined up like that staring at you down their sharp 8″-10″ bills can be a bit unnerving, but they always seem to be really docile.  The one above was pecking at the ground while making a beeline straight for me (thought I had food) and was incredibly interested in my feet, that’s why his bill is a bit cut off, I couldn’t move any further back and he was practically at my feet.

So, a Nature Walk for you this week.  To see proper desks, head on over to Julia’s for all the details and I’ll be seeing you anon!

Guest Designer at Christmas Fun Challenge

I was asked to be a Guest Designer at the new Christmas Fun Challenge this time round.   The challenge runs for the whole month of April so you have plenty of time to enter, you can also win a lovely prize too.  The theme for this month is EITHER Christmas Cards For Men or Anything Goes, it’s up to you, and you can enter two times so why not try one of each!!

 

 

So here’s my card…

 

My image is Bigsby Candy Cane from Karen’s Doodles and I coloured him with Prismas, Stickles, Liquid Pearls and Glossy Accents before mounting him on kraft card.  The sentiment is from a Penny Black clear set, stamped in Memento Rhubarb Stalk and also mounted on to kraft.  The paper is DCWV from the scrap box as usual.  The punch is from Martha Stewart and cut from more kraft card, I also added a few pearls, possibly a few too many, lol!

And let’s talk about that snowflake!

You wouldn’t believe but it started out as just a plain piece of kraft card, just like the ones used for the backing pieces.  It’s a Joy Crafts snowflake die and I dabbed a bit of Distress Ink in Vintage Photo and Fired Brick over it and then covered it in Tim Holtz Holographic EP and heated it, and would you just look at the amazing colour it turned!  It’s all bronze, gold, silver and crystal at the same time!  It’s totally random and totally fab!  Love it but probably couldn’t replicate it again if I tried, lol!  I’ve also based my card on the current sketch at Sketch & Stash.

 

Card Recipe:

  • Card: Kraft all the way, including the card blank ~ GinaK Pure Luxury White for stamping
  • DP: DCWV
  • Stamps: Karen’s Doodles Bigsby with Candy Cane digi ~ Penny Black Winter Wonders clear set
  • Ink: Memento Rhubarb Stalk ~ Distress Ink Vintage Photo & Fired Brick
  • Embellies: Glossy Accents on the bauble ~ Liquid Pearls on the other bauble ~ Frosted Lace Stickles on his hat trim ~ Crystal Stickles on the tree branches ~ TH Holographic EP on the snowflake ~ Pearl’s from Michael’s
  • Tools: JoyCrafts Snowflake Die ~ Cuttlebug ~ Martha Stewart border punch

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Challenges:

Winter Wonderland ~ Use Kraft

Sketch & Stash ~ Current Sketch (very old paper and an unused digi)

ABC Christmas ~ G for Glitter

Pixies Snippets Playground ~ Use Up Your Scraps (all of it)

Crafty Hazels Christmas Extra Challenge ~ Anything Goes

Crafty Hazels Patterned Paper  Challenge ~ Anything Goes

Sister Act Card Challenge ~ Anything Goes

Crimbo Crackers ~ Anything Goes

Jingle Belles ~ Vintage Inspired

Completely Christmas ~ Anything Goes

 

What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday ~ 252

Hello All – It’s another Wednesday again and another trip round the desks of the world courtesy of our Julia!   I have a newsflash for you!  We are finally (mostly) snow free!  Yay!  There is a bit of it still hanging around in the wooded areas and in the corners of North facing fields, but we’re had a number of days over 10C (50F) in the last week and actually ate our lunch and afternoon tea sitting on the deck last Sunday.

But, you’re here for a desk… not much going on as I’ve been keeping it tidy.  You might be excused for thinking that you saw that same pile of Ebayed knitting magazines last week, but you didn’t!  That’s a new lot, lol!!  Lot’s of British and Australian ones in that pile, but I’ve got more than enough now so I’m not looking for any others!

 

Sitting on top of them is a new sock, just started yesterday.  It’s a Gansey inspired pattern which is based on traditional fisherman’s jumpers (sweaters).  They were often very regional specific patterns and motifs used in them and were knit by the wives to keep their husbands warm and safe whilst at sea.  Some of the designs were so specific that in the case of a large maritime disaster the bodies of the sailors could be identified from their jumpers.  It could even tie them to a single village in some instances.

Last week Margaret of Glitter and Glue asked to see inside my Christmas paper scraps box!  It’s not very exciting but here it is!

 

And finally, I also finished those green socks that were on my desk last week too:

Right, that’s your lot!  Thanks for stopping by!!