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Gingerbread House

Gingerbread House!

Check out the gingerbread house the man and I made from scratch! pic.twitter.com/rvWF4EkxFQ

— Stacey Smith (@StaceInspire) December 29, 2013

We made this using Mary Berry’s Gingerbread House recipe just after Christmas. It took us ages but it was worth it. Our nephews had fun demolishing it.

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Lovely Jubbly Jubilee party

Yesterday, on the 2nd of June I celebrated a very special lady with my family. My Nan!

My Nan rocks.

We decided a few months ago that we would have a Jubilee party for her 77th birthday as the two coincided. She has always been a fan of the Royals and I think that has rubbed off on her grandchildren too. I’m not going to get into a pros/cons of the Royals debate, Twitter has depressed me enough with all the joyless miseries. I enjoy British traditions and I think it made it an even better excuse to celebrate a memorable occasion. Oh and of course you may know me by now, I love a theme for my nails!

Jubilee Nails.

My friend Emma solved the what to wear problem by kindly lending me a dress which I spotted her in on Facebook. This is me in it with my two ‘little’ brothers Ricky and Joe. I love this picture so much.

Me and my brothers.

I made a Spotify playlist for the occasion with one song for every year from the last 60 years. We all love music in our family and having a sing song. My cousin Charlotte filmed everyone singing ‘Two Little Boys’. I can’t post it because it’s not on YouTube but it’s probably for the best, haha. My stepdad Tom made a big box covered in Union Jacks which we used as a DJ stand i.e. something to put the iPad and speakers on.

Jubilee party Spotify playlist

We didn’t want Nan to have to faff around so we all made something to bring, her only instructions were to make a trifle.

I made Jubilee Battenburg from this recipe from Wright Little Baker

Jubilee Battenburg cake

I also made some red velvet cupcakes with buttercream and some nifty icing Union Jacks , sorry Union FLAGS I got from Icing World.

Jubilee Cupcakes.

Man being a man wanted to make something meaty so he made BBQ pulled pork from the most recent Good Food magazine. Plenty of opportunity for pork pulling jokes.

Mom made a ton of this amazing warm potato salad with blue cheese. Nom nom. Quite jealous she got to make it into bubble and squeak today with the leftovers. Other foodie mentions, my  Uncle Steven’s marinated chicken, the spicy one was my fave, my cousin Emily’s sausage rolls and not forgetting my cousin Liz’s cheese and pineapple on sticks! A party isn’t a party without something on cocktail sticks!

Despite the weather not being perfect the rain stayed away for the afternoon. My Nan has a pretty massive garden so we put two gazebos up and got on with it. My Mom got too cold in the end and went and stole a blanket off Nan’s bed. She will thank me for posting this.

Mom keeping warm in the British weather.

My naughty cousins managed to get behind everyone without them noticing with flags. This is the moment they caught us.

Me and my man Ban. Naughty minxy cousins in the background!

Fran my brother’s girlfriend took all these ace photographs. We went to her exhibition on Friday night, you can see her website here.

We added candles (a ‘2’ and a ‘7’) to Nan’s trifle and sang her happy birthday. By then I was sporting my Mom’s hat and a leather jacket donated by Nan’s friend, even my hot blood gave in in the end!

This is a photo of the full rabble (Minus my Aunt and cousin who are on holiday).

Me (second right) and my family.
Photograph by Francesa Hancox

This says it all for me. God bless the Queen of our brilliant family.

Nan’s Facebook status. Yes she’s on Facebook!

Hope you had a lovely jubbly Jubilee too.

Stace x

Follow me on Twitter @StaceInspire

Veggie week seven day challenge

After being inspired by Hugh on his River Cottage Veg programme we decided to try and go veggie for a whole week. We often eat meat free meals anyway but we set ourselves the challenge to see if we could do it. (We had to overdose on fillet steak on Saturday night before we commenced though!)

These are the meals we had.

Sunday – Butternut and sage risotto

Monday – Roast vegetable couscous with feta cheese

A Stacey throw together special. Roast peppers, onions and tomatoes, make cous cous with a nice stock (I use Knorr veg stockpot), mix it all together, crumble feta on the top (in my case 4 syns worth). Job done.

Tuesday – Sweet potato and spinach dhal

Wednesday – Veggie sausage casserole

I cooked leeks, carrots, butterbeans, a squirt of tomato puree, smoke paprika and veg stock on the hob while the Cauldron Lincolnshire sausage were in the oven. When they were done I cut them into bite size pieces and mixed it all together before serving. I quite enjoyed the Cauldron sausages, peppery and herby and I didn’t really feel pork deprived. *Insert your own joke here!!*

Thursday – Spinach & Mushroom Lasagne

Just my usual recipe, I used fresh spinach, dried wholewheat lasagne and made a mushroom sauce with some Light Philadelphia. Virtuously resisted having garlic bread with it too.

Friday – Hot-crumbed baby mozzarella, beetroot and potato salad recipe

This was niiiice. I’m not much of a salad muncher preferring hot food but you can’t go wrong with hot melty cheese.  As usual I got a bit excited with the chilli flakes but it did great for my winter sniffs.

Saturday – Veggie burgers

These were much tastier that I imagined they would be, I could’ve eaten the mix on its own. Next time I won’t use honey though as I prefer a more savoury taste. So filling I ate them on their own with no buns.
All in all we did well. A couple of bacon cravings but it’s definitely made me realise we could eat even more meals without meat.  Let me know of your own favourite veggie recipes.

Happy eating.

Stace

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My October Recipes

Here are some of the recipes we cooked in October. Click on the links for the recipes if you fancy trying them too. : )

Sticky Toffee Apple cake 

This was on the cover of the Good Food Magazine which I subscribe to. I ended up having to cook it for a lot longer than was specified but it turned out OK in the end. The toffee sauce was naughty. More naughty because the supermarket didn’t have any small bags of toffees so I ended up having to buy a £5.00 tub of assorted Thornton’s toffee and fudge. What a shame that was! : ) I can’t find a link at the moment so I’ve linked to a baking blog I found called Cakes from Kim which helpfully has the recipe for you.

Ginger Stars 

This was just a quickie. I used stem ginger as well as ground ginger and made double. They still didn’t last long!  I had some dark chocolate in the cupboard so I dipped some of them in that and let it set for a while in the fridge.

Soul Soothing Chicken Soup

Last weekend I wasn’t feeling too good with a bad shoulder so I made some stock from the chicken we had the night before and made this nice soup.

Butternut Squash Pie

A pie, with no meat! Butternut loves a good roasting and afterwards we put a nice blanket of pastry around it before scoffing it down with some peas.

Risotto with Roasted Tomato and Mozzarella

Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s current River Cottage is all about Veg. Even though we’re not veggie I do like to try vegetarian recipes and it’s good to get more veg towards 5 a day. There have been quite a few great recipes  in the episodes of the series already so far. I cooked this as I am a bit of a risotto queen. I used my Stepdad Tom’s lovely homegrown tomatoes and the mozarella was a nice change from parmesan.

Honey Roast Ribs with Star Anise

Another Nigel Slater recipe. I had to make do with smaller supermarket ribs but even so these were sticky and rather lovely.

Aubergine and Green Bean Curry

This was one from River Cottage Veg on Sunday night. It required making a paste from scratch which always makes for a better curry. As always I didn’t really pay much attention to quantities and amended the recipe as it was only for the two of us. I’ve been a bit off aubergine lately so this restored my faith. I prob won’t use quite as much passata next time as it made it a little sweet but with a nan bread it was dunky and delicious.

Nom nom.

Happy scoffing readers.

Stace x

Follow me @StaceInspire

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