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Missie Cindz Pud Inn - School Puddings

Saturday saw me heading into town for a sugar rush of epic proportions and the latest Pud Inn from Missie Cindz
This Pud Inn had a school dinners theme, with diners dressed in their best school uniforms and prizes for the head boy and girl. The puds came out with a twist and we had a little tuck shop bags of sweets and puddings made by diners to keep us going between courses! I also knew it would be a great chance to catch up with some friends, and to see Cindy as now she's in London now. 

And our menu for the afternoon sounded absolutely delicious. The layered chocolate orange terrine was laced with chunks of white chocolate, and some very cool jelly oranges was delicious - maybe my favourite of the day. I was intrigued to find out what a Manchester tart was (in edible form - I've witnessed it in human form) - it turns out its a yummy combo of pastry, custard and coconut. Cindy let us into a secret about her rice pudding - it's made with condensed milk to make it sweeter but shhhhh, you didn't hear it from me. And the trifle came out with home made fizzy laces on the top! My only reservation was the peanut butter ice cream, ice cream is my favourite sweet treat, but given that I don't like peanuts I was torn as to whether I'd like it. I'll be honest - I didn't, but I gave it a good try. 

Unfortunately the table was a bit crowded, and drifting in and out of bright bright sunlight and so the photo's I snapped maybe don't show off the food quite as nicely as they could have, but you can check out my other diners snaps on Instagram here; 


Blackberry and Apple Bars

It seems that the abundance of blackberries in the General Cemetery has been discovered by the wider population in Sheffield (can you tell I'm slightly disgruntled that this public space isn't actually my own, private, foraging grounds?) but there were still a few berries to be had this week. Couple this with some apples my mum brought me from her garden and I had baking to do. 

I'd promised my new team at work some Friday treats, and I'd seen an abundance of berry bars on Pinterest that were catching my eye, so I thought I'd give some a go. I combined a couple of recipes to make it work with what we had in the house and they turned out pretty tasty I think - but they probably need a bit more fruit in them - so I have added more to the recipe below (I used 1 apple and 100g fruit as they were all the blackberries I had).

What you'll need;

For the base
  • 200g self raising flour
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 120g soft butter
  • 75ml milk
  • 2 eggs
For the Fruit
  • 1-2 large apple - softened in butter and sugar.
  • 150 - 200g blackberries.
For the topping
  • 100g plain flour
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 50g butter

How to make the bars;
  1. Cut the apple into little squares and soften in a pan with a teaspoon of butter and a teaspoon of brown sugar per apple used.
  2. Whilst the apples are softening a bit mix together the ingredients for the base. Once they are fully combined dollop into a lined square baking tray (mine was 9inch square).
  3. Distribute the blackberries and the softened apples evenly over the top of the cake mixture.
  4. Put all the topping ingredients into a bowl and rub together until they are crumbly.
  5. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit.
  6. Bake for about 25 minutes at 180 degrees, or until the topping is going a little bit golden brown. 
  7. Eat. Eat and eat again. They would work wonderfully with some custard. I'm a huge fan of that thick vanilla custard they sell in pots at M&S. 
What have you been doing with your berries?

Filling some time.

Jim went to India again earlier this week. Its been a while since his last trip and this one is only a short stay but none the less I've been thinking of all the stuff that I want to try and accomplish whilst he is away. I have a habit of setting myself unrealistic lists of achievements for his time away (One trip saw me transform 2 rooms of the house - painting, carpeting, and relocating furniture to creating a living room and dining room!), but this time I'm going to be a bit more sensible about it I mean, I only have 3 weeks - which is no time at all - not nearly enough to achieve anything significant.

So, in the couple of weeks I have to myself, I'm planning to;

  • Make my first proper quilt. Or attempt to. Well, start it at least! I have all the bits, I just need to sew it all now.
  • Get to grips fully with my new job. 
  • Read. I have too many books laying about unread for my liking.
  • Figure out a sensible way to store our winter woolies - hats and scarves and gloves need a good home. I 'thought' about this last winter and never got round to it. This year might be the year I do it.
  • Tidy up and reorganise and create a better way of storing the things that live on top of our kitchen cupboards.
  • Spend a lot of time cuddling Flash
  • Get a few house plants - I've loved the gardening this summer, so lets bring it inside this winter.
  • Finish off a couple of little sewing projects for friends.
  • And maybe if I have the time, get round to glossing the wood in the hallway. It's been laying unpainted for ages. Really, it's been ages - maybe a year!

Nothing too hard but maybe a bit time consuming.

Dream Home - Kitchen.

We're in a perpetual state of searching for a new home. And we're not asking an awful lot I don't think (a bigger kitchen and more outside space) but it's proving tough to find in this area of Sheffield with our budget. The fact we can't find the perfect or could be perfect home doesn't stop me thinking of what we'd love.

My pin boards are filling up with images of palatial kitchens and open plan living spaces and pretty gardens and beautifully styles corners that I am pretty sure don't come with terraced Victorian homes in Sheffield.  A girl can dream.

The kitchen is an important part of the new home we're dreaming of. Mostly because Jim cooks. That's what he loves to do. He watches cooking shows and buys recipe books like they are going out of fashion. We (he) have cupboards and shelves throughout the house bursting full of pasta machines and meat grinders and roti pans and baking tools and deli style meat slicers and moules pots and specific pasta's for certain dishes. We also have the smallest offshot kitchen ever. It has no counter space and even less storage. We need a bigger kitchen.

We need one of these kitchens please. 

Even a corner of one would be nice. Please.

All pins from my Kitchen Pin board.
Not all of them go back to their original source, which sucks, and means I can't credit them properly so forgive me for sending you to Pinterest but it seemed the best option. 

Box Partie is live.

This has been a long time in the making but I finally worked up the courage to put my little party in a box shop live this week. Covering all bases, you can now buy a Party in a Box or and Ice Cream Party from Box Partie over at Etsy, Folksy or direct from me on my (almost) all singing, all dancing, new website

Watch this space for some more seasonal products over the next few months.

Lust List - Speccy

Not long after Flash arrived in the house, last May, he got hold of one of my pairs of glasses. I didn't realise and his little sharp puppy teeth scratched the crap out of my lenses. They're also quite old now, and although I don't wear them all day every day - I'm more or a driving and meetings glasses wearer - I think it's high time I got some new ones. 

1. Orla Kiely VOK002 from Boots, 2 Ray Bans from My Optiques. 3. Scout Festival from Glasses Direct 4. Blaksmith from Archibal Optics 5. Sonoma from Swag and Stare.

Which do you think? And if you're a glasses wearer too, where do you get yours from? 

An abundance of berries

On weekends Flash and I walk through Sheffield's General Cemetery with his best doggie pal Stan, and his owner, Bea. We take them to the little river that runs down past Frog Walk and they run around like crazy horses. It might sound a strange thing to say about a cemetery, but it's beautiful in there. It's so overgrown and wild and packed with history. Plus there is  wonderful light.

In the last few weeks the edges of the pathways through the cemetery have been bursting with blackberries and Bea and I, much to the disappointment of the marauding dogs, have been spending our time picking them. There have been scratched legs and arms, a few nettle stings and lots of stained fingertips. I know I shouldn't be giving away my blackberrying hotspots, but I'll be honest, there are more than I could ever pick, eat or want. So it feels like I should be sharing the wealth.

Last weekend, as I came home with my 4th huge bag of berries in as many weeks, we decided we needed to start making things with them. There are only so many blackberries you can eat with your porridge or your yoghurts or as whilst-the-fridge-is-open treats.

The first call was crumble. A simple, throw everything in the pan and go crumble. It probably doesn’t really need a recipe, but here goes;

What you’ll need;

  • 100 grams blackberries.
  • 2 breaburn apples (I don’t like cooking apples that much)
  • 90 grams butter
  • 90 grams sugar 
  • 120 grams plain flour. 
What to do;

  1. 1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Wash the berries if you’ve picked them from the woods.
  3. Cut the apples into small cubes.
  4. Add 30grams butter to a pan and heat.
  5. Mix 30grams demarara sugar in the butter until they have melted together.
  6. Add the cut apples and cool for 5ish minutes until they are going soft.
  7. Add the blackberries.
  8. Add a splash of vanilla essence to the pan and let cook for another few minutes.
  9. Whilst this is happening, add 60grams of butter, 120grams of plain flour and 60grams sugar (I used caster, but I think a demarara would work too) to a bowl and scrunch together with your fingers until it’s all breadcrumby. One of my friends adds rolled oats to her crumble topping too.
  10. Pour the berry apple mixture into a pan. Be careful, don’t let it splash your clothing. Trust me. It’s not easy to remove berrie juice. Sprinkle the crumble topping over the berries.
  11. Cook in the oven for about 20-25 minutes until the topping is going golden.

Eat. With cream or ice cream or custard. Or alone. But eat! 

A tour of Sheffield - London Road

I want to start sharing with you some of my favourite places in my little corner of Sheffield.

Today we're looking at the London Road/ Abbeydale Road area, the official title round here is the antiques quarter as we have so many little antiquey type shops with cabinets and corners full of trinkets and furniture, but it should really be called the international supermarket quarter. (You can buy anything you want, at pretty much any time of day within a 5 minute walk.) Mostly though, as you'll see, I like to eat and drink around here.

A - Forge Bake House. This amazing little bakery opened about a year ago round the corner from my house. Since then I happily site the almond croissants as the reason I will never be thin. But they do a wonderful line in bread. It’s become a weekend routine. Dog walk. Forge for bread. Eat eat eat.

B - Amici and Bici is a really new addition to the neighbourhood, but it’s a wonderful one. Its a bicycle themed, italian styles cafe with freshly squeezed orange juice, coffee that I am told is delicious and wonderful sarnies and cakes. Their cups have beautiful little bikes on them too.

C - The Rude Shipyard is a super cute cafe and 2nd hand bookshop. They do great salads and sarnies during the day and in the evenings have supper clubs and book clubs. They also do a great chocolate guinness cake. And let you in with pups.

D - Amigo’s started as a little cafe on the corner with plastic garden furniture. Its move to a massive restaurant now and although it’s not quite as good as it used to be, Mexican food is my weakness! Its also BYO and super cheap.

E - If you nee me on a friday night, about 7pm, check the Cremorne. It’s not the nicest of drinking environments, but they sell decent beers, O’hara’s rum and let us bring the dog in. Also, if you drink 10 pints between you (not all to me, obvz) you get a free pizza.

F - Pho 68 was our ‘go to’ restaurant for the longest time. It's pretty cheap, plentiful and they do amazing salt and pepper squid. If you go in a group, you really don't need a main course each. trust me.

Photo - @pinklittlebean

G - Zeugma is all about the meat. It's a Turkish restaurant where the food is all grilled on open flames pretty much in front of you and is uber tasty. There are 2 restaurants on London road too.

H - If you want a comedy night out, then The Crown is the place to be. Especially at the weekend. It's a proper old mans pub, complete with 'a turn' on a friday and saturday night. And massively full of characters.

I - Diddy Cool Ices sells locally made ice cream. You can buy cones, pots and ice cream sandwiches as well as tubs and milkshakes. They also deliver. Yes. home delivery ice cream!

J - The Bell Jar is a new pub for London Road. It's trying to be hipster but *might* be scally. I can't tell. But they have a big beer garden and we've heard a rumour there's hip-hop kareoke at the weekend.

K - The Broadfield is probably one of our favourite places to drink and eat locally. They do delicious pies and meals, loads of local beers and chorizo crisps. Yes, chorizo crisps. There’s also a huge beer garden. Plus they let pups in everywhere but the food side.

L - The Vault is one of the many antiquey shops in the area selling cure furniture pieces and little trinkets.

M - Steel City Cakes is another new-ish addition. You can pick up a huge slice of pretty tasty cake and a drink for £2.50. 

N - Swallows and Damsons is a super cute flower shop. The flowers are always beautiful, and their vases and pots are lovely. They have just started doing flower arranging workshops that look amazing too. 

O - Ozmans. The international supermarket of international supermarkets. It's open 24 hrs and has a great bakery and butchers in it.
P - Harrisons Camera They develop 120mm film. Yes. 120. I love it. Plus they are really helpful if you need camera advice.

Phew. Maybe I eat out too much ;) But this is my immediate neighbourhood and some of our haunts.

Are you in Sheffield? Where are your favourite places? I’m going to be expanding my map to cover the places I love so your thoughts on where I should be checking out would be appreciated.