Posts filed under ‘being creative’

baking with chickpea flour

I’ve dabbled lightly with using gluten free flour in baking before but steered toward savoury recipes or pancakes to avoid being duped by the palatability of gluten free puddings laden with sugar.   I do have a gluten free lemon drizzle cake recipe on my blog but that is a case in point – it’s so totally delicious and moreish because it contains a ton of butter and sugar!  To be honest I’m not too keen on gluten-free flours, the results have always tended to be brick like and unattractive.  But today I happened across the gold medalist of gluten free flours judging by the totally spongy cake produced.  I found this recipe for chickpea flour banana cake on Camilla’s Power Hungry website and the result exceeded all expectations – I never imagined I’d be using the words “light and fluffy” to describe a gluten free cake! As Camilla describes in the comments section of her blog this recipe is intentionally sweetened for a more cake like texture.  I always look at the comments from other readers for insights into successful adjustments to a recipe, particularly sugar quanitities, the changing of which can have more than just an impact on the flavour.   I thought two bananas would have enough sweetness for a not-quite-savoury gluten-free carb alternative so I only used 2 teaspoons of honey melted with the coconut oil and 2 teaspoons of cashew nut butter (just using up almost empty jars). The result was a terrific texture and not very bananary at all as I only had newly bought firm bananas in stock (I’m guessing it would have tasted sweeter the more ripe the bananas are). Luca and I enjoyed it buttered and topped with jam and I’d happily dunk it in soup too.  I shall definitely be using this as my go to base recipe and re-work it with other favourite additions like lemon curd, spicy ginger and grated carrot and walnuts.    The other variation I made to the recipe was the addition of Pulsin pea protein powder. Camilla had suggested reducing the amount of yoghurt if using honey instead of cane sugar but as I’d already whizzed mine up I decided adding another dry ingredient would work just as well. I’m not generally very experimental with protein powders other than blending them into smoothies but as the Pulsin pea protein is flavourless I thought it would be a good opportunity to try it out. You would never know it was there and with no added sugar or sweeteners and 80% protein there’s really no limit to what you could sprinkle the pea protein powder into. It was lovely to do some baking with L. It doesn’t have to be complex cooking with children, a bowl and a wooden spoon suffice more often than not. L even had a go with my Oxo good grips hand held mixer which E tried for the first time around the same age. 4 years later stainless steel bowl and mixer still look like new and continue to survive being used in the bath for whizzing up bubbles and as a hat and accessory, as well as for so many different cooking tasks!

Making Camilla’s chickpea flour banana cake (with variations)

  • 1.5 cups chickpea flour
  • 1.5 teaspoon baking powder
  • 0.75 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 0.5 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons honey (Camilla uses 0.5 cups sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons nut butter (your own choice preference)
  • 0.5 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 large mashed bananas
  • 0.25 cup melted coconut oil
  • 20g Pulsin Pea Protein powder
  1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees C.  Lightly grease a 9 inch square baking tray.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon).
  3. Whisk the eggs, sugar, yogurt, banana and oil in another bowl until well blended.
  4. Add the wet mixture to the flour mixture stirring just until moist.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan
  6. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes.
  7. Cool cake in the pan for 10 minutes then cool completely on a wire rack.

October 13, 2017 at 12:02 pm 3 comments

painting Easter eggs

Painting eggs collage 4B
5-3-15  eggs for painting_6
5-3-15  eggs for painting_7
5-3-15  eggs for painting_4
Happy Easter!

April 5, 2015 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

making a Christmas stocking

E stocking 4B
Hanging on E’s dooor handle on Christmas Eve will be my first Mum-made Christmas stocking, made using bits and bobs from my long neglected sewing box.  I pulled everything out a few weeks ago and spent some time drawing, cutting and pinning while E explored all my buttons and beads and made little presents of them wrapped in paper scraps.  How relaxing it was especially as only the night before I’d given up on the idea of having time to make one.  While E rooted through my stash of felt pieces I made a template by drawing round a cereal bowl for the heel and fashioning a toe and leg from there! I opted for an A4ish size stocking as that was the size of the felt pieces I had but also because I’d read this gentle reminder about keeping presents light on budget and waste and high in intrigue and excitement for E.
Stocking star 4B
I blinged it up with a little beady sparkle and we’re both pleased with the results.
I thought I’d share the templates for my Christmas stocking (see links below), partly for my own sake if I ever make any more but so you can make one too if feeling short of time or inspiration. All you need is 3 pieces of felt for the stocking, 1 piece for the trim and 1 piece for the name and stars. Total cost if you’re starting from scratch sourcing all materials is about £6 for felt, beads and thread (much less if you opt to save yourself some star sewing and go for felt with glitter stars printed on it, have buddies you can beg some beads from and fabric scraps for the trim and decorations).

As for filling E’s stocking, who knows what Santa will bring {wink}.   There are some great hand-made stocking stuffer ideas on Pinterest if the elves are looking for ideas.
Collage - stocking stuffers 4B
In preparation for the big day E’s been reading Santa is Coming to Gloucester and asking how Father Christmas will get into our house with no open chimney to climb down.  A magic key is the answer and this one will be put out on the doorstep along with the carrots and mince pie (which Father Christmas is expecting having responded to the letter E left for him on the wishing tree at Gloucester Folk Museum).
Santa's key
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Footnote: total time to make approx 7 hours (or 3 episodes of Casualty/Holby and one watch of Cars with E!).

December 18, 2014 at 2:40 pm 1 comment

making a wild stripes baby blanket

Day 9 - first car trip to Stroud 4BChoosing this photo of E in his stripey blanket for my 2012 in pictures post reminded me that I am long overdue sharing the making of my ‘Wild Stripes baby blanket’. I first added the pattern link to my ‘Crafty‘ page as a work in progress when it it was already two years in the making!  Started when a friend announced her pregnancy and I needed something to switch off from work stress, I admitted defeat when my friend’s baby turned 2 and I was still only half way through.  I think deep down I’d always hoped I’d be knitting something for my own baby so I had no guilt at all when being pregnant with E spurred me into action. I finished it long before his arrival and when we found ourselves in hospital for a week and making daily trips to SCBU for E to have his antibiotics it bought much cheer to all of us.wildstripesBEAUTY-1

This is Kristen’s Wild Stripes blanket and pattern.  My work stressed brain found it a bit taxing try to colour co-ordinate my yarns as per the pattern so having bought a wonderful rainbow array of similar acrylic yarns I simply altered colour and line width as the mood took me.  I tried adding french knots as Kristin had but found they just looked like spidery mistakes so settled for the beautiful simplicity of my irregular stripes.  I was rather pleased with how it turned out and E is sleeping peacefully under his blanket of warmth and colour as I type.13-1-13 - E sleeping under smiley stripes blanket 4B
© Wild Stripes baby blanket on chair picture – Kristin Goedert

January 13, 2013 at 12:17 pm 5 comments

heart filled hand-made

The arrival of a new baby and a steady stream of cards and presents seem to go hand in hand.  We’ve been overwhelmed by the thoughtfulness of the gifts we’ve received for E from family and friends, some of whom we’ve only seen a handful of times in the nearly 14 years since our wedding.

Being a wanna-be-crafter I’m especially touched by the hand-made gifts as I appreciate how much time has been invested in making them.  Many hours of time that whisper ”we love you too precious boy”.  It’s a pleasure and a privilege to have the creativity of loved ones shaping the play space we’re creating for our son.
Most importantly Euan is enjoying them too!

Giraffe Mosaic by Merci, quilted playmat by Bilbo, Noah’s Ark cross stitch by Nanny M, Baby blanket by Nana H, quilted playmat by Charlie’s Nan, mobile by Aunty Catherine, knitted cardigan by Marian.

March 14, 2012 at 11:22 am 5 comments

March memories

You may have come across a photographic scavenger hunt called 26 Things?
Kate in Brunei blogged her colourful results of the November challenge and I was intrigued by the concept of bloggers around the world snapping the same 26 words with such individual results.  November was too cold and grey in England to feel inspired but Kate’s 16 things challenge coincided with the first signs of Spring and a new resolve to go for a walk on my lunch breaks.  Perfect timing, thanks Kate.
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CELEBRATION

”cat mum home with stuff for cat cake, now having a little cat party” wrote G.
 ‘you know how bonkers that makes us sound, don’t you?’  cat mum wrote back.
Making a cake to celebrate the cats birthday amounted to turning a tin of Sheba upside down on a plate and decorating it with treats to look like a cat face.   Weird 6 legged spider was more the effect we ended up with!  Nevertheless the cats loved it and we barely made it to the end of ‘Happy Birthday dear ‘  before they’d finished it.

STRIPEYGorgeous Smiley Stripes yarn bought using a voucher 2 years after I was given it! Casting on is a little overdue but in the next decade I hope to make one of these
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EMPTY Can’t get enough of those crispy greens!  As well as Kale, Spring greens work well – less crispy, more chewy.
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A GAME

The ‘scrambled snake game’ as Tom and Kim call it.  We all love the story of the Gruffallo and played this board game during their visit to England last summer. They hadn’t come across snakes and ladders before and thought we were cheating when we told them snakes always meant slide down and not climb!
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NEWA dedicated flower bed inspired by our visit to Durham’s Botanical Gardens last year.  Poppies, Cornflowers, Love-in-the-Mist and some scented flowers sown. Weeds and flowers emerging but I can’t yet tell what’s what at the moment!

WORK
I use Gloucestershire Car Share scheme to get to work.  My lift share partner had two weeks off in March and I got the bus instead.  The journey home begins here.
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GROWING
I planted some cuttings from Henri’s redcurrant bush in November.  They resembled dead twigs until March when the tiny buds that had formed started to open up.
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HOME-MADEA naughty treat from my dear friend Mel who bought them from her church bake-a-thon.  The lady who made them is a lovely, sweet, scrummy character apparently, just like her cupcakes. They raised £1000 – that’s a lot of cupcakes!
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FAVOURITE
My new favourite mug (another fab Mel gift). We don’t do small mugs in our house but this one’s jumbo even by our standards. 500mls in one very huggy mug
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BLUE
I’d happily cycle to work if there was a more pleasant, less hazardous route. Sadly this cycle route sign indicates the shared pathway that circles the business park.
It stops and starts at the bus stop on the main road. Boo.
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EVENING
Billy is our loyal evening companion and always sleeps like this to watch films with us (my outstretched legs are buried underneath him)
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PATTERN
Last Summer I bought 100 flowers to knit and crochet. Unhappily for me all the small delicate flowers are crocheted not knitted and I can’t work out the patterns.  I browsed Ravelry instead for a knitted pattern and Julie’s strawberry flowers have been sitting at the top of my favourites list ever since!  By happy coincidence I was already following Julie’s Little Cotton Rabbit’s blog so it felt like bumping into a friend unexpectedly (Julie’s Hedgehog pattern never made it on to my needles either – shocking I know!)
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FLIGHT
Mikey loves sitting on the back wall:  the wheelie bin is his launchpad!
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YESTERDAY
Yesterday, the last day of the challenge, coincided with a visit from Al and Rafferty. After lunch we raided the book box and settled down for some very cute story time.
My heart smiles every time I recall Raff’s ‘pink I think‘ answer to ‘What colour is Mikey?’ (our black cat).
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FABRIC
A very generous hand-made gift from dear Bilbo for G’s music room.  I’m ashamed to admit we still haven’t hung it yet – bad little Hobbits!
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LOUD

Huge loud potential but actually G’s music room is a gently creative space where instruments are strummed, bashed and plonked with a delicate touch.

April 29, 2011 at 9:15 am 9 comments

artists at work

Licking spoons is a very important part of cake making.  Wearing cake mixture in your hair is optional.  Unless you’re 6 years old with flowing locks.

We loved having our nephew and niece over from Germany at the end of the summer. The days were filled with stories and laughter, Gruffallo games, drawing and sticking, woodland treasure hunts, tennis and tinkling the ivories.
And cake making.

George and I had as much fun painting our cakes as Tom and Kim did. You can see that G hasn’t lost his artists’ eye and that I still haven’t found mine!

In the afternoon we took Tom and Kim to Gloucester Cathedral to check out some real artwork at what is being described as ‘the sculpture exhibition of the decade’.  
Crucible features over 70 sculptures by many renowned British and International artists.  Some of the sculptures have never been seen in public before or were made especially for this exhibition.  Seeking them out in the various locations around the cathedral, cloisters and grounds is a little like a grown up cultural treasure hunt. Except when you’re with kids as soon as you find one they’re on to the next.  I like the immediacy and randomness of looking at artwork with children though; going where their curiosity takes you and their natural instinct, and mine, to reach out and touch to make sense of it all (fingers are allowed on all but a handful of fragile pieces).  I’d like to visit the Cathedral again before the exhibition closes on the 30th October to take a more considered look at the pieces I particularly liked, those I was puzzled by and the ones I missed altogether.

‘Come and find me at Gloucester Cathedral’ says Rodrigues Giant Tortoise

Rodrigues Giant Tortoise by Nick Bibby

September 17, 2010 at 7:25 am 12 comments

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