Crumpets Famous Cobbler

What a grey day yesterday was, with an added ice bucket challenge I was definitely in need of a winter warmer dinner, and on the cheap too! If you ask my University friends what is the most common dinner I cook in autumn/winter they will all tell you my famous COBBLER! I discovered the delight in my first week in my first year at University trying to navigate this cooking malarkey so it is nice and simple. Through some basic student cookbooks and with a few tweaks it has become my absolute favourite. Not just me, every time I visited my parents in the holidays it was requested, and of course I happily obliged.

Delicious Beef Cobbler

This is a great meal to have fun with and is really adaptable! Not a fan of carrots? That’s fine (though you’re a little weird) you can substitute another vegetable like butternut squash, parsnips or celery! Prefer lamb over beef, that’s great, use whatever meat you like as long as you can get it in mince form. Vegetarian? Use Quorn mince. Fridge looking a little a bear? Those veggies seen better days? MAKE A COBBLER!

Dumplings pre cookingbeef cobbler Ingredients

There are two parts to making the perfect cobbler. Firstly making the meat sauce – dead simple just like a bolognaise in my mind. Everyone is different so make the mince they way you like it with all the extra bits or keep it simple with tomatoes. Secondly the dumplings with a top that goes deliciously crunchy and a bottom which soaks up that great tomato flavour. I broke my scales when developing this recipe so I measured in MUGS (not CUPS). Just pick an average mug out the cupboard and as long as you use the same one your proportions should be good. If have too much you can freeze the dough and it is quick enough to whip up another batch if you make too little.

Crumpets beef cobbler


Ingredients – serves 5

For the mince & sauce                                                      For the dumpling top
500g pack of beef mince                                                      2 mugs of self raising flour
1 Onion chopped                                                                  1 mug of suet (or lard)
2 x tin of chopped tomatoes                                                ¾ mug of water or what is needed
3 x Carrots sliced however you like just not too big.         Basil or coriander
Mixed herbs
Tomato puree
Salt & Pepper                   Extras: Cayenne Pepper, Mushrooms, 2 cloves of garlic (crushed)


One. Preheat oven to 180C / gas mark 6, heat a tablespoon of oil in a large pan

Two. Fry the onion until slightly soft, add mushrooms (optional) then mince and cook until no longer pink.

Three. Add carrots and garlic (and any other veggies of your choice) and fry for a further few minutes.

Four. Add the tinned tomatoes, herbs/spices/salt and a good squeeze or two of tomato puree. Stir well and simmer for 10 minutes then transfer to 1 or 2 casserole dishes (I use 2 – more space for dumplings).

Five. Dumpling time! Put the flour, suet and herbs (all the dumpling ingredients) in a bowl and stir well. Slowly add in water stirring until the mixture makes a soft ball. I like getting a little messy so when I have added about half the water I start using my hands instead of the spoon.

Six. Sprinkle some flour out and turn out the mixture, if not already form into a ball. Split in half and then make 6 small balls from each half (so 12 in total). You don’t need to be too particular but try and keep them all the same size. Don’t worry if you only get 10 or equally an extra 1 or 2.

Seven. Place the dumpling balls on top of the meat mixture leaving some space between them for them to grow. Use your fingers or a brush to cover with some milk to help them go extra brown and crunchy.

Eight. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the crust is browned. Serve with boiled green beans and a cheeky garlic bread.

Day 4 of a Pin a Day Challenge

Felt flowers banner

You might have already gained the inkling that I am a bit of a hoarder when it comes to craft things and felt sure fits into that category. I just cannot resist snapping up a bargain, I’m being savvy in the long run, or at least that is what I tell myself. Mostly I buy A4 packs and use the sheets to make cute felt animals that can then be incorporated into all sorts of things. Today’s challenge has given me a great excuse to keep buying more and more!

Unfortunately the pin I have was not linked to a direct post and so is around but very much lost somewhere on the blogosphere. I still love the felt flowers that the image displays and so have searched and tested many a method and I am exited to be reporting them back to you now.

Felt flower DIYFlower one is the simplest (they are all pretty easy) and the tutorial I used and recommend comes from Life after Laundry. I love how mine turned out and super quick too. Really easy to change sizes, mine is a 4 inch square. The result is extremely similar to flower 3!

Felt flowerFlower two comes from Rainy Day Joy and I didn’t have much luck with it. I was tempted to leave it out of this post however somehow that didn’t feel honest. This is the only flower that uses thread instead of glue and has individually cut petals. There are still other designs I want to try so will give it another shot then.

Felt flower DIYNumber three had a great tutorial from Craftiness is not Optional and I loved all the photos giving help at every stage. The light blue one is 4 inch and the dark blue/purple is 3 inch (roughly). They take an extra 20 seconds compared for flower 1 and look the same to me but great none the less!

Felt Flower DIYNumber four tutorial comes from Infarrantly Creative again with loads of great images. She gives examples of how cutting slightly differently can lead to different end results which is great for when you want to experiment. The only thing I didn’t really like this tutorial was how she chose to finish it off on the bottom and so I just cut a circle of felt and glued it to the bottom. I found this one took the longest and was the trickiest since there is a lot of cutting but has a really unique end result. I personally wouldn’t use it as a stand alone flower but love it when incorporated into a bunch.

Felt FLOWERSFlower five takes position as my favourite! It is based on the example given by Fox Hollow Cottage. The only change I made from her tutorial was that I cut the petal shapes all the way round skipping one of her steps and then after wrapping I cut the little edges flat. I think that I did it in a rather cack-handed way but the turn out was the same so who is taking note. I like them so much I did a 4 inch (blue) and a 3 inch (white).

Pretty fabric flowers

Well there you have it! No wait it is not the end! After making the flowers I was determined to make them into something and not let them just lie around the house! As with the original pin that brought these gorgeous things to the challenge I love seeing them as hair pieces and gathered together into little blooms. I made them into a hair clip, brooch and my favourite two purple flowers onto a hairband (hot glue and extra felt rectangle).

Felt flowers Collage. Hair accessories

Day 3 of a Pin a Day Challenge

sweet potato quinoa balls

Day three of the challenge and I am back on the metaphorical horse and with something that smells yummy! I remember when I first discovered sweet potato in my first year at University and what a shock it was to see my housemate digging into a bowl of bright orange mush that smelt delicious! From that day on I have never looked back and I have even convinced my mother that is indeed a real food!

I have quite a few sweet potato pins dotted around my foodies board on Pinterest and they are all mouth-watering (especially turning them into crisps)! In the fashion of this challenge I am going to go for the pin that I would normally be a little too nervous to try from Dash of East, Sweet Potato Quinoa Balls.

Sweet Potato Quinoa Balls. CrumpetCorner

The original recipe uses a slow cooker, I unfortunately am not that well endowed so cooked my potato in the microwave since it is so quick and going to get mashed up anyway! It worked out just fine but if you have the equipment you may as well use it ;). Admittedly I also had to google Panko in the ingredients list, had a quick wiz around Sainsbury’s and it turned up next to your bog standard breadcrumbs.Ingredients for Sweet Potato Quinoa BallsNow for the cooking part:

One. At this point you can use a slow cooker is you have one otherwise (go to the original post for instructions), place the sweet potato in a bowl of water and pop it in the microwave for 10 minutes. If you are not sure if it is ready poke it with a knife to see if it is soft all the way through. Remove it from the microwave and the bowl of water and set aside to cool. I didn’t poke the outside (controversial I feel) because it was in a water bath and I didn’t turn them at all either. Worked out fine for me.

Two. Preheat oven to 350 F/ 180C. Coat bottom of a glass baking pan with the oil, then place the pan in the oven while it’s preheating.

Three. In a medium bowl mix all the ingredients together until well combined. I was going to use my hands but my potato was still a little warm so a wooden spoon got to have all the fun instead. Divide the mixture into 6 even portions, and form into golf ball sized balls. I ended up making 10 out of my mixure – just keep the size the same.

Four. Pull the hot glass baking pan out of the oven and place the sweet potato balls into the pan. Cover the pan with aluminium foil, return to the oven and bake for 25 minutes.

Five. Remove the pan from the oven and eat the little balls of paradise!

Sunshine Bread

Today is planned to be DAY 3 of the a Pin a Day Challenge however I was treated to wonderful day out at the Cotswolds Wildlife Park with my mum, brother and nephew which I couldn’t possibly turn down. A ring tailed lemur jumped on my head. It was not a completely pleasant experience. Back to the point – I have not had a chance to do a mini project but fear not I still have something to offer!

A girl called Jack recipe book

The Black Eyed Peas song “I Gotta Feeling” just came on the radio and as I was “singing” Tonight’s going to be a good NIIIGGHHT I thought YES it will! Why? Because I realised tonight The Great British Bake Off is on TV and it is BREAD WEEK! To honour such an event I am going to share with you one of my new favourite bread recipes from Jack Monroe. I love her book but she also has a great blog with loads more of her recipes if you don’t have the privilege of owning/buying a book for yourself.

This bread is named Sunshine Bread as it has great colour and you just can’t be in a bad mood baking or eating this one. I love fruit bread and was surprised to find a recipe using pineapple (and juice!) as well as the more traditional sultanas/raisins combination. It is perfect when warm out of the oven with a dab of butter on top and also delicious lightly toasted for breakfast the next morning.

Unfortunately I don’t have any photo’s myself! Shoddy blogging I know but you’ll just have to settle for the recipe below. This is taken directly from the book and for full disclosure has not been developed (though thoroughly tasted) by me.

Sunshine bread

Bake up a loaf and dig in while watching the Bake Off and be proud that you could probably, hopefully, well maybe give them a run for their money. I promise to be back on the horse tomorrow and just to make up for it I will try and sqeeze in day 3 & 4 of the a Pin a Day Challenge!

Day 2 of a Pin a Day Challenge

Melted Crayon Art

Crayon art with no drawing skills required, now that’s my type of project!

As with yesterday’s challenge there are pictures and tales of people melting crayons all over cyber space. I must say that I was pessimistic that those wonderful images were 100% the real deal but am pretty happy with how easy it really is and the turn out too. I am shooting two birds with one stone in this post as my inspiration and instructions came from two pins and thus two blogs today! Craft Knife give a great tutorial if you have a heat gun and Stressure have an in-depth tutorial for using a plain old hairdryer as well as some interested ideas!

Supplies

I didn’t want to spend much money on supplies (did I mention I was pessimistic) and was lucky enough to have 3 mini canvas boards stored away just waiting for a creative project to give their existence a purpose. Because I was using such small mounts (just smaller than A5) I had no choice but to go portrait and I decided to glue the crayons halfway off the board to leave as much space as possible for that precious dripping. I also had lots of old crayons lying about so put them to good use too. I used a variety of brands as that is what I had. Some crayons didn’t really work, they either didn’t melt or a clear liquid ran off not the colour. This didn’t seem to related to cheap/expensive brands so it is a bit of pot luck if you ask me. Safe bet? Go and buy some Crayola crayons but where is the fun in that!

Family funIt must have been obvious that I was having bucket loads of fun since my nephew and mum both decided to give it a go too. The 7 year old needed a little help with the glue gun part and also a bit of support holding the hairdryer. I love the way that each one is unique and you never quite know how it is going to turn out!Oliver having a play

GardenMy first canvas is “designed” as a garden, the green and brown drips to look like grass/bark and I plan to display it with the drips pointing up. I did have difficulty getting a nice coating of colour directly under the crayons so used the hairdryer to blow in the opposite direction (turned it upside down) only for a minute or so to push some of the colour back up. This did the job nicely although it did mean that some of the drips lost their elegance and precision. After everything dried up well I used the glue gun to pop on a few tiny flowers and I’m pretty chuffed at the result.

I decided to paint the background to my second piece black. I did this firstly to make some of the brighter colours “pop”. I also wanted to focus on building up layers and layers of wax to get that great texture and by having Layeringa dark background it was less noticeable when the canvas was less covered.

To finish them off I am planning to buy some pretty frames, remove the glass and then just stick the mini canvas on some card and put them in the frame ready for hanging. I will put up some pictures when I get around to that bit.

If you have any tips or tricks share them out! Something yummy for tomorrows challenge so make sure you check it out! And thanks for reading!

Day 1 of a Pin a Day Challenge

DIY Mug

Oh how exciting it is DAY 1 of a Pin a Day Challenge! I have been wanting to try this “pin” out for absolutely ages and couldn’t resist. I have been buying up plain mugs for a few months whenever I see them on discount so at least now they can look pretty even if they are sitting on the shelf gathering dust.

There are lots of tutorials out there for using sharpie markers to draw onto porcelain to either imitate something seen in a shop or to do a completely custom design or something personal. They’re everywhere! I am going to link this challenge to a pin that originated on the blog of Home Heart Craft. Click the link – hers are amazing!

Also I love the idea of having a little message or surprise at the bottom of your mug that is uncovered in a spy-like fashion (even though I always leave a centimetre of tea at the bottom of my mug. I’d be a terrible spy. I’m working on that character flaw). I was/am however a little concerned over poisoning myself (and you know other people too) that I decided to refrain. If you’re brave or smarter than me give it a go! I settled for a surprise on the bottom.

Surpise on the bottomTea is Happiness

Thoughts after my first attempt? Don’t underestimate the trickiness of drawing on a curve. This is where I reckon teachers or those who write on white boards have an advantage since they are used to writing without leaning their hand on the surface, or maybe I’m just making excuses.

DISASTER! I feel cheated, almost diFinished Productstraught (almost.)…Pinterest you lied to me. DO NOT USE STANDARD SHARPIE MARKERS. Even after baking when washing the mugs the ink started to rub off, some colours quicker than others but only took a little rough scrubbing to get a plain mug back. I might have had a moment. If you fail try and try again right? I popped over to Hobbycraft and brought some specific porcelain pens, they were dear so I only brought 2 colours so design had to be reigned in but brought a mug with extra colour built in!

Until tomorrow!

Welcome Pinterest Challenge Announced!

What is this? Two posts in one weekend?

Yes. Don’t get too used to it.

I couldn’t miss the opportunity to tell you about a rather daunting challenge I have taken up to kick start Crumpet Corner! Now some may think this is easy and yes for a lot of you this may well be true but for a such a brilliant procrastinator and non-finisher as myself it requires a little more effort!

To welcome you all and to give this blog a bit of a push into its new free-range life I shall be doing the challenge of A PIN A DAY. Have you heard of Pinterest? No…you obviously have too many friends! To understand this you must know that I love my Pinterest account, and have sacrificed a fair amount of hours to it, and those pins to try are just mounting up! So starting the 18th August I am going to head on over to my boards and do a project every day.

Wish me luck!

Pintrest snapshot

Hello, nice to meet you!

Well let’s start with a simple hello and welcome to Crumpet Corner. I’m Brenda, a 20 something, crumpet-aholic, craft enthusiast who uses far too many exclamation marks, from the sunny (well sometimes) UK! That’s all about me for now as there is a whole page dedicated to that nonsense.

This blog is a way for me to share my ideas and creations with you beautiful humans out there as well as a chance for me to keep a record of things too. I am getting to grips with this delight called wordpress and so please bare with as things might get a little jiggled around in these teething stages.

I can hear you now: “what strange things can we expect from this corner of web space?!”

Well let me tell you. I love craft! This ranges quite a lot from sewing to jewellery to furniture to upcycling to décor to….yeah that list continues in a similar way to pi! But there you have it the first thing you are likely to see is some DIY! I also like to play around with those substances that spoil…FOOD. So two down and two to go! Are you still with me? I love GIFTING, I find a huge amount of pleasure in giving someone something truly special or just right for them and of course it’s always homemade to a certain extent. And finally the one that might take you by surprise but I shall be sharing my thoughts and feeling and dreams of an eventual LIFE AFLOAT!

Thanks for visiting and hopefully to seeing you soon!