Elephant lover birthday bunting card for Mom

April is still birthday month, with Dad’s card down Mum’s to go. The best thing about homemade cards is that you can draw inspiration from the person’s hobbies or interests or favourite colours.

My mum loves elephants – always has and always will. From that I thought of all those cute silhouettes of baby elephants clinging on their mummy’s tail whilst trekking across the bush. Plus it is a card for my mummy so seems rather fitting! I must confess my first instinct was to try and draw the elephants myself, after two attempts I realised that wasn’t going to turn out a pretty card (or anything that really resembled an elephant either).

Elephant card for mom

I sneaked my card to work with the brilliant idea to print the design straight on. It is not my normal style since I think you run the chances of loosing that homemade element but in this case because there was further work to do I settled on it. I found the images of “African trees” and the elephant duo, pasted them into publisher. I did a few test prints on paper to get the alignment just right before printing my final copy on the card stock.

From here I folded the card in half (yes it was a rather big card!) and put my Crumpet Creation stamp on the back. Draw lines between the trees, little triangles for each letter – I used a nice shiny gold pen. Colour each triangle with coloured pencils then write each letter with a good black pen – the font style is up to you. And it is that simple.

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Clever birthday card for DAD stating the percentage we’ve loved each other

It’s my Dad’s birthday today – HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!

I’m not going to babble but I made him a card – and I think it is pretty  clever (I sometimes have those moments) and you could use it too! Get some plain card…fold it…find a good pen…you could do calligraphy but there is also something special about a persons actual handwriting…draw out some margins in pencil…copy the messages below minus the first percentage…you could probably make it look tidier than I did…enter the correct percentage from below…rub out your margin lines…vola!

To personalise you need to find the right percentage for you! Now of course your Dad has loved you forever so 100% of your life but he is older than you remember so he has only loved you for as long as you have been alive – see where I am going with this? Take your age (24) and divide it by his age (56) then multiply by 100 and there is your percentage. Might take him a while o figure out what you have done – make him squirm.

Fathers card

Father card back

Make your own solid and hollow chocolate Easter eggs

It’s Easter Sunday!

“Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus”. Romans 6:8-11

Who doesn’t like a good Easter egg – quite a lot of people surprisingly – but we don’t care about those people in this post. Making your own hollow chocolate egg is easy than you might first think, and there are plenty of reasons to do it too! I’ll give you my top four:
One – They are normally made out of cheap chocolate which doesn’t actually taste that nice.
Two – There are a whole host of ethical problems that come along with most supermarket eggs. Oxfam explain a little in this article and give this article a read too.
Three – They are not just chocolate – have look on that ingredient list and see if you know what all those chemicals are. To ensure that they have a long shelf life there are lots of extras thrown in.
Four. It’s a super fun to make your own and the combinations are endless!

EGGS

The MoUldS

Firstly you need some plastic moulds – we have had ours in the family for donkeys years but it would be easy enough to pick some up from Amazon or stores like Hobby Craft. They come in halves (both the solid and hollow ones) and various sizes. Yesterday I picked to make 2 medium hollow eggs and loads of little solid chocolate ones! You can also get Easter bunnies or make chocolate lollies but I’m all about the EGGS.P1010958

The Chocolate

Firstly you need to melt your desired chocolate (ahem fairtrade). The safe option is on the stove (boil water in a pan and place a bowl with the chocolate on top and stir while it melts slowly), the quick option is in the microwave (chocolate in a bowl for short 30 second to 10 second bursts, stir in between. The chocolate doesn’t have to be completely melted as the hot bowl will continue to do its work up to a minute after). HINT: You want to keep the chocolate really runny through the whole process yes? So fill a roasting tray 1/2 way with boiling water and put over a hob on the lowest setting. Place your bowls of melted chocolate in the water bath and it will keep them warm constantly.

Peppermint flavour

Now you can get creative with your chocolate by adding different flavours – my favourite was adding 3 drops of peppermint essence to the milk chocolate to make it, well, minty. You can also use food colouring in the white chocolate to add some colour – I didn’t bother this time so no pictures I’m afraid. Now you are ready to egg make!

Hollow Easter Egg.

You need a mould as mentioned above (two halves to make a whole), chocolate, spoon, clips/pegs and a fridge – not much see! You do want to work pretty quickly here so make sure you have everything together before you start. I’ll give you a basic example: in one mould spoon in a fair amount a chocolate (you are deciding the thickness of your egg at this point) in the middle. Place the second mould on top and line the egg edges up. PEG your heart out to secure the two halves together and stop your delicious chocolate seeping out the edges. Now dance – you need to twirl and twist and move the mould to allow for an even covering of chocolate everywhere – you don’t want holes! Do this for at least one minute to get good coverage. Remember as you are doing this the chocolate is cooling to form a shell. Dunk in the fridge…one minutes later…take the egg and turn it upside down and put back in the fridge…repeat for 4 times (5 minutes)…half an hour later…turn one last time. You cannot turn it too many times but if you turn it too little when you attempt to take the egg out of the mould one side will be very brittle/thin and likely break immediately. Leave for 4-5 hours and you will see when they are ready the chocolate will have pulled away from the mould slightly and look a slightly lighter colour. Remove the clips and slowly edge the one side off. And you are done! You can give these eggs as gifts but they will need to be kept in the fridge as remember it is just normal chocolate and will melt. Try wrapping them in some coloured foil for a professional finish.

When the eggs ready
The left egg is ready to be removed from the mould but the right one needs to cool some more – note the different colours.

Stripy dark and milk eggs

Mini Solid Easter Eggs.

These are even easier. Again you’ll have a set of half moulds and there will be an even number per sheet normally. Use the same chocolate as with the hollow egg but these you fill each half to the brim. You can mix the chocolate or put in crushed sweets – Werther’s Originals go pretty well. Also if you put in sprinkles before the chocolate they will be stuck on the outside at the end. HINT: it is important to knock out any air bubbles – hold one end and gently tap the other end on the counter top – you might see a couple pop to the surface. Switch sides and do it again. Put the moulds in the fridge until solid. After a couple hours you can knock the chocolate out of the moulds in the same way you would an ice cube from an ice cube tray. Turn upside down and knock on a hard surface, you may need to use a knife to tidy up the edges. Re-melt a little chocolate and you will use this like glue to stick the two halves together. Again store in the fridge until you would like to eat them.

Mini solid eggs

PicMonkey Collage

 

Oven-baked scotch eggs

It’s Good Friday tomorrow (half an hour and counting). Joyful.

I wanted to make something relating to Easter but not the obvious chocolate rice crispy cakes and the alike…then I remembered an episode from The Great Comic Relief Bake Off, Paul made these armatures make scotch eggs – impossible. If a women who keeps shoes in her over can make them so can I! This recipe below is one I adapted from the one found at BBC Good Food. Warning: There are a lot of photo’s in this post!

Baked Scotch Eggs Finished

I’m not a huge fan of deep frying anything – it isn’t great for your body and I think I’d set the house on fire so I had to do a little digging to find a recipe to use as a starting point hence the odd one I adapted from. You don’t get quite the same crisp outside by baking but it’s a compromise you have to decide on. Recipe with LOADS OF PHOTO’S below.


Ingredients:
Oil for frying                                           1/2 Onion
5 medium eggs                                        5 lean pork sausages
Panko breadcrumbs                             3 tsp sage and 2 tsp thyme
1 tbsp plain flour                                   1/2 tsp nutmeg
Salt and black pepper to season

One. Heat some oil in a pan and fry finely chopped onion until softened. Set aside to cool.
Two. Fill a medium saucepan with cold water put in 4 of the eggs. Bing to the boil and once bubbling time the boil for 5 minutes. When you buzzer buzzes cool the eggs under cold water to stop the eggs for cooking further. Peel off the shells.

Baked Scotch Eggs

Three. Cut the casings of the sausages and squeeze out the meat into a bowl. Add the cooked onion and herbs/salt/pepper and mix well. Divide the mixture into 4 fairly equal parts.

Sausage Meat
Four. Tip the flour onto a plate and roll each egg to give it a good coating. On the residual flour spread the meat portions (one at a time). Spread the meat by patting or pulling the potion into a flat even circle, around 12cm. The flour at the bottom should stop it from sticking so pick your circle, hold it in the palm of your hand and place an egg in the middle. With both hands, pat, press and ease the meat around the egg until it is completely covered. You don’t want a seam so really work it – the meat will get a little sticky. Repeat with all the eggs.

Floured eggs
Meat squishing timeScotch Egg recipeIt's a ball!Five. Lay out the breadcrumbs and lightly beat the remaining egg in a mug. Brush the scotch eggs with the beaten egg and then roll in the breadcrumbs – pressing them on lightly until fully covered. Do this for all 4 eggs. Chill for 20 minutes in the fridge and pre-heat the oven to 190°C.

Crumbed and ready for baking Six. I think this is the tricky bit! Heat three tsp of oil in a non-stick and when it is hot (drop a crumb in and see if it sizzles) place two of the eggs in the pan and roll around for two minutes crisping up the outside – you’ll probably have to keep fiddling with the temperature to make sure it doesn’t get too hot and start to burn. This isn’t to cook the meat so don’t worry about that. Put the two eggs on a baking tray (and grease proof paper) and repeat the process for the remaining two eggs – you may need to top up the oil too.

Finished baked Scotch EggsSeven. Bake the eggs in the oven for 12 minutes. Place them on some kitchen paper to cool and any excess oil can seep away into that too. Halve and consume warm or cold – I made mine yesterday and they are still delicious! Note the rather uneven meat coating on the picture below – that’s why it is called homemade!

Baked Scotch Eggs Finished