DIY teabags. Dead simple.

A handful of materials = awesome homemade DIY teabags!

My boyfriend never used to drink tea…ever…then he met me…converted! So what better than some homemade teabags to go along with his birthday presents.

Easy peasy DIY teabags

Materials – coffee filters, loose leaf tea, thread (sewing machine), embroidery thread/string and card.
Take you coffee filters and cut them into whatever shape you like and big enough to hald 1 1/2tsp loose tea. I chose some classic rectangles and some extra large circles. Leave one side of the shape sealed to keep the two sides together while sewing. Giving around 0.5cm as a seam allowance, pick your (or his) favourite colour and sew up the three open ages. Cut the remaining sealed edge and you have a pocket just asking for some filling!

Coffee fillter tea bags

For a normal cup size I used one and a half tsp of loose leaf tea, I doubled this for my extra large circle teabags, I have a special mug in mind for those! Spoon the mix into the pockets you’ve just created.

Full pockets

If using a rectangle, fold the two corners into the middle and the point it forms down. Under the point place one end of a piece of embroydery thread/string. Either using your machine or by hand, sew the fold down to secure the thread and close the pocket. If you have decided on a more adventurous shape, sew up the gap the with the same stitching.

All wrapped up and ready to brew

As an added extra make your own lables to stick onto the loose of the string. Simply, cut a rectangle out of some medium gsm card and decrate. Fold it around the end of the string using prit stick to attached the two sides together. You can be really creative here, I opted to print my face onto card – he’s not forgetting who made him those awesome teabags!

It's my face on a teabag!


No knead, slow rise, wholemeal bread for the complete beginner

Overnight beginner bread

The title, which is more than a description than a title, pretty much says it all don’t you think? This bread is super simple, you don’t need to knead it or worry about a bread machine. Mix it up the night before baking so the dough has plenty of time to rise – meaning no need to worry about getting that pesky yeast to activate asap. Wholemeal makes it healthy and wholesome, though very easily adapted to white bread. This is my first ever loaf…so I am not lying with the complete beginner! If you want to skip all my babble below you can find the recipe here.

Coleshill Mill FlourA few weeks ago I had a DD day, a daddy daughter day. I wanted to practice some driving (I’m still a big L) going along roads that I am not used to as well as a day out. We decided to go to Coleshill to see the old, yet still running, watermill (and by chance managed to join a talk and trip through a WWII underground bunker). Anyway the point is that we visited the MILL. It was fantastic. Run by a group of very friendly and informative National Trust volunteers. On the way out I could not help myself but to buy a bag of flour. Wasn’t milled in front of my eyes – but pretty close! Because it is a simple Mill run by volunteers you get REAL wholegrain flour. It was fantastic to see the grain going through. I’ve never baked with wholegrain flour and so was a little nervous that I would going to end up with a very heavy bread. Mixing the flour with half white strong bread flour sorted that out easiily!

Overnight bread in pictures

I’ve always wanted to try and bake my own bread but every time I see the ingredient yeast in a recipe I can’t help but run a mile. There is something almost terrifying with the idea of yeast but I have found some secret determinism to master, or at least get a grasp of the ingredient. If can do this it will unleash so many more baking options – how exciting!

ROSEMARYI got persuaded by this recipe as my brother has baked it twice and each time it has turned out wonderfully! As I’ve mentioned the yeast bit sounded simple and do-able and a perfect place to start. For the full recipe click here. I did not adapt it at all apart from adding in some fresh rosemary and I used the wholemeal (50/50) recipe in her adaption comments.

Easy artisian bread Collage

Very lime-y lime cupcakes

Everybody’s good at cooking something, I’m good at cooking crumble…well no cupcakes actually! I hope most of you get that BGT reference, that lady’s given me some inspiration.

Bored of chocolate and vanilla cakes, want something summery, citrusy and different? What about that poor neglected LIME! This idea didn’t pop out of thin air because I neglect the lime as much as the average brit, but in my wonderful baking book I have a recipe for margarita cupcakes (it’ a student baking book if you hadn’t guess). You know a key flavour in margarita’s? Yep lime. My logic starting to make sense now I’d hope.

Cupcakes banner

These are really simple to make, turn out light and fluffy and pack a punch. Perfect for a summer BBQ.

Ingredients                                                            Equipment

175g Self-raising flour                                                 Mixing bowl
225g Caster sugar                                                       Cupcake tin and cases
2 limes, juice and zest                                                Electric whisk
115g Unsalted butter at room temperature             Measuring spoons & scales
2 large eggs
4 tsp orange juice

One. Cream together your butter and sugar. I find the easiest way to do this is add the sugar to butter in three instalments making sure everything is happily combined before moving to the next batch. This takes some arm muscles and time – I might try popping it in a mixer next time I try and I’ll post an update.

Two. Add two large eggs or three medium ones to the mix. Crack out the electric whisk and give the whole thing a quick mix together.

Three. Add the lime juice/zest, orange juice and flour to the mix. Now fold the mixture together until just combined.

Four. Spoon the mixture into the cases and cook in the oven for 15 minutes. If you are making larger cakes (like American cupcakes) increase the cooking time to 25 minutes. I got rather excited at being able to use my green poka dot fairy cases! I made 18 cupcakes and they filled the cases perfectly. Some might class them as fairy cases so look at the pictures and make the call yourself – If you are only getting 12 cook for the longer time.

Four. Once cooked take out and allow to cool completely then ice.

lime cupcakes

Making a lime buttercream adds a lot to the flavour and isn’t much more effort than normal!

Ingredients                                                          Equipment

150g icing sugar                                                       Mixing bowl
1 lime, juice and zest                                               Wooden spoon
2tsp Orange juice                                                    Measuring spoons & scales
55g Unsalted butter at room temperature

Cream together the icing sugar and butter using a wooden spoon – you’ll need to engage those arm muscles again. Do this slowly by adding the icing sugar a little at a time. If you are struggling add a teaspoon of orange juice to help. When happy that everything is combined use the electric whisk to whip the mixture until bale and fluffy. Add lime and orange juice and continue to whisk. After the icing is on the cakes sprinkle the zest of one lime over the top to finish off the look.