A new chapter in Warwick

Wow I haven’t posted since June, not like I was busy or anything…

This is a quick run down on what I have been up to in the last 6 months.

In July we went for a weekend in Lechlade with the family in law and tested out camping in the new Kangoo. It was great spending time relaxing but being about 33 weeks pregnant, squeezing into the car to sleep and walking in the night to the toilets left me pretty exhausted so the next day i ended up in hospital due to a bleed. After monitoring and lots of injections i was released 2 days later.

Only 2 weeks later I finished working and started my maternity leave. Liking to be busy and feeling like I had made a full recovery I attended a sewing workshop, man my back hurt! I also did a sewing dad with my mum in law which was really nice to do.


I then went on holiday with my mum to Stratford as we didn’t want to be too far from home in case I went into Labour early. Luckily I didn’t so we were able to hit 4 out of the 5 Shakespear venues over the 2 days, unfortunately the last one I was exhausted so just managed to go in, sit down and then go out again but it was all fun and interesting. Some tasty food was had including fish and chips and we stayed in a nice hotel in the center of stratford so could walk to everywhere. It was lovely to spend time with mum before i became a mum.

The day after I had my friends hen do which was paper crafts and a meal and a few days later i got the train up to the Lakes for a few days holiday with my parents. It was lovely and relaxing and involved lots of icecream eating (as usual).

After that week of excitement it was then catching up with friends and relaxing until the big day…

I have to say the last 7 weeks of pregnancy are hard and the last 4 are even harder. Waking 2 + times a night, walking slower and your knees hurt, being tired again…ye its all good fun, by the end you just want the baby and for it to be over you forget that you have to go through Labour!

Then I went into Labour at 5am on 24th August, nearly 1 week early, and 2 weeks earlier than the original date given. It started with a visit to the toilet in which I discovered my heind waters had broke. I was abit concerned so called the hospital who told us to come in. We went in and they confirmed it was happening but said I could go home and would be induced a day later if things hadn’t started by then… but they did. Within 2 hours of being home the contractions had started and went straight to 3 in 10 minutes, gaining in strengh so we went back in and straight to the Labour ward as I was already 4 cm. 
I was lucky enough to get the water birthing suit that I wanted so hoped into the bath but after 3 hours nothing had happened but the pain grew so I asked for Pethadine.
Upon examination they decided to break the waters and realised the baby had pooed which meant out of the bath and perminant monitoring incase he was in distress. It all happened quite fast after that with more constractions and stronger then time to push (and you know when you need to push). 40 mins later of pushing with Richard as a wonderful birthing partner and my life was changed, Warwick Jesse was born into the world at 17:55 weighing 8lb 12.5oz.

I spent that night on the ward with my beautiful new born unable to sleep with excitement and checking on him every few minutes. I was in the same bed as before as well! 

The next day involved lots of checks on me and Warwick, lots of injections, some quite nice hospital food and finally we were released to come home.

Bringing Warwick home I was terrified about how Seymour was going to be with him. At first he was intrigued, especially with the crying, and wanted to lick his face to say hello. He had a restless first night, then he settled really well and now they are best buds.

Warwick is now nearly 4 months old and to be honest I don’t know where that time has gone or what I have but I know it involved many ear tests (finally got the all clear at 8 weeks), hip scans (also all good), birth registry, stay and plays, rhyme time, yoga, chattermatters, baby massage, 1 trip away for my dads birthday, and friend and family catching up…

I’m hoping I can post more frequently but Warwick may have other ideas so stay tuned!

Advertisements

Our handfasting!

On 13th May 2017 my best friend and I had our handfasting. A handfasting is a traditional pagan wedding ceremony in which the hands are tied with cord to symbolise the union, and a broom in jumped to symbolise the starting a fresh.

I never imagined myself walking down an aisle in a white dress so a handfasting with a Medieval theme seemed perfect for me, and us! We wanted fun and colour and you can see from the photos that we certainly had that!

It was a lot of work planning, organising, making, baking and at 5.5 months pregnant I really pushed myself to the limits but it was exactly how we wanted it.

So thankful to our parents who helped set up, coordinate and take down. Also to our friends and families who got dressed up and came with a smile and an open attitude unsure of what to expect but really embraced it. I think fun was had by all.

We had some amazing suppliers that really helped to make the day fantastic:

The venue was Abbey farm – Jenny and family were wonderful, nothing was too much trouble and the venue, the ruins of a medieval abbey, really worked with our theme.

Smart party marquees– cheaper marquees than traditional, quicker to put up and really light and spacious.

The costume company– we hired all the inside decorations and tankards from them, these really brought the theme to life.

The Cheese and Ale barn – fantastic choice of cheeses and Lou worked with us to create a cheese ‘cake’ within our budget.

Sticky Fingers – wow, what fantastic flavours of ice cream and service. They even gave us a free taster session with 18 flavours.

19Gales – Not going to lie, they are poor at communicating and can promise the world but not deliver (like promising me gluten free bread…) but when it comes to straight up hog roast that was gorgeous!

Armstreet clothing – supplied my wedding dress and Richards colourful outfit.

And last but certainly not least was Dave Sutch, our Celebrant. He conducted a beautiful ceremony with real authenticity, him and his partner were such lovely people they really made the day magical.

And just to give credit to the family members who made things!

I sewed 50 meters of bunting, flags and costumes and made all the dried flower decorations, Richard, as a talented puppet maker, made the amazing cake toppers and signs, my mum made some delicious food and Richards mum made the fantastic hobbit house cake and about 300 sausage rolls!

A picture tells a thousand words so here is our special day in photos, thanks to the talented Sarah Deeming.

wedding1

wedding25

wedding8wedding7wedding9wedding14wedding10wedding11

 

 

edding6

wed

wedding13wedding12

wedding19wedding20wedding21wedding24wedding29wedding23

wed2wed3

FB_IMG_1496310394483

FB_IMG_1496310375943wedding2

wedding26wedding32wedding16wedding3weddingwedding5wedding17wedding18wedding30wedding28wedding27wedding36wedding15

wed5wed4wed1

wedding37wedding39wedding40

 

And because I realised I didn’t upload any photos of our legal ceremony or the hen do here are a few photos, this time of our legal ceremony that took place in April in Cheylesmore Manor followed by afternoon tea in Coombe Abbey. Another fantastic day! Lucky me I got 2 wedding days 🙂

honey8honey 7hone6honey5

My hen do with my lovely friends and family involved cakes, sewing, Alpacas and a meal at The Green Man, I had a great time!

hen7

henn3henn1henn

hen4hen1hen2

henn4

And to end it all off a few photos of our short Honeymoon, down in Devon/Dorset hunting for fossils.

honey4honey3honey2honey1

bl1bl

Phew I’m done, can I go to sleep now…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hot peach chutney

So peaches aren’t ripe for the picking on the British trees at the moment but give it another 1-2 months and if you have a peach tree then I am sure they will be. But for those of us that don’t have a peach tree in the garden the good news is peaches are coming into season already (from the continent) at your supermarket and market. 

I went down to Tamworth market and stocked up on what they had an abundance of to inspire me to make a chutney. That just so happened to be peaches.

My spicy marrow chutney goes down a treat so I thought I would give this ‘hot’ peach chutney recipe a go.

To make it, into a large heavy pot stir together approx 16 peeled and sliced peaches (I used a mix of types here), 180g raisins, 2 chopped garlic cloves, 1 large or about 4 small onions chopped, 150g of chrystallised ginger, 2 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp curry powder, 1 tsp chilli powder, 1 tsp chilli flakes, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 900g of soft brown sugar and 950ml cider vinegar.

Bring to the boil and simmer, uncovered, for about 1 hour 45 mins – 2 hours, stiring frequently.

When at the desired consistency ladle into hot sterilised jars and seal.

The chutney wasn’t as hot as I wanted so maybe I would have added more chilli/spices but it did have a nice fruity flavour, also a bit like caramalised onion. Nice with crackers!

Makes about 8 jars, should keep for about 2 years.

Sambocade aka Elderflower Cheesecake

In preparation for our Medieval themed wedding I searched the internet for authentic recipes, in particular pudding/sweet recipies as we had the savoury covered with enough meat, cheese and bread to sink a ship!
I found a recipe that wasn’t just medieval but also combined my love of foraging so I knew I had to make it.

Sambocade, named after the latin word for elderflower, is a baked cheesecake with lovely pastry crust.

This is another beautifully simple recipe with 2 stages. Make the pastry, then make the filling.

So to make the pastry  blend together 100g butter with 150g plain flour and a pinch of salt and only 1 tsp caster sugar. Bring together with about 3 tbsp of cold water, put into clingflim and chill in the fridge for 20 mins or freeze for a later date.

To bake the pastry set the oven to 180c or 160c fan and take the pastry out of the fridge. Roll out to about 0.5cm and be careful to lower the pastry onto a 9 inch spring formed cake tin (grease the tin 1st). An uneven look looks more authentic but I did trim a little now, just so I could get the distribution even up each side of the tin.


Prick the base with a fork a few times, line with baking paper, fill with baking beans and then blind bake for approx 10 minutes.
Then remove the beans and bake for a further 10 minutes. Once done take out and leave to cool.

The filling bit is even easier!
Mix together 
330g ricotta, 330g cottage cheese (I would bend it first to make it a bit more smooth), 3 tbsp double cream, 4.5 tbsp elderflower cordial, 3 eggs, 100g butter that has already been melted and cooled (you can do this just after you make the pastry), 80g caster sugar, ¼ tsp ground cloves, ¼ tsp ground nutmeg and 2 tbsp rosewater.

Once combined pour into the pastry case and bake on the same temperature as before for approx 1 hour 20 minutes. You may need to turn or even cover for the last 20 minutes to avoid over browning 1 side.

Leave to cool and service with fresh fruit. 

It is a great early summer pudding with a delicious buttery pastry and floral filling. The less adventurous won’t try it (we found that out at the wedding) but the ones that do can’t help but go back for more!

Wild garlic and cheese scones

As you all know I am a big fan of food for free and at this time of the year there is a beautiful smell in the air and our walks are made all the more beautiful for the abundance, in certain areas, of wild garlic.

I have posted a wild garlic recipe before here. Check them out, if you like onions and garlic then they are perfect. If, like me, you love them but I seem to have developed a mild alergy to them 😦 where my lips go tingly, then this recipe is a more subtle use of wild garlic and works well for me.

But first I just wanted to say where we went to find them. We are very lucky by us that every so often a fancy house, farm or village decides to do an open gardens type of event. Last weekend over Easter about 5 minutes from us Whitacre Hall opened their farm grounds and woods to the public with a pop up tea room. It was a lovely little walk followed by a tasty cake so what isn’t to love.

We went to see the blue bells and they didn’t disapoint!

Blue bells are a good indicator that the wild garlic should be out. They grow at the same time but in different areas of woodland, blue bells under dappled light of woodland whilst wild garlic is along the banks of a stream in a wooded area.

For this recipe it is a basic scone mix which means you can add herbs as you want.

To make about 2 scones the first thing is to weigh out and rub together until breadcrumbs about 60g of butter and 125 g plain flour with a tiny pinch of salt.

Then add about 3-4 leaves of washed, dried and then chopped wild garlic. Also add about 20g of grated cheese.

Mix together and add about 2 tbs of milk to bind the mix together and roll into 2 flattened balls to place on a baking tray.

Bake in a preheated oven at aboout 200c or 180c fan for about 15 minutes.

These are so gorgious hot and on their own no need for any more butter or filling…but you can if you want too!

Enjoy experimenting with the herbs. I tried marjaram and made it into a dumpling type scone to go with beef stew and that was gorgious too!

 

 

Oat, banana and peanut butter dog treats

So Seymour usually bakes with me and I let him lick my hands when I am done but the flapjack recipe was just too syrupy for doggys so he looked a bit sad.

Well we can’t have that so I decided to try my hand at making him doggy treats.

We had loads of peanut butter and some moldy looking bananas so I looked for a suitable recipe.

I found a few but wasn’t keen on their use of salt or vanila extract (this is a dog not a food reviewer) so I adapted some and I think it worked, he certainly loved them! 

I started with 2 soft bananas and mushed them in a bowl.
I added 3.5 tablespoons of smooth peanut butter (check it is safe for dogs as some are not!), and added an egg.
I mushed them all together.

To the wet mixture I folded in about 12oz of plain flour and 10oz oats.

It didn’t look like it was all going to mix in but it did.

Look at that face! Seymour was looking forward to eating these treats, thats his happy face 🙂

Then roll the mixture in your hands into just bigger than walnut size balls (makes about 28) and place on a baking tray.

Into a pre-heated oven at about 150c, 130c fan for 45 minutes.

When done, leave to cool completely, store in an airtight container for up to a week.

I hope your dog enjoys the treats as much as Seymour did!

Super simple flapjacks

So I really love flapjacks but they have to be the right everything: right stickyness, moistness, quantity of fruit and also a bit of crunch.
I don’t know why but it never occured to me to make my own.

Anyway now I have and it is dangerous! The more I make the more I eat :s oh well, the oats are healthy…

Ok so maybe not but I am sure it is better than some of the bought ones packed full of sugar, its super cheap to make and easy.

This recipe makes about 10 portions and you can take out the fruit, add chocolate or leave plain.

First part is to weigh out and put into a pan over a low heat so it melts together:
3 oz butter, 1.5 table spoon of golden syrup and 3 oz of brown sugar.

Then weigh out about 7oz of oats and 2 handfulls of raisins.

Fold the dry mixture into the wet and when combined squish into a baking tin about 7″.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes on 170c, 150c fan.

Take out and leave to cool and look at that! 

Sooo simple, it is a great one for the kids to make and take for lunch or on picnics, but that is if you haven’t eaten it all first like me!

sleep, sleep, Baby!

Wow, so I haven’t posted anything since December, well I guess that makes sence. Since then I have been sick on the evenings and a sleep in bed for 8 not wanting to do anything, no forraging, baking or sewing… Something must be wrong!

Actually its not wrong, its quite right 🙂

My partner and I are expecting our first baby, woohoo.

We found out about the end of December which made it about 5 weeks at the time. Come 6 weeks the moring heaving and evening sickness (wow thats some violent sick) started. Luckily not every night but enough to get you down and worn out. 

What people don’t tell you I think is the tiredness…zzz…
That is probably even worst than the sickness, well for me it was anyway. I think that came into full effect about 7 weeks and where as the sickness was say everyother night the tiredness was from about 1:30 in the day onwards, every day, until 8 were I had to go to bed I was doing a gran and falling asleep sitting up on the couch.

I have never liked the idea of being pregnant. I didn’t want to be pregnant. But we wanted the baby….
Some women see it as wonderful and yes, the science of it is, but the idea of something else growning inside of me and changing who I am through hormones and such, I just never liked the idea, and for the first say 10 weeks I still didn’t like the idea.

I told my mum at 7 weeks because I was just so scared and freaked out by it all. She understood and that really helped.
At 8 weeks we saw the midwife and things started to feel a bit more real. Again support and reasurance was given.

Then as if by magic I was suddenly ok with it. I am pretty sure that is the hormones but hey if it is making this easier then thank you body!

At 12 weeks we had our scan.

Not what we expected at all! 
It had legs and arms and was flinging them all over the place. Instead of thinking oh god that is in me zapping my energy I started to feel wow look how human it looks, this is really, really happening!

Scan, blood tests, midwife and doctors later and we were done and sent home with our lovely photo like a funfair trophy to put on our fridge.

The next few weeks past much the same as the last with sickness and tiredness and by 14 weeks I was really starting to get down about it having not gone to sewing classes or even had the energy to walk Seymour in what seemed like forever.

But as if by magic again almost as quick as it started it stopped. I had a cold to finish it off with but now at 15.5weeks I am pretty much over the cold and I feel like I can say I am over the first trimester evils and looking forward to the next.

Everyone has been so supportive and I should point out my wonderful partner has been AMAZING! Making my breakfast, lunches and dinners, taking the dog for a walk and generally looking after me and the house/dog all whilst taking out the old kitchen and putting in a brand new one, floor and wall tiles as well! Hes a keeper 🙂

So this next trimester was timed well I hope. Hen do and legal wedding ceremony in a few weeks, then handfasting in May. Once that is all done and I have recovered we will be looking forward to 30th August for the arrival of this little one.

Don’t worry though it won’t be all baby and wedding. 
Now I feel more awake I have started my baking again and spring is luring me outside to forrage so stay tuned!

Easy Christmas baking idea…shortbread 

I first made shortbread only this last year and since doing it I can’t believe how easy it is to make and how you can change it up with additional ingredients.

Basically it involves 3 ingredients in a ratio of 3 to 2 to 1.

3 parts plain flour, 2 parts butter to 1 part caster sugar.

So I creamed about 200g of butter with 100g of sugar. I then sifted 300g of flour into the mixture a bit at a time, stiring to combine.

At this stage you can add other ingredients and this time I added about 50g of chocolate chips.

Preheat the oven to 160c or 140c fan.
Form into a dough, wrap in clingfilm and put in the freezer for 15 mins.

Role the dough to about 1cm thick and use cookies cutters to cut out, then sprinkle with sugar. This recipe makes about 21 biscuits.

Bake in the oven for about 15-18 minutes, then take out and leave to cool.

Wala! Really simple and super tasty.

Seymour loves helping me bake this dough and moans if I don’t let him lick my fingers…he’s so cute he get away with it.

Christmas Lambs Liver Pate 

So last year I made yummy pigs liver pate and this year I was going to do the same but picked up lambs liver instead… oh dear, but this mistake proved to be quite tasty actually.

As you can see from the last photo this recipe made quite a lot, about 3 liters worth!

This recipe is a lot more straight forward than the previous one so faster to knock up and impress the christmas guests.

Take 660g of bacon (use the cheap random shape stuff) and chop into chunks.
Add to a deep frying pan with a chunk of butter and cook for 10 minutes on medium heat.

Then add to the pan 1 large chopped onion (or 2 like I originally planned in this photo), 4-5 cloves of garlic, 1.6kg of chopped lambs liver, about 3 sprigs of rosemary minus stem, 1.5tsp of cayenne pepper and 4 tbsp of brandy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Stir on a medium heat for about 10 minutes and then transfer, bit by bit, to a blender and blend to the consistency that you want.

Spoon into ramekins and top with a display of rosemary.

It can just be left to cool and enjoyed or I turned the oven to 180c, (160c fan), made a bain-mary, topped the ramekins with tin foil and baked in the oven for 20 minutes to set the pate.

This pate is very different from the last with a nice kick from the rosemary and cayenne but it isn’t overwhelming, just warming and tasty.

Enjoy with toast or crackers for breakfast, lunch or dinner!