more chocolate and cherries

yesterday I made this delicious black forest cake for a friend’s birthday (alot of those in April!!). Her favourite cake is black forest and feeling  inspired by my chocolate cherry cupcakes I decided to give it a go!!

The recipe I used was the Hummingbird Bakery chocolate cupcake recipe (doubled for a 3 layer cake). Then just layered with whipped double cream and cherry pie filling. I covered the top layer with chocolate butter cream and decorated with glacé cherries and grated dark chocolate! Real black forest cake should actually have Kirsch too (mine didn’t!).

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It turned out rather beautiful no?!

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Happy Birthday Kyrstie!

xxx

easter break

I have been thoroughly enjoying the lovely sunny weather the last few days! I love easter break: the spring flowers and fresh sunny days that hold the promise of a hot summer!

spring tulips

And there is so much to do in the next couple of weeks, what with the packing and sorting through all our stuff (we are planning on moving house… more on that later!), visiting family and catching up with friends as well as all those crochet projects to finish, not forgetting to plan menus!!! It is going to be fun!

on the subject of crochet, I have just completed the little baby blanket I have been working on for my sister’s little one (due in May!). I started this in January during the cold winter and now that it is complete I am not sure she will need such a chunky warm blanket! But I know she will appreciate it!!! I chose subtle colours -creams, blues and greys that I thought would go in her lovely country style home!

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hope you like it.. let me know what you think in the comments below!

xxx

chocolate cherry cupcakes

I made these lovelies for my hubby’s birthday today. He loves the whole chocolate + fruit combo and I thought I would try something new.

chocolate cherry cupcakes

I followed the hummingbird bakery recipe for chocolate cupcakes (I love their cake days app- and use it ALL the time!). Once the cupcakes were baked i cut out a small hole in the middle and filled it with a tsp of cherry pie filling.I then iced them and garnished with glace cherries covered in chocolate… they were scrumptious!!!

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Rather pretty too don’t you think!

lots of love xxx

collaboration with Express Image

Last week I had an awesome time down at Express Image HQ in Walsall. Express Image is a design company set up by Anthony and Ricardo Consiglio to produce art that carries the Gospel message. Checkout their beautiful unique pieces on their website. Seeing as I had a week off from the cafe (for half-term), brothers Anthony and Ricardo invited me down to have a go at designing a small range of items for Mothers day.

We started the day in Starbucks (this is, I believe, the best way to start the day!) discussing and finalising our ideas and plans. We decided on cute vintage-style jewellery hangers using cotton spools. I don’t know about you, but I have a tonne of necklaces that need some place to stay other than the large bowl on my window sill in which they currently reside in a tangled mess! The jewellery hangers would be cute and quirky and also a very practical gift for any mum!

We had such fun browsing the streets of Walsall for a variety of coloured cotton spools, some beautiful floral vintage fabric as well as french grey wood paint and bees-wax to create distressed wooden frames. We also came across some beautiful hand painted ceramic door knobs that were perfect!

Back at the workshop it was exciting to be part of the building process and the boys work very efficiently together- cutting and sanding, painting and waxing, glueing and stapling and finally screwing everything into place!

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The results were better than I could have imagined!

Spools raspberries 3 copy

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Spools raspberries 2

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Don’t you just love them?! We also designed a small range of mothers day prints to be framed and sold at their various local retailers.

Mother's day 1

What impressed me most about the brothers, is their ability to move from an idea and make it a reality in a very short space of time. So many of us (me included) get stuck in the idea stage, to afraid to take the risk and make it happen! The result here, at Express Image, is a fantastic expanding business brimming with life!

Thank you boys for a fun week … your the best!

xxx

Checkout Ant and Ric’s website and visit their shop to see other wonderful products they have for sale, I have it on good authority that they will soon be selling oh Etsy where you will be able to buy one of these lovely hangers! 

rozzy’s quiche

Following on from the last post, and staying true to my word, this post is all about Rozzy! The lovely, caring, fun receptionist at CBC who recently started helping me once a week in the kitchen. Together we tackle “fabulous fridays” and we always have a laugh together and a good natter! It is so wonderful to be able to glean from Rozzy’s many years of experience in the kitchen, and I have definitely improved on my efficiency since working with her- she is full of beans!

In this post I am going to share with you Rozzy’s recipe for her amazing quiche… I know what you may be thinking right now.. quiche is quiche, it’s an everyday, family-gathering or church bring-and-share, eggy pie…nothing special…right? Wrong!

I was never a fan of the old quiche until now..

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this recipe is totally delicious, creamy and tasty and not at all eggy! I have honestly never tasted quiche like it and I am now hugely in love with this dish!

Try and and let me know what you think!

Rozzy’s  Broccoli and bacon Quiche

For a 10 inch dish serving 6

Ingredients:

  • ½ lb pastry 8 oz flour/ ½ fat = (mixture of ½ marge or unsalted butter, with ½ Lard).
  • Make 1 hour  before, wrap in cling film and place in the fridge
  • Blind baked pie crust (either store bought or homemade) pastry needs to be quite crusty but not brown.

FILLING

  • ½ bacon
  • ½ onion
  • ¼ of broccoli head into florets, chopped
  • 6 oz of cheddar cheese (you can do a mix of white and yellow if you want)
  • ¼ to ½ pt milk make up according to mixture and size of eggs
  • ½ jar of white lasagne sauce
  • 4 large eggs
  • ½  teaspoon salt
  • pinch ground black pepper
  • pinch freshly grated nutmeg

Directions:

  1. Prepare your quiche dish with a little fat flour and put in your rolled out pastry and blind bake this for about ½ hour on gas mark 4/350 degrees. Let it cool before filling.
  2. Preheat your oven to Gas mark 4/350 degrees F.
  3. Cook the bacon in a skillet set over medium heat for about 10 minutes until crisp, then chop the bacon into small pieces and reserve for later.
  4. Cook diced onion in what’s left of bacon fat.
  5. Add the chopped broccoli florets to the pan and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook the broccoli for 5-10 minutes until it’s tender and green but not mushy.
  6. Evenly spread the cooked broccoli and bacon and onion in your blind baked tart crust, and top it evenly with the grated cheddar cheese.
  7. Make the custard mixture by whisking together the milk, sauce with eggs, salt, black pepper, and the nutmeg. Pour the custard into the tart shell, and bake the tart for 30 – 40 minutes.
  8. Do not let the edges of the pastry burn while cooking the centre of the quiche if needs be turn oven down.
  9. You know the tart is ready when you can no longer see liquid but the centre of the tart press middle is spongy.
  10.  Cut the tart into pieces and serve!
  11. Oh, and by the way, this tart reheats really well. Pop it into the oven or microwave until warm.

Rozzy x

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Thank you Rozzy for this recipe, and thank you for all your help!

xoxo

a little help from my friends

I can’t believe it is Saturday already! I have been meaning to put up the pics of our LOVELY baking from the cafe last week… leading up to valentines day of course! I have a wonderful baker who supplies cakes and slices etc to the cafe, she is a budding entrepreneur and very talented! We came up with the idea for heart shaped cookies with a message! She made them from shortbread and iced them beautifully and of course they sold instantly!

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my attempt at baking was these little love heart cupcakes… cute huh!

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It is such a blessing to know and collaborate with so many talented people, the cafe just wouldn’t be the same without them! and this gave me a thought… the next few posts I am going to do are all going to be about the wonderful people who contribute to Manna house Cafe or to Sew a Seed…In celebration of hearts and minds coming together, unity and community! I can’t wait!

So here is the first in the series… in honour of Ali Beechey of Love Creations….

Ali from love creations

Thanks Ali!!!

crochet bow tie

hallo everyone!

Remember this post I did just before Christmas, featuring my handsome friend Matt sporting a rather fetching crochet bow -tie?

I have since made a whole bunch to sell so I thought it would be fun to show them off here!! The pattern I used was adapted from this one.

But first a little story about a girl (me!) who walks into a gorgeous little boutique (the very cool- life of dad boutique) in Walsall. As it happens I was wearing my crochet necklace and the lovely shop-lady took a liking to it and commissioned me to make her a few, and see if they sold! and they did! wahey!!! Since then she commissioned me again, this time to make some fun crochet bow-ties!

so there is the story behind these lovelies and now I leave you to browse …

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So if you’d like to buy your very own bow-tie just pop on down to Life of Dad in Walsall!

yay!… until next time

xxx

funky for the chunky

Just because we are all committing to slim down for the new year doesn’t mean our accessories have too! This winter more than ever has seen the celebration of the chunky and super chunky knits! So here is my contribution (with thanks to all about ami)… the super-chunky crochet cowl! Made with Nordic yarn (3x 100g balls) and a 10mm hook, this rather special neck piece only took a train ride to London and an evening on the sofa to complete!

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….funky…chunky… spunky… Mcklunky’s?!

xxxx

a hope filled wander through walsall…

I thought I would share with you some pics and musings from our rambles…

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One of the good things about holidays and weekends is having the time (away from the busyness of life) to think; to reflect on past events, to plan for future happenings and best of all to escape into our imagination – to dream! As an adult I find it harder to imagine, maybe because logic and reasoning and past experience tells me that imagination can be dangerous. Is it a fear of disappointment? or perhaps the notion that my dreaming will only lead me to be discontent about my reality.

Over the last year especially I have allowed myself a little luxury of imagining more, hoping more, dreaming more… like dabbling my bare feet in a cold stream, and the results have been so refreshing. I realise that to hope is a catalyst in bringing about that which you hope for .. this blog and the cafe are both things I only imagined would be possible just 18 months ago… and here I am! This year I want to go knee deep!!! I am excited to see what lies ahead!new year 2014-2new year 2014-1

So what about 2014 for you? What are you dreaming for yourself and for your family? Try a little hope and watch as your dreams unfold before you

xxxx