Valentine’s Day Sweet-Hearts.

Well, my attempt at returning to blogging is still a bit weak, so I have written up a new schedule and designated myself a weekly blogging day. That means a few things will be in arrears, but at least I’ll get on with everything.

Sweet Hearts Jam Tarts Easy Recipe

As a little thank-you for returning to read the blog, here is a simple recipe from my pantry, perfect to make for your sweetheart, to give your kids or for them to give their classmates, to jazz up a work space, to make together with your partner or just to eat because you’re a daft romantic who doesn’t care whether or not there’s anyone free to share them with because Valentine’s day is adorable.

Ingredients:

  • 500g strong flour
  • 200g salted butter
  • 5tbsp sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1tsp nutmeg
  • pinch cloves
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 200-300g of any kind of jam (I used homemade damson and homemade raspberry jam from foraged fruits, because I’m a hippie little weirdo with too much time, but, seriously, anything is fine, you could even use chocolate icing instead)

Utensils:

  • mixing bowl
  • rolling pin
  • heart-shaped cookie cutters or a bit of patience and ingenuity
  • teaspoon
  • greased or nonstick baking trays

Recipe:

  1. Mix the flour and spices together.
  2. Add the eggs.
  3. Add the butter. Mix very well.
  4. Add water as you fold until the dough is smooth, elastic and only a touch sticky.
  5. Leave to rest.
  6. Preheat the oven to 160C.
  7. Dust your worktop and rolling pin with flour. Roll out the dough to 1-2cm thick.
  8. Cut some hearts and lay them on the trays.
  9. Use the teaspoon to make a little bowl in each bow of each heart. Just press down a bit for an indent.
  10. Add just enough jam to fill each bowl.
  11. Repeat until all the dough is used.
  12. Put in the oven for around 20min, or until the Sweet Hearts are browned, still a bit tender, but hold firm when you lift them.
  13. Cool.
  14. Eat.

TTFN and Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

Return and Recipes! [Stew of the week and jam tarts.]

So, with all that has been going on, I’ve hardly had time to think of blogging! The baking, wok and reading continued, but no time to write about it all and I daresay it would be more dull than usual if it were just a basic, typo-riddled recipe every two days.

On the plus side, we’re getting a cat to deal with our variety of garden rodents (mice and rabbits and rats, oh dear!), so I’ll update you on him weekly, starting Thursday after he’s had a day to settle. I’ve also had time to finish a few books, made £250-ish a week instead of the usual £50-100, been doing some painting, had another meatfeast, tidied the garden, etc.

On the minus side, two of the hens fell ill and had to be put to sleep, I apparently can’t drive any vehicles on-road at all (for now) as my attention-span is too short and my attention to details is too broad, so I’m an accident liability and the therapist stressed and confused me so much she made my depression worse, so I’m back to my usual coping mechanisms and almost recovered.

The pluses of the minus side? I can now save my bike-money for babies, am away from that therapist and the other two hens are doing well and getting tubby for Winter.

Everything is looking up again from here and I’ve adjusted enough to my new schedule to reintegrate weight training and blogging.

 

We have also concluded that making one big stew a week out of cheaper ingredients is helpful to the budget, so I’m aiming to make at least one a week. Here’s this week’s:

Stew of the Week: Smoky Hellmince, Carrot and Bacon Surprise.

Accidentally burned the base of this, but once transferred to another pot it actually has a kind of nice smoky flavour.

Ingredients:

-1kg carrots

-400g swede

-300g rice

-600g frozen beef and pork mince

-300g bacon

-300g mixed frozen vegetables

-4tbsp paprika

-2tbsp pepper

-water to cover

Utensils:

-chopping board and knife

-large pot

Recipe:

1: Wash and chop the carrots and swede.

2: Add all the ingredients to the pot in this order: water, vegetables, meat, rice, seasonings.

3: Boil until cooked-through.

The next recipe is for jam tarts from scratch. We collected so many elderberries and were given a load of plums, so it was definitely worthwhile to make some jam!

Ingredients:

(Makes 24 small tarts and one large flat stripy one.)

-600g fruit

-500g sugar

-500g plain flour

-500g butter

-cold water as needed

Utensils:

-one pot, stirring spoon, jar and funnel for every fruit variety you want to jam separately

-chopping board and knife

-mixing bowl and rolling pin

-24 tarts worth of cookie trays and one large baking tray

Recipe:

1: Boil the kettle and fill the jar with boiling water. Close tightly and put to one side.

2: Wash your fruit. Slice any larger fruit into 2″ segments, leave berries whole.

3: Place the fruit in its pot. You shouldn’t need extra water yet.

4: Heat them through, stirring all the time. They should start bubbling away nicely. DON’T LEAVE THEM FROM THIS POINT. I’ll say when it’s safe to turn your back again! 🙂

5: When the fruit has basically dissolved into lumps of fruit and fruit paste, gradually add the sugar. Keep stirring. The fruit should release more fluid. Now is the time to boil it down until it’s thick.

6: Take it off the heat. It no longer requires 100% of your attention!

7: Check your jar. It should still be so hot you can’t touch it without a glove or teatowel. Pour the water away.

8: Once the fruit is thick but pourable, place the funnel into the jar and spoon it all in. Tighten the lid ASAP and place in the fridge to ensure it seals and is sterile. Check the pop-tab on the lid of the jar once cool. Once it is locked in like they are at the store, your jar is sealed.

9: Mix the flour and butter until crumbs form. Add water until your dough is soft but not sticky.

10: Grease your trays.

11: Use half the dough to line the 24 cookie spots and roll out half to fill the baking tray.

12: Spoon your jam/s into the tart bases. Maybe do something creative with the huge one!

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13: Bake at 170 for 20min for the small tarts and 25 for the huge one.

14: Leave to cool before removing from trays.

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