Good morning – well it is for me. Well better than yesterday and yes I am Still Smiling!!! Yesterday I had a migraine (which I get frequently, too frequently). I spent the day burying my head in pillows in a pitch dark room, in horrendous pain & fighting nausea. Not nice.
But today I’m feeling a bit better, I keep having to rewrite parts of this blog, as after a migraine it’s like all the wiring in my head goes wrong. I say & write words, out of order, back to front or just draw a complete blank. But the fact that I can tolerate some light, see out of both eyes (I lose sight in one or both eyes) & don’t feel nauseous is definitely a good thing. So I’m smiling!!! That’s me!! Always looking on the positive side of life.
As I’ve shown, life can be tough – in fact I also have other conditions which severely inhibit what I can do on any given day. Does it get me down? Yes! Have I had to learn ways of dealing with the restrictions, pain etc – yes!!
I always try to focus on something positive that has happened that day – a snuggle with my babies (I refer to my children as my babies a lot. I’m good with that & they are too!), a cry with my hubby (it’s good to let things out & not hold them in). My husband comforts & loves me like no other person on this beautiful planet & I love him to bits. Just knowing that he chose me, married me & stays with me through good times & difficult ones. He is one of the main reasons that I keep on Still Smiling!!!
So no, life’s not always easy but I have a lot to smile about. I have a wonderful family. I’m loved. I have true friends who love & accept me as I am. I also have Faith – the cornerstone of all I am.
My total belief in Jesus, my Lord & Saviour , who loves & accepts me just as I am is who I lean on. I celebrate life because of Him. He is the permanent smile in my heart.
All the love & sharing that I have comes from Him. Until next time, keep smiling & sharing xx
Hello again. I’m really enjoying this blogging lark, I hope you are enjoying my thoughts and recipes too? Please leave a comment if you try any. I’d love to hear how you got on. So today let me bring you my Super Easy Shortbread Cookies.
Today is the day…..all the children back at school. My mind is buzzing with all the possibilities that today holds! All the things I put off during the summer holidays to spend time with our 11, 13 and 15 year old children.
I love having them home, they all get along pretty well (not bad for 2 older girls and my boy) and I shall miss their music/chatter/mess… Well maybe not the mess. But they do fill our home with energy and fun. Still tomorrow is the weekend, so today I shall enjoy the peace knowing chaos is only a day away.
Hmmm there’s jam to be made, not really in the mood for that, tidying – but it’ll only need doing again on Monday. Cookies! I have nothing really against shop bought biccies but you really can’t beat homemade and these are a doddle.
You will need:
2 x baking sheets with parchment paper on them.
Cling film (I’ll explain later)
Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature : it really makes a difference.
Recipe: Super Easy Shortbread Cookies makes 20-24
150g/5 oz Caster Sugar (plus 2 tsp for sprinkling on top)
1 Large Free Range Egg Yolk – the white can be frozen for up to one month, perfect for Pavlova
225g/8 oz Plain White Flour
50g/2 oz Corn Flour – corn starch
Place butter, sugar and salt into a large bowl.
Whisk or beat (using a wooden spoon) together until the mixture is very pale yellow.
Now mix in the egg yolk and vanilla paste/extract.
Sift in the flour and corn flour.
Mix thoroughly, but gently until all the ingredients are combined.
Now take a big, deep breath. The smell is scrummy and will help you recognise later when the Super Easy Shortbread Cookies are nearly cooked!
Set the mixture to one side so that you have a clear work top in front of you. You will need a clear space in front of you. Wipe this space with a clean, slightly wet, dish cloth.
Taking the clung film unwrap about 12 inches (30cm) lay it over the damp work surface as you do so. Magically the cling will lay flat and not become a tangled mess!
Place half of your cookie dough on the cling film in a rough log shape.
Using your hands and the cling mould the dough into a log, with a diameter of approx 1 1/2″ (7cm)
Wrap tightly making sure the cookie dough is as even as possible along the log.
Carefully transfer this to the fridge laying it on a flat surface (the dough will still be quite squishy – I usually lay it lengthways across my palm).
Repeat this process with the rest of the cookie dough. Leave the dough to rest and harden up for at least 2-3 hours.
Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan, 350F, gas mark 4, just before you remove the cookie dough log from the fridge.
Remove 1 log from the fridge and leave to warm slightly for 5 minutes (I find leaving it for this time makes the dough easier to cut and not crack).
Using a sharp knife cut regular discs approx 1/4″ (1/2cm) wide.
You should end up with 10-12 cookie discs.
Place these on the parchment paper lined baking sheets, making sure there is at least 1″/2.5cm gap each way between the discs.
Sprinkle each cookie with a little sugar.
Place the baking trays in the centre and lower part of the oven
Bake the Super Easy Shortbread Cookies for 14-17 minutes. When baked they are a light golden colour.
When you start to smell the scrumptious buttery, vanilla smell it’s time to check on your cookies. DON’T PROD THEM – however tempting! They will still be soft and firm up on cooling. These cookies are cooked when they turn a light golden colour. Remove from the oven, careful they are hot!
Leave the cookies on the baking tray to cool completely.
The sprinkle of sugar added just before baking gives the cookies a sparkling sheen once baked.
Pop the kettle on and try one, just to make sure they’re good. These cookies travel well and I like to pop some in cellophane bags tied with pretty ribbon and pass them on to friends andfamily. They are also scrummy when shared with a close friend over a cuppa and a heart to heart chat.
If you have enjoyed this recipe for Super Easy Shortbread Cookies you may also like these:
Since I am a self confessed Cookie Monster, I assume that others are too. Baking fresh cookies, ready to share, is one way of showing my friends and family how much I love them. I mean I’m giving away cookies! Whether it’s cookies, cakes or other bakes, I have never had anyone turn down the gift of a homemade treat.
If you want to see more of my recipes, or show me your bakes you can find me on Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest – @sammiefeasting
No part of this post may reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.
Lemon Drizzle Cake has to be one of my all time favourite cakes. While there are a gazillion recipes on the internet and in books, I wanted to add my own. Firstly because hopefully this blog will become a go-to resource for our children as they continue on their cooking and baking journey. Also, I like my lemon drizzle a certain way. That is, with a fresh lemon glacé icing draped and drizzled over the top. I hope that you enjoy my take on this classic cake?
Since there are various ways to make a lemon drizzle cake, I thought I’d explore them. Traditionally a lemon sugar syrup is made and poured over the top of the cake, creating a crunchy, sugar crust as it cools. For my take on this version see these Mini Lemon Drizzle Bundt Cakes.Perfect individual portions of sunshine.
Lemons And Their Versatility In The Kitchen
Lemons are a must-have ingredient in my kitchen. Used in both sweet and savoury recipes they are essential in my Tangy Lemon Potato Salad where the un-waxed, scrubbed lemons are cut so thinly they are eaten as part of the dish. Also they are used to thin down mayonnaise for my Crunchy Homemade Coleslaw.Whether halved and added to the cavity of a roasting chicken, or simply squeezed over baked salmon, they add a burst of flavour that lifts each dish.
While lemon extract is available and I confess sometimes is used in my recipes, nothing is quite as good as using the real thing. During lemon season I buy un-waxed lemons as they tend to be slightly under ripe. However, I have had many a mouldy lemon lurking in the fridge! So, if buying waxed lemons, simply scrub under hot water with a nail brush. As a note, I lightly scrub un-waxed lemons as well if using the zest.
You will need a 25cm x 11cm x 7.5cm (10” x 4.5” x 3”) 2lb loaf tin,
Since this cake is so delicious, it’s good to know that I have successfully doubled the recipe and baked two cakes at the same time. It is my firm belief that all food tastes better when shared. So, whether you are baking this cake for yourself, or alternatively as a gift, it’s definitely worth making two. In fact why not give both cakes away?
Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.
No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.
Today is my first day of blogging!!! I’m excited. I’m going to show you howto bake bread the easy way! The sun is shining, so that means my veggie plants & flowers need watering.
I love the early morning smell of the garden, the slight dampness of dew on the grass, the smell of my tomato plants as I brush past them…
Anyhow I’m waffling, you may find that happens a lot! Back to business. Hey, no, didn’t I say that “Feasting is Fun”??
Bread: that’s what I will be making this morning (with the aid of my bread maker). If you have a stand mixer that can do the same job as my bread maker.
Recipe for a Large White Loaf
4lb loaf tin, buttered.
1 1/2 sachets dried yeast or 15g fresh (or I’m using frozen) yeast.
1lb 8oz Strong White Flour
380-400ml Water (warm -body temp)
1 tsp Honey
2 tsp kosher salt
1 large (4lb) buttered loaf tin
Clean tea towel
Place most of the water (380ml) into a bowl (of stand mixer or bread maker if using), add yeast. Swish about a bit with clean fingers to mix the yeast into the water ( rub the fresh/frozen yeast through your fingers until it is dissolved into the water). Add the teaspoon of honey & set to one side whilst you weigh the flour.
Add the flour so it sits on top of the yeast/honey/water mixture. Then add the salt. Break the butter into 3-4 pieces (it’s best if it’s room temp – but if it’s cold don’t worry, the bread will just take a little longer to rise).
With a stand mixer make sure the dough hook is attached a mix on slow/medium speed for 8-10 minutes. If using a bread maker I use a spatula to manually mix the dough, giving it approx 6-8 good stirs (this amount of mixture is a little too much for the paddle in my bread machine, doing this starts the mixing process & then the machine can happily cope with fully mixing the dough!).
As the dough comes together it should mix smoothly & look soft & elastic. If it looks dry – or the mixing device makes a clunking sound add more water (the extra 20mls). Be patient it takes a minute or so for the water to become incorporated. Continue mixing for the 8-10 minutes.
If using a bread maker I use the dough cycle, so once mixing is finished the dough is then left in the machine to prove, until doubled in size (up to 2 hours), I then use the start of the dough cycle to knock back the dough for 2 mins before removing the dough.
If you are using a stand mixer, after the initial mixing process is complete, remove all the dough, place onto a clean floured surface & shape into a ball. Place into a buttered bowl, turn over once, so the top has a coating of butter on it & cover the bowl tightly with cling film. Place in a warm, draught free place until doubled in size (up to 2 hours). After this time remove the cling & punch down into the dough gently (feels sooo nice) to deflate the dough.
With either method you now have bread dough ready to be shaped. Place the dough on a floured surface and stretch it out with your hands. Fold one end into the middle & do the same with the other end. Turn the dough by a quarter & repeat the stretching & folding. Do this twice more. This is building structure into your dough & this little bit if effort makes a BIG difference to your finished loaf.
Place the dough seam side down into your buttered loaf tin. Cover with a tea towel & place in a warm draught free place until doubled in size (up to 2 hours).
Just before it has completely doubled turn your oven onto its highest setting, 250C/500F.
When doubled remove tea towel & place the tin in the oven. I then turn the heat down to 230C (but it’s fine to keep it at its hottest – just don’t forget about your bread!!). Bake for 15-25 minutes (depending on your oven & how crusty you want your bread), I usually tip mine out of its tin & leave it upside down on the oven rack (with the oven still on) whilst I rinse out the loaf tin –
– CAREFUL it’s very HOT!
When the bread is a gorgeous deep golden colour remove from the oven, tip out of the tin straight away, or you will have a soggy loaf on the bottom. The bread should sound hollow if you knock on the base with your knuckle.
Enjoy the smell!!! There is nothing like the smell of freshly baked bread.
Now’s the hard part WAITING! The loaf needs to cool to just above room temp otherwise it won’t cut properly.
Prep time is no more than 10 mins. Once you’ve made your first couple of loaves you should get into a rhythm & see how easy it is to make your own bread.
Then find someone to share it with. Food ALWAYS tastes better when it’s shared.
Please let me know how you get on. I’m not a professional chef but I’m happy to try & answer baking/cooking related questions.
Until next time have fun making each meal a feast!!