Sunday, 31 July 2011


If you read my blog you will have noticed that I don't usually post the recipes that I am blogging about. Basically because I'm not sure its legal to post someone else's recipe...

This one however is different (I think?) as I found it online :D

If you would like to read the original recipe you can find it here!

So, churros!

This time last year I had no idea what a churro was. So for those of you out there like me, a churro is basically a form of doughnut that originated in Spain... If you want to find out more here's a link :)

In October last year we were lucky enough to visit Florida. While we were there, the Epcot centre was hosting its annual International Food & Wine Festival (great, but VERY expensive!!!). One of the dishes that we chose to try was, yes you guessed it - churros

Shoshone enjoying the "One where it all began!"

After that initial taste we noticed the things on sale in many places... And yes, we did divulge on more than one occasion! :9

For Christmas Mom and Dad bought me the Jamie's America cookbook and in it was a recipe for CHURROS! :o

Obviously I tried it, but although they were good, they weren't as good as the one's we'd had in Florida.

The other week the churro cravings hit and I decided it was time to do some research. After reading MANY recipes, and watching numerous YouTube vids, I finally decided to give this recipe a try:


  • 1 cup water
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 quarts oil for frying
  • 1/2 cup white sugar, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine water, 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar, salt and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in flour until mixture forms a ball.
  2. Heat oil for frying in deep-fryer or deep skillet to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Pipe strips of dough into hot oil using a pastry bag. Fry until golden; drain on paper towels.
  3. Combine 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon. Roll drained churros in cinnamon and sugar mixture.

The recipe stated that this made 4 servings... naturally that meant I had to double the recipe :D

After reading the comments on the recipe I decided to reduce the amount of sugar in the dough, basically I just doubled everything else except for the sugar and salt.

Simples! (*meerkat noise*  ...  sorry  ...  I'm tired!)

Not bad!
I need to get a different nozzle thing for my piping bag as mine were all too small. For these I just piped them out without a nozzle. They tasted great, but would look more authentic with a star shaped nozzle.

They tasted great dipped in melted chocolate! :9

Wahoooo! I did it... 7 posts in July! 

Do I hear 8 for August?


No, probably not! lol

Friday, 29 July 2011

Blueberry Muffins:9

My Cookie & Muffin Book...
Plus some lovely juice blueberries...
Find the relevant recipe...
Add some freshly brewed coffee
and in the words of Mr Oliver... "Happy Days!"

Thursday, 28 July 2011

The Simple Woman's Daybook, July 28th

Yesterday as I was nosing at other peoples blogs, I happened upon The Simple Woman's Daybook. I don't usually do this kind of post, but I quite liked this one so I thought I'd give it a go!

And so...

Outside my window... The sun has come out for a change, although its still only peeking through the clouds.

I am thinking... I should probably go dig up the onions and garlic, since its a nice day!  

I am thankful... All is quiet in the house at the moment, both kids are amusing themselves nicely :)

From the learning rooms... Shoshone's been drawing on the blackboard and periodically announcing it to be a spider, fly, dragon, donkey... They all look the same to me! lol Wiyot is playing Lego Star Wars (I don't know whether most people would count this as learning!) his hand/eye co-ordination is vastly improving, as is his problem solving, patience and reaction time. :D

In the kitchen... The washing machine is on its final spin, time to peg out in a minute!

I am wearing... A green t-shirt and blue jeans... Nan always says "blue and green should not be seen." Ooops!

I am creating... Hmmm... So many! A bolero cardigan for Shoshone (really need to finish this ASAP!), sandpaper letters and a better learning environment for the kids.

I am going... to peg the washing out in a minute, lol. Might be off to Toys r us later, want to get a desk for the kids and have some birthday gifts to buy!

I am wondering... weather it's going to rain later... :/

I am reading... As with the creating, I'm rarely reading just one book... So I guess I'll just go with the two I was reading yesterday! The Tales of Beedle the Bard and A Wizard of Earthsea.

I am hoping... The weather stays nice! 

I am looking forward to... Getting the house sorted!

I am hearing... The sounds of Lego Star Wars

Around the house... There is far too much stuff! Getting ready to do a car boot sale and have emptied the loft.

I am pondering... Whether to have another cup of coffee. Didn't sleep well last night :(

One of my favorite things... Sitting watching the TV with a kid each side of me :)

A few plans for the rest of the week: Do some gardening, sort out some more stuff to sell at the car boot, make some blueberry muffins, organise the stuff we are keeping!

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

Shoshone, Wiyot, Joe and Evelyn watching Toy Story 3 :)

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Sandpaper letters

Just thought I'd quickly share another little project I've been working on...

As some of you may know we have made the, rather HUGE, decision to home educate our younglings. As I've been perusing the blogosphere I have discovered numerous teaching methods and philosophies...  One method that I particularly like at the moment is the Montessori approach. As with many of the methods outside of mainstream schooling, it is a child centred approach... ie following the child rather than the curriculum.

Anyway... I'm not here to lecture anyone! 

One of the common tools used by montessori educators are the sandpaper letters... I was going to post a link, but if your interested search for them in YouTube. Basically the letters are formed out of sandpaper, then the kid can use them to trace the shape of the letter before drawing in sand, on a blackboard or practicing with a pencil...

Well I've been meaning to make them for AAAAAGGGGGEEEEESSSSS! But it always seemed like such a big job and I wasn't sure they would even turn out that well. But after seriously contemplating buying them... had them in my virtual shopping basket! And seeing the cost at almost £100.... I decided I could afford to have a go at making them! Incidentally the £100 was also including the movable alphabet, which I am also going to attempt to make! :/

The sandpaper letters I wanted to get were made using the Sassoon font, so my first task was to find a similar-ish font to use. Lucky for me, OpenOffice on the iMac had a fairly similar one that I could use.

Letters all printed out, one set for the sandpaper letters and one set
for the moveable alphabet.

Some of the letters weren't quite what I wanted, luckily I was able to
Cutting the letters out with my trusty craft knife... actually it's Danny's
but I'm sure he wont mind!


Traditionally the vowels and consonants (feels like a countdown post...) are different colours, blue and pink respectively; and there are also digraphs (eg sh, ch, th, ay, ar, etc), which are on a green background.

They are usually made with wood, but since I didn't do woodwork at
school, I decided to recycle some cereal boxes!
I cut the card into 6x5 inch pieces, I got 4 cards out of each cereal box. So if anyone want's to do this, bear in mind you'll need to eat a fair bit of brekkie beforehand! Also, when I do the digraphs I will need to make the cards bigger so I can fit on two letters... >:(

For anyone (like me!) that would want all the cards the same size, its worth bearing that in mind also. As for me... I really can't be bothered to make 26 letters again, just so that the digraphs will match!

The letters stuck to the back of the sandpaper... you have to stick them on
backwards so that when you cut them out they are facing the right way! 

Again cut out with Danny's craft knife... wonder if it sharpens the blade
while you're cutting?

My first few completed letters!
I've actually completed the alphabet now, but I haven't taken pictures of them all yet. 

Still got to do the digraphs though... 

I'm considering making the letters smaller for the digraphs so they will fit on the same size card. Not sure what will bother me more though, too small letters or too big cards... :/

So much for a short post! lol!

DS Dumplings :9

At the beginning of the month I set myself, and fellow blogger Courtney, the challenge of writing 7 posts in July. Courtney is doing a great job, only one more to go... I on the other hand am not doing so well :(

But, in to borrow a phrase from Johnny Smith, "There's still time!"

A few weeks ago I did a posted about the DS game Cooking Guide. Around the same time I was browsing the various recipes from various different countries. A couple of them caught my eye and I decided I really needed to try them. Only problem being I didn't have the necessary ingredients at hand. 

Fast forward a couple of weeks (and a shopping trip to the Chinese supermarket in Birmingham) and it was finally time to attempt one of the dumpling recipe's :D

I love dumplings!

I can't remember what the recipe is called on the DS game, and to be honest I can't be bothered to go look! But I'm pretty sure they are called potstickers. They can have various fillings; beef, chicken, fish, prawns, etc. these ones were made using pork mince. 

My freshly made dumpling skins... this part took a loooong time
I made a fairly huge mistake at this point... A consequence of not reading the whole recipe through! Basically, the recipe for the dumpling skins is separate to the recipe for the filling. And for some crazy reason the dumpling skin recipe is enough to make 24 skins, whereas the filling makes 48! As you can probably guess I therefore had 24 skins and 48 fillings...

Result, a second dumpling making session after the kids were in bed...

And a very late night dumpling eating session by Danny and me :D

The filling about to be wrapped
My first pitiful attempt at sealing the dumpling
The DS game shows a little video of how to fold the dumplings together. It looks soooo easy! After a while it does get easier, but I had to watch the video a few times to get the knack!

Later... A much better attempt!
I didn't realise until after I had started cooking, that you are actually supposed to sit them with the join at the top rather than lying on their sides like this... doh!

Wiyot helping to make the dipping sauce

Frying/steaming in the pan
Here you can see where I realised my earlier mistake!

All done and ready eat!
They tasted amazing! Surprising since I had to make some substitutions to the ingredients. Danny was very impressed, said they were as good as the ones his aunts make! :)

Needless to say, I will definitely be making these again!

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

It's all about the superhero's!

Last week my little man turned 5! 

EEEK! Where did the time go???

Over the last few years Wiyot has developed various favourite characters, first one being Wall.E, most of them being some form of superhero: Buzz Lightyear, Spiderman, Iron Man, etc... Last year the hero of the moment was Disney/Pixar's Mr Incredible.

In June, 2010 he received an invitation to a Superhero birthday party, it was no surprise who he wanted to go as! However, it was a surprise that there were very few Mr Inc costumes available to buy. Lucky for me/Wiyot my new sewing hobby had just begun.

So we "Dash"ed ;) off to the local(ish) fabric store and purchased some suitable material... thats right red and black lycra! Oh yeah!

First step was to draft a pattern using some cheap muslin fabric. I did this by following the directions in The Little Black Dress... Wiyot wasn't too impressed by this process! Hence there are no photos!

Once the pattern was finished, the fun truly began!

Wiyot was very impressed even at this stage...
Here he is reenacting the scene where Mr Inc
stretches and shows his belly :)
As soon as the fittings were in the red fabric, Wiyot was much more excited and didn't want to take off the pieces.

Two days later...
Please excuse the mess in these pics, this is what happens when you have only a week to make two superhero costumes... from scratch!

Show time!
I also knocked up a Jack-Jack costume for Shoshone, throughout the night! :/ Unfortunately, didn't really get any good shots of that one, but it actually turned out better than this one... Probably because I had gained experience working with the fabric.

Well, the costume was a big hit. People at the party even asked me were I bought it from :D

Wiyot wore it pretty much every day for the next few months and its still going strong... bit tight now though :/

And finally, what other card could he have had other than an Incredible one (for his 4th birthday)...

As always, a last minute job... I feel like a terrible mom admitting this, but I actually got up early and made it on the morning of his birthday (Sorry Wiyot!)

The latest craze is Spiderman... 

He's already put in an order for a new suit... 

Any ideas how to do the web patterns???

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Time for something c-c-c-cold!

The other week we took on a rare challenge in the Wong household.

We defrosted the freezer...

I know your supposed to do it like once a year or something, but we're not that good :/

Well anyway, we finally got round to defrosting it, which meant we had to clear out as much stuff as possible... Including the ice cream stash! :0

The good part of that (other than eating all the ice cream) is that we now get to restock :D

So we've got the good old vanilla soft scoop and an assortment of ice lolly's, but what was really missing was the homemade ice cream... specifically this one:

It really is lovely, light and milky :)

And so... Out came my recipe book and ice cream maker!

Starting to churn

Such an easy-peasy recipe, just mascarpone cheese, milk and sugar. Mix them together and churn them in your machine until it looks like this:

Beginning to freeze

Then put it in a suitable container and chuck it in the freezer. Depending on how much you make it could be ready in less than an hour. For this one I doubled the recipe so it took longer to freeze, even so I think it would have been edible after a couple of hours...
In the tub and all frozen...

If you're one of those poor unfortunate souls who do not own a ice cream maker, all you have to do is mix your ingredients together, put them in a container and then bung it in the freezer. You then have to go back every 30 minutes or so to give it a good mix. This breaks down the ice crystals that form and gives it that lovely texture. Then all thats left is to eat!

One scoop or two?