Monday, 30 January 2012

Canon 550D

Last year I worked all summer and with my earnings in the Autumn bought a Canon 50D with an awesome zoom lens. I LOVED IT. I mostly used it for Ultimate frisbee tournaments (awesome sport close-ups) until I took it away for the first time to Prague in February and was very pleased with the pictures of the family weekend trip and the beautiful European city. On the way back I made the monumental mistake of putting it in my checked bag and my suitcase arrived at London Gatwick minus one camera. After ten months of constantly emailing, threatening and bombarding the airline at fault I recieved the best thing in the mail I have ever recieved: a large check for total compensation of my beloved camera, only 5 months old. I have just bought a new camera, after reseach, the Canon 550D which I am very excited about! I have downloaded numerous "how to use slr cameras" manuals so I can get the very most out of it. Until I take some awesome pictures and put them up, here is a little rememberance of my old camera. This is my favourite picture out of all I took with my old camera. It has been published in the Lonely Planet magazine and is for sale in my Etsy store (of all of two items - watch this space!) is you want it for your very own.  

I am looking forward to taking some proud-worthy pictures with my new Canon 550D. It also means my blog photos can be better, yay!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Homemade Sausage Rolls

My nan recently showed me how to make sausage rolls and I am never going back to store bought! They are a lot nicer.

Crack an egg and gently beat it.

I need to try this with homemade sausage meat.. I bet that would be amazing. But, store bought is fine!

Roll out store bought or home made shortcrust OR puff pastry dough. These pictures are with shortcrust pastry.

Roll some sausage meat in flour and line it up on the pastry until one side is covered, like below.

Brush on some egg next to the sausage meat.

Roll the pastry around the sausage meat.

Cut of the excess pastry (make more if there is enough!)

Cut the roll in diagonal pieces however big you want them.

Make a slit in the pastry of each roll.

Place on a baking try and brush on some egg on each of the rolls.

Bake for 25 minutes at 180 or until golden brown and crispy on the outside.

Above are the short crust pastry sausage rolls.

There are the puff pastry rolls. There was very little difference. I probably preferred the shortcrust sausage rolls however I think my puff pastry ones probably needed a bit longer in the oven.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Butter Beer

For Sarah's dinner I also made butter beer to have after [Harry Potter reference for those who don't know]. I trawled through a load of different recipes and eventually decided to just go my own way with it and take the four most common ingredients: cream soda, vanilla ice cream, butterscotch syrup/flavouring and salted butter. No one knows truly how it's meant to taste!

I melted the butter in the pan then added the ice cream until melted, then the butterscotch and eventually the cream soda and served immediately. However, if you are going to try this DON'T do it this way! Because I added cold ice cream to the hot melted butter it re-solidified and so took a while to melt again. I would put the ice cream in the pan until melted and then heat the butter in the microwave until runny before adding it to the mixture. This way it won't take ages. The froth came naturally, I did give it a bit of a whisk with a milk frother but it didn't do too much - adding the fizzy cream soda really makes the froth grow.

It was very nice but sickly sweet so no one could manage more than one!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Devilled Chicken Wings

It was my housemate Sarah's birthday earlier this week and I made dinner. I found the recipe in the magazine 'delicious'. Both my mum and Nan are subscribers and I read it religiously.. highly recommended! I made this recipe once before last year and it turned out pretty great so I decided to do it again. It worked very well - one of the comments was "this is the best chicken I've had in a looong time" and a few others were similar. This is a gooood recipe. Worth trying out.

Devilled Chicken Wings
Serves 4-6
1kg chicken wings (I also used drumsticks)
2 garlic cloves
60ml extra-virgin olive oil (I used regular)
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
45g soft brown sugar
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (I doubled this)
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp sweet paprika

Put all the ingredients together in a large bowl or large sandwich bag and mix well. Marinade preferably overnight or for a few hours at least (I marinaded mine over over 24 hours!) This pic is after it marinading over night - the mixture turned a bit lighter in colour.

Place in a baking tray, best over baking parchment/paper, with no overlaps. 

Cook for 30 minutes in a 180 degree oven then turn and cook for another 20 minutes. I turned mine again and cooked for another 10 minutes to crispen up - see how it goes. My oven turned off in the middle of cooking so that might have been why it needed extra time. I was too much in a hurry to get the chicken on the table to seven hungry people that I didn't take a photo of all the wings.. but here is my plate!

I did the chicken with corn bread muffins and broccoli, two of Sarah's favourite sides. I also love corn bread and it makes me very sad that you can't buy it in the UK! I always ask friends in the US to bring me some back. And now I'm all out. So if you're reading this.. friends.. :)

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Lens Cap Pouch

Both my sisters have SLR cameras and one in particular never seems to have her lens cap on.. I found this tutorial and worked through it twice to make my sisters one each for Christmas.

I just used my fusible fleece as an alternative to the padding/batting that is mentioned in the tutorial. Just one layer of this was perfect.

It is not my best piece of work as I found the curves quite tricky but it's all experience!

One was for my sister Gwen (right) and one for Ella (left). They liked them! (After I explained to Gwen the answer to "what do I do with it?" - she never has her lens cap on her..)

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Cork heat mats

I love the material cork. Firstly, because it is completely free (providing you drink wine/have parents and friends who drink wine and save the corks!), and it is so versatile. I found this blog and loved the idea of cork coasters. I tried to find the circular coaster bases but could only find larger thicker heat mats, so I used them instead! I started making these in the summer but couldn't post it until now as I gave a few of them as gifts.. a recurring theme in my life!

Before I got this glue gun I used some sort of extra-strong glue and it didn't work quite as well. I do recommend a glue gun. 

Stick them on as close as you can and hold each down so they are properly stuck.

With a scalpel cut off the excess cork.

Sand around the sides until it is smooth.

I love it (if I do say so myself)!