Friday, 22 September 2017

Super Quick Cosmetic Pouches

I hope you'll excuse this deviation from my usual food-based posts, but I've recently got back into machine sewing and wanted to share my latest creations. They make great gifts, are very cheap to make and take just one afternoon, or a couple of hours to make.
This particular design makes two large and two small purses from just two fat quarters of fabric - so that's a cost of around £2-3 for all four pouches, depending on the price of your material.

The patterns for both pouches are made from a single sheet of A4 paper (folded in half for the smaller one). I hope you can follow my picture tutorial and notes...
  1. For the large pouch, take one sheet of A4 (letter-size) paper. Place a dinner plate at one end, so the edge of the plate is touching one short and two long sides. Draw a curve around the top of the plate.
  2. Fold the paper in half and cut around the curve, then open back out.
  3. Put your two pieces of material together and pin the pattern to them.
  4. Cut around the pattern, then remove.
  5. Place the wrong sides of the material together and pin all around, except for around 7.5cm/3" at one corner (see bottom right photo).
  6. Sew all around (except for the gap) leaving a small seam allowance.
  7. Turn the fabric inside-out and poke the corners out using a chopstick or dowel.
  8. Iron to flatten the seams, being careful to press under the unsewn section.
  9. Fold up to make an open envelope and top stitch close to the edge all the way around, including the unsewn section.
  10. Finally sew on a press stud and press the purse one last time.  
To make the smaller pouch, simply fold a sheet of A4 paper in half lengthwise and use a large mug to make the top curve of the pattern. The larger purse is ideal as a make up bag or pencil case, whereas the smaller one is just the right size for sanitary products! I reckon a teeny one, half the width of the small one would be the perfect size for an asthma inhaler.

If you make these, do let me know how they turn out and post a picture on my Facebook page.

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Thursday, 14 September 2017

Off to University - an Essential Kitchen List for Vegetarian Students

tin of baked beansI started this blog 7 years ago when my older daughter was 11 years old and had just started high school. She's now 18 and off to university. Where have the years gone?

Anyway, as she's going to be self-catering in her halls of residence, I've been helping her buy some essential kitchen equipment (Home Bargains and IKEA are your frugal friends!) and have drafted a basic food shopping list. As I don't know if she'll find anyone to food-share with, I'll be buying many of these items to fill her cupboard in the shared kitchen, so that I know she'll be eating OK for at least the first couple of weeks.

I thought I might as well share the list, in case it helps anyone else. As you can see, most of the items are cheap and cheerful, but nutritionally sound, providing plenty of carbs and protein for hard-working (and partying) students!

From my experience at uni, many years ago, it might also be worth name-labelling any food left in communal areas (such as the fridge and freezer) with a sticker or Sharpie pen, unless you want all and sundry to eat it!

Obviously vegan students can made the necessary changes to their list, but this would mainly be the fridge and freezer items.

You can also find lots of simple recipes and tips for veggie students here.

Not food-related, but if you're off to uni, do make sure you get your meningitis ACWY vaccination before you go.

Medium frying pan
Medium sauce pan
Non-stick baking tray
Small pyrex dish
Plastic spatula/fish slice, serving spoon, potato masher
Small cheese grater
Potato peeler
Garlic crusher
Can opener
Sharp knife
Knife, fork, spoon, teaspoon x2
Dinner plate, side plate, bowl x2
Large glass, small glass x2
Biscuit jar/tin
Plastic lidded containers to store food
Kettle (for own room)
Refried beans
Baked beans
Tinned new potatoes
Tinned beans
Dried lentils
Tomato puree
Tin of soup
Tinned tomatoes/passata
Pizza base mix
Jam/peanut butter/Marmite etc.
Cereal bars
Vegetable/olive oil
Herbs and spices
Tea bags/coffee/hot chocolate
Long life milk individual (for own room)
Veggie bacon
Bean burgers
Veggie sausages
Frozen mixed veg
Fruit juice
Fresh fruit
Fresh veg
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Sunday, 3 September 2017

Toffee Apple & Carrot Upside-down Cake - Suma Blogger's Network

Toffee Apple & Carrot Upside-down Cake
We've had a good crop of discovery apples this year, so I've been trying to come up with different ways of using up the windfalls. This fruity upside-down cake, which was inspired by this week's episode of The Great British Bake Off, makes a lovely autumnal recipe for the Suma Blogger's Network and must almost count as a 5-a-day!

Serves 6-8
  • 2-3 dessert apples, peeled, cored and thickly sliced
  • 100g/4oz toffee sauce - I used Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding Sauce from Suma
  • 100g/4oz butter
  • 100g/4oz soft brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g/6oz SR flour
  • 1 medium-large carrot, grated
  • 50g/2oz raisins or sultanas
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
Pre-heat the oven to 180C/170C Fan/350F/Gas 4.
Grease and line and 8" baking tin.
Spread the toffee sauce over the base of the tin and then cover with a single layer of sliced apples.

Cream the butter and sugar together, then mix in the rest of the ingredients to make a thick mixture.
Carefully top the apples with the cake mixture, being sure to spread the mixture over evenly to cover all the apples.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown and firm to the touch.
Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the tin, before turning out, to allow the sauce to soak into the cake.

Serve warm with custard, cream or ice cream.
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