Pear & chocolate crumble.

My first food post of the Autumn. Pear & chocolate crumble. You all know by now, I’m all about the comfort foods, especially desserts. And this one is no different. Sweet, ripe pears baked in a brown sugar syrup alongside thick, indulgent chunks of melted chocolate, topped with a golden, buttery crumble and smothered in custard. Yes. Autumn is back, and my comfort food appetite is back with it.

Below you’ll find out exactly how to make it.

Here’s what you’ll need:

6 pears. roughly, less if you have a smaller dish, more if you have a larger one.

100g chocolate chunks.

200g plain flour,

60g + 2 rough teaspoons of soft brown sugar.

60g  butter.

Custard or ice cream to serve with.

 

2

 

And here’s what you need to do:

First, we’ll start with the pears. Well actually first i’m going to point out a mistake in my blog post. I knew today’s shoot crumble tasted different to the trial one, I just couldn’t figure out what I had done differently. Turns out I had forgotten to peel the pears. So, if you’re making up this very delicious crumble, first peel your pears.

Next, its time to slice and lay half of your pear slices down into your baking dish. I picked up this very pretty grey one from TKMaxx last week (£4.99)

5

Then, sprinkle over 1 teaspoon of your soft brown sugar & half of your chocolate chunks (As you can tell, i’ve made my chunks pretty big.)

6

Now, layer the rest of your pears and the other teaspoon of brown sugar, plus the rest of the chocolate chunks.

8

Now your crumble, is ready for its crumble topping. If you haven’t made it before, its SO easy. Three ingredients. Flour, butter, sprinkle of sugar. All in a bowl. Use your fingertips to grind the butter and flour together, until it is all combined. You’ll end up with a golden, crumb texture.

9

10

Thats really all you have to do to make crumble topping! Anyway, now its made up, its time to pop your oven on (180 fan) before sprinkling your crumble topping all over your pear & chocolate filled dish.

11

12

Now, pop it in the oven, middle shelf for approximately 35-40 minutes.

14

Now simply spoon out (though I would advise waiting ten minutes or so first, the filling will be SO hot!) and serve.

15

As with most crumbles, I like mine with lashings of custard.

16

Delicious, on any cold Autumn day. (Just remember to peel your pears.)

17

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

DIY Radiator cover.

Happy first day of Autumn! I know I’ve been banging on about it over my past few posts, but I really am so excited for these chilly days and cosy nights. Not to mention the holidays (Yep, I have spent a pretty penny on halloween decorations already!) Anyway, The beginning of Autumn means the heating will start going back on. Thinking of this reminded me about the awful radiator taking up an entire wall in our living room. Its the first thing you see when you come in the room and I wanted to cover it. One (of the many) stupid things around our house is the heights of our radiators, for some reason they’re fitted about 3″ higher than standard radiators, meaning that the ready made covers just don’t fit.

I mentioned back in one of my earlier Living room post, how we was either going to have a bespoke one made up, or try it ourself. Well… of course we had a go at making up one ourself!

1

 

First, was drafting up my plan. I knew what I wanted (kind of) and I knew how to do it (kind of) so off we popped to my favourite project supply shop Savoy Timber. Once there Sam (I leave him to do the ordering whilst I stroll around finding more DIY supplies that I don’t really need. I’d very  kindly given him a list of every piece & size we needed, meaning we’d end up with everything pre-cut. Its way easier and since we got the chickens I don’t feel right taking out the mitre saw. They look terrified at the sight of it. Ha ha. Altogether it came to around £20 – give or take a couple of quid. For both the MDF & mini screws.

So, once home. It was time to begin jigsawing those pieces together. Which was actually way easier than you’d think. We used brackets to secure everything together, wood glue didn’t seem the right choice considering it will spend 6+ months boiling hot every year. And securing them with pegs would be way more work than necessary.

2

3

 

Once the main frame had been put together, it was time to fit the screens. I had decided long before drawing anything up that I wanted slats, not one of those patterned screens. The plan was to basically just screw in some slats, lengthways across each half of the radiator cover. In theory it worked wonderfully, in reality not so well, the gaps between each slat was far too big, it barely covered the radiator, making the whole project kind of useless. Not wanting to go back to Savoy, we decided to layer up those slats, decreasing the size in-between each one and giving a shutter style. It worked perfectly and we didnt need to buy anymore mdf.

4

5

 

Once the shutter type screens had been fitted, the whole thing could be lifted and fixed to the wall.

6

Next came the risky bit. The part I wasn’t sure was going to look stupid, the part that sam insisted was stupid. Adding the drawers. Which are actually fake. completely. I wasn’t going to faff around making up four drawers for 20cm worth of drawer space. But, I wanted it to look cabinet like, rather than a standard radiator cover. So I rounded of the corners (With a sander) of four 1/4″ mdf rectangles & stuck them on.

8

 

Finally, the time had come to try out my lovely paint. Rustoleoum in Ink blue. Dark & moody, a beautiful alternative to the bright white tv unit.

9

 

I really didnt think this part of the project through, and within minutes had made quite the mess of the radiator behind. I tried to stuff paper behind the slats to limit the mess until I finally gave in and un-fastened the cover from the wall and took it outside where it was MUCH easier to paint up.

10

 

Finally, it was time to add the finishing touch, the handles. I actually bought these about three months ago, convinced they had a place in my living room some how. turns out this is how.

11

 

And that was that. ready to bring back inside, fix back to the wall and stick the top back on.

12

 

Finally, I could fancy it up a little with some lovely new bits, and sit back to admire another successful project. Cosy Autumn here we come.

14

15

And like always with any home project, here’s my list of whats left to do in this room:

  • Fit magnet catch -ers to the TV unit doors. (2/3 so far, I’m expecting to have it finished by Christmas.)
  • Replace the skirting board. (Fit, calk and paint them)
  • Replace the door frames. (Same as above.)
  • Repaint both doors.
  • Fit new plate over high plug socket near the sofa.
  • Make/Buy radiator cover. – We haven’t decided yet, our radiators are ridiculously high, so ‘standard’ covers don’t fit.
  • Make/buy cushions for the sofa – It already holds 11, but it just isn’t enough! I NEED MORE!
  • Find something to go on both the bottom shelves of the TV unit.
  • Replace back door. (This is a way way down the line project for when we actually own the house *still in deposit saving phase*)
  • Find new light for the ceiling.

 

Thats another three ticked of the list. Not bad.

Happy first day of Autumn.

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

 

 

Honey cake with a blackberry drizzle.

I’ve noticed recently, that my blog, and my photos in particular are very… um, Autumn-ish. Let me explain that a little better. I’m a lover of all things cosy ( see my last post for more on that), the colours of Autumn, the smells, the sounds, rushing home out of the cold. The food. All of it. Actually I’m a lover of all seasons for one reason or another, but Autumn is my favourite. And ever since I was given my new camera I’ve noticed my inspiration seems to be Autumn. Some of my favourite Photos, could be taken in the middle of October. Now, I’ve realised this, I’m also not wanting to peak to early… you know like when you’re so excited for Christmas you end up putting your decorations up at the beginning of November… then by the time christmas comes around, you’re sick of the sight of it all. Well that, but with Autumn. So, I’m going to make a conscious effort to appreciate and live within each Season. Realistically I live in the north of England, its pretty much winter all year round, but. We have been blessed with a little nice weather recently, and I want my blog to flow smoothly from Season to season.

With that in mind, I had to think extra hard about this weeks bake, technically its still Summer, but its september, so we’re all geared up for Autumn. I wanted to find something that would reflect this little limbo of seasons. Which brings me to what i’m making today. Honest cake, with a Blackberry drizzle and a side of vanilla cream.

 

So, here’s what you need:

– 170g Honey

-140g softened butter

-85g light brown sugar

-2 eggs

– 200g Self raising sugar

For Blackberry Drizzle:

-Pot of Blackberries

-1 teaspoon of granulated sugar

-1 teaspoon of water

– squeeze of lemon juice

For Vanilla cream:

-Pot of double cream

-vanilla pod/essence/paste.

1

And, here’s what you’ll need to do:

First, combine your butter and brown sugar in a bowl, before adding in your honey.

2

After giving another good mix, add your eggs.

3

Finally, add your Self raising flour. before mixing up one final time. If like me you’re using an electric whisk, you can leave your mixer to do its thing for a couple of minutes, whilst you butter up your cake tin.

4

Once your cake batter is all lovely and fluffy, our into your tin and pop in the oven at 160dg, middle shelf for around 20 minutes, or until golden on the top and firm throughout.

5

Once your cake has fully baked, put it to the side and just leave it to cool, it’ll take a good 20-30 minutes before you should try tipping it out of your tin.

6

Whilst waiting for your cake to cool, you can get on with making up your Blackberry drizzle & vanilla cream. Both of these accompanies are SO easy.

To make up your Blackberry drizzle, simply pop your blackberries, water, sugar and lemon juice in a pan and simmer. I want mine to be nearly whole blackberries with juice, but if you’d rather mush down your blackberries and sieve to a syrup thats fine too.

7

And for your vanilla cream, simply pour your double cream & vanilla into a bowl, and whisk until its thickened.

8

That’s really all you have to do for these.

9

By now, your cake should have cooled enough to tip out. Decorate however you fancy (i’ve kept mine naked, apart from  a few fresh lavender springs from the garden. It has the perfect ‘end of Summer’ vibe) pot up your cream & drizzle. Slice, serve and Enjoy.

10

11

The perfect recipe to round off Summer with.

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

#acosyhome

It was a month or so ago now I first decided to start my own hashtag. Anyone that knows me, reads my blog, follows my Insta or Facebook, knows i’m all about creating a comfortable, well presented, well fed household. I’m a homemaker through and through with the main goal being to create #acosyhome So it all kind of made sense really. I haven’t been overly active with it, but we are now in September, as of next week its officially Autumn, which everyone knows is all about the cosiness.

#acosyhome is for anything and everything that gives you that little buzz off contentment. Your favourite smelly candle, a pretty little corner of your house, your kids being bundled up under a blanket on a rainy Saturday afternoon and of course those delicious comfort foods.

Joining in with this hashtag is really simple, its all hosted on Instagram, you can follow me over on here to keep updated on my examples. #acosyhome revolves around three main subjects: Interiors, Food & Family life. I’ve popped some of my favourite examples so far below.

 

Interiors:

Photo 06-09-2016, 09 55 20Photo 03-09-2016, 19 46 24 Photo 06-09-2016, 09 55 10 Photo 06-09-2016, 09 17 26 Photo 06-09-2016, 09 56 47

 

Food:

Photo 06-09-2016, 09 56 16 Photo 06-09-2016, 09 56 23 Photo 06-09-2016, 09 56 59 Photo 06-09-2016, 09 57 11

 

Family life:Photo 06-09-2016, 09 57 07 Photo 06-09-2016, 09 58 48 Photo 06-09-2016, 09 59 27

And thats really it. Its as simple as that. And following on from from the hoards of beautiful insta hashtags around, I’ll be creating a cosy photo grid and tagging my favourites fortnightly.

So get tagging, #acosyhome

Let the cosiness of Autumn commence.

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.