The Adventures of Montgomery Mcvitty…..

My Mr Sharp works very hard, very hard indeed! I wanted to give him a little something to make him smile; something he could have on his desk at work to cheer him up when it’s all getting a bit stressful. I pondered a while. “What does Mr Sharp like when he is feeling a bit overworked?” I wondered…..”Tea!” thought I. “And what is better than a mug of tea?” I asked myself….”Tea with biscuits!” I replied! I thought and thought of how I could combine the two to be a permanent fixture on his desk at work. And from my pondering, Montgomery McVitty was born.

Biscuit mug!

Montgomery McVitty is no ordinary mug… oh no. Not only does he sport a well-groomed moustache and a distinguished gentleman’s monocle, Montgomery the mug has a mouth. “A mouth?” I hear you cry. “Yes, a mouth” says I. “But what use does a mug have for a mouth?” you ask. I agree, it’s quite obserd. But then again, it is actually a very useful thing for a mug to have. Our chap Monty simply looooves biscuits. He can’t get enough of them! When you fill his head with tea, biscuits are what he craves. So pop some tasty biscuits in his mouth and he will willingly share them with you whilst you sup tea from his brow.

"Nom!" says Monty as he stuffs biscuits in his mouth.

I do hope he will enjoy his new home at Mr Sharps office. I will be sending him a fresh supply of biscuits every Monday to see him through the working week. This week, Monty had Double Chocolate Chip Shortbread, and he decreed that he liked these very much. They really are truly delicious. So delicious in fact that the batch I made on Sunday to last all week had been devoured by Monday evening – oops! I’m now hurriedly baking another, much bigger batch to hopefully last Monty and Mr Sharp until Friday.

The recipe is very easy to make with just a handful of store cupboard ingredients. Here’s the recipe incase you fancy baking some too:

Ingredients

  • 175g butter, softened
  • 85g golden caster sugar
  • 200g plain flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 100g chocolate chips (milk, white or dark)

Method

  • Mix the butter and sugar together with a wooden spoon. Stir in the flour and cocoa, followed by the chocolate chips – you’ll probably need to mix it together with your hands at this stage. Halve the dough and roll each piece into a log about 5cm thick. Wrap in cling film and chill for 1 hr or for several days. Can be frozen for up to 1 month.
  • Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Slice logs into 1cm-thick rounds, transfer to a baking tray lined with baking parchment and bake for 10-12 mins. Cool on the tray.

Shortbread is definitely one of my favourite types of biscuits to bake at home, but I always feel guilty eating them when I have seen just how much butter goes in to them. I wonder if there is such a thing as a healthy, low-fat biscuit that actually tastes good? If you have such a recipe, I’d love to hear from you!

Biscuit mug

While Monty’s face would cheer the most solemn of folk, he does look rather sad whilst bobbing around in the washing up liquid…. His happy little face suddenly looks a bit panicked. Fear not Monty my friend, we won’t let you drown, it’s merely bath time dear chap! You need to look smart for your first day at the office.

Hope you are all having a wonderful week so far folks 🙂 TTFN! xx

Happy Halloween!

A happy Halloween to one and all from Gizmo and Stitch towers!

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Hope you all have a spooktastic time!

If you are planning on carving a pumpkin for the evenings frivolities, Martha Stewart online is offering some amazing free pumpkin carving templates that look simply divine!

Beautiful! Click here to access the templates. There are loads to chose from, from very simple yet effective designs,  to beautifully intricate and ornate ones.

Once your pumpkin is carved, you can use the flesh to make these wonderfully delicious Pumpkin Passion Cupcakes:

Nom!

Ingredients:

  • 175ml sunflower oil
  • 175g light muscovado sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g coarsely grated pumpkin or butternut squash flesh
  • 100g sultanas
  • grated zest 1 orange
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the frosting:

  • 200g tub full-fat cream cheese
  • 85g icing sugar
  • toasted chopped pecans to decorate (optional)
Method
  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Line a 12-hole muffin tray with paper cases. Pour the oil into a large bowl and add the sugar, eggs and vanilla. Beat together, then add the grated pumpkin, sultanas and orange zest.
  2. Stir in the cinnamon, flour and bicarbonate of soda, the mixture will be quite wet. Spoon into the cases. Bake for 25 mins until firm and springy to the touch and a skewer inserted in the centre of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack. At this stage you can freeze the cakes for 4 months.
  3. To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth then spread on top of the cupcakes. Leave plain or decorate with toasted pecans. Store in the fridge, but return to room temperature to serve for the best flavour and texture.
Tip: If the flesh of your pumpkin is quite wet when grated, give it a good squeeze before using it.
Nom nom nom! Have fun folks! xx

Summer is here!!!

Ahh, at last, summer seems to finally be here!! I love Britain in the summer time. This weekend I spent my Saturday afternoon drinking Pimms in Saint James’ park, which was packed full of people and the most wonderful atmosphere. Everyone was in a good mood and feeling sociable. I got the opportunity to wear one of my dresses! I have quite an obsession for buying pretty dresses… I just love them! They are my weakness when out shopping. I usually feel a bit guilty about buying them though because I rarely get a chance to wear them, but now the sun is out I can wear one everyday! Horray!!

To me summer means three things; dresses, Pimms, and Elderflower Cordial. I have the dresses (although I could always do with a few more…), Pimms is currently half price in Morrisons and can also be purchased ready mixed in a can (genius!), and the Elderflowers are in full bloom – time to make the cordial! So, this morning I went for a wee stroll in the woods armed with my reusable Tesco bag and a pair of scissors and set about capturing the British summer and putting it in a bottle.

I implore you all to have a go at making some because it is so cheap and easy to make, in fact I will make it even easier by giving you the recipe I use and advice for making it! Yeah! Don’t say I never give you anything :-p

To make the cordial you will need:

  • 1 kg of white granulated sugar
  • 1.5 litres of boiling water
  • 55 grams of citric acid (this can be bought at your local pharmacy for about £1)
  • 4 unwaxed lemons
  • Approx 20 Elderflower heads (if they are small, pick more. They are best picked when the sun is on them and they mustn’t have brown blossoms, as this can foul the cordial).

Method

  1. Put the sugar in a large bowl or saucepan and cover with the boiling water. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Leave to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the elderflower heads by shaking them to remove any creepy crawlies, and pinch off any blossoms that look a bit brown. Cut off the large green stalks, but don’t worry about the finer ones that hold onto the little clumps of blossoms.
  3. When the sugar and water mix is cool add the citric acid, the elderflower heads, and the lemons (zested and sliced).
  4. Cover and leave to steep for about 48 hours.
  5. Once ready strain twice through sterilised muslin (you can sterilise them by scalding them with boiling water)
  6. Using a funnel decant the strained cordial into sterilised bottles and seal immediately to keep from spoiling.

Store the cordial in a cool, dry place out of the sunlight. It’s best kept in the fridge and as long as the bottles have been sterilised properly it should last a good few months.  I personally prefer to keep just one bottle in the fridge and freeze the other bottles so that they keep for longer. The cordial should be drunk within a few days as otherwise it will start to ferment and can make you a bit tiddly! giggle! Dilute to taste with fizzy water and plenty of ice. Yum!

Please feel free to email me if you have any questions, I will be happy to help 🙂

Happy cordial making folks! Slurp!