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1  COOKING / Dessert / Gooey deep-dish choc chip cookie bakes on: February 09, 2012 02:47:48 AM
I recently posted this on my cookery blog, and just today realised I'd never shared it at Craftster! It's been a really popular post over at my blog so I had to come and share Smiley

If you're like me and like really ooey gooey chocolate cookies, then make these as I did - if you prefer them a bit firmer, just leave them in the oven for a few extra minutes. In fact, if you cook these for even longer, they end up almost like cake - so cook them however you prefer!

These are also great for freezing - just wrap a portion of the raw dough in clingfilm and stick it in the freezer. Then whenever you fancy one, you can just unwrap it, put it in a ramekin, and bake for a few minutes longer than usual. They're just as delicious this way!


Makes around 12

200g butter
200g demerara sugar
100g granulated sugar
2 eggs
2tsp vanilla essence
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp salt
110g plain flour
150g chocolate chips
150g chocolate bar, broken into chunks

Cream together the butter and both types of sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat until combined. Next add the bicarb, salt and flour, followed by the chocolate chips. The mixture should be quite thick and dry, but if it is too dry to form into neat balls, add a tiny dash of milk.

Preheat the oven to 200C (Gas Mark 6 / 400F).

Distribute half of the mixture into the bottoms of around 12 lightly greased rammekins. Put a couple of squares of chocolate in each ramekin, and then top with the remaining cookie dough.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until the edges are turning golden. The inside should still be soft. Eat warm.

Note: If freezing some of the dough, don't put it in ramekins - just take a little of the mixture in your hand, add the squares of chocolate, and use a little more dough to cover the chocolate, forming a ball. Wrap in cling film and freeze. When desired, just unwrap the ball of dough, place it in a ramekin, and bake for 20-25 minutes at 190C.
2  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / 2 delicious butternut squash recipes - risotto and stuffed shells on: February 09, 2012 02:43:22 AM
I recently started a vegetarian cookery blog and wanted to share a couple of my recipes with you Smiley

I bought one butternut squash and got both of these tasty dinners out of it. Obviously if you only fancy one of these recipes, you could buy a smaller squash and just do one or the other, or you could make double portions of one of them.

Creamy butternut squash and sage risotto

I can't recommend this risotto enough. The squash tastes fantastic when roasted - slightly sweet. I like my risotto really creamy and cheesy, but if you prefer a slightly drier risotto, just reduce the quantity of cheese slightly.

Serves 3

2tbsp sunflower oil
400g butternut squash (approx. half a large squash), diced
1 handful sage, roughly chopped
25g butter
1 onion, diced
300g arborio rice
2 stock cubes, made up with approx. 1 litre of boiling water
100g cheddar cheese, grated

Heat the oven to 200C (Gas Mark 6 / 400F).

Lay the cubes of butternut squash and the chopped sage on a baking tray, and coat with the oil. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the squash is soft.

Meanwhile, melt half of the butter in a risotto pan or wok. Gently soften the onion for 5 minutes.

Add the remaining butter, and once it has melted, add the rice and stir until coated.

After a few more minutes, begin adding the stock a little at a time, only adding more when the rice has absorbed the previous amount. Continue adding stock and leaving it to be absorbed until the rice is al dente - you may need more or less than the litre suggested.

Once it is soft, remove the squash from the oven. Mash half of it a little with a fork, and mix it into the risotto, along with the grated cheese. Serve topped with the remaining chunks of roasted squash and sage.

Butternut squash and sage stuffed shells in cheesy sauce

Another cheesy recipe - it works so well, why change it?! Butternut squash and sage are a match made in heaven - a little sage really brings out the flavour of the squash. This is just like macaroni cheese, but with the added goodness of the squash, and a real punch of flavour from the sage.

Serves 2-3

400g butternut squash (around half a large squash)
3 cloves garlic
20g butter
1 small bunch of sage (around 6 large leaves)
200g conchiglioni (large pasta shells)
50g cheddar cheese, grated

For the sauce:
25g butter
3tbsp plain flour
200ml semi-skimmed milk
50g cheddar cheese, grated

Chop the unpeeled squash into a few large chunks, and boil for around 15 minutes, or until tender.

Meanwhile, boil the pasta shells according to the instructions on the packet, then drain and set aside.

Once cooked, drain the squash, and leave for a few minutes until cool enough to handle. Peel each chunk, and put in a blender with the garlic, 20g of butter and the sage. Blend until the mixture forms a smooth paste.

In a saucepan, melt 25g of butter, and stir in the flour. Cook for 2 minutes over a fairly low heat. Stir in the milk a little at a time, only adding more when the mixture is smooth and well combined. Add 50g of cheese, and once again stir until smooth.

Pour the cheese sauce into a suitably sized baking dish.

Heat the oven to 200C (Gas Mark 6 / 400F).

Stuff each pasta shell with a little of the butternut squash filling, and lay in rows in the dish on top of the cheese sauce. If there is any leftover filling, just dot it around the pasta.

Top with the remaining cheese, and bake for 20 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the edges of the shells are slightly crispy.

I hope you enjoy the recipes, and please check out my blog for more!
3  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Honey roasted parsnip soup on: February 09, 2012 02:31:49 AM
Hi! I recently started a vegetarian cookery blog and I wanted to share one or two of my recipes with you! This was my most recent recipe - honey roasted parsnip soup.

This soup seriously makes me think of Christmas - so it's perfect for a freezing cold February evening (anyone else in Europe? What's going on here?!) when you're wondering why winter even bothers existing at all.

Recipe time!!

Serves 2

300g parsnips, peeled (approx. 1 large parsnip)
200g potatoes, peeled (approx 3 small potatoes)
1 medium onion
2tbsp sunflower oil
2tbsp honey
1tsp dried thyme
1 stock cube
Black pepper
~500ml boiling water
Bread, to serve

Preheat the oven to 200C (Gas Mark 6 / 400F).

Chop the parsnips and potatoes into fairly small chunks or sticks, and lay out on a large baking tray. Slice the onion into wedges, and add this to the tray. Coat with the oil, and drizzle with 1tbsp honey. Put the tray in the oven.

After around 25 minutes, remove from the oven to stir. Add a little more honey, and the dried thyme. Return to the oven for a further 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven once the vegetables are soft and beginning to crisp up.

Transfer the vegetables to a blender. Pour a dash of boiling water onto the baking tray, and use a spatula to deglaze the pan. Add this to the blender, along with the stock cube and plenty of black pepper.

Blend the soup, adding as much boiling water as you need to get the consistency you desire - perhaps around 500ml.

Serve warm with fresh bread.
4  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / 4 year Noah's Ark cross stitch!! (pic heavy) on: March 18, 2011 05:06:09 AM
I'm SO excited to post this... this has literally taken me like 4 years, ever since I started uni. I obviously didn't have that much free time at uni, so I'd often put this aside for weeks or even months on end, and then suddenly have a blitz where I couldn't put it down. But I've finally finished it!! I think it looks great. I'm not sure I'd do another project so large in the future because I am so SLOW at cross stitching (I'm sure most of you guys could do this in a few weeks), but I really enjoyed it Smiley It's all cross stitch, and outlined in backstitch, and I also had to learn how to do the dreaded French knots for some of their eyes.

Whole thing:

Some close ups of my favourite bits:





And here's one with my hand for size reference:

And just as a bonus, here are the other cross-stitches I've done.

Done in 2002, so I was 12/13:

Done in 2004 (I was 14/15):

Another from 2004, with my hand for size reference (I obviously forgot to only use one thread for the backstitch on this one, so it's a bit chunky looking):

I forgot to date this one but I would guess it's from about 2005:

I really hope you like these, especially the big one! I now need to buy a new one to start Smiley

Comments VERY welcome!!!
5  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Mounted CD and case on: March 06, 2011 05:15:20 AM
This is a really simple project - I mounted my boyfriend's band's CD for him for his birthday. He's always saying he wishes he'd kept more mementos from when his band was starting out, like gig flyers and stuff, so I thought this would be a nice thing to look back on in the future.

Also, I think it's kind of cool how my simple project also features their own project - they're creative like us but in a different way, since they craft their music, and the album cover, etc.

Closeup of their awesome artwork - all hand drawn, including the girl's face!

(if this isn't allowed mods, please delete it!)
If you're interested in checking out the band, visit www.mangetout.tv or www.myspace.com/mangetout or www.facebook.com/mangetoutband
My boyfriend is the drummer Smiley (insert generic joke about drummers)
6  COOKING / Dessert / Dinosaur cupcakes on: February 20, 2011 01:49:51 PM
These aren't a patch on the stuff most of you guys make, but I haven't posted anything on here for ages and felt like contributing something. They're just simple cupcakes with a LOT of pink butter icing and dinosaur sprinkles hehe. Yum

7  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / How to do half a cross stitch? on: December 01, 2010 09:25:00 AM
I'm doing a cross stitch from a pattern, and there are a few places where it calls for half a stitch. In other words the little square is split in half diagonally. Anyone got any ideas how I do this with cross stitch? If it was split vertically or horizontally I think I could do it, but being split diagonally is confusing me a little... help much appreciated Smiley
8  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / Advice about thread PLEASE!! on: June 07, 2010 02:13:19 PM

A couple of years ago I bought an cross-stitch kit, but for some reason I have ended up running out of one of the colours of thread Sad I don't think I wasted any, and I'm pretty sure I worked out the colours right, so I don't really know what happened there, I guess they just didn't give enough?!

Anyway, I'm desperate to buy some more thread to match, so I can complete the project. Does anyone know where I could get some extra thread from? The problem is, it doesn't really say anywhere what brand the thread is. The kit is made by Design Works Crafts, but I can't seem to find anywhere online that they sell thread on its own.

In case anyone knows where to look, the colour I need is 318 'grey'. If I can't find where to buy it I guess I'll just have to go into a shop and try to find one that looks similar, but I'd rather not have to do that in case it doesn't look right Sad

Anyway, any advice is much appreciated, thanks!
9  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Cute little bag with shooting star :) on: September 06, 2008 08:13:47 AM
I made this little bag this afternoon, I intend to use it for going to clubs and stuff, since I usually end up lugging around a bag that is far bigger than it needs to be. This bag is just big enough for my purse, phone, a few little bits of make up, etc.
I mostly used this tutorial, except I added straps too: https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=22875.msg187145

Action shot (sorry for the terrible photos, as usual. I really should start taking photos in a different room, my bedroom has rubbish lighting):

Front of bag:

Close up of the shooting star embroidery:

This is sort of my first try at embroidery, apart from the odd bit of cross stitch from a kit. I just used backstitch and running stitch, I didn't feel like trying to learn any new stitches just yet!
I used metallic thread for the sparkles, you can't really tell in the pictures.

Lining (you might recognise this fabric if you saw the messenger bag I made a few weeks ago):

Full of stuff:

The strap is probably a little bit long actually, but it's still not quite as long as it appears in the picture. It's just a bit of cordy stuff I found at Hobbycraft, I hate making straps and turning them inside out SOOO much that I'm trying to find alternatives Smiley

I hope you like it, comments are VERY much appreciated, as usual Cheesy

10  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Corduroy drawstring straighteners case (slightly pic heavy) on: August 02, 2008 06:17:43 AM
I whipped this up in an hour or two last night so it isn't particularly good quality - it's not lined or anything, I was mostly just entertaining myself and practising making a drawstring pouch, but it'll still be useful I think.

Sorry in advance for the terrible photos, the lighting in my room is really bad.

Here's how my hair straighteners used to live before:

And after:

It's just a simple drawstring pouch really.
Drawstring tied up:

Drawstring undone:

And a close up of the Velcro strap I put on the side to hold those pesky wires a bit neater:

So yeah, as I said, it's not much, but I felt like making something and my straighteners were just crying out for a nice bag to be kept in Smiley

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