Wednesday 23 October 2013


What with Halloween just round the corner I thought we should have a little think about.  Just a little one...

Are you going out trick-or-treating this year? Are you going to put out a nicely carved pumpkin? More importantly are you going to feel at all guilty about doing so?

(my pumpkin from two years ago)

October is a strange month.  It marks the beginning of dark, gloomy days and dare I even mention the ‘C’ word, Christmas.  It’s not actually the beginning of Christmas though is it, because Christmas should only be mentioned in December?  October should solely be about falling leaves and Halloween. 

When I was little I never did Halloween.  Partly I suspect because I lived on a small country lane where no one talked to their neighbours but mainly because my mum didn’t like it.  We were allowed to put out a pumpkin but because no one lived on our lane no on ever saw it.  It was pumpkin for our eyes only.  I never questioned it until my friend invited me to a Halloween party.  She and most of my friends were shocked that I had never been trick-or-treating (or trickle treating as I spent most of childhood believing it to be called).

The reason my mum didn’t like it was because she thought it was rude and unkind to demand sweets from strangers whilst issuing threats of turning their houses into a scrambled egg.   Being completely unaware of Halloween traditions I had no idea why I would ever feel the need to egg someone’s house.  I just wanted the sweets!  My mum’s other reason was that it was an American tradition (looking back I don’t think my mum much liked the Americans.  Father Christmas for example was never Santa because that was what the Americans called him).

I feel now would be a good time, mainly for my own benefit, to tell you about the origin of Halloween.  According to the well-respected source Wikipedia, Halloween is “the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows… dedicated to remembering the dead”.  Well that doesn’t seem too bad.  I’m a Christian (as was my mother) and as a Christian festival I should definitely be able to eat sweets, right?  Wikipedia goes on to say that trick-or-treating originated from “Souling”, which is the custom of sharing soul cakes.  Children and the poor during Hallowmas would collect soul cakes ‘as a means of praying for souls in purgatory’.  Collecting money or food for the poor seems like a good idea but that is not what Halloween is today.

I really enjoyed going trick-or-treating with my friends and I think it can create a lovely community atmosphere.  However I do worry about those people who are forced into taking part, who don’t want to open their doors to strangers and definitely don’t want their houses egged.  I think the point of Halloween (and a lot of other Christian festivals) has been lost and the present day traditions are really not very moral (I’m thinking mainly about the scariness, for the wrong reasons, of provocatively costumes now).  Nevertheless I think I will always enjoy carving out a pumpkin!

I do also enjoy baking halloween treats.  Check out what I made last year and give it a go:

Katie :)

Friday 4 October 2013


I have just been to the toilet (too much information?!) and I looked in the mirror and was shocked.  There is a lot to be shocked about when you have my face, but my shockedness was from my eyebrows.  I have some 3 main beefs/steaks with the eyebrow.

1.  Why do they grow so fast.  It's not acceptable.  I don't have the time or inclination to continually pluck them but I don't have a choice if I want to look vaguely acceptable.  It is an unacceptable hair-growth-level-time.

2.  Why are they there?  Why do we have two (and in some people's cases one) slug shaped hairiness on our faces.  WHY? I'm not sure I want them there but I also don't think I don't want them there (I'm confused to?) basically...

3. ...Why would you shave your eyebrows off.  I understand that they are annoying and as pointed in number 1, they grow too fast but you are not shaving them off to be unique and saying "Eyebrows,  there is no point to you.  Get off my face and stay off." No, you are taking them off to draw on fake eyebrows.  Why?  Surely a) you know they look ridiculous and b) they are going to grow back so you are just replacing the daily pluck with the daily shave.  Why?

Am I being irrationally cruel toward the eyebrow?

Let me know what you think.

Katie :)

Wednesday 2 October 2013

Baking Wednesday

So I have a lot of baking items to share with you on this jolly baking Wednesday.

My first very exciting bake was making Filo pastry.  I have seen it being made on The Great British Bake Off and with my friend we decided to give it a go.  We decided to give our favourite Kimberley's recipe a go and although it was really really hard work, the result was fantastic.  I took a picture of making the pastry and one of the final product.  If you want something to do in a day, it is very rewarding but it's definitely a once in a lifetime thing!

Chicken, bacon and butternut squash pie:

 The recipe is here: Kimberley's Chicken, bacon and butternut squash pie

The next exciting thing I made was a pizza from scratch.  This was just like making bread but the result was a lot tastier!  I used Jaime Oliver's recipe here: Jaime Oliver's pizza dough.  A couple of tips I would give are:

1. Use a bowl instead of doing it straight onto a work surface - it's much less messy.

2.  It's important not to keep adding flour so the dough is very wet.  This means if you have a standing mixer (a kitchen aid type thing) with a dough hook I would recommend using it instead of trying to knead this very sticky dough.  Do persevere though if you do it by hand, it will come together in the end!

I made a margarita pizza with added black olives.  I tried to shape the base the 'professional' way.  This was a lot of fun but I definitely need more practice! My end shape was more fish/penis shaped than spherical but ah well!

I also made some bread rolls for when my cousins came home.  They worked really well, although I need to improve on my 'slashing' technique.  I used the recipe from Paul Hollywoods 'How to Bake' book.

And finally I made a coffee cake, which looks a lot nicer than it has photographed.  It was from Mary Berry's aga book (a book which I can't live without).  It's so quick to make and tastes great.

Have you done any baking this weekend? Share your success below!

Katie :)