I hope you are all keeping well and looking after yourselves. I’m still staying at home except for a walk each day and felt very strange not spending Easter with my family for the first time ever. I’ve actually been looking back to this time last year, as Lawrence and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary on 6th April. What a difference a year makes, eh?
Firstly, in March last year, Mum and Dad’s lovely dog Pearl had puppies and we had many happy weeks with them. They really were incredibly cute. Here’s a couple of them at a few weeks old. I THINK but am not sure that the one sitting down might be Ruger, the one they ended up keeping.
Also, the photo at the top is (obviously) on our wedding day, where my bridesmaids and I decided to ditch the bouquets for a mo and hold a puppy each. Now I know for a fact that the one I have there IS Ruger which is really lovely, seeing as he is part of the family now.
Here’s another one of Lawrence and I from the wedding day that I’m not sure I have shared before (there are so many). We had such a wonderful day and smiled and laughed all the way through it. I still love looking through the photos and remembering what an amazing time we had. We have actually only printed and framed a very small number of photos for a set of frames in our bedroom and I am thinking I will use some of this time at home to go back through and order some prints of them.
Then, of course, we went on honeymoon! We went to Lake Como and then later onto Lake Garda and had a wonderful time eating amazing Italian food. Very surreal when you consider the situation we are all in now! Here is a photo of me, which is at a viewing platform very high up on the Italian Swiss border. Everywhere we went there was a phenomenal view and my goodness I ate a lot of pasta – food of the Gods!
As I say – what a difference a year makes! Lawrence and I are planning on having a proper anniversary meal out when it’s possible again but he did cook me a very nice steak dinner on the day and we had a nice time nonetheless. Have you been celebrating anything in lockdown? How have you made it special? I’d love to know.
I want to say thanks to all of you who tried making the fruit cake from last week’s blog and let me know – so glad it was enjoyed by so many of you! I have another easy recipe to share but before I do, I just want to let you know of something else I’m doing on Instagram along the same lines. Every Thursday I am posting an IGTV Cook-Along with me. Last week I did some really simple biscuits that you can add lots of different flavours to – I did them in Easter shapes, but you could do whatever you wanted.
This week I’m planning on doing a super simple savoury meal. They will stay up so you can go and watch them at any time if you’re interested. So make sure you’re following me on Instagram if you want some more inspiration food-wise.
This week’s recipe on here is again, not overly glam, but yummy, keeps well if there’s only a couple of you at home and is perfect with an afternoon cuppa. I actually invented the recipe a couple of years ago, based on a cake bar from the supermarket that my husband really enjoyed at the time and I’m hoping you should have most of the ingredients available as they are the sort you’d have in the cupboard anyway. So, here we go, I’ll call them “Oaty Cake Bars!”
100g Oats (plus a little extra for the top)
150g Plain Flour
150g Margarine (butter would be fine)
Half teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda
Half Teaspoon of Baking Powder
Half Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
100g Sultanas (or raisins if you prefer)
100g Light Brown Muscavado Sugar
75g Caster Sugar
2 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
Put the oats in a bowl, cover them with the water and leave to soak.
Mix the baking powder, bicarb, cinnamon and flour together.
Add the sultanas into this and mix them to coat in the flour – this helps stop all the fruit just sinking.
In another bowl, beat all the sugar with the Margarine until you have a smooth and creamy mixture.
Add the eggs a little at a time whilst continuously beating and scraping the sides down from time to time.
Once this has combined nicely, use a sieve to drain any excess water from the oats.
Add the oats into the wet mix and beat in well (it looks pretty horrible now but I promise it’ll turn out alright!)
Add the dry ingredient mix to the wet mix and beat until all combined.
Pop the mix into a greased and/or lined 20cm Square tin or similar (if you only have a round cake tin that’ll be fine). Spread it out evenly in the tin.
Sprinkle a handful of dry oats on the top of this.
Bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes until you can insert a skewer (or the end of a sharp knife) and it comes out clean. (It won’t rise as much as, say, a Victoria Sponge cake, it’s supposed to be a little denser and more cake-bar than just cake).
Leave it in the tin for a few minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely
Cut into rectangles and enjoy!
Again, let me know if you try it at all, I’d love to know your thoughts and remember, Thursday lunchtimes on Instagram I’ll be sharing some more cooking and baking too.
Before signing off, I want to tell you that QVC are running a Giving Back campaign where the company have already pledged £50,000 and are donating £2 for every £1 that anyone else contributes. Please do have a look at the details on the website if you have the means and desire to contribute to an important cause.
Thank you all for your lovely comments of late, please do keep them coming and let me know what you’re up to and if you’re baking too. For now, me and my ever growing bump are going to snuggle on the sofa with Monty dog (he thinks the bump is a cushion I’ve grown just for him).