Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!



In and amongst the packing I managed to get these pumpkins carved, just in time for Halloween! Tuesday is moving day - so excited!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Hold onto your hats!


It's happening - we're moving house and there's no stopping us! You'll have to bear with me for the next couple of weeks as my evenings will mostly be spent frantically packing! it's such a huge, daunting task that I can't quite think about it. We made a start in the kitchen last night and sighed sadly as we poured our home brewing efforts don't the sink. The blackberry and apple wine (which we called 'fruitella' and blogged about here) had clarified to a strong cider/whisky which practically singed my eyebrows off! We're looking forward to having another bash once we're settled.

I'm going to be focusing what little spare time and energy I do have on my Christmas Hamper Project - keep an eye out for the first DIY popping up some time next week! I.ll be making delicious candied peel to be used in some Christmas Hamper preserves and baking recipes as well as making delectable chocolate dipped peel!

See you on the flip side.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cat's Eye

Brigit Bardot image source.
Image from Vogue.co.uk



Image from Vogue.co.uk



Image from Vogue.co.uk



This is one of my favourite make up looks for Autumn! I love the precise definition of a classic cat eye. My favourite tools of the trade are this smudgy, soft black eyeliner by Liz Earl and this slick liquid liner by YSL. Definitely worth the extra 10 minutes in the morning ;)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Chloe Bakes: Spiced Pumpkin & Chilli Cake




Here's a dense, moist cake packed full of delicious spices. Perfect for damp, dark afternoons it contains dried chillies to warm your heart and lift your spirits! I used this lovely recipe from BBC Good Food and made a few adjustments. I used two of the beautiful Spice Mountain cascabel chillies that I got for my Birthday - simmering them with honey before adding them to the cake mix helped unlock all the rich flavours. I think the chilli has lent an overall warmth to the cake and I love how you get a full on hit of fiery flavour when you come across a seed.

For the cake...

375g plain white flour
375g light muscovado sugar
3 1/2 tsp mixed spice
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
220g saltanas
Good pinch of salt
5 eggs, beaten
250g butter, melted
Zest 1 1/2 oranges
Juice of half an orange
625g (peeled weight) pumpkin or butternut squash (I used a butternut squash because I think they taste better)
2 dried cascabel chillies, soaked overnight in water (you could add more or less depending on how much you like your chilli. Regular chilli flakes would work too!)

For drenching and icing...

200g soft cheese
85g butter, softened
100g icing sugar, sifted
Zest of one orange and juice of half

Pre-heat the oven to 180c (160c for a fan oven). Grease and line a 22 x 32 cm rectangular baking tin.

In a bowl combine the flour, sugar, spice, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt. Finely chop the chillies (a blender with a mini chopper attachment will do this in a split second!). Place the pulverised chilli in a saucepan with the honey and simmer gently for a few minutes to release the delicious oils. Place the sultanas in a bowl and pour over the chilli honey mixture. Stir quickly to combine then add to the bowl with the rest of the dry ingredients.

Beat the eggs into the melted butter, stir in the orange zest and juice, then mix with the dry ingredients until combined. Stir the grated pumpkin into the batter and pour into the tin. Bake for around 40 minutes until golden and springy to the touch and a knife inserted into the centre comes out free from the liquid batter.

Leave the cake in the tin for 5 minutes to cool slightly, then turn out onto a wire rack. Prick the cake all over with a cocktail stick then brush with a little of the orange juice. Leave the cake to cool completely whilst you make the icing.

Beat the butter, cream cheese and orange zest together until fluffy. Add the icing sugar and beat again until the whole mixture becomes pale and fluffy. Spread over the cake and leave in the fridge for a few minutes to set.

This cake feels just right for this time of year and I hope you'll be inspired to spice up your baking too!











Friday, October 19, 2012

Happy Friday!

Image via Tiny White Daisies Tumblr - isn't this a lovely idea for an outdoor candle?

It's the weekend at last! I'm getting into the Halloween spirit early and baking a delicious pumpkin and chilli cake using my lovely Spice Mountain cascabel chillies (previously blogged about here). I'll be sharing the recipe on Sunday as usual!

I'm also taking the first steps towards something that vaguely resembles packing up the entire contents of our enormous flat. I'm hoping that this move wont entail the usual last minute bin bag trolley dash around the place as I desperately try to empty cupboards that I had forgot were cupboards because I'm so used to staring them.

Have a lovely, cosy weekend wherever you are!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Autumn knit picks...



How cute is this scarf and hat combo from Mulberry? I've caressed both in person and I can assure you that the pompom atop the hat is not only enormous but firm and plush also. It might just be because my eyes are so used to seeing leopard print but this print feels fresh and sophisticated. Whilst these two items are firmly at the top of my wish list, over on my knit list I've got my next project lined up! It's going to be a hat and you might get a sneak peak at the yarn and pattern I've chosen tomorrow!


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Hamper of Creation



Hello there! I'm excited to introduce a new mini series here on Stone Cold Comfort. Over the coming weeks and months I'll be sharing recipes, DIY tutorials and junk shop rummaging hints and tips that will give you the tools you'll need to make some beautiful home made hampers to be given to your nearest and dearest this Christmas.

There will be recipes for jam, chutney and sweet delicacies from days gone by. We'll be rummaging in antique shops for silver teaspoons and vintage teacups as well as sourcing lovely tidbits from local producers and independent crafters. We'll journey to farm shops, markets and car boot sales. We may even have a go at making candles.

 I hope you'll find this series inspiring! Thoughts and suggestions are welcome!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Autumn knit picks...

Image via Liberty.




I love a good beige jumper and this one by MHL by Margaret Howell is my pick of the season. I would wear with soft, skinny black jeans, brown suede ankle boots, a navy blue duffel coat and a thick fluffy, woolly hat. Perfect for kicking up the Autumn leaves or mooching to the bus stop in the increasingly dark and frosty mornings.

Monday, October 15, 2012

At the weekend...











 
I caught up with two of my oldest girlfriends, Celina and Anna. We had an awesomely fun time riding rollercoasters and taking Celina's sweet dog Jimmy for a walk.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Chloe Bakes: Breakfast Cereal

I'm excited to be sharing a recipe today for my absolute favourite breakfast cereal! Isn't it funny how things you make at home can be so much better than the stuff you buy in the supermarkets? Especially when it comes to the simple, every day things like breakfast cereals!

This recipe is from an old cranks cookery book belonging to my Mother and starts with a lovely introduction describing how Dr Bircher-Benner published a small book in 1926 which promoted the importance of health and advocated including a good portion raw food in ones diet. Amongst his inventions was 'raw fruit porridge' or 'musli' as we know it today! The good Dr. believed that the energy in food 'resided in the calculated and graded play of rainbow colours inside the food, considered as a total combination of the energies of sunlight' Far out! I'm behind you Dr. Bircher-Benner! Let's harness the rays of the sun for something other than discolouring our books and causing them to swell up when we leave them on the windowsill. I urge you to try this toasty, tasty musli! I promise it's even better than Dorset Cereals!
 

First, the ingredients! I substituted a couple of ingredients as you can see. I would advise giving the recipe a try first of all and then modifying it to your taste. You could go tropical with dried pineapple and mango or pack it full of super seeds, it's up to you!

400g Porridge Oats 
50g sunflower seeds (I used 100g because I just can't get enough)
100g Mixed nuts (Almonds and walnuts are my faves!)
100g Wheatgerm
75g Dessicated coconut
25g Sesame seeds (I used pumpkin seeds, and upped the quantity to 50g because I'm greedy)
100g Raw brown sugar (I used a small jug of the syrup leftover from last weeks Figpote - it's mostly honey so I reckon you could probably substitute the sugar for a couple of tablespoons of honey if you fancy something a little less sweet)
150ml water
150ml Oil (I substituted the same quantity of coconut butter)
1/2 tsp Vanilla essence (go on, use a whole teaspoon)
1/2 tsp Salt



Combine the first 7 ingredients on the list in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl whisk together the water, oil, sugar, vanilla essence and salt.


Pour the liquid over the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Spread out the mixture in a large roasting tin (I divided it between two) and bake in the oven at 190c for 20-30 minutes, stirring a couple of times, until it's golden brown and smelling delicious.


I like to serve mine with a crisp, fresh apple and milk!



Rise and shine!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Happy Friday!


The weekend's here at last! I'm excited to be spending it in Birmingham with two of my oldest friends (and soon to be bridesmaids!). We're acting like the cool, mature 20-somethings we are and spending all day Saturday riding rollercoasters at Alton Towers. Have a lovely weekend wherever you are!

Vintage Wedding Dresses

There are less than six months to go until our wedding! Six months!! There is still so much we haven't done and so much we probably won't bother doing (florists? Who needs em!). We're making progress though, slowly but surely. I feel happy that every aspect of the wedding so far feels really right and really 'us'.

Now I'm looking forward to spending my last 6 months as a 'bride to be' lapping up inspiration from my favourite wedding blogs (Love My Dress and 100 layer cake) and magazines and Pinterest as we get closer and closer to the day. I find looking at other peoples weddings so inspiring - especially when it comes to the little creative details. Don't ever let anyone tell you that planning a wedding is stressful - it's fun and easy! It's only as stressful as you want it to be. I haven't spoken about the planning much here but now we've got most of the big things in place I'm looking forward to being able to share my excitement as things start to come together!

First on the list - wedding dress shopping! Last weekend I went to visit the lovely Kathryn Handscombe of Vintage Wedding Dresses in Kingston upon-Thames, Surrey. Kathryn has an incredible collection of vintage wedding dresses from the 1900's to the 1960's! It was a pleasure just to see these beautifully preserved and restored gowns in person, let alone try some of them on! Each and every piece in the collection is exquisite - most of the dresses are made of gorgeous silk or satin and some have lovely lace and hand embroidery. The pieces vary in price according to age and condition but most hover around the £500 mark, which for a sliver of genuine 1920's flapper glamour or 1940's swagger seems like daylight robbery? Don't worry I won't be giving away the surprise of my dress before the day but here are a few pictures I snapped in Kathryn's studio. You can see more photos (better photos) on her website here. If you're a Surrey bride to be with a love of vintage clothes, I really recommend paying Kathryn a visit. As well as beautiful and delicate vintage dresses she has an equally amazing collection of vintage accessories including some beautiful 1920's wax flower crowns. Kathryn's blog is also fascinating and you can take a peek here.

The lace on this dress is over 100 years old and in perfect condition.

Trying on a gorgeous original 1930's evening gown.

The 1930's dress had a beautiful sheer tulle fishtail skirt (excuse the unpainted toe nails!).




A big satin bow.

I was so taken by this sweet 1920's silk flapper dress!