Recipe for apple crumble flapjacks

Ingredients

  • One large cooking apple
  • One cinnamon stick
  • 100g caster sugar/brown sugar
  • 50g butter
  • 100g plain flour
  • 250g oats
  • 120g butter
  • 120g light brown sugar/caster sugar
  • 3tbsp golden syrup
  • Icing sugar (to serve/optional)

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180degrees.
  • Chop the apple into small cubes and place in a large pan with a splash of water, 100g of sugar and a cinnamon stick.
  • Cook the apple mixture down until it turns into a jam like consistency and leave to one side to cool.
  • Rub the 50g of butter together with the 100g of plain flour until it reaches a fine breadcrumb consistency and leave it to one side.
  • Add the oats, 120g of butter, 120g of sugar and the golden syrup to a food processor and blitz until combined. You could hand mix this but it combines so much better in a food processor (I used a small food chopper).
  • Grease a small tin with butter and scoop the oat mixture into the tin.
  • Spread this evenly across the tin and squash down using a metal spoon, make sure it’s really compact!
  • Bake the flapjack in the oven for around 5 minutes.
  • Once the flapjack is part baked, remove from the oven.
  • Evenly spread the apple mixture (cinnamon stick removed) on top of the flapjack using a knife.
  • Sprinkle the crumble mixture on top (just a light covering) and bake again for a further 10 minutes.
  • Once baked, leave to cool completely before removing from the tin.
  • Slice the flapjack (I did 6 slices) and place on a plate to serve.
  • Sprinkle with icing sugar and enjoy!

Recipe for homemade banoffee pie

Ingredients

  • 150g butter
  • 200g digestive biscuits
  • 400g of dulce de leche (found in tins)
  • 3 bananas (ripened)
  • 300ml double cream
  • 1tbsp icing sugar
  • Cocoa powder / grated chocolate(for dusting)

Method

  • Melt the butter in the microwave (10 seconds at a time until melted).
  • Crush the biscuits until they resemble fine crumbs. You can do this by hand or using a food processor.
  • Add the melted butter and biscuits into a bowl and mix thoroughly.
  • Spread the biscuit mixture over the bottom of a round tin, pushing it down with a spoon and covering the entire base.
  • Leave the base of the pie in the fridge to chill for an hour.
  • Remove the dulce de leche from the tin and mix with a spoon or whisk to loosen.
  • Spread this over the base of the pie and made sure this is done evenly by using either a knife or spoon.
  • Thinly slice the bananas and place on top of the dulce de leche layer (making sure it’s all covered).
  • Put it back into the fridge.
  • Whip the cream and icing sugar until it reaches stiff peaks (it should stand on its own). This may take a while and will be made so much easier if done using a hand held whisk!
  • Spoon the cream mixture on top on the bananas and dust with either grated chocolate or cocoa powder!

Review of ‘Immies, Glummies & Beenies : A Tale of Baradoohn’ by Matthew Newell

Today’s post is a request from an author, sent via my blog! I was really flattered to receive a request and am pleased to be able to use my platform to promote new books from lesser known authors. This book is accessible via Kindle and as a paperback on Amazon.

This book explores an alternate society of immortal citizens, following the story of three siblings who are unwittingly thrown into the world of the ‘immies’. The character development is one part of the book that really impressed me, each of the siblings have their own strong personality and the two young women are admirable for their strong feminist values. The way in which the text explores how different events impact the children is fascinating.

Although this isn’t my typical choice of book, in the fact that it’s a fantasy text, I did really enjoy reading it. The author goes into great detail through the plot of the text and I really had to use little imagination to see the society that the author creates. This would be an excellent book for teenagers to read and I think it would really appeal to readers who enjoy fantasy texts.

I really admire the way in which the author has been able to create a whole new society and write in depth about its citizens, laws and politics. If you’d like to support a new author then please give this book a read! 🙂

If anyone else would like their book to be reviewed then please contact me via email (this can be found on the ‘contact page’). I am always more than happy to read any genre of book and to post reviews on my sites.

Happy reading!

Meg x

Toad in the hole

Ingredients

  • 12 sausages (meat or veggie)
  • One large onion
  • Dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • 140g plain flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 200ml of milk
  • Vegetable oil

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 200degrees
  • Heat up an oven proof dish with a little oil in.
  • Crack the four eggs into a bowl and incorporate the flour a little at a time until smooth.
  • Gradually add the milk to the egg and flour mixture and whisk until it has all incorporated.
  • Season the Yorkshire pudding mix with salt and pepper and leave to one side
  • Chop the onion and brown in a little oil in a pan, add the sausages and brown them, season with salt and pepper and some dried thyme.
  • Take the dish out of the oven and add the sausages and onions, tipping all of the oil into the bowl (be careful as the oil will be extremely hot).
  • Add the Yorkshire pudding mixture to the sausages and place back in the oven.
  • Cook for between 25-30 minutes until browned (don’t open the door during this time or the Yorkshire pudding will sink).
  • Once ready, serve with gravy, mashed potatoes and peas!

Review on ‘Troubled Blood’ by Robert Galbraith

This is the most recent book in the Strike detective series, written by J.K Rowling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. I haven’t read any of the other Strike books and stumbled across this one as a result of recent publicity. After reading this, I will definitely be buying the other novels of the collection! It’s one of the best novels I have read and is certainly right up my street.

The novel is centred around the life of Detective Cormoran Strike and his partner Robin Ellacot. The story explores one crime in particular, the forty year old disappearance of Margot Bamborough, who’s daughter has hired the detectives to uncover what happened to her mother. The initial investigation was flawed by unorganised detective work and mass media coverage , which led to many believing that serial killer Dennis Creed had killed Margot. All of the evidence (of which there is a lack of) that was collected during the initial investigation has to be re-interpreted by Strike, which proves to be a difficult task throughout.

Galbraith introduces a number of characters who each have the capability to have harmed Margot, there are so many twists and turns to the plot which made it difficult to strop reading! I certainly didn’t guess the result of the investigation, the plot was very clever in the way that it unravelled to reveal what had happened to Margot forty years previous.

The novel doesn’t solely focus on the disappearance of Margot, it’s a well rounded story that has so many different plot lines and elements. Parts of it made me gasp and others made me cry! Alongside the detective element of the novel, Galbraith incorporates a semi love story that unfolds throughout.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys crime novels, especially those that deal with cold cases. With so many twists and turns, it’s an exciting novel and one that certainly did not disappoint!

Happy reading!

Meg x

Review on ‘Predator in the House’ by Joanne Parsons

This post is slightly different to my normal style of review! It’s my first ever Reedsy review! I hope you all enjoy and give the book a read to support the author.

This book tells the story of a detective working in the Sex Crimes Unit who vows to seek justice for victims of sexual crime by any means necessary. The main character, Karl, faces a number of difficulties, including a diagnosis of cancer and a toxic marriage. The text follows his life and the complications that dealing with sexual predators leads to as he rids communities of them one by one. During his vendetta, Karl experiences a series of complications that threaten to destroy his need to cleanse society of predators, a task given to him by God. It’s a text that explores the very real issue of child exploitation and does so in a way that allows readers to recognise signs of sexual exploitation.

I thought that this was a well written book, full of twists and turns that made me want to continue reading. However, I did think that the plot unravelled a bit quickly and there were possibly too many events that occurred in such a small space of time. Saying this, it was an action packed text and I did enjoy reading it. The use of the toxic marriage as a secondary pitfall to the protagonist’s life added an extra element of suspense. The descriptive nature of the events that took place were one of my favourite elements of the text, it lead to me analysing every part of the main character’s movements and really getting involved in the plot. 

This hasn’t been my favourite book to read as I thought it was too fast moving and I didn’t have much chance to take in the different plot lines completely. However, I would say that it is worth a read as the plot is full to the brim of action, suspense and twists. The perfect reader for this would be someone who is a true crime fanatic and who enjoys a crime novel/series. It may be a difficult read for some due to the issues that it discusses, however, it is such an important topic that is bravely covered by the author and is one that is not highlighted enough within literature.

https://reedsy.com/discovery/book/predator-in-the-house-joanne-parsons – here’s where you can find the review and details of the book!

Happy reading!

Meg x

Recipe for sprinkle sponge

Ingredients

  • 200g butter
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 200g self raising flour
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 2/3 tbsp milk
  • Multi-coloured sprinkles/hundreds and thousands

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 160degrees and grease your preferred baking tin.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together until pale, light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating into the butter and sugar mixture.
  • Add the vanilla essence and stir.
  • Sieve the flour into the mixture and gently fold using a spatula or a metal spoon, making sure all of the flour has been incorporated.
  • Transfer into the baking tray and gently shake to level the cake.
  • Bake for 20/25 minutes until cooked, it should be springy to touch or you can use the skewer test (knife/skewer should come out clean).
  • Once removed from the oven, cool in the tin for 15 minutes then move to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Once cooled make the icing by mixing the milk and icing sugar together. Add the milk a tablespoon at a time as you want really thick icing for this cake.
  • Spread the icing over the top of the cake and decorate using sprinkles!
  • You can eat this on its own but it’s amazing served with custard!

Top tip: you could use food colouring in the icing to really make your cake special and colour co-ordinated for any occasion!

Review on ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ by C.S Lewis

A classic book that is a must read in my opinion! I actually got the idea to review this from a poster that I’ve recently bought with the ‘top 100 must read books’ on it! I’ve read the majority of ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ books of which there are seven, but this is probably the most well known of the set due to the existence of the movie of the same name.

A novel about four siblings who wander into the fantasy realm of Narnia (reached through the back of a wardrobe), this book has everything you could want from a fantasy novel. The plot contains everything; family disputes, great battles, plot twists and magic. The types of characters that Lewis creates range from evil witches, to sympathetic fauns and a lion who is almost godlike within the text. Although some might categorise this as a children’s book, I’d definitely say that it can be appreciated by adults and children alike.

The plot of the book always has its reader wanting to read more, there was never a part that I found dull! In this sense, it reminds me of the world of Tolkien (although an easier read) and the intricate worlds that both authors are able to create are truly admirable. The descriptions of the characters and the landscapes of Narnia are transportive and really allow the reader to experience the events as if living them. I think this is one of the reasons why the book has transferred so well into the movie franchise that is so well loved by fans.

This is just a short review today but I’ll also be reviewing a couple of other books from this series and possibly then write an overall one to decide on a favourite! I’d definitely recommend reading this book and the rest of the series (this isn’t the first, ‘the magicians nephew’ is the first novel when reading in relation to the ‘history of Narnia).

Happy reading!

Meg x

Lancashire hotpot

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 800g of lamb cut into chunks
  • One large white onion
  • 1tbsp plain flour
  • 800ml beef stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • A dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1tbsp mint sauce (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 large carrots (chopped)
  • 3 large potatoes (sliced into relatively thin circles, you may need more depending on the size of the dish you are using)
  • Dried thyme
  • Your choice of veg to serve, I do this with broccoli

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180degrees
  • Brown the lamb in a pan on a high heat. Once browned transfer to a different dish.
  • Slice and fry the onion in the lamb juices until soft. Add the lamb back to the pan with the onions.
  • Add the flour to the lamb and onions and stir so everything is coated.
  • Add the beef stock to the pan and mix thoroughly.
  • You can now transfer this into a casserole dish that is oven safe.
  • Add the Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves and mint sauce to the lamb mixture and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Cover the lamb (if you don’t have a lid you can use some foil) and cook for 30 minutes.
  • Take the dish out of the oven and add the chopped carrots and stir.
  • Layer the potato slices on top of the lamb, covering the whole dish.
  • Sprinkle some dried thyme over the potatoes and bake in the oven for a further hour.
  • Once ready, serve with your choice of vegetables!

Review on ‘Othello’ by William Shakespeare

I thought I’d write a slightly different post today and tell you all about one of my favourite Shakespearean plays: Othello. This is less of a review and more of an analysis, similar to my post about my dissertation!

Othello is a tragic play, about a black Soldier who marries a white Senator’s daughter but finds himself manipulated into a jealous rage as those around him conspire against him. With comments on racism and sexism, this play explores the unfair nature of society and has some of the most memorable characters of the entire Shakespearean canon.

From the start of the play, it is clear that Othello is destined to fail within the society that he is a part of. Race is used by many as a motive to undermine and plot against the protagonist. Although there are parts where Othello is unlikeable due to his actions towards the faultless Desdemona, Shakespeare enables an audience to feel empathy for the tragic hero as it is made clear that he has been manipulated by those around him and consequently feels guilt and remorse for his actions.

The female characters in this play are admirable and really convey how forward thinking Shakespeare was when writing in the Early Modern period. I discuss this in more detail in my dissertation which you can find on my page! My favourite character is Emilia, she’s a standout feminist icon of the Shakespearean canon and it’s truly inspiring that she exists in such a male dominated form of writing. The women in this play are ultimately caught up in the traps of a patriarchal society, and each are made to suffer as a result.

Although the end of the play is, expectedly, tragic, there are many lessons that can be taken away from it’s story. This is a relatively simple play to understand and if you aren’t a huge fan of Shakespeare I would still suggest at least watching an adaptation of it! It’s a play full of drama and suspense and is one of the plays that made me fall in love with the work of its writer!

Happy reading!

Meg x