tilly makes & bakes

Always striving to achieve a state of domestic bliss!


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Muffins two ways: lemon curd and chocolate chips

I had a jar of lemon curd to use up so I was on the hunt for a basic cake recipe that I could jazz up with a  bit of the lemony goo. I came across this recipe for a basic muffin batter and it turned out to be just perfect for adding bits and pieces. You basically mix up all the dry ingredients and stir up the wet ingredients in separate bowls before combining wet with dry.

In addition to the ingredients listed in the recipe, I added 75g of chocolate chips to half the batter and about 6 tablespoons of lemon curd to the other ( 1 tbsp per muffin). Once the muffins were baked, I also brushed a little extra curd on top of the still hot lemon cakes. Finished of with some lemony sugar crystals (I used Askeys ice cream topping sprinkles), they looked so delicious. And they certainly tasted delicious. A big hit with both the girlies, hubby and ME!

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No little girl (or boy) should be without one… a fairy garden!

Ours certainly isn’t picture perfect or meticulously laid out. But it is played with by two little girlies. A lot. I have been looking for a set of little plastic fairies that they would be able to use outside within the fairy abode. But it turns out that little sticks do the job just fine and all manner of beautiful stick fairies come to visit the garden. Isn’t imagination a wonderful thing? The other day I caught big H using a pan scourer (normally used to play washing up in her mud kitchen) as a fairy. I know. That pan scourer had some moves, twirling around the garden and all that.

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Winchester Water Meadows

What with this beautiful weather we have been enjoying, the Tilly household has been less busy making and baking and more busy daytripping. Despite having visited Winchester many times over recent years, we only just discovered the Water Meadows yesterday.

We started off with a mooch around the shops and a look around the gorgeously tempting stalls of the vintage market that was on last weekend. The market was a bit of a surprise and quite unexpected but thoroughly enjoyed by me- hubby not so much. I spotted lots of vintage children’s books, toys, up cycled and shabby chic furniture and kitchenalia such as retro Tupperware and Melmex. I didn’t make any purchases but thoroughly enjoyed exploring all the stalls.

Next we had a relaxing picnic with some shop bought goodies on the lawn in front of the cathedral. Daisy picking was a highlight here!

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After a while we started meandering around the back streets and took a right turn where we normally take a left and discovered the most amazing footpath along the water.

These are the Water Meadows! We had a blissful walk. I felt like I was on holiday. We spotted St Catherine’s Hill in the near distance and decided to return without the kiddos soon for a little hike up. All in all a successful day full of unplanned yet amazing activities.

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National Trust Cliveden

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We had the most amazing day at Cliveden, a National Trust property near Maidenhead (Berkshire) the other day. The weather was gorgeous and the view simply breathtaking! There is a brilliant playpark for the kids which is always a bonus as not all NT places are that well equipped for children yet. The water garden was simply stunning, especially with all the trees in their full spring bloom dresses. The maze was a hit with big H and Daddy whilst I watched a sleeping little H in her buggy. We had a blissful picnic on the lawn, enjoying the stunning views across the river Thames. We made daisy chains. The tulips were at their best. The daffodils already on their way out. It felt like we had the place to ourselves even though it was a rather busy, sunny  Sunday. The grounds are just so huge that you can easily find a quiet corner. I could literally feel my shoulders relax and come down by about two inches. We took a stroll through the woods and spotted bluebells.  Down the steps we went, towards the Thames and back up again, the long way around. Without doubt, Cliveden has the best grounds of any of the National Trust properties we have visited. And with our annual pass, we have got around a fair few over the years. What a beautiful, special place. We shall be returning here again.

 


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Tomato and pepper puff pastry tart

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I made this beautiful tart on a sunny but still chilly spring evening when I was just in the mood for summery cooking. It was so easy to make and you simply must try this, the flavours are amazing. I know I’m not reinventing the wheel, these kinds of family puff pastry “pizzas” or tarts have been made in different variations by loads of different people. I just always think it’s good to be reminded of simple dinner ideas and flavour combos.

Simply mix 1 garlic and herb boursin soft cheese with half a packet of Philadelphia with peppers (one of their flavoured varieties). Thin with a dash of milk to smooth the mixture and make it spreadable. Pour and spread the cheese mix onto your puff pastry rectangle. Score along each side of the pastry rectangle to allow the crust to rise along the edges. Tear up a handful of basil leaves and sprinkle onto the cheese mixture. Top with sliced tomatoes and a cup full of frozen sliced peppers from a bag. I like to blitz the peppers in to microwave before adding to the tart. A quick twist of black pepper will season your veg nicely. Now drizzle the tart with some balsamic vinegar glaze and pop in the oven at about 200ºC for about 20-25 minutes. Do check the instructions on the pack and use this as a guide as each brand of ready made pastry might vary. Serve with a green salad and enjoy!


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Easter almond and chocolate cups

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I have made these chocolate cups in the peanut butter version before. I am glad to say they also work with almond butter! Just substitute the peanut butter with equal amounts of almond butter and top with mini eggs. I wrapped them in cellophane bags with pretty ribbon and cannot wait to give them out on Easter Sunday!