Sunday, 28 April 2013


Good Morning to you,

Are you in the mood for a touch of sweetness?  

I think I need to re-phrase that.  Are you in the mood for something v-e-r-r-y  s-w-e-e-t? (do you see the emphasis on the "r".)

You are?  Well I have something  for you today which I know will tickle your taste buds.... a Banoffee Pie!

I have not eaten or made a Banoffee pie before,  so this is a first for me, but what I do know, is that this is a very popular dessert on both sides of the Atlantic,

.....and yes, it tastes as fabulous as it looks. So without more ado, here is the recipe.



75 g/2 1/2 oz butter
300g/10 1/2 oz chocolate oat biscuits


115g/4 oz butter
115g/4 oz soft dark brown sugar
397g/14 oz can sweetened condensed milk


450ml/16fl oz double cream
5 ripe but firm medium sized bananas
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
25g/ 1 oz coarsely grated plain dark chocolate
chocolate curls

23 cm / 9 inch fluted, deep, loose-based tart tin



Melt the butter in a small pan.
Break the biscuits into chunky pieces and
pulse in a food processor.

Alternatively, place the biscuits in a strong
polythene food bag and hit with a rolling pin.

Remove the crumbs into a bowl 
and mix in the melted butter

Place the crumbs into the centre of your tart tin. Press the crumbs firmly into the base and also up the sides. Make sure the biscuit base is evenly distributed, especially where the base meets the sides.
Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes
or until set.


Melt the butter in a medium non-stick pan
stir in the sugar.

As you can see, I did not use a non stick saucepan
as I do not own one.

Cook over a low heat until the sugar dissolves, stirring constantly until the butter and sugar look smooth and no oil floats on the surface.
(Once my mixture came to a simmer, it took about 10 minutes for the mixture to become smooth)

Open the tin and add the Condensed Milk to the melted butter and sugar.
Bring to a gentle simmer, stirring constantly.
Cook for 3 minutes, (keep stirring, I cannot emphasise this enough as the mixture will burn otherwise) until the mixture turns a deep, creamy, caramel brown.

Remove your base from the fridge.

Gently pour the toffee mixture onto the biscuit base and quickly smooth the surface. 
(I used a palette knife dipped in hot water...this did the trick)
Leave to chill for one hour (up to eight hours)

Slice the bananas diagonally
and toss together with the lemon juice 
(this prevents the bananas turning brown)
Lay the cut bananas over the caramel.

As an alternative, keep back one sliced lemony banana to place into the cream.

Lightly whip the cream until it stands
in soft peaks 
Spoon the cream over the sliced bananas
If you kept back one sliced banana, then
pop the slices into the cream.

Sprinkle with grated chocolate.
Alternatively add the chocolate curls.
Chill for 1 hour then remove the fluted tart tin.
(I left the base as this I find  impossible
to remove)

Cut yourself a small piece of pie, do not make the same mistake as George.  While I was making him a cup of coffee and tidying up the kitchen, I forgot to mention how sweet the Banoffee pie was. Remember we had never eaten it before, so George did not realise how sweet this dessert was.  A little too late, I noticed he had cut himself a rather large piece of pie. He had disappeared into his den to watch the football and when I arrived, with his coffee, he had eaten the pie. Whilst he really enjoyed it, afterwards, he complained that his stomach was so full. I asked him why he did not stop eating the pie if he was full, and he said "Well it tasted so nice". Mmm, as Phyllis would say "His eyes were bigger than his belly".

Now I have to tell you, this is not my recipe, this is a recipe from the BBC series The Hairy Bikers Best of British. 

For those of you who do not know who The Hairy Bikers are, they are Dave Myers and Si King. Two fabulous boys from the North of England. The first time I came across the Hairy Bikers was when I lived in Cyprus. We were able to pick up Dubai TV and it was at the time, I think around 2007, when the boys were touring Argentina on their motor bikes. They stopped at various locations and they would talk about the history and culture of the places they visited.  I loved their adventurous spirit and I admired the fact that they travelled around Argentina on motorbikes. If you do not know who the boys are, please take a look at their books or tv programmes, I know you will not be disappointed.

Oh, and just in case you are wondering why the boys are called the Hairy Bikers,

I think the photograph is self explanatory.

This week I shall be joining,

It is time to go as I need to check to see how George is doing.

Take care and I will see you later in the week.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013


Good Morning to you,

Imagine a space, that is let us say, the size of a small English garage.... and inside, it is filled from floor to ceiling with ribbons, braids, sequins, beads and other embellishments.

The space is small, but everything is neatly stacked, one on top of the other, with every available space filled.

You glance left, you glance right,

you look straight ahead, and everywhere you look there are the most luscious colours. There is every shade of blue, red, purple, pink, green, yellow, and orange. The colours are a feast for the eyes.  If the colours are too  vibrant for your colour palette   then there are beautiful whites, creams and soft pastel colours to choose from.

You do not really know what to expect from the shop, but you are sensible. Before you arrive you have decided on the colours you want to buy. You are armed with your wish list for ribbons and beads, but once you enter the shop, and see the range which is available to you, it is like nothing else you have ever seen, your list goes out of the window. It is like the list never existed. Your jaw drops and your heart starts beating faster, you do not know which way to turn.

You have to calm yourself, you have to take a deep breath, and find a starting point.

I think you have guessed that I was describing how I felt when I entered this amazing haberdashery shop known as Parry's Corner. 

Before I go any further, I feel I need to tell you a little bit about where the shop is located.  I think the best way to describe the area where Parry's Corner is situated, is not to describe it in words, but to show you.  You know the saying "a picture is worth a thousand words". Well let me tell you in this case it is true....let me show you.

How could I describe this to you? It would take so many words, so no, I am not even going to try, but this is the road, we had to negotiate to reach Parry's Corner. At one point we had to move, very carefully, past a cow pulling a you know it certainly added to the adventure.

There were so many alleyways like the one above, selling all things plastic, metal, stationery and so much more. Whatever you needed, you could find along one of these alleyways.

The front of Parry's Corner is narrow, it was only wide enough to hold a small serving counter. There was also room  for  only one person to enter at a time. It was really that narrow.  But from my standing point, while I was waiting to move from the front of the shop to the back, which was it's widest part, I could see all the treasure which lay inside, just waiting for me.

I felt like Jeremy from The Secret of Nimh. Jeremy was always on the hunt for sparkly bits, and pieces of string, to feather his nest. Yes, I was definitely like Jeremy, I wanted to feather my sewing nest with sparkly bits and pieces of string, well in my case ribbon..... I was in heaven!

There were fine ribbons which had sequins and beads attached,

There was thick braid, there was thinner braid, you could choose to have braid with woven elephants of assorted colours or you could choose a paisley design, with every colour you could possibly desire, and if that did not take your fancy, you could choose plain braids.

There were braids with mirrors. The mirrors were stitched with brightly coloured cottons or you could choose a plainer black and white version, there were so many different choices available, the choice was yours.

There were beautiful peacocks waiting in line to be appliqued on to a piece of material.

There were paisley shapes and daisy shapes, each with sequins and beads added... they were golden beauties.

Take a closer look and see how detailed the work is.....isn't it just gorgeous.

Each piece is exquisite and such a work of art, I am thrilled to have these pieces, to use in future beading projects.

I photographed this beautiful beaded and sequined  outfit to show you how beads and sequins and other embellishments are used on clothing.

Take a closer look, it is just so beautiful.

......and there ends my wonderful, exciting trip to Parry's Corner, the most amazing haberdashery shop I have ever seen. 

As I write this, I can feel the excitement returning. I am looking at the wonderful things I bought and I am still not sure what I will make with them.

.....but does that matter, when the inspiration comes, my beautiful "Shiny, Sparkly Indian pieces of Gorgeousness" will be ready and waiting.

This week I shall be joining, 

Take care and I will see you later in the week.

Sunday, 21 April 2013


Good Morning to you,

"Love and kindness are never wasted,
They always make a difference.
They bless the one who receives them,
and they bless you, the giver."

Last week, I was working in the kitchen when I heard the sound of the letter box.  I walked into the hall, and I expected to find the usual bills or circulars, but no, there, laying on my doormat were two lovely handwritten envelopes.

Last week, I shared with you my first piece of post, so this week, I will share with you my second.

and here it is,
a beautiful, handmade card.

The leaves are beautifully pressed and dried. I am not sure what the next part of the process is, as I am not a card maker, but the leaves look as if they have been covered with a gossamer layer of paper.

Can you see what I mean in this photograph. The gossamer  layer is more prominent. It is just so very delicate.

....and the person who sent me this lovely card is Diane who writes the lovely blog Lavender Dreams

.....and as I opened the card, look what I found.

Isn't this the most gorgeous pink handkerchief.  How on earth did Diane know that I love beautiful cotton handkerchiefs, I know it was a co-incidence, but it was such a pleasant surprise, because when ever I go out, I always have a handkerchief tucked inside my bag.

Do you see the pretty lace. I know the handkerchief is a little off-centre, but I thought it sat nicely beside the "lady in blue".

I shall tell you how I came across Diane. I was looking around the Internet, reading new and  interesting blogs when I found Diane at Lavender Dreams.

I was reading Diane's blog and reached the part, where she mentioned how she enjoyed writing letters and that she wrote to friends who lived all over the world. She said if anyone, who came across her blog, would like to correspond, then we were just to leave our address and she would write to us. So of course I did, because I love writing  and receiving letters.

I then became busy organising myself for our trip to India, so it slipped my mind to expect a letter. When  I returned from India this was one of the  two  envelopes which dropped through the letter box. As I looked at my name and address, I thought to myself, I do not recognise that handwriting, but of course, when I looked at the senders address, I remembered immediately.

It is such a beautiful card and such a thoughtful gift to send me, that  it really put a smile on my face for the rest of the day.

I am going to reply to Diane's card this week and  I  look forward to getting to know her.

Then blow me down, if I did not receive another card.

Now, I bet you cannot guess where this card came from. What is that you say, 

did you say India? 
Yes of course, you are right,

It was an Indian card sent by Natasha,

.....and as if that was not enough,

I received another card this morning.....and,

it was from Danielle. That mischievous little girl on the card is very reminiscent of Danielle when she was small, as she had the look of an angel, but she was very mischievous. The only difference was, Danielle had blonde hair..... and yes, she would have tried to get her hand into the large bowl of biscuits.....if she could have.....and if we had that many!

So, remind me not to complain about circulars, leaflets and the like, dropping through my letter box, because as long as every now and again, I receive hand written letters or cards, then I will always be happy.

It occurred to me, that you are very polite and not very inquisitive, as you did not ask me who sent me this card,

but in case you were wondering I thought I would tell you..... it was Natasha!

Natasha told me that she had been browsing through an old bookshop when she discovered this card nestled amongst "Bizarre Books" and she remembered Ivy's Cookery Book and thought of me straight away.....wasn't she kind.

The Internet is a wonderful thing, it allows me to connect with my daughters. Even though we are far apart,  we are kept up to date with the "goings on" in each others lives, but... 

to my mind, there is nothing like receiving a handwritten letter!

This week I shall be joining,

Take care and I will see you later in the week.

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