Lifestyle blog; Edinburgh, MS, food, beauty and chit chat.

Christmas Gingerbread

It is no secret that I love Christmas. So now Halloween is over and bonfire night is out the way, we can now focus on the big event! Last night I started by using my new festive cookie cutters and making Christmas themed gingerbread…

Festive Gingerbread

So here is the recipe: (makes approx 20 biscuits)

Ingredients

  • 90g soft dark brown sugar
  • 45g clear honey
  • 30g butter
  • 180g (12oz) plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 egg, lightly beaten
  • Baking parchment
Recipe
  1. Put the honey, sugar and butter in a pan, and melt over a low heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Remove the pan to allow to cool slightly.
  2. Sieve the flour, baking powder and ginger into a bowl. Pour in the melted mixture and the egg. Mix well.
  3. Knead on a lightly floured surface.
  4. Set the oven to 180ºC/350ºF. Roll out the gingerbread on a surface lightly dusted with flour.
  5. Cut out your shapes (preferably xmas themed) and transfer to the lined baking sheets.
  6. Bake in the centre of the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until they start to brown. Remove from the oven and allow the pieces to cool on baking sheets.
Enjoy making your biscuits!

Seven stages of social media acceptance

Yes, some people still “just don’t get it”! I hear it all the time. Much like the stages of grief, you need to learn to accept the inevitable, social media is growing, and definitely not going away. In fact, approximately one in every nine people on Earth is on Facebook, so why aren’t you?

So let me guide you through the programme. If you are freaking out at any point, remember it is completely normal, we will reach number 7, together!

Typically, the seven stages of grief (and now social media acceptance) are described as follows:

1. Shock or Disbelief.

Where did this “social media” spring from? How could sitting at a computer possibly improve my social relationships, increase sales, customers, or increase word of mouth? I don’t believe it! (more…)

Android vs Apple… we need FREEDOM!

Let’s start by saying, I am not a techy, this is not a technical review. It is simply the opinion of an Apple lover who has recently been converted… to the other side!

Admittedly I have never owned a mac, but for a time I used one for work and also used an iPad for work daily. As I work in social media, and use Facebook heavily, the iPad stopped me from viewing the majority of Facebook insights – no Flash! (more…)

Home made Sumatran Lamb Curry – From Scratch

Due to keen interest on Twitter and a request for the recipe from @oppositejohn and @maniacyak, here it is… My Sumatran lamb curry!! The recipe i based this on was from Madhur Jaffrey’s Ultimate Curry Bible. I have made many curries from this book and would definitely recommend checking it out. I had to adapt the recipe a bit due to not having some ingredients, and i added more chillies as it was very mild. Sumatran lamb curry

Ingredients:

Makes enough sauce for 4-6 people but you can always freeze what you don’t use.

  • 1 white onion (chopped)
  • 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped (i didn’t have any fresh so i used lazy ginger)
  • 3 red chillies, chopped and with seeds
  • 2 teaspoons red paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric (i missed this out as i didn’t have any)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon
  • 400 ml can of coconut milk, left undisturbed for 3 hours or more
  • 6 tablespoons of corn, peanut or olive oil
  • 900 g lamb cut into 1 inch cubes
  • Roughly 2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons thick tamarind paste (i didn’t have any but substituted with some lemon juice)
  • You could also add in a pepper, green beans, and okra pods if you have them!

Method:

  1. I started by placing the chopped onions, chillies,  garlic, ginger, and 3 tablespoons of water into a blender and blending until smooth.
  2. To this i added the paprika, cayenne pepper, coriander, cumin, turmeric (if you have it), cinnamon, and cardamom. Blend briefly.
  3. Remove the tick coconut cream from the can and keep to one side for later.
  4. Put the thinner coconut milk into a measuring jug and add water to make it up to 750ml.
  5. Pour the oil into a large lidded pan and set over a medium-high heat.
  6. Add in the paste from the blender and fry for 12 minutes until it has thickened and a rich, reddish brown.
  7. Add in the meat to the pan and stir for a minute.
  8. Cover and reduce to a medium-low heat and cook for 10 minutes. Check and stir every now and again.
  9. Add in the thinned coconut milk and water mixture, salt and tamarind paste (or lemon juice). Stir to mix and bring to simmer.
  10. Cover and simmer gently for 45 minutes.
  11. Take the lid off and continue to simmer on a low heat for a few hours but keep an eye on it and stir it so it doesn’t dry out.
  12. When it has thickened and reduced, add the remaining thick coconut milk and continue to simmer until it has mixed and thickened.
I always believe that curry taste better than it looks, but trust me, it was delicious!!! So here you are, the finished product… Sumatran lamb curry with wholegrain basmati rice. (*tip* soak the rice for about 20 mins before cooking and it will be a lot fluffier and cook quicker!)   ENJOY!!

Facebook suicide?

Change is Facebook’s middle name. They do something different, everyone moans, then they get used to it and can’t remember what it was like before, agreed? If they didn’t do this then they probably would be the big social boss that they are today. You need to adapt to stay strong, keep up with the competition and come up with new USPs.

The site recently underwent a few big changes, predominently to their news feeds. So now the problem is Edgerank and Facebook marketing for companies. If their fans don’t see their news and updates then what’s the point? The way to make sure they do see the updates is by encouraging them to interact with them, like, comment and share, therefore increasing their edgerank. But some fans simply just like to see what is being said, for example ‘today’s soup of the day is leek and potato’. If they don’t interact with this, then future updates could cease to appear.

Facebook get their income from advertising, but if companies aren’t seeing a return from their efforts within Facebook then will they give in all together? (more…)

Felt + Buttons = Christmas

I love making my own crafty things, it is so rewarding. I like sewing and with Christmas only 2 months away (i know, it comes as a shock every year) it did seem a bit excessive to put up my Christmas tree so soon, so I decided to satisfy my Christmas craving by making my own decorations.

Off I went to Hobbycraft and after spending a good half hour there I decided on dark brown (xmas pud), light brown (gingerbread man), green (xmas tree) and white (snowball). After some poor attempts at free style cutting of a Christmas tree out of the green felt, I found my gingerbread man cookie cutter and with great success had my shapes:

Felt gingerbread man

I also bought this ‘tub-o-buttons’ from Hobbycraft. It wasn’t expensive and contains loads of random buttons that are ideal for the finishing touches for my decorations.

Buttons

For this gingerbread man I chose two matching red buttons and sewed them onto his tummy. I then attempted to stitch a smile an eyes using black thread, not ideal but as he is only 2 inches tall this seemed my only option. Thicker thread would have been better. After cutting a short length of thin red ribbon to hang him up by, I stitched the 2 gingerbread men shapes together round the edges with thick red thread and stuffed him with cotton wool as i went, and hey presto, my first decoration!

Festive gingerbread man

After the gingerbread man success there was no stopping me that evening. I then made a xmas pudding and a snowball (i think) with buttons (festive colours at least).

Festive felt decorations

I persevered and made a tree and a snowman. However, the snowman does look like a bird (i forgot his smile) and his eyes may be a touch on the large side! But I’ve learnt what I can do better foe next time.

Felt Christmas Tree

Felt snowman

I hope you all like my decorations and I’ll probably have made five more by the time you read this.