Carole’s Cookery – Lasagne

Ingredients

  • 1 pack of minced beef OR 1 pack of frozen Quorn mince if you want to make it a vegetarian dish
  • 1 or 2 onions, chopped
  • Oil for frying
  • Mushrooms
  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Tin of chickpeas (optional)
  • 2 jars of red pasta sauce
  • 2 jars of white sauce
  • Lasagne sheets
  • Grated cheese

Lightly fry the chopped onions.

Add the peppers.

Add the Quorn if using. This doesn’t need as much time to cook as if you were using meat mince.

If you make this with mince beef you’ll need to cook it until the meat turns from red to brown, like this:

Add chickpeas if using.

Add 1 or 2 jars of pasta sauce.

Add the chopped mushrooms and tomatoes and stir in.

Cook over a low to medium heat until the ingredients are soft.

Transfer the ingredients into an ovenproof dish.

Cover with lasagne sheets.

Pour on the white sauce and spread to evenly cover the sheets.

If your dish is deep enough and you want more layers repeat the process and top with another layer of red sauce, lasagne sheets and then white sauce.

Finish off with grated cheese sprinkled on top.

Bake at 180C for 30 to 45 minutes or until topping is golden brown and crisp.

Yum!

 

Young Carers Videos

This poem was written at one of our poetry workshops last year and it seemed very apt for Carers Week and this year’s theme of Making Carers Visible. Well done everyone who contributed and thanks to Ledbury Poetry Festival and the lovely Toni Cook who helped our Young Carers find their words.

If you enjoyed that, you’ll love this, where our Young Carers take the Loo Roll Challenge!

Carole’s Cultivation

Here’s an update on the tomato plants. If you remember I potted them out into bigger pots, now they need it again!

As they are called hanging basket plants some got transferred into a hanging basket. I made slits in the basket lining to around halfway down to help it fit in the basket. I filled it with some tomato compost and transferred the plants.

Looking a bit wilted here! I put them in the shade until they got used to being outside. I took them back in to the shed for 3 or 5 nights and then back out in the day to get used to being outside.

Some tomato plants in a grow bag. With sticks to help prop them up, I used sandwich bag ties around the sticks.

You can see my carrot plants in the background. I have given my  mum a pot of tomato plants to tend to – there is a race to see who’s produce tomatoes first!

I’m hopeful in a few weeks time I’ll have enough home grown veg to make these (but for now I had to buy the veg!) I chopped different vegetables and put them on a skewer, ready to barbecue. Soft veg like tomatoes will cook quicker than harder veg, like carrots, but that adds texture!

Carole’s cookery – Rhubarb Crumble

Ingredients

  • Fruit of choice – I used 900g of rhubarb (about 6 sticks).
  • 300g self raising flour (you can use plain flour but SR gives a lighter texture)
  • 150g butter
  • Around 50g sugar to sweeten the crumble and sugar to taste to sweeten the rhubarb. Just before the crumble went into the oven I topped the crumble mixture with a sprinkle of brown sugar and porridge oats.

Wash and cut the rhubarb into chunks.

Cook in a little water (around 1 cm in the pan) and sugar to sweeten, until soft.

To make the crumble topping sift flour into a bowl. Using a knife cut the butter into the flour then rub with your fingertips until the mix looks a bit like breadcrumbs. This can get a bit messy!

Add some porridge oats now (or you can add them later). If the mix is a bit too wet just add more flour until you have a crumbly texture.

Strain the rhubarb through a sieve to drain off the excess liquid.

Put the rhubarb into an ovenproof dish.

Place the crumble mixture on top of the fruit, sprinkle with sugar and porridge oats if you wish to. Bake in the oven at 180C for around 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown.

Enjoy hot or cold with custard or cream!

Carole’s Cookery – Potato Based Cheese & Bacon Flan

Ingredients

This flan is made up of whatever you have and what you prefer to eat, so the ingredients are pretty flexible to use up what’s already in the house. I believe in cook once, eat twice – eat half the next day! It’s great eaten hot or cold. Here’s what I used:

  • Potatoes (enough to slice and line the dish when cooked)
  • Bacon (I used 6 slices)
  • 2 or 3 onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Handful of mushrooms
  • 1 pepper
  • Grated cheese
  • Mixed herbs
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 pint of milk

I used a 34 x 27cm dish to make mine in.

Boil the potatoes and at the same time cook the bacon.

Fry the chopped onions and garlic.

Add the mushrooms and pepper and lightly fry.

Line your greased dish with the cooked, cooled and sliced potatoes.

Place the cooked vegetables and bacon  on top of the sliced potatoes.

Beat the milk and eggs together in a bowl and then pour over the bacon and vegetables.

Add some grated cheese and mixed herbs to sprinkle on top.

Bake at 160C for about 30 to 45 minutes. You can check to see if it’s cooked by inserting a knife or skewer – when it comes out clean, it’s done.

Enjoy!

Carole’s Cookery – Breakfast Raisin Bars

Ingredients

  • 40g butter
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 150g porridge oats
  • 100g dried milk opowder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 250ml milk
  • 200g raisins

Preheat oven to 350F/180C or Gas Mark 4.

Cream the butter with the sugar then blend in the egg and vanilla essence (mine curdled but don’t worry as the dry ingredients added later will sort that out!)

In another bowl mix together the oats, dried milk powder and baking powder.

Add the oat mixture and the 250ml of milk to the butter and sugar mixture and stir well.

Stir in the raisins.

Pour mixture into a baking dish or tin (I doubled the amount of ingredients to make some to eat right away and some to freeze and I used a 20 x 28cm baking dish and a loaf tin).

Bake until brown (about 30 minutes) or until a knife or skewer comes out clean, without any mixture on it, when you test it.

Once baked turn out to cool on a cooling rack, then cut into squares/bars.

Carole’s Crafts – Box and Jar Covering

If you’ve got any boxes or jars at home why not give them a bit of a makeover using whatever you can find around the house?

Painted Jars

You will need:

  • Nail varnish
  • Permanent marker pens
  • Paper (to plan your designs before you start)

These are some ideas I drew for designs, though I’m sure you can think of some of your own.

I decided to paint a flowers on my first jar. (NB. If you use nail varnish make sure you’re in a well ventilated room as it can have a powerful smell!)

I started with a blob of brown for the centre then added pink and white blob dots for the petals. I had a happy accident where the pink and white started running into each other so I used a matchstick (or you could use a cocktail stick) to blend in the two colours. Leave to dry lying down flat to avoid any paint runs you don’t want!

Next I made a beach jar. If you are not confident at drawing then find an image that will fit into the jar and blu tack it to the inside to follow the lines.

I started with purple for the rocks and hills (it was all I had) and then blue for the sea.

When the blue was getting tacky-dry I added white for the waves. Gold brown for the beach and pink for the sand grass, again “make do and mend” as they were the only colours I had.

For this dottie jar I just painted random dots of different colours. The nail varnish wasn’t put on too thickly so I could stand it up to dry.

Tissue Paper Covered Jars

For this you’ll need:

  • Jar or container to cover
  • Watered down PVA glue
  • Tissue paper
  • Paintbrush (you’ll need to clean it afterwards!)

Paste the watered down PVA glue onto the jar a section at a time.

Rip or cut shapes of tissue paper to lay over the surface, guiding with the brush. It doesn’t matter if you get glue on the top of the paper as it will act as a protective varnish.

Keep layering the paper (look how the colours change when layers are attached) brushing on with the paintbrush. I used a smooth edge for neatness at the base and top edge.

When dry I might add some decoration with paint or rubber stamping or maybe sticking bits and bobs on it.

Covered Boxes

You will need:

  • Item to cover (I used an aftershave box and a cheese triangle box)
  • PVA glue
  • Old magazine or wrapping paper, tissue paper, newspaper etc
  • Paintbrush
  • Scissors

I like the effect of ripped edges so did this for mine but its personal choice. Gather together the photos from the magazine (or the paper you are using to decorate).

Here’s how I ripped the paper – just tear it and keep pulling towards you, slightly moving from side to slide to give it a wiggle effect.

Start gluing the photos to the box. It doesn’t matter if it’s higher than the side of the box as this can be folded over to the top.

This image went round the corner of the box, which was then cut to fold over to the top.

Keep gluing and layering the photos to cover the box.

Cover the box with more PVA glue to seal the paper and protect it then leave to dry.

The cheese triangle box was covered in the same way. I did take more care on the measurements to fit round the lid edge and base. As this was quite small I glued the box and then put the paper on.

I used the lid to draw round on the image I had chosen, then cut it out.

Cut off the bits of image you don’t need.

Brush PVA glue all over the finished layered images to protect it.

 

Carole’s Crafts – Bunting

I used fabric to make mine but you could use paper or light card.

I drew the shape on paper a few times then pinned it to the fabric. I had mine double layered but if you don’t feel comfortable doing that then do one at a time. Cut out the pinned shapes.

The  gaps in between the paper make more bunting flag shapes so cut those out too.

To make the heading tape, measure 5 cm width strips, making them as long as the finished tape you need. This will probably need to be joined to make it longer and I’ll explain that in a while.

With the heading tape fabric strips, fold and iron in half, like on the photo:

This is how the heading tape is made. You can buy ready made tape or use ribbon which would need no folding or ironing.

Joining the strips of heading tape together to make a longer length. Put your prepared fabric right sides together, flat with no turn in, pin and sew to join.

If the pins in the fabric go across ways, like in the photo, the sewing machine needle will run over them fine. Remove pins when finished.

It should look like this:

Press with the iron to get it back to the folded shape you need. Repeat the process for the length of bunting you need.

Heading tape finished. Now put the top edge of your bunting into the folded heading tape and pin. Repeat this with your all your bunting flags. If this was bunting I was going to be using a lot I would have turned the side edges in once and top stitched to keep it from fraying. Alternatively you could use scissors called “pinking shears” which have a zig-zag edge, to stop it from fraying.

Sew all your flag bunting, capturing it between the heading tape.

I fixed my finished bunting onto the gutter with washing line pegs. If standing on a ladder or steps make sure an adult is with you or better still ask if they will do it for you!

 

Carole’s Cookery – Flapjacks

I found a recipe on the BBC website for flapjacks. Here’s how I made them:

Ingredients

  • oil, for greasing
  • 100g butter, cubed
  • 100g golden syrup
  • 50g mixed seeds, such as pumpkin, sunflower, linseed and sesame
  • 150 g dried fruit  (I used raisins and apricots)
  • 250g jumbo porridge oats
  • 1 large egg, beaten

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together, then add the egg and mix together.
  3. Add melted  butter and golden syrup.  
  4. Pop in a greased tin, press mixture down firmly and bake in the preheated oven for 18–20 minutes, or until golden and lightly browned around the edges.