Basic Pumpkin Pie in England

Happy Halloween! Well Happy season of anyway. Pumpkin pies are very American and the only ones I’ve ever eaten have been in America so I’ve they have been of the very sweet variety. Therefore, in order to source a recipe I went straight to Martha Stewart and the various other classic American cooks. I did however then realise I live in England so don’t have quite the same ingredients so I’ve done a cheat’s version. It does taste rather good though.


Either buy some shortcrust frozen pastry or make your own

If you make your own you need:

1 and 1/3 cup plain flour

½ tsp salt

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 tsp cold water


  1. Combine the ingredients and put in cling film in the freezer for 30 minutes
  2. Press the pastry into a greased tin of your choice
  3. Put in the fridge

Filling Ingredients:

2 large eggs

1 can evaporated milk

1 can pumpkin filling (if you can’t get in the supermarket you can buy online

½ cup white sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground ginger (powdery stuff)

1-2 ground cloves (be careful not to add more or it can taste like medicine)


  1. Beat the eggs and then add everything else
  2. Pour the mix into the pastry case from the fridge
  3. Bake for 15 minutes at 325F
  4. Bake for 45 minutes at 350F
  5. Store in the fridge

Sorry for the American temperate measurements but it was an American recipe.

Update on Wedding Confetti

Our wedding is getting closer, so the wedding planning and crafting is getting much more serious, and my organisational skills need to kick in. Earlier in the year when the flowers were in bloom I collected and dried lots of petals (see link to blog below) and now I’m moving onto making these actual wedding confetti. I saw a really fab picture on Pinterest for wedding cones made from lace and stored in what looks like an apple crate. My father-in-law to be is a really good wood craftsman so I’ll share some of the other items he’s making for the wedding in future but in light of that he’s agreed to make us the box to store them (see picture below). Post wedding so I don’t spoil the reveal I’ll share a picture of the full box.

So then I needed the lace cones. I bought some paper dollies from the local pound store. By cutting them in half and gluing them together you can make a good cone. If you use two layers and insert one into another you get a stronger and prettier lace effect. I sealed the front with a sticker which I got personalised from a store on eBay with our wedding married names.

The plan closer to the time is to then pour a small amount of my dried petals into each cone and the place the cones in the box and voila.. hopefully homemade wedding confetti (and we should have a nice apple crate/box to keep forever).

I’ll update after the wedding with final photographs.

Some materials to buy to copy this:

Wooden Crate


Personalised Stickers

Cheat’s Mulled Wine Recipe

It’s almost time for the annual Christmas markets in Manchester. Every year we attend and every year I spend a ridiculous amount on buying the cups as they have the year of the market on them. I have almost 10 cups, however I do love a good mulled wine. Now apart from buying my favourite flavour gluwein I have on occasion made it home (using the cups bought from the special market). Making mulled wine can be as elaborate or complicated as you like.

The simplest method is buy it! Simply go to a good Marks & Spencer’s supermarket and buy it.

Option 2, which probably yields the easiest results are to buy a bottle of good quality red wine. It doesn’t have to be expensive but don’t buy the really watery stuff. Then you can buy mulled wine spice mix (see picture below) and sprinkle some spoons of it in a pan with some of the red wine and warm through (don’t boil as you can boil off the alcohol). You can make it more elaborate by adding a few chopped oranges; lemons or a sprinkle of sugar and it’s starts to look a lot more homemade.

Option 3 which is where I am now is to make your own spice mix. I have a jar that I keep and use each year topping up and refreshing each year with a mix of:

  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Nutmeg
  • Ground all spice
  • Ginger
  • Brown sugar
  • Dried orange and lemon peel

Basically put all your classic Christmas spices in a jar and mix it up. If you particularly like cinnamon add more of that or you hate ginger then leave it out. If you prefer your it sweet then a little more sugar. Don’t put too much sugar though as you can always add that later once you’ve tasted your mix in your red wine as your wine of choice will make it taste different each time.

Option 4 which is the final flourish is to then a large or very large splash of your favourite spirit such as honey rum; cherry brandy or even chocolate liqueurs. This is dangerous element as you can make your mulled wine so alcoholic you only manage a glass full!

Some links if you want to copy this recipe:


Cheat’s Spice Mix

Nice cups to drink from

mulled wine 2

Making Wedding Confetti

As part of my planning for our wedding next year I started researching Wedding confetti. The first thing I found interesting was that if you read your wedding venue contract a lot of places don’t allow confetti at all and the ones that do only allow biodegradable confetti. What happened to the little paper boxes? I believe the reasoning is that churches and wedding venues can have multiple weddings in a day so they don’t want the first wedding ruining the venue for the next couple.

This led me to researching natural confetti such as petals that have been dried. A quick search on the internet shows you can buy these pre-made into little packets or cones for up to £200 a go! For a natural ingredients that’s rather expensive in my view. Therefore I’ve decided to make my own. I started by pulling the petals from some roses my lovely other half bought me the other day and laying them out on a tea towel in the sunshine. Don’t do this on a windy day as they all float away. I believe you can also out them in your airing cupboard if the weather isn’t so nice. My next step is go to the local parks and see what other petals i can collect and dry out to make up my confetti collection.


Next year once the petals are all collected and dried i’ll put them into little lace cones (bought from the local discount store as paper dollies) and thus save a fortune. I’ll do a little update of the cones when I complete them.

Now off to the park!

Wrestling Birthday Cake

Wrestling Cake

I got this recipe from a baking magazine. I was looking for ideas for my nephew’s birthday and he was really into wrestling at the time. He loved it as he got to keep the toys as well so it made a complete present in one.


Square shaped tin (or cut your cake into a square)

Use the Basic Cake recipe

Wrestling Birthday Cake

Wrestling Birthday Cake

4 large pieces of sturdy liquorice

Red shoe lace sweets/candy

Coloured icing (sugar paste)

A couple of cheap wrestling dolls (you can but online)

Red ribbon (optional)

4 cooking skewers (be careful to remove this before serving though so kids do eat them)

Writing icing kit



  1. Bake a square basic cake, allow cooling
  2. Cover the cake with icing of your choice. I chose white but black would look good for a wrestling or fighting ring
  3. Skewer the liquorice with the skewers so they sit at the top of skewer and insert the uncovered part into the cake. Repeat for the four corners
  4. Tie the red laces around the four corners to look like rope. This can be a bit tricky but it doesn’t matter too much if you can see the knots
  5. I used writing icing to make the symbol of the floor but you could even buy a pre-made stencil online. Red ribbon placed around the outside helps the ring look more rigid
  6.  Allow to dry
  7. Add the wrestlers or fighters of your choice. This would work well for video game or other TV show themed cakes where there are opposing characters

Some materials to buy if you want to copy this:


Red Laces

Wrestling Figures

Related Links:

Throw a Baby Shower

Once my friends and family started having babies I organised and ran Baby Showers. Baby Showers are an American tradition, I believe that has become more common in Europe in the past few years. What it does is give the family having the new baby a special celebration and can provide them with starter tools such as nappies and baby outfits to support them financially in the early days of the baby being born.Picture1.png

Firstly, don’t throw the too early just in case something happens to the mum to be in the process of being pregnant. It’s unusual but can happen so you don’t want to have it too early just in case. Tradition dictates a month before the birth date is sensible.

Agree with the mum to be the best location because they may want to not have to clean their house for guests when heavily pregnant or equally may want to stay at home close to the birth of their child.

Send out invites to the family and friends desired with the mum to be and advise everyone if gifts are desired. Gifts don’t need to cost anything if that’s not an option but can be words of wisdom or advice to family on raising children.

I like to organise games or quizzes at the shower itself as they are traditional. There’s a huge range now online you can download or buy items for. Traditional ones include getting a piece of string and tying it round the mum’s bump and then everyone guesses the size; or filling nappies with different smells and textures such as chocolate and then everyone has to guess what’s in the nappy!


If you are organising drinks remember the mum to be can’t drink alcohol so I organise some big jugs of fruity non-alcoholic cocktails so everyone feels excited drinking the different drinks and the guests who can drink can add alcohol without the mum to be feeling left out.

Good Links to cocktails I’ve tried. I highly recommend the Margharita Mocktail: