Sunday, 28 December 2014

Mini Bramley Apple Crumble Pies

mini bramley apple crumble pie recipe the betty stamp

The perfect alternative to a mince pie! (with a crumble topping twist)

My ideal Boxing Day - crackling log fires, cosy homemade comfort food and playing a load of silly board games with my family.

It was such a treat to be able to spend the afternoon in the kitchen with my mum, covered in flour and crumble mixture, baking apple crumble pies mm mm. I'm not the world's biggest mince pie fan, so I decided to bake a delicious alternative for the family.

Serve with a dollop of brandy butter and it's a Christmassy explosion to your taste buds!

What You'll Need //

2 lb bramley apples - peeled & cored
1 lb mixed fruit -(raisins etc)
2 oz soft light brown sugar
1 tsp  ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 lemon - zest only
1 roll of short crust pastry - or here's a 'from scratch' recipe
a little demerara sugar for sprinkling

120g plain flour
60g caster sugar
60g unsalted butter -room temp & chopped into cubes

Preheat oven to 190 degrees

mini bramley apple crumble pie recipe the betty stamp

Chop your apples into bite sized pieces and throw into a large saucepan on a low heat. Add the sugar, cinnamon & ginger also. Stir often and leave to simmer for 30 mins.

mini bramley apple crumble pie recipe the betty stamp

Add your mixed fruit and lemon zest. Stir & simmer for another 20 mins or until soft and mushy.

mini bramley apple crumble pie recipe the betty stamp

Whilst waiting for your sauce to cook, roll out your pastry and cut out as many circles as your cutter will cut! Place circles in a cupcake tray.

mini bramley apple crumble pie recipe the betty stamp

Now for the fun part - the crumble. Tip the 3 crumble ingredients into a large bowl and gently rub between your fingers and thumb to make a light breadcrumb-like mixture. Try not to overwork it.

mini bramley apple crumble pie recipe the betty stamp

Add a spoonful of the apple sauce mixture to your pastry moulds and sprinkle over a spoonful of crumble to each. Finish off with a pinch of demerara sugar on each.

mini bramley apple crumble pie recipe the betty stamp

Bake for 20 minutes and leave to cool on a cooling rack before gobbling up with a glass of mulled wine.

I hope you all had the merriest of Christmasses gals and guys! Take a look at my boxing day chutney recipe for a scrumptious accompaniment to your left over turkey.

Betty x


Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Caramelised Onion & Apple Boxing Day Chutney

Come Boxing day I will be donning my stretchiest pair of p-j bottoms, feeling the size of a house and verging on popping point…yet still I will find a way to fit in just a teensy weensy bit more turkey & stuffing. Anyone else?
And what better way to top off your turkey & stuffing than with an almighty dollop of homemade chutney. Mmm. Yes please.

This was my first ever attempt at making homemade chutney and definitely not my last, it made the entire house smell like sweet pickle and apples. They make such great stocking fillers as well, and let's face it, who doesn't love a chutney. Just when you thought you couldn't possibly fit anymore in, chutney saves the day.  A piece of cheddar and a spoonful of caramelised onion & apple chutters and that's me done. Belly content.

I based my homemade recipe on Jamie's Caramelised Onion Chutney, threw some apples into the equation and slightly tweaked a few ingredients.

What You'll Need//

3 tbsp Olive Oil
1.5 lb Red Onions
1.5 lb Apples
10 oz Dark Brown Sugar
7 fl oz Malt Vinegar
3 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
3 Crushed Garlic Cloves - I used the lazy kind
Pinch Salt
Pinch Paprika
1 Small Chilli

Makes approx 6 jar-fuls.

What to do //

Peel your apples and remove skin from onions. Slice finely until you are crying and have a huge pile like this…

Or do what I didn't think of doing and use a food processor!

Glug the olive oil into a large saucepan and soften the onions/apples on a low heat. Do not let them brown.

Stir in half the sugar and cook for a couple of minutes until a nice caramelised colour. Add the rest of the sugar and all other ingredients.

Simmer on a low heat for 15 minutes until a beautiful syrupy consistency. Have a taste. YUM.

Leave to cool before spooning into jars- I made about 6 jarfuls. I bought a pack of 12 of these jars at Hobbycraft

Make some pretty tops and secure with an elastic band or festive ribbon. Sneak them into your loved one's stockings or just keep them all for yourself and become festively plump :)

Merry Christmas blog buddies! :) For more festive treats visit my Betty Stamp Christmas page

What's your favourite Boxing day treat? I'd love to try them out!

Betty x


Monday, 15 December 2014

I Got Ma Hair Did // Honey Colour Balayage

If you're looking for ways to spice up your locks for the festive season, I have a highly recommended option for all you chocolatey coloured brunettes.

After having every other Londoner parading their funky dip dyes in front of me, I couldn't resist any longer. It is Christmas(!) after all- why not treat ourselves? As my wisest buddy says - 'You wear your hair everyday so why not spend money on it' - very true. After all, I would spend the equivalent in Zara to what I'm paying for the balayage!

This is my very first hair colour experience! Yes, you heard correctly my friends, I have been au natural my whole life (bar a few henna shampoos…pretty wild huh?)

And what better excuse for new hair, than a Christmas Wedding. I was asked to sing at a friend's wedding this weekend down in sunny Somerset, so wanted to add a splash of seasonal colour to my locks. It was starting to look a little drab. So I headed to Gro on Clapham High Street for my new look - it's pretty fancy shmancy in there, far too quirky for the likes of me, but they made me feel very welcome and the receptionist was a hoot! 

I realise I don't put many pictures of myself up on The Betty Stamp anyway so you probably won't know what my hair looked like before really, but it was a pretty bog standard dark brown.

Here's a snap of my new huurr & what I wore - a Ted Baker looky likey but it was actually from the Zara sale *shhh*... and was £20! *even bigger shhh* Here's the real deal from Ted Baker

Janey's dress is actually a real-life Ted Baker and is STUNNING - *cue dress envy*. It's so festive and shimmery, she looked the bees knees. Find her Ted number here.

Here are a few Pinterest examples of honey coloured balayage for other style options.

Pictures found on the following links

Everyone have the best 10 day count down to Christmas!! And make sure you eat ALL of the mince pies in sight.

Betty x

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Sunday, 30 November 2014

Healthy Snacks // Parmesan Asparagus Sticks

Healthy Snacks Parmesan Asparagus The Betty Stamp

I'm a self confessed grazer. Biscuits, crackers, sweeties...I just cannot keep snack items in my cupboards or I will turn into the size of a house. So I've decided to bake some alternative snacks to keep in my fridge so I won't feel guilty having a mid afternoon nibble!
These parmesan asparagus sticks are ideal for dunking into your favourite dip! I chose a squidge of lemon and dipped them in sour cream & chive. Snack craving sorted without taking onboard too many cals!

What you'll need // 
10 Asparagus Sticks
A Sprinkling of Flour
1 Egg
Salt & Pepper
1 Cup Grated Parmesan

What to do // 

Pre heat oven 180 degrees

Chop off the thick ends of the asparagus and sprinkle flour on both sides of the asparagus sticks. 

Healthy Snacks Parmesan Asparagus The Betty Stamp

Whisk your egg, salt & pepper in one dish. Grate your parmesan into a separate dish with your breadcrumbs. So now you have your two coating stations at the ready.

Healthy Snacks Parmesan Asparagus The Betty Stamp

Now for the fun part. Roll your asparagus sticks into the egg covering completely then onto station bowl 2 for covering in parmesan and breadcrumbs.

Healthy Snacks Parmesan Asparagus The Betty Stamp

Your green twigs are ready for the oven! Simple as that. Bake on greaseproof paper for 15-20 mins depending on how thick your sticks are.

Squeeze over some lemon and serve as a party snack with an array of your favourite dips. Scrummy. 

What are your favourite healthy snack alternatives?

Betty x


Saturday, 29 November 2014

5 Favourites // November Edition

The socks I am choosing each morning are getting thicker and thicker and the heating has been ramped up. Winter is officially here people! Christmas is only 26 more sleeps away!! Holy guacamole. I'M SO EXCITED ! So to end November on a bang, here are my 5 favourite things of this nippy month of November.

Indoor Lanterns The Betty Stamp1. WINTERY LANTERNS

Lanterns aren't just for the outdoors - scatter your front room with these twinkly beautys, turn off all the lights and sit back & unwind. Having candles as the only light source in a room gives such a cosy wintery feel to the house that only a Christmas tree can out-do! I found these gorgeous one's at Graham & Green.


Wishbone Necklace The Betty Stamp2.  WISHBONE NECKLACES

I'm a bit of a 'wisher', in that I'll pretty mush wish on anything. Wishbones, 11:11, shooting stars, my eyelashes…other people's eyelashes… So when I saw these delicate wishbone necklaces on Etsy I couldn't resist popping one at the top of my letter to Santa.
Aren't they sweet?

Alex Grecian The Yard The Betty Stamp3. THE YARD BY ALEX GRECIAN

Get your slipper socks on, make yourself a hot chocolate and get stuck into this Victorian crime novel. I've never really gotten into crime books before, however this Alex Grecian guy has changed my view! I was hooked. I don't think I've ever read a book so quickly, I just needed to know what happened next ! If you like murder mystery solving, jack the ripper -esc, set in Victorian London type books then this one will tick every box. 


When I'm out walking Scout in the baltic weather I prefer to wrap my face in a humungous wooly neck warmer. Be it snoodwrap or scarf, I enjoy being engulfed. At the moment Tartan ones are tickling my fancy, I especially love Zara's collection or the tartan scarves from Gretna Green. You'll be snug as a bug in a rug. 


Nothing beats sitting at the kitchen table with your friends, massive glass of red wine in tow and a steaming hot dish of home cooked yumminess in front of you. I love food…like more than Joey loves food. The first thing I do when I go to my parents house in Somerset is look in the fridge to see what treats my mum's whipped up. With my mum it's usually '50 things you can make with mince meat' - Chilli con carne, Lasagne, Spaghetti Bolognese, Cottage Pie, Shepherds Pie etc- proper comfort food. As the temperature drops outside, the temperature in my kitchen increases, I love making homemade soups at the moment, they warm the cockles perfectly. Also pretty much anything from Jamie Oliver's Comfort Food dishes! But my all time favourite this November was my Goats Cheese & Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagne. Yum yum in my tum, give it a whirl! 

What's been your highlight of this November?


Wednesday, 26 November 2014

November November A Month To Remember

November has been a month of firsts for me that I'm really proud of, so I hope you don't mind me sharing these with you!

My first full month as a blogger! I am loving every minute of writing this blog. Everything that goes with it- getting my creative juices flowing, thinking up new recipes or ideas for homemade gifts and what not. The reason I wanted to start a blog was to force myself to read more, explore new places, see more theatre, create different meals etc, just put myself in a position whereby I can actually use my brain and take on new information and share it in my own way. It's just so bloomin fun! And I know this may sound sad, but I get so excited when I see I have a comment! It's so rewarding to hear people's feedback and know you're not just typing to open internet air! So thank you to all the lovely people who have taken the time to write to me. 

My first friend getting married! SCARY! How are we at that age yet! I swear I'm still 15 years old. And what's more, she's asked me to sing during the ceremony which will be magical as it's in the same church I was christened in and where I've spent many hours running up and down the aisle in nappies in. It's going to be beautiful. 

My first month in London without my buddy Lauren. Despite the fact we spent last year on opposite sides of the world in two different ships, it's the first time since I moved to London that we haven't been in London together supporting each other through tears and life dilemmas which our crazy career choice likes to throw at us weekly! This may sound dramatic but to me, she's like my right arm, so I would very much like my right arm back again soon. Bring on March!

My first job as an assistant choreographer. Never thought I'd say that. I've been completely out of my comfort zone as I generally only teach singing, so to be left in charge of an entire cast has been eye opening and amazing for my confidence. I love when you think to yourself 'I'll never be able to do that' but when the opportunity arises, you grab it anyway and realise that you'd actually quite like to do it again!

Celebrating my first year with William. We survived living on a ship with each other for 10 months (and let me tell you that is no mean feat!) and coming back home to London with him has just been the best thing that's ever happened to me. I won't go all mushy and tell you all the reasons why he means the world to me, but he really does. So cheers Wilma for putting up with me for a whole year and a bit :)

Well that all got a little mushy and smushy, apologies, maybe it's the Christmassy air getting to me. 

Oh I almost forgot…the first time I saw a man wearing trousers this tight…that's just unacceptable.

Have you had any firsts this month?


Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Bruges, Bikes & Boats!

The best way to spend a winter weekend - in Bruges with your boy and a whole lotta free food on a mini cruise!

Bruges Mini Cruise

I feel like the luckiest duck in the pond. Having spent a day in Bruges last December due to living on a boat and visiting all kinds of incredible places - I fell head over heels in love. 

This Belgium hub of hot dogs, waffles, beer, log fires, zig zag roofs, medieval yet modern architecture and….CHOCOLATE, is the most romantic and cosy place I have ever been. I'm not claiming to be the most well travelled sheep in the herd as we only visited these amazing places for one or a couple of days at a time, but from the moment we stepped off the train into Bruges, I knew it would be one of my faves to come back to in future life. So to have been fortunate enough to have been invited back again this weekend by one of the most special people we met on the boat last year was just so magical.

Bruges Mini Cruise


We boarded the Oriana where Doc- our lovely friend was awaiting our arrival and off we sailed from sunny *cough* Southampton across the English Channel & North Sea to the port of Zeebrugge! A dinner of yummy beer and burgers in the Officer's mess followed by the onboard show and cocktails got our mini adventure off to the perfect start. I was asleep in a little beer and burger coma as soon as my head hit the pillow…party animal…


To say I 'excitedly jumped out of bed' is an understatement here…an adjective more along the lines of - 'leapt', 'bound' 'sprang' out of bed would be more apt. Once all the springing out of bed, showering and breakfasting was done, we disembarked the ship wrapped head to toe in winter woolies and headed to the train station to begin our mini Bruges adventure. Half an hour later we were breathing in the fresh smell of chocolate coated waffles and moules-frites , engulfed in the Bruges Christmas markets and festive spirit of jolly tourists and locals.

Bruges Mini Cruise

After a short wander, we passed a bike shop and couldn't resist. There is truly no better way to see Bruges than on a bike, cycling along the canals and taking in the mismatched buildings. The city has so much character about it. There is not one building the same as the next, or roof the same colour or pattern. It just seems like the happiest, safest, most festive place. I lost count of how many bikes we saw along the paths just left unlocked….where else does that happen!? Certainly not London, it'd be gone before you could say 'moules-frites!'

Bruges Mini Cruise The Betty Stamp

Bruges Mini Cruise The Betty Stamp

We worked up quite an appetite from all the exercise and fresh air, so slowly sauntered back to the centre square where we were spoilt for choice of restaurants with log fires to warm our toes.

We stumbled across a quaint Belgium tea rooms claiming to serve 'The Best Hot Chocolate in Brugge' and it was most certainly the best hot chocolate I'd ever tasted ! Hmm they should consider doing a Brugge hot chocolate tearoom-crawl! Sign me up! Served in what can only be described as a soup-bowl-cum-giant's-mugful of hot milk, into which you popped the choccie nibbles yourself and stirred with a mini whisk provided and watched as your sweet creamy 'soup' turns into chocolatey milk heaven! Pure bliss.

Doc went for the Belgium waffles with cream and sprinkled over the remains of my choccie nibbles - the perfect ingredients to ensure a sugary coated waffle high! Safe to say, we were buzzing.
We strolled back to the station, William -beer in hand, Doc - beers for later in hand and me just pottering along getting snap happy with all the pretty orange leaved trees. It was just perfect.

Bruges Mini Cruise The Betty Stamp

Bruges Mini Cruise The Betty Stamp

I must have been coming down off my sugar high, as I fell straight to sleep when we got back to our cabin at 5pm. My plan was to do the Legs, Bums & Tums class…I made the last 15 minutes of it…so I'm afraid I'll have to do the legs & bums bit another time. It was starting to tip down with rain outside and the ship was starting to gently rock, so gym abandoned, swimming cozzies/trunks donned, we dived straight into the outdoor pool. As you do.

You know that feeling when you're freezing and step into a boiling hot bath?…it was like that but better! With the rain trickling down on us, how could we resist the steaming hot pool. Too tempting. I only wish I'd had some bubble bath!

After a final night of delicious fine-dining and cocktails surrounded by glamourous ball gowns and tuxedoes, we headed for a final night cap before retiring into our jammys (me).

What a perfect weekend. Bruges, I will hopefully see you again very soon !

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