Thursday 31 March 2016

Home Sweet Home :: Somerset

 You know those days you look back on and they create a warm fuzzy feeling inside? That you want to cling onto forever and lock inside a little golden treasure chest? And wrap that golden treasure chest in alpaca wool to keep it all warm and fuzzy forever? 

Yeah that. 

Not to be dramatic (but to be dramatic) I was very nearly trampled to death in Paddington station trying to get the 19.45 train to Somerset last Thursday. I ran like a crazy person for a seat on that ruddy train, I've never seen anything like it. As soon as the announcement went, it was like a swarm of ants scurrying for platform 8. The thought of missing time with my family though propelled me faster!

Since I was a little tot, it's been tradition that my family have done the Good Friday Walk from our village to the neighbouring one, with the promise of toasted hot cross buns and steaming tea at the end of it spurring us on :) Having missed two Easters, two christmas' and several family birthdays over the last couple of years because of boat life, you can see now why I ran as fast as my little legs would carry me for that train!

I want to remember last weekend for always, so it's getting a special little corner on my blog. Nothing beats being with family. Actually...nothings beats being with family and having a full Christmas dinner when it's not Christmas :)

Dad likes to wear high vis regardless of the fact that the sun is shining and he's very much visible to oncoming traffic at the short height of 6"4...

oh and the huge wooden cross.

This little chap was waiting to greet us at the finish line :) although he doesn't look too peachy about it...

'Heyyy, where's my steamy hot cross bun?'

And here comes the good stuff...

Did anyone else get hit by this random hail storm??

Mmmm cosy, my favourite place in the entire world. Log fire, cup of tea, surrounded by family, maybe just three one choccie easter bunny to nibble on and a food coma glowing food baby. (Find food baby remedy here)

Hope you all had the jolliest Easters and spent it with the people you love most. What were your favourite bits?

Betty x

Ps, I did also do a tiny weeny bit of baking ..... maybe a bit more than a teeny weeny bit. I'm still in the process of editing some of them - Mum's Malty Loaf for example. But if you missed my Cheesy Hot Cross Biscuits, Millionaire Mini Egg Shortbread or Sticky Hot Cross Buns then it's never too late! Although it is a little late...
You can still have a good ol' drool though.


Saturday 26 March 2016

Cheesy Hot Cross Scone Biscuits

The Betty Stamp Cheesy Hot Cross BIscuits

Soooo I have a confession...

These had every intention of being Cheesy Hot Cross Scones....however, they developed short man's syndrome and came out of the oven flatter than I intended (!)

BUT let me tell you, good people....though they be flat they be BLOODY DELICIOUS!

Think savoury, herby, cheesy, bready, buttery, warm scone like biscuits....dream. of. dreams.

The Betty Stamp Cheesy Hot Cross BIscuits

It may of had something to do with the fact that I was combining 3 different recipes and my brain was slightly mushy & tired from this morning's Easter Friday walk, but in all honesty I'm really glad they turned out like they did! So tasty!

I opted for a savoury Easter treat this year as I sugar crashed big time last year after pretty much devouring the entire half the tray of my Mini Egg Millionaire Shortbread !

What you'll need //

225g self raising flour
75g butter
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp mustard powder
half tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp rosemary
pinch salt
180g grated strong cheese
4 fl oz milk

The Betty Stamp Cheesy Hot Cross BIscuits

What to do //

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (fan) and grease a baking tray.

Sieve your flour into a large mixing bowl and rub the butter into it until it forms buttery breadcrumbs.

Add all of the dry ingredients & cheese (save a small amount for the topping). Rub into the breadcrumbs until well mixed.

Slowly add the milk until a soft dough is formed.

Flour a clean surface and lightly knead your dough before pressing it down into a flat circle approximately 2cm thick. Using a round biscuit cutter, cut out as many scone biscuits as per the amount of dough you have.

Now for the fiddly bit, with your leftover cheese, create little crosses on your scone biscuits :)

The Betty Stamp Cheesy Hot Cross BIscuits

Bake in the oven for approximately 18 minutes. I would say until risen but...ya know ;)

Leave to cool on a cooling rack before devouring - warm and smothered in butter! mmmm

The Betty Stamp Cheesy Hot Cross BIscuits

The Betty Stamp Cheesy Hot Cross BIscuits

'Yum' noises keep escaping my family's mouths as they munch their scone biscuits and spoil their dinner! (don't tell mum)

If you're after a more traditional hot cross bun recipe then why not try out my Sticky Hot Cross Buns from last year (can't believe that was a year ago!)

Happy Easter you lovely people!

Betty x

For more Betty Stamp antics find me on Twitter and Instagram


Sunday 20 March 2016

5 Months of Silence

During my blogging break I should probably share with you guys what I actually got up to living on a ship. I say I was working...*cough* the majority of time was spent donning my explorer cap, wanderlusting across luscious islands, mingling with monkeys, scoffing my face with oodles of Asian noodles, spending my birthday brunch in the Bay of Islands, swimming with sharks in open water or lying flat on a white sandy beach, piƱa colada in one hand, nachos and Mexican guacamole in t'other. And, (please don't hate me anymore), I was lucky enough to be getting paid to do it. 

Of course I don't mention the sleepless nights and tears during rehearsals trying to learn 10 shows in 10 days, nor the time we couldn't step foot onto dry land for 31 days because of immigration regulations or being away from family & friends. Because that would be moaning and I could never moan about the journey I just embarked on. Of course there were downs to go with the ups, but the ups definitely made up for the downs. So I will only share the ups! 

I know it's immature but I just found this hilarious, he was just sat there holding his willy as if to say 'It's mine, don't even look at it.'

The biggest 'up' of all was BALI! Never have I seen a country so colourful in all my short little life. We had a grand total of 8 hours to bumble around Bali and boy did we make the most of it. From the monkey forest in Ubud, to a coffee plantation tasting the infamous, most expensive coffee in the world - Kopi Luwak ... or as I like to call it 'poop coffee.' An animal actually eats the beans, poops, then you drink it (after a few more processes)…it was actually quite delicious. Although I have to admit, I didn't have a clue what the lady was saying so I drank it without realising what it was(!) Exploring silver smiths, wood carvers, watching how they make the traditional Batik prints, enjoying a Balinese massage and feasting on Indonesian cuisine over looking a rice field. Safe to to say, it was one of the most stunning places we docked at and some of the kindest people we met. In close second was everywhere in New Zealand - Bay of Islands, Auckland, Picton and in Oz snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef - finding two sea turtles to follow!

These Gods apparently are the ones that judge you after you die…so we were being extra nice to them.

When I wasn't exploring the incredible sights I was living on the beautiful MS Amsterdam, singing my heart out and sharing the stage with an insane cast of 10 wonderful friends, from Ukranians to Las Vegas-ians(!) Performing opera, jazz, pop and musical theatre, making amazing memories. And of course, my boy flew half way across the world to come onboard and visit me at Christmas which made the time apart more bearable :)

It was the journey of a lifetime and I'm so happy to have spent that time with such special people. Ps, I got this dress from the French Connection sale and had so many compliments, it's my new favourite dress.

Apologies for abandoning The Betty Stamp for so long but I can't tell you how happy I am to be back in the kitchen whipping up some tasty treats to share with you my friends ! There's really no place like home.

Betty x 

For more Betty Stamp antics don't forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram
Did you see my Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries post..? Mmm nom nom nom.


Monday 14 March 2016

Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

The Betty Stamp Lifestyle Blog Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

These little red pods of creaminess were exactly what the doctor ordered for a girl's night in. It's the peasiest pudding to rustle up and took me a grand total of 8 minutes to make.

It was the first night I'd seen my 3 best friends in 6 months. Never again I tell you, never again. It's too long to be without the people you love. The Irish was cooking a Chilli and I was to provide the dessert but was under strict orders that it had to be healthy!...

One thing I missed when I was onboard ship was berries, for some reason they were a rarity, only used to garnish a cheeseboard or for the early birds at 6am for breakfast if you'd been keen enough to watch the sunrise.

I picked the rosiest punnet I could find and decided to make them a little more naughty with choccie digestives and cheesecake filling. The girls were in guilt-free (ish...but not really) strawberry heaven.

The Betty Stamp Lifestyle Blog Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

What you'll need//

1 punnet of strawberries
40g unsalted butter
40g cream cheese
5 heaped tbsp icing sugar
2 choccie digestive biscuits

What to do//

Using a small sharp knife, cut around the stalk of each strawberry to create a hole in the top and centre.

Using an electric hand mixer, mix together your butter, sifted icing sugar and cream cheese.

Spoon a dollop of the creamy mixture into each one until full.

The Betty Stamp Lifestyle Blog Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

Crush your biscuits and sprinkle over the top, et voila. The easiest dessert in the world.

The Betty Stamp Lifestyle Blog Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

I enjoyed my petit fraise after having my mouth blown off by the delicious chilli. Once I'd sifted the little green seeded beggars out and poured greek yogurt down my throat I was in Chilli ecstasy once again. It was so special to be back with my girls -nothing beats it :)

Let me know if you give these a whirl and don't forget to head across to my Instagram for more Betty Stamp antics!

Enjoy your Mondays !

Betty x


Sunday 6 March 2016

*CAKE PORN* Crushed Crunchie Marble Cake

The Betty Stamp

*Warning* - Contains contents of cake porn. Do not look if you're failing your new years resolution of 500 calories a day.

This cake was a sensational hit for my big brother's birthday! I wanted to make him something special and tasty and boy did it go down a treat :) You can crush any choccie bar you like on top but his all time fave is a Crunchie; which worked perfectly to add a little honeycomb crunch.

Oh gosh just look at it....dreamy.

The Betty Stamp

What you'll need//

250g caster sugar
250g soft butter
300g self raising flour
4 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
few drops vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk
2 tbsp warm water
2 tsp cocoa powder

For the icing//

150g slightly softened butter (not melted)
300g icing sugar
few drops of vanilla extract
1 tsp cocoa powder

Yummy extras//

2 Crunchie bars
1 big bar white chocolate
Raspberry jam

x2 8in sandwich cake tins

The Betty Stamp

What to do//

Preheat oven to 160 degrees C (fan) and line x2 8in sandwich cake tins.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and caster sugar.

Add the eggs, vanilla and milk and combine.

Sift in the flour and baking powder and mix until the flour has disappeared.

Spoon half the mixture into another bowl.

Into a separate small bowl, stir together the warm water and cocoa powder. Leave to cool then add to one of the cake mixtures.

Randomly dollop alternate spoonfuls of each mixture into the cake tins. With the end of a knife, create pretty patterns in the mixture for your marble effect :)

The Betty Stamp Lifestyle Blog Crushed Crunchie Marble Cake Recipe

Bake for approximately 25-30 mins or until a knife comes out clean.

Leave in the tins to cool slightly before turning out onto a wire rack.

For the frosting//

With an electric hand whisk (or wooden spoon if you want a work out) beat your butter by itself for a couple of minutes. Sift in your icing sugar and cocoa powder gradually. Add the vanilla and whisk for another minute.

Add the frosting when your sponges have completely cooled. I used a delicious homemade raspberry jam in the centre also.

Now for the fun part, put your Crunchies into a sealed bag and bash with the end of a rolling pin, (or whatever hard implement you find). Melt the white chocolate (either in low intervals in the microwave or in a bain marie) and decorate your cake as you wish!

The Betty Stamp Lifestyle Blog Crushed Crunchie Marble Cake Recipe

The Betty Stamp

Now serve the fattest slice for yourself, (or your brother if it's his birthday...) and let everyone else fight over the rest :)

The Betty Stamp

Hope you enjoy it as much as my brother did! And Happy Mothering Sunday to all the wonderful mum's reading this <3 

Betty x

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