Monday, 30 May 2011

Making Moons

My friend Leigh was rather unhappy this week, her hamster nearly died, her boy toy left to spend four months in America, exam pressure was getting to her and her job was getting stressful. I tried cheering her up and being a good friend but sometimes you just have to be unhappy. So I figured the best thing is a cup of tea and some biscuits because it might not fix anything but it helps. I decided to make her Vanilla Moons because when I made them for my friend Elle she loved them.  I got them out of this book and edited the recipe.

This is a super easy recipe that tastes amazing, it’s probably a good recipe to do if you have kids because there is no raw ingredients. Don’t think that its difficult because you need use two bowls there is hardly any mess once you have finished because the dough scoops up all the bits so you don’t have too scrub the bowls clean.

175g Ground Almonds
115g Plain Flour
Pinch of Salt
225g Unsalted Butter
115g Granulated Sugar
2tspns Vanilla extract
Icing Sugar for Dusting

Sift together the salt and flour into one bowl and set them to the side. In a separate bowl blend the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Spend about ten minutes on this otherwise it wont be creamed enough. Really give it some wellie!

Go back to the bowl with the flour in and add the ground almonds. I always sift them even though the recipe doesn’t call for it. Add the vanilla extract and stir together.

Then spoon on the sugar butter and mix together. I use the silicon spatulas that you can use for icing cakes. They are really cheap from most bargain stores and are really good at getting all the mixture out the bowl.

  Keep mixing until the mixture forms a slightly crumbly dough ball.

Oil some cling film or use grease proof paper and wrap the dough in it. I always place the cling film on a counter, I used my draining board because I forgot to move my baking trays, and then oil it with my hands and then place the dough onto of it. 

Then place the dough in your fridge to cool for half an hour. Turn you oven on to heat, 325F/170C/Gas mark 3 and grease two baking trays.  You can also use this time too wash up. Wooo efficiency!

When its been half an hour, whip the dough ball out the fridge and unwrap it. Take a walnut sizes chunk out of it and roll it in your palm.

Then roll it out into a tube and shape into a crescent shape and place evenly on your tray. Then Repeat until you have covered your trays, leaving about a inch for expansion. They kind of look like a row of dentures I think...

Leave in the oven for ten minutes until they are slightly creamer colour than before but NOT brown. Take them out the oven but do not touch leave them on the tray to cool down. After about ten minutes they should be warm but okay to move, move them with a spatular onto a cooling rack and leave them to cool properly or eat them warm. Dust them with a touch of icing sugar and they are done. 

To package them I used a tupperware container which I lined with a Union Jack serviette and a small doily. 

Then layered biscuits on to of that, I forgot to take a photograph of the finished product so the picture looks like I'm being really stingy on the biscuits but I honestly did another layer. 

She nibbled and nommed them and smiled :) Making friends happy is what life is about.

Belinda Stepford

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Fending For Ourselves

My Mim was doing a night school class this week and couldn’t make it home in time for tea so my Dad was supposed to be fending for himself, instead I ended up cooking for him. I didn’t mind though. I felt like playing it safe and doing some easy summery food. Venison burgers with green beans and jersey potatoes, sounds a lot fancier than burgers and bits as he put it. The photos miss sections because I foolishly didn't take as many as I normally do.

Pack of Venison Burgers - marks and spencers (Or regular burgers)
Pack of Fine Beans
Pack of Burger Buns
Royal Jersey Potatoes or New Potatoes
Spinach Leaves
Dried Parsley  

Chop in half the larger potatoes so they are all about the same size, then cover with water and put on the hob at a medium heat. Adds a pinch of salt to raise the boiling temperature and leave until boiling.  Once boiling reduce the heat to a simmer, the potatoes should take between 15 and 20 minutes to boil. These burgers take about 12 minutes to cook so when the potatoes have been simmering for around five minutes put the burgers on to cook.

Add some olive oil to a griddle or a frying pan and place the burgers in at equal distances apart. I prefer a griddle because it’s slightly healthier. 

Don’t play with them too much as they can fall apart at this stage.  Leave them alone while you prepare the plates by putting them underneath your grill on a low light to warm up. You can also use this time to cut the buns in half.

When the edges of the burgers are starting to brown, and they feel firmer to the touch when you squish them with the spatula, flip them over. Then tip and tail the Green beans by slicing off the either ends with a knife.

The potatoes should be about ready now, you can tell by stabbing them with a fork and if they fall off the fork once lifted out the water then they are done.  Take them off and drain the water. Put a knob of butter onto the potatoes and sprinkle on some dried parsley. You can use fresh but that really depends on the season.

Take the plates out of the grill and put the buns on the plates and put a handful of spinach leaves on to the buns. The burgers should be done by now so take them out the pan and place them on the buns, add the some tomato sauce or mustard if you like.  Toss the green beans into the pan and shake if the pan is dry add a tiny about of butter.

Plate up the potatoes and also the beans when they are slightly softened. They should spend less than a minute in the pan.  Then serve.

I think the empty plates speak for themselves.  I really enjoy cooking for family, its kind of sad that one of my life ambitions is host Christmas one year in my own house. I think I’ll accept I’m a grown up when I realize that.

Belinda Stepford


Sunday, 22 May 2011

Cookie Cuteness

Cookies are beyond delicious that is just one of the rules of life. They are so easy to make everyone should try it at least once. Here's my recipe, it's my favorite thing ever. Warm cookies with a tasty glass of semi skimmed milk is what makes childhood.

I never used the white chips

125g unsalted butter
100g granulated sugar
75g soft brown sugar
1 egg
2tsbp Vanilla extract

150g plain flour
½tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
Chocolate chips

Butter is the root of all glory
First you have to melt down the butter in a pan on a medium heat, while it is melting you mix the sugars together in a bowl. While this is happening you mix the sugars together in a bowl. 

This smells like heaven

You then poor the butter liquid over the sugar and stir it together until it’s a sticky granulated mess.

See what I mean about that vanilla

 Then add a medium sized egg and vanilla essence I use tablespoons but if you don’t like vanilla use less.  I’m a vanilla fiend.  Add a splash of cooking oil, less than a teaspoon, it gives the cookies a slightly chewy consistency 

It doesn't look much but gosh its good

Then add all the flour and mix until consistent, it should be slightly doughy. Then mix in all the chocolate chips, put in as many as you want.

These are a bit close

Oil two baking trays and using a teaspoon put heaped dollops of the mixture onto the trays. Spread the mixture out leaving as much space in between as possible, these cookies spread out a lot. Then cook at 4 on a gas oven for eight to ten minutes or until they are golden brown.

See monsters
Then take them out and no matter how tempting leave them too cool on the trays for ten minutes. Then scrap them up with a spatula and leave to cool fully on a rack. Apart from the ridiculously hot one you can’t resist, have that one with a glass of cold milk and smile. All is good in the world.  

I wish camera buttons where on the left so I could use my right hand to do this

Belinda Stepford

Wednesday, 18 May 2011


I changed my mind... I've put Winchester as firm and Canterbury as my secure. On the off chance I get a B I'd always wonder about Winchester if I went to Canterbury and if I don't get a B then I will be happy I had the option and love Canterbury. I'm not sure what Tanya will think because we planned on living together and got excited but I think she'll understand its about my future and I need the option... I guess its silly I probably won't get the B.

I'm also on the sample that gets sent off for art marking. #stress

 I'm going to recreate this past glory after these exams 
Like all proper English Girls

Belinda Stepford

Friday, 13 May 2011

Shopping spree

I know its a bit preemptive to be buying things for university before I've even take my exams but I can't help it, it is such a huge thing for me moving out and being a proper independent person. Okay my parents will probably be footing the bills for a while on the whole but still I'm moving a six hour drive away. Any Americans reading this will think I'm silly for seeing that as huge but England is a tiny wee little island and I'm basically getting as far away as I can without being in another country, which my sister has actually done being at Glasgow. I did buy some Doctor Who bedding the other week which doesn't really count because I used 'For university' as an excuse I wanted that bedding, shame I have a double bed at home I'd live with kids bedding all the time, grown up are so dull. I bought various bedding the most expensive was the Cat bedding at fifthteen pounds from Marks and Spencers and the cheapest was the Dinosaur set from BNH at a grand total of two pounds nighty-nine pence. 

Two Girly Sets and Two Nerdy Sets

First proper thing I bought was a laundry basket because I needed something to store everything in, as apposed to having it in a heap on my floor. Its a tasteful vibrant aqua with deep purple handles. Classy Times. 

Classy Times

I also bought an assortment of kitchen stuff which made me really happy to think its mine, not the families but all mine. Which brings me on to a really sad confession I am BEYOND excited about being able to get my own pestle and mortar, most people going to university are getting excited about the parties, well I've always done all that I'm excited about kitchen wear. My tea towels are super cute too, I don't care if I live with boys the kitchen is getting girly. 

Don't use my cat to measure scale she is OBESE

My Mim bought me some really cute coffee cups, she wasn't sure if I'd want to keep them as coffee cups or to put candles in but I decided to use them as cups because I figured at a later date I can use them for candles, or if they get chipped. 

I'm not a normal student type am I...

I have a list of things I need to sort out before I go its kind of scary and exciting and all sorts of madness but I'm glad I've started. I do not think I'd ever considered how much stuff a person has or needs, things like towels and bed sheets the kind of stuff you always just have about the house I need to buy. A mop thats pretty awesome okay not a like necessity but its cute, it also matches a tea pot my Mim bought for me ages ago, I didn't realise this when I was buying to mop just when I got it home. 


Belinda Stepford

Thursday, 12 May 2011


I know its terribly petty but I just hit 100 views. Gosh. 

Belinda Stepford

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

University ramble

This week Mim,  Dad and I went on a road trip to look at prospective universities. It was my last chance to see them before declaring. There is something about long road trips and their leg cramping exhaustion that is so addictive. As far as university goes Canterbury Christ Church is my firm and Winchester is my security. Heading south to loose the northern twang to my accent, and both are near the countryside and london which is a winwin.  I've sorted everything from finance to housing applications, which for me that level of organisation is brilliant I have a habit of forgetting things. 

The Beach by the campus I'll be on

Lately I've been regressing, I think its the stress of dealing with A level grades, art work, student finance, university applications, searching for a job and still trying to maintain some sort of social life. I've been reminiscing of all my childhood loves. I've started re-watching pokemon from the beginning which is madness when I've got hours of artwork left to complete and coursework over due but I want the distraction. I guess I'm panicked about needing a certain grade to get into university and if i mess up this year then university is far too expensive now the fees have increased.  Time to slap on a smile and get down to work now though. This is no time to get my head in a tizz. I'm smart enough to get through this so I should be able to do it. There are a lot worse things than not getting the grades you need. 

Dad & Me being silly at Charles Dickens House.

Oh and I voted, I think one who can should always vote because you have no right to complain if you had nothing to do with the process. I voted green, not even because I believe in their policies as a whole purely because I disagree with the Labour councilors in my area and I live in a area where voting Conservative is a waste of time because well its Liverpool. So I voted green, the best of a bum lot. It felt terribly grown up to be voting for the first time, yet at the same time I'm already disillusioned with it.

Cue stepford wife mode

When I get stressed I tend to clean cue broken nails and falling asleep with the smell of bleach on my skin. Oh the glamour. I also go mad with the baking.

Belinda Stepford

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Turning failing into winning.

I was in a rush trying to make some fudge the other night and despite my Baileys Fudge blog I didn't measure the liquids properly... Needless to say I put to much in and it didn't set properly. I ended up with a tasty sticky mess that was reminiscent of a tar pit. 


But never fear this can be turned around, like all things in life a failure does not mean that you are out, you just have to get creative. The fudge was now similar to a tacky toffee so I decided on bannoffee pie. Here I met some more difficulties. I had no butter to make a base with, I had no cream to make a topping and I was sort of short of time yet again. Timelessness is the food of genius.  So I made it up. 

Ignore the crumbs its from the biscuits :)

Firstly wine glasses  instead of bowls to add a touch of glamour I crushed two amaretti biscuits per glass and put them in bottom of the glass. I crushed them in the palm of my hand because they are mainly air this makes them easy to crush. You should always have amaretti biscuits in your pantry because they are wonderful, you can make innumerable recipes with them and on there own or with coffee they are delicious. Once you've opened the packet though any left over biscuits should be kept in a air tight container as they go soft quickly in the open air.

Not so neat

On top this I, with difficulty, put a layer of fudgey/toffee mess not too much as its quite sweet. Then I sliced a banana and put a layer in rough circles. 

Always use decent ice cream it makes the difference 

Then I add layer of vanilla ice cream you could use ice cream or sweetened whipped cream and the layer can be however thick you'd like it. Then continue with these layers until the glass is filled. ending with a sprinkling of amaretti. et vou la deconstructed bannoffee pie in about five minutes. It's reassuring to know that just because you have made a mistake does not mean its curtains.  


Belinda Stepford

Sunday, 1 May 2011


This week strolling to Manchester Oxford Road train station at half five in the morning  to make my way home after a night of merriment, still wearing the clothes I slept in and huge sun glasses to cover a multitude of sins. I pondered how there is something profoundly beautiful about cities at night. Whether you are scuttling home after a long night or strolling confidently with all the time in the world. They chill in the air and the quiet, to me anyway, is an exciting calm. Maybe its because I grew up in the city and I don’t see the buildings as dark foreboding monsters instead I focus on the blue light and the distant hum of life. A city is never silent. Some people fear the night because they don’t know what is out there; I think that is half the fun.

Sun Glasses & Granny Bag

 When I got to the train station I found myself surrounded by faceless people on their way to work. They kept casting me looks, admittedly at one point I took a swig from a water bottle and then spat gin down a grate. Life lesson don’t put clear alcohol in water bottles.  The most notable thing to me though was I had a grin on my face as I was still gigging from the party the night before and these people flicking judgmental looks towards me, in their grey ill tailored suits, not one had a smile on their face at any point. I’d rather look a hot mess than be bored and unhappy. When I got into Liverpool a pretty boy flirted with me so that put me in a great mood.  No matter who you are someone flirting with you when you’re feeling slightly worse for wear will make you happy. I then got a bus home, ordinarily I hate buses but nothing was going to kill my mood.  After getting in I showered, changed, slapped make up on my face and headed back out into the world in my oversized sunglasses. I was early for art class with a coffee in hand; luckily I find I am my most creative when I am sleep deprived. Long live the late nights and early mornings. Then the sweet crash of a weekend lie in. 


People where protesting outside my college about the cost of the royal wedding. We get a four-day weekend that it worth all the money in the land thank you very much. Stop raining on our parade grumpy knickers.

Belinda Stepford