Monday, 31 October 2011

Dotty About...Zsa Zsa Bellagio

Apart from being seriously dotty about her name, I am totally and utterly in love with her blog which claims to be

glamorous. fabulous. charming. fun. flirty. elegant. exciting. delicate. whimsical. wonderful. dramatic. cute. dreamy. enticing. enchanting. charming. sassy. sexy. sweet. artistic. creative. exquisite. stunning. dreamy. delightful. whimsical. glorious. heartfelt. simply beautiful. this blog is dedicated to all things divine and that inspire us to enjoy a more exquisite life.

I very much recommend visiting the blog

Dotty About...Halloween

What does Halloween mean to me I hear you ask...well, it must include a fair portion of spiders, ghosts and witches ...... Trick or Treat? Prepare for the treat:

Dotty About...Friendship Cakes

OK, so I had to make a second friendship cake due to the first one being eaten before I was able to take the pictures ;-)

Here it is.

I thought I would include a piccie of what the batter should look like during the 10 days you leave it to ferment too. I also decided to make the second cake with banana and walnuts instead of apple to see if it worked. It did work, but I did prefer the yummy apple cake (as did the hubby!)

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Dotty About...The Calling

Thanks to the new Twinning's advert, I have just discovered The Calling for the first time!

I know, As a group formed in the year 2000, I am sooo behind the times, but I would just like to say that this week I am mostly dotty about their melodic but slightly rocky edge, and this is what I will be listening to - their 2004 album Two.

They remind me of 3 Doors Down who sing one of my favourite songs ever - and what I consider to be one of my life's album tracks, and have a certain Matchbox 20 sound about them which just reminds me of Uni.

I will always wonder why I have never found them before now, but I certainly think their most famous song: Wherever you will go - as sung on the Twinnings advert by some lovely lady - is a first dance contender!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Dotty About...Friendship Cakes

Last week, a very good friend of mine gave me the start of a German Friendship Cake or Herman as is apparently his name!

It came in the form of a Sourdough batter which I have had to keep on the work top for the last 10 days. It works like the old fashioned friendship letter, only it's end result is a yummy cake!

Today, day 9, I finally got to separate my cake batter (having followed all the instructions so far day by day) into 4 parts and give 3 of them away to friends.

Tomorrow I get to bake!

If you would like to be involved or start a friendship cake of your own, then follow these simple instructions:

Sourdough Starter

(please visit this page on for more information and further instructions about this.)

Day One

Mix one tablespoon unbleached flour with one tablespoon of luke warm water

Day Two

Add another tablespoon flour and water (24 hours later)

Day Three

Add two tablespoons flour and two tablespoons water

12 hours later

Add 40g flour and 60g water 2 - 3 times a day. The starter should look like its bubbling now

Then, the instructions I got with my friendship cake:

Hello, my name is Herman. I’m a sourdough cake. I’m supposed to be on the worktop for 10 days without the lid.

You can’t put me in the fridge or I will die :( If I stop bubbling then I am dead!

Day 1: You get Herman and take the lid off (and put me in a large mixing bowl and cover loosely with a tea towel

Day 2: Stir Well

Day 3: Same as yesterday!

Day 4: Herman is Hungry. Add 1 cup each of plain flour, sugar and milk. Stir well

Day 5 to 8 Stir Well

Day 9: Hungry again. Add the same as Day 4

Divide into 4 equal amounts and give 3 away to your friends along with a copy of these instructions (or keep one if you want to continue with a new cake). Herman 4 stays with you for Day 10.

Day 10: He’s very hungry. Stir well and add the following:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsps vanilla essence
  • 2 heaped tsps cinnamon
  • 2 heaped tsps baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup cooking oil
  • 2 cooking apples (cut into chunks)
  • ½ cup walnuts / almonds (optional)
  • 1 cup raisins (optional)
  • Other options: pineapple, chopped chocolate, cherries etc
  • Mix everything together and put into a large greased roasting tin.

    Sprinkle with ¼ cup brown sugar and ¼ cup melted butter. Bake for 40 mins at 170 – 180 °C (check after 35 mins).

    When cold, cut into fingers. This cake freezes well. It’s also delicious warmed up with cream, ice cream or custard.


    Saturday, 15 October 2011

    Dotty About...Vintage Table Centres

    So I have been talking vintage a lot lately. It is one of my favourite themes though.

    The newest vintage trend which I love that appeared at the last wedding we went to, but which I then read about again in Vintage Life Magazine is putting a random collection of vintage items as a table centrepiece. Collections can include anything vintage looking such as books, jugs or teapots of large vintage style blooms, interesting jars, old fashioned telephones, biscuit tins, random bits of lace, oh, and don't forget your grandma's pearls! You get the idea.

    If done well, it really sets the tone. If done badly, it can look a bit cluttered. Luckily I have only seen it done well myself!

    If you do need some help with your vintage styling, contact the Vintage Patisserie - or at least check out their AMAZING website for some inspiration for your table centres such as:

    This example of the table centres on The Wedding Chicks website by Andrea Dozier is another great example of how to style your table centres


    Perfect Days Vintage is a company which actually hires out vintage accessories. And Grandma's Pearls!

    Sunday, 9 October 2011

    Dotty About...Vintage

    In a bid to keep up the Vintage theme of the Vintage wedding weekend, the Hubby and I spent our Anniversary in a most gorgeous B & B in Kent run by the loveliest couple - Vicky and Graham Hassan.

    The B & B called The Linen Shed is in Boughton Under Blean and is quite possibly THE most beautiful house I have ever been to.

    Vicky's great eye and attention to detail and Graham's willingness to help have created such a wonderful environment, you don't even feel like leaving the house!

    I have become a very big fan of Beach Huts too!

    For more information about The Linen Shed, contact them directly or visit: The Wealden Times

    Dotty About...Fudge!

    Shhh, it's my best friend's birthday today, and I have decided to give her a (mostly) home-made present. I found this amazing heart shaped dish, and I thought I would fill it with all sorts of yummy treats for her.

    So I made my mind up to start with fudge.

    OH MY! you would not believe how many ways there are to make fudge!! Some are made with milk, some with milk and cream, some contain flour, some with condensed milk thrown into the mix, and others made with JUST condensed milk and dark chocolate which sounded yummy, however, for this gift, I decided to stick to a basic recipe from the Carnation website - if you haven't tried any of their recipe's yet, you really should, they are super scrummy. I particularly LOVE their Key Lime and Banoffee Pie's :D

    Once I had mixed up the basic recipe (of course, this one contains condensed milk!) I added some crystalised ginger and dark chocolate to the mix before pouring it into the pan and leaving it to set.

    I am pretty pleased with the result, I hope she will be to!!

    (yes, the candles are home made too ;-) that's a whole other chapter!)

    Tuesday, 4 October 2011

    Dotty About...Vintage

    Last weekend we attended a wedding in a small, picturesque hamlet village in the middle of nowhere, somewhere in Kent.

    I have come to the very slightly controversial opinion that if you are looking for vintage, Kent is the place to go. I am totally in awe of the scenery there, and they seem to have much more beautiful weather too than up north!!

    The wedding was stunning. Set in the very small village of Stanstead in Kent, our friends got married in the little village church set up on the hill then we were walked to the beautifully decked out barn for reception, down the road following the brass band! a nice touch.

    I have, unfortunately deleted some of the pictures from my camera - user error! however, I have managed to save a couple of the reception at least.

    The garden party reception with delightful elderflower and cloudy lemonade (yes together) to keep us refreshed

    Our beautiful bride with her exceptionally pretty bouquet

    Gorgeous vintage table centres

    And, of course, the dressing up box went down a storm!