Sophie Barnes

Sophie Barnes

The Ramblings of a Newly-Wed Wife

Recent Posts

Renovations Update 02.12.2018

Renovations Update 02.12.2018

This weekend has been somewhat productive in the house… We have finally managed to get through to the plumber  – he is coming to fit the rest of the bathroom next weekend. We purchased the tiles/adhesive/grout for the bathroom floor (because the floor needs to […]

Baking in a slow-cooker…

Baking in a slow-cooker…

Due to the current renovation situation, we don’t have an oven…or a hob… which has a very interesting set of restrictions when it comes to cooking/baking/eating.  Currently I have the following cooking tools in the kitchen: 2 small sharp knives a plastic chopping board a […]

Festive Wishlist

Festive Wishlist

This year I have no Christmas spirit. It’s shit.

Everywhere else feels like Christmas on steroids. The original plan with the new house was that we would be finished renovating in time for a lovely Christmas in a lovely house. Seeing as that plan has gone down the toilet, we are now planning that NEXT Christmas will be the one when we ask everyone to come to us…

So I’ve decided to make a list of all the things that I would like to do in the house/across the festive season, over time I’ll update it if I remember!

  • Make a proper Gingerbread House
  • Homemade chocolate truffles, shortbread, chocolates, biscotti, florentines, mince pies
  • Edible gift hampers
  • Christmas Day Feast
  • Homemade Pork Pies, quiches, breads
  • Homemade Christmas Cake, Christmas Pudding, Buche de Noel, mincemeat
  • Decorations throughout the house
  • Beautiful Christmas table settings
  • Tiny twinkly lights
  • Homemade chutneys, relishes, crackers
  • Beautifully wrapped gifts (wrapped to match the Christmas tree)
  • Christmas Eve curry/party?
  • Christmas Markets date night
  • Watching the Land Before Time in pjs on Christmas morning
  • Listening to Christmas Carols whilst cooking treats
  • Going to a Christmassy concert/carol service of some sort
  • Having beautiful Christmas/festive bedding in all bedrooms
  • Wandering around the Christmas Markets all wrapped up
  • Buying a winter hat/coat combo that doesn’t make me look like a snowman in a coat
  • Visit Chatsworth House at Christmas
  • Re-purpose wedding lights and gold chargers for christmas decorations
  • Watch a Christmas Movie every day in Advent
  • Send a Family Card
  • Make a terrine or two
  • Epic cheeseboard
  • Christmas wreaths on front door and kitchen door
Catch-Up: 25 November 2018

Catch-Up: 25 November 2018

Well, what can I say….it’s been a while since I’ve been on here, the house has taken over our lives!  We got the keys on 27th July and, almost 4 months on, we’re nowhere near to a proper liveable stage. Currently we have a plumbed […]

Where to begin…? Catch-up 03.06.2018

Where to begin…? Catch-up 03.06.2018

So, things got somewhat hectic over the past two months! Between school and home and moderating for the exam board, and school and new house conveyancing and EVERYTHING, there has been a lot going on. So, to bring things up to speed a little, here […]

Catchup: 04.04.2018

Catchup: 04.04.2018

Well, LOTS has happened since my last post!

1. Hubby has been working for the past month and is very happily settled into his job.

This has been one of the best things ever! Hubby seems so happy and so focused, it’s been really nice to see him excited by things happening at work and little stories about his co-workers and projects/tasks he’s been working on. He’s well into is routine of getting up and out on time. This week, in an effort to save money, we have swapped cars so that the more fuel efficient car is being used for the longer commute.

2. Sister-In-Law’s birthday – awesome Chinese banquet and then homemade (by me) red velvet cake.

Utterly delicious meal out at the Tung Fong in Worsley with Hubby, Sister-in-Law, Mother-In-Law and Father-In-Law. Was a lovely evening. We had:

Dim Sum (steamed beef dumpling with black bean, steamed pork&prawn siu mai, crispy seaweed, crispy pork spring rolls, crispy king prawn parcel)

Crispy Duck (pancakes, green onion/cucumber, hoisin)

Scallops with Glass Noodles (steamed on the half-shell, very savoury soy&sesame dressing, green onions)

Steamed Seafood Skewers (king prawn, scallop and monkfish with garlic, chilli and soy glaze)
Shredded Lamb (stirfried with green onion and ginger sauce)
Honey Lemon Chicken (sesame coated crispy chicken with a sticky-sweet lemon sauce)
Fillet Steak in OK Sauce (with sizzling onions)
Yung Chow Rice (fried rice with egg, green onion, ham, char sui, king prawns)

Melon and Orange wedges

It. Was. DELISH! After a lazy walk back to the in-law’s house, we had a relaxed evening watching Wonder Woman and eating birthday cake. As requested by Sister-in-law, I made an 8″ red velvet cake (two cake layers) with cheesecake frosting. It was lovely. We had some of the leftovers for breakfast the next day 🙂

3. We have had an offer accepted on a house!!!

The morning after sister-in-law’s birthday, we went to view a house in Whitefield – a four-double-bedroomed Edwardian terrace with lots of potential. Real-wood floors, original fireplaces, monster kitchen with pantry and store (potential for utility room). The next day, we decided to go for it and made an offer. Four rounds of offers later (thanks to another potential buyer), our offer was accepted and we’re now mid-process for purchase.

4. Easter Holidays

The holidays seem to have flown by! I was catering on an orchestral course for the first 3 days, though this actually meant that the day before (Sunday) I had to pre-prepare the entire week of meals as I wasn’t staying the duration this time. The three days were long, and it was hard being away from Hubby for three days (he was in work). Next day I was in school with my exam students to spend time on their coursework. Good Friday was a lazy day at home, baked salmon dinner (standard) and a Marvel Movie on the couch with Hubby. Easter Saturday was spent at my sister’s for a family lunch (with Mother, Brother, Sister-in-law and Niece). Easter Sunday afternoon was at the In-law’s with Sister-in-law for a lovely roast lamb dinner and a relaxed evening watching crap on TV. Easter Monday we went to see our Jewish friends who are currently mid-Pesach, was interesting to see what a difference the additional Pesach rules made to their meals and their house. A very restrained mooch around the Trafford Centre and Costco (trying to be good with the whole saving-for-the-house thing) and then a rather naughty KFC splurge for dinner. Two more days in school with my exam students and then four days left until back-to-work… Quite excited about dinner tonight though, my lovely colleague has given me a bag full of homemade curry/biryani/naan to have with Hubby for dinner – really looking forward to it!

Mortgage application has been sent!

Now it’s all starting to feel a little more real on the house front. Yesterday we saw the broker to sort out the last little bits for the mortgage paperwork and that has all been submitted and the surveys paid for. Just got to wait to hear back from the mortgage provider and see what happens next…

 

So, in a VERY brief summary, that’s what’s happened in the last month…

Caramelised Orange Shortbread with White Chocolate

Caramelised Orange Shortbread with White Chocolate

Today I was musing the idea of using melted butter to make shortbread – as I couldn’t be bothered to either use the food processor or to employ the traditional rubbed in method. I looked at various recipes online and decided to try out my […]

Catchup – wb 26 Feb

Catchup – wb 26 Feb

The past week has been very unusual – we’ve had some really bad weather thanks to the #BeastFromTheEast and #StormEmma that has resulted in having Tuesday, Thursday and Friday off as snow days, and being sent home at 11:30am (kids left at 11:15am) on Wednesday […]

Red Velvet Cake

Red Velvet Cake

As part of snow-day boredom, I asked the lovely hubs if he’d like anything baking. He suggested a red velvet with cheesecake frosting. I obliged…

250g plain flour
30g cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
100g butter, very soft
200g caster sugar
20g red food colouring paste
2 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
175ml buttermilk
1 tsp white vinegar

150g full-fat cream cheese
100g butter, very soft
400g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract/vanilla paste

Preheat oven to 170C, line three 6″ round loose-based cake tins with a layer of greaseproof paper. Place all of the cake ingredients into a stand mixer with a whisk attachment and mix for 1-2 mins until just combined into a smooth batter – don’t overwhip!

Divide into the three tins and bake in the centre of the oven for 20-22mins until soft and springy.

Cool on a wire rack until completely cold.

Blitz the icing sugar to make sure there are no lumps, then add the remaining ingredients and blitz until smooth, add a little bit of milk to make a softer consistency if needed.

Trim the tops of the cakes flat and top each with a third of the frosting. Stack tall and serve.

 

Sadly, we never took a photo of the cake before hubby, sister-in-law and I started eating (picture courtesy of unsplash)…

Chocolate Melting Moment Cookies

Chocolate Melting Moment Cookies

Had a little bit of a baking session last weekend, and made these – they are SO good! Very moreish and very simple. Make sure that you cook them long enough so that they become beautifully crisp when they cool. This recipe was adapted from […]