Cassiefairy – My Thrifty Life

Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog – Saving money every day with DIY crafts, sewing projets, low-cost recipes & shppping tips


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Pieday Friday – Bottomless Harvest Pie

After going foraging on a blackberry walk last weekend, today’s blog post is the result of that walk. I decided to combine the blackberries with apples (cooking apples are abundant in the garden at the moment) and make a bottomless pie. What does that mean? It means that I made a blind-baked pie base and it shrunk so much that I couldn’t use it! I therefore went for just a pie crust on top of the filling in a pie dish. Don’t worry, it tasted just as yummy and actually it’s a little bit of a healthier pudding, because there’s about half the amount of pastry!diy-recipe-baking-harvest-pie-cooking-apple-and-blackberry-pastry-dessert-pudding-7 diy-recipe-baking-harvest-pie-cooking-apple-and-blackberry-pastry-dessert-pudding-3Ingredients: 225g plain flour, 100g butter, 25g caster sugar, 2 tablespoons water, a pinch of salt, 100g sugar, a dash of amaretto, plus as many cooking apples as it takes to fill your pie dish and as many blackberries as you can gather!

The pastry: Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl and rub in the butter using your fingertips. Add the cold water and stir with a knife until it comes together into a stuff dough. Roll out on a floured surface to the thickness of a pound coin. By the way, my pretty rolling pin is from The Caravan Trail if you’re interested. I like to use it for pastry as it’s ceramic so stays cool – very important in pastry-making!diy-recipe-baking-harvest-pie-cooking-apple-and-blackberry-pastry-dessert-pudding diy-recipe-baking-harvest-pie-cooking-apple-and-blackberry-pastry-dessert-pudding-2The filling: Peel, core and slice enough apples to fill your pie dish. Put the apples in a pan over a medium heat and add 100g sugar to sweeten the tangy taste of the cooking apples and a splash of water (or a dash of amaretto if you like the flavour). Allow to cook down (keeping some chunky bits) and allow the apples to become a little mushy. Taste the apples and add more sugar if needed. diy-recipe-baking-harvest-pie-cooking-apple-and-blackberry-pastry-dessert-pudding-4 diy-recipe-baking-harvest-pie-cooking-apple-and-blackberry-pastry-dessert-pudding-5

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Pieday Friday Recipe – Pressure cooker beef & Guinness stew

Last weekend I cooked Sunday lunch for the family. But it wasn’t just any Sunday lunch, oh no. It was the ultimate autumnal stew recipe, with the flakiest beef and the tastiest gravy you’ve ever tried. And it only took 30 minutes to cook. How? I used a pressure cooker for the first time and boy was I impressed. Of course, if you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can let this stew blip away in the oven or you could even load it into your slow cooker for a few hours. Either way, the flavours will be just as amazing and will be a real treat for all the family to enjoy. Here’s the recipe I used:pieday-friday-guinness-beef-stew-slow-cooker-recipe-pressure-king-pro-11Ingredients: 1.2kg beef, 60g plain flour, 3 crushed cloves of garlic, 2 tablespoons of tomato puree, 2 diced red peppers, 2 diced onions, 200g sliced mushrooms, 4 sliced carrots, 2 tablespoons of fresh (or dried) thyme, 1 can of Guinness, salt and pepper, olive oil, served with mashed potato.pieday-friday-guinness-beef-stew-slow-cooker-recipe-pressure-king-pro-3pieday-friday-guinness-beef-stew-slow-cooker-recipe-pressure-king-pro-2Step 1. Turn on the pressure cooker and use it as a pan to sauté the onions, peppers, garlic and mushrooms in a little olive oil until softened. Set aside.pieday-friday-guinness-beef-stew-slow-cooker-recipe-pressure-king-pro-5pieday-friday-guinness-beef-stew-slow-cooker-recipe-pressure-king-pro-6Step 2. Put the flour and seasoning into a freezer bag and add the beef. Seal and shake the beef around in the bag until coated with a thin layer of flour.

Step 3. Use the pressure cooker pan to brown the beef in two batches.pieday-friday-guinness-beef-stew-slow-cooker-recipe-pressure-king-pro-7Step 4. Add the sautéed vegetables back into the pan and stir in the tomato puree.

Step 5. Add the carrots, fresh or dried thyme and pour over a whole can of Guinness.pieday-friday-guinness-beef-stew-slow-cooker-recipe-pressure-king-pro-8Step 6. Turn the pressure cooker onto ‘stew’ setting for 30 minutes. If you’re cooking in the oven, test the beef after an a hour and a half – it should flake apart and have no chewy fat left.pieday-friday-guinness-beef-stew-slow-cooker-recipe-pressure-king-pro-9Step 7. Season to taste and serve with mashed potato and a sprinkling of fresh thyme leaves.pieday-friday-guinness-beef-stew-slow-cooker-recipe-pressure-king-pro-10Let me know if you try this recipe for yourself and which method you use to cook it by leaving me a comment below. I used the Pressure King Pro cooker from Debenhams for the first time and this is a recipe from the recipe book that comes with the machine. I’m so pleased I tried it out because it took considerably less time to cook the stew than in an oven or using my slow cooker. Plus, the inner pan was big enough to cook for 6 people easily. In fact, you can see from these photos that I could have fit even more stew in that pan and it wouldn’t have been a problem. Let me know if you have any top tips or great recipes for pressure cookers that I can try. I’ve seen a YouTube video where someone cooks a whole chicken in one of these pressure cookers so I’d love to give that a go!


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Pieday Friday – Build Your Own Smoothie recipe book review

If you’ve been reading my little blog for a while you might have noticed how much I love smoothies and milkshakes. I’ve whisked up a few healthy of my own recipes over the years, including my fruity oat smoothie and my energy boosting breakfast smoothie. I’ve also shared my ultimate caramel doughnut freakshake recipe, but that’s more of a weekend treat than an everyday shake 😉 So you can imagine how excited I was to find a recipe book dedicated to my favourite drink! I grabbed a copy of Make Your Own Smoothie by Michelle Keogh and started to investigate…pieday-friday-recipe-book-review-make-your-own-smoothie-cookbook-milkshake

It may sound like a rather boring plus-point, but this recipe book is spiral bound. I really prefer this type of binding for all recipe books, as it makes it much easier to keep your place when working on a recipe. That said, it’s a particularly important feature of this book as it allows you to mix and match the ingredients to create over 60,000 smoothie combinations. Much like those funny head-body-legs books you read as a child, you simply flip over the pages to find the ideal combination of base ingredients, liquid and ‘boost’ toppings.pieday-friday-recipe-book-review-make-your-own-smoothie-cookbook-milkshake-2With that in mind, this is probably the only smoothie recipe book you’ll ever need. I defy you to find an ingredient that isn’t already somewhere in this recipe book so you’ll be sure to find the right taste and texture to suit you. Don’t like coconut? No problem! Can’t function without freeze dried fruit? It’s all in there. There are gluten-free, low-fat, vegan and dairy-free options, so you can make any flavour of smoothie into something that suits your own diet.

My own preference for smoothies is something milk-based so that it feels more like a naughty shake rather than a healthy drink! Even so, there are SO many options for the liquid layer (including fruit juices, yoghurts, waters, teas, vegetable juices and proteins) that even a die-hard milkshake fan like me might actually start to be a little more adventurous with my smoothie ‘designs’.pieday-friday-recipe-book-review-make-your-own-smoothie-cookbook-milkshake-3But you don’t have to rummage through all the options before finding a suitable recipe – at the back of the book there’s a list of classic smoothie combos to try and some basic recipes to help you get started. And it’s not just healthy smoothies either… if you don’t believe me, just have a look at the cinnamon apple cookie shake I concocted above!

Let me know what your favourite smoothie ingredients are by leaving me a comment below and tweet me a photo of your weekend smoothie @Cassiefairy or tag me in your Instagram pics @Cassiefairy. Build Your Own Smoothie by Michelle Keogh is published by Quarto.


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Pieday Friday – Kitchen mishaps

Over the years I’ve come realise that I’m quite a clumsy person. I trip over on flat pavements and I bruise myself almost daily by bumping into things. I’m a bit of a calamity but thankfully I’ve never seriously hurt myself or anyone around me. The worrying thing is when someone with a tendency to be slightly clumsy gets into the kitchen. Expect trouble, and lots of it! And that’s what I’m blogging about today: the mishaps and mistakes I’ve made in my kitchen and the reasons why it makes sense to stay focussed when you’re baking…pans-419249_1920Grills. Many a time I have turned on a grill to ‘pre heat’ without opening the grill door, or checking whether there’s already something under there. This is how my mum’s favourite frying pan (the one she’d owned for longer than she’s had me) ended up with its wooden handle on fire. Okay, I didn’t put it in there in the first place, but I did turn on the grill without checking that it was empty. Another frying pan handle met its doom in my grill recently when I was trying to brown the top of a Spanish omelette. It was all going great, with a crispy golden cheesy layer forming nicely, until the (not heat-proof, it turns out) handle started bubbling. Oops.muffins-480513_1920Hobs. Hobs are my worst enemy. They stay hot for far too long, and I regularly get scolded on the rim of hot pans. But the main problem I have with hobs is that they are not a work surface. Let me explain. In my home (in fact, in all of my previous homes) I have a small kitchen with not much work space. I therefore tend to use the back two hobs of the oven as an extra surface, which is where my kettle etc live when they are not in use. The trouble is when I turn on the front hob to cook a dish and start to wonder why my onions aren’t sizzling away. The smell of melting plastic soon helps me to realise that I’ve turned on the back hob by mistake. And chiseling the base of a molten coffee machine off the back hob made me realise that I’m always just a couple of minutes away from disaster when I cook.kettle-653673

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Hands up – Who is a fan of the Great British Bake Off?

Unlike other TV competitions like Strictly Come Dancing and The Great British Sewing Bee, which I have followed from the very first episode, I was a bit late to the GBBO party. Yes, I admit it. I only started watching Bake Off three seasons ago. And that’s quite late in the day really. In 2013 I had no idea who Paul Hollywood was, and only had a passing knowledge of the queen of the kitchen Mary Berry. I hadn’t heard of a technical challenge and my only knowledge of the contestants was that one of them once took something out of the fridge. And that’s just because I heard it reported on the radio. I’m ashamed to say that I was not a Bake Off fan. But in summer 2014 that all changed because I went to Blogstock.Step by step recipe for GBBO schichttorte-9There I met lots of lovely bloggers and over the course of a (rather giddy, popcorn-filled, coffee-fuelled) weekend, we got to chatting about what projects we were each working on. My new friends told me about #GBBO. No, not the bake off itself, but the Great Blogger Bake Off. It was a weekly challenge to recreate the recipes from the ‘actual’ Bake Off in our own kitchens, and you KNOW how much I love a blog challenge! Having still not watched a single episode, I actually had to tweet my blogging pals to find out what the theme was that particular week so that I could get started. It was biscuit week, and chocolate chip cookies was the first recipe I baked to take part in the Great Blogger Bake Off.
Apple StrudelIt was so much fun, I loved being part of the Blogger Bake Off community and it was good to have a focus to my recipe articles for the summer. After that first attempt, I simply had to watch GBBO every Wednesday in order to find out what the theme was, and I diligently cooked along with the contestants every single week. I made an apple strudel for European week, I baked a blackberry tart with home-picked blackberries for pastry week, a giant donut for advanced dough week and apple crumble two-ways for pudding week.Apple Crumble Two WaysI even attempted the most famous technical challenge of all; the schichttorte. I completely surprised myself as this recipe turned out to be the best thing I’ve ever made in my kitchen. It probably helped that I was following the instructions to the letter, whereas I usually mess around with recipes to make them my own. Layer by layer my schichttorte took shape, and an hour of careful cooking later I had something that looked almost exactly like the one on the Great British Bake Off. Even though it turns out that I don’t like the flavour of schichttorte (it’s just like pancakes but without the lemon and sugar!) at least I found out that I CAN make it, woo!Step by step recipe for GBBO schichttorte-5

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Weekend treat – A vegetarian curry feast!

Today’s Pieday Friday recipe is a lovely guest post from my blogging pal Lucy. When I saw her mouth-watering curry recipes on her blog LucyLovesYa, I emailed to ask her permission to share these delicious dishes with you today. And thankfully she said yes! These vegetarian dishes are packed full of freshness and flavour – and it costs a lot less to make your own ‘takeaway’ at home than it does to go out for a meal! Lucy says add as many chillies as you like until you get the right level of hotness for you, and don’t forget to cool things down with coriander,  lemons and natural yoghurt mixed with some chopped mint. I never knew how to make an onion bhaji until I read Lucy’s recipe so I hope you’ll enjoy making some of these simple recipes at home too! Vegetarian-Curry-Onion Bhaji Ingredients: 2 large onions, 1 mug gram flour (chickpea flour), salt to taste, 1 egg, handful coriander leaves, pinch chilli powder, 1 tablespoon curry powder, 1 teaspoon paprikaMix the ingredients together until a smooth consistency is formed. Don’t feel tempted to add water as the onions will provide a natural liquid if allowed to stand for an hour before frying. Ladle individual bhajis into a frying pan of hot oil. When they are golden brown, remove and serve with a squeeze of lemon all over and a dash of natural yoghurt.Veg-Curry-Recipe1

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Pieday FriYAY – Energy boosting mocha smoothie

The summer holidays are drawing to an end and all that’s left is happy memories of melting ice cream, collecting shells, splashing in the sea, fish ‘n’ chips lunches, breezy promenades and fluffy candy floss on the pier. Yes, I have to admit that I’ve indulged a little too much during August, but haven’t we all? I blame ‘holiday spirit’ for encouraging us to wave thoughts of healthy eating aside as we buy a bag of sugary donuts from the beach kiosk and tuck into a full English breakfast in the hotel. If this sounds like you, I’ve got an easy way to get back on the healthy-eating wagon and it all starts with breakfast…healthy breakfast recipe inspiration friyay smoothie oats coffee latte banana chocolate-16 healthy breakfast recipe inspiration friyay smoothie oats coffee latte banana chocolate-20After needing to kick-start my healthy habits after a summer of indulgence I’ve come up with a quick and easy recipe for a breakfast smoothie. It can be prepared the night before (which gives the oats plenty of time to soak) or whizzed up in the morning. Take it with you on your commute to work or – if you’re feeling particularly enthusiastic – enjoy it after an early morning gym visit. It’s the perfect breakfast to fill you up without feeling stodgy and the caffeine from the coffee gives you a boost of energy, so it’s a great brunch treat too. Start your day with a healthy treat that feels rich and indulgent because this recipe contains everything you need to #MakeItAYayDay; bananas, soaked oats, coffee, almond milk, cacao and ice.healthy breakfast recipe inspiration friyay smoothie oats coffee latte banana chocolate-15healthy breakfast recipe inspiration friyay smoothie oats coffee latte banana chocolateIngredients (serves 1): One ripe banana, 100g oats soaked in around 200g almond milk (or normal milk if you prefer), a spoonful of cacao powder, 1 cup of Emmi CAFFÈ LATTE Strong Macchiato or Skinny Iced Coffee, a handful of ice.

  1. Soak the oats in the milk until they are softened and the milk has thickened. This should take about 30 mins in the morning, or you can soak the oats overnight.

  2. Add a ripe banana before sprinkling in a spoonful of cacao powder to your preferred taste.

  1. Throw in a handful of ice and pour over a cup of Emmi CAFFÈ LATTE Strong Macchiato or Skinny Iced Coffee if you prefer.
  1. Whizz all the ingredients together in a blender until smooth.

If you’ve got an early start in the morning you could prepare your breakfast smoothie in advance and keep it in the fridge ready to grab-and-go. Simply blend all the ingredients together but skip the ice as this will make the smoothie too watery if left overnight. The oats don’t need to be pre-soaked in this instance, you can put them into the smoothie dry. They will soak in the coffee and milk overnight and will be soft by the morning, ready to make any day a yay day for you!

Let me know if you have a go at making this energy-boosting breakfast smoothie yourself and I’d love to hear more ideas of ingredients to add to my morning oat smoothie so please get in touch by leaving me a comment below. And please tag me in your Instagram photos @cassiefairy with the hashtag #MakeItAYayDay so that I can check out your own breakfast smoothies and ideas for ingredients.

 

 

 


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Pineapple Infused Vodka + DIY Cocktail Glass

Summer is in full swing AND it’s the weekend, double wooo! To celebrate, I’m sharing a summery cocktail and spirit infusion and a quick DIY cocktail glass project. These have all been extracted from Mason Jar Nation by JoAnn Moser. This recipe wold be great for fruity summer cocktails or even for a birthday party so read on to find out how to make it…mason jar nation book reviewIn honour of moonshiners of old and new, here’s a less volatile preparation that doesn’t require a still: pineapple-infused vodka. Complete the concoction with a Mason jar cocktail glass and a summery drink recipe using your homemade hooch, and you’ll be good to go.

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FriYAY recipe: Layered picnic rolls three ways – Mediterranean, Tex Mex & Classic

Today’s recipe is ideal for this time of year. It’s a picnic dish that can be taken out on bike rides or to the beach during the summer holidays and each mouthful is a tasty combination of Mediterranean flavours. My picnic roll recipe is a handy option because it packs all the filling inside crusty rolls and stops some of the sogginess you often get with cling-wrapped sarnies. If you’re planning a day trip to the seaside, hiking to see a roman fort or visiting a museum but want to avoid the over-priced lunches, this is the recipe for you! Read on to find out how I made this easy picnic sandwich for my very own cycling adventure…friYAY recipe layered picnic rolls sandwich filling ideas and inspiration-16 friYAY recipe layered picnic rolls sandwich filling ideas and inspiration-7friYAY recipe layered picnic rolls sandwich filling ideas and inspiration-17With this layered roll it’s easy to pack up a picnic – no Tupperware or cling film required! Everything is safely enclosed within the roll so a napkin or a piece of greaseproof paper is all you need to tuck your sandwiches away safely in the basket of your bike or in a cool bag. Plus, it’s a great recipe to make if you’re taking kids out for the day during the school holidays. You can hand the little ones their very own picnic roll without worrying about the filling plopping out at first bite because each layer is tightly packed into the roll. Here’s now to #MakeItAYayDay with an impromptu picnic:friYAY recipe layered picnic rolls sandwich filling ideas and inspiration-4 friYAY recipe layered picnic rolls sandwich filling ideas and inspiration-21countryside bike ride cycling adventure exercise bicycle-7Ingredients (makes 4 rolls): 4 crusty rolls, mayonnaise, salsa, pesto, hummus, thinly sliced salami, wafer thin ham, chicken slices, sliced garlic sausage, mozzarella, sundried tomatoes, guacamole, cheese or any other fillings you like!

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Black sesame seed ice cream + free recipe ebook!

Today’s post is a fantastic original recipe by Omo and Eulanda from award-winning travel and food blog Hey Dip Your Toes In. I first met these guys at the UK Blog Awards, where they scooped the award for Best Food & Drink blog, and they have very kindly agreed to share a guest post with you today while I’m lounging around on my holiday! This ice cream recipe is like nothing I’ve ever seen before – it’s a black sesame seed ice cream, which is also gluten & (partly) dairy free. Sounds amazing doesn’t it?!black sesame seed ice creamOriginally a South East Asian recipe, Eulanda and Omo have adapted this ice cream to suit their allergy requirements, packed it full of good-for-you ingredients and have replaced sugar with a dash of honey instead. The colour of the ice cream may seem unusual to you and it looks a little bit like it might be a savoury flavour, but it’s definitely a sweet recipe. The vanilla, coconut and honey make sure of that! With summer in full swing,  it is a great time to indulge in something creamy and cool, and this recipe ticks the boxes on so many levels including taste, nutrition and presentation.  The HDYTI couple says that they had missed ice cream for so long with their pesky food allergies, but now ice cream can be back on the menu thanks to this tasty recipe.Recipe-ebook-summerThe black sesame seed recipe was originally featured in Eulanda and Omo’s Book of Yummy, which is available to download as an ebook, so be sure to check that out. Their top tip for making this recipe is “good things often come to those who are patient. Make the most of it, and start your recipe prep on a Friday night, and enjoy the fruits of your labour later on Saturday evening!”

Useful equipment: An ice cream maker is helpful but it is also possible to make this recipe without a machine, although may not achieve the familiar ‘ice cream’ texture. You will also find that a thermometer will be useful to measure temperature at some point during the process.Recipe-ebook-summer ice cream black sesame seeds and lemon

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