Friday, 16 August 2013


I haven't been around here for a bit....mainly because all my news has been posted up on Facebook...but also because I've been busy organizing the launch of my new business, Facebook page and NEW BLOG....

so, here it is folks.....


I'm still going to run The Six Inch Square Blog....this place is where I do all my verbal 'rambling' and info on my various hobbies. Studio Forty is purely for the details on my artwork and services available to purchase. All new pieces made and ready to buy will be posted on there.

I hope you will take a moment to pop by and start following the new blog....lots of things to come, all variety of artwork will be available to suit many tastes...

...and Tatty Button is BACK and making an appearance again after many months 'resting' - I have some printed cotton shopping bags in stock ready to buy now with four original Tatty Button designs to choose from.

Hope to see you there!

Oh, and you can also check out the new FACEBOOK: STUDIOFORTY-ANGE J LEE PAGE

Please pop by, LIKE and share!


Sunday, 19 May 2013


Did you know it is World Baking Day today?

We've all been encouraged to step in those kitchens...and step outside the comfort zone and be a little braver with our baking by creating a cake, biscuits, just something sweet and delicious that we've never done or attempted before....'s a link to the website that has been set up...and for people a little stuck for ideas, they've teamed up with 100 different chefs, from tv fame, restaurants and home bakers etc to supply recipes....suited for all ages and abilities...PLUS an Ultimate Challenge Cream Puff Cake from Buddy Valastro of Cake Boss fame...gone on...dare you make it!

For all you Facebookers, they also have an FB page for you to join in chat and upload pics in order to share your creations of the day.

So...what have I done?

Well...Baking isn't a hardship for me - give me any excuse to get in the kitchen and get those baking utensils out...and I'm there.....but, deciding what to do has been a little bit tricky. Today I'm a little stretched for time....I have commitments today so much as I was really tempted to try the Buddy Challenge, I sadly cannot, and so I picked a couple of things that could be all completed by mid morning before I head off out (after posting this too, of course). What to do that was 'out of my comfort zone' was also a poser...because aside from cooking something I truly hate (no point in that, if I can't enjoy sampling my creations) I'm not easily fazed by baking and will give anything a what to do...what to do....

On searching the WBD website for inspiration, my OH pointed out this recipe

Barbara Richards - 5 Cup Health Crunchies

...on the basis that it's a sort of healthy thing...and since basically none of my baking creations come under the 'healthy' would be something different for me to try.

There was one problem, contained coconut!

I HATE coconut!...

almost as much as I hate raisins, currants and sultanas!

"Well, since when has something in a recipe ever stopped you....change it...put in something you DO like"...was his reply!

So I did...

and here's the result

The recipe calls for 5 equal cup measures of ingredients (hence the name of course) but I tweaked it slightly and the coconut was substituted by a third a cup each of chopped hazelnuts and walnuts, plus the oats were increased by one third of a cup still maintaining a 5 cup measure in total. I also used dark brown sugar to give more depth in colour and flavour. The recipe instructions and baking times were all the same.
If I may say so, they are stunningly delicious! We've just sampled some fresh baked and warm from the oven and they're slight soft and gooey, and cakey....but I also think once they've cooled and crisped up a bit, they'll be even more moreish!

I have a feeling these are going to become a regular bake in this household and make a lovely change from flapjacks. They are also ripe for even more adaptation - we think adding dried fruit...and even grated apple would work...and maybe some chocolate to create a slightly more sinful version!

Can't wait to experiment!

There will be no waiting for another World Baking Day to come along though...I think next week is more like it!

Aside from that I also baked bread...

nothing new there...but it was Soda Bread, and made with buttermilk (the proper traditional way) and is a little out of my comfort zone because I'm so used to bread made with yeast and kneaded, left to prove etc - this stuff uses Bicarbonate of Soda for the raising agent...and no kneading or proving's a case of mix it, shape it, cut it, bake it...and 30 mins later you're done!

I used a Paul Hollywood (bread god!) recipe from his book 'How to Bake'.
Now, don't laugh!...but Whoops, this is what happened! It sort of exploded out a little too much. Tradition has it that you shape the dough into a ball, and then deeply slash through in a cross shape before baking....this is to let the bread devil out. Paul, in his book tells you to cut almost to the base, but I didn't...and even so it still expanded and opened out to this extent. I think the Devil...AND all his mates have quite comfortably been let out of this one lol!

Oh might look a little misshapen...but as long as it tastes good I'm happy!

Once more...A Happy World Baking Day to you...

now get in those kitchens...and bake!


Monday, 1 April 2013

MUFFIN MONDAY - Marbled Vanilla & Chocolate AND Oaty Fruity Muffins

It's Monday....and it's Muffins! I baked up a couple of batches of new recipes to try over the weekend and as promised (to my FB friends), after being sampled and some bits slightly tweaked, the results and ingredients are now here for you to try.

Marbled Vanilla & Chocolate Muffins

I recently found a little book  '1 mix, 50 muffins' with some very interesting variations in, but have really only just got around to trying out some of it's contents. I wanted to make basic chocolate muffins and could have used my normal tried and tested recipes, but found in this book one for a marbled effect - ie the mix is split into half chocolate, half vanilla then randomly spooned into the cases to create a marbled swirled sponge. I decided to give this variation a go...but mainly because the instructions got me a little curious. It called for the whole batter mix to be mixed up as vanilla, then halved into two bowls, and an amount of cocoa powder added to one batch. On reading this I immediately thought...hmmmm surely adding the cocoa to this batch would alter the consistency, compared to the vanilla...

I went ahead with the recipe...and sure enough, the addition of the extra 'dry ingredient' cocoa powder did indeed make the chocolate batch much thicker in consistency to the vanilla half. My concern then, was whether this would affect the baking. I think it did. The batch of muffins came out very uneven and lopsided...and on pulling apart and tasting one, found the chocolate sections much drier and heavier....and maybe even a tad overcooked. The vanilla parts were much nicer in I wasn't happy...a tweak of the recipe was called for.

Convinced that the dry powder ingredients (ie flour and cocoa) needed to be equal in weights for both batches I took a look at the book again and took the details for a basic vanilla mix and then compared it to the details for a basic chocolate mix. The vanilla one called for 10oz of plain flour, the chocolate one called for 8oz of flour with the remaining 2oz substituted with cocoa powder.....(all the rest of the ingredients were identical) so the obvious thing was to use both of these recipes instead, halve the quantities and just follow the same instructions as to spooning these batches into the cases as before, to create the marble.

The result was a much more evenly baked and risen muffin...and so here is my amended version -

Marbled Vanilla & Chocolate Muffins (makes approx 10-12 standard sized)

for the Vanilla batch -
5oz Plain flour
half tbsp baking powder
quarter tsp salt
2oz caster sugar
4 1/2 floz milk
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1tsp vanilla extract

for the Chocolate batch -
4oz Plain flour
1oz Cocoa powder
half tbsp baking powder
quarter tsp salt
2oz caster sugar
1 egg
4 1/2 floz milk
3 tbsp vegetable oil

Pre heat oven to 200oC/400oF/gas mark 6 (if using fan assisted oven, reduce temperature according to manufacturers instructions)

Prepare a muffin tin, grease and line or use paper cases.

Make up each batch in separate bowls in the order as follows - Sift together dry ingredients, mix together wet ingredients in another bowl or jug, pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and stir quickly but gently until just combined (it will look lumpy but no dry flour should be visible).

Using teaspoons, spoon batter into the muffin tins, alternating the chocolate and vanilla mix.

Bake in oven for approx 20mins until well risen, and tops spring back when touched or a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

These muffins look pretty cool with the swirled two tone sponge but as it was Easter, I tarted mine up a little bit more for an extra sweet treat -
The tops were smothered in chocolate frosting and little chocolate mini eggs placed on as couldn't see the marbling and only once the case was peeled back and the sponge bitten into, did the multicoloured mix reveal itself!

Oaty & Fruity Breakfast Muffins (makes 10-12 standard size)
This is from a tried and trusted Susan Reimer recipe for Oatmeal and chocolate chip muffins that has been tweaked and the chocolate replaced with dried fruit....for a slightly more healthier version. I call then 'Breakfast' muffins because I use porridge oats.

2oz rolled oats
9 floz milk
8oz plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
half tsp salt
4oz mixed dried fruit
1 egg (beaten)
4oz light brown soft sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3floz vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 200oC/400oF/Gas Mark6 (if using fan assisted oven, reduce temperature according to makers instructions)

Prepare muffin tins.

In bowl combine the oats and milk and set aside to soak while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt...then stir in the dried mixed fruit.

To the oat/milk mixture, stir in the beaten egg, sugar, vanilla extract, and oil...then pour into the dry ingredients and stir quickly but gently until just combined. Do not over should be a lumpy batter but with no dry flour visible.

Pour into muffin tin/cups (about  three quarters full), bake for 20-25mins until light brown and firm to the touch. Transfer to wire rack to cool.


Saturday, 23 March 2013


As, usual....I haven't posted on here for a while. I'm busy with refurbing and redecorating the bathroom, diningroom and kitchen - picking up from where I left off after the professionals came in to fit new suite and kitchen appliances a while back etc (if you follow my blog you'll have seen the photos and such). I'm on the home straight (I think!) and I'll be doing another update and blog post once it's all finished so hang'll be here soon I hope... the meantime, I'm just posting up a recipe for something I cooked up today. Really enjoyed was a big hit with the OH so I've decided to share on here.

We're in the middle of a snow storm again (it's nearly April for crying out loud...can we please have Spring now...all this white stuff and below freezing temps is becoming a joke!) so we've been hankering after comfort foods. I was watching an old Nigel Slater tv cookery show and he was making a lentil and pancetta stew and that kinda got my mouth watering...

...stew...mmmmmm...stew sounded goooood...

...but I didn't have any lentils (used up my last can a few days ago for a dahl curry) and I didn't have any pancetta....or bacon...or any other meats for that fact...

so a quick scout of the cupboard and armed with an onion, two small leeks, two large carrots, tinned tomatoes and a tin of butterbeans and the herbs and spice cupboard at the ready, I decided to try out moroccan style. I used an old tried and tested combo of spices (normally used for a meat tagine) but the rest was kinda winging it...thankfully it turned out rather good. With the absence of meat it's pretty quick one pot to cook up and serve within the hour...although I daresay, if left over night the flavours would develop even more.

Don't be put off by the long list of herbs and spices...looks a lot, but these really are needed for a good authentic moroccan flavour and are actually in small quantities.

Sorry...but no photos...we were too hungry to stand around prepping and making pretty for piccies!

Simple Moroccan style Bean and Veg stew (serves 4)

couple of tblspns of oil for frying (I used rapseed but olive or veg oil is fine)
1 medium sized onion, peeled and chopped (about 1inch pieces)
1 large leek (or two small), washed and chopped (about 1 inch pieces)
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
*1tsp cumin seeds
*half tsp ground cinnamon
*1tsp ground coriander
*half tsp tumeric powder
*half tsp fennel seeds
*1 tsp dried basil
*half tsp sea salt
*small pinch of cayenne
2 garlic cloves (crushed or very fine choped)
1 400g tin Tomatoes in juice
1pt chicken stock (or veg stock if making as a vegetarian meal)
1 400g tin Butter Beans, drained and rinsed
half tblsp grated fresh ginger (optional)
fresh chopped coriander or parsley to serve (optional)

Fry off the onion, leek and carrot in the oil for a couple of minutes, then stir in all the * marked herbs and spices and cook a further 2 mins, Add the garlic, gently cook another min the add in the tomatoes and stock. Bring to the boil and simmer about 25-30mins...stiring occasionaly and keeping an eye that it doesn't dry up...add extra water or more stock if needed (the tomatoes and long simmering will thicken the liquid but it's a stew so there needs to be ample juices). Add the Butterbeans and gently cook a further 10 mins then stir in the grated ginger (if using), turn off the heat, cover and let rest a few minutes.

Serve scattered with the chopped fresh herbs and with plain cous cous or some pitta bread to mop up the juices.