Teapot Tuesday – 15/9/15


Ok, I’m calling it.  Autumn weather is here, I have been rocking the knits for a couple of weeks now and am starting to crave cinnamon. So what says Autumn more than the colour orange? I’ve picked this lovely teapot found here this teapot Tuesday in honour of the seasonal colour change! 

Bramley Apple Chutney

Mr S  nipped out to the corner shop. He returned bearing gifts-using his T shirt as a makeshift ‘bag’!

One of our neighbours had a glut of Bramley apples and shared! With Thimble and Mr S taking a packed lunch every working day,the best use we could think of for this surprise apple bonus was a chutney {to add a little interest to sandwiches} and using up a few other bits from the pantry this is what we ended up with.

You will need to sterilise jars for this recipe. If you are not sure how to do this follow this link for instructions.


1Kg Bramley Apples

2 Cloves Garlic

200ml Cider Vinegar

500g Granulated Sugar

100g Stoned Dates

50g Dried Apricots{ready to eat}

50g Grated Fresh Ginger

1/2 Tsp Salt

1/2 Tsp Allspice

1/4 Tsp Cayenne Pepper


Chop everything into small pieces {use scissors for the dates and apricots-much easier!}.Finely chop garlic.

Place the apple pieces ,garlic and cider vinegar a large saucepan over gentle heat until they break down into a puree {you can choose to leave a few lumps or continue until smooth}.

Stir in the sugar,dates,apricots,salt,allspice and cayenne.

Simply that easy.

Cook for 20/25mins.

Spoon into hot sterilised jars.


Note; Leave in a cool,dark place for 2/3 weeks for the chutney to mature to an even better flavour.Once opened keep refrigerated.

This works especially well with cheese – enjoy!

Raspberry and Chocolate Ripple Baked Cheesecake | Gluten Free Bake Off Challenge

So last week on Bake Off everyone had to tackle baked desserts which meant we too had to set ourselves this tricky challenge! While enjoying the tent antics we watched and worried that all the challenges would be – well – too challenging! Our oven can be a tempestuous madam and so many of the desserts seemed to rely on perfect oven temperature! However, by the time the final music played we had decided we would try for a baked cheesecake – something neither of us had attempted before. Not 3 tiered craziness I might add – just one edible baked cheesecake would be good enough for us!

As we know little about baked cheesecakes we decided it was best to stick to a recipe and chose one by Mary Berry which you can find HERE. We stuck to this recipe with but one exception – we added a hint of raspberry to this already delightful mix!


For the Base:

  • 100g Gluten Free Biscuits – You could bake your own if you have a lot of time on your hands! We used some oaty ones from nairns.
  • 50g Butter (melted)

For the Cheesecake:

  • 150g Plain Chocolate
  • 700g Full Fat Cream Cheese
  • 225g Caster Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Essence
  • 2 eggs
  • Freeze Dried Raspberry pieces – optional


Pre heat oven to 160C. Lightly Grease a loose-bottomed cake tin (8 inches)

  • Crush your biscuits and mix with your melted butter. Press into the base of your cake tin then put to one side.
  • Melt the Plain Chocolate using your favourite method – you could use a bowl over a pan of hot water or risk the microwave like us!
  • Beat your Cream Cheese in bowl until soft. Add the Caster Sugar and then beat the mixture again until well combined.
  • Add Vanilla Essence (we also added vanilla from our grinder) then the Eggs one at a time. If you are making this as a Raspberry and Chocolate Ripple Cheesecake then now it the time to add a large handful of freeze dried Raspberry pieces!
  • Spoon half your mixture onto your biscuit base. Try to separate the spoonfuls (this did not work so well for us)
  • Add your melted Chocolate to the remaining mixture and mix it in well. Then spoon this chocolatey mixture in between/ on top of your white mixture on your biscuit base. You might need to use a butter knife to swirl your mixtures around a little more!
  • Bake for 30 mins until the edge is puffy but the middle is still soft – Leave to cool in the oven.

At this point our top went all cracky which according to the internet could have happened for a number of reasons! We weren’t too worried as our kitchen was smelling amazing! We love how this bake turned out! It was rich but not too heavy – it felt like a real luxury! What a treat. It would be a super alternative to a birthday cake.

Cheese and Sundried Tomato Quick Bread |Gluten Free Bake Off Challenge

After watching GBBO we were really excited about the possibility that Soda/Quick bread could hold in a gluten free diet! So with high hopes we decided to try a cheesy bread with the addition of sundried tomatoes and a pumpkin seed topping.


12oz Gluten free Plain Flour{we use Doves}

1/2 Tsp Baking Soda

1/2 Tsp Salt

290/300ml Buttermilk

4oz Cheese {small cubes}

1/3 Cup Sundried Tomatoes{chopped small pieces}

TBSP Pumpkin seeds for topping{optional}



Note: We are baking our loaf in a round tin but it could just be free formed on a baking sheet.

Pre-heat oven 200*c and grease and flour tin/baking sheet

  • In a mixing bowl combine Flour, Baking Soda and Salt.
  • Create a well in the centre and working quickly add half the Buttermilk, then gradually the remaining Buttermilk until a it forms a dough {a bit like a scone mix}.
  • Add Cheese and Tomatoes and lightly knead {Do not overwork}
  • Form into a round and deeply score the top.
  • Push pumpkin seeds in top of dough and bake.
  • Bake for 40 mins {check after 30 mins} and cool on a rack.

We enjoyed this bread in big chunks smothered in butter (especially good warm from the oven!) It was certainly a successful bake in terms of taste – super yummy and delicious! However, texturally it turned out like a cross between soda bread and a scone (no bad thing in my book) so if you are looking for a very ‘bready’ bread then this might not be for you.


Picture Frame Up-cycle Project

As most of you know we love a car boot bargain and when we spotted these huge picture frames for 50p each well it would have rude to walk away! We confess this project has been sitting in the shed waiting patiently for its moment to shine for a while, but as we had a couple of days of sunshine forecast{optimist}and sanding was involved it was time to get our craft on!

What You Need:

Old,Ugly picture frame begging for a make over

Sand Paper + Elbow Grease

Wire {or you could use string}


Drawing pins


This is pretty straight forward! Simply remove the glass and back from your chosen frame, then give the whole thing a really good sand down! (Think of the good it’s doing the bingo wings!!) after wiping with a damp cloth to remove any remaining sanding bits give it a first coat of paint! Wait a day, then give it a second coat! Easy!

Wait until it’s completely dry and then measure and mark where you would like the ‘washing line’ to go in the frame.

Simply drawing pin line in place firmly{you could use nails for a more permanent fix}

Peg your photos on and display!


Date and Walnut Biscotti | Gluten Free Bake Off Challenge

For a second year Thimble and Rose have decided to take on the challenge and follow in the footsteps of the GBBO contestants each week recreating a bake … GLUTEN FREE . You can check out last years Gluten Free Bake Off Challenge here. We hope we will share more successes than failures, but we promise that if any bakes go horribly wrong we will share them and not cheat! After all, you can learn from failures too!

We are a week behind so our first bake off challenge follows biscuit week and inspired by the bakers we decided to tackle biscotti! We scoured the web and decided to adapt a recipe by the great Paul Hollywood himself (you can find that here) but we decided to put dates and walnuts in our mix – a classic combination. This is how it went:


  • 250g Plain Flour (We used Doves Gluten Free)
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 250g Caster Sugar
  • 2/3 Medium Eggs Beaten (We did need more than 2 but less than 3!)
  • 100g Roughly Chopped Walnuts
  • 100g Roughly Chopped Dates
  • Zest of 1 Medium Orange
  • Vanilla (We have a grinder – this is optional)


Pre-Heat oven to 160C and line a baking tray with parchment.

  • Mix together the Flour, Sugar and Baking Powder and then stir in your beaten egg mixture a little at a time till you have a firm dough. It is easier to tell this if you start pushing it together with your hands a little while it still looks a bit dry or it can get too sticky without you realising!
  • Chop your Dates and Walnuts so they are still fairly chunky, then add them to your dough along with your Orange Zest and Vanilla. Give them a mix through.
  • Take it out of your bowl and onto a well floured board. Knead it a little to distribute your Dates and Walnuts evenly, split it into two balls. Roll each ball into a sausage about 5cm in diameter and place on your lined tray at least 5cm apart as the sausages will spread!
  • Bake for 30 mins. Set your timer!
  • Take out of the oven and leave to cool for 10 mins then cut each (now flatter) sausage into slices of about 2cm width. Place back on your baking tray with fresh parchment the flat side up.
  • Bake for 15mins, turn all the biscotti over and then bake for a further 15mins.
  • Cool and enjoy with a coffee or a luxurious hot chocolate!

For our first challenge bake we were REALLY happy with how these turned out! They were delicious, crisp but not rock hard, with a good amount of fruit/nut in each bite! They can be dunked or eaten solo. They even got the seal of approval from gluten eating family and friends – we’d call that a success! The chewy dates worked especially well in this crisp biscuit! We will be polishing off the last of them while watching the Bake Off tonight – Bread week…next weeks challenge could be interesting!


Prune and Poppy Seed Muffins |Gluten Free


9oz Gluten Free Plain Flour {we use Doves}

2tsp Gluten Free Baking Powder

1/2tsp Baking Soda

2tbsp Poppy Seeds

4oz Brown Sugar

2 Free Range Eggs

100ml Cooking Oil

75ml Natural Yogurt{we used Greek}

3tbsp Milk

pinch of salt

3/4oz Ready to eat dried Prunes {Chopped}


Easy peasy!!!

Mix all the dry ingredients together-flour,baking powder,baking soda,poppy seeds and brown sugar in one large bowl.

In a different bowl mix all the wet ingredients-eggs,oil,yogurt,milk and the pinch of salt!

Pour the wet into the dry. Combine. Lastly add your chopped prunes.

Spoon into the muffin cases and bake in a pre-heated oven at 175C for 20mins makes 12.