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Archive for October, 2013

Halloween is just over a week away and Thomas and I are getting excited.

Pumpkins, Costumes, Decorations and Treats are in all the shops and supermarkets, but if you can make your own I think it is much more fun and it could save you money too. Here are a few ideas if you are celebrating at home or at school.

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PUMPKINS

Now widely available to buy, look for one that is firm with a tough skin and not damaged (they can soon go rotten if their skin is broken, especially if they are kept somewhere warm).

If you have grown your own now is the time to harvest them before any frost, cut them off the plant leaving a long stem then place in a cool greenhouse/polytunnel or windowsill in the sun to ripen, if you want to grow your own next year click on the link below, it not as difficult as you might think and perfect for children to do.

Grow your own Pumpkins for Halloween

The traditional way to decorate your pumpkin is to carve it and place a light inside to make them glow, click on the link below for a step by step guide.

Make a Pumpkin Jack O’ Lantern

Lit Halloween Pumpkin 1

There are many other ways to decorate your Pumpkin without carving, these are ideal classrorrm activities in schools and nurseries and for young children at home, here are a few suggestions.

Sparkly Pumpkin – Cover your Pumpkin with glue and sprinkle generously or make patterns and shapes using different colours of glitter.

Painted Pumpkin – Simply use paint to decorate your pumpkin, paint on patterns, swirls, spots, stripes, flowers, faces, cats, spiders or use stencils or paper doilies for templates.

Collage Pumpkin – Accessorise your Pumpkin by sticking on sequins, beads, ribbon, string, wool, stars, gems, buttons – make an abstract pattern or a face.

Natural Pumpkin – Collect Autumn leaves of different colours, shapes and sizes and stick them all over your Pumpkin.

FUN AND GAMES

Pin the Nose on the Wicked Witch

Draw a witch on a large piece of card, it can be an outline or more detailed if you wish include its pointed hat, colour in or decorate with spiders and webs, hang your witch on a wall.

Draw and cut out a large crooked nose, place a piece of sticky tack on the back.

In turn, blind fold each child and ask them to stick the nose on the witch, older children/teachers/adults may need to be spun round to make it more difficult, the nearest to the spot wins.

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Pass the Pumpkin

A Halloween version of pass the parcel, fill a hollowed out, carved pumpkin with sweets when the music stops whoever is holding the pumpkin picks out a sweet, the winner gets to take the pumpkin home.

Rosy Apples

Apple Bobbing

Fill a bucket or large cauldron ¾ full with water and add some eating apples, place an old towel or sheet underneath to catch any spills. Try and bite the apples with your hands behind your back, keep a towel handy. For a dry alternative or for those in Halloween make-up hang apples by their stems from doorways or for little ones use marshmallows or mini doughnuts.

TREATS

If you have carved your own pumpkin use the flesh to make Mini Pumpkin Cakes and toast the seeds for a delicious snack – Sweet or Savoury the method is still the same.

Sweet Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1 tablespoon Butter melted
  • 1 tablespoon Granulated Sugar
  • ½ teaspoon Cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon Nutmeg

Savoury Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1 tablespoon Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Worcester Sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • Sprinkle of Garlic Salt

What you need to do

  1. Rinse the seeds and remove as much pulp as possible, dab with kitchen roll to remove most of the moisture.
  2. Add the seeds to a bowl containing all the remaining ingredients and stir until well mixed and the seeds are completely covered, spread the seeds out on a tray lined with baking parchment.
  3. Cook in a preheated oven 275 F/135 C for about an hour or until crunchy and golden brown turning occasionally.
  4. Allow to cool.

Quick and Easy ‘Spook’ Cakes

Ingredients

  • Fairy Cakes – shop bought or homemade (plain or flavoured)
  • Ready to roll white Icing
  • Icing Sugar
  • Glace Cherries
  • Marmalade or light coloured Jam
  • Currants or suitable dark sweets for eyes

What you need to do

  1. Take the fairy cakes out of their cases and place upside down.
  2. Melt your jam in the microwave and brush over your fairy cakes.
  3. Place a cherry on the top of each, and brush with the jam.
  4. Dust your worktop with icing sugar and roll out the icing thinly.
  5. Cut out circles of icing using a saucer as a template.
  6. Re roll the offcuts to make more circles.
  7. Drape the icing circles over the cakes to create wavy pleats.
  8. Press your currants/sweets into the icing for the eyes.

Trick or Treaters

Whatever you are doing to celebrate have lots of fun

Gill

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October truly is the month of the apple and this year growers have reported bumper crops with fruit that is tastier than ever due to the favourable weather. If you wish to taste some new or old varieties, many of which do not appear in our supermarkets, have a look out for an Apple Day near where you live. There are many organised events throughout the country where you can eat apples, make apple juice, walk round orchards, ask the experts about growing, pruning and training apple trees, bring in your own apples to be identified or to simply buy apples or even a tree.

You cannot beat a Bramley Apple for that lovely tangy taste and fluffy texture, they are very versatile and can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes – delicious! They are at their best at the moment and widely available, but of course if you grow your own they are even better!

This week is Bramley Apple Pie Week when we celebrate this wonderful apple, here is a delicious recipe for those of you with a sweet tooth, it would be perfect for a Halloween or Bonfire Night Party.

Toffee Apple Pie

Your ingredients

The pastry

  • 250g Plain Flour
  • 125g Butter/Margarine
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3-4 tablespoons cold water

The filling

  • 50g Caster Sugar
  • 50g Dark Muscavado Sugar
  • 50g Butter
  • 25ml water
  • 700g Bramley Apples
  • Juice and zest 1 lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon Cinnamon
  • Caster Sugar for sprinkling

25cm pie dish

What you need to do

Sift the flour and salt in a bowl, rub in the butter/margarine until it resembles breadcrumbs, add the cold water and mix with a knife until it comes together, gather up and knead to form a ball. Cover with clingfilm and chill in the fridge for ½ hour.

Peel, core and slice the apples, sprinkle over the cinnamon, the grated lemon zest and the juice, and stir.

Melt the butter in a pan, add the water and the caster and dark muscavado sugar, bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes, add the apple mixture stir and cook for a further few minutes until the apples start to soften then leave to cool.

Preheat the oven to 170C.

Roll out 2/3rd of the pastry and line the bottom of the pie dish, fill with the cooled apple mixture.

Roll out the remaining pastry to make a lid, brush a little water around the edges of the pastry bottom  so that the lid will stick, press/crimp the edges to seal the pie and trim off any excess pastry, make 2 or 3 slits in the middle of the lid. If you wish to decorate the top, roll out the leftover pastry and cut out leaf or apple shapes, wet them underneath with water to help them stick.

Sprinkle with the caster sugar and bake for 30mins until golden brown.

Serve with cream, ice cream or custard.

You know what they say an apple a day…

Gill

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At The Recycleworks we are passionate about encouraging children of all ages and abilities to learn where their food comes from and how to grow their own.

If you think you know your fruit and vegetables why not have a go at first two competitions for a chance to win some of our famous Wooden Raised Beds.

Competition 1  In the Family Zone and Kids Zone

We are constantly developing new products, our latest range for young gardeners is called

Toddlers Own, Real Gardening Range

as the title suggests these are real working gardening products just like mum and dad would use and not toys, as a preview to this new range we are giving you the chance to win a

Raised Bed on Legs

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These Raised Beds are lovingly made for you to our usual high standard in fcs wood and measure 57cm x 57cm externally with a height of 45cm approx. The growing tray has a generous depth of 24cm making it suitable for a wide variety of plants, a liner is also included to retain the soil and optimize drainage.
Children will love growing their favourite fruit, flowers and vegetables in their own ‘Raised Bed’ and at their own height making gardening easier and great fun.
All you need to do is to identify which fruit or vegetable is shown in the six photographs, then send in your answers on the entry form before the closing date of 30th November 2013.
Fruit and Vegetable Picture Quiz

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2

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Click here for full details and your entry form.

Competition 2  In the School Zone

Gardening is now becoming an important part of the School curriculumn, to get your school garden off to a great start we are giving you the chance to win a Wooden Raised Bed and module complete with accessories.
All you need to do is to have a look at our Quiz and see if you can work out which vegetable or fruit we are describing, then send in your answers on the entry form the closing date of 30th November 2013.
Vegetable and Fruit Quiz

1.  We are usually green or black and hang around in bunches.

2.  I grow in the ground and it is often said that I can help you see in the dark.

3.  I am yellow and although I have ears I cannot hear, I am delicious cooked on the BBQ.

4.  You often find me growing in the greenhouse I can either be very hot or sweet to eat.

5.  I am round and orange and you usually see me at Halloween.

6.  Jack planted me, and climbed me to seek the giant and steal his treasure.

7.  I am sweet and red and have my seeds on the outside; I am often eaten with cream.

8.  We are small, round and green and grow together in pods.

9.  I am usually grown in hot countries, I am yellow with a dimply skin but I am sour to eat.

10. I have a white head, surrounded by green leaves I am often eaten with a cheese sauce.

Click here for full details and your entry form.

Competition 3  The Recycleworks Competition – October 2013

New month, new chances, a new prize and a new product! Bearing in mind that you will receive your winning prize in November we are thinking Christmas. This month we are giving away a Toddlers Raised Bed on Legs from our new Toddlers Own, Real Gardening Range of gardening products.

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To win the prize all you have to do is tell us to whom you would give the Toddlers Own Real Gardening experience to and why you would give it to them.

The most interesting entry, sent to us by email (sylvia@recycleworks.co.uk), letter or telephone (01254 820088) will receive the prize at the beginning of November.

Don’t forget to tell us where to send the prize and if you would like us to send a free accompanying card with your message if you win!

Editor’s decision final.

This competiton closes at midnight on 31st October 2013.

Good Luck
Gill

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Ground Spices

This week is National Curry Week, 7-13 October 2013, so to celebrate this ‘British’ favourite I thought I would share with you one of my recipes.

The great thing about curries is that you can really put your own mark on them, adding your favourite ingredients and customising them to you or your family’s tastes, they are ideal for using up your vegetable glut, why not make double quantities and freeze some for later on.

This curry is quick and easy to make, the fruit adds a nice sweetness which will appeal to children.

Fruity Chicken Curry

Your ingredients

  • 25g butter/margarine
  • 2 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless and cut into chunks)
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (crushed)
  • 3 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 stick of celery (sliced)
  • ½ apple (diced)
  • ½ red pepper (chopped)
  • 75g sultanas
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper

What you need to do

  1. In a large pan melt the butter, add the chicken pieces and cook on medium heat until sealed and browned on all sides (approx. 8 minutes), then remove from the pan.
  2. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and fry until soft, then add the curry powder and stir well.
  3. Return the chicken to the pan with the celery, apple, red pepper, sultanas and chicken stock.
  4. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Serve with rice and naan bread.

Serves 2

Other vegetables that you could add include cauliflower, courgettes, runner/french beans, potatoes, carrots, spinach.

We are all big Curry fans in the office, especially Sylvia who regularly frequents her favourite local restaurant.

Why not give it a go; it will warm you up now that there is a chill in the air.

Gill

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