Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder... Nevertheless, most of our happy memories seem to be connected with small stuff in daily life, by capturing the tiniest things around us and appreciating their presence.
*********************
Fiona Sun

The Floating Loft

The most charming coastal trail..

The most charming coastal trail..

Mr. Masters (for the picnic). :)

Mr. Masters (for the picnic). :)

A charming day exploring the wine trail in Sonoma county..

A charming day exploring the wine trail in Sonoma county..

Again, time for stories.. and yup the English wombles. :) #OntheSwing

Again, time for stories.. and yup the English wombles. :) #OntheSwing

Happiness from your ordinary and extraordinary experience.. maybe? #extraordinary

Happiness from your ordinary and extraordinary experience.. maybe? #extraordinary

Lots and lots of very stylish gardens at Filoli. I just keep going back again and again quite often..

On the swing…

On the swing…

In love with macro flower photography?
- Spring in Filoli

Happy moments: Canoeing trip in Pescadero..

Happy moments: Canoeing trip in Pescadero..

Happy moments - time to play with the naughty boy, with little Mr. Smith…

My top favorite recipe for Bread Pudding (By Justin)
————————-

2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
3 oz butter (salted or unsalted)
1 pint of milk (fat free is ok)
8 slices of toast bread or an equivalent amount of other bread (crusts and stale bread or toast are ok)
2 oz agave syrup (sugar, honey, maple syrup or another natural sweetener can be used)

First, chop the butter in one ounce chunks or smaller, and melt in a large bowl in a microwave over on high power. Add about half the cold milk and the sweetener and mix, then set aside. Use the butter wrapper to grease the inside of a standard loaf tin. You could use some other tin and scale quantities, but a deep tin like a loaf tin is preferable. The sweetener will be a major component in the final flavor, so match it carefully to your taste. 

Break the eggs and whisk them in a fresh bowl. Add a spoon of milk to make it easier if the eggs are cold. Add the two extra yolks and whisk them in. Keep the two spare egg whites for an omelette or something like that. 

Break or cut the bread into pieces about the size of an eighth to a quarter of a piece of toast bread. Size is not too critical, and some can be larger or smaller, but try to keep them about that size. Too big and they won’t sit dense enough in the loaf tin. Too small and they’ll mush together. 

Mix the eggs and the rest of the milk and butter / milk mixture together, then add the bread pieces and turn them somewhat gently to coat them in the mixture. Try not to crush or break the bread pieces. This is easier with stale bread and crusts!

Then turn the coated bread pieces and mix into the loaf tin. The liquid mixture should come to within about a half inch of the rim. If there’s too little, add some more milk. The bread should come to about the top of the tin. Add more if needed.

Set the tin loosely covered in the refrigerator. Leave it for at least a few hours. Overnight is my preference. The exact time is not crucial. When ready, the bread pieces will be soft but will still have their shape. But you are not waiting for any sudden signal, if you leave it overnight then a few hours more or less won’t make much difference. 

Take the tin out. Heat an oven to 350 degrees with the shelf at a middle or low setting (there should be plenty of room above). Bake the pudding for about 35 minutes. It may take more or less depending on your oven and tin. When done the top should be brown, and the top should have risen by most of an inch. 

You can serve immediately, plain or with custard, cream, ice cream or what have you. The pudding will soon lose the height it gained while cooking but don’t worry about that. Leftovers can be kept in the fridge and warmed up in a microwave or regular oven - it’s a very easy-going dish in that way. Enjoy!

My top favorite recipe for Bread Pudding (By Justin)
————————-

2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
3 oz butter (salted or unsalted)
1 pint of milk (fat free is ok)
8 slices of toast bread or an equivalent amount of other bread (crusts and stale bread or toast are ok)
2 oz agave syrup (sugar, honey, maple syrup or another natural sweetener can be used)

First, chop the butter in one ounce chunks or smaller, and melt in a large bowl in a microwave over on high power. Add about half the cold milk and the sweetener and mix, then set aside. Use the butter wrapper to grease the inside of a standard loaf tin. You could use some other tin and scale quantities, but a deep tin like a loaf tin is preferable. The sweetener will be a major component in the final flavor, so match it carefully to your taste.

Break the eggs and whisk them in a fresh bowl. Add a spoon of milk to make it easier if the eggs are cold. Add the two extra yolks and whisk them in. Keep the two spare egg whites for an omelette or something like that.

Break or cut the bread into pieces about the size of an eighth to a quarter of a piece of toast bread. Size is not too critical, and some can be larger or smaller, but try to keep them about that size. Too big and they won’t sit dense enough in the loaf tin. Too small and they’ll mush together.

Mix the eggs and the rest of the milk and butter / milk mixture together, then add the bread pieces and turn them somewhat gently to coat them in the mixture. Try not to crush or break the bread pieces. This is easier with stale bread and crusts!

Then turn the coated bread pieces and mix into the loaf tin. The liquid mixture should come to within about a half inch of the rim. If there’s too little, add some more milk. The bread should come to about the top of the tin. Add more if needed.

Set the tin loosely covered in the refrigerator. Leave it for at least a few hours. Overnight is my preference. The exact time is not crucial. When ready, the bread pieces will be soft but will still have their shape. But you are not waiting for any sudden signal, if you leave it overnight then a few hours more or less won’t make much difference.

Take the tin out. Heat an oven to 350 degrees with the shelf at a middle or low setting (there should be plenty of room above). Bake the pudding for about 35 minutes. It may take more or less depending on your oven and tin. When done the top should be brown, and the top should have risen by most of an inch.

You can serve immediately, plain or with custard, cream, ice cream or what have you. The pudding will soon lose the height it gained while cooking but don’t worry about that. Leftovers can be kept in the fridge and warmed up in a microwave or regular oven - it’s a very easy-going dish in that way. Enjoy!

I leave you with a lovely scone recipe that I found in a book. It’s not from an ‘English’ recipe book but these taste so good, especially with jam and clotted cream :)

Ingredients:

220gm pastry flour

80 gm caster sugar

1/2 tsp Salt

70gm unsalted butter

1 egg yolk and milk mixture, 110gm

(combine 1 egg yolk with enough fresh whole milk to make up amount)

40gm sultanas/raisins (optional)

Method:

1. Prepare flour and butter a day in advance. Sift flour and baking powder together.  Place butter and flour together in a plastic bag and chill in the refrigerator overnight.

2. On day of baking, pre-heat oven to 200C.  *Pulse butter-flour mixture together with sugar and salt in a food processor until mixture resembles course breadcrumbs.

3. Add egg yolk and milk mixture and mix until a smooth dough is formed.  If using raisins/sultanas, add together with milk and egg yolk mixture.  Place dough on a floured surface and knead lightly.  Roll out to a thickness of about 1.5cm – 2cm.

4. Cut as many rounds of dough as possible with a 5cm round pastry cutter that has been dusted with flour. Place dough circles on a baking sheet  and brush with milk.  Bake for 12 – 15 minutes until scones are golden brown.  Remove from heat and cool on a wire rack.  Serve scones warm, with jam of choice and cream on the side.

*To make scones without a food processor, combine flour, sugar and salt in a bowl.  Cut butter into small cubes and add to flour.  Use your fingertips to rub butter and flour until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.  Add milk and egg yolk mixture and mix with a scraper (If using raisins/sultanas, add  together with milk and egg yolk mixture).  Place dough on a floured surface and knead lightly, then follow recipe as stated above.

I leave you with a lovely scone recipe that I found in a book. It’s not from an ‘English’ recipe book but these taste so good, especially with jam and clotted cream :)

Ingredients:

220gm pastry flour

80 gm caster sugar

1/2 tsp Salt

70gm unsalted butter

1 egg yolk and milk mixture, 110gm

(combine 1 egg yolk with enough fresh whole milk to make up amount)

40gm sultanas/raisins (optional)

Method:

1. Prepare flour and butter a day in advance. Sift flour and baking powder together. Place butter and flour together in a plastic bag and chill in the refrigerator overnight.

2. On day of baking, pre-heat oven to 200C. *Pulse butter-flour mixture together with sugar and salt in a food processor until mixture resembles course breadcrumbs.

3. Add egg yolk and milk mixture and mix until a smooth dough is formed. If using raisins/sultanas, add together with milk and egg yolk mixture. Place dough on a floured surface and knead lightly. Roll out to a thickness of about 1.5cm – 2cm.

4. Cut as many rounds of dough as possible with a 5cm round pastry cutter that has been dusted with flour. Place dough circles on a baking sheet and brush with milk. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes until scones are golden brown. Remove from heat and cool on a wire rack. Serve scones warm, with jam of choice and cream on the side.

*To make scones without a food processor, combine flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Cut butter into small cubes and add to flour. Use your fingertips to rub butter and flour until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add milk and egg yolk mixture and mix with a scraper (If using raisins/sultanas, add together with milk and egg yolk mixture). Place dough on a floured surface and knead lightly, then follow recipe as stated above.

The Cotswolds

The Cotswolds

Scenery

Scenery

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