Tag Archives: featured

KIDS RECIPE: Plum & apple cobbler by Beverley Glock

9 Oct

Plum and apple cobbler. Oh God yes!

Princes Risborough-based celeb chef and Splat cooking supremo Beverley Glock kindly gave Muddy Stilettos this autumnal recipe for kids.

What I like about it is that it’s written specifically for children rather than their parents, so print it out, hand it to your mini-masterchefs and let them raid your kitchen cupboards!

What’s the worst that can happen? Oh no, you’re right, let’s not go there.

Plum and apple cobbler

Serves 4


500g plums or plums and damsons

500g Bramley cooking apples

Juice of 1 lemon

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

100g caster sugar

For the cobbler

200g self raising flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

75g butter

50g caster sugar

1 egg

4 tablespoons milk or buttermilk

You will need:

Weighing scales
2 Large mixing bowls
Round bladed knife
Chopping board
Sharp knife
Deep pie dish
An adult!

How to make plum and apple cobbler:


1.      Ask an adult to preheat the oven to 20oc/gas 6.

2.      Use a round bladed knife to carefully cut the plums in half and remove the stone, then quarter them.  Peel the apples and ask an adult to core and slice them.  Mix the fruit with the lemon juice, cinnamon and sugar and place into the deep pie dish, then add 3 tablespoons of water.  Ask an adult to put the fruit into the oven to being to cook, for a maximum of 15 minutes.

3.      Prepare the cobbler – place the flour and cinnamon into a bowl, use a round bladed knife to chop the butter into small pieces then rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until it resembles bread crumbs.  Stir in the sugar then add the egg and milk or buttermilk and lightly mix to a soft dough.

4.      Ask an adult to remove the fruit from the oven – be careful as the disk will be hot.  Spoon or break off and place pieces of the dough on top of the fruit. Don’t worry if there are gaps as this will allow the lovely red juices to break through the surface and give you the ‘cobbled’ effect of the cobbler.  Serve warm with custard, cream or ice cream.

You can use lots of different fruit in a cobbler, if plums are in season these are lovely with the apple in this recipe or you could use just plums or a mixture of greengages, damsons and plums that are all part of the same family. Try this with pears and blackberries, or peaches and raspberries, and experiment with different combinations of fruit in season.


Aha, Mr Egg Cosy! I’ve been expecting you…

6 Oct

Look what came through my door this morning!

Not the friendly little egg, that would be crazy.

No, my Little Blog Award Winner’s egg cosy and cup, along with a certificate (oooh, get me!). It’s like being awardedthe adult equivalent of a 10m swimming badge.

I won the award back in July so those grannies really need to speed up their knitting a bit, but it has arrived in perfect time for Autumn egg and soldiers.

A massive, sincere thank you all for voting for me in the awards and supporting Muddy Stilettos.

Right, time for a Full English! (Sorry friendly little egg, it had to end sometime).


FASHION: Designer labels, high street prices. Allelujah!

5 Oct

Vintage & Couture in Beaconsfield. Sorry for the glary photo but you get the idea

I saw a beautiful Joseph shearling coat yesterday. Turned the price tag. £1300!

That kind of money on a coat feels crazy in times like these. What seems much more sensible is designer vintage – all the quality, and none of the buttock-clenching as you hand over your wimpering credit card.

I’ve been out and about a fair bit recently and I keep stumbling across brilliant pre-loved designer boutiques, so this post is just to shout them out to you in case you’re in the mood for buying . Vintage & Couture in Beaconsfield Old Town has been open for less than a year but my goodness, it really does stock the tippety top gear, including almost as new shoes from the likes of Jimmy Choo, below.

The day I was here there were Hermes leather gloves, a McQueen skull scarf, and some gorgeous pieces of jewellery.

Vintage Couture interior

The Alexander McQueen scarf

Vintage & Couture has a really slick website where you can search by brand, so if you can’t make it to Beaconsfield, it’s a really good starting point. One way or the other check it out. I’ll eat my hat if you don’t find something worth buying in there.

I thought that was a good find, but on my way home I stopped off in Great Missenden and walked passed a pair of glorious Marc Jacobs shoes (below) in the window of Vintage Rose. So wanted to buy them. Why haven’t I got any money?! Arrrgggggghhhh!

Oh God, sorry about that.

This shop is tiny but had some fantastic designer bits – not all vintage, some contemporary too, and an eclectic feel. Great Missenden is definitely one of those places that seems to pack a punch with its creative independent boutiques. I’m going to go back for a more leisurely snoop in the next few weeks.

Then finally, in Amersham yesterday I dipped into Labels with my mum and came across a pair of screamingly cool black Prada knee high boots for £100. Size 5.5 and with your name on them if they haven’t already been snapped up. Labels caters for a broader mix (quite a few mother-of-the-bride hats) but there are definitely gems to be found.

Let me know if you make it to the boutiquess, and most importantly, what you buy!

Not in your neck of the woods? No problem. See my previous post on second-hand boutiques here.

Vintage & Couture, 11 Windsor End, Beaconsfield, HP9 2JJ. Tel: 01494 671150. www.vintageandcouture.com

Vintage Rose, 59a High St, Great Missenden, HP16 0AL. Tel: 01494 863088. www.vintage-roseboutique.com (the webpage doesn’t seem to work at the mo though- maybe a temporary glitch)

Labels of Amersham, 12 The Broadway, Old Town, Amersham HP7 0HP. Tel: 01494 728 333

WHAT’S ON: The Muddy Guide: 4 – 10 October

4 Oct

The Big Draw, nationwide, until 31 October


The world’s biggest celebration of drawing has grown into a month-long festival throughout October all over the UK. In Bucks/Oxon it hits its stride this week with Modern Art Oxford’s free drop-in session on 10 October (1-4pm) about the power of the line, allegedly suitable for children and families. If that sounds a bit esoteric for your little darlings, the York House Centre in Stony Stratford (Milton Keynes) lowers the tone delightfully with its Ginormous Battle of Dinosaurs v Aliens  in a free workshop on Saturday 6 October (10 am – 4pm).

Kids can also help create a massive BFG at The Roald Dahl Museum in Great Missenden or try the new Drawing Packs at The Ashmolean on Saturday 13 October – with a little help from a certain Korky Paul, author and illustrator of Winnie The Witch. Check out the website here for a full list of events.

Waterperry Gardens, Apple Weekend, Friday 5 – Sunday 7 October

Had a rubbish harvest this year? Yeah, me too. Try to keep your apple envy in check as you head to Waterperry Gardens for its annual Apple Weekend.  Here’s your chance to enjoy free apple and juice tastings, tours of the orchards and fruit sheds and a test out of the different varieties of apple grown at Waterperry before buying a tree for your own garden.


Comma, online launch and 2nd birthday party, Saturday 6 October

I wrote about Comma last year, having stumbled across them whilst checking out Oxford’s Iffley Road. Lovely husband and wife team Sally and Dave produce a massive and brilliant range of witty/graphic tea towels (under the brand ToDryFor), notebooks, design nick-nacks and original cards, all of which you ‘ll be able to buy online from next week.  Combine a visit with a lunch at Michelin Bib-Gormanded The Magdalen Arms next door, or pop around the corner to check out the small-but-perfectly-formed Pegasus Theatre for a bijoux arty experience.

Comma, 247 Iffley Road, Oxford. OX4 1SJ Tel: 01865 202400

Little Missenden Festival, Little Missenden, Bucks, 5-14 October

Little Missenden Church. Check out those 12th century wall paintings.

This is a fab little festival is now in its 53rd year, with world-class classical music as its backbone but with jazz, art, folk and books thrown in for good measure. Folksinger Sam Lee, who opens the festival on Friday (5 Oct), has just been nominated for the Mercury prize for his debut album. Spanish guitarist  MILOŠ  has just received a four star Guardian review for his solo Albert Hall concert. Are you getting the picture?! Unless you’re local or a classical music nut you’re unlikely to make the evening events, but on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 there’s chamber music in the exquisite Saxon Little Missenden church at 2.45 and 3pm respectively if you want to go to your happy place for an hour or so.


Artists & Makers Fair, Waddesdon Plant Centre, Saturday 6 – Sunday 7 October

If you can’t be arsed trawling the shopping centres or even faffing about online for your Christmas pressies, this is a sure-fire winner. Printmakers, ceramicists, painters, silversmiths and other clever arty types are on hand to demonstrate, make, and importantly sell their wares. Set yourself a spending limit, then do what any sensible woman does and completely ignore it.
£3 entry plus normal charges to Waddesdon Manor. www.sallyevansevents.co.uk.

Thame arts & Literature Festival, Thame, 12-14 October

Will Gompertz. Someone have a word with him.

An early heads up on this incredibly popular festival, now in its 3rd year. It lacks the heavyweight literary punch of its neighbours Henley and Woodstock but it’s a thoroughly accessible festival, with popular choices such as Pam Ayres, Mary Berry, Jonathan Dimbleby and weirdy-haired BBC Arts Editor Will Gompertz (cut it man, cut it!). This year’s kids authors are Louise Yates, award winning writer/illustrator of Dog Loves Books and Penny Harper, the locally-based author of Lollipop and Grandpa. If last year’s kids events were anything to go by, these will be brilliant but over-subscribed so don’t wait too long to book.


WIN! A gorgeous Illuminated Canvas for your wall

2 Oct

I absolutely love these sparkly LED-lit pictures from Oxfordshire-based company Illuminated Canvas. Brilliant for wedding presents, personalising bedrooms  or even – my favourite – displaying your kids favourite works of art.

There are loads of different canvases to choose from, including some gorgeous ones for Christmas that I have my beady eye on. Those lovely Illuminated Canvas people are so supernice, they’ll let you choose whichever style you like.

Just so you know what you’re getting: The images are hand stretched, over a hand assembled wooden frame, then 20 white fairy lights are popped through the canvas creating a magical 3D effect. A discreet switch hidden away in the back of the canvas means you can easily turn your canvas on and off without having to remove it from the wall. There is absolutely no fire risk.

WANT TO WIN? Alright then!

To Enter:

Do any or all of the below. Don’t forget, the more ways you enter, the more chances you have of winning.

1. Register to Muddy Stilettos by entering your email address into the ‘Register here’ tab (top right of the homepage). You’ll be entered into all Muddy Stilettos competitions, plus you will receive my electrifyingly useful posts straight to your in box. You can unsubscribe at any time.

2. Follow @muddystiletto and Retweet me please

3. ‘Like’ Muddy Stilettos on Facebook by following the link here AND ‘Like’ Illuminated Canvas by following the link here

The winner will be drawn on 14 October or thereabouts, depending on how many afternoons I lose on the G&T.

Good luck peeps!

WHAT’S ON: The Muddy Guide 28 Sept – 4 Oct

28 Sep

Village Hall sale, Toast, Central Oxford, Thursday 4 – Friday 5 October

Oh joy! Muddy Stilettos loves nothing more than a designer bargain and here comes Toast with a whopper 70% off its gorgeous range of clothes and homeware on this two day stop-off in Oxford.

If you’re not familiar with Toast, it’s all about comfort, individualism and quirky style. Loads of cool knitwear, slouchy PJs and cashmere socks, lovely bedlinens and country style (but more log cabin than tally ho if you get my drift).

The sale starts at a rather civilised 10am each day but knowing how popular the brand is, I wouldn’t leave it too long to saunter in. I’ll have been around twice by then.

Free entry. The Newman Rooms, Oxford University Catholic Chaplaincy, The Old Place, Rose Place, St Aldate’s,Oxford, OX1 1RD

Thame Food Festival, Saturday 29 September

Ah, Ambassador, are you cooking at the Thame Food Fest this year?

The Thame Food Festival on the Bucks/Oxon border, now in its fifth year, seems to be growing at an exponential rate and has gained a reputation as one of the best food fests in the region. Raymond Blanc’s patronage as ‘Ambassador’ (quick, whip out the Ferraro Rocher) doesn’t harm of course, but there are also celebrity chef demonstrations, expert talks, kids workshops, food-making stalls and of course loads of exhibitors to buy from. If you’re not familiar with it, the centre of Thame is a charming location – wide streets, thatched and perod properties –  and if you’re bringing kids, there’s an excellent play park and Cuttlebrook woodland walk just off the high street at Southern Road recreation ground in the unlikely event that they get bored of sampling anchovies and olives.

Free entry. 9am – 5pm. www.thamefoodfestival.co.uk

Starbucks coffee machine, from Oct 2

The ‘Verismo’. Nice machine, shame about the name.

I meant to write about this yesterday but, you know, I had one of those days where I sat down to write in the evening and headplanted into the keyboard with fatigue. No doubt what I needed was a double shot of coffee from this rather fabulous Starbucks coffee machine, ready to take on Nespresso in an all out caffeine war. The new single-serve machine makes your favourite Starbucks drinks, including caffe lattes and filter coffee in 60 seconds or less and though Nespresso have it on the colour choices, you have to admit it – this design sure is perdy.

£149. Available only in Selfridges London, Birmingham & Manchester, and online from 2 Oct. www.selfridges.com
The Big Bang restaurant reopens, Castle Quarter, Central Oxford, from 29 September

Oxford institution The Big Bang (bangers and mash extraordinaire) was without a home when its lease expired in the Jericho area last year and students, trendies, and cool purveyors of local sausages sobbed for months. From Saturday it has smart new home in the Castle Quarter in central Oxford, with BBQ terrace, live jazz and a whole lot of sizzlers. The owner, Max, also runs the acclaimed Oxford Jazz Festival so you know that your tenner to stay around and listen to music after your meal will be well worth it.

42 Oxford Castle Quarter, Oxford Ox1 1AY. Tel: 01865 249413. www.thebigbangrestaurants.co.uk 

BEAUTY: To pluck or not to pluck?

24 Sep

Whoa, those brows are spooky

Is it wrong of me to be a little amused by this product? I know I probably don’t take enough care of myself and need to buck my ideas up a bit on the beauty front, but honestly – a Brow Menu?

Step 1: choose your caterpillar

It is brought to us by Shavata, she of Shavata Brow Studios who first set up shop in Harrods’ Urban Retreat and is now expounding her message to the badly-plucked masses.  “This is my passion. The entire process of creating the perfect arch fascinates me,” she saysssssssssssssssss (oops, sorry, fell asleep for a second there), “and  I am constantly thinking of new ways to make this previously daunting beauty task simpler for my clients.”

Yep. Good brow action there Adele. We like.

Admittedly my eyebrows are not high maintenance – not bushy or angry or the victim of a frenzied threading attack that’s sent their natural arch all askew. If you have trouble getting your brows right, maybe this selection of stencils, each named after a famous namesake, might be of use. In which case I’ll shut my trap and simply tell you that celebrity eyebrows like Adele’s (full and distinctive) and Kylie’s (slim high arch) can now be transplanted to your own grateful forehead.

And gentlemen, don’t think I have forgotten you. I bet you’ve had some sleepless nights worrying about your Denis Healey’s. I recommend choosing a George (naturally high arch), a Brad (straighter line) or a Jude (curved but bushy) for a more modern interpretation on the classic brow.

Hey, no problem, always happy to help!

Jude Law. Covetable eyebrows apparently.

The Brow Menu launches nationwide in House of Fraser and Harvey Nichols today from £17. http://www.shavata.co.uk/

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