- ► 2012 (77)
Winters here with force and so are dark afternoons and if your little ones are anything like mine they’re bored! So heres a couple of thi...
Last week I was sent Baking Mad Easy by Lorraine Pascale from the lovely WHSmiths (currently less than half price!) Being one of the large...
As you’re probably aware I have a lovely sponsor this year in the fabulous Nursery Paint Company. They offer the most amazing range of ...
Who needs the gym? Three ways to get active at home after Christmas So you’ve overdone it with the turkey and mulled wine. Haven’t we a...
Today I had the most amazing Banana cake and wanted to share the recipe with you only to discover when it was passed on its gluten free! I...
How many of us out there have expensive chefs kitchen knives and no idea how to use them? Hmm well hopefully this guest post will get you ba...
As you know I adore luxury (who doesn’t) but when I had my eldest I noticed that while you could have luxury baby clothes, luxury mama c...
“I emptied my bubble bath into the tub, Determined to get myself thoroughly scrubbed. The bottle had said "ONLY ONE CAP OR TWO",...
I've been a big fan of Trisha Ashley for a good few years and having followed her on twitter @trishaashley (do follow!) I asked her if s...
My eldest is coming up to four and has never been interested in books except as something to chew on. I have tried him with nearly every f...
Allergy baking Books gluten free recipes Book Review The gallery baking children cooking cupcake recipe recipe Muffins dairy free Chocolate baking made easy cake christmas egg free personalised gifts what i'm reading National Trust breakfast competition free free activities free family fun gardening homemade playdough lions outdoor fun photos Bored Chocolate souffle Harry Eastwood Lorraine Pascale Mud Pies Novels Raining Skinny French Kitchen St Davids Day Story The Little House Welsh cakes africa americans animals aprons author bacon and leek baking gifts bananas black and white bobotie boys toys brandy snaps britmums bunting cars cat on moon cherry pie chicken children in need chocolate mousse chocolate shoes and wedding blues christmas cake cleaning. colour cooking with kids coppordot creperie cubs curry cybher diaries dog downloads earth explore food foraging free day out fudge fun facts grandparents great british bake off halloween hedgerows hertiage day housework hugh fearnley-whittingstall infacol jam tarts jamies great britain jamjar fishing john crane kids activities learning to read linda collister low fat make your own bunting maps marmalade cake mary berry middlemoss mooskins morning mud museum name labels nappy rash national cherry day nut free outdoors paris pastry peppermint creams phone photographer picnics pioneers pitta pizza play ideas potato fudge present ideas. presents pudsey cupcakes pumkpins quick dinner raspberrys ride ons river cottage made easy roast safer internet sandpits scrabble sea sevi shoes snack snow soup sponsor stationary sudocrem summer tea teenagers template the magic of christmas tinyme toys trisha asley turtles unusual gifts vegetarian west highland white terrier when i was a kid whsmith wildlife wine charms winter wooden toys zebras
at Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Well with Christmas out the way and the New Year on its way in my thoughts are turning to getting my house sorted. It’s my new year’s resolution and I make (and break it) every year so this year after reading an awful lot of American housewives blogs I’m creating a house binder with “chore” list i.e. daily, weekly & monthly cleaning lists, grocery lists and meal planners. I’ve seen around a fair few list which are blank but since I’m quite hopeless in knowing exactly what I should do each morning I’ve finally found some which have fairly well documented (and long!!) lists of what needs doing. I’m currently tweaking them for my own purpose but once it’s done I’ll share with you and you can see if I manage to the end of January at least this year!
at Wednesday, December 21, 2011
I’ve been watching twitter this week and seen a lot of people complaining about Brussel Sprouts. I have to say I love them but they are a strong flavouring so if you do have to have them this Christmas why not jazz them up? They’re a bit much to have boiled and shoved on the plate next to a turkey or ham so why not make it worth while?
Heres a selection of some of my favourite ways with this little cabbages.
1 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup white wine or additional chicken broth
4-1/2 teaspoons butter
1/4 teaspoon white pepper, divided
2 packages (10 ounces each) frozen brussels sprouts
1/4 teaspoon salt
In a large saucepan, combine the broth, wine, butter and 1/8 teaspoon white pepper; bring to a boil. Add brussels sprouts. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 6-9 minutes or until tender. Drain and transfer to a bowl. Sprinkle with salt and remaining pepper. Yield: 6 servings.
Bubble & Squeak Cakes – Gordon Ramsey
1kg floury potatoes , quartered (I use King Edward)
500g Brussels sprouts , trimmed
50g plain flour , seasoned with salt and pepper
olive oil , for frying
Boil the potatoes for 12-15 mins or until tender, then drain and return to the pan over a low heat for 1-2 mins to dry out. Add the butter and mash well. Meanwhile, boil the sprouts for 3-5 mins until just tender. Drain and cool quickly under cold running water. Shake dry, then shred as finely as you can.
Mix the sprouts with the potatoes and season to taste. Leave until cool enough to handle, then shape into 8 round cakes. Tip the flour onto a plate, then coat the cakes, tapping off the excess.
Heat a 5mm depth of oil in a large frying pan and shallow-fry the cakes in 2 batches for 2 mins each side, turning carefully. Drain on kitchen paper and transfer to a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper. Cool, cover and chill or freeze. Will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze for up to a month.
Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5 (or if you've roasted the ham, leave the oven on while it rests) and reheat the cakes for 15 mins until hot through and crisp on the outside.
Orange & Sprouts
750g Brussels sprouts , trimmed and halved
1 orange , zested and juiced
Tip the sprouts into a deep frying pan with a lid along with a knob of butter and the orange zest and juice.
Bring to a bubble then put the lid on, turn the heat down and cook the sprouts for 8-10 minutes or until tender. Shake the pan so they don't catch. Season well.
at Friday, December 16, 2011
Needless to say the years ending and hasn’t it been amazing in the world of cookery?
So many new and diverse cookery books out this year! Now this year there are three clear top favourites out there.
Take a peek below at them and also sample some of their recipes (I’ve tried them and they are divine!)
These three books all making amazing gifts or are a good start to a new year resolution! Thankfully the lovely Waterstones have them all!
So go check them out! Waterstones Cooking
Firstly there model turned amazing cook - Lorraine Pascale and her Baking Made Easy
I have already done a post on this - here But some background. This amazing lady started modelling at
16 alongside Naomi Campbell & Kate Moss for labels such as Versace, Chanel & Lagerfield and even
more amazingly she was the first black British model to feature on the cover of American Elle.
Pascale after giving up modelling was unsure what to do next and studied a range of courses
before she tried the yearlong cookery course with Leiths. Amazingly she then went straight into
working at top restaurant’s (The Wolesley & Gilgamesh) before opening her own cake company.
She has since authored bestselling cookery books (Try her recipes! easy & they all work!) presented
television series & opened her own retail outlet! Her recipes appeal to us all especially in today’s modern times where you want an amazing dinner without spending the day slaving over a hot stove!
Once you've tried Baking made easy why not check out some of her other books?
Peppermint creams sugar rush
Makes about 35 creams (V)
300g icing sugar, plus extra
125g condensed milk
¼ tsp peppermint extract
or more, to taste
100g dark chocolate,
broken into pieces
Various cutters (optional),
I used a 4cm round
fl uted cutter
Put the icing sugar, condensed milk and peppermint extract
in a medium bowl and mix together to form a smooth soft
Roll out the dough on a work surface dusted with icing
sugar until it is just slightly thicker than a £1 coin. Cut out
different shapes with various cutters, if you wish, re-rolling
the mixture until it is used up. Keep any mixture you are not
working on covered with clingfilm to avoid drying out.
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of
simmering water or put the chocolate in a plastic bowl and
melt in the microwave at 30-second intervals, stirring in
between each one. Dip some of the peppermint creams
into the melted chocolate until they are half-covered,then
leave to cool and set on a baking tray lined with baking
If you are storing the creams, pop them in an airtight
container spaced apart, dusted with icing sugar and
separated between layers of baking parchment to avoid
them sticking together. They can be stored for two to three
Now number two on the list is Mr Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall with his book River Cottage Every Day
An eccentric chef and presenter of the program River Cottage he aims in this book to source the
products himself and heads back to basics cooking.
If you like this book why not again check out just some of these few amazing titles as well?
TV Dinners: In Search of Exciting Home Cooking (1996)
A Cook on the Wild Side (1997)
The Best of TV Dinners (1999)
River Cottage Every Day (2009)
The River Cottage Bread Handbook (US Version) by Daniel Stevens and Hugh Fearnley-
The River Cottage Preserves Handbook (2010)
Honey brandy snaps
Makes about 15
50g unsalted butter,
50g caster sugar
50g plain fl our
1 teaspoon cider brandy
A good pinch of ground
Gently heat the butter, sugar and honey in a saucepan,
stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Remove
from the heat. Stir in the fl our, mix until smooth, then add
the brandy and/or ginger, if using.
Place heaped teaspoonfuls of the mixture on 2 baking
sheets lined with baking parchment, spacing them about
10cm apart. Place in an oven preheated to 180°C/Gas Mark
4 and bake for 7–8 minutes, until brown and lacy. Remove
from the oven and leave to cool for a minute or two.
Lift the brandy snaps o_ the baking sheet with a palette
knife while still warm. To make a traditional cigar-tube
shape, wrap each one loosely around the handle of a
wooden spoon. To create an attractively curled, tuile-shaped
biscuit, drape them over a rolling pin. Either way, leave to
cool and set for a minute or so before removing. If they
become too brittle to shape, simply put the baking
sheet back in the oven for a minute or two to soften them
up, then have another go.
Serve plain, with creamy desserts. Or fill with whipped
cream, as in the picture on the front, and they are your
Now in its 2nd series The great British Bake-Off allows 12 home bakers to test their skills
and each other to win the title of Great British Bake Off’s ‘Best Amateur Baker’
This book consists of over 120 recipes which range from the traditional to modern twists
With the best contestants recipes included. Written by Linda
Collister, super-chef and writer of The Great British Book of Baking, the book follows the
same theme as the show and provides tips throughout the book from the judges of the
show, Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry to help you do the perfect baking and conquer
even the technical cookery challenges faced. The book is full of fail safe easy to follow recipes. It provides amazing step by step photos and is a must have for all foodies and a perfect gift for those
just starting who want to impress!
Sticky Orange Marmalade Cake
Makes 1 medium cake
For the sponge
175g unsalted butter, softened
175g caster sugar
3 large free-range eggs, at room
175g self-raising flour
pinch of salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons chunky Seville
2 tablespoons full-fat or semiskimmed
3 tablespoons chunky Seville
100g icing sugar
2 tablespoons warm water
1 x 20cm round, deep cake tin or
springclip tin, greased and the
base lined with baking paper
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Put the soft butter
into a mixing bowl and beat with a wooden spoon or electric
mixer for 1 minute or until creamy. Gradually beat in the
sugar, then continue beating until the mixture becomes
paler and fluffy.
Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition;
add a tablespoon of the flour with the last portion of egg.
Sift the remaining flour, the salt and baking powder into
the bowl and gently fold into the mixture with a large metal
spoon. When thoroughly combined add the marmalade and
milk and stir in.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and spread evenly.
Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a good golden brown
and firm to the touch. Run a round-bladed knife around
the inside of the tin to loosen the cake, then carefully turn
out onto a wire rack. Gently warm the second portion of
marmalade and brush over the top of the warm cake. Leave
to cool completely.
Sift the icing sugar into a bowl, add the warm water and mix
to a smooth, runny icing using a wooden spoon. Spoon the
icing over the cake and let it run down the sides – the chunks
of marmalade will stick up through the icing. Leave until set
before cutting. Store in an airtight container and eat within
at Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Lilliputiens are a beautiful, bright and gorgeous range of soft toys for babys and toddlers.
Each toy is fun and interactive and has their own name - Walter the Actidragon, Romeo the well
fed frog & Arnold the activity hippo are just a few of my favourites!
Blog-Match very kindly sent us a gorgeous bath mat for my little ones to try and I'm not exageratting
but its been played with in and out of the bath ever since.
They are made to incredibly high standards in Belgium and are perfect for newborn gifts as well and quite frankly who wouldnt want Nicky or Basil decoratimg their new nursery!
Lillputiens are being sold by John Crane who are running an amazing advent calendar on their blog at the moment. Theres something different every day from giveaways, discounts and amazing offers so go check out their blog!
at Sunday, December 04, 2011
With Christmas coming up we tend to have a lot of turkey roasts or ham or beef so its nice once in a while to have a break from all of that and have a vegetarian roast. I have a couple of veggie friends who all adore this recipe so I thought I’d share with you all.
250 g mixed nuts, (walnuts, hazelnuts, sesame seeds, almonds, cashews) – Substitute if you have a preference – these tend to be the general ones I use but a friend swears by brazil nuts!
100 g onion, (about 4 small), finely chopped
400 g canned chopped tomatoes or passata
100 g gruyère cheese, or mature cheddar cheese, grated (I don’t always add the cheese – personal pref)
0.5 tsp dried thyme
0.5 tsp dried sage
0.5 tsp dried mint
1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp Marmite, or other yeast extract blended with 1 tsp boiling water
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 pinches black pepper
1 cubes butter, for greasing tin
1. Place the nuts in a dry frying pan over a moderate flame. Toast, stirring gently, until golden and fragrant, taking care not to burn. Remove to a bowl and leave to cool.
2. Whizz in a food processor until thoroughly ground.
3. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Generously grease a loaf tin with butter.
4. In a large bowl, combine the ground nuts with all remaining ingredients. Mix very thoroughly.
5. Scoop the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until firm and golden. Cool slightly, then turn out. I tend to then soak it in loads or gravy! (veggie of course)