Easter Egg Cake Pops

Apr 17, 2014 - Recipes - Tags: , , - 11 comments

easter egg cake popsRenshaw Baking sent me some goodies last week to make easter themed cake pops.  I like to keep things simple, so we went for egg shaped cake pops which we then decorated to look like Easter eggs. 

Cakes pops are simple enough to make, they just take a bit of time.  Assuming you don’t have a cake pop mould, you make a cake, smash it up and combine it with frosting or buttercream to make a fudgey consistency, refrigerate, shape into whatever your cakey heart desires, and dip in melted chocolate, or candy melts and decorate. 

 

 

easter cake pops

Bakerella, I ain’t.  Still, I’m not displeased with my efforts. 

If you want to make these easter egg cake pops, here is how to do it: Continue reading


Cheese and Wine

Apr 4, 2014 - Blog - Tags: , , - 5 comments

So… This happened this evening.

cheese and wine

Ross and I had our own retro cheese and wine evening for two (since we couldn’t go to the pub).  Baked Camembert, my favourite nutty Manchego, Ross’ favourite Saint Agur, and some Parlick Fell sheeps’ cheese.

cheese and wine

 Manchego. Best cheese ever. Like, ever.  If you ever want to buy me a present, I’ll never ever sniff at a nice wedge of Manchego. 

cheese and wine

We ate our cheeses with sliced apple, grapes and cubes of bread to dip in the melty melty gooey oozy camembert.  

A couple of weeks ago, I picked up a pinot grigio blush in Aldi.  Honestly, I am not a massive rosé drinker so I wasn’t sure if I’d like it, and really just chose it because I like to mix things up a little from time to time.  Happily, it was lovely and I’ve bought it a few times since, so thats what we drunk tonight.   

cheese and wine

Dinner of Champions.

To bake a Camembert, preheat the oven to 180°c/gas mark 4.  Remove any plastic packaging but keep the wooden box.  Score a circle, about a centimetre in from the edge of the cheese all the way around the top, and then return the cheese to the the box, leaving off the lid.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the middle is oozy, like in the photo above. 

cheese and wine

Our dinky mouse cheeseboard was a wedding gift from Ross’ Granny.  It was handmade by his grandfather.  We use it a lot and it’s very very loved. 

So there endeth our brilliant dinner! I might make it a monthly thing – wouldn’t that be a good way to try out different cheeses?

 


Mothers Day

Apr 2, 2014 - Blog, Lifestyle - Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , - 3 comments

Last Sunday was Mothering Sunday, but in a break from tradition I did not spend the weekend with my children.  Instead I had a brilliant weekend in London.  

A couple of months ago, I was lucky enough to score tickets to see The Cure live at the Royal Albert Hall.  By lucky, what I really mean is, really really organised.  I knew the tickets went on sale at 9am, so the night before had set up my laptop, and my debit card ready to go.  The Seetickets website was loaded and ready to go, and I legged it home from the school run that morning, leaving just enough time to make myself a swift cup of coffee and sit down, mouse poised over the refresh button at 8:58am.

Needless to say my dedication paid off, and I was one very happy camper.  I bloody LOVE The Cure.  You have no idea. 

So, Dee and I trundled off up to London on Saturday morning, had a mooch around, got my Ray Bans fixed, popped in to see my sister at work, drunk with an old friend in the sunshine, and then ate dinner at Cave à Fromage.  And before I get on to how utterly blinding The Cure are live, I am going to talk about Cave à Fromage. 

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Just behind South Kensington tube station is Cave à Fromage, the cheese shop of glory.  Inside, there are a few tables and stools and you turn up, get shown to a table, and you order either a cheese plate or a charcuterie plate, with a glass of wine.  Or if you are like me and Dee, you order both, and you have champagne instead of regular wine.  We are nothing if not decadent.  What turns up is a board with eight different types of beautiful cheese to try, a lovely pile of finely sliced meats, and a basket of delicious fresh bread.  Before you tuck in, they tell you all about the cheeses, where they come from, what they are like, etc, and then you just go to town.  The entire experience is completely delightful.  The staff are warm, friendly and really know their stuff.  The cheese is utterly delicious, and whilst it may not sound like a lot of food for two people, it really is plenty (And this is coming from someone who likes to eat.  A lot), and we left feeling satisfied and very very happy.  

A+ dinner. Would (and can’t wait to) visit again.

The next time you’re up in South Ken, do check out Cave à Fromage.  They also have branches in Hove and Notting Hill.

caveafromage1

This cheese had truffle honey drizzled over it. It was sublime. My shoddy photo does it no justice whatsoever.

So, on to The Cure.  I didn’t take my camera so you’ll have to make do with my shockingly bad iphone photography.  No support act, 4 hours of pure Cure bliss. They were on form.  Blinding, really.  I’ve wanted to see them for years and years, and it’s not a gig I’ll forget in a hurry.  The Royal Albert Hall is a stunning venue, with great acoustics, and it’s small enough so that wherever you are, you’ll be able to see and hear everything.  We were right up in the gallery, five floors up, at the side of the stage, and had an unobstructed view.  They saved Boys Don’t Cry (one of my very favourites) til the end, by which time it was getting on for 11:30, and I had to make my way over to Wapping to crash on my sister’s floor. 

A four hour set! Three encores! What a band! 

TheCureRAH1

Look at that! Robert Smith. With his mad hair and smudged makeup. EPIC.

The next day, Meg and I went for a run around her neighbourhood.  Before she moved there I’d never been to Wapping.  It’s lovely.  We jogged down towards St Katherine’s Dock, then back along the Thames.  Later on, we mooched on down to Brick Lane for street food feasts, pokes around vintage shops and general meandering.  Then it was time for me to come home. 

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Streetfood Brick Lane

streetfood steph

So, thats how I spent my mother’s day.  Sometimes it’s good to have time off, and by the time I got home, I was desperate to see my little lovelies again, for sticky kisses, random and precise facts from Roo, homemade cards and lots of cuddles. 

Thank you London, you were beautiful. 


Bugger Off, Period, I’m Eating Kale

Mar 24, 2014 - Recipes - Tags: , , - 5 comments

chickpeas and kaleAll the ladies in the house, I have a question for you… do you crave things when you’re surfing the crimson wave? 

My sister does.  She likes a maize snack when auntie flo comes to visit.  I like takeaways (come on, who doesn’t like food delivered when your womb is raging?) and things with a lot of iron in.  So tonight I made this chickpea and kale concoction, basically out of things I had knocking about in the fridge and it turned out really well.  It felt healthy and nutritious, and I’ll be adding it to my repertoire, at least monthly. 

Here is how I made my chickpea and kale mash-up, and the next time you feel like something healthy and super yum, you should make this, too.

For two hungry people, you’ll need: Continue reading


Farewell, Mostly Horrid Week.

Mar 23, 2014 - Blog - Tags: , , , , , - 10 comments

It’s been an odd week.  I don’t often write about stuff that happens in our lives away from the internet, but this week has been so difficult and sad that I am making an exception.

Last Sunday we noticed Ruby’s ear was bleeding, and she was in pain.  She’d had a nasty ear infection the week before, which had involved rivers of pus, and a lot of pain, but the blood concerned me.  After debating whether to take her up to a&e, I decided to let her sleep and go back to the GP on Monday morning, reasoning that a good night’s sleep would be better than hours of waiting at the hospital.  And for what? Hard to know if we’d even get to see an ENT on a Sunday night, but I presumed it unlikely.  

The GP we saw was unconcerned.   Continue reading


Cooking with Kids: Easy Chocolate Dipped Easter Biscuits

Mar 21, 2014 - Recipes - Tags: , , , , - 22 comments

chocolate dipped easter biscuitsWe are big fans of biscuits in this house.  Really, the amount of shortbread fingers we get through weekly is almost shameful.

I said almost. 

Both Roo and Elliot are keen little soux chefs, so one afternoon, we got to work making chocolate dipped Easter biscuits, so called purely because of the Eastery addition of crushed up Mini Eggs.  You could, in fact, adapt this to suit any occasion, or just make them for the fun of it.  And why not?  They take less than an hour all in, and are delicious. 

 

To make Chocolate Dipped Easter Biscuits, you will need:

  • A basic biscuit dough recipe.  I use this one.  The biscuits are quite short, and very very naughty because of all the butter.  Which automatically makes them appeal to me. 
  • A huge bar of chocolate for melting.  I used Cadbury Dairy Milk.
  • A bag of Cadbury Mini Eggs.  Don’t be stingy with these.
  • A cutter of your choice.  I experimented with a bunny shaped cutter, but the biscuits were so short the ears fell off, so I ended up going with a pretty heart shaped cutter. 

 chocolate dipped easter biscuits 3

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°c.  Make up the dough as per the recipe I linked to above.  The recipe is so incredibly simple that Elliot had no trouble whatsoever making the dough himself, with only a little help from me.  Elliot is three. 
  2. Flour a worktop, and your rolling pin, and roll the dough out to 5mm.  The recipe makes quite a lot of dough, so we did this in batches, by cutting the dough into quarters. 
  3. Use your cutter of choice to stamp out the biscuits and cook for 8 minutes in the preheated oven.  It helps if you line a tray with greaseproof paper.  The biscuits will be floppy when they are straight out of the oven, but leave them to cool on a rack and they will soon harden up. 
  4. Whilst your biscuits are cooling, melt the chocolate in a double boiler, or simply in a bowl over a pan of simmering water.  If you have got the knack of melting chocolate in the microwave down, then you could do that, too.  I, however, have never mastered that art, and generally end up with a burnt, grainy mess, and a stab of disappointment in my heart.  Whilst the chocolate is melting, bash up the Mini Eggs.  I used a mezzaluna, because I am a sucker for fancy kitchen gadgets, but if not I am sure a sharp knife would work just as well.  I like my mini egg chunks nice and big, but again, this is your call. 
  5. When the cookies are cool, dip in to the chocolate, and then sprinkle over a few shards of the Mini Eggs.  Place back on a greaseproof paper lined baking tray and pop in the fridge to harden. 
  6. Put them in your belly with a nice cuppa, and don’t worry too much about the calories, of which there are undoubtedly many.

chocolate dipped easter biscuits