Food Ramblings

There must be an Olympic sport for how fast small children move?

In my fridge is some shortbread dough just sitting, resting and waiting all expectantly for me to roll it out and make it into cookies; unfortunately my daughter has other plans that I should do with my time.

Mainly she thinks that I should be running after her as she’s started crawling over the last two weeks, and today pulling herself onto her feet, so now my time is taken up saying “no, don’t eat that” or “leave the cat alone”.

I do have so many things that I would like to bake but unless it is quick and not time consuming then I will have to put it into the back burner for the moment.

Some ideas I’d like to do are tempering chocolate to make decorations, cocktail cupcakes and sweeties from my Sweet Shop cookbook. I will get round to doing some soon.

Cake, Sweet

Mary Berry’s Easter Simnel Cake

Happy Easter everyone, I hope you’ve all had a lovely day today.

Easter was and is one of my favourite holidays of the year, after

I added the marzipan topping, 11 balls for the faithful disciples - I actually made 12 so I ate Judas.

Christmas.  As a kid there was so much to love about it, chocolate eggs, egg decorating contests at school, Easter egg hunts, films on TV… Did I mention the chocolate?

As an adult I still love it!
I love all the family getting together for a lovely meal and there is something very special about eating chocolate and not feeling guilty which you don’t seem to get much in your adult life. 

This year was the first Easter with my little daughter and although she is too tiny to understand any of it yet it was still a great day to spend with my family as my sister and brother in law came up to.

Yesterday, me and my mom decided to do some baking together and made a Simnel Cake after watching The Great British Bake Off Masterclass program.  We used the wonderful Mary Berry’s recipe.
Unfortunately, I think our cake was a little overbaked and drier than it should have been but who can resist a fruit cake with marzipan on it!? Well, except the half of the family who don’t like marzipan, or fruit cake.

Mary Berry’s Simnel Cake

Cupcake, Sweet

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

I was in the kitchen the other morning with the littlest baker and as she fell asleep in her bouncy chair, I thought I’d make some cupcakes.

I decided to do chocolate as I hadn’t made chocolate ones in a really long time and I’ve been a bit of a chocoholic these last few weeks (years!).  I also had a couple of bars of dark chocolate stashed in my baking cupboard so half a bar would make my chocolate chips.

When it came to icing them I thought I’d use a splash of my Moka Varnelli as its just lovely.  It goes well with any kind of cake and dark chocolate cupcakes are no exception.

I made these cupcakes in muffin cases so they are extra large and I only got 9 out of the mix but if you used normal cupcake size then you’d get at least 12 out.

Dark chocolate cupcakes

4oz SugarDark chocolate cupcakes
4oz Margarine
5oz Self Raising Flour
1 large tbsp Cocoa Powder
2 Large Eggs
75g Dark Chocolate

Tbsp Margarine
5tbsp icing sugar
1tbsp cocoa powder
Dash of Moka Varnelli (or any other flavour you fancy)

Preheat the oven to Gas 4 160c

Cream together the sugar and Margarine till it has changed to a pale white colour.

Add an egg and a tablespoon of flour, mix together then do the same with the other egg and flour. This helps the mix not to look like its splitting.

Separate into the cake cases and bake in the oven for at least 20 minutes or until the cake springs back when you gently press on it.

Once cooled whip up the buttercream ingredients together till the mixture is light and fluffy then use to top the cakes.

Cake, Sweet

5 Minute chocolate mug cake – The most dangerous cake recipe in the world?

Have you ever been sent a recipe that is just completely bonkers?
I was sent this recipe in 2009 and completely forgot about it till a couple of days ago when I was clearing out my emails – it is to make a chocolate cake in the office using the microwave!

Hence the name of the cake.

I have never tried to make this as yet but I think I will have to try it out at home. I can’t see why it won’t work and taste great because we often make a very quick Sunday lunch sponge cake in the microwave and that always turns out very nice and light (one day I’ll post the recipe for that too).

If the recipe is a success, when I am back in from my maternity leave I will have to bring in a large mug with the dry ingredients already mixed and a small bottle with the wet ingredients in… then voila… instant hot yummy cake to eat at my desk.
I’m sure that will help a lot in coming back to work and may also make my colleagues chuckle at my office baking endeavours. Who knows, if this is a success I could start adapting the recipe for new ideas and a whole new genre of cake baking could be born.

5 Minute Chocolate mug cake

4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
A small splash of vanilla extract
1 large coffee mug

Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly.
Pour in the milk and oil and mix well. Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again.
Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts (high).
The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don’t be alarmed!

Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.
EAT! (this can serve 2 if you want to feel slightly more virtuous).

Chocolates/Truffles, Sweet

Chocolate Rum Truffles

On Saturday we were walking past one of those old fashioned sweet shops so I nipped in to get myself some rum truffles (or rum balls as they used to be called when I was little). Although I did enjoy eating them I didn’t like paying 99p for 100g! I don’t know if it was just me but that seemed a little steep.
So I decided to have a go at making my own truffles and I am glad I did because they are so easy to make.

From now on I think I am going to call myself the happy little truffle maker. I don’t know why people don’t make them all of the time, or is it one of the best kept secrets that they are so easy to do?

Pricing them up to I think I made 30 truffles and it cost:
£1 for the cream (though I could have bought a smaller one)
60p for the chocolate (this was Asda smart price dark but it is surprisingly good)
£1 for chocolate sprinkles
Dash of Shaun’s dark rum from the cupboard

So for £2.60 I have made enough truffles to eat to make myself very sick if I want to – I would hate to think how much they would have cost to buy in an expensive sweet shop.
In the end I decided to share them out and gave a box to my mom, bought a box in for work and kept a box for myself.

If I get into this a bit more I am going to have to buy a few supplies off eBay.
Yes, I do see the irony that my little project of making cheap chocolates might turn out to be a little more expensive but it’s also my hobby and will help keep me occupied whilst waiting for the baby to come… or at least that’s how I can justify it to myself.

If you want to use the same recipe I did then it is James Martin’s recipe and can be found on the BBC website here: Rum Truffle Recipe

Truffle on!