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  • Baked rice pudding with cardamom poached plums

    Gizzi Erskine’s: Baked rice pudding with cardamom poached plums.

    With the weather changing, my favourite holidays impending and the fact that I now get to pretend I am stopping my diet and can eat warming, slightly indulgent, naughty foods. This recipe from Gizzi Erskine’s new book: Gizzi’s Season’s Eatings was perfect. Especially as I am Halloweeening it up at the moment.

    rice pudding

    Now I am not usually a Cardamom fan, in fact I am that person that gets ragey when accidentally chewing on one in my rice at the local Indian.

    I now however shall be waving the Cardamom flag, maybe only at half mast but still. Cardamom poached plums are rather divine. Breaking away from my usual mulled wine poached plums, this recipe was easy, lighter and it worked. Admittedly I lessened the suggested pods by two in fear but it was great. So great the poached plum recipe has been made three times now and used in the morning on our porridge.

    It was nice to see Gizzi comes from the baked rice pudding family (it is the only way I have ever known). This recipe is so easy – anyone, no matter how fearful of cooking they are, can whip this all together and what you are left with is just scrummy. It is lying on the sofa with a fire and blanket whilst watching The Nightmare Before Christmas food. It is childhood in a bowl with a new addition of the plums to be passed on to the next generation.

    In fairness this rice pudding needs no accompaniments but it does not hurt.

    Rice pudding


    I have included the recipe, may you go and bake and devour this creamy, naughty pudding. For your hips may hate me but you will be thankful.

    Cardamom poached plums:

    350g (12 oz) Plums

    3 Tablespoons caster sugar

    6 cardamom pods, lightly crushed

    2 Tablespoons lemon juice


    Halve and stone the plums and place them in a large pan. Add the sugar, cardamom, lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of water. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 15 – 20 minutes, until the plums are tender and swimming in a little juice. Set aside until cold and then remove the cardamom pods. Mash plums slightly with a fork


    Baked rice pudding:

    100g (3 1/2 oz) Pudding rice

    70g Caster sugar

    300ml (10fl) double cream

    700ml (1 1/4 pints) Whole milk

    50g (1 3/4 oz) chopped unsalted butter

    Seeds of 1 vanilla pod

    A very generous fresh grating of nutmeg

    1 bay leaf

    (Cardamom poached plums to add)


    Preheat the oven to 180c/160c fan (350f) Gas mark 4. In a1 1/2 litre baking dish, mix together all the ingredients, Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 45minutes. Remove the foil, stir and finish cooking uncovered for a further 30-45 minutes, or until a darkish skin has formed and the rice underneath is cooked and gooey and creamy.


    rice pudding


    It really is that easy and that delicious.

    For more festive themed recipes check out Gizzi Erskine’s new book: Gizzi’s Seasons Eatings 

    Check out her Instagram too: Caution it may make you hungry.

    Coming soon: I get the Halloween gossip from Gizzi.

    Stay tuned



  • Halloween cake decorating

    Halloween cake decorating:

    I have always really enjoyed halloween baking, you can be silly, you can be a bit gross, you can be extremely childish.

    Though I have plenty of ideas and am not too shabby knocking up a cake, my buttercream skills are not the best. Working with a tremor too means I am often taking slightly different routes to ensure I am comfortable when doing something.

    I wanted to practice and develop my skills and with Halloween fast approaching, now felt like the perfect time.

    Halloween cake decorating


    Rebecca’s Cakes:

    I was fortunate enough to have Rebecca from come over to my house to teach me some tricks.

    Rebecca has been providing us with the most delicious cupcakes, biscuits etc for over ten years. She has provided goodies for most of the significant events/parties I have had. She is a cake wizard, a buttercream genius. Her goodies will leave your hips hating you but your hearts begging for more. Having her come to my house was the best Monday ever.

    Arriving with an array of spooky decorations, sprinkles, edible decorations, spiders, coloured fondant, liquorice and ghost mallows. Rebecca was well prepared for a Halloween explosion.

    Rebecca advised me that Tk Maxx are great for themed decorations as well as pound shops, eBay and local cake stores where she stocks up.

    halloween cake decorating



    I quickly learnt that one of the reasons why I struggle is that I am too careful and cautious when handling the cake and buttercream. As well as the fact that Rebecca’s buttercream knocked mine to pieces and was not fearful of being slathered and scraped. (Recipe below)

    Rebecca brought a practice cake, where I learnt about crumb coating, how to fill in the cracks (I think I could be a plasterer now) how to manipulate the cake using the right tools and to not worry. Crumb coats are basically like wearing Spanx pants, it keeps it all in and it does not matter how it looks as no one can see it anyway.

    We then had a play with piping. This will not be my thing. My hands are not a fan of it and after a while they hurt from the way you hold the bag.

    It was fun though to have a play with it and my skills were not the worst.

    After a crumb coat applying the outer layer of buttercream was a dream. Any mistakes could be scraped off and gently re applied.



    Halloween cake decorating


    Halloween drips:

    I love a drip cake, I love the way it looks, I love that is the perfect cover up for any “imperfections”.

    Drips can be made out of an assortment of things, salted caramel, icing sugar, candy melts, chocolate, ganache.

    As I was Halloween cake decorating, I wanted to work with ganache so to make the drips I used a sauce bottle to squeeze and drip. This was really easy and a lot less messier than when I had previously used a spoon.

    The drips depend on the consistency of the ganache. (Recipe below) I was not too fussed about them reaching the bottom.

    Halloween cake decorating


    Halloween cake decorating:

    Well this bit was fun, I called out for my inner child who quite frankly is never too far to be seen. We sprinkled, used the liquorice skulls, Marshmallow ghouls, fondant bats, spiders and lastly the sugar figures from Tkmaxx.

    The different ways I could have decorated were endless due to a  good stash of decorations.

    I think if you are looking to decorate a Halloween cake but on a budget then I really advise investing some time to head over to the places I mentioned above. Then it becomes so much more fun when you, and if you have any little helpers, can just have fun with it.

    I really picked  up some new techniques from the fabulous Rebecca and I learnt that though I have to respect the cake, it needs to know who the boss is.

    My tummy definitely appreciated it and I am really in the mood for some more spooky baking and practising my Halloween cake decorating.



    300g unsalted butter, 700g icing sugar, drop of vanilla or whatever flavour you fancy and a few tablespoons of water and mix in a mixer. Add more water if needing to soften more.

    Colouring as you wish, though be aware that Wilton colourings I think slightly alter the taste. I prefer Sugar Flair (which usually needs just a pin drop added)


    Equal amounts of double cream and dark or white chocolate. Whatever type of chocolate you fancy, need not be expensive as mixing with cream.

    Can be either melted in the microwave on short bursts and then whisked, or in a bowl over boiling water.


    Head over to if you are looking for cakes, goodies or catering.

    She is also on Instagram as


  • Too cool for ghouls. Halloween kids playlist


    I was contemplating making a grown up one, however I knew I would get stuck into 100 hours of awesome tracks that I get the spooky vibe from. Plus there are some ace Halloween playlists out there.

    So instead I made a little halloween party playlist for the Mini ghouls and ghosts in your lives.


    29 songs on Too cool for ghouls. Halloween kids playlist on alexandrakristenjane on Spotify

About Me

A little bit of me

About this blog

Why I am doing it

I thought long and hard about starting a blog. Knowing that there are some fabulous reads out there I wondered whether I should jump aboard the written ship. Then I thought about my role or my position as a single mother and how my experience may benefit to be heard. So, I am Alex a 34 year old single mother. I did not choose this role but I am in it and winging it one typo at a time. I will share, I may even scare but I hope that my words will bring comfort, solace and maybe even some inspiration and amusement to those that read it. “If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands?” - Milton Berle

TOTS100 - UK Parent Blogs TOTS100


What I listen to

I live and breathe music as though it runs through my veins. Music has always been a passion and for three years was a job. I will often make reference to it in this blog. My tastes are eclectic and read like a David Lynch script but my mind is the same so it fits. A few of my Faves. Pearl Jam, The Sonics, Louis Prima, The Pixies, The Dwarves, The Damned, NIN, Faith No More, Connie Francis, Wanda Jackson, Counting Crows, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Nina Simone, Metallica, Foo Fighters, RHCP, Sonic Youth, Pantera, Portishead, Frank Sinatra, David Bowie, The Who, Pink Floyd, Chet Baker, Howlin Wolf, Rage Against The Machine, Type O Negative, Nirvana, Mother Love Bone, Petula Clark, Silverchair, Soundgarden, The Cramps, Misfits, New York Dolls, Buddy Holly, ELO, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley. To name but a few.


Some of my faves

I love movies, I immerse myself in them, escape momentarily. Asking me to choose my favourites is a little Sophie's Choice. Here are some of my loves. Amelie, Leon, The Crow, The Lost Boys, Girl Interupted, Virgin Suicides, The Craft, Empire Records, True Romance, Face Off, Heathers, Beetlejuice, Pans Labryinth, Ferris Buellers Day Off, Labryinth, The Rocky Horror Show, Legend, Wayne's World, The Big Lebowski, Withnail And I, Ghost World, Poltergeist, The Birds, The Shining, O Brother Where Art Thou, Fried Green Tomatoes At Whistle Stop Cafe, City Of God, Clueless, My Girl, All the Die Hards, Juno, Rosemarys Baby, Harold And Maude, Chocolate and Elf. Now excuse me whilst I go and weep at my forgotten loves.


Glorious Food

Another passion of mine. Those who say nothing tastes as good as skinny feels, never really ate. I spent most of my youth eating to live and then my adulthood living to eat. I love to bake and am a total an utter feeder. I make things for other people, often things I do not like. Something beautifully perverse about watching people enjoy your creations. I will add some of my offerings onto this blog. Sharing is caring. Though I am not liable for any weight gain.


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