• Valentine’s Day with Organix


    Valentine’s Day with Organix

    Yes, I may be currently spooning Chase from Paw Patrol but it does not mean I can’t spread the love. Especially via the stomach.

    Organix have provided me with some Valentine’s/Galentine’s Day recipes for you to do with your little ones. They are seriously cute, easy and a sure way to make your partner erm allow you to have a peaceful Lush bath.

    Or eat them all for your self. Hey am a massive believer in self love first.

    I have shared three recipes for you to peruse. Hope you enjoy them.

    Valentines day with organix

    Organix ‘Hearty’ Valentine’s Breakfast

    A tasty breakfast made with love for Valentine’s Day, why not get your little ones to help make this for a loved one.

    There are lots more tasty family recipes at www.organix.com

    Serves 2 little loved ones!

    Not suitable for freezing

    Suitable from 12mths+

    Prep time: 20-30mins

    Ingredients

    • 2 eggs

    • 2 slices of wholemeal bread

    • A little unsalted butter to serve

    • 4 baby plum tomatoes

    • A couple of pieces of strong card

    • A few elastic bands

    • 2 wooden spoons or sturdy wooden skewers

    Method

    Egg hearts:

    * Hard boil the eggs in a saucepan covered with water for 10 minutes.

    * Run each egg under a cold tap quickly so they are just cool enough to handle, then carefully crack the shell and remove.

    * Whilst the eggs are still warm and flexible, place in the middle of a folded piece of card. Use the handle of a wooden spoon or a sturdy wooden skewer to very carefully create an indent along the long side of the egg, then carefully wrap elastic bands around each end of the cardboard to hold in place on the egg. This should create a heart shaped egg. Little ones can help with this if guided. Leave for 10 minutes to take shape.

    * Use a sharp knife to cut the heart shaped egg into slices 1cm deep, from the top of the heart to the bottom.

    Toast hearts:

    * Whilst the eggs are shaping, use a small heart shaped cutter to cut out the middle of your slices of bread. You can get creative and cut several hearts if you like. Then toast and butter your bread.

    Tomato hearts:

    * Cut the top third off a plum tomato on a sharp angle, then repeat on all 4 tomatoes. Pair the larger pieces up together to form two heart shaped tomatoes.

    * Cut each piece of tomato in half sideways to give a flat side, so that 2 heart shapes can be assembled from each pair of tomato pieces (rounded side up, cut side down).

    To assemble:

    Place a heart slice of egg in the heart shaped hole in the centre of the toast.

    Decorate with the heart tomatoes, heart shaped bread cut outs and remaining egg hearts around the plate.

     

    valentines day with organix

    Organix Secret Strawberry Heart Muffins

    These wholesome muffins are filled with a hidden strawberry heart centre. “The beauty is finding a surprise strawberry heart in the centre of these lovely muffins – they are filled with love! Try serving with dollop of yoghurt.” Organix recipe team. Organix tip “These muffins are a great wholesome snack. For a sweeter treat, you could use lighter-weight white flour and replace the oats with more flour.”

    Makes 12 muffins

    Suitable for freezing

    Suitable from 10 months

    Dry ingredients • 100g oats • 300g sprouted whole grain spelt flour (or standard whole wheat or plain white flour if you prefer) • 3 tsps baking powder (or use self raising flour instead) • 50g desiccated coconut Wet ingredients • 2 large eggs • 20 small strawberries, hulled • 1 ripe banana • Juice and zest of 1 orange • 60mls melted coconut oil, melted butter or vegetable oil (whichever you prefer) • 60mls maple syrup • 1 tsp vanilla extract Secret heart centre • 12 small whole strawberries, hulled • An extra sprinkle of desiccated coconut for each muffin

    Method

    1. Preheat the oven to 180°C / 160°C fan / Gas Mark 4 and line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper cases.

    2. Combine all dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

    3. Blitz together all the wet ingredients in a blender until smooth.

    4. Create a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredient mixture. Mix together lightly with a fork to keep in as much air as possible. Chop the additional 20 strawberries and then lightly stir through the mixture.

    5. Place a spoonful of mixture into the bottom of each case, then place one of the 12 whole strawberries, point end up, into each case, then cover with more mixture so that the strawberry is covered. Finally sprinkle with a little desiccated coconut.

    6. Bake for approx. 30 minutes until golden and the base of the muffin sounds hollow when tapped.

     

    valentines day with organix

    Organix Love Heart Biscuits

    You and your little one will certainly win some hearts with these delicious valentine biscuits.

    Organix Top tip

    Cooking with your little one is a great way to help your baby to learn to love good food. Give your little one some of the biscuit dough and let them cook to their heart’s content. They will love to squeeze it and squash it, and most of all they will love to bake biscuits with you that they can share with you! There are lots more tasty family and baby recipes on the Organix website. www.organix.com

    Makes approx. 35 biscuits depending on the size of the cutter

    Suitable for freezing

    Suitable from 10 months

    Ingredients

    • 300g ground almonds • 50g dried sour cherries • 100g coconut oil (or butter if you prefer and happy to include dairy) • 60mls maple syrup • 1 tsp vanilla extract

    Method

    1. Preheat oven to 180°C, 160°C fan, Gas Mark 6, then combine the ground almonds and sour cherries in a large bowl.

    2. Gently melt the coconut oil over a low heat in a pan. Remove from the heat and add the maple syrup and vanilla extract, stirring together. Then pour this liquid over the ground almonds and stir thoroughly to form a soft dough.

    3. Divide the dough into two balls. Place each ball onto a sheet of parchment paper, press down, then place a second piece of parchment over the top. Roll the dough out between the sheets of parchment to about 5mm thickness. Place onto a flat baking tray, then pop into the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up. (N.B. The parchment paper prevents the dough sticking to the rolling pin and makes this super easy. The freezer makes the dough firmer and easier to cut. Don’t miss these steps!)

    4. Remove from the freezer and use heart shaped cutters to cut out biscuits. Use a spatula to carefully lift the biscuits onto another lined baking sheet. Bake for 5-7 minutes until golden. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes on the tray, then transfer to a cooling rack.

    5. Roll up the left over dough and repeat the process, rolling out between sheets of parchment and freezing for 10 minutes before cutting out. Repeat until all the dough is used up.

    Biscuits can be tied with ribbon or placed in a beautiful tin to give to a loved one. Or little ones can simply give them out to their ‘bestest friends’. The dough can be frozen in a ball in a freezer bag, defrosted in a couple of hours and rolled out. Or the baked biscuits can be frozen in a tub, and defrosted in less than an hour. If dairy isn’t a problem butter can be used instead. If nuts are a problem you can replace the ground almonds with plain flour or gluten free flour. As flour is drier than almonds you may need a little extra oil to bring the dough together.

     

    Hope these recipes give you some inspiration for the special person or friend in your life. I will be baking with Phoebe and eating them all up. As I mentioned before. Love thy self!

    Head over to www.organix.com for more ideas and to see what’s in store.

  • 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 http://www.rebeccas-cakes.co.uk 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

     

    Practising:

    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.

    Recipes:

    Buttercream:

    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)

    Ganache:

    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 http://www.rebeccas-cakes.co.uk if you are looking for cakes, goodies or catering.

    She is also on Instagram as http://www.instagram.com/cakerebecca

     

  • Cook healthy, Cook happy


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    Cook Healthy, Cook Happy.

    Last week I dipped my hands into the world of healthy vegetarian and vegan cooking. Quite literally, there is a lot of hand rolling involved.
    Anyone who knows me, knows that I love to bake/cook. I do it when I am stressed, relaxing, for peoples birthdays. Hell I do it whenever I can use the excuse to whip my trusty old mixer out.
    Sadly, with great cake comes great calories and my hips certainly do not lie anymore.
    Enter Fearne Cotton and her new cookbook “Cook Happy, Cook Healthy”. Now we all love and respect a mama that can cook and bake whilst fending off a child or two, screaming “mama where are my raisins” or “I did a poo, see?”
    This is exactly what she has done. A cookbook filled with recipes that are realistic, easy (so far) and mostly child friendly.
    Oh did I mention, they are healthy. I mean like roll me in coconut oil, because me and my truffle shuffle are about to rediscover my 20 year old waistline, healthy.
    Coconut oil, Coconut Palm sugar, Chia seeds, nut butter. These are all ingredients I had heard of but assumed were covered in cobwebs in the back of a health store whilst Chris Martin wept over the organic soy beans.
    Coconut oil, Coconut Palm sugar, Chia seeds, nut butter. Let me tell you, I am fluent in them now, not only do they taste good but I am sprinkling seeds on my porridge, squeezing juice out of nuts like a student after a freshers disco and rubbing coconut oil pretty much everywhere.
    Happy happy healthy me.
    Back to fearne’s recipes. like an excited child I was eager to try as many recipes as I could. I made Almond butter, Spiced chickpeas, Quesadilla, Lentil, haricot and veg soup and her cashew and apricot biscuits. All of these went down a treat, most of these were shared by my toddler.

    I am going to share her Cashew and Apricot Biscuits recipe and the rest, well I think for £9.99 from amazon you would be silly not to see for yourself. A big thumbs up from me.

    CASHEW AND APRICOT BISCUITS:

    Makes 12-14 Biscuits

    60g Coconut Palm Sugar
    60g Coconut Oil
    50g Raw unsalted cashew nuts, finely chopped
    50g unsulphered dried apricots, finely chopped
    100g white spelt flour, sifted
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    1 1/2 tbsp chia seeds
    Pinch of sea salt
    1 tsp vanilla extract

    METHOD:

    Preheat oven to 180c/160c fan350f/gas mark 4 and line 2 baking trays with baking parchment.

    Place the coconut palm sugar and coconut oil in a bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until very well incorporated and creamy.
    Put the chopped cashews and apricots into a separate bowl checking there aren’t any large chunks and combine with the flour, baking powder, chia seeds and salt.

    Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and thoroughly combine. Once everything is incorporated, drizzle over the vanilla extract and use your hands to form the mixture into a ball. It may seem a little dry at first, but keep on kneading and compressing the dough with your hands until it all comes together, add 1-2 drops of water and continue kneading. Don’t be tempted to add the water too early though, as the flour needs time to absorb the moisture as you knead.

    Take a heaped teaspoon of the doll and roll it into a ball. Place on a baking tray and flatten out gently into a neat 3/4cm thick round biscuit shape. Continue with the remaining dough, leaving a 2-3cm gap between each biscuit. Place both trays in the oven for 8-9 minutes until the biscuits are a shade darker and rough textured on top. They burn easily so be sure to time them. Remove from the oven, leave to cool for about 10 minutes and then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. They will be soft at first, but will become crunchy as they cool.

    Do let me know if you make them, I have made four batches now and imagine many more in the pipeline.
    I am sure Fearne would like to know too.

    igfearnecotton
    OffcialFearnecotton.com

  • Decadent Bounty Cheesecake


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    This is just gorgeous. It is naughty. It is easy. It is the definition of treat yo self.
    This dessert is one of the many reasons I love food.
    Making it just feels so right especially knowing how easy it is.

    Ingredients:

    500g digestive biscuits
    100g butter
    500g Philadelphia cream cheese or generic
    6 tbsp icing sugar
    140g desiccated coconut
    1tsp vanilla extract
    600ml double cream
    6 tbsp caster sugar
    100g milk or dark chocolate. Extra for shavings on top if you would like.
    3 Bounty bars, sliced into chunks.

    Method:

    1. Line a deep 23cm (8inch) cake tin with non – stick baking paper.
    2. Melt the butter in a small pan and in a seperate bowl, crush the biscuits to a fine crumb using the end of a rolling pin or blender.
    3. Pour the melted butter into the biscuit crumb and mix well. Press firmly into the base of the cake tin and pop in the fridge to harden.
    4. Whisk the soft cheese, icing sugar, coconut and vanilla together until soft.
    5. Whisk the double cream and sugar together until thick, then fold in the soft cheese mixture. The mixture will thicken.
    6. Melt the chocolate in a bowl sitting over a pan of gently simmering water, make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water.
    7. Take the biscuit base out of the fridge and drizzle or spread a little of the chocolate across the base, then start adding the cheesecake mixture, drizzling a little chocolate between layers, but reserving some for the top decoration.
    8. Drizzle the remaining chocolate on top as you wish then finish off with slices of bounty and some some choc shavings if desired.

    Total prep time: 40 mins. I chilled minimum of an hour before serving.

    Serves 8-12

    Enjoy, indulge and do let me know if you make it,

    A x

  • cheese and lentil bake


    I am posting this crank recipe because it is amazing, easy, nutritious and loved by all small people. Okay granted it has only been my daughter and niece but still.

    Also it is an adult friendly meal so easy on the multi meal prep.

    Ingrediants:

    Serves 6 in a oval dish or 23cm cake pan.

    225g (8oz) red lentils450ml (3/4pt) water1 large onion25g (1oz) butter or margarine100g (4oz) cheddar cheese – grated5ml (1tsp) mixed herbs1 free-range egg25g (1oz) wholemeal breadcrumbs salt and pepper to taste (adult bit)

    I add a small tin of sweetcorn because I think adds extra flavour. Optional though.

    Method:

    Cook the lentils in the measured water until soft and all the liquid has been absorbed.Chop the onion.Melt the butter in a saucepan and fry the onion until transparent.Combine all the ingredients together and press into an oiled sandwich tin.Bake in the oven at 190°C (375°F/Mark 5) for 30 minutes.Serve hot or cold, in wedges.

    I served it with new potatoes and green veg.

    I won with this meal,

    Ali, x

  • Gizzi’s Cherry Pie


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    “This must be where pies go when they die.” -Dale Cooper

    You must be a lover of Twin Peaks to fully appreciate and respect this pie. This pie is famous to every David Lynch worshipper like me. Not only is it famous but man it tastes damn fine.

    So naturally I use my fellow Twin Peaks fanatic Gizzi Erskine’s recipe because this girl knows how to do it.

    I am going to include her full recipe, I however have a teething baby and a late night (non hang)over that has knocked the wind out of me, so will be cheating and using ready made pastry. I have made this pie twice with homemade pastry and twice with ready made. both delicious. If you have time. Go for it.

    Recipe:

    Makes 8 slices: 20 minutes, 1hr rest and cooking time up to 1hr.

    For the pastry

    300g plain flour
    2 tbsp icing sugar
    ½ tsp sea salt
    170g butter, unsalted and chilled
    170g cream cheese
    1 free range egg

    For the filling
    1 kg pitted frozen sour or sweet cherries,
    235 g caster sugar, if using sour cherries, 140g if using sweet
    1 cinnamon stick
    1 star anise
    1/2 orange, juice only
    3 rounded tbsp cornflour

    Ice cream or cream to serve

    To make the filling, mix the cherries with all the remaining ingredients. Let the mixture stand for 20 minutes, then stir once more. Pop into a large pan and then bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and cook for 10 minutes or until the liquid the cherries makes become as a light syrup. Remove the spices and leave to cool. And chill in the fridge.

    To make the pastry pop the flour icing sugar, salt and butter into a food processor and blitz until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add in the edge and cream cheese and blend the dough until it forms a ball. Remove from the processor and knead very briefly to smooth out, divide in two, then chill both portions in the fridge for an 1 hour.

    Preheat the oven to 190C. Roll out half the dough to line a 23cm pie plate or shallow tart tin. Roll out the second half of the dough to form a circle to cover the tin. Put the circle on a sheet of baking paper and chill both the dough-lined tin and the circle in the fridge until needed.

    Pile the cherries into the lined pie plate until it becomes a gently swelling mound.
    Brush the edges of the pastry crust with egg, then lay the pastry lid on top. Trim the edges, then crimp together firmly. Cut a hole in the centre of the pie to allow steam to escape.

    Bake for 40 minutes until the thickened cherry juices bubble up through the central steam hole. If the pastry is darkening too rapidly, cover loosely with tin foil. Serve the pie warm or cold, with white chocolate ice cream or cream.

    This recipe is so easy and is a firm favourite in my house. Let me know if you make it,

    Ali x

     

  • Gizzi Erskines Pineapple Cake


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    So I am massive fan of Gizzi Erskine’s recipes. You will often see my blog/instagram/twitter adorned with goodies from her various books. Over the last year I have paid quite a lot of attention to her sweet sections and have been feeding everyone around me with her pies, tarts and cakes. For those of you not familiar with her work, I thoroughly recommend you google this food goddess and make yourself familiar. (I love and cook a lot from her Skinny weeks and weekend feasts book):

    So from her Gizzi’s Kitchen Magic book came this little gem:

    Pineapple cake with Lime-soured cream frosting.

    Easy to construct, even easier to demolish. This cake should come with a Mojito and be served on a beach whilst you are having a pedicure. But as this is a mums blog,  you know really I have whipped this up whilst my small one sleeps, praying she does not wake up.

    La recipe:

    200g softened butter, plus extra for greasing

    200g light muscovado sugar

    4 large free range eggs

    200g self-raising flour

    1 teaspoon of baking powder, cinnamon and mixed spice (1 of each)

    225g tin of crushed pineapple or finely chopped with juice

    1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

    zest and juice of one lime

    For the lime-soured cream frosting:

    200ml soured cream

    Juice and zest of 1 lime, plus extra zest for decoration,

    100g icing sugar

    200ml double cream

    The method of this cake extraordinaire:

    Preheat your oven to 170c/gas 3. If you use an Aga like me, refer to the Aga cookbook. Grease and line a 20cm springform cake tin. Place the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat together with an electric whisk until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, then sift over the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and mixed spice and stir in. Finally stir in the pineapple, vanilla extract and lime zest and juice.

     

    Pour the cake mixture into the tin, pop into the oven and bake for 30 minutes. The cake is ready once you can slide a skewer into it and it comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then transfer it carefully to a wire rack to cool completely.

    To make the frosting, mix together the soured cream, lime zest and juice and icing sugar. Whip the double cream and gently fold into the soured cream mixture. Ice the top of the cake thickly with the icing, and decorate with lime zest.

    Now enjoy, devour and do let me know if you make it,

    Ali x

     

     

     

     

  • One in a melon


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    Anne Geddes eat your heart out. I am watermelon mad. So Phoebe has been subjected to my passion and is now the owner of some watermelon shoes that I decorated.

    Thank you Ebay for the cheap canvas baby shoes and fabric pens,

    Ali x

  • Nutella Crepe Cake – Mums edition


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    Baking, cooking, eating and feeding. I love to do it. If I had more time, money and the metabolism of a twig I would probably bake something every day.

    I also have a small baby and she does not care about my goodies yet so time is an obstacle.
    So I made the lesser time Nutella Crepe Cake.

    I bought ready made crepes (22) This saved me hours of making crepes that are of the same size and thickness. If you can do that, google sweet crepe recipe and go for it.

    1 Jar of Nutella, A large pot of double cream, and things to decorate. I chose strawberries and Galaxy to grate on top.

    It really is such an easy thing to create.

    I placed Nutella in microwave for a few seconds to soften. Whipped the double cream and gently mixed in three large spoons of Nutella.

    I then placed one crepe down and spread Nutella only on the bottom one. Then I layered each crepe with a large spoon of Nutella Cream, Building it up. I then piped the remaining choc cream on top added strawberries and grated Galaxy on top. This then needs to go in the fridge for at least an hour before serving as it nicely binds the flavours together. Can be made the day before if kept in an airtight container but I believe it to be better made on the day. Use a sharp knife safely to slice.

    Really is that simple. A dessert extraordinaire. So you chocolate lovers weep and thank me when you have tried it,

    Ali x