Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Clandestine Cake Club - March 2012

I really look forward to my monthly trips to cake club. It is such a great way to socialize with new and interesting people and of course there is a butt load of cake to eat! This months theme was "Baking with Beverages" so our cakes were themed around drinks. Inevitably there was a lot of alcohol involved in the recipes on the table, I dread to think what might have happened had someone lit a match.

I had a lot of ideas for my cake this month and changed my mind about 17 times before settling on a recipe. In the end I went for a Shirley Temple cake, a lot of people didn't actually realise that a "Shirley Temple" was a drink so I did spend a lot of the night explaining the connection.

I definitely won the prize for pinkest cake this month! The recipe for this bad boy will follow shortly, as I want to try them out as cupcakes instead, I think it would work better in cupcake form.

The sponge is a ginger beer flavoured concoction, with a lime curd filling and maraschino cherry buttercream slathered all over. All I can say is YUM! ...

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Mother's Day and my bake-free weekend

So the blog has been super quiet this week, I went a bit mad in February and practically blogged everyday! I am trying to find a happy medium that works for me.

This weekend was a tough one for me as it was the first mother's day without my Mum. Part of me wanted to curl up in bed and sleep through the whole thing but on Saturday I really fancied a trip to the seaside. I live just a few miles from the coast so 15 minutes on the metro and I can dip my toes in the ocean. I really don't take advantage of this enough.

I put a plea out on twitter for someone to come to the beach with me and my lovely friend Janette text to ask if I wanted to go with her to Tynemouth market and have fish and chips on the beach. Perfect.

I thought I would share my lovely day with you all, I really do love the seaside plus it seemed like a nice tribute as it was one of my Mum's favourite places and we even scattered her ashes in Tynemouth...

Friday, 16 March 2012

Baking Mad with Eric Landlard - Filming

So today I made my TV debut! How flippin' exciting eh?

Now I can finally share my filming experience with you all, I have been wanting to spill the beans since January, but we weren't allowed until the show had aired. Now that you have seen me in all my baking-glory I can tell you all about my exciting day at Cake Boy! ...

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Cinnamon Swirl Scones

I have never had much luck with scones in the past, flat, heavy and possibly could be classed as a deadly weapon was the best I could manage. So , when I saw that this months Tea Time Treats was scone themed I moaned and groaned and pretty much decided to sit this one out.

Then I had a little recipe epiphany.

I have been wanting to try making cinnamon swirls/buns forever but my inherent laziness has always found the idea of kneading and proving a bit of a long term commitment for a quick and delicious weekend bake.


Why not make them as a scone? I had a moment of doubt, would they rise properly? Would they even stay in a swirl? There is only one way to find out!...

Monday, 12 March 2012

Meal Planning Monday - 12/03/12

Last weeks meal plan was actually quite successful! We didn't stick to the days but we ate all of the meals I had planned and that's what counts. The biggest problem before I started meal planning was having those panic moments at around 6pm of "CRAP! What are we having for dinner, I am starving, lets have chips!" My waistline and wallet were not happy with this arrangement.

Now because of meal planning I know exactly what is in my cupboards, fridge and freezer. Even if I don't fancy what I have planned I know I have a couple of back ups.
So without further ado here is this weeks plan;

Sunday: Roast Pork dinner with all the trimmings
(left over roast pork for sandwiches through the week)

Monday: Sausage and bacon sandwiches (quick meal as we are out with friends)

Tuesday: Sort yourself out night

Wednesday: Bolognese pasta bake with garlic bread

Thursday: Left over pasta bake

Friday: Toad in the hole with root veg mash.

This weekend food shop cam to £35 in total, we were lucky enough to visit with the inlaws this weekend so we now have a freezer jam-packed full of meat!

I have as always linked my post with Mrs M's meal planning linky. Head on over to see what everyone else is planning.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Caramel Shortbread

I have never been a big fan of caramel shortbread, the thick sickly caramel layer always left me feeling a little queasy. It is however one of my Sister's all time favourite sweet treats and she has been nagging me to bake it for ever.

I mentioned to the boyfriend that I was considering baking caramel shortbread (or as he calls it Millionaires shortbread) and within an hour of the words leaving my lips he had nipped to the shop to buy condensed milk and chocolate. So, being the wonderful girlfriend and sister that I am, I set about baking...

Monday, 5 March 2012

Meal Planning Monday - 05/03/12

Monday has rolled around again. I had such a busy weekend I have hardly had time to sit down let alone plan or shop. Luckily last weeks shop was such a good one that we have plenty of food to tide us over. I simply popped to the local shop for fresh bread, milk and cat food.

This weeks meal plan is quite loose, these are what I plan to have but with a lot going on this week the meals may get shuffled around;

Monday: Chicken Kievs with boiled new potatoes and sweetcorn.

Tuesday: Sort yourself out night

Wednesday: Beef lasagne with garlic bread

Thursday: I am eating out so left over lasagne for boyfriend.

Friday: Either homemade fish and chips, or chilli jacket potatoes.

We have plenty of tinned soup, cereal, and sandwich stuff for lunches so it will be yet another cheap week for us. I shudder to think how much money we used to spend on food, we used to go to the supermarket every Sunday without planning and just pick up £50 worth of food; half of which would go off before we ate it. So wasteful!

I am looking forward to this months No Food Waste Challenge from Turquoise Lemons, if you are interested in cutting down food waste you should check it out, some great ideas!

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Sunday Lunch - Eating out at La Gabbia

This weeks Sunday Lunch post is a little different. I really didn't cook much last weekend as I was out and about and also cleaned my house from top to bottom. There really is nothing worse than cleaning your kitchen to only mess it up all over again.

So I decided to share my Saturday lunch with you. We went to a lovely event at La Gabbia in Ouseburn. The event was called Knit and Gabbia and was a lot of fun. It was basically a knitting club of sorts, I met some great people and knitted up a storm!

It was £2 which included a cup of tea and a great little goodie bag, which had a fabulous kit for making this little duck creme egg cosy! Too cute!

The goody bag also had a raffle ticket inside and to my surprise we won! We got 2 for 1 on pizza at La Gabbia as our prize so we decided to stay for lunch. ...

Friday, 2 March 2012

Baking Mad with Eric Lanlard Update.

I am super excited that the new series of Baking Mad with Eric Lanlard is starting on Channel 4 on Monday 5th March.

I found out today that MY episode will be aired on 15th March at 12:05pm on Channel 4.

So set your recording devices to see me bake up a storm, mess up the simplest part of my recipe and above all have an absolute blast!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Shortbread Army - Coming to get you...

There has been a lot of celebrations and happy occassions this month from Christenings to Engagements, to Births and New Jobs. Lots of reasons to be happy and lots of excuses to bake something delicious to celebrate!

Some close friend of ours had their first child this month, a gorgeous little boy called Harry. I had planned on baking some lovely blue iced cupcakes to take around when we first met him but a particularly hectic week meant I just didn't have the time so the standard baby present was bought instead. However, the second time we popped in to see them I decided to bake a few easy biscuits to take round and enjoy with a nice cup of tea.

My shortbread recipe literally could not be easier and I managed to rustle them up in just 30 minutes after work. I rummaged through my cookie cutter drawer and decided to go with little gingerbread men shaped biscuits, they sort of look like little baby boys right?

Little Boy Shortbread
  • 180g plain flour
  • 120g butter, softened (Must be full fat proper butter)
  • 75g caster sugar (plus extra for dusting)
  • 0.5 tsp orange blosson water
  • Fresh vanilla seeds

    Cream the butter, sugar vanilla and orange blossom together for 3-5 minutes until light and creamy. Then gradually add the sifted flour until a dough forms. It might be quite crumble but wrap it in some clingfilm and refrigerate for around 10 minutes (if in a hurry, longer if not)

    Roll out to the desired thickness. My Valentines Shortbread was rolled quite thin and had a lovely snap to it. These I rolled much thicker which made for a lovely crumbly soft biscuit.

  • I also got my letter press out and decided to stamp his name into the biscuits as an extra touch. The press itself is great! I used it at Christmas to make these super cute fondant iced biscuits. I had never tried stamping straight into dough before but it worked really well!

    I bought the stamp off ebay for around £6

    I wrapped 10 of the little Harry biscuits in a nice plastic presentation bag from Lakeland and tied it with a blue ribbon. They went down really well and tasted bloody lovely.

    I am a big believer in homemade gifts, what do you bake for special occasions or celebrations?
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