Tag Archives: food

My Mission – Minnie Mouse Cake Pops – Birthday Gift

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Not as easy as they look!

Cute and tasty!

I made it my mission to make some Minnie mouse cake pops. However, I didn’t anticipate this to be as frustrating as it was. With the overall waiting for the cake to cook, fair enough, but there was soooo much waiting for things to cool, set or cook. I was getting rather tired of doing them.

I followed instructions from another website that sounded like they had it in the bag. I started out with 20 cake pops. After lots of hassle with them staying on the stick I went through several techniques in coating these little babies in chocolate. I knew I couldn’t just dunk and pull it out all fresh-as-you-like. Cause the weight of the chocolate would rip the cake ball apart and stay put in your nice bowl of melted chocolate.

In the end the best technique I found was to use a heat proof silicone pastry brush and slowly coat the balls supporting the ball underneath with your hand so it didn’t shift down the stick. Place on its head on grease proof paper and don’t move it until it’s set. You won’t need to refrigerate for it to set. Plus it attracts condensation if you do.

Once I had a thin layer on and it had set and could be peeled from the paper. I was able to coat allot easier due to the chocolate acting like glue and it (mostly) stayed put. Your next layer of chocolate should include placing the ears on. I used chocolate buttons. Don’t bother trimming the side off like some websites tell you. This only inhibits the attaching part, which frankly is quite important! =D Push the ears in after the second coat of chocolate, as this will soften the previous layer just enough to help with that. Otherwise they just break up! These are then to be stood up on their sticks to set, a block of Styrofoam is useful here. A useful tip I did pick up is to make use of a cocktail stick. Just to pick define areas like the ears and to move the chocolate and to remove any excess. I coated mine until I was happy with them. Or at least, not so disappointed!

You only need to make them around 1 inch diameter at first, as the chocolate layers bulk them out. I was worried I wouldn’t get them inside the cellophane bags I had that were 3.5″x5″ I bought from Ebay. I chose 4.5″ lolly sticks or the plastic variety, if they don’t come with, you will need some plastic coated wires too to seal them. On my travels around my local town of Cannock, I picked up some lovely ribbon the I thought was just right, at 20p a meter I wasn’t complaining!

I just cut the ribbon a few inches long and tied once tightly. You could, with thinner ribbon tie a bow. But at this point in the baking and making process, I was ready to give up altogether. In the end, I managed to salvage 11 decent looking Minnie silhouettes. They didn’t taste bad at all either. My 2.5yr old son was happy to eat any disaster pops. Although to be fair they were very rich, so don’t worry if you don’t make a lot. I probably wouldn’t eat more than one at a time.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Overall, I’m happy I gave it a go, but I won’t be in a hurry to try this again. Maybe plain round ones with decoration on top to disguise the dodgy coating of chocolate. Let me know if you have tried this and how it worked out.

Chocolate and Vanilla Marble Cake Topped with Buttercream and Walnuts

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Chocolate and Vanilla Marble Cake Topped with Buttercream and Walnuts

Marble Cake Recipe

Marble Cake

Come 9:30pm yesterday, I really wanted a yummy treat. So, like any crazy person, I decided to bake one right then. I searched my cupboards and decided on marble cake with butter cream and as I had some leftover walnuts from another baking session, I thought I’d try it out. To my Hubby’s delight it turned out just as I’d hoped.

Ingredients for Cake
225g Plain Flour
225g Caster Sugar
225g Softened Butter
2 tsp Baking Powder
100g Cocoa Powder
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
4 Medium Eggs
2 tbsp Milk

Ingredients for Topping
100g Butter
200g Icing Sugar
½ Cup Chopped Walnuts
½ tsp Milk

Using a pre greased and floured 8-9″ spring release cake pan. (Phew, that was a mouthful)

Directions
Pre-heat oven to 180°C.

Cream butter and sugar in electric mixer until pale. Add one egg at a time mixing thoroughly between each addition. Stir in Vanilla.

In a separate bowl sieve flour and baking powder together.

Add spoonfuls of flour into butter mixture along with milk. Mix briefly until flour is incorporated.

Using a large spoon place half the mixture into the pan in 4 individual spots. Add Cocoa to the remaining mixture, stir thoroughly and fill in the gaps in the cake pan with the chocolate mixture.

Using a skewer or something similar, swirl the chocolate into the vanilla and vice-versa. But not so much that you lose the vanilla too much.

Bake for 40 Mins or until firm to touch or skewer comes out clean.

Once cooled on a rack prepare the topping.

Mix together butter and icing sugar and add in milk.

Spread over the top of the cake generously and sprinkle on the walnuts, or a nut of your choice.

Now all there is to do is let everyone enjoy and appreciate your hard work!

Quick and Easy Chilled Pasta Salad with Bacon – Recipe

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Pasta Salad Recipe

Tasty!

Ok, so I needed a recipe for cold pasta salad that wasn’t too …fussy. I did search google for recipes, cause I wasn’t too confident with flavours at the time. But came up with nothing that really appealed and fit what I needed; which was to satisfy many different taste buds for a BBQ. So here’s what I threw together. Simple flavours, but big on taste! Leave a comment if you try this. I’d love to know what you think.

Serves 8-10 buffet portions

Ingredients
400g Dry weight Cavatappi (spirals)
8 Heaped Tablespoons of Light Mayonnaise (using regular dinner spoon not measuring type) Approx 600g
340g Drained Salad Crisp Green Giant™ Sweet corn (large can)
5 Large Spring Onions
12 Rashers of Streaky (or any that you prefer) Bacon
Salt and Pepper to taste
Large pinch of Paprika

Directions
Cook pasta and bacon in your usual, preferred way. Pasta should not be overcooked. Drain pasta and let sit to cool in the drainer, washing with cool water to help speed up the process. Let bacon cool on a plate.

Roughly chop the onion and place in a large mixing bowl along with the sweetcorn. Add cold pasta and mayo and lightly mix together, being careful not to break up the pasta shapes. Sprinkle on most of paprika.

Using scissors or a knife if you prefer, cut the bacon into slithers over the pasta mix. Stir to incorporate the bacon, add more mayo with you feel you need it. Place pasta salad into a container with a lid and finish off with a sprinkling of paprika all over. Cover and store in a fridge.

Best eaten 3+ hours after making, to give the mayonnaise a chance to absorb the flavours otherwise it can taste really eggy.

You could substitute the bacon for ham or chicken. Spring onion can be subbed with chives too. When including any meat, please make sure it has cooled thoroughly before you mix into your pasta mix.

Home Baked Gift Ideas. Printable Free Butterscotch and Gingersnaps Cookie Recipe

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Gingersnap and Butterscotch Cookie Recipe Gift Box

Yum!

This is a super cool way of giving home-made cookies as a gift. You can recycle containers or gift boxes you have received. If you have the budget you could use a mixing bowl as your ‘basket’ and line with tissue paper. See below for more ideas for your ‘basket’.

To pad out a very deep bowl or basket you can roll tissue paper into flattened balls and stick them with very small pieces of double sided tape just to anchor them. Cover with shredded tissue or a raffia and layer your cookies on top.

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Large Yummy Bacon Wrap (just like greggs)

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Bacon Wraps

Ingredients
500g jus • roll® Puff Pastry Block
100g Grated Cheese of your choice
4-8 Rashers of Back Bacon


Directions
Remove pastry form the refrigerator and leave to sit for 20 mins.

Jus-Roll Puff Pastry 500g

Preheat oven at 220°C (200°C fan ovens). Unwrap block and cut in half so you have two rectangles. Put one block aside and roll out the dough so that when cut down the middle you will get two squares. Doesn’t matter if it’s not exact. You can use a dusting of plain flour to aid rolling.

Rolling Technique - Don't worry if it's not perfect!

Repeat with other block and you will end up with four large squares.

Four pastry squares

Place squares on baking trays and place 1-2 rashers on bacon on each square. Add 25g of grated cheese to each wrap.

Prepare on baking trays

Fold each corner (as pictured below) in to the centre. Coat any exposed pastry with milk or egg. If you have allergies this is not essential

Almost ready!

Bake in oven for 25-30 mins or until pastry is fully cooked and holds it’s shape when lifted from the tray. If you like your bacon extra crispy, you can cook your bacon before you place into the wraps. These make huge wraps ideal for lunch or as part of a main meal. For smaller wraps keep rolling and cut smaller squares. Use less ingredients in each wrap so that it doesn’t over fill.

  • Makes 4 Large Wraps

These are huge versions of the greggs ones. My hubby says ‘they are better than greggs’.  This is a really cheap easy meal. I server mine with baked beans and salad as I find them very filling.

Enjoy!

You can freeze these aswell, just loosely wrap up in foil and place inside resealable freezer bags. They take 15-20 mins to reheat from frozen at 200°C. They are just like from fresh!

Please leave comments if you decided to try this out. It really takes no time at all.

Notes: You can use 50% fat cheese you wish. Try a different cut of bacon, but will work best with less fatty cuts, as this will prevent the pastry from going soggy. I use foil to line the trays as it’s easier to remove them afterwards. Of course, you can use any brand of puff pastry too.

Best Butter Tarts

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Ingredients
Filling mix:
2 Medium Eggs
2 Cups Light Brown Sugar (packed)
2 tbs Lemon Juice
½ tsp Vanilla Extract
½ Cup Melted Butter
1 Cup Raisins/Currants
¼ Cup Chopped Walnuts

Cases:
Shortcrust Pastry. You will need double the amount of the recipe on this blog Best Shortcrust Pastry Recipe

Directions

Pastry Lined Tins

Pastry Lined Tins

Mix all the filling list of ingredients together in a bowl.

Beat together and fill no more than ¾ full in pastry lined cake tins.

Bake for 20-25 mins at 180°C (350°F)

Makes 38+


Butter Tarts

Butter Tarts

Notes: For a tasty change you can add maple syrup and pecans.

Best Shortcrust Pastry Recipe

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Shortcrust Pastry

This recipe was advised to me by my Nan, who said ‘you must add half butter and half vegetable fat’ (shortening). She makes the best pies and tarts in the world. There isn’t a great deal that goes into pastry to begin with but the best version is below…

Ingredients
225g (8oz) Plain Flour
¼ tsp salt
50g Stork butter for Pastry, (comes in foil) (chopped into cubes)
50g TREX Vegetable Fat (chopped into cubes)
Cold water, 1-1½tsp per 25g (1oz) of Flour

Directions
Sift flour and salt together in a bowl

Add butter and vegetable fat. Rub the fats into the flour until they look like fine breadcrumbs

Slowly add water as it’s important not to over wet your pastry. Combine the crumbs while adding the water and just as all the crumbs stick together turn out and knead until smooth and crack-free. Add more water if needed by dampening one hand and kneading in.

Roll out pastry when you are ready to use it. If you want to use it later place in foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate.

If you are following a recipe please use those cooking instructions. Otherwise, a good guide is 200-220°C (400-435°F) Gas Mark 6-7

Happy Baking!!

Notes: If you’re not familiar with the brands stated above, I’ve provided a picture below.

TREX and Stork Products

Winter Bird Feeding – bird cakes

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bird food

Make your own bird food hangers

Make those little feathery friends happy with a tasty treat…

I made these little bird fat balls by using leftover ingredients from baking and food I had in the store cupboard.  They are really easy to make and very rewarding once you see those little birds pecking away!

Firstly I’d like to note that I havn’t specified quantities on the dried ingredients as these may vary from cupboard to cupboard. Use what you have, don’t worry if all you have are fruit or oats and nuts. The birds will still love every morsel. Just stay true to the lard to dry mix ratio.

For advice on what is recommended to feed your garden birds please visit
http://www.rspb.org.uk/ as I am not an expert on wildlife and have taken my recipe from their guidance.

What you’ll need:

+ Thick String or any stringing material (I used ribbon as I didn’t have any string)
+ Mixed Nuts (i.e peanuts, walnuts and pecans etc)
+ Dried Fruit ( i.e apple, apricot, raisins and berries etc)
+ Uncooked porridge oats and/or bran flakes
+ Lard, you will need approx one third volume in lard to the dried food.
+ Small saucepan
+ Silicone Cupcake Moulds (or any easy release moulds that are at least cupcake size)

Directions:

Chop all fruit, nuts and oats and cereal into small pieces and reserve into a bowl.

Cut strings into approx 10in lengths, you can always cut more if you run out as the lard takes a couple hours in the refrigerator to set. Tie each of the strings ends together to form a circle and double/triple knot them to form an anchor in which the lard mixture will eventually stick to.

Next you will want to melt the lard on the hob on a low heat. Once just melted, add your lard to your dry mix until everything is well coated, you may want to be generous as this will help it all stick together.

Place your strings, knot first, into your silicone/easy release moulds. Scoop your mixture into the individual moulds making sure that the knot is well placed in the centre of the cake. Push the mixture so that it is tightly packed.

Now place the tray of bird cakes into the fridge for at least 2.5-3 hours, longer if you can as they will only benefit from the setting process. Once rock hard, pop out your little birdy cupcakes and hang high on the nearest tree.

Note: If you don’t fancy stringing these up you can always omit the stringing process and place on clean trays on the ground or on bird tables. They will still be enjoyed!