I love baking brownies. They are so easy to make yet are so naughty but nice at the same time. I used to make loads of them when I had cake stalls as they were always popular with customers. One … Continue reading
I have a long running diet problem. My weight goes up and down by the same two stone like a yo-yo. The reason why? I have a sweet tooth. I had a long chat with my hubby and he said … Continue reading
Yeah, I know! It’s Tuesday, but then again I’m off for half term this week and slowly catching up. it’s been a while since I’ve taken part in Meal Planning Monday. Life has just been really busy and I haven’t had time for my blog or for looking at everyone else’s either for that matter. Well let’s see what I can do from now on.
Meal Planning has been a bit hit and miss in our house over the past few weeks. Usually I shop on a Monday and a Friday so I buy what I need and have less waste. But if things change around I often find I’m not getting my bigger shops done and in the end I’m running round the local Co-op on my way home from work for essentials (which cost more). I must get myself more organised and this is the time to do it.
Here’s some of the things we had over the weekend:
This week we’re not going away anywhere, just out and about. I’ve got lots of jobs to catch up on and I’m trying to use up what’s in my cupboard as much as I can. I stocked up on meat for the freezer the other day at a local farm shop and all I need to buy is fresh bread, milk, fruit and veg.
So here goes:
Monday: Bangers, mash, veg and onion gravy.
Tuesday: Hubby’s out with work so my son and I are having a pizza night!
Wednesday: Off to the cinema so we’ll probably eat out before we go, something like Frankie and Benny’s or Nandos.
Thursday: Cottage Pie
Friday: Pasta Carbonara
Saturday: Beef Casserole in the slow cooker.
Sunday: Roast Chicken dinner.
Have a good week everyone. I’m off over to link up with MrsM on her blog and to see what everyone else is having.
Those of you who read my blog regularly will know that I’m doing a Cooking The Books Challenge. This started off well back at the start of the year but then as life got in the way! I logged on to update SmartCookieSam and realised it’s been well over a month since my last post. I haven’t been quiet on the baking front though. It’s mainly been trying out recipes from The Great British Bake Off Big Book Of Baking cookbook that came out to accompany the latest series.
So the idea of this post is to share with you some of the bakes I’ve made from the book. Here goes!
I love baking traybakes as a little goes a long way, especially at coffee mornings or fairs. The Golden Carrot traybake was a big success at my school’s MacMillan Coffee morning. I had to put pieces aside for the staff before they all got sold!
I also baked the Irish Brack recipe from the Bread Chapter of the book. It was very similar to the Yorkshire Tea Loaf recipe I regularly make. This went along to the MacMillan Coffee morning and about half of it sold, not as popular as carrot cake!
For one of the Sunday lunch puddings over the past few weeks I’ve been trying out various recipes from the Bake Off book. When on holiday in Normandy several years ago I loved the melt in the mouth apple tarts you could buy in the local patisseries. The tart is called Somerset Apple Tart in this recipe because it calls for Somerset Apple Brandy if you have it. Mine was Normandy Apple Tart as it had genuine Calvados in it. I love Calvados in cream to go with mince pies at Christmas but would struggle to drink any, too strong for me! Of course I would not get a job as a patisserie chef with my offering. When blind baking the pastry case I left it in the oven a bit too long and the sides burned. At least Mary Berry would be impressed that the tart didn’t have a soggy bottom though! My two kids, especially my son weren’t impressed by the tart. They said “Yuck, cooked apples!” Everyone else enjoyed it though and all the better with a splodge of whipped cream on the side.
Being a sweet toothed monster I thought it was about time I tried out some savoury recipes and I wanted to try out the cheese and mustard loaf. I thought it would be perfect on an Autumn Saturday along with a bowl of warming soup. So last Saturday I baked the loaf to have with some homemade vegetable soup. Again, my son wasn’t complimentary about my baking saying “Why do you have to put cheese in it? Why can’t you just cook some “normal” white bread?” Been there, done that, wanted to try something else! Both my hubby and I enjoyed a big slice with our soup though.
My hubby is a cheese lover and would prefer cheese and biscuits instead of a pudding if we go out anywhere. He reminds me of Wallace when he says “Got any cheese?” so the other day I bought some Harrogate Blue Shepherd’s Purse Cheese and had a go at Norman’s Farthing Biscuits from the Bake Off book. I thought Norman was a lovely guy, one of my favourite contestants from this year’s series. His quote about Tiramisu “I can’t even spell it” or words to that effect makes me smile. So I was keen to try out his recipe for Farthing Biscuits although mine seemed to puff up a bit in the oven. They tasted great though and even my fussy son liked them. Thankyou Norman, will be baking these again!
Another Sunday dinner or lunch dessert. These individual puddings were made in my Alan Silverwood Pudding Moulds which I think I bought from Lakeland. They are massive though and I should have shared one with my hubby. Anyway both of us were feeling greedy and had one to ourselves. No wonder I am struggling with my weight and was up half the night afterwards with heartburn. It did taste like heaven though; white chocolate sponge topped with a chocolate sauce. The chocolate sauce is plain chocolate, cream and butter heated together.
I was given some apples to use up from a neighbour so I incorporated some of them into this Sticky Apple Sponge Pudding. Very like the flavours of a Sticky Toffee Pudding but with sliced apples added to the bottom of the dish. A hit with all of the family despite the kids pulling the sliced apples off the cake. Apart from that it was scrumptious.
I love anything with ginger in it so I just had to bake the Grasmere Gingerbread recipe in the Bake Off book. I can’t get enough of Grasmere Gingerbread but the original recipe is a closely guarded secret. I bet this is as near to it as you get though. The gingerbread was going to be taken with me into work to put in the staff room but it never got there. All my family kept nibbling!
I also love anything with almonds in, so I was keen to have a go at the Morello Cherry Bakewell Tart. I’ve had a go at Bakewell tart a few times before but always used raspberry jam in it. I bought some Morello Cherry Jam in the supermarket and baked this version for another of our Sunday lunch desserts. I was surprised when my son said he liked it! I nearly passed out cold on the floor! HE ACTUALLY LIKED SOMETHING I BAKED! Well, I know it’s a winner then. Again I managed to overbake the pastry. Why is it that there’s always something else going on?
In the true spirit of the challenge I haven’t baked everything I set out to bake. I really wanted to have a go at some of the more complicated bakes such as the Princesstarta, the Kouign Amann’s and a couple of the savoury pies. But it has been so busy recently and I have really struggled to fit these bakes in around my day job and what I’d actually need them for.
Watch this space for November’s challenge: I’m going to be changing things a bit so I’ll let you know as soon as I’ve worked it all out!
I’ve probably mentioned before that I’m a big fan of Jo Wheatley who won the Great British Bake Off back in 2011. I love baking from her two recipe books and her Apple and Blackberry Loaf Cake is absolutely gorgeous. … Continue reading
On the first Friday evening back after the holidays my school held their postponed summer barbecue. Usually if it’s needed I bring along some cupcakes or cookies as part of the pudding. I was looking forward to going along to the BBQ, even though I had been feeling very tired and had lots going on at home. So, on that Friday morning I shot off into Harrogate to get some jobs done and then whizzed back home to bake and catch up on the chores. I went into Lakeland to get a couple of things and fell in love with their cupcake carrier. I already have a couple of cupcake carriers from The Works but they are very poorly made and the base which the cupcakes sit in isn’t level. So my eyes lit up when I saw the cupcake carrier which worked like a carousel and two dozen cupcakes sit neatly on top of one another inside a pretty cupcake shaped dome! I thought this would be perfect to transport my cakes in without resorting to my giant plastic boxes which take up so much room.
I must admit I get a bit carried away when I get to the baking aisle in any supermarket. It doesn’t matter what supermarket it is or whether I actually NEED those decorations but I feel as if I just HAVE to have them. The other week I was in Tesco and spotted Dr Oetker had brought out a new range of sprinkles called their Premium Range. I liked the look of these as they were a bit different to the old silver balls and hundreds and thousands you see everywhere. I chose three different pots: the Banoffee Sprinkles, some Rainbow Popping Candy and some Lemon Meringue sprinkles. All of these I knew would end up on top of some cupcakes or a traybake that I would take along to school or a coffee morning somewhere along the way. So our school’s BBQ was the perfect occasion to give them a try out.
I matched or complimented the flavours of the sprinkles to the flavours of the cupcakes and used my regular recipes which I use all the time for cupcake baking. So once I was home from Harrogate out came the mixer and all my ingredients. I put on all the programmes I hadn’t seen on BBC Iplayer and immersed myself with my favourite hobby.
Here’s what I came up with:
However, my day didn’t quite go to plan. My daughter goes to dance class on a Friday evening and my hubby had offered to pick her up on the way home from work. Anyway, he rang to say he was stuck in a massive traffic jam on the M1 and couldn’t get to my daughter in time. So I had to pick her up. This was about the same time as the BBQ was starting. I had to get my daughter home and put the dinner on instead of hubby so in the end we went via school and dropped off the cupcakes but I couldn’t stay for the BBQ. It was a lovely sunny evening too and I would have liked to have gone. At least 3 dozen cupcakes got to where they were meant to be going!
The cupcakes were very well received at the BBQ. I never tasted any but people told me they were lovely and the children went mad for the popping candy ones. Definitely a big hit then, will be buying those sprinkles again in the future.
Love Sam xx
Back in the last week of August I finally was free to go along to one of Wharfedale Clandestine Cake Club’s events. This was the first time I’d managed to get along, there was always something else happening. Thankfully being the summer holidays I had more time and I was free to go along being as the event was on a Thursday night. We met up in Otley and the cake theme for this event was “Go On, Surprise Me”!
I thought of baking a cake which had a pattern inside or was a rainbow cake but I also wanted to bake something I had never baked before. I scoured my recipe books and fell upon a pretty looking Oreo Cookie Cake with rosette swirls of buttercream in the Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook. This recipe is by Helen Costello from St Helen’s Clandestine Cake Club and had originally been baked for an American themed cake event. I had a bag of Oreo cookie pieces in my baking cupboard which I had bought in an American candy shop a couple of days earlier. The cake had Oreo pieces crushed inside the cake and I thought that the pieces were hidden inside covered up by the rosette buttercream piping. So the cake would have its surprise after all!
On with the baking. I started to bake the cake the day before the event by greasing two of my 8″ diameter loose bottomed sandwich tins. The cake itself was baked by beating butter and sugar together until light and creamy. The cake used seven egg whites and no yolks so it was great fun separating them.. NOT! After that I added in vanilla extract, some self raising flour and then finally added in some crushed Oreo pieces.
The cakes baked for about 45-50 minutes in my fan oven.
On the morning of the event I made up the vanilla frosting. I spread some frosting on the top of one of the cakes and sandwiched it to the other one. Then I coated the top and the sides of the cake. Unfortunately the frosting quantity wasn’t enough to go round and I only managed to piped the rosettes on the top of the cake. I was very disappointed with my rustic decorating skills.
Once I saw the finished cake I was ashamed and disappointed with my cake wreck. So unfortunately my surprise ingredient ended up being sprinkled around the bottom of the cake so it would detract away from the messy sides of the cake. The top ended up with more Oreos being thrown on top of it and then as suggested in the recipe about sprinkling your cake with edible lustre dust. I did have some gold and silver lustre dust in my cupboard last Christmas but it had all gone so I had to use my lilac edible glitter instead. I was a bit heavy handed with it as you can see!
There were lots of lovely cakes at the event and I enjoyed lots of different surprises. From sweetie pinata cakes to a chocolate cake containing quinoa, we were well and truly spoilt. We had some delicious cakey leftovers to take home and I made sure I took some home for my family to enjoy as much as I did.
Love Sam xx
It’s been a few weeks since I updated my blog. There’s been so much going on. Once the school holidays are over I’m back into work mode and there is barely time to get the jobs around the house done. Then … Continue reading
Back in August I was excited when the brand new Great British Bake Off book to accompany series 5 came out: The Great British Book Of Baking. Being at home for the summer holidays off work from my teaching assisting … Continue reading
I’ve already been back at work for over two weeks now but for our school training day at the very beginning of the year we always have a shared lunch. As I love baking I always bring in the pudding … Continue reading