Monday, 25 July 2011


We have an abundance of courgettes at the moment (unfortunately not from our garden, ours don't seem to be growing very quickly at all) kindly donated from a neighbour.
I wanted to use them in a loaf, so I found a recipe in Rachel Allen's Bake.
The final result was not what I was expecting it is more of a sweet bread than a savoury one, never the less it still went quite well with some soup for lunch.
I'm still on the look out for a more savoury version of this!

Here's the recipe from the Rachel Allen book:

400g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2tsp baking powder
1tsp ground cinnamon
1/4tsp freshly grated nutmeg
300g caster sugar
100g demerara sugar
3 eggs beated
200ml sunflower oil
2tsp vanilla extract
380g courgettes, grated (skin left on)
75g walnuts ( I omitted the walnuts as my little boy doesn't like them)
two loaf tins

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C and butter and flour the loaf tins.
Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and spices into a large bowl. Add both sugars and mix.
Add the beated eggs, oil, vanilla extract and grated courgettes and mix well. Add the walnuts and divide between two tins.
Bake in the oven for 1 hour to 1 hour and a quarter or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for 20mins before turning onto a wire rack.
Rachel recommends serving on it's own or toasting and spreading with butter.

This can keep for up to 10 days when wrapped tightly in cling film.

Monday, 18 July 2011


Again this is the same basic cupcake recipe (see St Patricks Day cupcakes) and decorated simply with fondant.

Once the cake is cooked and cooled you might need to slice the top of the cakes off to make them flatter.
(chefs bonus here as you get to eat all the pieces!)
Spread a small amount of buttercream ontop of the cake and try to keep it as level as possible.
Roll out your fondant (I just used white here as I wanted to keep it simple) and cut it out using a round cutter in a similar size to your cupcake.
Place the fondant circle ontop of the cake and smooth over if necessary.
Using a daisy cutter punch out a your daisy shapes. Using a bone tool press gently in the middle of the daisy to create a dip in the middle of the flower.
Mix some fondant with some yellow food colouring or paste and make a small ball for the daisy centres.
Use a small paintbrush to paint a little bit of water ontop of the cake in the middle to help the fondant daisy stick.
Then place your daisy in the middle of the cupcake. Using the paintbrush again put a small amount of water on the centre of the daisy and add the rolled yellow fondant ball.

You can use the same method to make any topping you wish. I also did some butterflies in pink and purple sprinkled with a bit of glitter to finish.


I had been so excited about my new Wilton nozzle arriving this morning so I could have a go at some rose style cupcakes but the postman came and no nozzle!
I still had a go anyway using a similar plastic nozzle I already had and the result wasn't too bad.
I made the icing by painting a coloured paste (grape violet) inside a disposable piping bag.
Then you fill the piping bag with buttercream.
Squeeze a little bit out until the purple starts to come through. 
There are loads of tutorials and videos out there on how to pipe a rose but basically using a nozzle in the style of the Wilton 1M you start at the centre of the cupcake and pipe in circles moving outwards.
As you pipe it give the tops of the icing a coloured effect.
Then there had to be a sprinkling of lilac glitter to finish the cakes off!

Sunday, 17 July 2011


Well what a horrible and rainy afternoon it was today!
Luckily I had my sewing machine to keep me busy whilst the boys were out.
I decided to make up a baking set for a friends daughter's birthday. 
With the fairy cookbook already ordered and on it's way from Amazon I made up a cute little drawstring bag to hold some baking paraphernalia to go with it. 
Now I just need to add some fairy dust and sprinkles and it's ready to go.

I also made a few extra to pop on ebay too!!

Friday, 15 July 2011


Muffins made today, all ready to freeze for packed lunches next week. These are taken from Tana Ramsay's Family Kitchen. It makes a batch of 12 and they do freeze well.

300g self raising flour 
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp mustard powder
75g butter
185g mature cheddar
6 slices of ham cut into 1cm squares
250ml milk
1 egg, beaten
Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C.
Sieve the flour, mustard and paprika together and rub the butter in until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Add the ham and cheese and give it a stir.
Add the milk and the egg, mix to combine.
Spoon the mixture into 12 muffin cases and top with some Parmesan cheese.
Bake for 20mins in a preheated oven.
Leave to cool on a wire rack.
(also lovely warm from the oven!)

Tuesday, 12 July 2011


Our local fruit farm is certainly getting lots of business from us this year. We had another trip at the weekend to collect raspberries for my little ones favourite jam.

1.8kg raspberries
1.8kg sugar

While your jars are sterilising in the oven pop the sugar in a glass bowl in too so it can warm up.
Put the raspberries into a large pan and simmer for 5 - 10mins until the fruit is has reduced down to juice and pulp. Add the warmed sugar and stir to dissolve.
Increase the heat and bring to a rolling boil. Boil for 5 -10mins until it has reached 104 degrees C (or do the plate test).
Pot the jam into the sterilised jars, seal and label.

Saturday, 9 July 2011


Some kindly donated redcurrants went into make 4 jars of lovely redcurrant jelly which is now stashed away until Christmas!
I used a recipe from a book I found in the local library called The allotment cookbook, throughout the year.
This book has loads of good recipes in which I have found useful for all our garden produce!

900g redcurrants (including stalks)
900g approx granulated sugar

Add the redcurrants, stalks and 600ml water  into a large pan and bring to boil over a medium hear. Reduce the heat and cook for about 10 mins until the currants are soft. Mash to a pulp.
Tip the pulp into a jelly bag and leave to strain over a bowl for several hours.
Measure the strained juice. You will need 450g sugar per 600ml of juice.
Pour the juice into a large pan and add the sugar, stirring to dissolve. Bring this to boil and cook on a rolling boil for 10-20mins or until setting point is reached. (Remove the pan from the heat to test).
Pot into warm sterlised jars.
The jelly keeps for up to 9 months.


As a bit of a weekend breakfast treat I made a big batch of Oat and Blueberry muffins from Tana Ramsays Real Family Food.

340g self raising flour
150g light brown sugar
25g porridge oats plus extra for sprinkling
180ml buttermilk
125ml veg oil
150g blueberries (the recipe says to defrost if using frozen but I put them in frozen and find they are fine)
1 egg, beaten

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and line a muffin tin with 12 paper cases,
Sieve the flour into a bowl and add the sugar and oats and mix thoroughly.
Add the buttermilk, egg, veg oil and mix in the blueberries. Mix carefully as you don't want to over mix or crush the bluberries as they are best when they burst in the muffin when baking.
Spoon into the cases, sprinkle some oats ontop of each muffin and bake for 15-20mins.
Cool on a wire rack.

As raspberries are coming in early this year you could replace the blueberries with raspberries. They go just as well with the oats.

Friday, 8 July 2011


We had a productive Sunday afternoon fruit picking so Monday was spent jam making.
 1.8kg blackcurrants
2.75kg granulated sugar
1.4l water

Put the blackcurrants into a large pan with the water and bring to the boil, reduce to simmer for at least half an hour. The blackcurrants should be soft and squashed easily.
Meanwhile put the sugar in a low oven (whilst your jars are in there sterilising) for 15 minutes. Warming the sugar helps it to dissolve when added to the blackcurrants.
Tip the sugar into the fruit and stir until completely dissolved.
Bring to the boil again and boil rapidly for 6-8 mins (don't stir at this stage).
If you have a sugar thermometer it will be doe when it reaches 104 degrees C otherwise take the jam off the heat and do the plate test to see if it's reached setting point.
Pot the jam into warmed sterilised jars and seal.


As a little extra to take along to a friends wedding reception I have made them some bride and groom cupcakes. The cake is cooked as normal and then topped with a small amount of buttercream to help the fondant adhere to the cake.
My cutters were either too big or too small to get the perfect size circle for the topping of the cupcakes so I improvised using a glass, which worked surprisingly well!


I've wanted to have a go at bunting for so long and now I can't work out why I had left it so long. It's so simple to do and effective once it's sewn to the ribbon.
I made it reversible by sewing two triangles back to back and turning them the right side out before sewing to the bias binding.
I think the first one took about half an hour to complete the second a little quicker - have a go!!