The Great Bloggers Bake Off 2014 Week 2 – Biscuits !!

GBBO14

 

Biscuits … we simply couldn’t function without them !!! Especially in my house … the boys are biscuit fiends .. even the dog is partial to the odd custard cream !!!!

On GBBO this week the contestants had their 3 challenges to complete

1. Signature savoury biscuits

2. Mary Berry’s Florentines

3. A 3D biscuit structure

As you would imagine the contestants all made salivatingly weird and wonderful biscuit creations of immense proportions !! Very impressive I must say !! But for me … I reckon you can’t beat plain & simple … biscuits that your kids can get involved with … quick , simple yet delicious ! So this week I made Mary Berry, Fork Biscuits & Oat rounds  … all recipes can be found in Mary Berry’s Baking Bible available in all good book shops !!!!

These biscuits were sweet , crunchy , perfect for my brood of hungry boys …. You can keep your pomp & circumstance … Give us a proper bickie anyday !!!

biscuits

If you would like to join in with the Great Bloggers Bake Off head on over to Jenny Berrys’ blog and join the heck in ….

The Great Bloggers Bake Off 2014 : Week One -CAKE !

cherry

The Great British Bake Off returned to our screens again this week ! Yet again I wasn’t chosen to be a contestant … they really don’t know what they’re missing out on … what with my charm , sophistication and good looks .. seriously !!! AHEM !!  But anyway who need to be a baking star of the small screen when I can join my amazing fellow bloggers and be a part of The Great BLOGGERS bake off 2014 … pitting our baking skills against the blogging baking community and thoroughly enjoying the challenges !!

So anyway … them fame hungry lot on TV were given the challenge to bake :

1. A swiss roll

2. St Mary of Berry’s Cherry Cake

3. 36 identical little cakes

 

For my first week back on the bake off I have chosen to go with challenge 2 The Cherry cake and so I give you…

Julia’s Cherry , Lime & Coconut Ring 

  • 200g glace cherries

  • 225g self raising flour

  • 175g softened butter

  • 175g caster sugar

  • 1 lime , finely grated zest only

  • 50g ground almonds

  • 3 large eggs , free range if possible

Icing – 125g icing sugar

50g dessicated coconut

zest & juice of 1 lime

Glace cherries to decorate

 

 

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Grease your tin … I used a 9″ bundt tin.

Wash your cherries , dry them and then chop into quarters. Put  into a sandwich bag with 2 tbsp of your flour and ensure all the cherries are covered.

Now out your butter, sugar , flour , zest , almonds and eggs into a mixer and mix for around 2 mins or until you have a nice smooth batter . Now fold in your prepared cherries gently ensuring they are evenly distributed through your batter.

Pour into your tin and bake for 35 mins.

After 5 mins cooling in the tin turn it out onto a wire rack.Leave your cake to cool completely.

Look at the cherries - they're suspended not sunk ! Hurrah !

Look at the cherries – they’re suspended not sunk ! Hurrah !

Next make your icing – I was lucky enough to be given a packet of lime & coconut flavoured icing sugar to which I just added a few drops of water … you can get hold of these HERE or alternatively put the icing sugar , coconut and lime zest into a bowl  add the lime juice bit by bit until you acheive a thick but pourable consistency … pour over yor cake , decorate with chopped cherries … now pop the kettle on and RELAX !

 

You can join in with the great bloggers bake off by hopping over to see our very own Jenny Berry  and joining in xx

Ice Cream dreams with Magnum Marc de Champagne

magnum

The sun has been amazing of late wouldn’t you agree ?? Now I’m no sun worshipper … with the skin of a red head I tend to shy away from exposing my freckled flesh to the great outdoors in stifling heat … however with lovely sunny days comes the perfect opportunity to reach into the freezer and grab an ice cream !! I recently tried out the limited edition Magnum Silver Marc de Champagne ice cream which has been made  to celebrate Magnums 25th birthday this year and I kid you not it was pure delish !!!

The well known crack of the thick chocolate .. TICK !! In this instance a heady two tone chocolate- dark on the inside , white on the outside .. win win !

The creamy deliciousness we all love about a magnum … TICK !!

and then you get to it … the decadently luxurious champagne swirl hidden amongst the creamy loveliness … TICK !!!

A joy to behold !! A summery delight  of pure indulgence with the celebratory naughtiness of Marc de Champagne !

WINNER !!

Go get yourself a box now … before they disappear !! You won’t be disappointed…

Easy Eating with the Co-op !

Pentax Digital Camera

As you all know I am definitely someone who enjoys meals that are full of flavour and let’s be honest … not too complicated 1 I’m a believer that everyone and anyone can make a decent meal with litte hassle ! So when I was approached by the Co-op to help them in their Easy Eating campaign … who was I to quibble ?

After much deliberation I decided that the easiest dish I could share with you all is the meal that made us “famous” as a family when we appeared on a TV show … in the days when I was a bit rubbish in the kitchen … This fabulous family favourite that embodies Easy Eating .. It’s Billy’s Famous Macaroni Cheese ….

Ingredients:

50g butter

50g plain flour

700ml milk

350g macaroni

1 clove garlic ,  smashed but whole

400g mature cheddar cheese , grated

1 tbsp wholegrain mustard

1tsp nutmeg

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.

Put a pan of water on to boil . When boiling , throw in the macaroni and cook until al dente ( so just under what it says on the packet !)

In a big heavy bottomed pan  , over a medium heat , melt your butter. once meted throw in the flour and the garlic clove. Keep stirring and let it cook for a couple of minutes ( stay with me on this one) …

Add a little of your milk , keep stirring … then add a bit more … swap for spoon for a whisk now .. keep whisking any lumps away … Gradually add the milk and turn up the heat . It should turn into a smooth white sauce … let it bubble then add your mustard and nutmeg and  keep whisking . Take out the garlic at this point if its still salvageable

Now remove the pan from the heat and throw in the cheese , saving a little bit for the top of the macaroni  . Stir until its all melted in to sauce. if you like add some salt & pepper here .. I don’t but it’s an option !

Pentax Digital Camera

Now drain your macaroni and add it to the sauce and … you guessed it … stir !!! Now pour all of this into a baking dish .. or individual dishes ,.. whichever you prefer and bake for around 30 mins.

Now take it out and serve it up … this goes perfectly with simple veg … or crispy bacon .. or salad and garlic bread ! It’s entirely up to you !!

Pentax Digital Camera

Now how easy was that ?? Easy Eating  and Easy Cooking… Oh yes !!!

For more ideas you can take a look here

Enjoy x

 

 

 I was provided with a voucher to purchase the items for this post . Many Thanks.

Britpop Bake !

I was asked  a few weeks ago to make a last minute birthday cake for a 30th birthday party as the recipients wife had totally forgotten to order a cake  … Fine I said , Not a problem I sad … what design would you like I said … 90’s inspired she said !!! Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat ??? The nineties style wise was a bit of a no no .. I remember none too fondly the balloon pants & paisley tops … the purple suede boots and the disasters upon disasters of hair styles .. and colours ! Oh to be an Indie …!!  My only other thoughts of the 90’s swung to teenage drunken nights on 20/20 and Thunderbirds ( BLEURGH) …  but then I thought Hold on a minute ! … whilst I was a sulky ,pushing the boundaries teen in the 90’s .. this fella is 8 years younger !!! He would have been just a kid !! So I decided to go with Britpop … the dawn of music that was slighty edgy but a bit poppy and cool too … music to dance to with ridiculous lyrics and even more ridiculous looking singers …

The cake was a lemon Madeira filled with rich tangy lemon curd and lemon buttercream … a lemony explosion !!!!  And here it is …. I hope I did the 90’s justice ….

 

britpop

 

 

I’ve entered this cake into Casa Costello‘s Bake of the week ..
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