February 24th 2011
Today I awoke with a new perspective … the day was bright , my head was clear (my chest was wheezy & sore … a hangover from the flu of pigs … but we try to ignore the niggles) , the boys were playing together without arguing or fighting .. and life had that little upbeat tune of being quite nice ! This dear friends is a first for a long while … whilst I quite like winter .. its really not very good for my health … So a hint of spring in the beautiful Derbyshire air is an absolute blessing !
I also found that the baking/cooking /making groove that I felt I had lost over the last few weeks .. came back and hit me full on in the face ! I didn’t have much time .. and as the day before payday .. Old Mother Hubbards got nothing on me … so after a quick glance around the fridge and cupboards I found enough ingredients for cupcakes !Just plain old vanilla …. however .. across by the fridge in amongst sesame seeds and dried cranberries I espied the poppy seeds I had bought in preparartion for Lorraine Pascale’s Cheesy lollipops the boys have been hankering after making … then in the deepest darkest recesses of the salad crisper I found a lemon ! The most versatile of fruit in all manner of baking and making and cooking and prepping ….. and so dear friends … my Lemon & Poppyseed cupcakes were born …. and very nice they are too
Lemon & Poppyseed Cupcakes (makes 12)
Preheat oven to 180 degrees
175g SR Flour , sifted
175g caster Sugar
175g Butter or margarine , softened (I used Stork)
3/4 tsp baking powder
3 Med Eggs (free range if poss)
Zest of 1 lemon
1 heaped tbsp poppyseeds
Sift the flour and baking powder together into a large bowl . Add the butter , sugar and eggs.
Mix together for approx 2 mins (with mixer .. longer by hand ) until a smooth creamy mixture appears . Try not to over mix !
Add the lemon zest and poopyseeds and mix well with a wooden spoon .
Spoon into the cake cases .
Bake for 20 – 25 mins !
Allow to cool .. and either eat plain or decorate with frosting/buttercream/fondant /glace icing … whatever takes your fancy !!!!
February 14th 2011
Well .. Happy Valentines Day folks ! To be honest I made the decision to cancel Valentines this year , with being a bit skint , and with th’usband working a 12 hour lorry driving shift …. it seemed pretty pointless ! However , I neglected to inform th’usband of this cancellation and was duly presented with a CD (not the most romantic .. but he knows me well and you can’t go wrong with buying me some music ……) on Saturday (when he learned of the aforementioned cancellation ….. !) and I got a lovely card this morning !
So yesterday I got to thinking … how can I show all of my boys how much I love them anymore than I already do ??? The decision was through the medium of cookies ….. remembering the old saying ….. “cookies make the heart grow fonder …” (artistic license daaaaahling !) ! Last night I whipped up a batch of cookie dough .. ably assisted by my new found kitchen friend Billy …. and popped it in the fridge to rest overnight !
The recipe used was Nigella Lawson’s “Feast” – so I was pretty sure I was going to get a good result ! And I did …. This very afternoon when all children were happily at their learning places .. and th’usband was driving around the wilds of Staffs … I got my cookie cutter groove on and got baking !!
I made a mountain of cookie hearts in all different sizes …. they looked amazing ! All golden brown and delicate ….. I was very proud of myself I must admit ! I then made 4 stacks of cookies … after decorating them with glitter gel icing pens ! And a little sprinkle of candy balls for the kids ….. ! A perfect Valentine gift for my 4 Valentines ! The kids loved them and demolished them without so much of a by your leave ……. Th’usband can have his when he gets in later on !
So for all my protestations and cancellations …. I did do Valentines ! Yay me !
Friday 11th February 2011…
I was sent this recipe by Vanessa (who you really should all be following at www.prepped.co.uk … she really is the next new star …) and decided that with it being a savoury muffin that the best way to get the boys “down ” with the idea was to invite Billster (the 10 yo ) to join me in making them ! We both read the recipe and collected together the ingredients …. well …. everything except the eggs which we discovered had been eaten earlier in the day by th’usband …… (Harumph ensued!) ! So whilst he dashed around to the co-op to rectify the situation .. Bill and I set about preparing our workspace ! Now my kitchen is no luxurious space believe me … and worktop space is a bare minimum … Very frustrating .. so we muddled on the best we could !
The recipe itself was so very easy to follow and the ingredients very easy to source ! Even the lemon syrup … which I didn’t have .. so whilst pottering about earlier in the day I boiled up a pan of syrup to use in the recipe ! So off we set ! Billy did all the stirring and mixing whilst I did all the weighing and watchful supervision ! Easy as …… Polenta muffins ! We hit a snag when it came to putting our muffins in tins …. I dont actually own a “muffin tin” and certainly not one to accomodate the ample 20 muffins this recipe provides ! So as ever .. this wannabe did what she does best and got my impro on ! Cake tins were produced and natty little blue and red gingham cupcake cases were placed in the tins to provide us with our muffin cases !!!
Billy .... happy in his baking groove
The oven was pre heated .. the muffins were put in place and the wait was on ! Billy had starved himself through tea time eagerly awaiting his muffins and the promised Covent Garden Minestrone soup that I had picked up for him on my lunch break ….. ! Like a cat on a hot tin roof .. he was restless and impatient and eager ….. Absolutely amazing ! This is the boy who thinks every meal should consist of macaroni cheese OR KFC !
The oven started beeping .. I heard his physical cry of joy .. and I have to admit I was a tad excited too !!! The glorious waft of lemon and herbs that was encasing the house was phenomenal …… ! So soup heating , muffins cooling ….. Life was good ! They were , even if I do say so myself , an absolute triumph ! So triumphant in fact I ate 3 in succession ….. (then couldn’t eat my tea …….ooops) and I then ate 2 for breakfast the next day AND 2 at Lunch ….. I have also frozen a tempting 8 muffins for when the soup monster strikes !!
For a savoury bake I was slightly apprehensive …. but they are truly fab ! And as ever Vanessa’s recipe has won the day ! Billy loved it … the twins liked them … although they were , to be fair, much more interested in the lemon drizzle cake I had also made (Oh another Prepped recipe … and a useful way to use the syrup I made for the muffins!) … Even my Mum loved these muffins after an initial .. “ooh a ‘savoury’ muffin … are you sure” moment …. My Dad did decline ! But he notoriously eats sweet … all the time not as a treat ! Hahahahah !
Fabbilicious …… a definite bake again ! Cheers Vanessa ! And Cheers Billy for some fantastic stirring and mixing skills … I’ll make a foodie of you yet son !
..... and it's gone ..... !
Monday 7th February 2011
Alot of people have been asking me about my cakes .. now whilst I don’t profess to be a professional sugar crafter I do give it a good go ….. and I definitely have alot to learn ….. but I decided whilst I was rushed off my feet and not able to blog properly (until midweek) I’d showcase some of my attempts ! I do bake all my own cakes .. which can at times produce a more rustic shape … and my artwork isnt akin to what you would get from a professional outfit … but hey … here we go !!