Cadbury caramel egg brownies

Who agrees with me that Cadbury caramel eggs are absolutely delicious? I actually prefer them to Creme eggs. I know the die hard Creme egg fans won’t agree, but I would choose caramel over fondant filling every single time.

On a side note, does anyone else remember mint creme eggs? I’m positive they were a thing for a while in the late 80’s/early 90’s. Or did I dream them up? If anyone can remember them, please leave a comment and let me know so I know they aren’t a figment of my imagination!

A few years ago I posted a recipe for Creme egg brownies and it’s one of the most popular posts of all time on here. So I couldn’t resist trying a caramel egg version.

I like them better.

I’m going to go against my usual brownie advice of leaving them overnight in the fridge before cutting. I mean you can do that if you want to by all means, but these brownies are at their absolute best still slightly warm from the oven. The centre is slightly molten and the caramel is warm and gooey…need I say anymore? Apart from ice cream. You can thank me (or curse me) later.

Cadbury caramel egg brownies

Makes 9 large brownies

Cooking time: 25-30 minutes, depending on your oven

Equipment needed: A square 22cm tin, greased and lined with baking parchment


180g butter

180g dark chocolate, chopped

280g caster sugar

3 large eggs

40g cocoa powder

85g plain flour

1/4 tsp salt

6 Cadbury caramel eggs, cut in half (I find using a serrated knife works best. You actually need 5 eggs, but you know, you’re probably going to ruin a couple while cutting them and then you’ll have no choice but to eat them. That’s what happened to me, so I’m just pre-warning you)

Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160/gas mark 4.

In a large bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter together. Once melted and smooth, remove from the heat and set aside. Using an electric whisk, beat the sugar and eggs together until the mixture is pale and thick. Gently fold in the melted chocolate. Carefully fold in the cocoa powder, flour and salt, taking care not to knock all the air out. Pour this mixture into the tin and smooth the top. Place the caramel eggs on top. Place in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is puffed up. The brownie should have a slight wobble in the centre. Leave to cool for about an hour before diving in, or if you want neat brownie squares, leave for a good few hours before cutting. But if you don’t want to wait to do that then hey, I won’t judge!

If you make this recipe, please let me know how you got on! Leave a comment below and I would love to see a picture! Tag me on Instagram – #somethingsweetsomethingsavoury or let me know on my Facebook page xx

I linked this post to #recipeoftheweek, hosted by A Mummy Too

#CookBlogShare hosted this week by Jacqui at Recipes made easy

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#WeShouldCocoa the monthly blogging link up hosted by Choclette at Tin and Thyme


Guinness Brownies with Salted Caramel Guinness Baileys Glaze (Updated post)

Rich, fudgy, truffle like chocolate brownies with an additive salted caramel Guinness and Baileys glaze!

I hadn’t intended to bake any special for St Patrick’s Day, but when I saw this brownie recipe from Bakerchick I just knew I had to try my version of them this weekend.

So..what could be more fitting for St Patricks’s Day than these fudgy Guinness brownies? The recipe uses whisky in the glaze, but I didn’t have any. I always have a bottle of Baileys in the cupboard though, so I thought that would be a perfect substitute.

So here is my version of the recipe. They are without a doubt the most decadent brownies I’ve ever made. The brownies are so fudgy & rich, it’s actually like eating a chocolate truffle.

If you love fudgy brownies and think cakey brownies should be illegal, then this is the recipe for you.

In my opinion, the glaze is the star of the recipe. It’s sweet, salty & the Baileys and Guinness reduction (don’t be alarmed, it’s not complicated to make) comes through but it isn’t overpowering. It’s a major treat in itself. I can only imagine how insane it would be poured over ice cream. This could be addictive..

If you don’t like Guinness and therefore think you won’t like this recipe, let me reassure you that I cannot stand beer of any kind yet I love these brownies. Just like the cupcakes I posted yesterday, you would be hard pushed to detect the Guinness. There is definitely a hint of chocolate malt flavour though so if that’s your thing, these will be right up your street.

I won’t lie, there are quite a few steps to making these brownies – but they are so worth it!

Guinness Brownies with Salted Caramel Baileys Glaze adapted from The Baker Chick

Makes 12-16 Brownies – I tend to cut them into smaller pieces than I usually do – they are rich!

240ml Guinness or other stout
300g Dark Chocolate, chopped into small pieces
200g Butter
3 large eggs
300g caster sugar
2 tsp Vanilla extract
70g plain flour
25g cocoa powder

A Pinch of salt

For the salted caramel Baileys glaze

100g sugar
2 Tbsp water
30g butter
60ml Baileys Irish Cream
1 Tbsp Guinness reduction (from the Brownies)
100g Icing Sugar
1-2 Tbsp Double cream
1/2 – 1 tsp sea salt (How much salt you use is personal preference – I adore salted caramel but I like a nice balance between the sweet & salt, so I used a heaped 1/2 tsp.

Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a 20x20cm baking tin with baking parchment, leaving an overhang so you can easily lift the brownies out later.

Bring the Guinness to a boil in a small sauce pan, cook until reduced to just under 3 tablespoons worth (50ml). This will take around 5-10 minutes. Don’t walk away from the stove or you will end up with Guinness toffee. I’m speaking from experience! Let cool. (Reserve 1 tablespoon of Guinness reduction to use in the caramel sauce.)

Stir the chocolate and butter in a medium heat-proof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth. Take off the heat.
Whisk the sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl to blend. Pour in the chocolate mixture, then 2 tablespoons of stout from pan. Fold in the flour, cocoa powder and salt. Pour this delicious batter into the pan.
Bake until the surface begins to crack and a tester inserted into center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 45-60 minutes. Of course ovens can differ wildly – my brownies were ready in 50 minutes but that doesn’t mean to say yours will be – I suggest you start checking them at 45 minutes, then every five minutes.
Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool completely. I tend to leave my brownies in the fridge overnight – it makes cutting them so much easier.

For the Glaze

First of all, you need to make a caramel. Don’t leave the cooker while you’re doing this and don’t have any small children or pets nearby. Place the sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a heavy saucepan over a medium heat, allowing the sugar to dissolve. You can swirl the pan but don’t stir or the sugar can crystallise. Once the sugar has melted, continue to cook on medium heat until you have a golden caramel. Once the colour has changed, Immediately
remove from the heat and whisk in the butter until combined. The mixture may “whoosh” up, so be careful.
Add the Baileys, Guinness reduction and salt (be very careful – the caramel may splatter). Cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until caramel is smooth.
Set the caramel sauce aside for about 10-15 minutes to cool a little. Whisk in the icing sugar, stirring well to dissolve, then stir in the double cream. Stand for about 10-15 minutes before pouring about a third of the glaze over the brownies (keep a little for serving later) in the fridge for about 30 minutes or longer, if needed. When you’re ready to serve the brownies, cut into bars.

Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes with Baileys Buttercream (Updated!)

I don’t tend to make many cupcakes these days, but since I was going to a St. Patrick’s Day party this weekend I thought it would be a perfect excuse to bake a batch of these beauties. I make Nigella Lawson’s chocolate Guinness cake at least once a year. It is one of my all time favourites – I’m no Guinness drinker but I absolutely love the flavour it imparts into this dark, damp cake. It’s not as rich as you would think – it’s actually surprisingly light and so, so moist. Even if you don’t like the idea of beer in a cake, I would advise you to give it a go – you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t love this cake!

Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes with Baileys buttercream

Adapted From “chocolate Guinness cake” by Nigella Lawson

Makes 24 cupcakes or 12 cupcakes and one 2lb loaf cake

250ml Guinness
250g butter
75g cocoa powder
400g caster sugar
2 medium eggs
150ml sour cream
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
275g plain flour
2 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Preheat the oven to 180C/Fan 160/Gas mark 4.
Line two muffin/cupcake trays with cupcake cases.

Melt the Guinness and butter together in a large saucepan. When the butter has melted, whisk in the cocoa powder and sugar.

In a jug, beat together the sour cream, eggs and vanilla. Pour this into the Guinness mixture and stir. Finally, sift together the flour and bicarbonate of soda and gradually whisk into the pan. I find if you chuck in all the flour at once you end up with a lumpy mixture that takes forever to smooth out!

Pour the mixture into a large jug (much easier for filling the cupcake cases) and fill the cases no more than two thirds full. The batter will be runnier than a normal cupcake batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cupcakes are well risen.

Bailey’s Irish Cream Buttercream (Will be enough to ice your 24 cupcakes)

250g soft butter
500g Icing sugar
1-2 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream

Simply place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix really well on high speed (preferably using a mixer) for 7-10 minutes or until very light and mousse like in texture. Taste and add more Bailey’s if you think it needs it.

Happy St Patrick’s Day!

Creme egg chocolate brownie cookies

Easter will soon be here (yay!) and all the chocolate and treats in the shops have inspired me to come up with some new Easter recipes.

One of my most popular posts of all time is my Creme egg brownie recipe. This is the cookie version of that recipe – soft and fudgy brownie cookies, topped with a rich chocolate ganache and a mini Creme egg! In other words, a chocoholics dream!

These Creme egg brownie cookies are very rich and delicious – if you’re a chocolate fan you’ll love them!

My taste testers (AKA my family) have given these a big thumbs up and I really hope you love them too!

Creme egg chocolate brownie cookies

Makes about 10-12 cookies

40g plain flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

80g granulated sugar

60g soft light brown sugar

2 medium eggs

40g butter

225g dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces or dark chocolate chips

1/2 vanilla extract

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar and eggs until pale and thick.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a bowl of simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat and fold into the whisked egg mixture. Stir in the vanilla extract. Using a metal spoon, lightly fold in the flour.

Spoon heaped tablespoons of cookie dough onto your baking trays. Bake for 10-12 minutes. When ready the cookies will have a cracked appearance and will still be quite soft in the middle. Remove from the oven and leave on the tray for at least 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the chocolate ganache

120ml double cream

120g dark chocolate, chopped (or chips)

Heat the cream in a small saucepan. Before the cream comes to boiling point, remove from the heat and immediately add the chocolate. Leave for a few minutes to allow the chocolate to melt, then stir with a spatula until smooth and glossy. Leave for about 15 minutes to cool and thicken slightly before using.

Using a spoon, top the cookies with ganache and top with mini Creme eggs.

More Easter bakes and treats:

Creme egg chocolate bundt cake

No bake chocolate Easter fridge cake

Mini egg cookies/mini egg tiffin

Creme egg cupcakes

White chocolate mini egg rocky road

I’m sharing this post with #bakingcrumbs, a blogging link up which is hosted by Only Crumbs Remain

Only Crumbs Remain

Recipe of the week at A Mummy Too

Hijacked By Twins

#CookBlogShare hosted by Hijacked by twins

Bake of the week hosted by Casa Costello and Mummy Mishaps

Aubergine, mushroom and lentil chilli

If you’re looking for a recipe that will make you feel all warm and cosy (and aren’t we all in need of that right now) but full of goodness, then I’ve got the perfect one for you!

I give you my aubergine, mushroom and lentil chilli.

I love chilli and I can eat lots of this. It’s been my dinner for 3 nights running in the past week. I’ve got to say, I don’t miss the meat one little bit. This is hearty, chunky and full of flavour. I used dried chipotle chillies because I love their smoky flavour. I use them in my beef chilli recipe I posted a few years back. (Note to self – update the photos! *cringe*) It’s been a really popular recipe and I’m really hoping this one will prove to be a hit as well!

I know the list of ingredients seem long, but it isn’t really – it’s just all the spices.

Aubergine, mushroom and lentil chilli

Serves 4 generously

One tbsp oil

One large red onion, diced

Two cloves garlic, crushed

One aubergine, chopped into 3-4cm dice

125g mushrooms, halved

One 390g can green lentils, rinsed well

30g red lentils, rinsed well

One small tin of kidney beans (roughly 200g)

400g tin chopped tomatoes

1 tbsp tomato purée

20g dark chocolate

One dried chipotle chilli, soaked in just boiled water for 10-15 to rehydrate then chopped very finely OR 1/4- 1/2 tsp chilli powder, depending on your chilli tolerance level!

2 tsp dried oregano

2 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp sweet smoked paprika

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground cinnamon

400ml vegetable stock

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook for about 10 minutes or until the onions have softened. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes, stirring. Add the diced aubergine, both of the lentils, kidney beans, chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, chocolate, all the spices and vegetable stock. Stir to combine, then pop on a lid and cook on a low heat for about 1 1/2-2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add the mushrooms in the last 30 minutes of cooking time. When you’re ready to eat, taste the chilli to check if you want to add salt. Serve over rice or potato wedges and the usual accompaniments if you like – I’ve got to have sour cream, grated cheese, tortilla chips and avocado on the side. So good!

This chilli keeps really well in the fridge for up to 3 days or you can freeze it for up to 4 months – I stash portions in those Chinese takeaway tubs.

Link up your recipe of the week


Pink grapefruit drizzle cake

Pink grapefruit drizzle cake – the perfect balance between sharp and sweet!

The dreaded lurgy came into our lives last week.

We have all been affected in one way or another, but for some reason it has attached itself to me and will not let go. The sniffly cold I’ve had since New Year seemed to turn into a God awful flu like virus which left me unable to move from my bed for 3 days. Luckily I’m on holiday this week, so I have the option of hibernating from the outside world. I’ve not done that much apart from drinking lots of honey lemon and ginger tea, reading (by which I mean questionable hours scrolling through Instagram and Pinterest) and cuddling my little boy. He’s had a snuffly cold for weeks now, poor baby. I’m really starting to tire of Winter now. I never thought I’d say that. I usually embrace the Winter months – I’ve never really been a Summer person – but this one seems to have gone on forever.

Maybe my subconscious need for a little sunshine was the reason behind my decision to bake with citrus. I usually reach for lemons or oranges, but when I was out shopping a couple of weeks ago I spotted some pretty pink grapefruits. 50p for 4. At that bargain price, I couldn’t resist them.

I was dreaming of either a pink grapefruit curd filled, fluffy meringue topped tart or a zesty, syrup drenched drizzle cake. The drizzle won this time only because it was the easier option. But that tart is so on my bake list…

Back to the drizzle though. This cake is delicious. Light, fluffy and sticky with syrup. A little semolina lightens up the texture a little and brings a slight yellow sunshine colour. It’s a nice addition but by no means essential, so if you don’t have any semolina in your cupboard you could just add another 50g of flour.

It’s crucial that the syrup is cool when your pour it over the cake. If it’s hot, it will pour right through your cake and make it soggy. Not a huge disaster, but you won’t get that gorgeous sticky, sugary top that is so desirable.

pink grapefruit drizzle cake

You will need a 20cm round springform cake tin

200g caster sugar

Finely grated zest of 2 pink grapefruits

200g soft butter

4 medium eggs, beaten

150g self raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

50g fine semolina

For the syrup:

80g granulated sugar

Juice of one pink grapefruit

Preheat the oven to 180C/160F. Grease and line the base of your tin with parchment.

Place the sugar and grapefruit zest in a large bowl. Using your fingers, rub the zest into the sugar until the sugar is damp and fragrant from the zest oils. Add the butter and cream the mixture until very light and fluffy.

Add the eggs, beating well after each addition. Sieve the flour, baking powder and fine semolina together and fold into the mixture. Pour into your tin and bake for 40-45 minutes or until the cake is golden and springs back when the top is lightly pressed.* A skewer inserted into the middle of the cake should come out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack with a plate underneath to catch any drips.

*While the cake is in the oven you need to make the syrup. The syrup should be cold when you pour it over the warm cake. Place the granulated sugar and grapefruit juice in a small pan and heat gently. Let it bubble gently for a few minutes until it reduces slightly and looks syrupy. Remove from the heat and set aside for now.

When the cake has been out of the oven for about 10 minutes, it’s time to pour the syrup over. Using a skewer or piece of spaghetti, poke holes all over the surface of the cake. Then evenly pour the syrup over the top, letting the cake absorb all that sticky sweetness.

For the glaze, I simply mixed icing sugar and pink grapefruit juice together until I had a runny icing that coats the back of a spoon. Pour over the top of the cake and using a spoon, gently coax it over the sides.

You could of course omit the glaze and serve the cake as it is. I got a little fancy here and decorated it with a dusting of icing sugar and candied grapefruit slices. Absolutely non-essential, but pretty to look at.

I shared this cake with #CookBlogShare, the weekly link party for bloggers hosted this week by everyday healthy recipes

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Recipe of the week, hosted by Emily A Mummy too

Bake of the week, hosted by Helen of Casa Costello and Jenny of Mummy mishaps

Monthly Loves

Hi! I thought I would try a new feature. I’ve been thinking it would be kind of cool to do a monthly blog post where I tell you about:

cookery book recipes I’ve made and loved

Blogs I’m loving right now

Books I’m reading

Stuff I’ve discovered online

Basically if I love it, I tell you about it!

It will also be a good way to show you what I’ve made and posted on my Instagram feed but doesn’t make it over here.

So without further ado, here we go! My first monthly loves post 🙂

I’ve discovered this brilliant online cookalong community over on Instagram called #rainydaybitescookbookclub, hosted by Deborah Balint. Every month a different book is chosen to cook from and in January the chosen cookbook was Bringing it home by Gail Simmons. I’d never heard of Gail but apparently she’s a very respected judge on a show called Top Chef in America. During late January/early February, I would scroll through my Instagram feed and all I could see was stunning photos of the most amazing looking dishes from the rainy day cookbook club. I just had to cook something from the book, despite the fact that I didn’t own it! After a quick Google search I decided on a couple of recipes. Here’s what I made…..

Spaghetti pie. Oh my God. This pie was amazing! It has three different types of cheeses. Need I say more?? It takes a little while to put it all together, but it’s actually much easier than I thought it would be. I couldn’t find Italian sausages, so I just ended up using some the Heck pork sausages and added fennel seeds, black pepper, garlic powder, paprika and oregano. This was loved by everyone in my house and I can’t wait to make it again. Here’s the recipe if you’d like to try it for yourself!

I also made Gail’s upside down banana cardamom cake with salty caramel. This was gorgeous – it looked quite glam compared to the banana loaf cakes I’m used to making! You can find the recipe here if you fancy trying it. I highly recommend drowning a slice in cream!

I’m currently obsessed with these spicy cabbage peanut noodles from Cate in the kitchen. Last week I made them for my lunch for four days straight. Which is something I never do! Very addictive.

A couple of weeks ago my oven suddenly stopped working. Major panic stations! But luckily it only needed a new element. Mr T swiftly ordered a new element online, but was without a working oven for 3 days. This was when stovetop granola happened! I’ll definitely be sharing the recipe for this soon – it just needs a little tweaking first before I publish it! If you love granola as much as I do, you’ll go crazy for it. I want to experiment with a chocolate one soon so if it goes well, you’ll see it here!

By the way, the fruit compote in the granola picture above is a recipe from the Mountain cafe cookbook. I’ve been using this book a lot and it’s become one of my go to cookery books.

I met the author of the book/owner of the Mountain cafe (in Aviemore) back in December when they were doing a book signing in Waterstones. Just look at the array of goodies they brought with them!

Kirsten was very friendly and cool. It was so nice to meet her in person – she is definitely one of my food heroes.

Last weekend I discovered if you halve Nigella Lawson’s sticky toffee pudding recipe you have just enough mixture for four little puddings. I used individual pudding moulds I found in Sainsbury’s, but I’m sure you could use ramekins as well. The puddings took just under 25 minutes to bake.

So that’s my first monthly loves post – please let me know what you think and if you’d like to see it as a regular feature!

Sriracha stir fried vegetables

I love Chinese food. It could eat it every day of the week! Since today marks the beginning of Chinese New Year, I thought it would be a perfect time to share this extremely quick and easy stir fry with you.

It’s very versatile – throw in whatever veg you have to hand. Courgettes, peppers, mushrooms, baby corn, Pak Choi, spinach are all perfect here – but treat this recipe as a mere blueprint.

If you wanted, you could easily add some meat or fish – chicken, beef or prawns would be really good.

Sriracha vegetable stir fry

Serves 2

2 nests egg or rice noodles

1 tbsp wok/stir fry/vegetable oil

1-2 tbsp Sriracha

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

2-3 spring onions, sliced

A selection of veg such as thinly sliced peppers, mushrooms, sugarsnap peas, courgettes

A handful of pak Choi or fresh spinach (added at the last couple of minutes cooking time)

Sesame seeds for sprinkling

Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions and drain.

In a small bowl, stir together the Sriracha, soy sauce and sesame oil.

Heat the oil in a wok over high heat. Add the spring onions and vegetables and cook for a few minutes, stirring very frequently. Once the veg has been stir fried for a few minutes. Pour in the sauce, turn down the heat and let it bubble for a minute before throwing in the pak Choi or spinach. Add more soy sauce if necessary.

Transfer to a plate and sprinkle with sesame seeds and fresh coriander, if it floats your boat. Add more Sriracha to taste.


Gooey chocolate raspberry brownie cake

If you’re looking for a low effort, easy dessert for Valentine’s Day then I have just the thing.

It’s a very gooey chocolate brownie cake stuffed with fresh raspberries.

The top of the cake has a slightly crisp, cracked top and when you delve a spoon underneath you find a rich, gooey chocolate goo inside. This is not a chocolate sponge. It’s like the gooiest brownie you’ve ever had. When you crack through the shiny top with a spoon, you would be forgiven for thinking it’s raw. It’s not. Just like those gorgeous molten chocolate cakes, it’s supposed to be that way. It’s glorious.

It’s just perfect for sharing straight out of the baking tin. Don’t make extra dishes for yourself!

I thought it would only be right to bake it in my very underused heart tin , but you can use an 18cm or a 20cm cake tin if you don’t own a ridiculous amount of novelty cake tins.

Bake this and share it with the one(s) you love! ❤️

Gooey chocolate brownie raspberry cake

100g butter

200g dark chocolate , chopped into small pieces

2 medium eggs

140g Caster Sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

85g Plain flour

1/2 tsp instant espresso powder

50g fresh raspberries

Preheat the oven to 180C/160F.

Grease an 18cm cake tin

Melt the butter and chocolate together in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Once melted and smooth, remove from the heat and set aside for a few minutes. Whisk the eggs and sugar together well and pour into the chocolate mixture. Stir in the vanilla extract, flour and espresso powder until the mixture is smooth and shiny. Pour into the tin and scatter the raspberries on top in a random fashion. Lightly press the raspberries into the batter, taking care not to crush them. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the top and sides look set. The middle should wobble slightly. If you want it a little less gooey, I would go for the 30 minutes. Leave to cool for about 15-20 minutes before diving in!

This melting chocolate brownie cake is really, really good with ice cream – and if you happen to have any leftover, I highly recommend you pop it in the fridge for the next day. It has an amazing fudgy texture when chilled. It’s so good with double cream when cold – a really indulgent treat!

Hijacked By Twins

I’m linking this recipe to #CookBlogShare, the weekly blogging link up hosted by Hijacked by twins.

Nutella stuffed pancakes

Ah, Nutella. That sweet, hazelnut spread that is now so popular it even has a whole day devoted to it (World Nutella Day.)

Do you, or does anyone in your family love Nutella on your pancakes? How about Nutella in your pancakes instead?

If your home is filled with Nutella fans, this recipe is for you.

I’ve seen lots of Nutella stuffed pancakes on Pinterest over the past couple of years. I’m afraid I have no idea where the original idea from, so unfortunately I can’t give any credit. If you know who came up with these, please let me know!

This would be a really fun recipe to make for Pancake Day tomorrow (it’s also known as Shrove Tuesday.)

I used my go-to pancake recipe for this (my favourite pancake recipe which I also used for yesterday’s EPIC sticky toffee pudding pancakes)

You do need to be a little bit ahead of the game to make these – you need to freeze the Nutella. All I did was place several heaped teaspoons of Nutella on a sheet of baking parchment and popped in the freezer. They take roughly 30 minutes to become firm but you always do this well in advance. I kept some extra frozen Nutella discs in my freezer for the next time we make these!

So let me show you how to make Nutella stuffed pancakes!

You have to work pretty quickly here – so make sure you have everything to hand. Get your frozen Nutella out of the freezer and arm yourself with a spatula!

When you pour the pancake batter onto your frying pan/girdle/griddle, quirky place a frozen disc of Nutella on top like below. Please excuse the state of my girdle – it’s like 100 years old.

Then quickly pour a little more pancake batter over the Nutella, trying to make sure the spread is completely covered in batter. Then all you do is proceed how you always would when make pancakes – wait for bubbles to appear on the surface, then flip!

When your pancakes are ready, the Nutella should be warm and molten inside – yum!

If you’re anything like my eldest son, you’ll want sliced bananas and extra Nutella on top – this was his portion which almost defeated him. He was greeted with these very pancakes when he came home from playing football in the freezing cold for 2 solid hours, so to say it was a welcoming sight is an understatement! I’m a pretty nice Mum really!

Happy Pancake Day/Shrove Tuesday!

Disclaimer: Nutella are not paying me to write this post. I just love baking with it!

Sticky toffee pudding pancakes

I’ve recently started writing my ideas/thoughts down. I should have started doing it years ago, because I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dreamed up an fabulous sounding (at least in my head) recipe that I really want to try, but I don’t jot the idea down at the time, my scatterbrain forgets all about it and it never happens.

About a month ago I got the idea in my head that I wanted to try sticky toffee pancakes. I wanted them to have all the flavours of the classic and much loved sticky toffee pudding.

All I can say is, I’m extremely glad I wrote this idea down because these pancakes are seriously EPIC.

They are the best idea I’ve had in a long time.

I know they aren’t the traditional thin crepe style pancakes we usually have on Shrove Tuesday, but LOOK AT THEM.

I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate pancake Day than sitting down to a plateful of these sticky toffee sauce drenched pancakes, could you?

The brown sugar date studded pancakes are thick, fluffy and have a hint of mixed spice. The toffee sauce is just divine. I could eat it all by itself. Pass me a spoon! You will have extra sauce, but that’s hardly a problem. You’ll thank me later! It’s out of this world poured over ice cream. Or a spoonful swirled in your morning porridge. Or spooned directly in your mouth.

I served the pancake stack with the heavenly chantilly cream, which is double cream lightly whipped with a little icing sugar and vanilla extract. For a final flourish, I sprinkled with chopped walnuts. It was on another level!

Sticky toffee pudding pancakes

This pancake recipe is based on my usual recipe which I posted way back in 2012! It’s a great recipe I must have made literally hundreds of times by now!

Makes around a dozen pancakes, although you could make them smaller!

For the Sticky toffee sauce

170g soft dark brown sugar

60g butter

150ml double cream

1 tbsp treacle

Place all the ingredients in a pan. Gently heat until the butter and sugar are completely melted and the sauce has thickened slightly.

For soaking the dates

80g dates

4tbsp (60ml) water

1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda

Place the dates in a small pan with the bicarbonate of soda and water. Bring to the boil, turn the heat down to low and simmer until most of the liquid has been absorbed by the dates. This should only take a few minutes. Remove from the heat and leave for at least 30 minutes. When the dates have cooled, chop into small pieces. They will be very soft and pulpy.

For the pancakes

250g self raising flour

1tsp ground mixed spice

75g soft dark brown sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

60ml melted butter or flavourless oil

150-200ml milk

Place a non stick frying pan or girdle (griddle in America!) on a medium heat.

Sieve the flour and mixed spice into a medium sized bowl.

Place the sugar, eggs, vanilla and melted butter or oil in a large bowl. Whisk until the sugar has dissolved, making sure there are no lumps of sugar. Add the flour and milk and whisk until you have a thickish smooth batter. You might need to add a little more milk. Fold in the chopped soaked dates.

Your pan should be nice and hot now, so drop a little butter in and wipe off the excess with a piece of Kitchen towel. Place spoonfuls of the batter in the pan and when lots of bubbles starts to appear on the surface of the pancake, it’s time to flip it over. Once the pancakes are ready, keep them warm by wrapping in a tea towel placed over a wire rack. (You don’t have to do this but I do because it’s what my Granny did!)

To assemble, stack the pancakes, pour over the warm toffee sauce, top with softly whipped chantilly cream and sprinkle with chopped walnuts if you like – heaven!!

I can’t express just how good these are, but don’t take my word for it – give them a try for pancake Day on Tuesday! Even if it’s just for yourself. Heck, especially for yourself!

Link up your recipe of the week

Hijacked By Twins

I shared these pancakes with recipe of the week, hosted by A Mummy too and #CookBlogShare, hosted by Hijacked by Twins

Mini baked vanilla donuts with blood orange glaze


How’s your week been? Mine has been pretty mixed…but hey, at least it’s FRIDAY tomorrow!

Well January 2018 has been and gone and I can’t say I’m sad about it. It’s always such a long, harsh month. I am more than ready to embrace February and all the good things about it – HELLO Pancake Day, my eldest son’s Birthday, Valentines Day – which I’m honestly not that fussed about but I look at it as an excuse to bake something pretty (I share a home with boys who love football, UFC, WWE and Call of Duty – I need to indulge in a little prettiness from time to time!)

When blood oranges start to appear in the shops I start stocking up like a crazy person. I love them. This year it’s been a little harder to find them for some reason. I’ve only seen them in the Co-op so far and the last couple of times I’ve been in they’ve been reduced to 50p for 4 – you know I love a bargain so I’ve been snapping them up. Unfortunately I’ve not seen many true red ones yet – so far most of them have been disappointingly like normal oranges! So when I found a couple that were that gorgeous dark red colour – how you would expect a blood orange to look – I had to save them for a new recipe.

My silicone mini donut mould has been sitting unused in the cupboard for a long time, so last weekend I decided to put that right and make some baby donuts!

Before I show you the recipe, I need to talk to you about something that I discovered recently – homemade cake goop. It’s a serious game changer. It’s just equal parts oil, trex and flour. You mix it all up until you have “goop”. You store it in the fridge (it keeps indefinitely) and whenever you bake a cake, give the tin a coating of this amazing stuff. I have used this on really fancy, patterned bundt tins and the cakes just slide right out. The recipe for cake goop is right here on I am Baker. The post is a few years old so you may well already know about it – in typical fashion I’m a bit late to the party! But if you’ve ever had issues with cakes sticking to tins, I highly recommend you try it. Let me know if you do!

Soft, fluffy baked vanilla donuts with a zesty blood orange glaze. I’m really happy with this recipe – I hope you love it too!

If you can’t get/don’t want to use blood oranges, normal oranges will obviously be fine!

Mini vanilla donuts with blood orange glaze

Makes about 14 mini donuts

You will need a mini donut mould – I used this silicone mould from Iced Jems

60g soft butter

70g caster sugar

1 medium egg, beaten

100g plain flour

Pinch of salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp Vanilla extract

60ml buttermilk

For the glaze:

175g icing sugar

Juice of about half blood orange

Simply mix the icing sugar and orange juice together until you have a smooth pourable icing that coats the back of a spoon.

Preheat the oven to 180C/160F. Grease your mini donut mould.

In a medium sized bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until the mixture is very light and fluffy. Add the egg a little at a time, beating well. Beat in the vanilla extract. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. Using a large metal spoon, fold in half of the flour to the creamed mixture, taking care not to over mix. Fold in half of the buttermilk. Finally, gently fold in the remaining flour and buttermilk until the mixture is smooth but again taking care not to over mix.

Scrape the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a medium sized round nozzle. Fill the donut moulds no more than half full with Alternatively, you can just spoon the mixture into the donut mould, but I find this quite fiddly and on my first try I ended up over filling the moulds – if you have a steadier hand than I do you might be ok! Speaking of overfilling, its pretty important that you don’t because the holes will close up and you won’t have that classic donut shape.

Place the mould on a baking tray and place in the oven. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until risen and springy. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5-10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. You’ll need to give the mould another greasing before you make another batch.

When the donuts are cold, dip them in the glaze. Place on a wire rack with a piece of parchment underneath to catch any drips.

I shared these donuts with Bake of the week, hosted this week by Mummy Mishaps

Browned butter Nutella chocolate chip blondies

Did you know today, 5th February, is World Nutella Day? The day when Nutella lovers all around the world unite in celebration of the sweet, nutty, chocolate spread.

So I thought that it would only be right to choose today to share my new recipe with you.

It’s browned butter blondies filled with Nutella and milk chocolate chips.

I decided that it was about time that I had a blondie recipe on here. I’m kind of a big fan of the brownies lighter cousin – they are like big fat, chewy cookie bars and what’s not to like about that?

These brown sugar blondies have the best of both worlds – they are slightly crispy and chewy around the edges and so soft in the middle. Plus they are packed full of Nutella and milk chocolate chips!

You absolutely do not have to brown the butter for these, but it does add amazing flavour. They are still damn good blondies if you don’t though.

Browned butter Nutella chocolate chip blondies

You will need:

Greased and lined 20x20cm square baking tin

110g butter

210g soft light brown sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

125g plain flour

Pinch of salt

50g Nutella, measured out into blobs and frozen for at least 15 minutes

75g chocolate chips plus a few more for sprinkling

More Nutella for swirling over the top of the blondies, about 25g

First, measure out 50g Nutella in Little teaspoon sized blobs. Place on baking parchment and pop in the freezer.

Melt the butter in a small pan. Swirl the pan around a few times. After a couple of minutes, the butter will start to foam and spatter a little. Keep it on a medium heat and when the sizzling subsides and brown bits are appearing, remove from the heat and pour into a large heatproof bowl. Leave to cool completely before proceeding with the recipe.

Preheat the oven to 180C/160F

When the butter has cooled, add the sugar to the melted butter and beat well. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat well until the mixture is shiny. Add the flour and salt and mix until well combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Place half of the blondie mixture in the tin and smooth it out as best as you can (I find it easier to use my hands here)

Take your frozen Nutella and place them on top of the blondie. Imagine the blondies once they are baked and sliced – you ideally want them all to have a generous portion of Nutella inside them!.

Top with the remaining blondie batter, trying to smooth out the top as well as you can and ensuring the Nutella in the middle is covered. Again, I found it easiest to place spoonfuls of the batter over the top and spread it out with my hands. Finally, top the blondie withthe 25g Nutella, dropping it over the top in little teaspoons. Take a skewer or tip of a knife and swirl gently, trying not to disturb the Nutella in the middle. Finish with a sprinkling of chocolate chips. Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 mins or until the edges look set and the middle is slightly firm. Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting into squares.

Happy World Nutella Day!

I shared this post with the following link ups –

We should Cocoa hosted by Tin and Thyme

#CookBlogShare hosted this month by Easy Peasy Foodie

Recipe of the week hosted by A Mummy too


Soft white sandwich loaf

A few years ago, I got into bread making in a pretty big way. At one point I was making 3-4 loaves a week! When I became pregnant my kitchen activity was severely curtailed. From about 5 months into my pregnancy I was struggling with really bad pelvic girdle pain, so standing in the kitchen baking was the last thing I felt like doing.

I did really miss baking bread though, and I’m hoping to get back into it this year.

Making your own bread has so many benefits. Here are just a few:

1. Kneading dough is such a great stress reliever. Admittedly, most of the time I use my stand mixer to do the hard work – but I always like to do a little kneading by hand. It brilliant for releasing any pent up anxieties. I like to listen to the radio or an interesting podcast (my new favourite weekly podcast is from food blogger Cate in the kitchen – check it out if you haven’t already – it’s always such a great listen) while I’m kneading – I find it pretty relaxing.

2. No nasties. I’m not going to pretend I don’t buy sliced bread on a weekly basis – I have 2 hungry teenagers to feed! But when you bake your own bread, at least you know exactly what is in it. No additives to make it last longer and you can control how much salt goes in, if you’re worried about that kind of thing. You could also use half wholemeal flour or add seeds, herbs or nuts. The options are pretty endless.

3. Fresh, just out of the oven warm bread with lots of salted butter is one of the best things in the world ever. Fact.

4. It’s much easier than you think.

If you’ve never baked your own bread but are worried it won’t turn out right, please don’t be scared – just give it a try. My first loaf was inedible – it was as hard as a brick! I didn’t let that put me off though – I was determined to produce a decent loaf that wouldn’t result in a broken tooth if you tried to bite into it.

The only thing I would say you need when making your own bread is patience. Sometimes the dough will take a bit longer to rise than a recipe states – when I first started baking, I used to wrongly think that was an indication that there was something wrong with the recipe. Sometimes it takes an hour, sometimes two, other times 2 1/2 hours. One thing to remember though is you can absolutely pop the dough in the fridge for a slower rise – it won’t kill it! Some people actually think doing this improves the texture of the finished loaf.

I’m delighted to say this loaf is anything but brick like – the crumb is soft, fluffy and is perfect for sandwiches. It also makes pretty amazing toast.

Soft white sandwich loaf

You will need:

One 900g (2lb) deep loaf tin, greased

500g strong white flour

1 7g sachet fast action yeast

7g table salt

30g butter

1 tbsp honey

325ml milk

Place the flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl and mix well.

Place the milk, honey and butter in a saucepan and melt over a medium heat, stirring to melt the butter. Try not to let the mixture get too hot – you don’t want it to come to the boil. When the butter has melted, remove from the heat. If the mixture is too hot it may kill the yeast, so if necessary set it aside to cool down for a few minutes.

Pour the lukewarm milk, melted butter and honey mixture into the flour, then mix with your hands or the mixer on low speed until you have a soft dough. If dry crumbs remain on the bottom, you might need to add a little more milk – a tablespoon at a time. Knead the dough by hand for about 10 minutes or about 5 minutes in a stand mixer, until the dough is very smooth, shiny and pliable. Return the dough to the bowl, cover and leave to rise for around 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.

Punch down the dough to deflate (also very satisfying!) then turn it out onto a lightly floured worktop. Knead the dough lightly, then press it out to an even rectangle roughly 26 x 30cm.

Roll up the dough tightly from one short end, like a Swiss roll, pinching the dough together as you roll. What you want to end up with is the dough in a sausage shape that will fit the length of your tin. Pinch the seam together (this will be the bottom of your loaf) then tuck the ends under and place the loaf in the tin.

Not perfect by any means, but just to give you an idea of the shape you’re looking for!

There are quick YouTube tutorials that show you how to do this if you’re like me and need the visual – I’m hoping to make some video tutorials in the coming months so watch this space!

Leave to rise at room temperature for about an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.

When you’re almost ready to bake the bread, preheat the oven to 200C/180F/Gas 4. Dust with flour, slash your loaf with a very sharp knife/razor if you like and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the loaf is golden brown and makes a hollow noise when you tap the bottom.

Turn out the loaf onto a wire rackand leave to cool for a while before slicing, if you can resist!

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Link up your recipe of the week

Cheese Stars

These cheesy little biscuits are quick, easy and addictive.

I’ve been making them since my eldest son’s first Birthday – he turns 15 next month! How the hell did that happen – I feel like I’ve skipped a few years somewhere along the way 😲

This is the first in a series of “quick bakes” I’ll be sharing with you over the next couple of months.

The dough for these biscuits is child’s play to work with – you simply pop all the ingredients in a food processor. You can of course do it by hand – it just takes a bit longer for the dough to come together. It helps if your butter is nice and soft.

When it comes to rolling out, the dough is very forgiving. It doesn’t seem to mind being roughly handled and re-rolled. No matter how many times I squige the cut offs back together and re-roll, the biscuits always turn out perfect -cheesy, crisp, melt in your mouth and delicious!

Cheese stars 

Slightly adapted from a Nigella Lawson recipe

Obviously the amount of biscuits you will end up with will depend on the size of cutter you use. I used a small 3cm star cutter and got about 40 biscuits.

50g self raising flour

25g soft butter

80g finely grated mature cheddar cheese

20g finely grated Parmesan

1/4 tsp smoked paprika (optional)

Preheat your oven to 200C/fan 180C.

Grease and line a couple of baking trays.

Simply mix together all the ingredients together in a bowl or place in a food processor and process until the dough comes together.

Dust a work surface with flour, then roll out the orange dough and cut out your shapes.

Place on the baking trays and bake for 8-10 minutes or until puffy and golden. Remove from the oven and transfer the biscuits to a wire rack to cool.



I shared these cheese stars with Bake of the week at Casa Costello

Dundee Cake

This Scottish cake is a true classic that has stood the test of time!

As the story goes, the Dundee cake was created in the late 1700s by the Dundee based company Keiller, as a sideline to their very successful marmalade making business. The original recipe contained only sultanas and naturally, lots of orange peel.

I’m not a big fan of peel but I love citrus, so my version of this timeless fruit cake has orange and lemon zest, plus a few spoonfuls of orange marmalade.

The original recipe didn’t include cherries, but I just love them in fruit cake so I include them. If you would rather stick to tradition, just omit them and add another 50g sultanas.

Dundee cake isn’t as rich as a Christmas fruit cake – think buttery, light sponge studded with juicy, whisky soaked dried fruits and topped with crunchy almonds. No wonder it’s still going strong – it’s a fabulous cake.

Dundee Cake

You will need:

Deep 20cm round cake tin, buttered and the bottom and sides lined with baking paper

For soaking the fruits: (optional)

75ml whisky or orange juice

175g sultanas

175g raisins

50g cherries, rinsed and halved

Place the dried fruit in a medium sized bowl and pour over the whisky or orange juice. Cover and leave to soak for a couple of hours.

150g soft butter

150g caster sugar

3 large eggs

250g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

Zest of one lemon

Zest of one orange

3 tbsp orange marmalade

50g ground almonds

50g whole blanched almonds

Preheat the oven to 180C/150C fan.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Slowly add the eggs, one at a time and beating well after each addition. Sift together the flour and baking powder and fold into the creamed mixture. Fold in the soaked dried fruits, lemon and orange zest, orange marmalade and ground almonds. Pour the mixture into your lined cake tin and decorate the top with the blanched almonds.

Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes2 hours (start checking the cake after 1 hour 30 – mine was ready after 1 hour 40) or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool completely in the tin.

Haggis, neeps and tatties cottage pie

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great Chieftan o’ the Puddin-race!

On Thursday evening, many people will raising a glass (of whisky, of course) to celebrate the life of Scottish poet Rabbie Burns. A typical celebration includes traditional Scottish dancing, reciting Burns poems and of course haggis. The haggis is accompanied by a piper, who “pipes in” the haggis while everyone in attendance stands and claps in time to the music. Then everyone sits down as the chosen speaker prepares to recite “address to a haggis.” The haggis is cut open to dramatic effect when the speaker says the words ‘an cut you up wi’ ready slight’ and a toast is then made to the haggis before serving.

If, like me, you haven’t been invited to a grand Burns Supper (boo!) then I have the perfect cosy, stay at home Burns Night supper for you – my haggis, neeps and tatties cottage pie. This is a re-working of another recipe – my haggis cottage pie. This is the new and improved version!

I love haggis too much to only have it once a year – this pie is perfect Winter comfort food! I serve it with either peas or green beans and if you want to really indulge, a jug of whisky cream sauce on the side – it’s rich but bloody heavenly!

Haggis, neeps and tattie cottage pie

Everyone in Scotland has their own way of making mince – this is the way I’ve been making it for years and my family love it. If you want to stick to your own recipe, please do!

500g minced beef

1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped

1 large carrot, peeled and finely diced

1 Oxo cube

1/2 tbsp plain flour

1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Around 1/2-3/4pint beef stock (to be honest, I use Bisto)

400g haggis

Just over half of a 1.5 kg bag potatoes, peeled and cut into even sized pieces

1 small neep/turnip/swede, peeled and diced (or buy it ready mashed – I loathe cutting neeps!)

50-75g Butter for the mash, and a splash of milk

Place a large pan on the hob to heat. When the pan is hot, tip in the mince and cook until browned. Add the flour to the mince and cook for one minute. Crumble in the Oxo cube and add the onion and carrot. Add the worcestershire sauce, the beef stock, a little salt and pepper and simmer for 30-45 minutes.. Keep an eye on the pan so the mince doesn’t get too dry – you might need to add more stock. I often make the mince in advance, let it cool and pop in the fridge to save time later, plus I think it tastes better if it’s reheated later on or the next day.

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Place the tatties in a large pan of water.Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for about 20 minutes until soft. Drain and mash with the butter and milk.

Place the diced neep in a pan of boiling water and cook for 20-25 minutes or until soft. Drain, add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and mash well. Season with salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. *I’ve been informed by people in the know that a wee nip of whisky is a very good addition here. I’ve yet to try it, so let me know if you do!

Remove the haggis from its packaging.

Place the mince in an ovenproof dish, crumble the haggis the mince, top with the mashed neep, then finally top with the mashed tatties. Rough up the top with a fork to get those lovely crispy bits. Cook for 40-45 minutes or until bubbling and golden.

slàinte mhath!

Easy 4 minute microwave lemon curd

Lemon curd is probably one of the most versatile things you can make. It’s delicious spread on hot toast, freshly baked scones or pancakes, mixed with cream cheese to make a really quick but delicious tart topping (fill your tart case with the lemony filling and top with berries), spread on pavlova, or add a spoonful to buttercream icing for a zesty topping for cupcakes, the list is endless!

I’m not going to claim the idea of making lemon curd in the microwave is a new thing. My friends have been raving about Rita’s recipe for years. I met the lovely Rita through the now defunct forum. Despite not living all that far away from each other, Rita and I have never met but we keep in touch with each other on Facebook. I saved the recipe all those years ago with good intentions, but as with many other things, I never got around to trying it. Until yesterday. I looked at the lemons sitting in the fruit bowl that were originally bought for making lemon drizzle cake (more good intentions!) I decided I would make lemon curd. I immediately thought of Rita’s recipe and decided it was about time I tried it.

I was not sorry.

It was a revelation to me. I now know why my friends love it so much.

It’s so easy!

I felt a bit silly because despite hearing rave reviews about the microwave method for years, there was a small part of me that was a teeny bit sceptical. I don’t completely trust microwaves. Was I going to end up with lemony scrambled eggs? I shouldn’t have worried. I had beautiful lemon curd in just 4 minutes. So if you would like to make this but have some reservations, please please just try it. From now on I will always make lemon curd this way.

Thank you Rita for such a great recipe!

Rita’s easy 4 minute microwave lemon curd

You will need:

Two sterilised jam jars

200g caster sugar

3 eggs

zest and juice of 3 lemons

115g butter, melted and slightly cooled (don’t add it to the egg mixture while still hot!)

In a microwave safe bowl, whisk together the sugar and eggs. Add the lemon juice and zest. Whisk in the slightly cooled melted butter. Microwave on high, one minute at a time, whisking very well after each minute. This usually takes 3-4 minutes, but depends on your microwave. When you reach 3 minutes, I would play it safe by stopping and whisking after 30 seconds. You don’t want it to reach boiling point. My curd was ready after 4 minutes, but yours may take 30 seconds less or more. Stop when it’s visibly thickened, but do bear in mind that it will firm up quite considerably once cooled. If it coats the back of the spoon; you can draw a visible line down the back of the spoon with your finger, the curd is cooked. Strain through a sieve in case there are any tiny cooked bits of egg, then pour into sterilised jars.

Keeps in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks. Makes 2 jars.

Fruity bran loaf

My first recipe of 2018 is a good old fashioned fruit bran loaf. If I’m totally honest, it’s the kind of thing I would have turned my nose up at as a teenager in favour of a massive piece of chocolate cake, but now I just adore a piece of squidgy fruit loaf with my cup of tea. Maybe it’s to do with the fact that we have more discerning tastes when we get older? Who knows? Who cares?

These days I just love cake in any form.

This is one of the easiest cakes you can make – you measure out all the ingredients in a teacup. Not an American cup measurement. A normal cup is fine. You don’t need to get your scales out for this recipe. Just remember – the bigger the cup, the bigger the loaf which in turn, may affect the baking time. I actually used a small mug to measure my ingredients, but it’s swings and roundabouts really.

This fruity loaf keeps well for a good few days – I’m not sure if it keeps any longer than that because mine never lasts that long! I love to eat it generously spread with butter.

Fruity bran loaf

1 cup sugar (white or brown)

1 cup mixed dried fruit – I usually use whatever I’ve got in the cupboard – raisins, sultanas, cranberries, chopped apricots and cherries are all good here

1 cup milk

1 cup bran flakes

1 cup self raising flour

Pour the sugar, dried fruit, milk and bran flakes into a large mixing bowl and stir well. Cover the bowl and leave for one hour.

When one hour has passed, preheat the oven to 180C fan 160C/gas mark 4 and lightly butter a 900g/2lb loaf tin. Sift the flour into the fruity mixture and mix gently, taking care not to overmix. Pour the mixture into the lined loaf tin and bake for 50-60 mins or until a sharp knife or skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin.

If you give this recipe a go, please let me know what you think! Leave a comment in the box below x

I shared this post with the link up recipe of the week at A Mummy too

A very belated Christmas post

In typical fashion, I’m extremely late saying this but I just wanted to say I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year.

We had a lovely relaxing time – plenty of eating, drinking and spending time with family.

My desire to cook really returned with a vengeance in December. I thought that since I shared all my food pictures on my Instagram and Facebook page, it would be a shame not to post the pictures here. The decorations may be all packed away and Christmas Day is all but a slightly hazy memory by now, but let me just take you back there for a minute…..🎄

As always, I made Nigella Lawson’s fabulous chocolate fruit cake. To me, this cake is the smell of Christmas. It’s actually a boiled fruit cake – you simmer the dried fruits with coffee liqueur, orange zest and juice, honey and mixed spice. It makes your home smell amazing. It really is one of my all time favourite cakes.

Lots of mince pies were made and consumed.

I filled my pies with an suet free apple and Amaretto mincemeat. I used a Dan Lepard recipe for the pastry. It’s not your bog standard pastry recipe. Oh no. Dan’s recipe calls for ground almonds and cream cheese and let me tell you, Dan is a genius. The cream cheese helps to produce a gorgeous tender, melt in the mouth shortcrust pastry. I ate far more than I care to admit! And I wonder why I’m now having to pop the top button of my jeans open whenever I sit down. Oops🙊

You’ll find the recipe for Dan’s sweet shortcrust pastry right here To keep the kids happy I made their favourite rocky road crunch bars. After seeing one of my favourite bloggers Foodie Quine make the cutest gingerbread men rocky road, I couldn’t resist topping my sweet treat with these cute little fellas.

Over the festive season my most used cookbook is without a shadow of a doubt Nigella Christmas (quelle surprise!) I’m a huge fan of Nigella’s chilli jam recipe. It’s great for a little foodie gift but I always keep a few jars for myself because I love it so much. It’s great with cheese and cold meats, or in a bacon or sausage sandwich.

This was my breakfast one morning. Well, it was December! And there’s fruit so it’s fine, right? This is Nigella’s spruced up vanilla cake with berry balsamic fruit salad. The fruit salad is from The Mountain cafe (which is in Aviemore, not that far from where I live) cookbook and I have become addicted to making it. It’s very simple – you gently stir icing sugar, vanilla, balsamic vinegar (although you can use orange juice instead) and fresh mint into fresh berries. If you leave it to macerate for a while, the berries soak up all the flavours of the dressing. It’s really delicious and goes really well alongside so many puddings.

It wouldn’t be Christmas without a pavlova and this one was pretty epic. We didn’t end up eating it until two days after Christmas because we were just too full up on other food. But once we cut into it it disappeared very quickly! It ended up with a very strange mixture of fruit on top because everyone in my house had a different idea of what fruit should adorn the pav. Note to self – next year make individual meringues! 😆

I didn’t take any pictures of Christmas dinner but we had the usual traditional fare – brined roast turkey, roast potatoes, maple roast parsnips, sausages wrapped in bacon, stuffing, sprouts and gravy.

This was my Boxing Day leftovers Christmas sandwich – I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a sandwich more in my life! When I think about it, I’m pretty sure I only buy a turkey every year just so I can eat sandwiches like these….

You’ve gotta have cranberry sauce at Christmas time…well I do.

Peanut butter cups from Nigella Christmas. These are so easy and quick. I’m a total peanut butter fiend so these must be hidden away from me.

Just to prove to myself we did eat something healthy! This is Christmas salad from Nigella Christmas. I just adore the colours. So pretty.

What did you eat over Christmas? Did you go traditional or did you try something different this year? Let me know by leaving a comment 🙂