No Bake Chocolate Easter Fridge Cake

 I absolutely love Easter. To me it’s all about spending time with family, eating good food and there’s no rushing around the shops trying to find the perfect gift! It’s kind of like Christmas but without all the pressure

And of course there’s all the chocolate….

So…how does a no bake chocolate fridge cake loaded with digestive biscuits, mini eggs and mini creme eggs sound?

I was going to call this Easter rocky road, but silly old me realised that rocky road isn’t rocky road without marshmallows. You could add some if you wanted, but I just love it as it is. I made this on Sunday afternoon and it was all gone by Monday morning. It’s addictive stuff! Don’t say I didn’t warn you. 

Chocolate Easter Fridge Cake

350g Milk chocolate, or 150g each of dark and milk chocolate

125g butter

2 tablespoons golden syrup

200g digestive biscuits, broken into small pieces – I tip the biscuits into a large freezer bag and pulverize them with a rolling pin – very theraputic! What you’re aiming for is both crumbs and larger pieces of biscuit.

175g mini eggs

1 packet Cadbury mini creme eggs

150g milk chocolate for the topping

A few crushed mini eggs for decoration 

Grease and line a 22cm square tin with baking paper. 

Melt the chocolate, butter and golden syrup together in a large pan over a low heat. When the chocolatey mixture is smooth and melted, take off the heat. Tip in the biscuit pieces. Leave for a few minutes before adding the mini eggs and mini creme eggs. Tip the mixture into the baking tin and pop in the fridge while you get on with the chocolate topping. Melt the 150g chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Pour the melted chocolate over the chocolate slice, slightly tilting the pan so the chocolate reaches the edges. Scatter the mini eggs over the top and place back in the fridge to set before cutting into bars. 

Enjoy! 

I shared this post with the following link ups….

Recipe of the week at A Mummy Too

#CookBlogShare at Easy Peasy Foodie

Treat petite at Cakeyboi and The Baking Explorer

The sparkle challenge with Highland Spring 

Do you drink enough water? Apparently 66% of Brits don’t feel they drink enough water on a daily basis. Highland Spring are on a mission to change that and get the nation drinking more water.

I have to say I do drink a lot of water. Not just because of the obvious health benefits – I just find it so refreshing. I find I have to keep hydrated because if I’m busy and forget to drink water, I get awful headaches. I’ve been dehydrated a couple of times and it’s awful. So I make an effort to drink at least one litre of water every day. And since I’m breastfeeding at the moment staying hydrated is more important than ever. 

I’m constantly going on my kids about the importance of drinking enough water – they must get sick of it! I’ve drummed into them that drinking water throughout the day helps them to stay alert and also helps prevent cramp when they are doing sports. And that’s just a couple of the numerous health benefits! Do they listen to me? Probably not! But lately I have seen them drinking more water and they don’t drink much diluting juice anymore, so maybe some of my preaching is finally starting to sink in…

A lot of people struggle to drink a lot of water because on its own it can be a bit boring. I like to make my own fruity ice cubes to jazz things up a little. 

It couldn’t be easier – all you do is pop your chosen fruit (or you could use herbs – I use mint) into an ice cube tray and fill with water before freezing. 

From top: Mint leaves, orange pieces, lemon and raspberries

As the ice cubes melt they infuse the water with flavour. My favourite combination is mint and raspberry but anything goes – strawberries, blueberries, the list is endless! 

These fruity ice cubes would be great for kids – anything that encourages them to drink more water and boost their fruit intake at the same time is a winner in my book!

How do you make sure you drink enough water? 

Disclaimer: Highland Spring sent me water to help me create this post. All opinions are my own.

Meal planning Monday 20/03 

Hope you all had a great week! Mine had it’s ups and downs. Hamish is still teething and I didn’t get much sleep again, although one blissful night I did manage to get an unbroken 4 hours! It’s amazing how refreshed you can actually feel on so little shut eye when you’re sleep deprived. I keep telling myself this phase won’t last and Hamish certainly seems to be growing and changing with every passing day. Hopefully he’ll start sleeping a little longer through the night again soon….*yawn* 

By the way…the highlight of last week’s menu was the cornmeal fried pork chops from Smitten Kitchen. They were amazing and will definitely be repeated often. Yum.

So before I fall asleep with my phone in my hand again (I’ve been known to do this a few times lately) here is this week’s meal plan. I’m just too tired for anything too fussy so it’s pretty simple. I’ll be back in a couple of days with an Easter rocky road recipe and a couple of review posts. See you soon! 

Monday – Chicken fried rice made by hubby 

Tuesday – Turkey burgers with sweet potato fries

Wednesday – Mackerel fillets with salad for me and chicken kiev for the boys

Thursday – Salmon fish fingers 

Friday – Steak night

 I’m linking this post with the Meal Planning Monday bloghop, hosted at Hijacked by Twins and Little Paper Swans

Easiyo mini yoghurt maker review

Last month Easiyo very kindly sent me their mini yoghurt maker to try. 
We go through a lot of yoghurt in our family and I heard a few of my friends rave about the Easiyo, so I was very excited to give it a go. 

The Easiyo mini makes 500g of yoghurt, which is ideal for smaller families or if you don’t want to end up with a huge portion of yoghurt. Once the yoghurt is ready it lasts for up to two weeks in the fridge. 

Why make your own yoghurt? 

Homemade yoghurt is packed full of beneficial live cultures which is very good for your digestive and immune system. And of course, it contains no artificial ingredients like many of the supermarket yoghurts. 

The yoghurt maker is very simple to use – all you need to do is fill the pot with tepid water (between 15-20C) to the first line, sprinkle in the contents of the sachet, pop the lid on and give it a good shake. Then add more tepid water to the fill level and give it another shake. 

Pour boiling water inside the Easiyo right up to the top of the red spacer, then place the pot inside the Easiyo and leave for 8-12 hours. By that time, you should have a pot of delicious, creamy yoghurt!

If you have any problems ( my first batch turned out quite runny – it turned out I didn’t pour the boiling water all the way to the top of the spacer!) then there is a lot of information and advice on the website

I received three flavours of the powdered sachets – an unsweetened Greek yoghurt, strawberry and toffee. The Greek yoghurt and strawberry were a big success for me. I loved the flavour of the strawberry. The toffee yoghurt is setting in the Easiyo as I type. The lovely toffee smell hit me as soon as I opened the packet so if it tastes as good as it smells, it should be a winner! 

***UPDATE***

The toffee yoghurt set really well! It’s thick, creamy and really tastes of toffee. Absolutely gorgeous.

The liquid sitting on the top is simply whey – sometimes it can separate but no worries – it is full of b vitamins and goodness so just stir it back in.

It’s pretty fair to say I’m impressed with the Easiyo yoghurt maker and I have already ordered some more sachets and a couple of extra yoghurt pots online so I can have a few different yoghurts on the go at once.  This could be addictive!

Easiyo sent me a mini yoghurt maker to review along with some yoghurt mixes. I was not obliged to write a positive review. 

Meal Planning Monday 13th March

I know I say this often but I seriously don’t know where last week went. Having said that, I was glad to see the back of it. I didn’t feel well at all and my mood was pretty low. I kept getting migraines and I felt really sick. I don’t know if it was a bug or if my migraines are returning with a vengeance (hopefully not.) 

I had planned to do some baking, but I was feeling so rotten I had to sleep when Hamish went down for his morning/afternoon naps. They can vary in length from 20 minutes to 2 hours, so you can never tell how long you’re going to get! 

Surprisingly, I actually stuck to the meal plan except for one night when I felt so ill my husband picked up a ready meal for us and pizza for the boys. The highlight of the week was the chicken parmigana from the new Hairy Biker’s book chicken and egg. I didn’t follow the recipe to the letter, but it was really enjoyed by everyone. 

So here’s this week’s meal planner…..

Monday – chicken goujons and salad

Tuesday – Busy night with the boys having different things on after school so I’m making a super quick version of tomato and chorizo pasta

Wednesday – cornmeal fried pork chops with smashed potatoes (from the Smitten Kitchen website) 

Thursday – Sage and onion chicken and sausage traybake from Nigella. I’ve been making this recipe for years and love it!

Friday – Minced beef canelloni 

 As always I’m linking this post with the Meal Planning Monday bloghop, hosted at Hijacked by Twins and Little Paper Swans

Meal Planning Monday 6th March

Last week’s meal planning didn’t totally go to plan…we had a few sleepless nights with the wee one and he was extremely clingy to Mummy…so it didn’t leave me with much time for cooking. We ended up pleasing ourselves most nights…which meant chicken burgers and salad for the boys and beans or scrambled egg on toast for us! Last night’s dinner didn’t go to plan at all (see below) but hopefully we’ll get back on track this week! 

Monday – Takeaway. Oops! It was supposed to be roast chicken but we had a bit of a disaster. I went to carve the chicken after it had rested for around 30 minutes while I got everything else prepared and blood spurted out of it. Ewwwww. So annoying! 

Tuesday – Heck sausages, fried tatties and cauliflower cheese (leftovers from last night!)

Wednesday – Chicken parmigiana from the new Hairy Bikers book Chicken and egg 

Thursday – Cheesy sweet potato skins (since we didn’t have them last week!)

Friday – Creamy ham and sweetcorn pasta

 As always I’m linking this post with the Meal Planning Monday bloghop, hosted at Hijacked by Twins and Little Paper Swans

Roasted sweet potato and carrot soup

I’ve been making this soup a lot recently. It’s so lovely and warming, which is much needed now the weather has turned nippy. I guess it was going to happen sooner or later – we had a pretty mild Winter so it was inevitable we were going to pay for it at some point!

Roasting the sweet potatoes and carrots really brings out their natural sweetness. If you wanted to add a little spice to counteract the sweetness, you could easily add some chilli flakes but I just love this soup the way it is. It goes down very  well with kids too!

Roasted sweet potato and carrot soup

500g sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 4-5cm pieces

300g carrots, peeled and chopped into similar sized pieces as the sweet potatoes

1 large or 2 small red onions, chopped

2 cloves garlic, unpeeled

2 tablespoons olive or rapeseed oil

Salt and pepper

1 litre chicken or vegetable stock

Preheat oven to 200C. Place the sweet potatoes, carrots, onion and unpeeled garlic in a roasting tin. Drizzle over the oil, add a grinding of salt and pepper and roast for 45-50 minutes or until the veg is very tender.

Leave the veg to cool a little and remove the garlic. Squeeze the garlic from the skins and set aside. Transfer the veg to a large saucepan, add the garlic and blitz with a blender until smooth. Taste the soup to see if it needs more seasoning before transferring to bowls.

I linked this post with recipe of the week atA Mummy Too

Spiralized sweet potato, courgette and spinach quiche

Spiralizing seems to be all the rage the moment. There are dozens of Pinterest boards dedicated to spiralized recipes, numerous blogs and website articles telling you how to get the most out of your spiralizer and Sainsburys are selling courgetti and butternut squash noodles.

Steamer trading cookshop sent me a Gefu spirelli spiral slicer so I could create my own spiralized recipe. I was originally going to make a spiralized salad, but I fancied trying something a little different. The night before I received the slicer I had made some shortcrust pastry for a quiche. I started to think about incorporating the spiralised veg in the quiche, but I wasn’t sure if it would work. My initial concern was that the thinly sliced veg would catch in the oven and burn or end up overcooked. There’s only one way to find out, I told myself! 

It actually worked really well – the veg was perfectly cooked through, with no mushiness at all. 

The Gefu spiral slicer did a great job of spiralising the courgette and sweet potato. The extremely sharp Japanese blades sliced through the veg super fast. But what I really love about this spiralizer is how easy it is to clean. All it needs is a quick rinse under the tap. It doesn’t take up much room either, which is perfect if you’re like me and don’t have much space left for new kitchen gadgets! 

There are 2 settings which creates 2mm or 3.5mm spirals.

Compact, simple to use and easy to clean – the Gefu spiral slicer would be a great purchase if you are interested in buying a spiralizer but don’t want a huge gadget taking up space on your work top.

The courgette fit perfectly inside the slicer but I had to cut the sweet potato which left me with a few odd pieces leftover – they won’t be wasted though, they are in the fridge destined for soup!

The nutmeg in the filling is crucial for flavour – it makes all the difference. 

Spiralized sweet potato, courgette and spinach quiche

For the parmesan shortcrust pastry:

180g plain flour

100g very cold, cubed butter

25g grated parmesan

1 large egg yolk

1-2 tsp chilled water 

Place the flour in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and parmesan and rub in until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and 1tsp water and mix until you have a dough. If the mixture isn’t forming together, add a little more water, a few drops at a time. Cover the dough with cling film and leave to rest for at least 30 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 180/350F/gas mark 4. Place a baking tray in the oven to heat up.

Roll out your pastry on a floured surface to fit a tart tin. Place a circle of baking paper over the pastry in the tin and fill with baking beans. I don’t have baking beans – I use pasta, dried butter beans or anything similar. Just one word of advice – don’t use lentils! I did once and I ended up with crunchy lentils in my cooked pastry. There was a slight tear in the baking paper I used to line the tin and they ended up embedded in the pastry! Not great. Place the pastry lined tin in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through and the edges are golden brown. 

For the filling

Splash of oil and 25g butter

One large red onion, sliced thinly

2 tsp sugar

I large or two small sweet potatoes

One courgette

80g fresh spinach

4 large eggs

300ml double cream

2 tsp grated nutmeg

Salt and pepper

Handful fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped

Melt the oil and butter in a frying pan. Add the onions, sprinkle over the sugar and cook over a low heat for 10-15 minutes until the onions are very soft and caramelised. Remove the onions from the pan and set aside. 

Spiralize the sweet potato and courgette. Place the onions in the pastry case and place the spinach on top. Add your spiralized veg, spreading it all out so you have an even covering. Beat together the eggs, cream, salt and pepper, nutmeg and thyme. Pour this mixture into your pastry case, going slowly to allow the mixture to sink in. Try and make sure the spinach is covered or it will catch in the oven.

As you can see my pastry shrunk a little in the top left hand corner - probably because I didn't chill the pastry case before baking!

Carefully transfer the quiche to the oven, placing on the preheated baking tray. Bake for 50 minutes or until the filling is set. 

 

I was sent a Gefu spiral slicer for review. I was not paid in cash for this review. All opinions and photographs are my own. 
The Gefu spiral slicer is available to buy online here at Steamer trading cookshop.

I shared this post over at Taming Twins for #CookBlogShare. 


Hijacked By Twins



Meal Planning Monday 20th February

Last week flew past. I genuinely don’t know where it went! It wasn’t the best week for us – I kept getting migraines and the boys weren’t 100% either. It just seemed to be one thing after another. On top of that, baby Hamish started teething and decided that sleeping is for wimps. Coffee and chocolate is keeping me going!

I’m finding meal planning really helpful though. No matter how hectic things can get, if I know what I’m cooking that night it just feels like one less thing to worry about. 

Here’s this week’s meal plan:

Monday – Chicken and chorizo pasta bake

Tuesday – Fish and wedges for me, chicken burgers for the boys

Wednesday – Leek, potato and roasted garlic soup with crusy bread

Thursday – Sausages cheesy mash and peas

Friday – Stuffed sweet potato skins

As usual, I’m not making plans for the weekend yet – my eldest son turns 14 (14!!! htf did that happen!) on Saturday  and I’m not too sure how we’ll be celebrating yet. 

Have a great week! 

 I’m linking this post with the Meal Planning Monday bloghop, hosted at Hijacked by Twins and Little Paper Swans

White chocolate and raspberry shortbread hearts

I’m not competely against St Valentine’s Day, but I’m not a massive fan of it either. Why do we need a date on the calendar to tell someone we love them? We should be telling them every single day anyway. 

I didn’t always feel that way. I remember those school days and the crushing disappointment you felt when you didn’t get a card from the object of your desires. Oh well, maybe next year, you told yourself. Of course by then, you’d moved on to someone else. Oh to be a teenager again…maybe not. I don’t think I could  go back to those days. 

Whether you love St Valentine’s Day or think it’s all a load of commercial crap, I hope you spent it with the ones you love x

White chocolate and raspberry shortbread hearts

Makes about 20, depending on the size of your cutter

225g soft butter

200g plain flour

100g icing sugar 

100g cornflour

150g white chocolate

Freeze dried raspberries

Grease and line two baking trays. Preheat the oven to 180C. 

In a large bowl or using a mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until very light and fluffy. Add the flour, icing sugar and cornflour and mix until you have a soft dough. 

Roll out the dough between two sheets of baking paper to an even thickness. Cut out shapes and place onto the baking tray. Bake for around 12-15 mins or until very light golden around the edges. Remove from the oven, leave to cool on the trays for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Melt your chocolate. Dip one half of the shortbread into the melted chocolate. Scatter over a few freeze dried raspberries before the chocolate sets.  

I linked this post up to Treat Petite, hosted by Cakeyboi and The Baking Explorer.

#Meal planning Monday 13/02

Hi folks! How can it be Monday again already?

This menu planning is harder to do than I thought. Not impossible, just hard. The difficulty is this. Picky teenage/pre-teen kids and fussy food fads. One week they like something, next week they don’t. Son number two loves sausages. Son number one hates them. Son number one loves roast chicken. Son number 2 doesn’t. One likes fish. One hates it with a passion. I could go on but I won’t – you get the picture! 

It’s a challenge but I’m not going to let it put me off – I’ve started making whatever I want and if the boys refuse to try it, I just tell them they can make themselves scrambled eggs/beans/cheese on toast. They are old enough to make themselves something else if they don’t want what’s on offer. I refuse to get into battles with them over food. I find it exhausting and trying to force them to eat it doesn’t work anyway. 

Do you have fussy eaters in your household? How do you deal with it? I’d love to hear your tips!

This week’s menu is pretty much centered around what I know my boys will definitely eat without question and what I have to use up in the freezer. I’m trying to empty my freezer and cupboard before I do a big shop at the end of the week.

Monday – Just me and the boys tonight so I’m making a quick and easy pasta carbonara.

Tuesday – Tattie soup and oatcakes

Wednesday – Burgers, sweet potato fries and salad

Thursday – Chicken wraps

Friday – Home made pizzas

I’m not sure about Saturday and Sunday so I won’t meal plan yet. 

I’m linking this post with the #MealPlanningMonday bloghop, hosted at Hijacked by Twins and Little Paper Swans

Celebrating National Bagel Day with New York Bakery Co

Happy National Bagel Day!

I loves me a bagel. Plain, sesame, cinnamon and raisin, doesn’t matter what flavour, I’ll happily scoff them all.

I became addicted to the New York Bakery Co red onion and chive bagels last year while I was pregnant. I was especially fond of them with turkey, lettuce, mayo and cranberry sauce. Yum.

New York Bakery Co very kindly sent me a selection of bagels so I could come up with some new bagel toppings. 

I called this one sausage mozzarella melt – pork sausages, fresh sliced tomato, basil and lots of melted mozzarella on the oh so good cheese bagel. On a side note, I think the cheese bagels would be really good with bacon and sweet chilli sauce – I’ll be trying that soon.

Next was a little spin on the NY classic pastrami sandwich – American mustard, layers of pastrami and gherkins on a red onion and chive bagel. 

I wanted to come up with a sweet bagel so here’s a super easy and quick idea – lemon blueberry cheesecake bagel. Stir a little icing sugar and lemon zest into cream cheese. Spread on a cinnamon and raisin bagel and top with fresh blueberry sauce.

Here are some more bagel toppings we are currently addicted to:

Ham and cheese, melted under the grill (my eldest son loves this)

Banana and peanut butter

Cream cheese cucumber and chives

Cream cheese and strawberry jam (on a cinnamon and raisin)

What’s your favourite bagel filling?
New York Bakery Co supplied me with the bagels. All ideas and opinions are my own. 

#NationalBagelDay

Meal Planning Monday 6/2/17

Hello Monday! I can’t believe we’re now into February. I’ve been meaning to start this weekly menu planning thing for ages but kept putting it off. But I’m going to give it a go because I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found myself staring at the contents of the fridge/freezer/my bulging food cupboard at 5pm (my name is Nicola and I have a terrible food hoarding addiction) with no clue what I’m going to make.

It doesn’t help that my teenage boys have suddenly turned very fussy and trying to find meal ideas that everyone is happy to eat has become quite frankly, a real headache.

So I’ve devised a meal plan for the week ahead (not including the weekend because I won’t know what our plans will be until the middle of the week) going by food I already have in the freezer/cupboard so the only shopping I should have to do this week is for bread, milk and a few fresh bits.

So here goes! 

Monday – Beef fried rice (made with leftover roast beef from last night’s dinner)

Tuesday – Orange glazed pork loin steaks with tomato couscous 

 Wednesday: Chicken Fajitas

Thursday: Blood orange glazed salmon for myself and Son number 2, Southern breaded chicken for Hubby and Son number 1

Friday:  Sausage, sweet potato and apple traybake from A glug of oil

There we have it..my first weekly meal planner. It might be a tad ambitious for the first week – we don’t always eat this well! Thankfully my hubby is on holiday this week so at least he will be on hand to help amuse the wee one while I cook. Here’s hoping it will make life a bit easier for us! 

 

Hijacked By Twins

I shared this post with the #MealPlanningMonday link up, which is hosted by Kirsty at Hijacked by twins and Cathryn at Little Paper Swans. I’ll be checking out the other blogger’s meal plans tonight for inspiration! 

Do you meal plan? Leave a comment and let me know if it works for you! 

Chocolate orange panettone bread pudding

I did not expect to be blogging a recipe for leftover panettone in February, but I had 3 mini boxes of the Italian sweet bread to use up after finding them reduced in my local co-op to 25p each. I couldn’t leave a bargain like that sitting on the shelf so I took them home 🙂

This chocolate orange bread pudding is a rather delicious way of using up leftover panettone, but it would be equally as good with brioche. 
Chocolate orange panettone bread pudding

Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s chocolate chip bread pudding from “Kitchen”

250g chocolate panettone or brioche, cut into 3-4cm cubes

100g chocolate chips

Zest of one large orange

3 large eggs

40g caster sugar

125ml double cream

500ml full fat milk

4 tsp demerara sugar

Preheat the oven to 180C. Lightly butter an ovenproof dish with butter. 

Arrange the bread in the dish. Scatter over the chocolate chips and orange zest.

Whisk together the eggs, sugar cream and milk. Pour this over the bread. Leave to soak for around 20 minutes, then sprinkle over the demerara sugar. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the custard has set and has a slight wobble. 

This pudding is pure comfort food! I think we all need a little comfort in these current times.  So once you’ve made this, all that’s left to do is curl up on the couch with a blanket, a good movie or book and enjoy 🙂 

I shared this recipe with Recipe of the week link up over at A Mummy too.

Mint Oreo Brownies

If you like mint chocolate and Oreos, you’re going to love these mint Oreo brownies!

I’m a massive mint chocolate fan. Mint Oreo cookies have been available over here for a while now, but as they were imported from America they were very pricey. As much as I wanted to try them, I just can’t bring myself to pay £6 for a packet of biscuits. I just can’t. But now they are available over here for a much more reasonable price so I stocked up! 

Can I just make a suggestion? Try these brownies with a scoop of mint choc chip ice cream and chocolate sauce.

 A-mazing!

Mint Oreo Brownies

200g soft butter

200g dark chocolate, broken into squares

300g caster sugar

4 eggs

1tsp peppermint extract

100g plain flour

50g cocoa powder

1 packet mint oreo brownies, broken into quarters

Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a 22cm square baking tin. 

Melt the butter slowly in a medium sized saucepan pan and once melted, take off the heat and add the chocolate, stirring to melt. Whisk the eggs and sugar together until very light,  pale and doubled in volume. Fold in the peppermint extract, flour, cocoa powder and mint Oreo pieces. Pour the mixture into the lined tin. Top with the remaining Oreo pieces. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the top is set.

 Leave the brownies in the tin to go completely cold before cutting into squares. 

Enjoy! 

Beef and Haggis cottage pie

I wasn’t planning to post this recipe, but quite a few of my Facebook followers requested the recipe after I shared this picture earlier this evening. This is hearty, warming grub, perfect on a chilly January night. 
It would be great for Burn’s night supper tomorrow night. Some mashed neep (turnip) alongside or underneath the mashed tatties/parsnip would be a great idea if you’re more organised than I am and remembered to buy one! 

Beef and haggis cottage pie

500g good quality minced beef

1 Oxo stock cube

1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped

1 large carrot, peeled and finely diced

Splash of worcestershire sauce

Around 3/4 pint beef stock 

400g haggis

About half of a 1.5 kg bag potatoes, peeled and cut into even sized chunks

4-5 parsnips, peeled and cut into pieces roughly the same size as the potatoes

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. Crumble in the stock 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. 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 even the next day.

Preheat the oven to 200C.

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

Remove the haggis from its packaging.

Place the mince in an ovenproof dish, crumble the haggis over the top and top with the potato and parsnip mash. Cook for 40-45 minutes until golden and crispy on top.



Impossible Quiche

I’m going to post a series of quick and easy meal ideas and I’m kicking things off with an impossible quiche!

A good few years ago I was part of an online cooking forum. I got to know some lovely ladies there and I’m still in touch with many of them on Facebook. I’ve even had the chance to meet a few of them in person. Over the years lots of recipes have been shared, many of them keepers I still cook on a regular basis.

This adaptable and easy recipe is one of my favourites. I’ve fiddled with the recipe a little to suit my personal taste. It’s one of those recipes that never lets you down. The real beauty of the recipe is you can use whatever ingredients you have that need using up. You can’t really mess it up. 

Thank you, Hottie for sharing this recipe with us. It’s a real keeper. 

Hottie’s Impossible quiche

Butter for greasing your dish

4 Large eggs

1 tbsp butter

95g self raising flour

350ml milk

150g grated cheese

1 onion, diced 

150g cold cooked meat of your choice

100g veg, chopped up into small even pieces – you could use sliced mushrooms, tomatoes, courgettes, peppers, broccoli, asparagus or whatever takes your fancy

Your choice of chopped fresh or dried herbs (optional) and a good pinch of salt and pepper

Grease a pie dish with butter. Preheat the oven to 180C. Place ALL the ingredients into a large bowl and stir well to mix. Pour into the pie dish. Bake for 35-45 minutes until puffed up and golden.

This crustless quiche is lovely warm or cold with new potatoes, salad and relish. 

Hello 2017!

Happy New Year! I know I’m a little late, but better late than never I guess…

I really neglected this blog in 2016. I had so much going on something had to give. I was working full time, studying and pregnant while running a household and looking after my two older sons. So it left very little time for any extra activities. I ended up with pelvic girdle pain in the second half of my pregnancy and had to use crutches if I was walking for longer than 10 minutes. I’m normally a pretty active person and one of my favourite hobbies is going for really long walks, so I struggled with not being able to get around much. My husband ended up doing most of the cooking and with the way I was feeling, I was more than happy for him to do so. After a scare at 26 weeks, I was signed off work and told to rest as much as I could. It wasn’t the easiest of pregnancies, but it was all so worth it when we finally got to meet our gorgeous little Hamish, after an emergency C section at 11.10pm on the 30th October. If he was born one hour later he would have been a Halloween baby! 

So right now I’m just making the most of my maternity leave and our new baby. My other two boys are almost 14 (next month) and 12, so I can really appreciate why people say “they grow up so fast!” and “cherish every moment while they are little”.  It’s not a cliche, it really is true.
Thank you for sticking with me in 2016 and I hope to be back posting recipes very soon! 
Xxx

Amaretto fruit cake

We are fast approaching the time of year when I begin to get ridiculously excited. I love Christmas and this year we have an extra special reason to celebrate…

Our gorgeous little boy Hamish Andrew arrived on the 30th October 2016, at 11.09pm. I can’t believe he is a month old already! I ended up having to have an emergency C section and for the first couple of weeks I wasn’t up to venturing out at all. My husband had to do everything for me – thank God he was off work. 4 weeks on and I’m still pretty tender and I get tired quite quickly. Breastfeeding every 3 hours can take it out of you as well, so at the moment my motto is – If it’s not desperate, it ain’t getting done! I’m just enjoying every moment with our little bundle of joy 🙂

 I just can’t imagine Christmas without a fruit cake – if I’m totally honest one of my main reasons for making one is to fill the house with the amazing, festive smell while the cake is in the oven! I usually make elaborate plans to ice and decorate the cake, but in reality I’m never usually organised enough to actually do it. If you’re short of time, a fruit and nut topping is easy and looks so pretty. 

This simmer and stir method means it isn’t totally necessary to make the cake weeks before Christmas and feed it – but you can if you want to.

It’s definitely worth taking the time to line your cake tin correctly to protect the cake during its long baking time.

Grease a deep, loose bottomed 23cm round cake tin and line the base and sides with non stick baking paper. Cut out a circle of baking paper, using the base of your tin as a template. To line the sides, cut a strip of baking paper a little longer than the circumference of the tin and about 3 inches higher. Fold it 1 inch along its length, then using scissors make little snips up to the fold line, making a fringe along the length. It should now fit snugly inside the cake tin. Finally, fit your circle over the top, covering the fringe.

Amaretto fruit cake

200g dried figs, chopped
300g sultanas
350g raisins
200g glace cherries, rinsed, dried and halved
50g crystallized ginger, chopped (optional)
125ml Amaretto, plus extra for soaking the cake
300g butter
250g dark brown sugar
Zest and juice of 1 large Orange
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons treacle
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
5 medium eggs
250g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
50g ground almonds
30g flaked almonds

FOR THE FRUIT AND NUT TOPPING: (OPTIONAL)

3-4 tablespoons apricot jam
250g mixed fruit and nuts such as apricots, glace cherries, cranberries, crystallized ginger, Brazil nuts, pecans, pistachios

Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas Mark 2.

Place the dried fruits in a large saucepan with the Amaretto, butter, sugar, Orange zest and juice, lemon zest, treacle, cinnamon, mixed spice and nutmeg. Gently bring to a simmer, stirring, for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the mixture sit for at least 30 minutes. I’ve often done this in advance and left it overnight. When you’re ready to bake the cake, pour the soaked fruit mixture into a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, then stir in the flour, baking powder, ground almonds and flaked almonds. Stir until everything is well combined. Pour into the lined tin and bake for 2 1/2 – 3 hours or until the cake springs back when lightly pressed and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Leave to cool completely in the tin. When the cake is cold, poke a few holes in the cake, drizzle with a little Amaretto, then wrap in baking paper and store in an airtight container.

If you’re decorating the cake with the fruit and nut topping, warm the apricot jam in a small pan over a low heat. If there are any lumps of fruit, strain through a sieve.
Brush the top of the cake with some jam, then stick the fruit and nuts onto the cake. Carefully brush the fruit and nuts with the remaining jam to add a lovely shine.

Spooky spider cookies!

I came across some spider cookies on Pinterest using Reeces peanut butter cups a while ago and thought they were cute. This is my version using chocolate buttons – I hope you give them a try! I really enjoyed making these. I’m not a fan of spiders at all, but I love these!

Spooky Spider Cookies

200g soft butter

200g light brown sugar

125g caster sugar

2 large eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

400g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

200g dark or milk chocolate chips 

To decorate: 1 large bag chocolate buttons

Packet of candy eyeballs (I bought mine online via ebay)

100g melted chocolate for the spider legs

Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line 2 or 3 baking sheets.

Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, beating until the mixture is smooth. Add the vanilla.  Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda together over a medium bowl. slowly stir into the creamed mixture, until the mixture becomes a dough. Stir in the chocolate chips. Roll even sized amounts of cookie dough into balls and place them on your baking sheets, leaving about 3-4cm between each one to allow for spreading. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 5 mins, then remove the tray from the oven and bang the tray on a work surface to deflate the cookies. Return to the oven for another 5 mins or until light golden brown. 

While you’re waiting for the cookies, melt the 100g chocolate and place in a small piping bag fitted with a fine nozzle. 

Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 mins before transferring to a wire rack for 10-20 minutes. While the cookies are still very slightly warm, place a chocolate button in the middle of each cookie, place the candy eyeballs on using a tiny blob of melted chocolate and finally pipe on little spider legs. Leave the cookies for a little while to set the chocolate before serving to your trick or treaters, or guisers as we call them in Scotland!

Have a wonderful Halloween! I won’t be doing it this year because I’ll be in hospital having my little bundle of joy! I’m so excited to meet him after all this time! It’s felt like a very long pregnancy. Hopefully see you soon! xx