Showing posts from 2014

Isle of Man cupcakes

As I write this post, now 3 months after making these cupcakes (so god knows how long it will be by the time I come to press 'publish'), I'm still not sure I'm 'ready'. Since making them, I have been haunted by the Isle of Man triskelion, so much so that if I never, ever see one of them again in my whole life, it will be too soon! Having never really seen them out and about before, I've since seen it on a narrow boat near my house, an Okell's beer delivery van (TWICE), a bumper sticker... maybe I am actually hallucinating it, it wouldn't surprise me!

So to explain... my Dad is into his amateur dramatics and one of his groups had written their own play, set on the Isle of Man and due to be performed in August. So in April the group held a Manx themed evening to raise awareness of the performance and a bit of money for charity. It was held in an art gallery in Chester and featured poetry readings, traditional Manx music, memorabilia displays and foo…

Homemade treats gift box

This was what I made my Mum for Mother's Day this year (yeah, yeah, it was ages ago!). March and April are always busy times in our family in terms of sweet treats - we've got Easter to contend with, but also Mother's Day, my Mum's birthday and my birthday in quick succession, so it can feel like a bit of a chocolate and cake eating marathon at times (and what's wrong with that you may well ask!).

So this year I thought I'd skip the cake for Mother's Day - sweet treats were still the order of the day (of course!) butI wanted to make some things that could be picked at and might keep a bit longer. Plus I had this set of three boxes that I thought would be perfect to put them in, which were part of a gift set I'd had myself a few years back.

The boxes dictated the size of the things I had to make, so I spent a few weeks mulling over some of my Mum's favourite flavours and things and decided upon:

Jammy Dodgers

I think these are my Mum's ultimate …


Kulfi is a traditional Indian dessert that is similar to ice cream. I'd never heard of it before, but came across the recipe when I had a gift subscription to The Spicery. This gets you a 'spicebox' every month, where you receive a variety of packets of spices along with the suggested recipes to use them with. I thought this was a great idea as nothing puts me off trying new recipes like having to shell out on expensive jars of spice only to use a pinch, or even worse, not being able to get my hands on them at all. Plus it's a great way of trying out lots of new weird and wonderful spices you've never heard of! (Not a sales pitch by the way, the subscription was bought for me as a gift. I would have continued it, but just can't justify it with house buying and wedding saving!)

I thought the Kulfi looked great on the recipe card - so pretty and pink, and seemed quite simple to make to boot. Here's the recipe - unfortunately not the most helpful, as the spic…

Scrumpy and cinnamon cake / Hunky chunky bread (or what happens when I can't sleep)

I'd had too much wine one Saturday night and these days that means I fall asleep almost instantly and have a wonderful deep sleep (or perhaps coma) for about 5 hours and then I'm wide awake. Actually, I think what woke me in this case was maybe more to do with spontaneously remembering I'd forgotten to get kidney beans in Morrison's, since I woke up in something of a panic - but blame that or the wine, either way I couldn't get back to sleep and I boshed out these two recipes before Mike had even woken up!

Through the kidney bean induced panic I somehow remembered I'd got all the ingredients for a scrumpy and cinnamon cake, and that was all I needed to get me out of bed. This cake smelt absolutely amazing as it baked and the house smelt a bit like Christmas - the sweet smell of cider mingled with a hint of spice. Sadly, it wasn't a great recipe - the texture was a bit 'off' and the taste just didn't stand up to the mouth watering smell. In fact,…

Malteser Fudge

When I said I was going to make fudge, most people reacted in the same way. Pursed lips, a sharp intake of breath, slight shake of the head and the words, 'ooh, it's a tricky thing is fudge.' Well. Yes it is, and it's not often that I find the confidence to say it but here we go.... I. Nailed. It.

To be honest, I think the secret with fudge is a good sugar thermometer. I know you're meant to be able to test the 'soft ball' stage by dropping some mixture into a glass of water or something else that sounds ridiculously fiddly, or by timing it properly and watching the bubbles, but screw that - get a thermometer! I've had one in the cupboard for about 3 years after declaring I was going to start making jam and then never bothering, but I've finally broken it out of the plastic case and now there's no stopping me.

This was a test batch of fudge because I wanted to make some as part of my Mother's Day gift. I took the fudge into work as to be ho…

Hummingbird Layer Cakes

Just thought I may aswell do a little roundup of the Hummingbird layer cakes that have been churned out of my kitchen, production line style, during February and March. I had retired them for a bit as I was all layer caked out, but now writing this I might have to get back on the layer cake horse!

Chocolate Malt Cake 

This was my first gift cake of the new house! It was my best friend's birthday in February so a very important first gift cake indeed.

Cakes for Del have tended to alternate between coffee and peanut butter and so I fancied trying something a bit different this year, so what better place to go than a Hummingbird layer cake? Also I realised I'd never actually tried one of their layer cakes - which was ridiculous as I'd spent so much time greedily thumbing through all of the books, so I was looking forward to trying one.

After much perusing I settled on the Chocolate Malt cake - it looked somehow appealing and all internet research indicated that it was tooth fa…

Margarita Drizzle Cake

The theme for the February Runcorn and Widnes Clandestine Cake Club was 'Bake your favourite drink' and almost without thinking I booked my place and declared that I was going to make a Margarita cake, since that it is indeed my current favourite drink.

I made a Margarita cake last year which was my own creation, so I rather lazily assumed at first that I'd do the same thing this time, but when I re-read my post I realised that I had said I wanted to make it again but in a more dramatic fashion next time, since that seemed fitting for such a glorious cocktail and I was inclined to agree with myself. A one layer sponge cake simply would not do!

There is a disappointing shortage of tequila fuelled cakes online, but luckily Lily Vanilli was on hand to help me out, as her book Sweet Tooth contains a recipe for a Margarita Drizzle cake. I faffed about for days trying to decide what to do - I was initially a bit put off by it because it just looked like, well... too much cake. …

Vanilla chai tea latte cake

So on 3rd January this year I officially became a homeowner! We moved in 'properly' on 20th January yet are still surrounded by boxes, but I'm told that will last a long while yet. The most exciting part of this is having a kitchen that is properly my very own - the thought of being able to stick a nail in the wall wherever I wanted was so overwhelmingly exciting (and a little bit scary) that I couldn't bring myself to do it* for almost three months, but now I have a wall mounted spice rack and a nice patisserie sign up, there's no stopping me! (*I didn't do it. Mike did.)

When we moved into our first house, I did a nice little post where I mentioned the first breakfast we had and the first meal I cooked but I'm sad to say I haven't done that here... I know the first meal we ate here was a Chinese takeaway and ONE of the first meals I cooked was a bit pot of chilli but I really can't remember, and I certainly don't have any photographs...…