Birthday cakes – 2012-2017

As I think ahead to the new year, one of the first things we need to organise is celebrating Andrew and Tom’s birthday (on the same day!) Each year, much of my thought and time goes towards baking and decorating the cake for Andrew. I shared some of my creations a few years ago on this blog, but I’ve just realised that with my lapse in blogging over the past few years, I haven’t documented half the cakes I’ve made. So here they are to date….

Andrew’s 1st birthday

Andrew’s 2nd birthday

Andrew’s 3rd birthday

Andrew’s 4th birthday

This was the first birthday cake that he asked me to make for him, whereas previously I’d done something I thought he’d like. He had enjoyed his Thunderbird 3 so much when he was 3!

Andrew’s 5th birthday

He requested a train that looks like the cross country ones he used to see at Birmingham New Street.

Andrew’s 6th birthday

He requested a Go Jetters cake as it was his favourite TV programme at the time. I’d always wanted to do a layered rainbow sponge and it went well with the GJ theme.

Joel’s 1st birthday

Joel’s 2nd birthday

Joel’s 3rd birthday

At the time he was fascinated by the building site down the road that we passed on our way to and from school with Andrew every day.

Joel’s 4th birthday

He was so sad to leave the beach on our last day of holiday in August, so we talked about how I could make a beach cake for his birthday in October to look forward to and remember our holiday.

Joel’s 5th  birthday

For his first birthday party with friends from school, he decided that he wanted a café theme, because playing cafés was his favourite role play game at the time.

I’m looking forward to making three or four cakes each year from now on!

Just a plain 2nd birthday cake

I know, it’s a bad pun, but it had to be said, particularly as Andrew has made that mistake between plain and plane in the past leading to some funny situations. When I was trying to decide what kind of cake to make Joel for his 2nd birthday, I had a few options: different kinds of transport – car, bus, train, plane – these are the things he loves to spot when we’re out and about. He’s been into planes since he learned to sign the word quite a while ago, and this is one of the only signs that he really took to, unlike Andrew who got more into signing at a similar age. And I’d already made a train cake (Thomas) for Andrew’s 2nd birthday, so I decided that a plane was a new challenge.

I looked on Pinterest for a few ideas, though the ones that came up were mainly round /square cakes with planes on top made out of icing. As my icing skills aren’t perfect, I prefer to make the cake shaped and then ice it rather than make things out of icing. The one actual plane cake that I found was made from bits cut out of a big rectangular tray-bake tin, which I don’t have, so I made it up myself as I went along, using my loaf tins and big round tins. The cake was a simple sponge – I used 10 eggs in the end, so 20 oz SR flour, 20 oz sugar, 20 oz margarine, but I didn’t use all of it in the end and froze some un-iced sponge.

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The body of the plane is two loaf-shaped cakes stacked one on top of the other, with jam in the middle, and then shaved at each end to create the shape of the nose and back of the plane. The main part of the tail is also cut out of another loaf cake, and I made sure I used the crustier bits to give it more strength to stand up on it’s end. The wings and tail fins were cut from a big round cake. The jets were pieces of sponge cut from a round cake using a biscuit cutter. All the extra bits were stuck onto the body using jam.

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Once the main shape was complete, I rolled out the coloured icing and covered the parts in different colours. It’s loosely based on Jimbo (of Jet Set fame), but I didn’t quite get the right colours from memory when I was shopping! The jets have liquorice detail on the sides (Andrew said my jets were ‘brilliant’!), and the windows are also liquorice all sorts, stuck on with red piped icing. The eyes are giant Milkybar buttons with black icing pupils and the mouth is also black icing.

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The final detail that I came up with was mini marshmallows for clouds. Most people understood this, though my father in law did ask if the plan had landed in snow!

The birthday boy was very pleased with his cake, as were the guests at his party, though he was a little unsure of what to do with the candles, even though he likes blowing on his food when it’s hot these days. Oh well, maybe by next year he’ll be able to blow them out on his own.

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Stone cakes

You may be thinking that these are somehow related to rock cakes. They’re not. The name came about when Granny made some cakes a while ago that she filled with jam and cream, and so when Andrew came to ask what they were called, she said “well, I guess we could call them scone cakes Andrew, because they’re a bit like scones with jam and cream”. Since then, Andrew has remembered, or so he thinks, the impromptu name of these cakes! We say ‘scone’ to rhyme with ‘stone’, and as the word with ’st’ is a frequent word in his vocab, that’s what’s stuck in his mind.

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When it was showering outside one afternoon this week, I asked Andrew if he wanted to do some baking whilst we waited for the shower to pass before going in the garden. His reply was a very enthusiastic YES! When I asked what he wanted to bake, his request was ‘stone cakes’. So that’s what we did. The recipe is very simple – a basic sponge, with some raisins (like a fruit scone), with a filling of jam and buttercream. Like so many bakes, I find simple turns out to be very tasty, and is perfect for getting little ones involved.

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Ingredients

  • 120g sugar
  • 120g butter (or margarine – I usually use marg but butter is what Granny has in for baking at their house where we’re living still)
  • 2 eggs
  • 120g self-rasiing flour
  • 60g raisins

Filling

  • Strawberry jam
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 50g butter

Method

  1. Prepare a muffin tin with cake cases (9-10), and preheat the oven to 180 C.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs and a little flour, to stop it curdling, and beat until well combined.
  4. Add the flour and raisins, and mix until the mixture is just combined and smooth.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the cake cases until 3/4 full.
  6. Bake for around 15-20 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean.
  7. Leave to cool completely.
  8. Meanwhile, cream the butter and icing sugar together to make the buttercream icing.
  9. When the cakes are cool, cut a small, round piece out of the tip of each one.
  10. Place a teaspoon of jam and 2 teaspoons of buttercream in each hole, then replace the piece of cake that you cut out, as a kind of ‘lid’ (that’s how I explained it to Andrew when he helped me make them!)
  11. That’s it, they’re finished! Eat and enjoy 🙂

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Creative Challenge
Mini Creations

Crispy cereal biscuits

When it was pouring with rain one afternoon last week, and we’d already been out in the morning, I decided that a spot of baking was the best choice of activity, and Andrew enthusiastically agreed – he always does when there’s food at the end of an activity! I flicked through a recipe book that I was given for Christmas for some on the spot inspiration. One that caught my eye was for biscuits with cornflakes in them – like a cross between chocolate cornflake cakes and oaty biscuits. Based on this idea I looked in the cupboards, and then adapted the recipe to include rice crispies and oatmeal, because that’s what we had in. I also reduced the relative quantity of sugar, as I often do when baking with the boys.

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Since living with Granny and Grandad, we’re also enjoying the use of Granny’s Kitchenaid, which Andrew loves to help me with. I find this particularly useful when working with real butter – I tend to use margarine myself because I never remember to get butter out enough in advance for it to get to room temperature and is therefore hard work to mix!

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I have to say, for a make it up as you go along recipe loosely based on inspiration from a book, these tasted amazing. Perfect texture for the kids to enjoy, nice and light, with a real crisp to them, whilst still being a biscuit rather than a cereal bar/cake.

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Here’s how we did it…

Ingredients

  • 100g butter
  • 150g sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 125g self raising flour
  • 50g oatmeal
  • 50g sesame seeds
  • 50g rice crispies

Method

  1. Prepare a couple of baking sheets by lining with greaseproof paper, and preheat the oven to 170ºC (fan).
  2. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the egg.
  4. Add the flour, oatmeal and sesame seeds, and mix until well combined.
  5. Add the rice crispies and gently fold in without over mixing.
  6. Dollop spoonfuls of the mixture onto the baking tray, with large enough gaps between them to allow for spreading during baking.
  7. Bake for around 15 minutes until lightly golden.
  8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the tray until the biscuits firm up.
  9. Eat and enjoy 🙂
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Tasty slow cooked kedgeree – #ShortcutEggsperts

One food stuff that you’ll always find in our fridge is eggs. Most of the time they get used for baking before I get round to using them for anything else, but they do come in handy for main meals too. Scrambled egg goes down well with the boys for lunch (or even breakfast when Granny cooks it at the weekend), and we have a few tea-time meals that rely on eggs: mini toad in the hole is one favourite, and kedgeree is another. That’s the recipe I’m sharing here as I join in with the #ShortcutEggsperts Linky Challenge.

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Kedgeree is a classic fish, rice and egg dish with a distinctive curry flavour that was originally eaten for breakfast in Victorian times. I can’t say that I would love it for breakfast, but it does make a tasty family tea in our house. There’s just something very satisfying about all those flavours combined. Another thing I love about this dish is the fact that almost all the ingredients are either store cupboard/fridge staples (rice, eggs, curry paste, onions) or you can chuck in whatever you have in (vegetables – we like some combo of peas, spinach or mushrooms). The fish is probably the exception; I tend to look out for it on the supermarket reduced shelf.

I’ve seen recipes for kedgeree that poach the fish (usually smoked, such as smoked haddock) in milk, but to be honest I like faff-free cooking, with minimal steps and number of dirty pots to wash at the end. So instead I choose smoked oily fish like mackerel, which comes ready to eat and so can be chucked in as it is to the one-pot dish. I’ve experimented with various versions of my take on kedgeree – I prefer the result when I use curry paste rather than curry powder, and slow cooked beats the hob version if I need to prepare it earlier in the day.

This has got to be one of my best yet. And the verdict from my testers? Daddy came back for seconds; Joel came back for seconds and polished of Andrew’s; Mr Fusspot (aka Andrew) had this to say….

“It’s an avocado egg!….It’s got a hole in it!”

I presume this was a reference to the boiled egg – the solid yolk had escaped from the white in the bits on his plate. And to be fair, he’s probably seen more avocados than boiled eggs recently, as we tend to scramble more often than not. He then proceeded to pick about his plate and find every distraction going to deter him from eating.

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Anyway, don’t let a 3 year old in a fussy phase put you off. On with the recipe…

Ingredients

  • 250g basmati rice
  • 1 onion
  • 150g button mushrooms
  • 150g smoked mackerel
  • 2 heaped tablespoons curry paste
  • 2 tsp tumeric
  • 750ml hot stock
  • 4 eggs
  • 150g frozen peas
  • 1 heaped tbsp soured cream

Method

  1. Chop the onion finely and quarter the mushrooms. (Optional: fry them in a small amount of olive oil for a few minutes to brown them – as I said above, I prefer minimal steps, and we’re happy with slightly crunchier onions and firmer mushrooms than if I fried them first.)
  2. Add the onion, mushrooms, rice, peas and turmeric to the slow cooker pot.
  3. Mix the curry paste with the stock, cover the contents of the pot, and stir.
  4. Cook on low for 2-3 hours (note: I cook rice dishes for 3 hours in my slow cooker, but we’re currently living with my parents and it only took 2 hours in theirs – lesson learned, there really can be quite a lot of variation in slow cooker efficiencies!)
  5. At any point during the cooking time, hard boil the eggs; then cool them, peel the shells off, and quarter each one.
  6. When the rice is al dente, flake the fish into the pot, and cook for a further half an hour.
  7. Just before you serve, add the soured cream and eggs, stirring gently (too vigorously will make the eggs disintegrate).
  8. Enjoy!
Or, if you don’t think enough in advance to slow cook, this can be done just as well on the hob in about 20 minutes – just fry the onion and mushrooms for a bit, chuck in the rice for a minute or two, then add the curry paste, stock and peas, bring to the boil and simmer until the rice is cooked, adding the fish and eggs near the end. Simple! I just like to prepare food ahead of the crazy half hour before we eat when the boys are testing, and slow cooking is a great way to avoid some of the chaos.

This post is an entry for the #ShortcutEggsperts Linky Challenge sponsored by British Lion Eggs. Learn more and find recipes at www.eggrecipes.co.uk.

 

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Peanut Australian-themed biscuits

For his birthday, Andrew was sent some cookie cutters all the way from Australia, from his Great Uncle and Great Aunt who live out there. The cutters are in the shape of Aussie animals (kangaroo, koala and crocodile) and one is in the shape of the country itself. As we hadn’t done any baking for a while, mainly due to the amount of birthday cake we had, I thought we’d have a go at some biscuits using these new cutters. Andrew loves rolling out dough and cutting out shapes, particularly if the dough is edible and not play-dough! Joel has even started to take an interest too, but he was asleep when we baked this time.

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I looked through a biscuits and cakes recipe book that I got for Christmas for some inspiration. When I saw the recipe for some peanut butter biscuits, I thought that these would work well with the Australian theme – they’re not exactly Anzac cookies, but they’re along those lines, and I remember eating a few peanut butter sandwiches when we went to Australia. I didn’t follow the recipe exactly, I never do! But they turned out yummy, and went down very well with the boys. So here’s our take on peanut biscuits…

Aussie biscuits Collage

Ingredients

  • 100g butter
  • 50g white sugar
  • 50g brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 80g peanut butter
  • 190g plain flour

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC, and prepare a baking tray by lining it with grease proof paper.
  2. Cream the butters and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the vanilla essence and flour to form a stiff dough.
  4. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface.
  5. Cut out biscuit shapes (they don’t have to be Aussie if you don’t have such cool cutters!), and transfer them to the baking tray until all the dough is used.
  6. Bake for about 15 minutes until lightly golden – they will still be slightly soft to touch.
  7. Leave them to cool and firm up on the tray.
  8. Store in an airtight container.

I actually think these are better a few days old, because I like my biscuits slightly chewier rather than snappy crispy, but they won’t last much longer around here!

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Birthday cakes – ‘3’s and a crowd

I still can’t quite believe that Andrew and Tom share a birthday. I know it’s a 1 in 365 possibility, but still, that seems quite small to me. This year is particularly cool because they are 3 and 30 on the same day. To celebrate, we had a family weekend with all four of the boys grandparents, two aunts and a cousin – so quite a crowd to eat the cakes that I baked. Since Andrew’s first birthday, I’ve instated the tradition of baking him, and then Joel too on his birthday, a celebration cake – do you remember the ‘o n e’ cakes, the Thomas the Tank Engine cake and the racing car cake? Most years I’ve baked Tom a cake for his birthday too, though usually just a plain cake with no fancy decoration or modelling involved.

This year I wanted to make a special cake for both birthday boys, and include a number 3 on both cakes. I should say now that this wouldn’t have been physically possible if we weren’t living at Granny and Grandad’s house and therefore have extra pairs of hands to entertain children, go shopping for ingredients and clear up afterwards.

Along the same train of thought that I had for Andrew’s ‘o n e’ cakes, I decided on a big 3-0 for Tom – after all, it is his big 3-0 birthday. And actually it’s quite easy to make a 3 and a 0 from round cakes baked in conventional tins. The 0 was just a round cake with a hole cut out of the centre, and the 3 was cut from two smaller round cakes – I drew a diagram on paper first of how the two almost semi-circle bits would fit together, so I could better visualise what I had in my head, and made myself a template to do the cutting.

30 cake

It had to be chocolate cake for Tom as this is one of his favourites. I chose a chocolate fudge cake recipe from the BBC website, which turned out to be very brownie-like in consistency. Chocolate tastes good (sorry, stating the obvious there!) but it’s a bit boring in colour, so I wanted to decorate the cake in bright colours. That’s where several packets of Smarties came into play. Granny managed to find some big boxes for only £1 each at a local newsagent, and I spent an evening sorting them into each colour (I was going to get Andrew involved in sorting out colours because he likes that kind of task, but then I wondered whether I’d end up with enough at the end?!…one for the plate, one for me, one for the plate, one for me…) It was surprising how many I needed to cover the cake in a rainbow design, because there were more of certain colours in each box, so I had to go and buy some more to have enough of each colour of the rainbow. Stuck on with some cholcoate buttercream, they gave the cakes an eye-catching finish. The final detail was a set of candles in rainbow colours that spelled out ‘HAPPY BIRTHDAY’.

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It was more difficult to decide what to make for Andrew – he has lots of ‘favourite’ characters and vehicles, and they seem to change from one week to the next, with a few being long term such as Brum. Since living with Granny and Grandad, Andrew has become rather obsessed with Thunderbirds (or Wonderbirds as he prefers to call it). Grandad is a massive fan, and is keen to encourage Andrew in his enthusiasm for the models and puppets. So when I was thinking out loud about Andrew’s birthday cake planning one evening when he was in bed, we all knew straight away when it was suggested that a Thunderbird cake – of course Thunderbird 3 – was perfect!

I studied Grandad’s DVDs and books that feature the rocket, and made sure that I had all the bits to model and decorate the feat of engineering that was to become the Thunderbird 3 cake. All of it was edible, except for some red straws and cocktail sticks for the three shafts that run down the side of the rocket to the engines at the bottom, and some wooden skewers that held the main structure upright inside and that slid out once we’d cut into the top. The cake was a simple 6,6,6,3 sponge – 6 ounces of self-raising flour, butter and sugar, plus 3 eggs – made in Granny’s new Kitchenaid mixer. I baked it in a deep square tin and it rose to about 3/4 full.

Once the sponge was fully cooled, I cut out cylinders using a long metal cutter (actually it’s the equipment they use in fancy restaurants and on Masterchef when shaping rice or mashed potato (for example) into neat piles on the plate). I then stacked these on top of each other, sticking them together with buttercream, and then sliding 3 wooden skewers down through the layers to hold it all together. I added the straws for stability, attaching them to the sponge at the sides using cocktail sticks, and anchoring them at the bottom into a big lump of white royal icing shaped into a small cylinder for the engines. To achieve the pointed top of the rocket, I crumbled some cake and mixed it with some buttercream, then shaped the mixture (just like you make cake pops) into the right conical form.

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Then came the trickiest part – covering with red royal icing. In hindsight I should have covered the main body of the rocket whilst it was lying down rather than already stood up and fixed into place, but hey, this is the first (and probably last) time that I’ve ever made a Thunderbird 3 cake. I covered it in sections after glazing the sponge with warmed apricot jam to make the icing stick.

The finishing touches made it all come together after the stress of getting it covered in red to my satisfaction. The black stripes on the long side shafts were a liquorice Catherine wheel unraveled and twisted around the straws. Other bits of black were the same liquorice, including the small number 3s on each of the three engines at the bottom. White features were added using white butter icing piped through a rectangular nozzle, or a writing nozzle for the ‘THUNDERBIRD’ down the centre. The silver fins all the way around the centre were white royal icing sprayed with silver shimmer spray for cakes – I cut these triangles out and sprayed them earlier in the week, then left them open to the air to dry out a bit so that they didn’t flop when stuck onto the side of the upright rocket.

Finally I added three white candles, and waited to see the face on one very excited little birthday boy – it was amazing! I enjoy making these kind of cakes, even though parts of the process can be challenging, because it’s all worth it when the boys show their appreciation. The rest of the crowd were pleased with the cakes too, and I was assured that they tasted just as good as they looked (no style over substance, to quote a Great British Bake Off phrase).

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I have no idea what will be on the cards for next year’s birthday cake, but he has a whole year to change his favourite characters, and Joel’s special day will come before then too. In the meanwhile, I’ll sit down with a cuppa tea and a slice of cake – we still have enough to feed another small crowd….any takers?

Mince pies with a twist

As it’s practically dark by the time the boys are awake from afternoon naps and we’ve got ready to go out, we can’t go to the park or even in the garden really, so baking and craft activities have been filling our late afternoons and early evenings recently. And as we’re in December, I thought it was time for some Christmas baking.

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I don’t eat loads of mince pies, but it’s always nice to have a few over the Christmas period, and as I’m trying to use up jars and tins in the cupboards, I thought it would be fun to add some stem ginger that I opened a while ago to the mince meat, to add extra favour and spice. I prefer to make mince pies with unsweetened pastry, because the mince meat itself is so sweet, and to add another flavour I decided to put some cinnamon in with the flour. Finally, I added a splash of Amaretto to the filling, again because the bottle I have could do with using up having sat there untouched for a while since we’ve had kids.

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Andrew enjoys rolling out pastry, so that was also a good reason to make pies, and he helped me cut out the rounds and put them in the muffin tins – we went for deep filled pies rather than the little ones you can make in fairy cake tins.

If you’d like to give these a go, here’s the recipe….

Ingredients – makes 10 deep fill pies

Filling

  • 400g jar of mincemeat
  • about 4 chunks of stem ginger, cut into small cubes
  • optional: splash of Amaretto (or any other alcohol that you like)
Pastry
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 225g plain flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • cold water

Method

  1. Lightly grease the holes in a muffin tin, and preheat the oven to 180ºC (fan).
  2. Put the flour and cinnamon in a bowl and mix until evenly distributed.
  3. Chop the butter into smallish chunks (make sure it’s as cold as possible) and toss into the flour.
  4. Use your hands to work the butter into the flour until it resembles bread crumbs.
  5. Add a small amount of water at a time and mix until it starts to form a stiff dough, then leave to one side whilst you mix the filling.
  6. Mix the ingredients for the filling together in another bowl.
  7. Take the pastry and roll out on a floured surface.
  8. Cut 10 larger circles and 10 smaller circles to fit the size of the muffin tin holes.
  9. Place the larger circles in the holes, fill with the filling, then places the lids on top, sealing with a bit of cold water run around the rim and the pastry pieces pressed together.
  10. Bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, until the pastry is lightly golden.
  11. Leave to cool in the tins, before turning out with the help of a sharp knife to loosen them from the tin.
  12. Eat as fresh as possible, and they can also be frozen.

Cupcake of the month (November): lemon

When I was packing up the recipe books the other day, I came across my cupcake calendar that has a recipe on for each month of this year. I said back at the start of the year that I would make a type of cupcake based on the cupcake of the month in this calendar each month, and I did until August. Then somehow I just forgot! I think the calendar got buried in all the books on the shelf and I’ve had lots of other crafty things to do, including doing more sewing projects (mainly nappy related).

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So I thought I could just about squeeze November’s recipe in before advent begins. Tom was pleased because the recipe was for lemon cupcakes, and lemon is his favourite cake. The cake sponge is quite unusual in flavour and texture because it is made with soft cheese as well as margarine, and it does have an almost cheesecake-like flavour to it, though the texture is still more like sponge than cheesecake. I found that the amount of lemon suggested in the recipe wasn’t much, so I added quite a bit more than it said and we didn’t think it was overpowering.

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I hope to be back for one last cupcake of the month recipe in December, depending on how packing goes and if I get time and space to think about it!

Ingredients (makes 6)

Sponge

  • 90g margarine
  • 90g soft cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 90g self raising flour
  • 75g sugar
  • grated rind of half a lemon

Icing

  • 10g margarine
  • 50g soft cheese
  • 120g icing sugar
  • grated rind of half a lemon

Method

  1. Prepare a muffin tin with some cupcake cases and preheat the oven to 170 C (fan).
  2. Cream the margarine, soft cheese and sugar in a large bowl until soft and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs and a handful of flour to stop it curdling, and beat until well mixed.
  4. Add the flour and lemon rind and mix until just combined.
  5. Place the mixture into the prepared cupcake cases, and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until golden on top and a skewer comes out clean when inserted.
  6. When they are in the oven, make the icing, by mixing together the ingredients in a bowl until smooth.
  7. Allow the cakes to cool completely before placing a teaspoon of icing on the top of each cake and letting it run across the top.
  8. Eat as fresh as possible (I stored them in the fridge).

Creamy cheesy celeriac with salmon – #slowcooked

Firstly let me apologise for there being no pictures in this post – not great for a foodie post, but it was so yummy that I totally forgot to take pics before we devoured it 😉

It’s been a while since I wrote up a slow cooker recipe. It’s not that I haven’t been slow cooking, but more that I haven’t found the time to write about it as well as all the other things I’m doing, and recently I have been sticking with recipes I’ve done before rather than experimenting with new things. But this week we had a celeriac in the veg box, and I haven’t had one for quite a while, so this got me thinking about how I could slow cook it.

I remember I enjoyed a dish once (I can’t actually remember where or when!) that was a bit like a celeriac dauphinoise, with a creamy cheesy sauce around slices of the root vegetable. So this hazy memory formed the basis of my slow cooker creation. I made a simple creamy sauce out of milk, soft cheese and a small amount of flour. The celeriac formed the main bulk of the solid part of the dish, though I added a bunch of purple kale that was in the box, as well as a tin of pink salmon for more protein beyond the dairy ingredients.

It turned out very well, and generally the boys were impressed, although Andrew wasn’t too keen on the taste of the celeriac – I think it’s quite an acquired taste and I’m not sure when he last had it. We served it with rice because the boys had eaten quite a lot of pasta in the days before we ate this, but pasta would work well with it too I think.

Here’s the recipe, which is very simple but give very yummy results!

Ingredients

  • 1 pint milk
  • 200g tub soft cheese with herbs/onion/garlic
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 celeriac
  • 1 tin salmon
  • 1 bunch purple kale
  • rice or pasta to serve

Method

  1. Cut the stalks of the kale off and chop the leaves into smaller pieces.
  2. Peel the celeriac and cut into slices about 1cm thick, and then each big slice into smaller pieces.
  3. Place the slices in layers in the slow cooker pot, sandwiching some purple kale between each layer of celeriac.
  4. Mix the milk, soft cheese and flour in a jug, then pour the mixture into the pot – it should just come up to the top layer.
  5. Cook on high for 5 hours.
  6. About an hour before the end of the cooking time, drain the tin of salmon and flake the fish, then add it on top of the celeriac in the pot.
  7. About 10 minutes before the end of the cooking time, cook some rice or pasta to serve it with.