Sunday 28 October 2012

Halloween Cake Pops


I was recently sent the Bakerella Cake Pops book for my birthday and couldn’t wait to get started on these little gems! If you’ve never heard of them before, don’t worry. I only recently found out about them and have been itching to try them since but needed the motivation to actually get going!

I’m not going to bother writing how to make them here, or the ingredients you need, as Holly (of GBBO fame) has done a much better job of this on her fab blog here. But everything is available now in the UK: things such as the candy melts are readily bought in hobbycraft, the tubs of frosting in Asda, etc. so sourcing of ‘the right stuff’ has become much easier since this idea caught on.

I began by making the cake mixture itself and leaving to set. I chose round pumpkins and frilly ghosts.


Next I melted the candy and inserted the pop-sticks and left again to cool. I had big issues with the melts being far too thick, but since I began with the ghosts, this didn’t really matter as they could easily become wrinkly ghosts. The next day when I used the orange ones for the pumpkins, I put it in for much less time and stirred to help the remnants dissolve. This gave a far runnier liquid and smoother finish to the pumpkins though I still found it incredibly difficult to achieve a smoothness all over, without any of the thicker drips. Having researched this, many people seem to use Trex to thin the melts, or you could just as easily use a little vegetable oil to do the trick. I think the key to it is probably practise and slightly smaller pops.


I had also bought an edible pen with which to draw on the faces, but this proved disastrous as the pen just would not work on the dried melts. I think it’s more meant to be used on rice paper and actual icing, rather than a chocolate-type substitute. I ended up using a tube of writing icing, but couldn’t be as precise as I’d have liked with this. Next time, I’ll just stick to decoration with ready made bits and pieces, in fact, I’ve already bought some Christmassy ones and decided to coat them with chocolate rather than candy melts.  


Saturday 27 October 2012

Meatzza alla Nigella

SDC15031We sit in front of Nigella every week, even the OH asks for it to be put on record so he doesn’t miss out. There have been several recipes I’d like to try out this series, but the Meatzza seemed so easy, and an innovative way to use mince. I thought I’d give it a go first. 


It was very easy to prepare and cook. Looked good too. And it tasted…like mince pie, as it should. I did feel that the mince base lacked flavour. Maybe browning it off first, before adding to the meatzza would help?


I also used my Mermaid Cookware Tarte Tatin Tin too, which was perfect for the job in hand.

Disclaimer: Although I was sent products to try for the purpose of this post, all views and opinions are entirely my own, truthful and honest.

Thursday 25 October 2012

Fish Fingers–for baby and you

SDC15008This is another simple but healthy recipe that is easily adapted for both young children and adults alike. I prefer a crispy coating on my fish fingers but didn’t really want to have to deep fry them using a batter, so opted instead for a simple breadcrumb that can be shallow fried or oven baked. If you wanted, you could dispense with the coating altogether, like the recipe from the Little Dish Favourites Cookbook, which uses lemon sole dipped in milk then flour. Mine is a more traditional version…


pepper-seasoned plain flour

beaten egg

breadcrumbs with chopped fresh parsley

partially frozen white fish fillets


I use fillets of white fish that are only partially defrosted from the freezer as this makes them so much easier to dip!

Prepare your ‘dipping plates’ first…use a plate for each of the flour, egg and breadcrumbs.


Cut the fish into finger-sized pieces.

Coat each, first in the flour, then the egg, then breadcrumbs.


Now you can choose to either place on a baking tray and oven cook until golden brown, or heat a little butter / oil in a pan and shallow fry until crispy on the outside and translucent on the inside.

Serve with home-made wedges and garlicky green beans.


Add some spicy paprika to the wedges for grown-ups. Perfect finger food for baby and a treat for you!


Disclaimer: Although I was sent the recipe book for the purpose of this post, all views and opinions are entirely my own, truthful and honest.

Tuesday 23 October 2012

Review: Tarte Tatin Tin from Mermaid Cookware


Tarte Tatin is one of my favourites for pudding, but I always forget how easy it is if you have all the right ingredients in the cupboard. I use @jamieoliver ‘s recipe, (you can find it here), using a vanilla pod and seeds with a splash of calvados and lot of butter, as it’s failsafe, but I find that often, the problem comes in finding a frying pan that can also be used in the oven.


Then I was sent a new Tarte Tatin Tin from Mermaid Cookware to review. I was pleased to read that it can be used on the hob as well as in the oven, thus solving my problem of a tin / pan that can be used to complete both stages of the recipe. My only issue being how to handle it from one to the other! Another plus point is that metal utensils can also be used throughout the whole range of bakeware, and, since I’m not overly careful with my tins and suchlike for the oven, this is always good news. The tin is made from hard anodised aluminium and, according to the manufacturer, “ will benefit from seasoning.” Simply pour a layer of oil into the tin, put into a hot oven for 10-15 minutes, then allow to cool before discarding the oil, wiping the cookware, and drying.


So how did I find using it? Easy, although it was a little on the small side. I’m used to using 3 or 4 whole apples in the recipe, depending on their size, however, once I began to core and halve the apples horizontally, I worked out I couldn’t fit the ‘whole halves’ around the edge, so had to halve them again, thus creating quarters. In the end, I used 1.75 apples.

I placed the tin on my halogen hob and added calvados, sugar and vanilla pods and turned it to a medium heat.

Once bubbly and brown I added the apples and cooked til beginning to soften.

Then a few cubes of butter and finally, the puff pastry on top.


The pan didn’t slide or wobble at all and, remembering that hot caramel is, indeed, hot, and that the metal pan would also be very hot, I used a silicon glove-type grabber to hold the pan and transfer it to the oven.


Once the cooking had finished, I simply removed the tin and upturned it onto a plate. It was much easier doing this than trying to upturn a frying pan! Despite all the sticky caramel, the tarte came out easily in one piece and only a little of the pastry stuck. The tin was easily washed in warm water.


I was very pleased with the results of the tin, and the fact I could use metal tongues without worrying about scratching any coating. However, If you were to use this for a dinner party, you’d definitely need a bigger one. My husband will be pleased our tin is only small as he’s on a bit of a health kick at the moment and I’m banned from making anything tasty…sorry, unhealthy!



p.s. Can you tell I’ve got a new camera?!

Disclaimer: Although I was sent products to try for the purpose of this post, all views and opinions are entirely my own, truthful and honest.

Thursday 4 October 2012

Cajun Chicken with Ginger Honey

A very good friend of mine served this when we went for dinner, many years ago, but it’s so delicious, I’ve never forgotten it! You can choose to make your own Cajun seasoning or simply buy a ready made dry spice mix, which is what I do as it’s so much easier. It was also another opportunity to use some of the new range of Manuka Honey from the New Zealand Honey Co. I wanted to add the ginger honey, instead of the usual plain old runny honey as it contains little nuggets of ginger which I thought would be a nice addition to the Cajun seasoning.


It’s simply a case of sprinkling the seasoning over chicken breasts, according to taste, then spooning some honey over the top and roasting until the chicken is cooked. Easy-peasy and perfect for a ‘school night’, when you really’ can’t be bothered to do anything more complex. I serve it with brown rice and spinach as these become much tastier when they’ve soaked up some of the spicy sweet sauce. This was also a test for my Great British Bakewear Roaster, what with sticky and burnt on honey. After a very short soak in hot water and washing up liquid, however, it came out perfectly clean…again!  This is quickly become a firm favourite.


Disclaimer: Although I was sent products to try for the purpose of this post, all views and opinions are entirely my own, truthful and honest

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