The Crazy Kitchen: 2011

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Thursday, 29 December 2011

My Mum's Chocolate Orange Trifle

If you're not already bloated with all the food and drink that you've over indulged in over Christmas then this one is set to finish you off once and for all. It does make a nice change from chocolate bars and Christmas cake though, and the addition of oranges helps towards your 5 a day!

I don't like traditional trifle, the sort made with jelly and tinned mixed fruit but this is a tasty, quick, cheap and cheerful alternative. It's the trifle that my Mum usually makes and has been doing so for as long as I can remember, and it always goes down well with all the chocolate loving family members. I intended to make it a few days ago but never got around to it & needed to make it now as the swiss roll was just about out of date.

You will need :

Chocolate swiss roll (works best with chocolate filling)
Can of mandarin segments
Chocolate blancmange (or pack of instant custard & 2 tbsp cocoa powder)
Double / whipping cream
Cadbury Flake (or whatever else you can find in the kids selection boxes)

  • Slice the swiss roll up and lay in the bottom of a trifle dish - fill the gaps with off cuts
  • Spoon the oranges over the swiss roll and 3-4 tbsp of the juice

  • Make up the blancmange as per the directions on the pack. If (like me) you are using custard then mix the powder with the cocoa powder & mix with the boiling water (as per directions on pack) - or to make it creamier use boiling milk. You can also melt dark chocolate into the custard instead of cocoa powder.
  • Pour the chocolate mix over the cake/oranges & allow to cool
  • Once cool cover with whipped cream & top with crushed flake.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Soft Cheese with Sweet Chilli / Stilton & Walnut

I love soft cheese such as Boursin but I also try and keep packs of plain soft cheese in the fridge for occasions where I feel like whipping up a cheesecake, or have with crushed raspberries & meringue. I also like to mix it with various flavours to make a soft flavoured cheese that is better than the bought ones (except the very expensive ones).

The flavours I made this time were:

Sweet Chilli

Tablespoon of sliced sweet pickled chillies, finely chopped
Pack of full fat soft cheese (Philadelphia or similar)

Mix the chillies into the cheese.
Line a ramekin dish with a large piece of clingfilm so that it hangs over the edges.
Fill the ramekin with the cheese mixture & wrap with the clingfilm from around the edge.
Refrigerate until firm.
When firm remove the clingfilm and roll in chopped herbs mixed with a few crushed chilli flakes


Stilton & Walnut

Big chunk of stilton, crumbled
Handful of walnuts, chopped

Pack of full fat soft cheese (Philadelphia or similar)

Mix the stilton and walnuts into the cheese
Line a ramekin dish with a large piece of clingfilm so that it hangs over the edges.
Fill the ramekin with the cheese mixture & wrap with the clingfilm from around the edge.
Refrigerate until firm.
When firm remove the clingfilm and roll in finely chopped walnuts


Great served with crackers - my new love is Ryvita Multigrain Thins

Friday, 16 December 2011

Quick Antipasti

I love a combination of olives and feta cheese, especially with pasta and salad....or with a platter of cheese, crackers and chutney. This weekend we are having friends over and will be sampling some of my home-made chutneys and I wanted to have a feta/olive/pepper combination to serve alongside so instead of buying a small pot for over £2 I decided to make my own and it worked out around £3 for the ingredients and made around 5 times as much as the small pot.

I have included links to the ingredients I bought from Asda, you can also add cherry tomatoes and other roasted vegetables and garlic. It's perfect to get out when unexpected guests come around at Christmas.

You will need:

Greek Cheese / Feta, cubed
Roasted Red Peppers, chopped
Dried Mixed Herbs
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

I mixed all the ingredients together in a bowl and then added them to a large Kilner jar and have placed them in the fridge until the weekend. I also added a few of my sweet pickled chillies.
The olive oil solidifies in the fridge but once it starts to come back up to room temperature it goes back to normal.




Christmas Gift Guide Part 7 - Home-made Christmas

I was aiming to have this post written long before now but the time has flown and Christmas is going to be upon us in just 10 days. There is still time left to make a few home-made gifts if you're stuck for inspiration or cash. I have brought together previous posts from my own blog & those of others with links to them all where you can find full instructions and recipes, along with links to other websites that may be of interest.

Teacup candles (or candle in a mug)
 Photobucket Photobucket
Christmas Tree Biscuits

Chocolate Truffles

Spiced Christmas Biscuits

Gingerbread Cupcakes

Cranberry Vodka


Asian Chilli Jam


Pickled Red Chillies

Butternut Squash & Orange Chutney


Caramelised Onion Jam

Royal Iced Biscuits

Stained Glass Window Cookies

Panettone with Chocolate, Clemetine & Walnut

Christmas Pudding (that doesn't take hours of steaming)

And when you've made all your Christmas goodies you will be needing something to put them in. You can buy baskets cheaply from bargain shops such as B&M Homestore, Home Bargains and Wilkinsons or home/craft stores such as Dunelm and Hobbycraft. If you want to try making a basket you can find instructions online or patterns in craft shops. A few years ago my Mum made this bread basket for me and filled it with goodies for Christmas. All you need then is some cellophane to wrap the basket in - you can get this from a friendly florist. I've also recently written a post to show how to wrap your basket in cellophane.



Fudges have a great selection of crackers both sweet & savoury, perfect for gift baskets to go with your cheese & home-made chutney. They are also running a competition at the moment to win a weekend break and series 2 of Downton Abbey on DVD!


With thanks to :
Chutney Chums The Boy and Me and Mummy Mishaps
Working London Mummy
Red Ted Art

If you want to get some more ideas for Christmas Gifts and Crafts take a look at some of my favourite craft & cooking blogs for inspiration :
Red Ted Art
Feeding Boys & a Firefighter
The PInk Whisk
Working London Mummy
Vanessa Kimbell - Prepped

Cooking With Your Toddler (and a few more) - Stained Glass Window Cookies

I posted a recipe a couple of weeks ago for Spiced Christmas Cookies that I had found on Fabulicious Food. When I agreed to go into Jack's Pre-school to make Christmas Biscuits with the children I decided to use this recipe again as it's so easy to make and rolls out really well with the minimum amount of flour - which would mean less mess, or so I thought!

I decided to make the dough beforehand in my Kitchen Aid as I didn't fancy mixing all that dough with a table full of impatient 2,3 & 4 year olds around. The little ones took turns in rolling out the dough and cutting their chosen shapes, we then used smaller cutters to cut a shaped hole in the middle of the cookie where we spooned in crushed sweets which melted in the oven and created a colourful stained glass window effect in the middle of the biscuit that the fairy lights can shine through.


It was a very enjoyable but hectic morning where, at one point, I had 8 pairs of eyes watching me and 8 little mouths asking for a go and 8 pairs of hands playing with whatever was to hand. Two of the children (with my Jack as the ringleader) decided that their part of the table needed extra flour and they enjoyed playing in their mountain of 'snow' until it was their turn to roll some dough.

We ended up with some great looking cookies which I tied a piece of ribbon through and wrapped them in cellophane bags - all ready to sell at the Christmas Fair and hang on some Christmas Trees.


Stained Glass Cookies

110g unsalted butter 
110g soft, dark brown sugar
6 heaped tablespoons runny honey
1 egg
450g plain flour 
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
100g icing sugar

boiled sweets, crushed - I used pear drops

  • Melt the butter, sugar and honey in a small pan until the butter has just melted
  • Sift all the dry ingredients into a large bowl, stir together
  • Add the egg and mix well
  • Add the melted butter/sugar to the dry ingredients and mix until a dough forms
  • If the mixture is too dry add water 1 tablespoon at a time until it comes together 
  • Roll out on a floured surface to the thickness of a pound coin
  • Use cutters to cut out the shapes and place on greased baking trays (I use silicone baking sheets)
  • Use a smaller cutter to cut a shaped hole in the centre of the cookie, fill with crushed sweets
  • Bake in 200 degree (C) oven for 7-8 minutes
  • Leave on the baking sheet for a few minutes until they harden up & then cool completely on a wire rack

Crushing the sweets

Not a tidy workspace!

Mess left by Jack!

The Crazy Kitchen

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Butternut Squash & Orange Chutney

Is it possible to be a chutney & jam making addict? If so then I am one. I just can't seem to stop myself, I keep coming across recipes that I want to try and my sideboard is slowly filling up with chutney and spicy jams. I'm beginning to smell like a pickled onion....I think I need help.

Before I do though I would like to share my latest chutney recipe. I came across it on the Tesco Real Food website and only made some minor amendments.

You will need :

875 - 1000g Butternut squash, peeled & chopped
2 cooking apples, peeled, cored & chopped
2 pears, cored & chopped
4 carrots, diced
2 onions, peeled & chopped
200g sultanas
5cm fresh ginger, peeled & grated
1 tsp chilli flakes
1/2 tsp mixed spice
700ml white wine vinegar
500g granulated sugar
2 oranges, peeled & chopped
juice & zest of another orange

  • Place all the ingredients, except the oranges and sugar, into a large saucepan and bring to the boil
  • Reduce heat & simmer for 30 minutes
  • Add chopped oranges and sugar
  • Stir over the heat until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Simmer for around 45 minutes, stirring in the orange juice and zest towards the end of cooking
  • Simmer until chutney is thick

You can definitely taste the orange in this with the addition of the extra juice & zest - it's a combination of a sweet marmalade and chutney and will be lovely with some Wensleydale & crackers.


My attempt at brown paper wrapping - if you want to see how it is properly done have a look at this post where Katie's presentation skills are a lot better than mine!

Pickled Red Chiilies

I love pickled chillies, I believe I was in fact addicted to them and would have them on almost every meal. I managed to wean myself off whilst I was pregnant with Jack as they led to horrendous heartburn and haven't eaten as many since. I used to make a jar of these every couple of weeks as they are so much better than the supermarket bought ones, and they are very easy and would make a quick and easy gift for a chilli lover.

You will need :

Fresh Red chillies - I used 4 packs in a 350ml jar
Granulated Sugar
Distilled vinegar - I use Sarsons Pickling vinegar


  • Slice the chillies, discarding the stalks - careful not to rub your eyes!
  • Fill the jar one third full with chillies and add a tablespoon of sugar, repeat until the jar is filled.
  • Bring the vinegar to the boil and pour over the chillies
  • Put the lid on and give it all a little shake to dissolve the sugar
  • Store in a cool place and they will be ready to eat within a few days


Caramelised Onion Jam

I recently posted a recipe for Asian Chilli Jam which tasted delicious and was very easy to make so it got me thinking about other flavours that I could make using the same recipe, just changing a few of the ingredients. I decided upon an onion jam as I've been wanting to make an onion chutney for a while since hearing about one of my 'Chutney Chums' (the Boy & Me / Mummy Mishaps) recipes here.

You will need :

500g red onions (100g chopped & 400g sliced)
tbsp olive oil
220g tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 red chilli, chopped
250g granulated sugar
100g Balsamic vinegar

  • Blend the chopped onion, tomatoes, chilli and garlic together
  • Fry the sliced onion lightly in the olive oil (don't brown it) for approx 10 minutes until soft
  • Add the sugar to the sliced onions and bring to the boil
  • Add the blended mix and balsamic to the sliced onions and sugar
  • Simmer for around 45 minutes until thick
  • Pour into sterilised jars



I will be doing a round up of all my homemade festive gifts this week so keep a look out for that.

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