The Crazy Kitchen: 2012

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Thursday, 20 December 2012

Simple Home-made place card holders & sweetie trees

We've got 11 for Christmas dinner this year so instead of paying out for 11 place card holders that I probably wouldn't use again for a long time, I decided to make some. They're very simple and all you need is some binder clips and spray paint.


I used silver spray paint to match our Christmas table and sprayed the black part of the clip whilst holding onto the other end, and then hanging them on a skewer held between 2 surfaces whilst they dried.


You can then use the clips to hold a name card, or an envelope containing a scratch card as I've done here.


If my colour scheme changes the next time I have 11 for dinner I can just re-spray them...simple.

I have also been inspired by a friend who has been making sweetie trees on the lead up to Christmas and selling them at her local school Christmas Fair. Whilst I was in Hobbycraft a couple of weeks ago I had a look to see what I could use to make one or two for our Christmas dinner table. I picked up some floral oasis balls, a block of oasis, some cinnamon sticks and small buckets.

I covered the oasis ball with foil, stuck one end of the cinnamon stick into it and the other end into a piece of the oasis in the bucket. I inserted one end of a cocktail stick into a sweet (Quality Street) and the other end into the ball, and repeated this until the ball was completely covered. I covered over the oasis in the bucket with a piece of coloured card cut to size, which also helped steady the ball as it was quite top heavy once covered in sweets.


I'll be placing two of these on the dinner table for guests to graze on.

Gingerbread House Christmas 2012

I finally got around to making my gingerbread house today after a false start last night. The odds were stacked against me when I looked in the golden syrup tin to find only a small amount at the bottom, and the plain flour jar didn't look much healthier. Thankfully a friend came to my rescue bringing me a bag of flour in my hour of need and I could finish making my gingerbread. After we chatted for a while over wine I suddenly lost the will to bake the house though and put the dough in the fridge until the next day.

The following day the dough resembled a large lump of toffee but after a quick burst in the microwave and much kneading it returned to it's soft state.

I used the Tesco recipe and template that I've previously used, and remembered to add boiled sweets to the windows to give the stained glass effect (thankfully there was a few leftover lollipops from trick or treat).


I again used chocolate cake covering to 'glue' the walls & roof together, which I find to be really easy as it hardens in seconds (as well as tasting better than royal icing).

This time I went for the theory that 'less is more'....translated as 'I never got round to buying sweets' and 'I couldn't be bothered', but the kids were pleased with my efforts nonetheless 

If you've made a gingerbread house this Christmas please come and link it up below. If you're thinking about making one then it really isn't that difficult, honest, you just need to spare a few hours to make it without attempting to rush it, or it will just end in tears.


I am also linking this up to Nazima & Laura's One Ingredient challenge


and also Angie's linky & competition

Christmas with Boursin

In my opinion, above all else, Christmas is about the cheese. It's the one time of the year that we buy enough to feed an army, in all different varieties, including the creamy and delicious garlic & herb Boursin.

Boursin is a soft and creamy combination of cream and soft cheese, and the original garlic and herb flavour has been around since 1963.

They have recently introduced a new Fig & Nut flavour, combining bitter and sweet, soft & hard. It's a deliciously sweet cheese, which I've found to be perfect with spiced gingerbread biscuits.


If you're looking for an easy recipe for over the Christmas period here's a nice one using new Boursin Fig & Nut, a great way to use up any leftover pigs in blankets.



 Boursin fig & nut is available online at Ocado or in most Asda stores.

I was sent some samples for the purpose of this review

Monday, 17 December 2012

Home-made Christmas Wreath

After being inspired by Mum in the Madhouse to try drying my own orange slices I thought I would have a go at making a Christmas wreath like hers too. It wasn't until I'd hacked a few branches off the Blue Spruce in the back garden and checked the post for instructions how to make the branches into a wreath that I realised Jen had used a pre-made wreath, whoops. 

Determined that somehow I was going to make the wreath I turned to Google, and the legendary Martha Stewart for help. Unfortunately the advice there was to buy a frame to attach the foliage. I then remembered that there was a hideous wire coat hanger in our bedroom that the husband had acquired when he recently had his suit dry cleaned. I'd kept the coat hanger even though I can't stand the things as you just never know when something like this will come in handy. I shaped it into a circular shape and located some wire and pliers, along with cinnamon sticks and ribbon.


I bent strips of wire into hairpin shapes and used them to attach the foliage to the coat hanger by twisting the ends together tightly, and then did the same with the dried orange slices and cinnamon sticks. I used needle & thread to attach the ribbon bows.


As the coat hanger already had a ready made hook I used that to hook over a wreath hanger.

I was really pleased with the result and hope that it survives the next couple of weeks with the wind and rain battering it against the front door.


Monday, 10 December 2012

Quick & Easy Home-made Ice Cream

I've mentioned recently about a very easy ice cream that I made just using condensed milk and double cream, and then adding other ingredients. The one I made previously contained chocolate mincemeat and is a great flavour for Christmas to go with mince pies and Christmas pudding.

With a few guests to cater for on Christmas day I thought I would offer a couple of varieties of ice cream to accompany the desserts, and I got a bit carried away and made 3 more. These weren't as soft as the mincemeat ice cream, possibly due to the mincemeat ice cream having alcohol added to it.

Caramel Ice Cream

300g Condensed milk Caramel
300ml Double Cream
approx 10 individual Cadbury's Caramel chocolates

  • Whisk 200g of the caramel with the double cream until it forms soft peaks
  • Chop the caramels - I cut each into 3 pieces - and stir them into the mixture
  • Spoon into a 1 litre lidded tub and stir through the remaining caramel - don't over stir as you want the sauce to stay separate.
  • Freeze until set.

After Eight Mint Chocolate Ice Cream

200g Condensed Milk
300ml Double Cream
Few drops of green food colouring (optional)
300g box of After Eight mints

  • Whisk the condensed milk with the cream and food colouring until it forms soft peaks
  • Chop the After Eight's roughly and stir into the mixture - reserve a few for the top
  • Spoon into a 1 litre lidded tub and freeze until set

Chocolate Oreo Ice Cream

200g Condensed Milk
300ml Double Cream
3 tbsp Cocoa Powder
150g Mini Oreo's

  • Whisk the condensed milk with the cream and cocoa powder until it forms soft peaks
  • Add the mini Oreo's - reserving a few for the top
  • Spoon into a 1 litre lidded tub and freeze until set

Friday, 7 December 2012

Chilli Cheese Scones with Garlic & Basil Butter

I'm a big fan of anything that makes my life in the kitchen easier, be it gadgets or ready chopped and frozen vegetables. I'm always adding herbs to cooking but I often buy cut fresh ones and then freeze them as I'm not great at growing and looking after them myself. Recently I've discovered Gourmet Garden herbs and spices which are in a squeezable tube and can be kept in the fridge and used in recipes where needed.

They come in a wide range including some of the everyday favourites such as garlic and basil, as well as the new blends that include Thai, Moroccan, Mediterranean and Indian.

I chose to use Chilli, Garlic and Basil to spice up my scone recipe.


Chilli Cheese Scones with Garlic & Basil Butter

350g SR Flour
1 tsp baking powder
85g Butter
100g Mature Cheddar Cheese, grated
1 tbsp Gourmet Garden Chilli paste
175ml Milk

100g Butter, softened
1 tsp Gourmet Garden Garlic paste
1 tsp Gourmet Garden Basil paste

To make the scones
  • Rub the butter into the flour & baking powder until it resembles breadcrumbs
  • Stir in the grated cheese & chilli paste & mix well, making sure there are no lumps of chilli paste
  • Add the milk, a little at a time, mixing well until it starts to come together - don't add all the milk if it becomes too sticky
  • Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to approx 1-1.5cm thick
  • Cut circles out with cutters and place spaced apart onto a lightly greased baking sheet
  • Brush with milk
  • Bake in a 200 C oven for approx 7-10 minutes until golden brown
To make the butter
  • Beat the garlic & basil into the softened butter

Serve the scones warm with a generous spreading of garlic & basil butter

This is my entry into the Gourmet Garden Blog/Cook Off

I was sent a selection of herbs & spices to use in my recipe

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Parsnip & Apricot Roast

A few days ago I posted a recipe for Cranberry & Chestnut roast which I absolutely love. I wanted to try making it with other ingredients and so, basing it on the same recipe as before, I switched a few of the ingredients to see how it would taste, and the result was even better than the original!


Parsnip & Apricot Roast

50g Butter
2 small onions, chopped
200g Cooked parsnips (soft but still with a bit of a bite), chopped into bitesize pieces
75g Brazil nuts, chopped
75g Almonds, choppd
75g Dried Apricots, chopped
85g Wensleydale (it was supposed to be 125g but someone *glares in the direction of the husband* ate some! so I added more cheddar)
140g Mature Cheddar cheese
2 tsp dried rosemary
pinch of nutmeg
  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan
  • Add the onion & fry for 4-5 minutes to soften
  • Stir in the rest of the ingredients and combine, adding 1 tbps water if it looks too dry
  • Spoon into a greased loaf tin and press down - it may look like it's not all going to go in but if you press down it will
  • Cook in a preheated 180 C oven for 20-25 minutes


Monday, 3 December 2012

Cranberry and Chestnut Roast

Whilst I like turkey, I'm not keen on hot turkey and gravy and all the trimmings, I much prefer to eat my turkey cold in a sandwich or salad. Ever since my brother went out with a girl who was a vegetarian back in the late 80's I've really enjoyed a nut roast with my Christmas dinner when I can. 

A couple of years ago (maybe more) I saw a recipe for Cranberry & Chestnut roast on ITV's This Morning programme, made by Lisa Faulkener. It looked really nice so I gave it a go, and it was gorgeous. Nut roasts I've had previously can sometimes be a bit too 'nutty' but this is nutty, fruity, crispy and cheesy all in one bite. It can be eaten as a vegetarian main course or a side to accompany the turkey, instead of a traditional stuffing. I've adapted it slightly here but unfortunately the original recipe is no longer available on the ITV website. You can use any combination of your favourite nuts and could also substitute the cranberries for other dried fruits, I'm going to try apricots next.


Cranberry and Chestnut Roast

25g Butter
2 medium onions, chopped
150g cooked Chestnuts, chopped
75g chopped cashew nuts
75g chopped brazil nuts
75g fresh breadcrumbs
40g dried cranberries
125g Wensleydale cheese, grated
125g Mature cheddar cheese, grated
2 tsp dried Rosemary
  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan
  • Add the onion & fry for 4-5 minutes to soften
  • Stir in the rest of the ingredients and combine, adding 1 tbps water if it looks too dry
  • Spoon into a greased loaf tin and press down - it may look like it's not all going to go in but if you press down it will
  • Cook in a preheated 180 C oven for 20-25 minutes


Thursday, 29 November 2012

Home-made Advent Stockings

At the beginning of the month I saw a post by Mummy Mummy Mum for an advent calendar, which made me think that Christmas was approaching, and fast. I got thinking straight away about how I could join in with the linky and make an advent calendar of our own. A few years ago I bought a stocking advent calendar from M&S and each year since I've squeezed 2 Cadbury Heroes or Celebrations in each stocking. There was no way of fitting 3 in so Jack has his chocolates in an advent train a couple of years ago and last year I forgot to buy the chocolates and bought last minute chocolate filled calendars from the local shop on 1st December. This year Jack is old enough to want the same as his brother and sister so I decided to make advent stockings large enough for 3 chocolates in each. Typically I threw all of Jack's baby socks out only a few months ago so I needed to buy new ones, which I found in Asda for £2 for 3 pairs of white socks which I dyed red.


You will need:

24 white cotton baby socks
red dye (+ salt for the dyeing)
fabric glue
felt numbers (Ebay)
buttons to decorate
24 mini pegs (I already had these)
length of twine

  • Dye the socks as per directions on the pack - 1 pack was enough for 24 baby socks
  • Wash & dry the socks
  • Stick the numbers onto the socks with the fabric glue
  • Decorate with the buttons - sew or glue them on
  • Thread the pegs onto the twine and hang in position, securing at each end
  • Peg the socks up and fill with chocolates or treats


Chocolate Mincemeat Ice Cream

I saw a recipe for an extremely simple ice cream on Mummy Mishaps, which she'd seen Nigella making. It doesn't need the use of an ice cream maker and only has a couple of basic ingredients so I thought I would give it a go to see if it really was too good to be true.

As I'd got some chocolate mincemeat left after making another batch of mincemeat slices I thought I would make a batch of ice cream to go with them, and the result really was amazing. It's a lovely soft scoop ice cream that, even after being in the freezer overnight, still remains soft enough to scoop. I adapted the recipe slightly to use up some cream that was already open in the fridge and use the whole can of condensed milk.


Chocolate Mincemeat Ice Cream

397g can of Condensed Milk
400ml Double Cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
300g Chocolate Mincemeat *
1 tbsp dark Rum

  • Whisk the condensed milk and cream together until it forms soft peaks
  • Stir in the vanilla, mincemeat and rum until well combined and fruit is evenly distributed
  • Pour into a freezable container and place in the freezer. It will need around 4-6 hours to freeze.
This quantity almost filled 2 x 900ml ice cream containers - one for now and one for Christmas (somehow I don't think it will last that long though!)

* If you're using bought mincemeat and you can see the pieces of suet you will need to heat it to melt the suet first and then allow to cool before using, as I did when I made my mincemeat.


Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Chocolate Mincemeat Slices

With Christmas around the corner my kitchen is smelling all Christmassy with the scents of mixed spice and cinnamon. Last week I made some chocolate mincemeat and here's why. A great alternative to mince pies, especially for those that are not very keen on traditional mincemeat, they're easier than making mince pies, and a whole lot tastier too.


Chocolate Mincemeat Slices

Shortbread layer
125g Plain Flour
25g Ground almonds
50g Caster sugar
110g Clover block*
zest of 1 orange (tip from Mummy Mishaps)

Mincemeat layer
400g Chocolate mincemeat

Crumble layer
100g Plain Flour
25g Chopped almonds
50g Clover block*
25g Demerara sugar
1/2 tsp mixed spice

  • In a mixer or food processor whizz the shortbread ingredients together until they come together in a ball
  • Press into the base of a greased rectangular baking tin & smooth out - I used one approx 28cm x 17cm
  • Spoon the mincemeat over the shortbread and spread out evenly
  • Whizz the crumble topping ingredients together until they resemble breadcrumbs
  • Spread the crumble evenly over the top of the mincemeat & press down with the back of a fork
  • Bake in a preheated 180 C oven for approx 30-35 minutes, until golden brown
  • Allow to cool in the tin before cutting into slices


The Clover block used in this recipe is a great alternative to butter, not only does it contain 30% less saturated fat than butter, but it can also easily be used straight from the fridge. It's soft enough to be beaten and used in cakes but also firm enough for shortbread and crumble, as can be seen in this recipe. It's also great for spreading on toast, right out of the fridge. You can find out more about Clover, as well as recipes, on Facebook.

I was provided with Clover block and the cost of the ingredients for this recipe

Monday, 19 November 2012

Chicken Fried Rice

I don't claim to be a master of Chinese cooking but this meal is one that my family really likes. It's a great 'Fakeaway' way to use leftover roast chicken, or you can do what I do and cook one especially for making the fried rice. I used to make it years ago by adding the egg straight into the rice but a Chinese lady that I worked with told me to make an omelette with the eggs, slice it & add it to the rice at the end. She also advised to use pre-cooked and cooled rice to make sure that it doesn't stick together. Ever since then that is how I've done it - she wasn't a force to be argued with. You can add as much or as little of the vegetables that you want, and feel free to change for something that you have already in the fridge - peppers, courgettes, broccoli.

Chicken Fried Rice - Serves 4

Cooked & cooled Basmati rice - I cooked 300g of dried rice in the microwave
4 eggs, beaten
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
mushrooms, sliced
Cooked chicken
Dark soy sauce
Frozen sweetcorn & peas

  • Heat a little oil in a large non stick frying pan & make an omelette with the beaten eggs (or 2 smaller ones if your pan is small).
  • Set the omelette aside & slice into strips once cool
  • Heat some oil in a wok and add the onions and garlic & fry for 2 minutes
  • Add the mushrooms & fry for 1-2 minutes
  • Add the cooked chicken & a few good dashes of soy sauce & stir whilst heating
  • Add the sweetcorn & peas & a few more dashes of soy sauce
  • Place a lid on & cook for approx 8-10 minutes until everything is heated through
  • Stir in the rice, along with more soy sauce if needed, and heat through completely
  • Stir in the egg strips before serving


Festive Florentines

Christmas is coming, there's no getting away from it. Just 5 weeks today we'll be frantically wrapping presents and peeling veg ready for the big day. As usual I'll be giving a few edible homemade gifts, once I figure out what I'm going to be making. The lovely Ruth Clemens from The Pink Whisk (I once travelled with her to a book launch and waffled for most of the journey about nonsense!) has teamed up with Persil to create some festive family recipes. At the weekend I made a variation of her Florentines, which turned out great so I'll definitely be making more just before Christmas to give away as gifts.

I decided to make it even more festive and use dried cranberries, and substituted the flour for ground almonds and added a little ginger.

Festive Florentines - makes 12

50g Golden syrup
50g Stork baking liquid
50g Demerara sugar
50g Ground Almonds
45g Flaked almonds
50g dried Cranberries
50g Sultanas
1 tsp ground Ginger
150g Milk chocolate

  • Preheat the oven to 180 C and line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
  • Heat the golden syrup, stork baking liquid and sugar in a pan over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the ground almonds, flaked almonds, cranberries, sultanas and ginger. Mix well.
  • Spoon onto the baking sheets, spaced well apart - 6 per tray.
  • Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes until lightly golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the trays for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Once cooled, melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of boiling water, or in the microwave on short bursts
  • Coat the back of each florentine with the melted chocolate and allow too set.


Sunday, 18 November 2012

Alternative Christmas Pudding

This year there will be 11 of us for Christmas dinner and, as well as the usual Christmas pudding, I'm probably going to be serving up a couple of other desserts, just in case anyone has any room left. One of the guests is a tad fussy though, but I'm reliable informed that he will eat a chocolate steamed pudding. With this in mind, along with OXO and Mermaid sending me a couple of their new products I've created a chocolate steamed pudding that I hope my fussy guest will approve of. Of course I won't be revealing the secret ingredient to him until after he (hopefully) eats his last mouthful.


Steamed Avocado & Chocolate Pudding

50g Dark (70%) Chocolate
50ml Double cream
2 medium Avocados (approx 110g of flesh)
tsp lemon juice
110g Soft dark brown sugar
2 Eggs
110g Self Raising flour
20g Cocoa powder
1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

Chocolate sauce
50g Dark Chocolate 
100ml Double Cream
2 tbsp Golden Syrup

  • Heat the cream and chocolate gently in a microwaveable bowl until chocolate has melted, stir until smooth
  • Place the chocolate/cream into the fridge until almost set
  • In the meantime use an OXO Good Grips Avocado slicer* to scoop out the avocado flesh from the skin and remove the stone.
  • Mash the Avocado with the lemon juice until smooth
  • Beat in the sugar and eggs
  • Stir in the flour, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda & mix well
  • Grease a Mermaid 2 pint pudding basin**
  • Pour half of the mixture into the basin and make a shallow well in the centre
  • Scoop out the (almost) set chocolate/cream mixture and place into the well
  • Cover with the remaining mixture
  • Cover the basin with 2 layers of foil & place in a steamer over boiling water
  • Steam for approx 1 1/4 hours
  • Heat the cream, chocolate & golden syrup gently until the chocolate has melted
  • Turn the pudding out onto a plate and pour the sauce over
Serve with ice cream


* The OXO good grips avocado slicer is a handy little tool that is invaluable if you eat lots of avocados - it slices through the skin, makes removing the stone easy and then removes the flesh at the same time as slicing it, no matter how ripe your avocado is. This would be great to use when preparing avocados for salads.

** The Mermaid pudding basin is an excellent quality basin, made of hard anodised Aluminium and has a wide rim making it easy to tie string around to make lifting out of a steamer easier. The pudding that I made released easily from the basin, intact.

I was sent the avocado slicer and pudding basin to use in creating a recipe

Chocolate Mincemeat

I've never made mincemeat before, I think it's been one of those things that has always looked a bit of a faff, probably due to the quantity of ingredients that the recipes usually have. After doing a bit of research though it didn't look like there was much to it so I thought I would give it a go, but adding some chocolate too to make it more appealing to my kids. I would've liked to add some nuts but I know the kids wouldn't eat it if there was big pieces of nuts in so decided to leave them out completely. I had intended to use the mincemeat straight away but ran out of time so I thought I would store it in a jar for a few days - after some more research I found that the best way to do this is to heat the mixture until the suet melts which helps to preserve the ingredients in the mincemeat. I also used vegetable suet so it's suitable for vegetarians.


Chocolate Mincemeat - makes approx 1kg

500g Dried Mixed Fruit - any combination of fruits you like - I used raisins, sultanas & mixed peel
100g vegetable suet
1 Bramley apple, peeled & grated (approx 100g of apple)
Juice & zest of 1 lemon
Juice & zest of 1 orange
150g demerara sugar
tsp Mixed spice
tsp Ginger
tsp Cinnamon
3 tbsp Dark Rum
60g Dark chocolate (70%), grated

  • Mix all the ingredients together until well combined - & that's it!

It smells divine - especially the combination of chocolate, rum and orange.

If you do want to store it for longer than a day or two then place the bowl in the microwave or oven (if your bowl is suitable) until the suet has just melted and then pour into a sterilised jar.


My bowl wasn't suitable for microwave or oven use so I placed it over a pan of boiling water to melt the suet.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Aunt Bessies Half Term Food Challenge #3

I think it's safe to say that since first seeing the Britmums Half Term Food Challenge I've become a bit of an Aunt Bessie's addict. You see I love a challenge, especially when it involves food, and once I saw that Britmums stated that participants can enter as many times as they like I just don't seem able stop myself. I've found myself perusing the Aunt Bessie's aisles, with the cogs in my brain constantly turning, I can't sleep at night without thinking of Bessie and her helping hands. If she's got a rehab clinic at Yorkshire Pudding Towers then get me to the front of that queue.

During a trip to Sainsbury's I spotted Beef Home Cook Casserole and got a little excited as it's not sold in my usual shopping haunt. I couldn't leave without adding one to my basket....along with a few other Aunt Bessie's essentials.

This has got to be one of the easiest meals I've cooked, ever, and comes with the added benefits of one pot cooking - not much washing up for the husband.

Beef & Vegetable Chill - serves 2 adults & 2 children

Aunt Bessie's Beef Home Cook Casserole
1 can of chopped tomatoes
1 can of kidney beans, drained
2 tbsp Chilli Paste - vary according to taste
200ml water
1 tbsp Cocoa Powder (trust me on this one)

  • Combine all the ingredients (apart from the cocoa powder) in a casserole dish, put the lid on and cook for 45 minutes at 200° C
  • After 45 minutes give it a good stir, add the cocoa powder, replace the lid & cook for a further 45 minutes whilst you prepare the Dumpluffins - a cross between dumplings and muffins (obviously) - lighter than a dumpling, but heavier than a muffin

Cheesy Corn Dumpluffins - makes 6-8

Aunt Bessie's Dumpling Mix
1 small can (140g) of sweetcorn, drained
1 Egg
5 tbsp Sour Cream
50g Grated Mature Cheddar Cheese + extra 25g for the tops
1 tsp mild chilli powder - vary according to taste

This is where it gets fun, and the kids can do this - 

  • put all the ingredients (apart from the extra 25g of cheese) in a large sealable bag and seal 
  • squish everything together until it's all combined
  • cut one of the corners of the bag off & squeeze the mix into a greased muffin pan

  • Sprinkle the remaining grated cheese over the top 
  • Bake in the oven along with the chilli for the last 15-20 minutes of cooking time, until puffed up and golden

Serve the chilli with rice and the dumpluffins


Fruit Yorkshire Crumble Slices

Aunt Bessie's Home bake Yorkshires
300g Frozen Mixed Berries
Aunt Bessie's Tempting Golden Crumble Mix
Aunt Bessie's Creamy Instant custard

  • Remove the frozen yorkshires from their foil cases and arrange in a baking dish (I managed to fit 10 in my baking dish)
  • Scatter the frozen fruit over and around the yorkshires
  • Scatter half of the crumble mix over the fruit
  • Bake in a 220° C oven for 20 minutes
  • Make the custard in a jug with boiling water up to the 325ml level, whisk until smooth
  • Spread the custard evenly over the baked crumble
  • Top with the remaining crumble making sure to cover the custard completely
  • Place back in the oven for a further 20 minutes until golden brown
  • Leave to cool slightly before slicing

Can be served warm or cold


My husband said this was the best dessert he'd eaten in ages - I'm not sure whether I should be flattered or insulted by that really!

This is my entry for the BritMums #halftermfood, sponsored by Aunt Bessie's


Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Mini Reese's Peanut Butter & Chocolate Cheesecakes

I'm not a fan of Hershey's chocolate in any form....apart from Reese's. Peanut butter cups melt in your mouth with a hint of saltiness, and Nutrageous bars are THE BEST chocolate bar ever - a combination of roasted peanuts, caramel, peanut butter and chocolate, what more could you want in a chocolate bar.

Myself and Emma have challenged ourselves to come up with a mouthwatering recipe using a Reese's product, and share our results. Along the way Leanne has joined in too. I can't wait to see what they've come up with but in the meantime, here's mine. The base is brownie-like and the topping is a variation on a cheesecake recipe I spotted on Pinterest. In hindsight I should've baked them in cases as they were quite difficult to remove from the silicone muffin pan. I also made some in individual jars as I'm trying to find some dessert recipes to make in jars for Christmas - I think I might need smaller jars though as these contain quite a large portion!

Mini Reese's Peanut Butter & Chocolate Cheesecakes

80g Dark chocolate
80g Peanut Butter ( I used smooth)
100g Dark brown sugar
2 Eggs
50g Cocoa powder

300g Cream cheese
100g Caster sugar
60g Peanut butter (smooth)
2 Eggs
30g Cocoa powder
Reese's miniature peanut butter cups, unwrapped

Cream cheese
Dark chocolate spread

  • In a pan melt the chocolate, peanut butter & sugar
  • Remove from heat & allow to cool a little
  • Beat the eggs into the chocolate mixture and stir in the sifted cocoa powder
  • Spoon a tablespoon of mixture into the muffin pans & smooth - I filled 6 muffin cases & 3 jars
  • Place a miniature peanut butter cup on top of the base, pressing down a little


  • Beat the cream cheese, caster sugar and peanut butter together until smooth
  • Beat in the eggs and then the sifted cocoa powder
  • Pour the cheesecake mixture onto the bases
  • Place the muffin pan into a larger roasting pan & pour boiling water around the sides
  • Bake in a preheated 160 C oven for 20-25 minutes until 'just' baked 
  • Allow to cool fully before removing from the pans
  • For the topping beat equal amounts of melted toffees or dark chocolate spread with cream cheese and spread onto the cheesecakes
  • Decorate as desired - I used a sliced Reese's Nutrageous bar

    Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

Corned Beef Bolognaise

Corned beef is not something that I buy, because I can't stand the stuff. The husband has different views though and often reminisces about the good old days when he enjoyed corned beef & salad cream sandwiches - I still don't buy it though. Can you imagine his joy when I was asked if I would like to receive some to use in creating a recipe or 2. When the cans arrived he immediately popped one in the fridge ready for his sandwiches. 

I decided to use a couple of cans and see how they faired up in a bolognaise. The cans don't have keys on them like I remember and instead now have a ring pull, making them very easy to open. The corned beef is still the same as I remember though and not something that I'll be eating in my sandwiches anytime soon.

Corned Beef Bolognaise

olive oil
chopped onion
sliced mushrooms
sliced peppers
2 garlic cloves
2 cans of Corned Beef, roughly chopped
1 can of chopped tomatoes
mixed herbs
1 tsp Paprika
142g of tomato puree

  • Heat the olive oil in a large pan and fry the onions, mushrooms, peppers & garlic until softened (I used frozen but you can use fresh too)
  • Add the corned beef & mash down
  • Add the tomatoes, herbs, paprika & tomato puree and stir well
  • Place the lid on and simmer until the sauce turns rich and thick
  • Serve with pasta and grated cheese on the top

This went down very well with everyone, and whilst I didn't dislike it, it's not something I'll be eating on a regular basis, mainly due to the high fat content - but I wouldn't rule it out if we were snowed in and had no access to fresh food!

I was sent 6 cans of Princes corned beef for the purpose of using in recipes

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