The Crazy Kitchen: March 2013

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Thursday, 28 March 2013

My baby turns Four & a Football Birthday Cake

On Sunday Jack turned 4, it's hard to think where the past 4 years have gone. It seems like only yesterday that I was pregnant for what felt like ages yet it feels like he's been in our lives forever.

On Friday we had a heavy fall of snow and by Saturday started to get a bit worried for his party after another heavy snowfall. Thankfully by early afternoon the main roads were clear and Cinderella did go to the ball after all.

Jack had a fab party with his little friends at a local indoor play centre. As I wanted to keep his birthday cake until his actual birthday we didn't cut it and instead put football cupcakes into the party bags.

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We then went to the pub with a few of the friends where Jack opened a couple of his presents.

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Later at home the children enjoyed a pot of hot chocolate and biscuits whilst opening the rest of the party presents.

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Sunday was another day of present opening.

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and cake....

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Unfortunately the day didn't go to plan due to more snow meaning that Nanny and Pop Pop couldn't come and visit. We instead spent most of the day indoors playing Playmobil.

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No overnight snow on Monday meant that Nanny and Pop Pop could come up for the afternoon and stay for tea, and we sang Happy Birthday for the third time and finally cut the cake!

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If you're wondering how to make a football cake read on....

Football Birthday Cake

I've had the Wilton ball cake tins for around 7 years but I've never been brave enough to make one. Jack is mad about football so I thought I would dust it off & try it out this year after picking up a few tips on another blog here.

I used my favourite Madeira recipe that I found on the recipes2share website, and used a 5 egg recipe (291g butter, 291g sugar, 291g SR flour, 145g plain flour & 5 eggs).

It's best to prepare the tins using butter & flour or Wilton Cake Release to make sure they come out easily.

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I sliced the tops of the cakes off whilst still in the tins, then removed and allowed to cool fully on a wire rack.

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Once the cakes are cool sandwich them together with jam and buttercream

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then coat the cake completely in a chocolate ganache. This not only makes the cake easier to handle, without the halves sliding apart, it also gives a good surface to glue the icing to.

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Cut black pentagons and white hexagons from rolled out icing, each with 3cm sides, and start sticking them to the cake using edible glue

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You may find that as you get further down the cake the pieces don't fit very well, and you may need to stretch them to fit

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Once covered completely, you can brush over lightly with alcohol to remove any icing sugar. Cover a cake board in green icing and glue down a ring of icing to support the cake. Use edible glue to stick the cake to the base.

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I made cupcakes to give to party guests using my favourite vanilla cupcake recipe and vanilla buttercream coloured with green paste and piped on using a grass tip

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I made edible football decorations by making a silicone half football mould by using a toy football and silicone plastique, which were then filled with icing in the same way that I made Lego bricks. The footballs were then coloured with an icing pen.

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I bought plastic cupcake boxes for everyone to take their cakes home in - one of my pet hates is a slice of cake wrapped in a napkin!

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3rd February 2014 : I am linking this up to the Team Honk Great British Bake Off for Sport Relief but will be making this again next month as Jack has requested it again for his 5th birthday!

Mummy Mishaps

Cadbury Mini Egg Cookies & Ice Cream

A couple of days ago one of my friends posted a photo on Facebook of some cookies that she'd made, so I asked if she would share the recipe with me as I'm always on the lookout for a good cookie recipe. It turns out it was a Mary Berry recipe, and as I don't have any of her cook books (I must do something to rectify that soon) she sent me the recipe. Instead of 100g Chocolate chips I added Cadbury Mini Eggs, just because it's nearly Easter, and substituted Muscovado sugar for soft brown, as that's what I had in. I then served them sandwiched with home-made Mini Egg ice cream.

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Cadbury Mini Egg Cookies

100g Butter, softened
75g golden Caster sugar
50g dark soft brown sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
1 Egg
150g SR Flour
100g Mini eggs, roughly chopped or crushed
  • Beat the butter & sugars together until creamy
  • Beat the egg & vanilla together & add to the butter & sugar
  • Mix in the flour and the chopped/crushed mini eggs
  • Take spoonfuls of the mix and place on a greased baking sheet, approx 5cm apart
  • Bake in a preheated 170 C oven for approx 8-10 minutes
  • Cool on a wire rack
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Cadbury Mini Egg Ice Cream

397g Condensed milk
284ml Double cream
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
few drops of yellow food colouring
zest & juice of half a lemon (optional)
100g Cadbury Mini Eggs

  • Whisk the condensed milk, cream & vanilla together until it forms firm peaks
  • Weigh out 100g and combine the food colouring until you have the desired yellow colour & then add the lemon zest & juice
  • Bash the bag of mini eggs a few times with a rolling pin to roughly crush them
  • Pour the uncoloured ice cream mixture into a freezable container
  • Mix in the mini eggs
  • Stir the yellow ice cream mixture through the the rest, but don't mix it in
  • Freeze for a few hours or overnight, until set
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If you're in a hurry for your ice cream it can be made more quickly in one of the many ice cream makers on the market. If you use one you won't need to whisk the condensed milk & cream beforehand.


All words & recipes are my own - the cookie recipe is adapted from Mary Berry Chocolate Chip cookie recipe in Mary Berry's Baking Bible

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Simple Beef & Mustard Sausage Rolls

My kids love sausage rolls, and unfortunately they're not fussy about the quality of the sausage inside them.  When I make them myself though I like to use good quality sausages as they not only emit less fat than cheaper sausage meat or sausages, but they are also flavoured well and it's possible to make lovely sausage rolls without much mess or effort. For these I used beef and red wine sausages, which were shorter than regular sausages and a perfect size for lunchtime sausage rolls. I added Dijon mustard but unfortunately we couldn't taste it once they were cooked so I know for next time to add twice the amount.

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Simple Beef & Mustard Sausage Rolls

320g Ready Rolled Puff pastry sheet
Dijon mustard
480g Beef Sausages (12 small sausages)
1 Egg, beaten

  • Cut the pastry into strips as wide as the sausage and 2cm longer
  • Spread a spoonful (or more) mustard over the pastry, leaving 2cm at the end
  • Brush beaten egg onto the end without mustard
  • Place the sausage at the opposite end 
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  • Roll the sausage up and press down the end & placed on a baking sheet
  • Repeat with the remaining sausages & pastry
  • Score the pastry diagonally, careful not to score the sausages
  • Brush beaten egg over the pastry
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  • Bake in a preheated 180 C oven for 30 minutes until golden brown

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Spicy Chorizo & Ricotta Tart

I have a bit of an addiction to buying & using puff pastry sheets. They're so versatile and can be used to make pies, pasties, sweet treats and also very simple tarts. This dinner was prepared, cooked and served in around 30 minutes, which is perfect when you have a hungry family that wants to eat right now!

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Spicy Chroizo & Ricotta Tart - serves 4

250g Ricotta cheese
handful of fresh basil, chopped
pinch of black pepper
1 ready rolled Puff pastry sheet
1 tomato, thinly sliced
half a red onion, thinly sliced
50g Chorizo, sliced
1/2 fresh red chilli, sliced 
Olive oil

  • Mix the ricotta with the basil and black pepper
  • Roll out the puff pastry sheet
  • Score the pastry 1cm around the edge
  • Spread the ricotta onto the pastry leaving a gap around the edge
  • Sprinkle with the tomato, onion, chorizo and chilli
  • Brush around the edge with the olive oil
  • Bake in a preheated 200 C oven for approx 20 minutes, until the pastry is puffed up and golden
I did intend to add some Rocket on top once it came out of the oven but in the rush to feed everyone I forgot!

This is my entry into Nazima & Laura's One Ingredient Challenge, which for March is Chilli & being hosted on Laura's blog.

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Friday, 22 March 2013

Spice up your leftovers

I had a bowl full of beef stew left over which wasn't enough for everyone as it was so I eeked it out a bit and spiced it up by adding a can of baked beans and a teaspoon of chilli powder.

I then stirred through some cooked pasta and it made 3 generous portions.

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What do you do with your leftovers?

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Hazelnut Scones

It's strange how a simple tweet can change your plans for the day. The tweet that did it for me on Tuesday was this one :

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You may mistakenly think that @JessiesKitchen1 is me, which it isn't , I'm @Jessies_Kitchen. I started following @JessiesKitchen1 a while ago, after someone tweeted me to say they had enjoyed a lovely breakfast at mine, which obviously surprised me as I didn't recall feeding anyone bacon that morning, never mind a stranger. 

Jessie's Kitchen is an award winning cafe in Broughty Ferry, near Dundee which, by all accounts, serves some excellent food. This morning we got tweeting each other about scones (the ones that had just come out of the oven) and turns out they were Hazelnut scones which, for research purposes, were then sampled with Nutella, whilst I was drooling at the thought. There was only one thing to curb my craving of hazelnut scones and that was to make some...

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Hazelnut Scones - makes 10-12

100g Hazelnuts
250g Self Raising Flour
2 tsp Baking powder
85g Butter
1 tbsp caster sugar
175ml Milk (I used Almond milk to add more flavour, next time I will try Hazelnut milk)

  • Place the hazelnuts on a baking tray & place in a preheated 170 C oven for approx 10 minutes
  • Crush the hazelnuts quite finely, leaving a few larger pieces
  • Rub the butter into the flour and baking powder
  • Stir in the sugar and hazelnuts
  • Mix the milk into the dry ingredients and bring together to form a dough
  • Roll out onto a floured work surface & cut out scones

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  • Place on a greased baking sheet & brush with milk or beaten egg
  • Bake in a 200 C oven for approx 10 minutes 
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Serve warm or cold - delicious spread with Nutella

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One day I hope I will get the chance to sample the Hazelnut scones from THE Jessie's Kitchen, but for now I'll happily eat the ones from this Jessie's kitchen.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Beetroot, Carrot & Cottage Cheese Salad {5:2 Diet Recipe}

Last week I started doing the 5:2 diet, a way of eating whereby you fast for 2 days of the week and eat normally for the rest. On fast days you can consume around 500 calories, which isn't a lot if you only eat cakes and biscuits, but with a little bit of imagination you can create meals with very few calories. I'm still learning but there are lots of bloggers sharing recipes at the moment, as well as books you can buy for inspiration.

I created this salad for lunch on a fast day, but I would be more than happy eating it on a regular day too as it was really filling, yet only 177 calories. As it's got the 3 ingredients in from the March Swallow's Recipe for Life challenge (beetroot, carrot and cheese) I have entered it there. You can read more about the challenge here.

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Beetroot,Carrot & Cottage Cheese Salad {5:2 Diet Recipe}- serves 1

1 carrot, grated - 92g / 32cals
Rocket - 20g / 5 cals
half a small red onion, sliced - 25g / 10 cals
few slices of red chilli (optional) - 5g / 2 cals
Juice & zest of half a lemon - 27g / 6 cals
1 small orange, peeled & sliced - 58g / 24 cals
Cooked beetroot, sliced - 60g / 23 cals
Low fat cottage cheese - 100g / 75 cals

  • Toss the carrot, rocket, chilli, and orange in the lemon juice and zest and arrange on a plate
  • Add the beetroot slices and cottage cheese
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this has been entered into the Rix November challenge

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

2-of-your-5-a-day Chocolate Cake

When I created my last recipe for the Swallow's Recipes for Life challenge, I also promised a chocolate cake, so here it is. It's a lovely moist cake that takes no time at all to make, and best of all has hidden veggies in. The topping is my favourite quick topping for chocolate cake as it's not too sweet but lovely and chocolatey. I usually use dark chocolate spread from Asda but the supermarket I shopped in last weekend only had milk chocolate spread, soyou just need a bit more.
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You can read more about the Recipes for life challenge here, this month the ingredients are beetroot, carrots and cheese, and believe it or not, this cake has all 3.

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2-of-your-5-a-day Chocolate Cake

150g cooked carrots
135g cooked beetroot (not pickled)
185g butter, softened
285g Caster sugar
5 Eggs
285g SR flour
40g Cocoa powder
2 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
200g Cream cheese (full fat works best)
200g Chocolate spread

  • Add the carrots, beetroot, butter, sugar & eggs to a food processor & blitz until smooth
  • Mix the flour with the cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda
  • Add the flour mix to the food processor with the motor running until all combined
  • Pour into a greased & lined rectangular cake tin (approx 32cm x 22cm)
  • Bake in a 200 C oven for 30 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean when inserted
  • Allow to cool in the tin
  • Beat the cream cheese and chocolate spread together and spread over the cooled cake
  • Decorate as desired or just sprinkle with cocoa powder

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Neither the beetroot or carrot can be detected in the cake, and in the words of my 10 year old beetroot hating daughter 'it's soooooo good'.

This has been entered into the Rix November challenge

Sunday, 17 March 2013

How to decorate cupcakes when you're 3

Having fun in the kitchen with your kids doesn't have to be stressful, hard work or particularly messy. You don't even need to have any cooking skills as you can decorate ready made fairy cakes, from the supermarket, with ready made butter icing. I baked some cakes and the next day Jack decorated them.  I didn't have time to make icing for a cake I needed Saturday night so bought a tub of Betty Crocker chocolate fudge frosting and Jack used the rest for his cakes. He decorated these all by himself, with no help from me, apart from filling the icing bag and tying a knot it.

Whilst I pottered around the kitchen I left him to it, armed with an icing bag full of frosting and a selection of sprinkles and decorations.

A good tip is to place the cakes on a tray, this way you don't end up with as many decorative balls on your floor!

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perfecting his technique
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too many sprinkles!
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a few more
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ta da
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and some more
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so proud

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new Peppa Pig rocket cake stand

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here goes
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cute cases from TK Maxx

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