The Crazy Kitchen: February 2016

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Strawberry Cheesecake Sundae Strawberry Cheesecake Pimms Pavlova Ciabatta Ice Cream Cupcakes Raspberry Tarts

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

S'mores Cheesecake Bites

S'mores are traditionally a snack eaten around a camp fire, made up of a toasted marshmallow squashed between two Graham crackers (a square biscuit popular in America) and chocolate. We've made them over a fire pit using chocolate digestives, which are the closest biscuit to Graham crackers in the UK. Allegedly the name s'more is a contraction of the words some and more, which I can totally get, as when we have them my kids are always asking "can we have s'more please".

There's no need to make a camp fire with these little beauties though, as the marshmallows are toasted under a hot grill (or a blow torch if you have posh cheffy stuff like that). In this recipe I used my handmade marshmallows (that incidentally you can have delivered to your door!), but you could use regular shop bought marshmallows if you really have to!

 photo -smores bites 3_zpsaepasb3v.jpg

S'mores Cheesecake Bites - makes approx 24 bites

150g digestive biscuits, crushed
40g butter, melted
280g full fat cream cheese
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
200g dark chocolate, melted
24 marshmallows - I used half Crunchie Marshmallows & half Creme Egg Marshmallows

  • line a 10" x 6" baking tin with clingfilm
  • mix the biscuit crumbs and melted butter together & press into the lined tin
  • place in the fridge for approx 1 hour
  • beat the cream cheese with the salt & vanilla and then beat in the melted chocolate, until smooth
  • spread evenly over the biscuit base, and press the marshmallows lightly on top
  • return to the fridge until the chocolate layer is firm
  • preheat your grill until it's very hot
  • lift the cheesecake out of the tin and slide off the clingflim onto a baking sheet
  • place under the hot grill until the marshmallows have puffed up and started to turn a golden brown - make sure you watch constantly as it can burn in seconds!
  • place back in the fridge to cool fully before slicing into squares


 photo smores bites 1_zpsffedfzd5.jpg  photo smores bites 2_zpsifi11bzq.jpg


If you haven't already checked out my marshmallow website then please do so, as they really are good marshmallows (don't just take my word for it though, you can read customer reviews on my facebook page here).


 photo handmademarshmallowsdelivered to your door_zpskdqzlb9n.png

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Warming Butternut Squash & Turkey Stew

We've been eating quite a lot of bolognaise and chilli recently, mainly because I've been spending a lot of time making marshmallows, and it's easy to grab a pack of turkey mince and rustle something up quickly for dinner.

I decided to make something a little different with the latest pack of turkey mince, which required only very little prep and cooking, before popping in the oven to finish off.

 photo turkey mince 2_zps1wiqaozh.jpg

Warming Butternut Squash & Turkey Stew - serves 4/5

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground coriander
pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
800g turkey mince
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
400ml chicken or beef stock
500g butternut squash, peeled & diced
  • heat the oil in a large lidded (ovenproof) frying pan/casserole
  • add the onion and spices and fry for 1 minute
  • add the turkey mince and fry until it turns brown
  • add the tomatoes, stock and butternut squash
  • increase the heat and bring to a simmer
  • remove from heat, place the lid on and pop into a preheated 180C oven for 50 minutes
  • remove the lid and continue cooking for an additional 10 minutes


serve with rice and a spoonful of Greek yogurt and a scattering of chopped coriander 

 photo turkey mince 3_zpseunonszw.jpg  photo turkey mince 1_zpsnq8rs9ei.jpg

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Last Minute Sweet Treats for Your Valentine

It's never too late to bake some sweet treats for your Valentine. Here are a few ideas that can be whipped up quickly.


 photo valentine day_zpsif7z8zip.jpg


Strawberry Ice Cream Shortbread Sandwich

Chocolate Chip Shortbread Hearts

Chocolate Crispy Heart

Sweet Valentine Puffs

White Chocolate Candy Hearts

Monday, 8 February 2016

The Start of Something New {sponsored}

Regular readers of this blog may have noticed that it's been a bit quiet around here recently. Although, those readers that also follow me on Instagram or Facebook will realise the reason for the silence.


A few months ago I decided to start a new venture, and had lots of ideas buzzing around in my head. During a half term break in Wales, with very little internet access, I took pen to paper and scribbled lots of these ideas down, whether it was on the back of an old cereal box or paper bag (the one time I needed a notebook I forgot to pack one).  I scribbled and scribbled until I came up with an idea, and then a name, Cookies and Fluff.

My new venture is making and selling handmade marshmallows.


jammie dodger marshmallows

Despite already having an ecommerce business selling baby swimwear, it's not at all exciting, and it doesn't fulfil me. For a while I've wanted to have a food related business (aside from my blog), but I've lacked confidence to make the final switch. However, with the help of M&S Bank #makeaswitch campaign I was able to put my ideas into practice.

The next part of starting my business was the easy part. Now that I had my name I needed to buy a domain name, register my social media accounts and design a logo and business cards, which I did with the help of Canva, a great online design tool that's simple to use.

I then registered my new business with the environmental health department of the local council, who approved the use of my kitchen as fit for purpose. Over the following few weeks I tried out lots of recipes and made lots of marshmallows in order to find my 'perfect recipe'. At Christmas I made marshmallow and hot chocolate kits for friends and family, which proved to be really popular, and I received some great feedback about the marshmallows.

christmas marshmallows

For the past few weeks, since Christmas, I've been working flat out to get different marshmallow flavours made and photographed for my website.


cookies and fluff website

There's so much more to starting a small business such as mine than meets the eye, and so much to think about. I wanted to try and get it right from the start , and create something unique that hasn't been done before (to my knowledge), and that's where my biscuit marshmallows came in - they are miniature cupcake shaped marshmallows flavoured with real biscuits, in popular everyday flavours such as Jammie Dodger, Ginger Nut, Oreo, and my favourite - Lotus Biscoff!

biscoff marshmallows

Once I had the flavours, I needed to work on the packaging, and spent many a late night poring over the internet searching for the correct sized bags and boxes, not to mention getting lost in Etsy looking for those all important finishing touches, such as bakers twine, stickers, stamps and labels.

 photo labels_zpsphx4lbqq.jpg

I had some great support along the way from friends and family, who acted as taste testers, and gave amazing feedback :


"Guys them marshmallows are to die for" (lemon meringue marshmallows)

"J said that this was amazing nothing like she tasted before" (chocolate orange marshmallow pinwheel pops)

"THE MOST AMAZING LOLLY. Me & the kids absolutely loved these, I will defo be ordering some more so thank you" (chocolate orange marshmallow pinwheel pops)

"delightful! Perfect, light & fluffy bite sized pieces of heaven"  (biscuit marshmallows)

"As for the ginger - wow! I'm not a huge ginger fan but these were sublime!" (ginger nut marshmallows)

 "Can't wait to try some more flavours - they would make terrific presents for that special someone in your life!" (biscuit marshmallows)

Even my non marshmallow liking husband loved them!


Despite the late nights I've loved every minute of this 'journey' so far, especially designing and building my website using the Create.net platform, which is amazingly easy and has the most efficient and friendly support team. I have my recipes finalised (with more being added as I go along), the packaging has been sourced and all the finishing touches are in place. 

My website went live last month, and the orders have been rolling in, and I've been overwhelmed by the amazing reviews I've received from those that have ordered them - and been back to place further orders!  

M&S Bank #makeaswitch campaign enabled me to get my business online, and helped with packaging, business cards, labels, a new printer and much needed ingredients.

If you fancy keeping up with my venture into marshmallow madness, you can follow me here :

Pinterest

Wish me luck!




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