Monthly Archives: August 2014

Great british bake off – biscuits


As part of my effort to make. #GBBO bake each week, today I made biscuits. I made cookies, as I just love making (and eating!) them. I was going to try crackers but I just didn’t feel in the mood to experiment today.

To add a bit of a twist, I added almond essence to the cookies to make them taste a bit like cherry bakewell. However, if I’m honest it was a bit overpowering and would have been better left out. Oh well, live and learn.

The recipe I used was in this link: cookies so I’m not going to repeat the recipe.

The verdict: this is not my favourite cookie recipe – the best cookies I have made is this one: my favourite cookies which always come out lovely and soft and gorgeous. I didn’t use it as I wanted to try a recipe I hadn’t tried before, but from now on I’m going to stick to what I like!

This week on bake off is bread – not something in my comfort zone at all as whenever I try it’s never ‘quite’ right so I won’t be trying anything elaborate, just trying to practice something I don’t make much.

The cookies are all edible and taste fine, but not the best bake I have ever done.



Yummy food.



Last night for tea, I had run out of potatoes and sweet potatoes, the two things that I tend to use alongside all of my meals. It got me a bit stuck! But then, it made me more creative with the things I did have, so in the end it was a positive.

In the end I made fishcake a (frozen ones, too time consuming to make fresh) with roasted butternut squash, a bubble and squeak thing made from leftover mash, broccoli and a bit of cheese, and sweetcorn and peas.

The roasted butternut squash is something I haven’t tried before, and it was gorgeous, as well as being simple. To make it I peeled the butternut squash (that was the hardest bit!) then sliced it down the middle, scooped out the seeds etc, and cut it into cubes.

I then out it onto a tray Lined with greaseproof paper, with oil on top of the paper, added a teaspoon of garlic (I always have the pre chopped garlic in a jar in the fridge as it lasts months), mixed it all together so that the oil covered all of the squash, and roasted it for about 40 minutes at 200 degrees, turning them twice in between cooking to ensure they cooked evenly. That’s it.

The feedback was really good from all of my family – it tastes very similar to sweet potato and is a recipe I will definitely be making again.

For the bubble and squeak thing, I literally just mixed my leftover mash and broccoli together (cold) together with a handful of cheese, rolled into four balls, squashed them down and fried them in oil in a frying pan for about 5 minutes each side, until there was a good colour in the outside and the cheese had melted. They were yummy, Amelia really enjoyed hers especially, and the kids happily ate the broccoli!

I just thought I would share, as we enjoyed both so much that I am sure they will become regulars on our menu, and if it gives someone else something to try it’s all good. I love coming across new ideas for us.



Blueberry jam and cream Swiss roll


Today, in acknowledgement of my favourite programme (Great British Bake Off) I made a Swiss roll. It went well – I was really pleased with the way it looked and tasted too. I would say that it’s relatively easy to make – a little fiddley in places, and very hard to make ‘perfect’ but I do think that anyone can make one.

I used the recipe from one of my cookbooks (the hummingbird bakery cookbook) but adapted the filling as I wanted something a little bit different.

Here’s what I did.

4 eggs (separated into whites and yolks).
180grams caster sugar.
120grams plain flour.
3/4 teaspoon baking powder.
Icing sugar to dust.
Blueberry jam (half a jar)
Double cream (about a quarter or a tub).

1. Preheat the oven to 180degrees Fahrenheit / gas mark 4. Line a Swiss roll tin ( I used a rectangular baking tray with sides) with greaseproof paper.

2. Whisk the egg whites at high speed until stiff – they triple in size and are stiff. It took me around about 4 minutes. Set aside.

3. Whisk the egg yolks at high speed until pale in another bowl. Gradually add the caster sugar, and mix until pale and fluffy.

4. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the sifted ingredients to the egg yolks and fold in. Then fold in the egg whites into the yolk mixture.

5. Pour into your tray, trying to keep it even. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Mine took ten minutes.

6. While baking, I put a large rectangle of greaseproof paper onto the side (bigger than the Swiss roll tray) and sprinkled it with caster sugar.

7. When the sponge is ready, loosen the edges around the baking tray and invert the sponge onto the paper.

8. At the narrow edge, roll he sponge and the paper together. Let cool seam side down for 10-15 minutes.

9. Once cooled, unroll, peel off the paper and add the filling. I had pre prepared my jam by mixing to loosen it, whisking up double cream and mixing it into the jam. I really liked this, it worked well.

10. Roll back up, and dust with icing sugar.

I hope you enjoy. I will definitely make this recipe again, I really enjoyed making it. And my family really enjoyed it with custard as a pudding after tea.




Black and white photography linky


For the black and white photography linky this week I’ve chosen this photo. It is of Amelia on a bouncy castle at market raisen races last Sunday. I love it – I couldn’t even properly explain why, but I do.

Join in at podcast if you wish 🙂


The ordinary moments – barbie dolls.


I haven’t done an ordinary moments post, hosted by MummyDaddyMe for a few weeks. I’m not always the best at remembering to take photos of the ordinary things, and so didn’t have much to say!

This week, the ordinary moment that has really stood out has been barbies. My daughter Amelia got a huge dolls house for Christmas when she was 3, 2 years ago now. She plays with it almost every day with her barbie dolls – sometimes just for a few minutes but sometimes for ages. Yesterday she played with it almost all day on and off.

I love listening to her when she is playing. It’s all about imagination; barbies getting stuck, rescuing each other, going to balls, all sorts gets incorporated into each game. Her dolls house and barbies are toys that she never tires of, and i always know that her barbies will be all over the back room by the end of every day.

I love this ordinary moment of watching Amelia play with her barbie dolls – it’s something I will miss as she grows up.




Toys are for wimps…


My younger daughter Rosie is 15 months old. She’s an absolute joy – she potters about all day long, watching what’s happening, learning, climbing and getting into mischief.

She doesn’t do toys though. She just isn’t interested in them – she prefers almost everything else. So today, I had a bit of one to one time with her while Amelia was at swimming. I gave her a pan full of uncooked pasta twists, a pot, an empty gravy pot and a small jug. This entertained her for ages and ages. Moving the pasta from one pot to another shaking, pouring and exploring. She was very serious throughout – the concentration on her face was really interesting to watch -she really was absorbed in what she was doing.

I sometimes feel that Rosie doesn’t get quite as much of my undivided attention as her big sister did. I’m distracted more, and just don’t try to entertain her as much as I did Amelia. I’ve never really sat down, got all of her toys out and played – I used to do this with Amelia every day and i used to feel absolutely bored most of the time – it sounds horrible to say but it’s true. So I haven’t done it with Rosie – she plays with Amelia, she potters about, we play hide and seek, chase and tickling etc. She’s happy, she’s content and she’s very independent – she loves pottering about exploring, and almost pen ever cries. This tells me that my more relaxed, more ‘go with the flow’ approach works for her, and for us as a family.




Baking – the don’ts.

I love to bake. I’m not a master baker (or anything close!) and have only been baking for about 18 months now. Not every week, but when I can.

I’ve had a few disasters along the way, and thought I’d share my lessons.

1. Cook for the time stated. Don’t do what I did with a pineapple upside down cake and decide that it looks done with 10 minutes left on the instructions. It was a messy result, and couldn’t be rescued. The mixture wasn’t cooked inside, and it dripped everywhere when I turned it out.

2. Make sure you have the right ingrediants. Sounds obvious, but today I made a Swiss roll, and realised after whipping the egg whites and yolks that I don’t have plain flour to sift in. I think I’ve rescued it with using cocoa powder instead, but it was a silly mistake to make.

3. Don’t get over confident. I got good at cookies, and so I thought I was an expert at them. I tried to show off by making a giant Millie’s cookie type thing. It didn’t work, at all. It taught me not to try to bake above my ability level.

4. Look for recipes that suit your life. Don’t try to make a really time consuming recipe when you don’t have the time.

5. If baking with kids, stick to something they can help with. When I’m baking with my daughter, I stick to fairy cakes as she loves decorating them, scones, jam tarts or brownies. I save the recipes I haven’t tried before for when I’m on my own – if they work, I can try them with her once I know the recipe well.



{reading} I’ve just finished ‘cry baby’ by David Jackson. It was readable but I didn’t love it and probably won’t read again – it just wasn’t really for me. And blogs, I always read lots of blogs every day.

{watching} right now the closing ceremony of the commonwealth games. And enjoying it.

{eating} picnics. It seems that picnics have become our main food source when I am off work! Eating outdoors, or even picnicking indoors makes the simplest of meals seem special.

{enjoying} days out. Today we went to the races at market raisin, last week we went to sundown adventure and mablethorpe. Days out are part of our summer routine and I love making memories that we will keep forever.

{feeling} thankful for my family. Stressed about having to work. Tired from being out all day.

This week my highlights have been:
– rescuing figures from ice with Amelia – she knew straight away that she needed hot water and I was proud of that.
– watching Amelia swim. Amelia has made huge progress lately, especially her confidence in water and I love watching her. She tries really hard and enjoys swimming which is all I ask of her.
– the races today. I love watching the horses, Amelia loved the teacups, and Rosie just liked being with us (well, when she wasn’t trying to escape from us!)

I have joined In with a linky run by live otherwise just because I like the idea 🙂


Black and white linky.


This week the photo I have chosen is a recent one. I took it last week during a family day out to the seaside. We had a really lovely day – we live quite near the sea anyway,mbut last week was the first time Amelia loved the sea (literally loved it, she could have played for hours).

And it was Amelia’s first donkey ride on the beach. I snapped this photo, and love it as to me it represents a tradition – donkey rides on the beach, while not for everyone, were part of the excitement of my days out to the beach growing up, and Amelia too was very excited about going on a donkey.

In this photo I love the small details in the sand in the foreground, and that the sea can be seen in the background. I also like that only a small section of the donkeys can be seen, not all of them. It’s not the usual way I take a photo but something about it works for me.

I’ve joined in with podcast dove and the black and white linky.