My lovely mum was really disappointed last year at Halloween. She got loads of trick or treat sweets ready and then nobody knocked at her door. It took a neighbour to point out to her that unless she decorates the house a bit, people will think she’s not joining in and won’t want to disturb her, which is actually quite sweet of them. Anyway, she’s all ready this year with a candle and some decorations. I have a running battle with the boys, trying to stop them eating all the sweets before anyone from the neighbourhood actually knocks on the door. I’ve hidden a load this year.
I’m always experimenting with different recipes for granola-type bars. The boys are often in a rush first thing in the morning (and Charlie takes packed lunches three days a week), and while they’re not babies, so they can make their own decisions about the amount of crap they eat, I still like to think I can encourage them in the right direction.
One of my favourite things to do at Walt Disney World Resort Florida is to take a sunny walk around World Showcase at Epcot. The best smelling part, bar none, is the amazing Karamell-Küche in the Germany pavilion, the home of Werther’s Original, where you can sample all sorts of yummy treats made with the famous caramel: cookies, fudge, and – my favourite – salted caramel brownies.
I’ve been promising Charlie for ages that I’ll make him some marshmallow fluff (basically meringue icing). Yesterday, because it was our 21st wedding anniversary (I KNOW!) seemed like a good excuse to make a ridiculously fattening cake (the same day that I signed Jamie Oliver’s Sugar Rush petition – oh, the irony), and some of the fluff too.
I’m so excited to share this with you as I’ve been keeping it to myself for AGES! I’ve recently been lucky enough to team up with the lovely chaps at Galbani to produce a video where I get to cook with creative culinary genius and all-round nice guy, Joe Hurd. I’m sure you’ve all heard of Galbani, which is the #1 cheese brand in Italy and makers of top quality, soft mozzarella, and Mr English’s favourite: creamy blue dolcelatte.
While I’m never going to be one of those people that shuns sugar altogether (moderation in all things), I am trying to eat less. I’ve had several attempts at this recipe now and finally think I’ve got the it just right – a healthy, nutritious, sugar free, low GI granola bar. I’ve also upped the quantities of nuts and seed. Don’t discount butter when you’re trying to eat a healthy diet – proper butter (organic if possible – not the spreadable stuff) is full of vitamin A, D and K (great for your bones), and rich in short- and medium-chain fatty acids too. Also, divide the 150g by 12 portions and that’s less than a tablespoon of butter per slice – probably about the same as you’d spread on a couple of slices of toast.
My lovely mum, English Grandma, has got a bit of a thing for lemon curd, so when I invited her over for a Mothers’ Day cuppa, I thought I’d treat her to some lovely lemon curd and strawberry fairy cakes. I use a standard ‘pound cake’ recipe for fairy cakes, weighing the eggs, then adding the same amount of the other ingredients. This one had a few squished up strawberries added too, and a lemon curd filling, topped off with a strawberry buttercream. Here’s how I did it.
So there I was, minding my own business, working hard at the dining room table whilst refereeing the dog and cat because Mr E is painting the lounge ceiling, whilst also, y’know, keeping an eye on social media, when someone went and mentioned cake.
Then that was it. I couldn’t concentrate. I just wanted cake. And the more I tried to concentrate, and stop the dog and cat wrestling, and come up with interesting ways to say ‘amazing’ without using the word 20 times in one article, the more my brain was going ‘cake… cake… caaaaake…’
Everyone loves making cupcakes, don’t they? Flora have a really easy peasy cupcake recipe on their website, which is perfect for everyday baking at home. But how do you ring the changes? Maybe you’d like to make some cupcakes as a gift for someone special, or for some sort of celebration? Flora challenged me to create four seasonal cupcake recipes to give you some inspiration for your own home baking throughout the year, so here, for your delectation, are my four very easy but good enough to share seasonal recipes:
Now Christmas is in full swing, I seem to be baking mince pies nearly every day. I always feel a bit sorry for Charlie, though, who doesn’t like mince pies and so tends to head for the biscuit tin instead. I decided to have a fiddle with my normal cookie recipe to come with something a little more festive.
The thing about home baking is that it should be a joy. My favourite times are spent in my kitchen – pinny on (Cath Kidston, a treasured present from my friend Taralara), oven on, flour everywhere, radio playing, people popping in and out for a chat or a quick taste – it’s my therapy. I’d go mad without it. Someone once told me that you should never bake when you’re miserable – nothing goes right – cakes don’t rise, things don’t taste right… it’s because the baking picks up on your mood, and I completely believe that’s true.
There’s nothing quite like that first mince pie of the season, is there? Yesterday I popped to TK Maxx and picked up a couple of bits including this AMAZING ceramic bun tin and a cute little freeform bowl. Time for some baking, then:
So have you seen the Waitrose Christmas advert? We love the story of little Ellie, the reluctant baker, who ends up mastering the art of gingerbread baking for her school fete.
Waitrose have challenged me to get involved with their #bakeitforward campaign, to spread a little love and Christmas cheer to some people I really care about by baking them a special treat. I love decorating biscuits, it’s so Christmassy – so here are my cute little chocolate Christmas tree biscuits. This dough is perfect for cutting out shapes as it doesn’t spread in the oven – it’s really easy to make too.
So Halloween’s coming up. Sadly, I’ll be missing all the fun (not too sadly as I’ll be joining the inaugural voyage of Royal Caribbean’s new beauty, Quantum of the Seas). Here are a few ideas if you’re staying at home this weekend.
As a nation, we’ve never really embraced candy corn have we? I love the look (and taste) of them, and when I was in America I tracked down these mixed fruit ones (probably terribly untraditional) and knew exactly what to do with them. What’s the best thing about Halloween? All the trick or treat sweets mixed up in a big bowl of course!
So since our original offer on the House of Bodily Fluids back in July, we really haven’t heard very much. We didn’t really chase it as I guess we’re not in a massive hurry, but all of a sudden it kind of dawned on us that we hadn’t had any paperwork, and started to chase a bit harder. Our solicitors, worryingly, had heard nothing at all from their solicitors. I drove past the house and they hadn’t even STARTED clearing it, and you can imagine what a job that’s going to be. Then we started to hear rumour that the probate wasn’t going smoothly and there were issues with the man’s business that had to be sorted before the house could be sold… Ugh.
- Extra cheesy bacon mac and cheese with a herby crunch topping August 23, 2017
- The crunchy brunchy breakfast burger and a Snaffling Pig Co giveaway! August 21, 2017
- Weekend wishlist: oh, hush autumn 17, you’re looking lovely! August 19, 2017
- Honey and mustard glazed pork medallions August 17, 2017
- The De Vere Latimer Estate August 15, 2017