Sunday, 1 September 2013

Pizza Pinwheels (GBBO #2)

In the second round of The Great British Bakeoff the contestants were asked to produce the following: 

- breadsticks
- English breakfast muffins
- showstopper bread 

I had a (slightly failed!) attempt at making muffins, and although they tasted good, they were very flat! 


Not to be defeated by bread I decided to try a different recipe and create something my weekend guests could be the judge of... My 9 and 5 year old nephews! 

I decided to try pizza pinwheels. I used Jenny's recipe (c/o Paul Hollywood!) for the dough, and after leaving it to rise spectacularly, I rolled it out into a rectangle shape, spread tomato puree as the pizza base and then added pepperoni, mozzarella, cheddar and basil for toppings. 

This was then rolled up tightly, sliced into 10 equal (ish!) pieces, and placed on a baking sheet for another 30 minutes to rise further. 

I then cooked them for around 15 minutes at 200C


 
 

The verdict from my nephews was "Sarah you should go on Masterchef" - haha, so I'll take that as a compliment! Next time I make them I'll add more filling, I was a bit dubious about how much to put in and whether it would all fall out but I think they could handle a bit more pepperoni, or maybe even some pineapple..?!

I'm really enjoying the bake off challenge and attempting to make different things I wouldn't normally do - whether they're a success or not, it's all part of the learning!

If you would like to join in the 'Great Bloggers Bake Off' head over to these two blogs for all of the rules and information:
 
Jenny Berry aka: Mummy Mishaps 
 
Helen Hollywood aka: The Crazy Kitchen
   
mummy mishaps

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Raspberry & Elderflower Sponge Cake (GBBO #1)

I have been persuaded to join the Great Bloggers Bake Off by Jenny over at Mummy Mishaps.

As readers will know, I'm not a very creative baker - I tend to stick to the basic sponge with different decorations so I think this will be a good challenge for me, and hopefully I'll learn a thing or two along the way as well. Although I'm not sure how good it will be for my waistline...Cue willing tasters!

This weeks episode of the Great British Bake Off saw the contestants face three challenges:
 - sandwich sponge
- angel food cake
- chocolate showstopper
I thought I'd keep it simple for week #1 and produce one of my classics - a sandwich sponge!

 
Raspberry & Elderflower Sponge Cake
 
 
Ingredients
200g softened butter
200g caster sugar
200g self raising flour
4 eggs
70g raspberries
 
Method 
Line two sandwich tins
Pre heat oven to 180C
Beat together butter and sugar until pale and creamy
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs
Gradually add the eggs into the butter & sugar mix, beat well
Toss raspberries in flour
Sift flour into mix
Add raspberries
Fold with metal spoon
Divide between two tins
Bake for about 25 minutes
 
Elderflower Frosting 
60ml double cream
200g mascarpone
90g icing sugar
2 teaspoon elderflower cordial
 
Beat together all of the ingredients until the mixture makes peaks
 
Sandwich the frosting between the two (cooled) cakes and then spread a thin layer of frosting around the sides of the cake and over the top. This acts as a 'glue' for the chocolate fingers & raspberries.
 
Enjoy!
 
 
If you would like to join in the 'Great Bloggers Bake Off' head over to these two blogs for all of the rules and information:
 
Jenny Berry aka: Mummy Mishaps 
 
Helen Hollywood aka: The Crazy Kitchen
   
mummy mishaps

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

1st Wedding Anniversary


To celebrate our First Wedding Anniversary, we:
 
had an amazing 3 night stay in North Norfolk at a simply gorgeous 5 star boutique B&B
relished being solely in each others company for 4 whole days
visited Sandringham House, Garden & Museum
became established with lots of lovely local pubs and gardens
walked across expansive beautiful beaches and coastal areas
went seal watching with Beans Boats
enjoyed an exceptional anniversary meal at The Orange Tree
drank lots of celebratory fizz
took the B&B owners dogs for a long walk across roaming fields with views for miles
spent lots of time reminiscing of our truly special day one year ago
 
Happy 1st Wedding Anniversary Mr W xxx
 
 

Midweek Monthly Date Night #1

Last night we enjoyed our first 'Midweek Monthly Date Night'.

No joke, we have actually scheduled in our iPhone calendars the second Tuesday of every month as 'date night'.

We tried (and failed) to stick to once-a-month Alphabet Dating but found that it was near on impossible to find a whole day at a weekend to spend together. Although we are determined to pick that up again and have at least one Alphabet Date at a weekend we are also going to enjoy one midweek date a month as a break away from the normal 'get home from work, make tomorrows pack lunch, cook dinner, eat, watch TV, do some housework/laundry, go to bed' routine.

For our first date we went to Benson Blakes Bar & Grill who have recently won an award. Matt being an avid fan of burgers was not disappointed!

I had studied the menu all day struggling to chose a burger from the extensive list of delicious sounding creations... in the end I went with the basil aioli which was absolute heaven! A scrumptious mix of home made juicy burger, sun dried tomato, rocket and basil aioli - delicious! We shared sides of home made 'slaw, salad and onion rings (Matt cannot go to a restaurant without ordering onion rings...!)

The Sundae Dessert menu tickled me... Eenie, Meanie, Miney & Mo!

I washed mine down with a cocktail or two (they were two for £7, it would be rude not to)...

Please Note: 'Date Night' has permission to break the slimming world diet for one night only!


(almost!) a 2 month catch up...!

I can't believe the last time I posted was 15th May.. that's very nearly 2 months ago! Oops! I wasn't deliberately taking a blogging break, but I guess I lost my blogging mojo a little bit and to be honest I have been super busy with general life I haven't had time to sit down and write. Each week that went past I had more to catch up on, so I kept putting it off.

Now almost 2 months down the line I have a huge catch up to do!

So what have I been doing?

CAKE

I have made a mammoth (well, by my standards!) amount of cakes over the past few weeks. Each of them have been for an occasion, more examples of what has been keeping me busy - a family BBQ, visiting a new baby girl, and a friends leaving 'bon voyage' do. I seem to have set a trend...



SLIMMING WORLD

After the previous photos it may sound amusing, but Matt & I have been following the Slimming World 'diet' (I'm not sure you can really call it that..) for the last few weeks. Matt has lost around 6lbs and me almost 9lbs in about 3 weeks. This was brought on after our lovely anniversary break where we divulged in a lot of rather yummy food and drink! More about that in another post!

We have been having Weetabix/Special K for breakfast, a pasta or rice salad for lunch with fruit for snacking, and an extra easy Slimming World recipe for dinner... easy peasy!

I have made up batches of mini meringues to have with fat free yoghurt and fruit for dessert to cure any sweet cravings too.

So far, so good!



GARDEN

We've spent a lot of our spare time in our garden.. It's amazing to see how much it's changed over the last 18 months.


It's also lovely to see flowers starting to come out now, rewards for our work!

 

ROBBIE WILLIAMS

On the 29th June I went with Matt and the two Mums to Wembley for an evening of Mr Robbie Williams and Mr Olly Murs... it was amazing! That's all that needs to be said : )

 
Of course amongst all of that there have also been weekend trips away - down to the South Coast to see my brother and family, a leaving do in Reading, back 'homehome' to see the family... I have been heavily involved setting up the new WI group that I founded and am president of - and of which I have made some really lovely new friends from. We went to a local beer festival a couple of weeks ago with a group of them; and I've had a couple of wine evening, committee meetings and lunch dates.
 
We have reiterated that we need to start up our Alphabet Dating again as that fell to the wayside a  little lot! We're going to start back at 'B' again with a date arranged by Matt in a couple of weeks time. Last night was our first 'mid week date' too - we've decided that the second Tuesday of every month will be a date night for us. This is due to the fact we struggle to find time for ourselves during the weekend.. crazy as it sounds! First Date Night post coming up soon..
 
The most special thing we have done in this 'break' is celebrate our First Wedding Anniversary - more about that in another post too.
 
I think it's safe to say I have been kept pretty busy but I am back on form again now and wont leave it so long between posts! 

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

C is for... {Alphabet Dating}

As I type this, the wind is howling and the rain is coming down hard.. a perfect opportunity to have a spontaneous 'C' date this evening!

Cosy Cinema... (hire a film from Sky to watch in bed!)

image source
 
Chocolate...
 
image source
 
 
Cup of tea...
 
 

 
Dates don't have to be expensive; our alphabet dating is all about spending quality time together, no matter the cost of doing so.
 
 
 

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Cadburys Chocolate Finger & Smarties Cake {Recipe}



Ingredients:
 
Cake:
170g unsalted butter or margarine
170g caster sugar
115g self raising flour
3 large eggs
55g cocoa powder
 
Icing:
100g soft cheese
200g chocolate spread
 
Decoration:
3 packs of Cadburys Fingers
4 tubes of Smarties
 
 
Method:
 
Preheat oven to 190c
Grease and/or line two 7cm sandwich tins
Mix sugar and butter in a bowl until creamy and light in colour
Sieve a third of the flour and cocoa into the bowl with one egg
Mix well
Add another third and second egg
Mix well
Add the rest of the cocoa, flour and third eff
Mix well
Split the mix between the two tins and spread using a knife
Bake for 20 minutes or until 'springy' to touch
Leave to cool
 
 
In a separate bowl, mix the cream cheese & chocolate spread
 
When the sponges are cool, sandwich with some of the cheese & chocolate spread mix
Use the remainder of the mix to cover the top and sides of the cake using a knife
 
Decorate with Fingers and Smarties
 
Enjoy!!