Monday, 21 April 2014

Come Dine With Me Dinner

Come Dine With Me is one of my guilty pleasures. Molly, James and I decided to have a crack at our own version. We decided to do it all in one, a course each. James chose the starter, Molly the main and I did the pudding.

We set the table, made name cards, menus and even score sheets!

Moroccan Feasting

One of the best things about being home for the holidays is catching up with your loved ones. Family and friends are two of the major contributors to my happiness, and spending quality time with them is fundamentally important to me.

So I was more than delighted when one of my closest friends Bex invited the girls over for a dinner party. Recently returned from Marrakesh, Bex had promised us a Moroccan themed night of fun, food and fantastic company (if we say so ourselves). Armed with a bottle, or two, Molly and I headed over to Bex's rural abode.

Greeted by our glowing hostess and a house filled with the delicious aroma of North African cuisine, we poured our first glass and got chatting.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

West Country Baking

The only thing better than baking is baking with old family recipes. Due to it being the Easter holidays, my sisters and I were back together again. My Auntie, and avid baker, DD invited us over for a girly day of baking West Country recipes. Our Great Grandma Kitty lived in Devon, also a tip top baker, and passed on some of her recipes down to my Auntie. Everyone in our family holds fond memories of Grandma Kitty's baking, the smell used to waft through her house, and apparently hardly a day went by when she was cooking up something in her little kitchen. 

Monday, 14 April 2014

Easy Peasy Carrot & Cinnamon Cupcakes

The smell of freshly baked cupcakes is just heavenly. Add carrot and cinnamon and you've got an aroma made in heaven! 

Now I am the first to admit, I am not the greatest baker. I have had more than one bake related disaster, which I won't detail as to not embarrass myself! Therefore, I can confirm these are the easiest cupcakes ever to make, even for the biggest beginner in the baking game. I have made them several times, and never had any disasters or issues at all.

The recipe is actually adapted from a tesco recipe, which is aimed at getting youngsters baking, that's why it is so easy! Don't be put off by the 'for kids' label, have you seen what those junior GBBO contestants can do?!

However, with it being the easter holidays this is the perfect recipe for keeping those little fingers busy, and they have the hidden benefit of a few veggies!

To make 6 large, or 9 medium cupcakes you will need;

125g carrots
100g caster sugar
75g margarine
100g plain flour
5ml cinnamon (about a tsp)
5ml baking powder (about a tsp)
1 large egg
60g sultanas

I adapted the recipe slightly, adding a little cream cheese frosting on top which you will need icing sugar, cream cheese and cinnamon for. I also topped them with 'cinnamon apple' pieces by Whitworths, available at Asda.

First things first, pre heat the oven to 180 degrees (Fan). 

Assign the strongest person, or the most patient, to grate the carrots into a large bowl.

Add the sugar and margarine to the bowl, and mix it all together.

Sift in the flour, add the cinnamon and baking powder and keep on mixing (arm aching yet?!)

Whisk the egg in a separate bowl, then add it to the cake mixture along with the sultanas, and you got it, keep on mixing.

Now for the messy part, divide the mixture equally between your cupcake cases.

Place them on the middle shelf of the pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes until they are golden on top.

Whilst they bake away, make up the cream cheese frosting. Tip the cream cheese in to a bowl, and slowly add the icing sugar, continuously mixing until you get the correct texture. Add a teaspoon or two of cinnamon, depending on taste.

Refrigerate the frosting to allow it to harden.

Remove those baking hot goods from the oven, carefully remove from the tray and allow to cool.

You can either leave them as they are, or decorate with the frosting and any goodies you wish.

Enjoy, and remember, every expert was once a beginner.