Saturday, 28 September 2013

Great Blog Bake Off - Tea loaf (banana bread)

My Great Blog Bake Off this week is a tea loaf of banana bread.  I choose banana bread as I had 6 ripe bananas in the fruit bowl.  Also it is a simple loaf to make this appealed to me as my arthritis in my hands is painful today, so no lifting of a heavy mixer was a bonus.

100g raisins
75ml toffee vodka
250g self-raising
Pinch of salt
1 level tsp baking powder
150g golden caster sugar
100g butter – softened
50g chopped pecans
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 small bananas (approx 475g)

1 - Start by pre heating your oven to 1700C/gas mark 3.  Then lightly oil and line a loaf tin with baking parchment paper.

2 – Pour the toffee vodka & raisins into a small saucepan and simmer for 2/3 minutes, then set aside for 45 minutes to 1 hour till the raisins are all plump up.

3 – In a large bowl sift the flour, salt and baking powder, also the sugar, butter and nuts.  I used a pastry blender to make the texture to course breadcrumbs or you could use the traditional method of rubbing the mix between your fingers and thumb.


4 – In a small bowl add the eggs and vanilla extract and whisk.  Then add the bananas and mash with a potato masher.  Once mashed add your now soak raisins (and any leftover vodka).

5 – Now back to your dry/flour bowl, make a well in the middle, pour in your banana mixture.  Gently stir all the ingredients together with a wooden spoon.  Once combined pour into your prepared loaf tin.  Smooth out the top of the mixture.  Now pop into the oven and bake for an hour to an hour and a quarter.  Check up skewering the centre of the loaf into the middle, if it comes out clean the loaf is cook.

6 – Allow to cool for about 5 minutes, then remove from the loaf tin.  Slice to serve with butter or toasted for breakfast or teatime treat.  



Sunday, 22 September 2013

Great Blog Bake Off - Biscuit tower show stopper!

Firstly I let me explain that I am taking part in the Great blog bake off, have been for weeks now but something always got in the way of me posting on my blog before the linky closing at 8pm Sunday night.  Yes I know I have all week and then I realise that I have spent all week planning my bake then leaving it till Sunday to bake.  I will do better next week (by the way this has been my mantra for the last five weeks).

So far I have made a Pimms Cake

Then I made Cinnamon Swirls

I have missed two weeks due to lack of time and other commitments.
This week I have been organised to bake and I attempted a biscuit tower show stopper.
I made two types of biscuits, the first ones where a rocky road biscuit.  The recipe is
125g unsalted butter
100g granulated sugar
75g soft brown sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
150g plain flour
50g cherries cut in to pieces
30g small marshmallows cut in two
30g white chocolate
1 table spoon of coco powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
Melt the butter and add to the sugars, combine then add the egg and vanilla extract.  Once all this is mix add the flour, coco powder and baking powder.  Give this a good mix then add the cherries, marshmallows and chocolate. Stir in then leave to rest for five minutes - I find the biscuits bake better if the mixture has been rested.
Oh before you melt the butter pop your oven on to 180 degrees to warm up.
Once the biscuit mix has rested, line some baking sheets with baking parchment and spoon out to what ever size you wish.  A table spoon of mixture makes a giant biscuit, a half table spoon makes a smallish biscuit.  Be warn the mixture spread when baking.
I made a variety of sizes for the biscuit tower.
Pop them in the oven for between 8-10 minutes.  Once they have bake leave them on the baking tray for a minute or two then transfer to a cooling rack.
My second biscuits where triple choc chip, which is the same mixture as the rocky road biscuits I just left out the coco powder, cherries and marshmallows and as I need to make a lot of biscuits for a 30cm tower just like they did on the Great British Bake off on Tuesday, I tripled the amounts so landed up with about 300g of chocolate in white, milk and dark.
Once the biscuits had cooled I started my assembly and this is my biscuit tower
Our two lovely judges on Great Blog Bake Off are -
Do take the time to click and go to their blogs as they are both lovely ladies and baking mad!

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

No I did not have a good summer!

 Let me set the scene – imagine a holiday cottage by the sea with one hubby waking up and three tines having breakfast and one stress/tired mummy preparing a picnic whilst supervising said tines breakfast.

Then the mummy gets a phone call on her mobile that makes her heart stop and her soul & brain go “Oh no!” here we go again.  It is the mummy’s younger sister phoning to say their cousin is in a hospice with cancer and is not expected to stay on this mortal coil of ours much longer.  At the same time time stops and flashes back to when the mummy had to tell the younger sister that their father had died because their mother was too distraught to do it.

Yes I am that mummy and that was the first week of our summer holiday and the first week of the school summer break.  All summer whilst trying to make the summer as happy and fun filled as I could for my three tines my heart would stop every time my phone rang or a text came through.  I spent the summer making sure my mobile had a signal and was charged.  Whilst waiting/expecting the news that no one ever wants to get.  My amazing cousin is proving the doctors wrong and is fighting to stay alive, unfortunately it is not a matter of when she will go home more a matter of when we all have to say good bye.  My cousin was a big part of my childhood and she has hung on for seven extra weeks now, though she gets frailer every week.

Now here is the kick in the teeth....... tomorrow is the anniversary of my father’s death.  He passed away from cancer many years before the twin towers where sent crashing down to the ground.  So tomorrow I will wake up check my phone like I do every morning, I will wondering if last night was the night or will today be the day.  I will get up, breakfast three small children and take them to school and I will mourn the loss of my family that is no longer with us.  Just like so many will mourn on September 11th and wish that  September had not turn into a month of mourning and remembering loved ones no longer with us on this mortal coil.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Dreams can come true

For some time now I have want a Radio Wagon, for those not in the know this is a pull long red truck (the little red one you sometimes see on American films pulled by children). Why would a grown woman want a children truck do I hear you shout...... because I was bored of pushing a buggy, after nearly eight years and three children it has been time to say “goodbye” to our much love and used Phil & Ted.  Don’t get me wrong now, a Phil & Ted is an excellent buggy.  I have pushed and pulled our Phil & Ted over snow, mud, forest walks, sand, Chisel beach and many a Norfolk pebble beach, no terrain has ever defeated our beloved buggy no matter how many children where in it or how much stuff was hanging off it.  It was just time for a change.  A radio wagon could be filled with children, picnics and seaside paraphernalia.   Now here’s the problem – they are not cheap to buy over here as they are American and have to be imported, when you can find a retail outlet that imports them.  Many times over the years I have saved enough money to buy one, then instead of buying the Radio Wagon I’ve had to buy new shoes for the children or get a kitchen appliance repaired, something has always need to be purchased that has taken priority over the wagon.  Then one day a good friend of mine posted on her facebook page that a friend of hers was selling one.  A quick text was sent to find out the price, which was do able and a radio wagon was mine..... sorry the children says it ours, it’s a sharing thing mummy.  So off we went for a lovely lunch and forest walk with friends to collect it and try it out.



As you can see it is loved not just by me (school runs for us means; three children, three book bags, three lunch boxes and on a Friday one violin).  We get many an admiring glance from other people on the way to school or in the park.  I have even been asked by other mums and grannies what is it called and where they can buy one from as their children now wants one.  I have even been approached by a local mum who was brought up in the states as a child, who was amazed I had one and explain she has fond memories of pulling her siblings along in one.

So yes dreams can come true, you just have to be patient sometimes.


Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Bringing the seaside in land

A few weeks ago I had a mad hour in my workshop making lots of napkins for the tinies to use, as I was fed up with the amount I spent on wipes for their faces.  The tinies now like using their napkins and I have enjoyed spending less on wipes.  Now I have a new problem, I have spent the last couple of weeks trying to find a tidy storage solution for the napkins, after trying out many different ideas from bowls to baskets etc none look right in our breakfast room.  Then one day when I was hunting down the buckets & spades to pack in readiness for our family holiday I thought why not bring a bit of the seaside in land and after a quick interweb search I found just what I was looking for a mini castle beach bucket.

Now we have a fun yet tidy table.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Magpie Monday

I had a Magpie moment last week; I spotted a scarf in the window of my local charity shop, so I pop in to have a look as you do, it was alas not what I was looking for so I walk out of the shop thinking “oh that jug looks nice” but as I was on my way to pick up the tinies from school I thought no will pop back tomorrow and purchase it.  So I walk out of the shop, then I has that “no if I don’t buy it now it will be purchase by someone else” moment.  And yes I went back into the shop.  In the mean time the shop assistant has put out this:-



(purchased without the thread on, I just could not wait to get the thread rack home and put all my cotton reels on it in colour order).
So I quickly pick it up and paid for it, as it was to go a bargain to walk pass.  And I did buy the jug.



I must confess that when I proudly show this new jug to hubby, their was a little eye roll from him.  You see I must take this moment to confess to having a small'ish collection of jugs and crockery.  So a new jug was adds to the collection, as you can see this has a vintage look to it, it is nice and heavy and has a lid to prevent slippages.  

The bargains last week did not stop there, best of all was a surprise eBay purchase made by hubby of an Outwell Vermont tent.  More of that later in the week.