Archive of ‘Recipes’ category

Halloween Cupcakes

The lovely people over at Silver Spoon sent me some Cakecraft products and what better way to use them than baking gorgeous little Halloween cupcakes.  The children had a great time baking these and an even better time decorating them!

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What you need: (makes 12)

  • 4oz unsalted butter
  • 4oz caster sugar
  • 4oz self raising flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla flavouring
  • 2 tbs milk
  • jam (what ever flavour you like)
  • a selection of Silverspoon Cakecraft decorations – we used black, red and green food colouring and red and black designer icing and ready to roll white icing

What to do:

  1. Cream together the butter and sugar in a bowl
  2. Beat the eggs with the vanilla flavouring and add slowly to the butter and sugar mixture
  3. Add the flour and mix well
  4. Add the milk and mix well
  5. At this stage you could add a couple of drops of food colouring – after all Halloween is the best time of year for eating green food…
  6. Place one spoonful into each cake case (we use silicone cases)
  7. Place a dollop of chosen jam on top of the mixture then top up each cake case with the remaining cake mix
  8. Bake at 190C for approximately 12-15 minutes until cooked and golden brown
  9. Allow to cool thoroughly before decorating

To Decorate:

Pop the cakes from the cases and let your imagination (and particularly your children’s run free) – we opted for ghosts, eyeballs and spider webs

Ghosts – roll out white ready to roll icing, cut into a square and drape over the cup cake (use jam to get the icing to stick to the cake) – using designer icing in black pipe on the faces

Eyeballs – roll out white ready to roll icing, cut into circles and place on top of the cake, using food colouring dye some balls of icing coloured and cut into smaller circles for pupils and iris. Using red designer icing pipe on bloodshot veins

Spiderwebs – using black designer icing pipe onto the cake web shaped patterns – this would also be great on cookies.

With so many different colours and types of cakecraft available from Silverspoon it would be easy to create a whole host of ghouls and scary Halloween themed food.

Child Facts:

  • Activity lasts about 2 hours
  • Cleaning up lasts approximately 6 hours (depending obviously on how much control you have over your children’s behaviour)
  • Children loved to do this – it encourages their creativity, baking skills and for those a little obsessed with educational value – maths and english… (weighing, counting and descriptive words…)
  • Yes they are full of sugar and colours but – Halloween comes but once a year and if you can’t go OTT then when can you?
  • All the food colouring washed off hands, faces and luckily the clothes it landed on :)
  • Perfect little cupcakes for Halloween parties

Frugality Bites – tomato soup

cheapsoupSoup is one of the most frugal meals you can make, it has endless possibilities, it’s filling, it’s easy to make and ideal for using up the last little bits of vegetables left over from the week.

This simple recipe perfect for early Autumn when the opportunity to use up gluts of homegrown tomatoes arises, this makes a lovely light lunch or late supper. I’ve also taken this soup in flasks on autumn picnics with freshly baked and still warm cheese scones to accompany a lovely lunch for a conker hunting type of day.

What you need:

  • 2lb ripe tomatoes
  • 2 carrots – grated
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 1 onion
  • clove of garlic
  • 2 pints of chicken/vegetable stock (kallo is my favourite)
  • small tub of single cream

What to do:

  1. Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic
  2. Finely slice the celery
  3. Wash and grate the carrot
  4. Add a splash of oil to a large pan and gently fry the onion, garlic, carrot and celery, don’t allow it to brown, just soften
  5. Meanwhile de-seed the tomatoes – you can take the skin off but as the soup is blended it really doesn’t matter.
  6. Chop the tomato flesh and add it to the pan with a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper
  7. Add the stock and bring to the boil, turn down the heat to a gentle bubble and cook for about 30 minutes
  8. Blend the soup using either a hand blender or by decanting into the food processor – return it to the pan and add the cream – warm through, check seasoning and serve.

To Serve:

I like tomato soup in mugs, stood in the garden preferably watching a bonfire – that’s just how I am…

Alternatively you could have it in a bowl, dip in some fresh bread or make the gorgeous cheese scones to accompany, pop it in a flask and take it for a picnic or to work as packed lunch… whatever.

Frugality tips – if buying the ingredients especially – visit the supermarket in the evening when the over-ripe fruit & veggies is usually on offer and makes perfect soup. This recipe serves 4-6 people happily. This soup costed in Asda is £3.40 to make with a portion cost of 56p.

Juicy Sausage and Cider Casserole

Simple, juicy and a perfect autumn dinner.

What you need:

  • 12 chipolata sausages (use good ones with high meat content)
  • 3 large carrots
  • 2 large eating apples
  • 1 red onion
  • 400 ml cider (I use Aspall Organic Suffolk Cider because its my favourite)
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • Handful of picked fresh thyme leaves (or 2 tsp dried thyme)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 chicken stock cube (I use Kallo)

What to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C
  2. Brown the sausages in a frying pan
  3. Whilst they are browning peel and finely slice the carrot and onion
  4. Add the carrot, onion and sausages to an oven proof dish.
  5. Gently heat the cider in a saucepan, dissolve the chicken stock cube, sugar and tomato puree into the warm cider, add a clove of crushed garlic, thyme and season well then warm through.
  6. Pour the cider mixture over the sausages and vegetables and place dish (lid on) into the oven for an hour.
  7. After an hour, stir well and add the peeled diced apples, return to the oven for 30 minutes
  8. If casserole needs thickening do this either with cornflour & water or plain flour mixed into a knob of butter.

download (3)To  Serve:

This is perfect with mustard mash and greens, or a heap of colcannon (recipe from the BBC here) or to save on the washing up a huge oiled skin crispy jacket potato.


National Curry Week and Cobra Beer

download (1)As this week is National Curry Week the people over at Cobra Beer have teamed up with some fabulous curry houses and have come up with some great ‘Br-Indian’ recipes to celebrate, these recipes are a spicy twist on regional favorites.
And after having a good read of the recipes I’m really quite fancying the Indo-Welsh Rarebit…

What you need–

  • 4 x traditional muffins, cut in half
  • 50g soured cream or crème fraiche
  • 250g grated Collier’s Powerful Welsh Cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons Cobra beer
  • 1 teaspoon English mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcester sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 chopped chilli
  • Coriander (to garnish)

What you do –

1) Preheat the grill to highest heat.
2) Line an oven tray with kitchen foil to catch any cheesy drips (to aid your clean up).
3) Mix the topping ingredients together in a bowl.
4) Toast the muffins on both sides.
5) Spread a generous layer of the topping ingredients on each muffin half.
6) Place on the oven tray and grill until brown and bubbling.
7) Top with Coriander to garnish
8) Enjoy piping hot with ice cold Cobra beer

Followed maybe by a nice Devonshire Cream Chai…

What you need –

The Cream

250 – 300g tub of genuine clotted cream
1 teaspoon finely ground green cardamom seeds
Mix the two together and keep refrigerated until use.
The Scones

  • 450g self raising flour
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 75g margarine
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
  • Milk
  • Chilli jam

What to do –

1) Mix the flour, sugar, margarine and ginger together till it resembles fine breadcrumbs add enough milk to make a soft dough.

2) Roll out lightly and cut out scones bake in a medium hot oven for 15-20 minutes.

3) Whilst still warm halve, spread generously with the clotted cream and serve with chilli jam and either an Indian fragrant Darjeeling or Assam Indian tea, Cobra or King Cobra – which goes well with any sweet dish.

Based on a Recipe from Tim Flaherty, Southern Cross Tea Rooms.

And lets face it if you’re having a curry based dish then Cobra really does go quite perfectly!

If cooking your own doesn’t really do it for you then you could always take advantage of the Cobra promotion of 2 for 1 curry dishes when you buy a Cobra Beer over on the Cobra website.

For more information on National Curry Week, local curry finders and just why Cobra beer goes so well with a curry head over to the Cobra website. or head over to the facebook page – we love curry

Lemon & Poppy Seed Scones


After reading a blog post by the very lovely Kitchen Witch about her taking her husband for tea at Mrs Bridges’s Pantry those lemon & poppy seed scones have been playing on my mind ever since. I’m only disappointed that it had never occurred to me to make them before… just think of all those un-made lemon scones which have passed me by…

I’m pleased to say this has now been rectified and I can confirm these scones are just delicious and should be made straight away and eaten with a leisurely cup of tea.. of course.

What you need:

  • 2 oz butter (unsalted)
  • 8oz self raising flour
  • 2oz caster sugar
  • zest of a lemon
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2 tbs poppy seeds
  • small amount of milk to bind

What you do:

  • Preheat oven to 210C
  • Rub the butter into the flour using your fingers – until it has a breadcrumb texture
  • Add the caster sugar, lemon zest & juice and poppy seeds and stir through using a knife
  • Pour in the milk a little at a time and mix with a knife to form a stiff dough
  • Using floured hands, divide the dough into 8 on a floured surface using hand & knife, pat into a scone shape.
  • Place on a greased baking tray, brush the tops with milk
  • Bake for approx, 8 – 10 minutes until just browning

To Serve:

Break the scones in half, generously spread with lemon curd, dollop with clotted cream and eat with a cup of tea obviously.