Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Frances Quinn - Bake off Winner 2014

I love the Bake off  and have watched all the series so was very excited to hear that Frances Quinn last years winner was coming to Warwick to talk about her new book Quinntessential Baking .

I went with 18 of us from our local baking group and we all managed to get there early and sit on the front 2 rows. I wasn't sure what to expect and I hadn't even looked at her cookery book but after listening to her talk about it have asked lovely Stephen to get it for me for Christmas ( I know its only October but I have to start early with my suggestions!).
She talked for an hour and a half and had a power point presentation with a couple of videos to show - now that to me sounds really dull but it was quite the opposite. Frances is very confident and a natural speaker and very funny - she not only went through her book talking about her inspiration for it but spoke of the Bake off and the process she went through. It was interesting to hear what happens in the background - apparently in one of the first episodes she had a curdling disaster and said that if anything slightly wrong happens all the camera men descend on you! But fortunately as there were so many of them in the beginning she got away with it. She also spoke of some of the commissions that she has been asked to do since winning.

She had a couple of videos to show - this one is may favourite - How to make her marzipan bees
Frances is so creative and makes eveything she bakes look so easy and effortless. It was a fantastic evening despite that fact that I was coughing like a lunatic trying not to ruin it for everyone! Have a bit of a Bake Off few weeks coming up... watch this space...

Monday, 5 October 2015

Foodie Penpals - September

Love Love Love when I get my food parcel each month!
This month I sent a parcel to Belle it as her first time participating so I felt the pressure to make it a good one! She didn't have any preferences for anything which was good . You can read about it HERE fortunately she liked it!

My parcel came from Lithuania this month and I had some lovely things......

In my parcel I received some of Kamiles' favourite Lithuanian things which was fab.

* Bar of dark chocolate
* sweeties with fabulous Lobsters on the outside ( they don't taste of Lobster thankfully!)

* Chocolate mushrooms (these have all gone now - Molly loved them!)

* Fried Bread
* Dried Sausages ( really looking forward to these)

* Cheese and garlic bread sticks
* A sauce that Kamel says is lovely with meat.

She also included this postcard from her home town and wrote details of all my gifts on the back.

Once again a lovely parcel to receive, Looking forward to next months treats! - if you would like to join in click HERE

Friday, 4 September 2015

Foodie Penpals - August

I joined in with foodie pen pals this month after an abscence of over  year - I have missed getting a surprise parcel of foody goodies every month!
My lovely parcel came from Christine  and I sent a parcel to Ellie . Its such a fun idea - I love finding little items to send and every parcel I have had has been fantastic and this months was such a treat!
This is my box of goodies 

Arent they fab - everything was labeled with an Alice in Wonderland tags ( want them!!) and a description on the back of where they were from and how to use. There were also some lovely recipes which I will definately be doing..

I have tried a few things so far

This was delicious - one of the best cups of tea - lovely, strong and refreshing which is my perfect cup of tea. would love to have this all the time but don't think my budget can stretch to Fortnum and Mason tea everyday . There are another 2 sachets which I will save for special me time!

**photo of granola**

I love Granola and have it most days with 0% vanilla yoghurt so it was lovely to try a new flavour - This was Peach, Orange and peach with puffed wheat and bran flakes in - delicious - it was a fruity explosion with every bite - yum!

There are some spices which I will be using and a recipe card for something called Bitmap which I haven't heard of .

Will try this as a vegetarian version... will report back...

I'm not a real lover of popcorn but always manage to eat it! Will save this for an evening with a good film (which Christine has suggested on her tag)

Aren't these a lovely size! I love minature things ! Looking forward to trying these with a delicious salad.

Overall I was delighted with everything and look forward to next months parcel! If you would like to join in then click here 

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Hello Fresh....meal 2

So the second of my Hello Fresh meals was Coconut Dhal with Homemade Chapati.
This is a meal that I haven't ever attempted before so I was pleased to be making this.

As usual all he ingredients were included.

The recipe was so easy to follow and everything is weighed out - Here are my hands making chapati! That was messy!

So here is the finished dish and a photo of the 'proper' one!

 A close up!

So my thoughts on this meal.... Easy to make and tasted delicious- I forgot how much I loved lentils, but there wasn't enough for 2 people which was unusual for one of their recipes as there is normally enough for a meal the next day . I will be making this one again but maybe doubling the quantity!

Friday, 21 August 2015

My bake - Easter egg Caramel Blondies featured in a local magazine!

I forgot to post one of the most exciting things that has happened in my little baking life! My caramel easter egg blondies were featured in the local free magazine! They were delicious of course but very rich!
Each month the baking club has an advert in the magazine and my recipe was the feature back in April......

Here is the article and my finished bake...

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Homemade Pizza

I have never made Pizza before - there I have admitted it! I now know how easy it is and am ashamed of myself... But only slightly because sometimes you just can't beat a  Dr ooooeeeeetttkkkeeeerrr pizza!
Baking club last month was all about Pizzas! We had our lovely artisan baker Paul come and give us a demonstration on how to make pizza. So I am now a convert and will be making some of my own pizzas however in my defense making pizza hasn't been on my list of priorities since I have 2 children under 3 - just getting through the day is an achievement in itself ! But now that Molly is getting a little older I will definately have a go.

This is my finished pizza

I only took one photo as I was so busy chatting to everyone ! I've said it before but I will say it again! I love baking club! the people are lovely and we have a great laugh.
The pizza sauce that we used was a Jamie Oliver one it was delicious and can be easily frozen. My toppings were mushrooms, peppers,onions and of course cheese. It was delicious - homemade pizzas are the best!
It wasn't just pizza that we ate at baking club - we were all asked to bring something homemade and this months topic was anything Italien. So I made Cantuccini which is like biscotti but doesn't need baking twice.

They were delicious - I chose to make them with dark chocolate and almonds , they were so easy to make and they would be fabulous with coffee.

 - I am going to make some for christmas presents, making them christmassy with  cranberry and white chocolate.. Mouth is watering thinking about them....

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Hello Fresh - Cooking made easy

This week I have had a free box of 3 meals from Hello Fresh that my lovely friend Sarah sent me. I have tried Hello Fresh before and they are fab - delicious and easy to do with fantastic results.
My 3 meals were vegetarian and all of them are meals that I wouldn't have bothered to try normally. The meals are : Coconut Dal with Homemade Chapati, Sweet Potato Wraps, Minted Tzatziki & toasted Almonds and Bodacious Black Bean, Halloumi and Quinoa Salad.
So first one is the Halloumi recipe. The box comes with everything you need this recipe included - Quinoa, Salad onion, red pepper, spinach, Organic black beans, coriander, corn on the cob, Halloumi, smoked paprika and lime. The recipe was quick and only took 25 mins.
The recipe cards are easy to follow I love how there are photos to show you how to do some steps.

This is my finished meal .....

And this is the Hello Fresh version.......

I really enjoyed this meal - I haven't used Quinoa ( apparently prounced Keeenwaaaaaaa!) before and was worried that there wouldn't be enough for me and Stephen - I was also convinced that it would be bland but I was very very surprised!!! It was delicious, there was a lot of taste and each mouthful was lovely and crunchy. There was plenty for 2 people ( stephen had seconds and took a large portion to work the next day). I would make this one again and pleased that I had a go...... Next one to try is Coconut Dal with Homemade Chapati.............