Friday, 27 November 2015

Foodie Penpals - November

This month I sent my parcel to Sharon whose blog is here  she said she had a sweet tooth so I sent her some lovely sweet treats, I hope she likes them!

My parcel came from Dawn in Scotland , I was very excited before I even opened the parcel as she had cleverly stuck some recipes on the side - I might steal this idea for a future box!

I was really pleased with all of my treats ..... lots of yummy sweet things....(apologies for the shocking photo I desperatly wanted to eat things and only had my phone to hand and couldn't find my camera.. Ok I didn't look that hard! )

Molly loves it when I have any post and helped to open it for me and went straight to the sweets - there were some more sweets but she had swiped them before I could take a photo!

The only specification I really had was of course shortbread as my parcel was from Scotland and Dawn didn't dissapoint!( I wonder if she gets fed up of sending Shortbread to everyone?) I opened the little round ones as soon as I had taken the photo and they were divine - melt in your mouth little morsels, the packet in the middle was peanut butter truffles and Dawn said she had some as well and as they were so delicious was contemplating keeping them - I am so glad she didn't they were delicious - lovely and rich , one was just enough for me - they have all mysteriously disappeared now....

The museli oatcakes were gorgeous - I ate them as they were and didn't feel the need to add anything to them as I would a normal oatcake. They weren't as sweet as a normal biscuit but still as tasty.
The chocolate had nuts in and was really yummy - I haven't had the olives yet.

These look really interesting.........Hot chocolate with a frothy top - one is white chocolate and the other one is Orange chocolate - I am saving these for an afternoon of Christmas movies!

Looking forward to using this cheeky little chappy.....

Dawn got this from the Good Food festival it is Peppercorn and Tennessee whiskey pour over sauce concentrate - according to their website it is delicious over steak or chicken... mmmm

I saved the best till last - Homemade Raspberry Gin!!!! wow it does have a kick to it! I had a little shot glass of it one evening and it was lovely, fruity and warms your cockles! Another successful swap - if you would like to take part then click here at Carol Annes blog  Foodie Penpals is taking a break for December but starts back again in January.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Another GBBO contestant - Richard Burr

Another week and another GBBO contestant! This time it was the lovely Richard Burr who was the finalist in last years GBBO.
I went with a few of my friends from the baking club that I go to - There were about 20 people there in total, It was hosted in a new venue that has just opened up in Wawick called Okens Kitchen
Okens Kitchen ( photo by Martin Sean)

 It is a beautiful place - there are worktops and ovens and lots of lovely pretty bunting festooned ( love that word!) around the place it looks really pretty.

Okens Kitchen ( photo by Martin Sean)

 Richard did a demonstation of a bread called ChallahRolls which I haven't heard of before - it is a typical Jewish bread made from an enriched dough. Richard made the dough and then we all had a go at twirling it into a rose type effect - He of course made it look so easy

Richard twirling his dough!

 - How hard can it be to roll out some dough and twist it a little? Here is my attempt at a Rose.......
Before it was cooked

My finished bake
The recipe can be found in his book.......

Recipe from his book

Whilst the bread was in the oven Richard talked to us about his time on GBBO , he said that all the contestants on that series are really good friends and see each other all the time and he is hosting a xmas party for them all this year. It sounds like they had a lot of fun filming on and off the camera! 
We also had a mini bake off - we all had to bring in a bake of Buns. I could only think of Chelsea buns and I haven't made those before but I am always up for a challenge! So I found a recipe online and adapted it a little as I only had dates and walnuts and covered it with mini gingerbread men.It took nearly all day to make - lots of proving and in between all of this I was entertaining a 3 year old and 1 year old! I was really pleased with my finished bake .

My interpretation of Chelsea Buns

The competition was fierce  - there were some lovely bakes , we had a cup of tea and sampled them all then had to rank our 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice annouymously - Richard gave us a pencil to do our scoring!!!

 - Hilariously all three winners were from our baking club - it looked like a fix but it wasn't!

Richard announcing the winners - all from our Baking club!!

Included in the price of the ticket was a copy of his book BIY

 and we all had an opportunity to have photos and it signed - he was so generous with his time and spoke to everyone at great lengths

 - I had to dash back to little Henry as I had to feed him and put him to bed but did manage to stay for a group photo.

The evening was lovely - Richard is a really funny, smiley and happy person and seemed to enjoy chatting and answering all our questions - it must have been a little intimidating for him as it was all women!
Some of the photos are from Martin Sean 
Last weekend I went to see a Masterchef chef.... John Torode ... blog post at some point!!....

Monday, 9 November 2015

Henry's 1st BirthdayBirthday

I can't beleive that my little sausage Henry is one already! This year has flown by. He is a gorgeous little monkey but still doesn't like to sleep at night which is driving me crazy ! But otherwise he is perfect!
He didn't have a party but I did make a cake and shared it with some of Mollys' friends ( Henry doesn't have any friends of his age! Poor thing!).

Birthday Boy

I didn't want to do another chocolate cake - not that I don't LOVE chocolate cake but wanted a bit of a change so I made a Carrot Cake this one from Rachel Allen  its a really easy recipe. I didn't have any sunflower oil so used this Rice Bran Oil
Alfa One 100% pure rice bran oil

.... I have had it on my shelf for ages and have forgotten all about it so when I realised I didn't have any sunflower oil I read up on Rice Bran Oil and realised it was the perfect alternative - it says on the bottle that it is perfect for baking and is good for you! So I convinced myself that my cake was a healthy one ! Not only did it have carrots and raisins but healthy oil!! Win Win in my book. The cake turned out to be delicious and had a lovely nutty flavour - adults and children all liked it. I will be using this oil again.

Happy Birthday Henry!