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Having fun with a Spiralizer and a fab apple pie recipe

Fun with the Spiralizer and a fab apple pie recipe

SPIRALIZER

Have you seen the latest craze to hit the foodie world? It’s called a Spiralizer and it’s so much fun. Originally intended to make spirals from vegetables (corgetti anyone?) I couldn’t resist having a play with one after I saw it in action at a Lakeland press launch. Of course I don’t want to play with veg. I want to make pies!

SPIRALIZER

I thought an apple pie would be a great choice when using this gadget and I wasn’t wrong. I suspected that the apple would go soggy whilst baking- but it didn’t. As there were so many strands to cover in flavour it tasted fab.

The Spiralizer comes with three blades. I used the wrong one to make long strands at first but that didn’t matter as I crunched up the apples once spiralled anyway. The first blade cut the apples into half moon shapes. The second blade had them coming out in perfect spaghetti like spirals. The third blade can be used to cut slices. I used eating apples with the skins left on but peeled cooking apples would work just as well.
SPIRALIZER

Spiralizer apple pie recipie

  • 1 pack of shortcrust pastry (I cheated but you can find my shortcrust recipe here)
  • 3-4 eating apples (just spiral till your plate is very full)
  • 1-2 tbsp apricot jam
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 20g caster sugar
  • egg white to brush the pastry with.
  1. When spiralling apples you will be left with a small end- I ate this up – waste not want not!  and the core which can be removed at the end. You also have to dig out any pips as they are poisonous to eat. It’s pretty easy to see the pips though.
  2. Once the apples have been spiralled place them in a bowl and cover with the sugar and cinnamon. Stir until the apple is completely covered. I did this with my hands and that’s why the spirals broke. I was pretty happy with how they looked. Set aside while you prepare the pastry. SPIRALIZER
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC (Fan oven160ºC)
  4. Roll out the pastry so it’s around the depth of a £1 coin. Place it in the oven proof dish (my dish is 24cm diameter) and pierce the base with a fork and remove the excess dough from the edges.
  5. Heat up the jam in a microwave for a few seconds so it becomes nice and runny. Use a silicon pastry brush to spread it over the base of the pastry case. Set a little aside for the bake.
  6. Fill the pastry case with the apple and brush the pastry with egg white for a shiny finish. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the apple is baked and the dough is golden brown.
  7. Once the pie looks almost done spread a little jam over the apple with a silicone brush to give it a gloss finish and bake for a further 2-3 minutes. Serve warm with thick cream or ice cream.SPIRALIZER

You can buy a Spiralizer on line from Lakeland here

Enjoy!

 

EmmaMT

Disclaimer: Lakeland sent me this Spiralizer (thanks you guys!) All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Sprinkle cookies recipe

Sprinkle cookies recipeSprinkle cookies recipe

Hello there fellow bakers. How are you all today?

I’m having a great day and that is mainly because I have a tin of these Sprinkle cookies just waiting to be eaten. They’re in the kitchen. Can you hear them “Emma!” “Emma come and eat us!!!”

The inspiration for these biscuits came when Darcey found a kids recipe in a magazine where you dip crackers into icing and cover them in sprinkles. They were amazing so we made some from scratch ourselves with biscuits and they’re pretty amazing too! We can’t leave them alone. I put a few in the girls packed lunches yesterday and they both shared them with their buddies. I had a glowing report from Beau’s friend Jack “Tell your mum these are AMAZING” was the message he sent home.  High praise indeed!

For the biscuit I decided to do a version of shortbread as it has a simple texture and crumbles in the right way. With all that icing and sprinkle action you really don’t need a ton of sugar in the biscuit as well- the sprinkles are all you need.

Sprinkle biscuit recipe

Makes around 20

  • 60g icing sugar
  • 100g butter – at room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg yolk (from large egg)
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 170g plain flour + more for rolling out
  • 30g cornflour
  • 80g icing sugar with water to make up
  • Sprinkles of your choice
  1. To make the dough combine the sugar and butter then add all the rest of the ingredients. Sieve all the dry ingredients so you have a lovely light textured biscuit.
  2. Once combined and a dough is formed cover in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  3. Pre-heat your oven to 180ºC (Fan oven160ºC) and line a baking tray with silicon paper. 
  4. Roll out the dough so it is around the thickness of a £1 coin. This is a really soft and squidgy dough so you will need plenty of flour when rolling out to stop it sticking. I rolled out between two sheets of silicon paper to prevent sticking. That helped a ton.
  5. Cut out small circles and place on the baking sheet. Bake in the middle of the oven for 5-7 minutes. These biscuits burn within a minute of you turning your back so keep a beady eye on them! They should be turning golden brown around the edges when they are done. You can lift one up and see if it’s browning underneath. It’s also a good idea to turn the tray around half way through the bake. Sprinkle cookies recipe
  6. Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool completely.
  7. Make up the icing sugar. Don’t let it get too runny. Place it in a deep bowl then fill a ramekin with the sprinkles.Sprinkle cookies recipe
  8. Dip the cookies into the runny icing and let it drip off for a minute. If you dip the cookies too quickly the icing goes lumpy and you end up with clumps of sprinkles. Let the excess run off for a minute. Sprinkle cookies
  9. Finally dip your biscuits in the sprinkles. If there are too many just wipe them off. Sprinkle cookies recipe
  10. Leave them to set for a while then devour!

Sprinkle cookies recipe

Enjoy!

EmmaMT x

20 Fantastic cupcakes too good to eat.

I love how a cupcake can really make any plain old day a special occasion, but these design are just so fantastic. They’re so right for the party they’re intended for. Not only would  I would love to make them some I really want to taste! They’re all beautiful. See which one’s you think are the most amazing.

1. Wedding cakes don’t have to be tiered

How gorgeous are these flower toppers? So delicate and perfectly glamourous. I’d have these stacked on a cake stand for a wedding any day.

Colinweddings.co.uk

Colinweddings.co.uk

2. A rose by another name

I love making roses from flower paste. The more I make them the better they get. I’d love to make a whole batch for a wedding or anniversary celebration. They look really special.

Rose cupcake

3. Make mine a Gin and Tonic

Yep, you’ve guessed it. These are gin and tonic cupcakes. Girls night in anyone?

Gin and tonic cupcakes

bakeitinstinct.com

4. Edible Hydrangeas

These are one of my favorite flowers and the way the decorator has used different tones of  blue and purple buttercream to pipe on each petal is genius! I can’t wait to have a go at these!

 simplystacie.net

simplystacie.net

5. Neapolitan cupcakes – How clever!

This looks totally delicious and so neat. Look how perfectly flat the chocolate layer is? How did she do that?  Chocolate and vanilla cake topped with a strawberry buttercream. I have to make these.

cookingclassy.com

cookingclassy.com

 

6. Red velvet cupcakes- seriously red!

Why do I always call these ‘Red Devil’ cupcakes? Velvet Emma VELVET! These are fantastically red. Great if you want a strong colour theme to your event.

shemakesandbakes.com

shemakesandbakes.com

7. Black Forest Gateau cupcakes

I know a certain Mr MT who would love these….errr and maybe a Mrs MT too!

cookingclassy.com

cookingclassy.com

 

8. Have fun with Funetti cakes

Totally perfect for any kids party be they 6 or 60! Sprinkle those sprinkles!

cookingclassy.com

cookingclassy.com

9. Cocktail anyone?

These are Margarita cocktail cupcakes. Don’t they look and sound delish?

buzzfeed.com

buzzfeed.com

10. Coco nut!

Coconut Lime cakes seem to be everywhere at the mo and these cupcake versions look mouth wateringly good!

dessertnowdinnerlater.com

dessertnowdinnerlater.com

11. Perfect pipework

You have to have a steady hand and a serious amount of creative flair to make these stunning cakes.

Asianweddingideas.co.uk

Asianweddingideas.co.uk

12. The cat’s meow

These cakes are such a simple design and are so effective. Great to make with kids – although I’m not sure they’d turn out this good.

littledelightscakes.com

littledelightscakes.com

13. Watermelon cupcakes

I love these cupcakes but some of the ingredients may be hard to find in the UK – Watermellow Koolaid anyone? I’m sure we can make it up as we go along!

blogs.babycenter.com

blogs.babycenter.com

14. Perfect peacock

This is just incredible. The attention to detail in what is an amazing small cake is just fantastic. This one is definitely too good to eat.

hercampus.com

hercampus.com

15. Trio of tasties

These corn on the cob cupcakes have been bouncing around the internet for ages but they’re so good I couldn’t resist adding them to this round up. The corn really looks butterlicious!

3148_corn_cupcake_xl16. Lego rocks!

My kids absolutely love Lego so these cupcake toppers would go down a storm in my house. Another clever and simple idea any one can achieve.

thecakinggirl.ca

thecakinggirl.ca

17. Minion madness

I reckon these minion cupcakes take ages to make and are really fiddly but they’re so cute they’re worth it. I’m sure all kids switch into minion voices as soon as they see them. Bee bo be bo be bo (that’s minion for police siren in case you were wondering!)

eatsamazing.co.uk

eatsamazing.co.uk

18. Star Wars cupcakes

These cupcakes are all over Pinterest but the originator was an Etsy store which I don’t think is selling them any more. Aren’t they amazing?

Etsy.com

Etsy.com

19. Move over Darcey

These ballerina cupcakes are very clever. Perfect for a little girls party.

Dose.com

Dose.com

20. BBQ time

These are my favorite cupcakes in this round up. How totally cute are they. Vanilla and chocolate cupcakes split in half with a touch of coloured buttercream for the lettuce, ketchup and mustard. You can even make marzipan chips to go along with them.

http://m.9gag.com

9gag.com

So, which one’s your favorite? Which one do you want someone to make for you? I’d love to know.

EmmaMT

 

p.s. If you like this post don’t forget to share it. 

 

 

 

Colin’s painted cake

Colin’s Painted Cake Grandad Colin's Painted cake

This was my first attempt at paining a cake. It was one of those ‘I have a great idea for a cake for grandad Colin but I don’t have lots of time to do it’ cakes! I always knew I wanted to paint the decorations on the outside and I wanted it to be a sailing cake but in the end I had literally one hour to cover the cake in sugarpaste and have it painted and in a box ready to take to lunch. Where do those hours go? Ideally I wanted to roll out the sugarpaste and have a little practice so I could plan my design. In the end I just went for it!

Once covered the painting part is pretty easy. I wished I had covered the cake in sugarpaste the day before so it had a little more time to harden up a little, but as long as I was gentle it wasn’t too bad.
Colin's Painted cake

I started by painting the boats. I used gel food colour watered down with alcohol in a paint palette (the one I usually use to shape flowers). It goes without saying that you should only use paint brushes and palettes saved specifically for cake decorating!  In her book  The Painted Cake Natasha Collins teaches that she uses water not alcohol to blend her colours so I would try that next time. I think it would produce a softer effect. The alcohol dries really fast and using water would give more time to work on the design.

Once I had all the boats, sails and little people (can you see them?) I painted waves.

Colin's Painted cake

That’s when I got help. Darcey wanted to help make Grandad’s cake so I let her. Inhale! Deep breath in. It will be all right!!! And it was. I had to just let her go with it and she did a really good job. I showed her how I painted the waves and she did more around the base of the cake.

We started with a turquoise colour then watered that down with a few drops of alcohol and added waves in between. It looked a bit flat so we created darker navy waves at the bottom of the cake  then added a few highlights of dark waves (or should that be low lights?) around the lighter areas. I wanted to give a bit of definition to the sea.

Once that was all done we stood back and looked at the cake and it still felt a bit empty so we left the waves to dry for a few minutes then used a really watered down turquoise colour to fill in the background of the sea. Colin's Painted cake

The last step was to add a ‘Happy Birthday Grandad’ onto the top – which was harder than it looked! and stick some ricrac ribbon around the base- more waves in my eyes. Colin's Painted cake

The cake was a surprise and after our lovely lunch out no-one had room for cake. We did sing Happy Birthday and then Grandad Colin took the cake home – which I think was his plan all along!

Happy Birthday Colin.

EmmaMT x

FAQ: How to measure the volume of a cake tin?

FAQ: How to measure the volume of a cake tin?How to measure the volume of a cake tin

How do I measure the volume of a cake tin?

This is one of those questions I get asked a lot…. or rather “How much ingredients do I need for my teddy bear / football shirt/ sphere size cake tin?” (please enter any obscure measurement or shape tin in here!) and I reply with the same answer each time…

“If you can measure the volume of water your cake tin can hold I can work it out for you”

 

The volume of a cake tin.

I use a formula that is calculated from the volume of a recipe and then I calculate up or down from there. The original cake is my base line. Mine is a 6″ Madeira cake for which the cake tin holds 1200ml of water. Once I know what the volume of the odd shaped tin is I can calculate the ingredients. I learnt how to do this from Ruth Clemens on The Pink Whisk. It’s very number-y. You can see how I learnt to do this on this post or check out Ruth’s post here. It took me a while to work it out – especially when the calculation said 1 ½ eggs. I mean how do you get half an egg? (Actually I know the answer to that. You weigh it and use half!)

I’ve been asked so many times that I thought I better show you how I measure the volume of a cake tin.How to measure the volume of a cake tin

  1. The first step is to line your tin if it has a loose bottom. I use bin bags – the ones with no holes in!
  2. Then I add 1 litre at a time till I am 1-2cm from the top of the cake tin.
  3. Write it down or do a tally chart as you go so you don’t loose count. When in doubt go less water than more. I have found that less cake mix results in a taller, lighter cake.
  4. Tip out the water and check the volume against this chart below.
  5. If you need the steps on how to make the madeira cake have a look at this post which goes through it step by step. 

Madeira cake chart - April 2015

It’s that simple.

EmmaMT

How to make an Xbox cake

How to make an Xbox cake

How to make an easy XBOX CAKE

This is an Xbox cake I made for Free Cakes For Kids. I always love getting asked to make cakes for the charity because it gives me such a warm and fuzzy feeling inside but this one was a bit of a concern. “Why?” I hear you ask. It’s just a black box. All kids love an XBox. It’s just a small cake. It shouldn’t be a problem for you oh cake obsessed Emma. Oh no, that wasn’t the problem. The problem was that we don’t have one and I know absolutely nothing about them and when you google Xbox a ton of images appear and having no experience whatsoever meant that I literally didn’t know where to start. The request was for an Xbox cake for a 10 year old boy who loved the FIFA football game.

Stumped!

Then Tim said “Just make the box with a controller. Don’t make it too difficult” after I was trying to work out how to get a FIFA game incorporated. And as always, he was right (just don’t tell him okay!) So that’s what I did and I have to say it was a really lovely cake to make. Pretty straight forward, simple design, black sugarpaste with grooves cut into it. And although I don’t like to make black cakes – especially for kids, the mum was overwhelmed by it when she saw it. I don’t know what she was expecting but she was so thrilled with it. I totally welled up when I saw her response (to be honest I’m welling up now just thinking about it) I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Giving something as simple as a cake to someone is the best feeling in the world. It says I care and I don’t even know you. I urge you to find your local group and give it a try.

How to make an XBox cake

XBOX CAKE

I baked a rectangular cake and as it was so small I didn’t cut it in half to fill it with buttercream. I did a test and it turns out that plain old Madeira cake is just as yummy with just butter cream and sugarpaste on the outside.

The cake was covered with a crumb coat and then a second outer coating of buttercream making sure that the edges were as smooth and flat as possible.

XBOX CAKE

The cake was then covered in black sugar paste. When using black paste it’s really important to make sure every surface is as clean as possible. Every little grain of icing sugar will look like massive spot on your cake. It’s difficult to do as the black sugarpaste is the stickiest of all the colours.

XBOX CAKE

Smooth the sugarpaste till it’s nice and flat and remove the excess, then use side scrapers to get nice ‘pointed’ corners. I’m still working on this technique. It doesn’t really matter if they aren’t super sharp but the sharper the better. The way to do this is to hold one scraper flat on the top of the cake so it’s overhanging the cake and smooth from the side with the other scraper. The scrapers should meet at the edge. This gives the sharp edge. I’m getting there….slowly. Practice, practice, practice!

XBOX CAKE

I then made a template to fit on my cake so I could mark where the grooves needed to go. You can download/print my template here. Enlarge or reduce it to fit your cake. XBOX CAKE

To make the marks I use a pin which has been sterilised in alcohol. Just pierce the paper into the sugarpaste.

XBOX CAKE

I did the marks slowly – one at a time rather than all in one go. I was worried the paper would move or it wouldn’t look right. I had more control this way.

I used a thin palette knife to create the groove lines.

XBOX CAKE

The lines weren’t as straight as I hoped but once they were all done I think I got away with it. Next time I’ll mark each line and create grooves between them.

XBOX CAKE

Then came the tricky part. I cut out the circle in the centre )that’s the hard bit- working out where the centre is!) I made sure I went right through the sugarpaste so that when I removed the cutter I could just stick the pallette knife in the centre and lever it out. It works every time!

XBOX CAKE 7

Use the same size circle cutter to cut out a green circle and place it in the hole using a little buttercream to ‘stick it down’. Try to roll out the green sugarpaste to the same thickness as the black so the top of the cake is flat.

I covered the cake board in the same green a week before and left it to harden so there wouldn’t be any finger prints in it. The cake was secured onto the board with a little royal icing.

XBOX CAKE

To make the controller I used the paper template and cut out a block of black sugarpaste then curved and shaped  it.

XBOX CAKE

I used tiny circle plunger cutters to make the buttons and controllers and made them stick by dampening the underneath of them with cooled boiled water. I used the same technique to add buttons to the front of the box. I also made big dents/holes in the front using a bulbous cone tool.

XBOX CAKE

To finish a black length of sugarpaste which had been rolled into a string was added to the box and controller and the writing was added.

In all a really fun cake to make.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Bye for now

EmmaMT

Chocolate peanut cookie recipe

Chocolate peanut cookie recipe

Chocolate and peanut cookie recipeEvery now and again I come across a cake or cookie and I simply have to have more of! That was the case with these chocolate peanut cookies. I was on a photo shoot in April and the client bought some of these in with her. She’s bought them at some trendy bakers and I kept sneaking back into the kitchen to eat a few more crumbs in between shots. I couldn’t get enough of them. So, I decided to try and recreate them.

Cookies are a funny thing. They need to be moist and chewy in my mind to be a success and these weren’t as chewy as I’d hoped for. They were deep and almost fluffy inside and the combination of chocolate chips with all those peanuts just worked. I’ve tried a few flavour variations on this recipe and this is definitely my favorite.

They’re great for making in a hurry as they are a success whether you chill the dough before baking or not (I couldn’t tell the difference between the ones I baked straight away and the ones that had sat in the fridge for an hour first) They also work well straight from the freezer- just give them a few extra minutes in the oven.

So, with the end result being more biscuit than cookie we still managed to polish them off in record time. Whatever you’d call them they were totally moreish and completely deeelish. Whats more, they took less than an hour from start to munch!

Chocolate and peanut cookie recipeChocolate peanut cookie recipe

Makes around 20

  • 150g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 150g caster sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 large egg
  • 225g plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 100g chocolate chips
  • 100g peanuts
  1. Line a baking sheet with baking paper and pre-heat your oven to180ºC (Fan oven 160ºC).
  2.  Mix the butter and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the egg and vanilla essence. Sieve the flour and baking powder over the mix and stir until just combined.
  3.  Lastly, add the chocolate chips and peanuts. Be careful not to over mix the ingredients as it makes the cookies tough.
  4.  Place dollops of cookie dough onto the tray leaving space for them to spread a little and bake for 12-15 minutes until they start to turn brown at the edges.
  5.  Leave on the tray for a few minutes before transferring onto a cooling rack.
  6.  These chocolate peanut cookies will keep for a few days in an air tight container.

Chocolate and peanut cookie recipe

Enjoy!

EmmaMT x

Book review: The Painted cake by Natasha Collins

The Painted cake by Natasha CollinsNatasha Collins

If you’re anything like me you love a new cake book. There’s something very appealing about finding a new technique, tip, recipe or design to add to your repertoire and The Painted Cake by Natasha Collins (above)is bursting full of great ideas.The painted cake

Natasha Collins was an illustrator and turned her talents from paint and paper to sugarpaste and cakes. She has a beautiful style or ‘hand’ as she puts it and transforms the plainest of cakes into something really unique. The owner of the ever popular Nevie-Pie Cakes she has written this book as if she’s talking to a friend who has no idea where to start ; and let’s face it not many of us would know where to start when painting a cake!

What’s in the book?

Your kit

This book is just beautifully illustrated (as you would expect) and the equipment page is no different. Just look at this page!The painted cake

You don’t actually need a whole load of new equipment to start painting cakes. In fact Natasha recommends only three sizes of brush to start with. She also uses water not alcohol to use for watering down her paints. I was surprised by this but when you think of the amount of cakes she must do it makes financial sense. Water allows the paint to be used in a slightly different way. Alcohol dries much faster- too fast for some painting techniques.

Design and painting techniques

I love these pages. They’re like an art lesson and they make the whole experience look like so much fun. Natasha shows how she plans her designs, marking out the initial flower and then how she layers up the colours. There are tips on mixing tones, how to add high lights and low lights and when to leave an area unpainted.

There are really good detailed guides on how to paint flowers so even the novice can get a beautiful cake first time round. The troubleshooting pages are also very informative you can even remove paint from a cake if you know how!The painted cake

Recipes

No cake decorating book is complete without a load of yummy recipes and as Natasha says “There’s no point in spending hours (or days) perfecting a design if it’s not worth eating”. The recipes included in the book are sponge cake, fruit cake, cookies and gingerbread cookies. I have to say that this is the only part of the book that is let down by the layout. The recipes are a bit scrunched up and whereas normally ingredients and their weights are listed clearly one under another here they are in one long paragraph – which I find a bit hard to read when baking. Still it wouldn’t put me off the book.

Preparing your canvas

This is all about layering up your cakes with buttercream and jam and covering them in sugarpaste. How to get smooth finishes and how to place sugar paste on cupcakes ready to paint.

Painting projects

There are five levels of difficulty to the cake and cookie designs in this book, but even the easiest one gives you scope to add your own twist on it. Each design is clearly shown in small achievable steps and this is what makes this book so good. Whether you’re an avid painter or haven’t touched a paintbrush since your school days you’ll be able to do any one of these projects by following the steps. The projects include painting actual cakes, painting pieces of sugarpaste to stick on top or on the side, there’s butterflies made to look colourful and like they’re flying, chick cupcakes, cookies for every occasion and so much more- thirty projects in total!The painted cake

Templates

You’ve guessed it! There’s no guess work here to get- just copy these for ease of use.

 

Why this book’s a winner

Once I knew I was getting this book I couldn’t wait!  I was really excited about it. So excited that when I had a cake to do I painted it. (I’ll share that with you soon) before the book was even delivered!. Painting again was really good fun and felt quicker to design than traditional decorating methods but I would do that cake differently now I’ve read this book. I’ve picked up so many better practices.

The preparation and painting techniques are so clear that I really want to make a cake with flowers on it now. Natasha’s roses are so beautiful and in a style all of her own – the way a Cath Kidston rose is recognisable. I feel I have learnt a lot from this book. It is truly inspirational.

If I had to choose a favorite project I would say that I love the woodland cake with it’s separate painted elements. Great for getting kids involved. The bunting cake is really cute and would be a quick and easy cake to make.  I also really love the numbers painted onto sugarpaste ready to stand up as a cake topper. So clever!

The whole book is beautiful whether that’s in the illustrations, photography or the little details like forks full of yummy cake. There are loads of pieces of painted sugarpaste just creeping onto the page. Such a nice touch.

The painted cake

 The Painted Cake by Natasha Collins, published by Murdoch books available on Amazon

So how about you? Do you fancy painting your next cake? Have you ever painted a cake? I’d love to see. Why not post your painted cakes over on the CakesBakesAndCookies Facebook page and share the painted love?

Happy baking

EmmaMT x

 

The painted cake

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by Murdoch books. (Thanks you guys)  All thoughts and opinions are my own and are honest and true.

 

WIN: Pyrex bundle giveaway

WIN a Pyrex bundle giveaway

PYREX COMP

“Wowzers!” I hear you cry! Can I win all of that! Well yes you can.

Pyrex is 100 years old this year so when they asked if I would like to do a giveaway here on CakesBakesAndCookies.com I jumped at the chance. I mean what baker doesn’t love a bit of Pyrex kitchen kit?

So, what’s in the bundle?

The big bowl

I’ve had a 3.0L Pyrex Glass Bowl,small Pyrex bowl and Pyrex jug in my ‘essential’ kit for as long as I can remember. I use the large bowl to mix ALL my cake mixes in as I now use my hand held whisk for practically everything. That big bowl is the perfect size for cakes up to 10″ and you can’t say that about many mixing bowls!

The Small bowl

The small 1 litre Pyrex Bowl,  I have is so old now. It’s got a ton of scratches at the bottom where I mix eggs for omelettes and have done so since Tim and I first moved in together. So, it must be about 18 years old! Boy am I showing my age now! The thing I use it for most of all now is warming up butter. I shared this Mary Berry tip a few years ago where you place cold butter from the fridge in the bowl then add tepid water and leave it for ten minutes so the butter softens up to room temperature. My kitchen is so cold – especially in the winter so I do this for most cakes. The softer the butter the better the cake mix.

Pyrex giveaway mixing bowls

The Small Jug

The small 0.5 l Pyrex Jug is what I use to measure (no brainer really!) but I also always break my eggs into this jug when making cakes. It’s become a bit of a ritual habit for me. Do you know that when you break eggs into a glass container any tiny bits of shell that get in the mix sink to the bottom, so you can lift the jug up and look underneath to check that there aren’t any fragments lurking down there.  I used to have the big 1 litre Pyrex jug but I dropped it and was really gutted. It’s another great sized piece that has so many uses. I must replace that some time!Pyrex giveaway jug

Kitchen lab precise measure

This is a really clever device. It was new to me but since I’ve had my hands on it I’ve used it tons. The Pyrex test tube design  has this clever rubber base so it can stand up while you measure really small amounts of liquid into it so, when a cake calls for 4 tea spoons of vanilla essence you can measure them in one go. It can measure up to 50ml, 1 ½ Fl. Oz, 6 tea spoons and 3 tablespoons, handy when you’re baking big cakes. You don’t loose count when you measure in one go!

Pyrex giveaway  measuring small liquidBaking tray

I love baking trays. I don’t know any keen baker who doesn’t. You just can’t have enough of them can you? This Pyrex asimetriA BAKING TRAY  has a raised surface and is designed to give you an even distribution of heat so those cookies will all come out the same. It’s a really good size. I can get 30 cookies on just this one tray.

Pyrex giveaway - baking tray

Loaf tin

This Pyrex asimetriA Loaf tin is the only part of this bundle I haven’t baked with yet. I’m thinking about doing a long thin cheesecake with it next month with a line of cherries down the centre. What do you think? It’s not your traditional size loaf tin. It’s longer (26cm) which I really like. It gives you a point of difference… and more cake. What would you bake with one of these?

Pyrex giveaway - loaf tin

Muffin tin

This Pyrex asimetriA MUFFIN TRAY has really tall, straight sides. I’m a bit rubbish when it comes to muffins. They never seem to rise up as much as I’d like, but when I used this tin to make cupcakes a couple of weeks ago they came out really neat and even – just what I wanted. The straighter the sides of the cake wells the more professional the cakes look in my opinion.

Pyrex giveaway - muffin tray

 Sandwich tins

These Pyrex asimetriA sandwich tins are probably the most useful size you can get – or at least they’re the size I use the most. So with that in mind I now have four 8″ sandwich tins. Great for layered cakes or rainbow cakes. These sit inside each other for handy storage and bake a chocolate victoria sponge cake perfectly – as I did last month. Great quality and non-stickability.Pyrex sandwich tins

 The GIVEAWAY

So, basically I have these essentials in my baking cupboard and they get a ton of regular use. So do you want some? These are all up for grabs in one lovely big giveaway bundle. You can win……

  • 1 x Large 3 litre Pyrex Mixing Bowl (rrp £4.99)
  • 1 x Small Pyrex bowl (rrp £2.99)
  • 1 x Pyrex jug (rrp £2.99)
  • 1 x Kitchen lab presice measure (rrp £6.99)
  • 1 x Baking tray (£8.99)
  • 1 x Muffin tin (£11.99)
  • 2 x round sandwich cake tins (rrp £8.99 each)
  • 1 x long loaf tin (rrp £6.99)

So that’s over £60 worth of baking goodness.

To win all you have to do is share a comment below with what you would bake using this fabulous Pyrex bundle AND enter your name into the Rafflecopter random number generator on the pink link below.

Click here to enter the  giveaway

and don’t forget to leave a comment! 
 

I wish you the best of luck

Emma x

Terms and Conditions

This Pyrex giveaway ends at 11.59pm on 21st May 2015. The prize consists of 1 x Large 3 litre Pyrex Mixing Bowl, 1 x Small Pyrex bowl, 1x Pyrex jug,1 x Kitchen lab presice measure, 1 x Baking tray, 1x Muffin tin, 2 x round sandwich cake tins,1 x long loaf tin. It is open to UK entrants only (sorry).  Leaving a blog post comment is a mandatory entry option. This prize is offered by Pyrex and is hosted on CakesBakesAndCookies.com. Please note that CakesBakesAndCookies.com is not responsible for sponsors that do not fulfill their prizes. A winner will be selected by the Rafflecopter widget and that person will be notified within 7 days. The products offered for the giveaway are free of charge, no purchase necessary. I do not share or sell information and will use any information only for the purpose of contacting the winner.

Disclosure: I have not been paid for this post. Pyrex very kindly sent me this set of bakewares for review on CakesBakesAndCookies.com and will provice a duplicate set which will be sent to the giveaway winner. All thoughts and opinions are my own and are true and honest.  

Kitchen Gadget Review: The Nutribullet 600 Series

Kitchen Gadget Review: The Nutribullet 600 Series

Nutribullet review

Everyman and his wife seems to have a Nutribullet nowadays. My dad bought us one last October and I have to say that Tim and I are a little bit addicted to it (and those smoothies!) Every morning Tim’s up at the crack of dawn and whizzes up a green smoothie and leaves one in the fridge for me when I get back from my run. I don’t know how the girls don’t wake up with all that blending going on beneath them but they never do!

The Nutribullet: What’s the fuss all about?

Well, in truth the Nutribullet is just another blender but what makes it so much better than all the rest (and I’ve had a Kitchenaid blender!) is that it makes whatever you put in it really smooth. It’s simple to use and can be cleaned in less than a minute. Instant winner in our eyes. The price is also a real bargain. At around £99 it is a serious competition for all the big, expensive names out there.

It’s the simplicity of it that makes it so wantable. The Nutribullet is pretty small- so sits nicely on your kitchen worktop without taking up much space It’s quick and easy to use and therefore simple to add a daily, healthy smoothie to your diet without really impacting on your time; you can literally wash and slice up some fruit, add some water, blend, pour, drink and wash up in under 10 minutes and we can all find 10 minutes in our day to be healthier and that is why I think it’s been so popular.

What’s in the box?

We’ve got the Nutribullet 600 Series but there are other newer Nutribullet models out on the market. Ours has a 600w motor which is very powerful.

  • The power base. This is the base part which sits on your worktop. It’s easy to clean and heavy enough to sit still while your blending. The small size means that you can tuck it into a corner out of sight if you want to.
  • 1 x extraction blade (that’s the smoothie maker bit to me and you!) It’s made from high quality stainless steel that never needs sharpening. It’s pretty easy to clean and can be put in the dishwasher but it takes seconds to wash by hand so get yourself one of those bristle pan cleaners.
  • 1 x milling blade– super grinder. Also made from always sharp stainless steel, You can use this blade to grind up nuts, oats, grains or fresh herbs and even coffee beans.
  • 1 x tall cup. This is the one we use most mornings and it makes plenty for us to share. There is a ‘Max’ line on the side and this is the max for both fruit and/or veg and liquids.
  • 2 x short cups.These are really handy as you can take a smoothie to work or store some for later. I also use these when making the Naked bars – as seen in the recipe below. When storing smoothies for later on in the day remember that all that goodness found in preparing fresh drinks begins to deteriorate after 45 minutes so wherever possible try and drink your smoothie straight away. My thinking is that if I leave it a few hours at least I’m drinking fruit and not Dr Pepper!
  • 1 handled lip ring. Great for when you take your smoothie on the go. Ours hasn’t left the cupboard!
  • 1 regular lip ring. Again- hasn’t left the cupboard! I prefer to drink from glass.
  • 2 stay fresh resealable lids. Invaluable if you want to prepare ahead or store in the fridge. Or if you want to travel with one.
  • 1 x user manual Now when it comes to manuals and guide books I tend to give them a quick once over but this one is probably the best I have ever seen. It’s literally jam packed with information, loads of great recipes and facts and ideas. Tim and I both read it cover to cover as soon as the Nutribullet landed in our kitchen. It explains exactly how to build on basics of a healthy diet. How to make a nutritionally balanced smoothie. There’s even a “program’ (aka a diet) to follow. The recipe ideas include ‘protein powerhouse, the immune booster, toxin cleansing blast and vita berry blast.’ There’s even room at the back for notes and planner so you can record what you ate and when.
  • 1 x Pocket nutritionist. This is another great read especially if you don’t know what the benefits are to each fruit and vegetable. I thought I knew but I learnt a lot reading this. There’s also a guide on how to select the best produce.

5 Great facts about the Nutribullet

  1. You can crush ice in it.
  2. You can turn granulated sugar into caster or even icing sugar with the milling blade
  3. It makes great soups and sauces.
  4. You can blend vegetables and hide them in the kids foods without them noticing.
  5. You can use frozen fruits to make summer shakes all year long.

My favorite smoothie / milkshake recipe

(aka getting your kids to eat their greens)

Although I enjoy the traditional green smoothies, the milkshakes I make with the Nutribullet are a bit more kid friendly. To start with they don’t look too brown or green which in my house is a no-no to getting the kids interested in drinking them. But they just taste like milkshake so no-one really knows that they’re getting 3 of their 5 a day in one delicious hit.

Nutribullet: smoothieIngredients

  • Handful of spinach
  • ½ – 1 mango – make sure it’s ripe
  • 1 banana – the ones with brown spots are sweeter and blend the best
  • Almond milk up to the ‘max’ line. You could also mix this with water.
  1. Place all the ingredients in the Nutribullet starting with the spinach then screw on the lid tightly. Blend for 20-30 seconds until all the spinach is well incorporated and you can’t see any green specs.
  2. Pour into a tall glass add a straw and enjoy!

Naked bars

These are so easy to make and I totally love them. I’m sure they’re super fattening with all the nuts and seeds but they do contain the healthy oils so I’m not counting them! They’re great cut into little bars or small squares so you can pop  them into your mouth when you’re feeling peckish. As they’re so sweet they give you that 4pm sugar hit we all crave without the guilt!

Anything goes with these bars. As long as you stick to a 50/50 ratio. 50% soft dried fruit that will hold together the other 50% of dry nuts and seeds. Just weight them to check.

Nutribullet: naked barsIngredients

  • 45g (⅓ cup) almonds
  • 40g (¼ cup) mixed seeds – I use flax, sunflower, sesame and pumpkin
  • 60g (½ cup) pecans
  • 75g (½ cup) dried or fresh dates
  • 100g((½ cup) dried apricots
  1. Start by milling all the nuts and seeds together using the milling blade and one of the small cups. You may need to stop every 10 seconds to shake up the contents as the moisture in the nuts makes them clump and you want to ensure there aren’t too many large pieces (unless that’s the texture you’re looking for). The end result should be the consistency of ground almonds.
  2. Add the dried fruit to the milled nuts and seeds, screw the milling blade back onto the cup and mill again. This will take 2-3 grinds. Again you may need to shake the cup a little to ensure all the ingredients are combined.
  3. Line a bowl with cling film then press the ingredients into the bottom of it using the back of a spoon. Make the top as smooth and flat as possible. Cover the top with cling film then leave to chill in the fridge.
  4. When ready to eat cut into bar shapes or squares and serve. You can wrap individual ones up for packed lunches or do what I do and just snack straight from the fridge! Yummarge!

 

Tim’s Green smoothie recipe

So, this is what I’m greeted with each morning. An old Nutella glass (complete with those handy white lids) full of goodness. Now, I know what you’re thinking. “You drink that!? It looks like pond water!” And you’re right. It does. The green nature of these smoothies mean that they look less than appetising but you have to trust me when I say they taste delicious.

Nutribullet:  green smoothie

 Ingredients

  • Handful of spinach
  • Handful of blueberries
  • Handful of strawberries
  • ½ apple – cored – the seeds are dangerous to eat
  • ½ pear – stalk removed
  • ½ banana
  1. Place the spinach in the large cup first then add the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Fill with water up to the max line and blend for 30 seconds.
  3. Pour and drink.

Some people who have seen me post my smoothies on Instagram  and twitter have asked how we get them smooth. It’s just a case of getting the balance right. There needs to be plenty of water in a smoothie for it to be really smooth. We keep the fruit/veg contents lower than the max line and make sure there’s enough water to blitz it to pieces. If you want a thicker consistency just add items like banana, mango or avocado.

The Video review

Here’s a short video review I shot with the lovely photographer Oliver Gordon back in February. It shows the Nutribullet in action. Take a look and let me know what you think.

So thanks for stopping by. Do you have a Nutribullet? I’d love to hear what your favorite recipes are. Just share them below in the comments.

EmmaMT

x

Disclaimer: This review is completely my own thoughts and opinions. I was not sent the Nutribullet to test and would like to say a massive thank you to the Poopah for giving this one to us. We love it. 

 

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