Win a whole load of baking goodies from DotComGiftShop

Win a whole load of baking goodies from DotComGiftShop

DOTCOMGIFTSHOP GIVEAWAY

No sooner did I press ‘publish’ on yesterday’s blog post about the cute recipe tin from DotComGiftShop.com than they sent me an email saying

‘Why don’t we do a giveaway with CakesBakesAndCookies?’

to which I said

“Yeeaaahhhhh!”

So here it is. The short and sweet giveaway! You can will all of the Blue tit items shown above.

What can you win?

  1. The recipe tin £9.95 – As I said yesterday – it’s easy to file away and keep recipes safe once you have this baby.
  2. The cookie canister £9.95- which is bigger in real life than it looks in this little pic!
  3. The cake carrier, £29.95- which Tim and I bought for members of our family for Christmas last year and whilst wrapping them up I was asking why on earth I didn’t get myself one? I mean it’s a really great size and it has handles! What’s not to love?
  4. The flour shaker. £5.95 I’ve got two shakers – one for flour and one for icing sugar. Everyone needs some prettiness when they’re doing the shaking don’t you think?
  5. The flour canister- £6.95 so cute! It’s glass so it will last an age. Love the colour of this lid too!

In total that’s over £60 of cake baking goodiness so what are you waiting for. Enter the giveaway now!

How to win this fantastic Dotcomgiftshop bundle

To win this collection of five Blue Tit baking goodies all you have to do is share this post on Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ or Twitter then leave me a comment below with why you should win before midnight on 29th February 2016. Remember you must share this post on social media AND comment below to be entered.

Good luck and get sharing!

EmmaMT x

CakesBakesAndCookies.com Terms & Conditions

This giveaway will close at 12:00 on 29th February 2016. Leaving a blog post comment is a mandatory entry option. This prize is offered by dotcomgiftshop.com. I am hosting it on behalf of Dotcomgiftshop. Please note, I am not responsible for posting the prize out or providing it. Dotcomgiftshop or its representative will send out the prize, the winner must provide their name, address once contacted. The winner will be selected at random from all correct entries received by the random number generator. The winner will be notified within 3 days of the closing date. The prize is one recipe tin, one cookie canister, one cake carrier, one flour shaker and one flour canister, no cash alternatives are available. This giveaway is open only to residents in mainland UK (excluding Northern Ireland and Scottish Highlands and Islands) and entrants must be over 18.

Thank you to Dotcomgiftshop for providing this giveaway. All thoughts, opinions and ramblings are entirely my own.

How cute is this recipe storage tin?

How cute is this recipe storage tin?

Easy way to store recipes

I thought I would share with you how I plan the recipes on CakesBakesAndCookies and how I’ve got just that little bit more organised with this cute recipe storage tin.

Recipe testing

When I bake a recipe I write down on a piece of paper the ingredients I use, the temperature and how long it’s baked for. I then take that scrappy piece and type it up and for some reason I can’t throw it away! I mean I have it saved on my blog so I have it forever. I don’t need to keep it.

Normally I’m a real clutter buster. I don’t keep much. I like a clean surface and to be able to find things easily – my kitchen drawers are all organised. I don’t have one of ‘those drawers’ but these scrappy recipes just never seem to go. I’ve done over 150 recipes on here now but here they are still clipped together.

Easy way to store recipesAt Christmas I was given a recipe tin by DotComGiftShop.com as a little thank you and boy has it sorted my life out. At first I was a bit hesitant – not wanting change and all that but then I unclipped the current messy storage system – a.k.a. a couple of clips that sit on my window ledge and et voila! Organised.

The tin’s design is really sweet – or should that be tweet! Sorry, couldn’t resist. I have the Blue tit design but there’s also a poppy, rose and apple design

It comes with these really cute recipe cards – so I won’t need to write on scraps anymore! There’s also a set of dividers for all kinds of recipes. To be honest I’m just glad I now have a place to keep everything together now and in the kitchen too!
Easy way to store recipes I have a large cardboard box in another cupboard in the kitchen which is affectionately known as the ‘somewhere safe box’ as in “Where did I put my book/my favourite pen/the letter for school.”  Oh I put it somewhere safe, and this has become that for recipes – my somewhere safe for recipes tin and I love it.
Easy way to store recipes

So, what do you do with all your recipes? Do you have a system for the ones you tear out of magazines? I’d love to know

EmmaMT x

Disclaimer: Thank you to Dotcomgiftshop for sending me this Blue tit recipe tin, I love it and to Mr A S – PR extraordinaire for always making me smile. No-one else calls me Morton-Turnip!  All thoughts, opinions and ramblings are entirely my own.

How to make a Rock climbing birthday cake

How to make a rock climbing birthday cake/ http://cakesbakesandcookies.com/how-to-make-a-ro…ng-birthday-cake/How to make a Rock climbing birthday cake

 

My little nephew Asher isn’t that little any more! He’s eight already. Last weekend he had a climbing party and before Christmas he told me exactly what he wanted his cake to be. Yes I know, you can see it’s a rock climbing cake!

The party was for 7 kids so I did go a little over board with the size of this cake. It could have fed 40! Well, I do only have one nephew! (on that side of the family anyway!)

How to design a rock climbing cake

How to make a rock climbing birthday cake/ http://cakesbakesandcookies.com/how-to-make-a-ro…ng-birthday-cake/

I started off with a drawing of the climber. I am often disappointed with the models I make – thinking that legs or arms look too long/short/wonky, so I decided to make a plan. You know the saying “Fail to plan and you plan to fail” I wanted to use the drawings as guides.

Making the loopy name

To make the name and climber firm enough to handle I made them a week before the party. The name was made by rolling out a long strip of white sugar paste with a little Tylo Powderkneaded in. Tylo powder has a firming action on the icing. It gets harder much quicker than when left to dry naturally over a few days – I wanted to be sure it wouldn’t break.

A piece of silicon paper was positioned over the hand written name then I bent and looped the sugarpaste strip cutting and gluing from behind using edible glue where necessary– mainly behind the ‘A’. I then placed it along marzipan spacers to make sure it was level and set it on a tray to dry out.How to make a rock climbing birthday cake/ http://cakesbakesandcookies.com/how-to-make-a-ro…ng-birthday-cake/

Making the climber

Having a guide for the climber made it so much easier. I will definitely make models this way again. The climber was also made with sugarpaste. First the Tshirt was made then the legs were attached. I made the sugarpaste damp and pressed each piece together but next time I will use edible glue. After a few days the arms hadn’t stuck so I had to use edible glue in the end anyway.

The arms were easy to make and I simply cut lines in the flattened ends to make fingers. Then a decorators tool was used to soften the edges and make fingernails. (the pic below is before the fingers were softened!) Once the arms and shoes were attached I made a hole in the neck using a cocktail stick. This is so that the head can be attached later. How to make a rock climbing birthday cake/ http://cakesbakesandcookies.com/how-to-make-a-ro…ng-birthday-cake/

To make the head

A piece of white sugarpaste was coloured with a dot of paprika coloured food gel and was rolled into a ball. A balling tool was used to make dents for the eyes and a tiny ball for the nose. White balls of sugarpaste were placed in the eye sockets and a small dent was made for the smile. A cocktail stick was cut in half and then pushed in to a piece of polystyrene so only 1cm stuck out and the head was then placed on top. In my experience if you try to push the stick into the  sugarpaste the head will either contort or the cocktail stick will poke out of the top, either way – we don’t want that. This way you have more control. Once the head is on the stick leave it to go hard enough to handle without squishing – 3-4 days.

After 3-4 days the head was then decorated with pale brown eye brows and tiny eyelashes and the eyes were painted black. A very pale pink was used to outline the mouth. A dry brush was used to dust a tiny amount of pink powder onto the cheeks to give them a glow. Finally the brown royal icing hair was piped on the top. A cocktail stick was used to make the hair a bit more curly. Again it was left to completly firm up. The head is the last thing to go on once the body is on the cake. How to make a rock climbing birthday cake/ http://cakesbakesandcookies.com/how-to-make-a-ro…ng-birthday-cake/

To stack the cake

This cake was always going to be bumpy in texture – yay for not having to make a cake look perfectly smooth!! –  and I wanted it to have a flat front. So as not to waste any cake mix I used round cake tin liners (like these cake tin liners) and scrunched up some tin foil to make up the space along one side of a 6, 7 and 8″ cake tin  while they were baking- yes I know – waaaayyyy too much cake! Once out of the tins there wasn’t much carving to do.

Each Madeira cake was cut in half and the middle was filled with seedless raspberry jam and buttercream and the same between each cake – that’s why it got so tall!  I didn’t want to put boards between the cakes – which you should do with a cake this big so I used skewers to keep the whole cake together. I was really nervous driving this cake to my sister’s house so if you are travelling with a cake this tall stack it properly with boards and dowels like this.  The front was trimmed so it was less bumpy and the whole cake was given a buttercream coating. 

How to make a rock climbing birthday cake/ http://cakesbakesandcookies.com/how-to-make-a-ro…ng-birthday-cake/

To cover the cake

The blue icing was rolled out so it could be lifted over the tall cake. This was no mean feat and if this was a wedding cake of this size I would have covered the sides then the top but as it is I went for one big covering. I did have a seam at the back but for this cake it wasn’t a problem. I made it as neat as I could.

I wanted the surface to be gently bumpy so I dug my fingertips all over the blue sugarpaste to give a more rock like appearance. I then added the rock climbing handles. These were made by rolling our different coloured sugarpaste into balls then flattening one side of the ball and adhering them all over the cake with edible glue. I loved the colours- perfect for an eight year old.

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 16.11.52

Adding the climber

To stick Asher the climber onto the cake I stuck coloured climbing handles under his hand while the handle sugarpaste was still soft. I pushed the dried hands into the soft sugarpaste so it looked like he was gripping them. Piping royal icing into the hole in the body before I stuck his head in place – this has been a winner for not having models loose their heads!  To stick the model onto the cake I used royal icing under the hands, body and behind the feet. Once I had positioned him and held him there for 30 seconds I placed a cocktail stick into the cake under the feet to stop him slipping down. Once I knew he was well and truly stuck I replaced the cocktail sticks with climbing handles.
How to make a rock climbing birthday cake/ http://cakesbakesandcookies.com/how-to-make-a-ro…ng-birthday-cake/

Finishing touches

The bottom of the cake looked a bit plain so I made different sized rocks to match the cake covering and placed them all around the bottom of the cake. I made bigger ones for the very left and right of the cake for the name to sit against. Royal icing was piped onto the back of the ‘Asher’ to stickit to the rocks.

I decided to make the ‘8’ to sit on the top at the last minute. To make sure it was hard I mixed the red sugarpaste with some Tylo powder, rolled it out and shaped the number then pushed a cocktail stick diagonally into it. I then placed it in the oven at 50ºC for 10 minutes. I removed it, let it cool completely then repeated. On the second cool it was firm. I left it over night to give it an extra chance to harden then stuck it in the cake the next morning with a little royal icing for good measure and had a few blue rocks around it for effect. This worked really well but the red colour did darken a little.

The last addiditons were the long strand of rope which was looped around the eight with a little curl at the bottom and the harness I added to the climber.

How to make a rock climbing birthday cake/ http://cakesbakesandcookies.com/how-to-make-a-ro…ng-birthday-cake/

I really loved this cake. It was a monster in size but the colours worked really well and I tried out a few new techniques that I will definitely do again like the way I did the name and using a plan to make the model.

When I delivered the cake before the party Asher came to see it and didn’t say a word – he just hugged me really tight for what seemed like ages. Ahhhhh, I love that. Big love from the little man. So all that’s left to say is

Happy Birthday ADF. I’ve gotta lotta love for you! 

EmmaMT x




5 reasons why I love the Kenwood Chef Sense

5 reasons why I love the Kenwood Chef SenseKenwood Chef Sense

Just before Christmas I was sent an email about the beautiful new Kenwood Chef Sensesand it got me thinking. I’ve never had a KC before and there’s a lot of hype about them and questions about whether you should buy a Chef or a Kitchenaid. I have a Kitchenaid stand mixer so I thought “if I have a play with a Chef I’ll know the difference”  So I got my hands on one at the busiest time of year – Christmas.

The Kenwood Chef PR sent me one of their press samples (one that is used for shoots and testing) and I got to play with it for a month. A month for me usually means around four baking sessions but you’ve guessed it, at Christmas that more than doubles!  I made biscuits fruit cakes, sponge cakes and a lot of royal icing. Here’s why I liked it.

1.The pouring spout

It has a splash guard with a really large opening. Don’t you just hate it when the pouring spout isn’t big enough to get a spoon in let alone a jug where you can pour liquid in? I added eggs, flour and even poured milk into a cake mix while it was mixing just to see if it dribbled out side of the bowl. It didn’t.
Kenwood Chef Sense

2.The Splash guard

It comes with a splash guard that not only fits around the bowl, but under the arm of the machine too, meaning that the whole bowl is enclosed and no icing sugar can escape. Normally I have to cover my mixer with a tea towel and I still get a dusting of icing sugar everywhere. It attaches really easily and can be removed for cleaning easily too.  This photo shows royal icing being made on the fastest speed. See no icing cloud to be seen anywhere! Kenwood Chef Sense

3. The glass bowl

I’ve had my eye on these glass bowls since I first saw them on The Great British Bake Off years ago. There’s something very reassuring about being able to see if you’ve got all the flour incorporated and can basically see what’s going on. I thought – being a relatively clumsy person, that the glass would worry me. That I’d knock the bowl and chip either it or my work surface but I didn’t. It’s heavier than the metal bowl I’m used to but you soon get used to that. There’s two handles which are useful – especially if your hands are wet when you’re handling it and it  also slots into the base really easily.
Kenwood Chef Sense

4. The speed

There’s no getting away from the fact that this is a fast machine. It’s 1100W motor can whizz through the toughest of doughs effortlessly. The dial is really easy to use and the fact that it’s on the front makes it much easier to use than on my Kitchenaid. You can reverse the direction of the beater and pulse it which I really liked. And it is fast. Royal icing took half the time to make. I also really liked the easy on/off button on the front. It lights up which is a nice touch.Kenwood Chef Sense

5. The colours

Okay, without meaning to sound like a five year old girl, the colours that this machine comes in was the main reason I liked the look of it so much. I mean as well as it needing to be a serious piece of kit – especially at £449.99, it needs to look good on your kitchen worktop. Not many of us have the space to hide away our gadgets – and let’s face it,when it looks this good why would you?

The Kenwood Chef Senses range are available on Amazon.co.uk and in major retailers

So, do you have a Kenwood Chef? Do you love it? I’d love to know. Leave a comment below.

EmmaMT

Disclaimer: The Kenwood Chef Senses was loaned to me for four weeks to review on CakesBakesnAndCookies.com – (Thanks Kenwood- I really didn’t want to give it back!) All thoughts and opinions in this post are entirely my own.

Book Review: My relationship with food by Lisa Roukin

Book Review: My relationship with food

My Relationship with Food: 100 Recipes to Nourish Mind, Body & Soul

I love it when you get a new cookbook thinking it’s going to be good and when it arrives it’s REALLY great! That’s what happened when ‘My Relationship with Food: 100 Recipes to Nourish Mind, Body & Soul‘ by Lisa Roukin landed on my doormat.

I found this book in a less traditional way. I was writing a feature about baking products for Ideal Home magazine – as you do! and Lisa Roukin the author contacted me about her silicon fibre glass baking sheet. This is the first time I have been contacted by a blogger who is selling their own product so I was immediately impressed but when I asked if I could review her cook book I was doubly impressed. I asked for the publisher’s details and she told me she had self published it! I mean this woman has it all going on!

My relationship with food blog

 

As a trained chef Lisa really knows her stuff. Her relationship with food stems from being an overweight child and her journey to discover healthy eating and nourishing her body. Her recipes are gluten-free, contain limited refined sugar and are dairy free, but you would never know it. In fact I didn’t know that they were gluten free till I started reading the extensive introduction. The cover states ‘100 recipes to nourish mind, body and soul‘ and I thought “that sounds like the perfect book for a January post when everyone wants to be more healthy.

What I wasn’t expecting was my devouring every page about Lisa’s story when I started reading it. I read all the introduction before I would even let myself look at the recipes properly. I was intrigued.

As you look through the recipes you don’t even notice that there’s no gluten or dairy in them. They just look amazingly flavourful. I mean I have never pretended to be a cook – in fact I’m a pretty rubbish cook. I can bake till the cows come home but cooking just doesn’t do it for me. And then came this book. I love Lisa’s recipes. I want to make them all and I hardly ever feel like that about a book that isn’t full of cakes. There’s so many easy flavours with ingredients that I pretty much have in my cupboards. I have added a few extra seeds to my stores and have been enjoying sesame oil in stir frys for the first time but other than that I have most of what I need. I’m learning new ways to cook old favorites like chicken and salmon.My Relationship with Food: 100 Recipes to Nourish Mind, Body & Soul

So, what’s in the book?

The introductions talks about Lisa’s journey and how to have a healthy relationship with food and taking care of yourself along with her ‘top ten tips’. There are some Q&A pages and then the non-cheaters cheat sheet – you know, the ‘you want a full english fry up but have a Shakshuka or baked eggs in Portabello mushrooms instead’ kind of thing.

The book is broken up into the four seasons with a seasonal product page for that time of year- did you know that the banana is the most popular fruit in the UK?, then breakfast, lunches, soups and sides, dinners and treat recipes. So you really want to go through the book slowly so as not to miss anything.My Relationship with food - book review

The recipes

I’ve cooked a number of lunches and dinners from the book and can you believe it not asingle dessert yet! My favourites so far are salmon with wasabi mayonnaise and pistachio crust, Shakshuka which is basically kale fried with onions and mushrooms then a jar of tomato sauce is added then you put eggs in it and cook! Oh my goodness! Those eggs! Delicious. I’ve also been using her berry smoothie recipe practically every day. Frozen blueberries are a g-dsend!My Relationship with food - book review

Everyone seems to be talking about using cauliflower as a pizza base so I’m going to give that a go next, as well as the raw chocolate mousse cake. I’ve made banana ice cream before but never with halva. Lisa’s dried fig, pecan and dark chocolate oat bars also look amazing too. A nice healthy snack as requested for school lunches by Darcey.

My Relationship with food - book reviewWhy buy this book

This isn’t my usual type of book. It’s about healthy eating and let’s face it – I’m a cake blogger – healthy doesn’t come into it, but I love this book. Usually books I review go onto a shelf in my office incase anyone asks a question about it but this one is staying firmly in my kitchen for regular use. It’s jam packed full of lovely original ideas and such easy to follow recipes.The photography is beautiful and with 100 recipes to choose from there really is something for everyone.

My relationship with food bookYou can buy ‘My relationship with food’ by Lisa Roukin over on her blog also called

My relationship with food.  and on  Amazon.co.uk

EmmaMT

Disclaimer: Thank you to Lisa Roukin for providing me with a copy of her book to review here on this blog. All thoughts, opinions and ramblings are entirely my own.

 

 

The big clean up with E-Cloth:Giveaway

The big clean up with E-Cloth:GiveawayE-Cloth giveaway

In December I was writing the ‘Girl About the house’ Spring cleaning feature for Prima magazine. As usual I was working in a different time zone to the normal world! I contacted the lovely PR for E-cloth who wanted to send me a sample of a new kitchen cloth to try out.

I’ve been a big fan of E-cloths since I was the ‘Classy Cleaner’ on Woman & Home and anything cleaning related came my way – need to know which vacuum to buy? I’m your girl (It’s anything Miele by the way!) So, I’ve been using E-cloths for years and years. They say that they last 300 washes but mine have lasted a whole lot longer than that.

Ecloth giveawayWhat are E-cloths?

E-cloths are an eco way of cleaning your whole home. No need to keep replacing kitchen towels- just use the cloth, machine wash it and you’re good to go again. You don’t need to use chemical cleaners – just spray some water and wipe. Now that for me was a winner fortwo reasons.

  1.  I don’t like to use too many chemicals as Darcey had Eczema a lot when she was younger and anything remotely chemically would set her off.
  2. I think we need to build up a certain amount of resistance to everyday dirt and bacteria. My kids are hardly ill and I’m sure it’s becuase I let them get dirty when they were little. It would be great if I could stop Darcey from being permanently sticky even though she’s now nine but hey ho! Maybe I should E-cloth her!

I use E-cloths to wipe down kitchen surfaces, clean bathrooms, polish windows, make mirrors  sparkle etc. I do use spray cleaners but not when I’m just picking up bread crumbs or cleaning up the sticky one’s honey. You just don’t need to

So, while I was expecting one kitchen E-cloth with the clever scourer corner (as seen below) Kitchen Ecloth

I ended up with not one but two of the Home Cleaning set which is 8 cloths, plus E-cloth tea towels and washing up pads. Now, being the honest person I am I called the PR to let her know and she said I could keep them all! How generous is that? So, after sharing the tea towel love with my mum and sister I said I would offer the rest as a giveaway to my lovely readers.

8 pack E-cloth set

I’ve been using this set all through the Christmas and New year break and they’re so plush (I probably should have gotten rid of my old ones a while ago!) They work so well. My favorites are the scourer edged one for stubborn dirt and the thick window one which works a treat on my high gloss kitchen units. The yellow bathroom one is the thickest. It’s like a really fat fleece blanket. It holds a ton of water.

How to win this fantastic E-Cloth bundle

To win this collection of eight E-cloths, a tea towel and a washing up pad all you have to do is share this post on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter then leave me a comment below with why you should win before midnight on 21st January 2016. Remember you must share this post on social media AND comment below to be entered.

Ecloth giveaway

So good luck bakers. Get sharing and commenting.

Happy cleaning!

EmmaMT

CakesBakesAndCookies.com Terms & Conditions

This giveaway will close at 23.59 on 21 January 2016. Leaving a blog post comment is a mandatory entry option. This prize is offered by CakesBakesAndCookies.com. Thank you to E-Cloth for providing it. The winner must provide their name and address once contacted. The winner will be selected at random from all correct entries received using the Random number generator. The number selected will relate to the corresponding comment number. The winner will be notified within 3 days of the closing date. The prize is one set of eight E-cloths, one E-cloth tea towel and one E-cloth washing up pad, no cash alternatives are available. This giveaway is open only to residents in mainland UK (excluding Northern Ireland and Scottish Highlands and Islands) and entrants must be over 18. Good luck

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas 2015

Dear lovely Baking readers.

I wish you and your families the heartiest of Christmases filled with love and food and drink and happiness.

Lots and lots of baking love

EmmaMT

xxx

 

p.s. The recipe for this Mince pie from 2013 can be found by clicking on the image above. 

Christmas Jam recipe: The perfect gift

Christmas Jam recipeChristmas jam recipe

I love to make Christmas gifts, especially for the girls teachers. We put into the group collections but it’s always nice to add a personal something. I’m sure the teaches get inundated with home made stuff so this year I thought we’d go for something a bit different from our usual gingerbread biscuits. We made Christmas Jam. Christmas jam

The jam is really easy to make and you can substitute any fruit you don’t like for something you do. We love apricots and dates but not everyone does. As long as you keep the weight of the fruit the same you’ll get a great result.

My first attempt at jam making was back at the end of the summer with my rhubarb jam. It was so delicious and simple to make that I couldn’t wait to make some more – any excuse eh! This time I thought I’d do it the official way and with the help of Lakeland and their jam thermometer, seriously cute jam jars and some waxed circles I was ready to go.

jam making equipment Tim bought some mini jam jars for his grape jam in the summer so I only needed a few more jars to top up the numbers. I love these ‘Ball’ ones. Such a cute size and shape. The discs come in bags of 200 – so they should keep me going for a while! and the thermometer is fantastic! Not only does it have a temperature gauge in Celsius and farenheight but it also has markings for the correct temperature for other baking – jam making, sterilising temperature, frying fish or chips it even has hard crack, soft crack and firm ball temperatures marked- and before you think I’ve become a crack addict that refers to sweet making. I think fudge and caramel may be next on the list. I also like that it has a clip on the back so you can secure the thermometer onto your pan to stop it getting in the way when you’re stirring.

Christmas Jam recipe:

Christmas Jam recipe:

This recipe will make 10 mini jam jars of 135ml or 3 regular jam jars of 450ml

  • 800g mixed fruit
  • 150ml Brandy/Whisky
  • 100g dried dates
  • 100g glace cherries
  • 100g dried apricots
  • Juice and skin of 3 small oranges
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 570g Jam sugar (which contains pectin) ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 200ml orange juice
  1. Place all the dried fruit into an air tight container and cover with the alcohol. Give it a good shake so all the fruit is coated. Leave for 48 hours to infuse or longer if you have the time.
  2. Place all the fruit in a deep pan over a medium heat and cover with sugar. Add the juice from the oranges and lemon and stir until the sugar dissolves.
  3. Cut the skins from the oranges into small slithers and chop up a bit more then add them to the pot. Place a jam thermometer in the pan to allow it to heat up with the jam. Leave it in the pan the whole time.
  4. Continue to cook for 20-30 minutes so the fruit really softens up and infuses in all the spices and juices. Stir occasionally to prevent the jam sticking to the bottom.
  5. If using a thermometer bring the jam up to 105ºC /220ºF. Once this temperature is reached the jam will set. If not using a thermometer you can test if the jam is done by placing some jam on the back of a chilled saucers you have placed in the freezer. Leave it for 30 seconds then push it with your finger. If it wrinkles up it’s ready. If it doesn’t keep boiling for another five minutes and try again on a fresh plate.
  6. To sterilise the jam jars place them in a large pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and keep at that temperature for 10 minutes. Remove the jars with tongs.
  7. While still warm spoon the jam into the jars till it reaches the top. Place a disc of waxed paper over the top and seal with the lid. Leave to cool completely.
  8. Where to store your jam: If you press the centre of the lid down and it moves store in the fridge and eat within 1-2 months. If the top of the jam jar doesn’t move when pressed you have a good air tight seal and you can store your jam in a dark place for up to 12 months.
http://cakesbakesandcookies.com/christmas-jam-recipe-the-perfect-little-gift/

So what are you making and baking for Christmas gifts this year. I’d love to know?

EmmaMT x

Disclaimer: Thank you to Lakeland for providing me with the jam jars, waxed circles and jam thermometer for this post. All thoughts, opinions and ramblings are entirely my own.

nom nom Christmas jam

 

The day I met Mary Berry & Lucy Young… and their latest book Reviewed: The Complete AGA cookbook

The aga cookbook Mary Berry Lucy Young

Every now and again I get invited to a press launch and I’m not quite sure whether I need to go with my Interior Stylist head on or my cake blogger one. Most of the time there’s a cross over and it doesn’t really matter. That was exactly the case with the launch of Mary Berry and Lucy Young’s latest book collaboration The Complete Aga Cookbook, Headline

When I arrived at the launch there weren’t many bloggers there, but there also weren’t many writers so I’m thinking that one of the lovely PR girls follows CakesBakesAndCookies.com and that’s how I came to be there. To be honest I didn’t really care why I was there. I was there and so were Mary Berry and Lucy Young.Mary Berry Aga cookbook

I was beyond excited all day – a bit like a kid in a candy shop. I was determined to say hello to both of them – as you do. The event was in a great location – The Good Housekeeping Institute. All white walls and a bank of kitchen appliances – as you would expect. There were recipes from the book being passed around and of course champagne or was it prosecco?

The room was packed full of Mary and Lucy’s friends and family, people from Headline publishers, Aga people from head office, Georgia Glynn Smith the photographer and so many more. It was going to be hard but I was on a mission. 

Meeting Mary Berry and Lucy Young

First I thought I would say hello to Lucy. I interviewed her a back in April 2013 for the blog. I waited till she wasn’t talking to anyone then said “Hello, I’m EmmaMT from CakesBakesAndCookies.com” and before I could even say “I interviewed you a few years ago’ she threw her arms up in the air and with a big smile said “Ah Emma it’s so good to meet you!” She remembered me! I couldn’t believe it. I have been following her on Facebook since the interview as she’s so lovely and always has great things to say and she had noticed my ramblings on there. I was so flattered to say the least.

Lucy got called away and I found myself standing directly behind Mary Berry. She turned around and smiled then asked “So what do you do?” Just at that very moment Tim called. I mean timing!!! I declined my husband’s call – after all this was going to be my only chance We spoke for a few minutes before she too was whisked away to do her presentation – not before I grabbed a quick selfie. Well wouldn’t you?  https://www.facebook.com/lucyyoungthecook/?fref=ts

Mary and Lucy did their thank you’s and talked about the book and it was then that I realised I’d been speaking to people all night long and hadn’t even looked at the book. I headed over to the table where they were piled up and a minute later Lucy and Mary were sitting in front of me signing copies. I got one of course – Eeek! Mary Berry & Lucy Young

 

 

The Complete Aga Cookbook review

Aga cookbook

So before you switch off and think ‘but I don’t have an Aga!’ Don’t worry all the recipes in this book are suitable for ‘conventional ovens’ with oven temperatures and details of where to cook each recipe too.

If you do have an Aga and are never sure which oven to use there’s a picture of every style of Aga and what each oven is used for. Each recipe tells you how and where to cook each dish – simple stuff.

What you’ll get

The thing with Mary and Lucy’s cook books is that they are so easy to use. The ingredients are always easily available and the recipes always come out exactly as they should. This book has a lot of old favourites in it but you never get tired of them. They’re your fail safes and even though I have a few of Mary’s books I don’t think there are many duplicated recipes (I mean who minds another Victoria Sponge cake recipe? I don’t!) There’s over 150 recipes in here and as I was sitting reading through – because you don’t flick through a book like this, I found myself re-thinking what I’m planning to make for New Year’s Eve dinner. It’s mouth wateringly good.

The contents is as follows

  • Breakfast and lunch
  • Starters
  • Main courses
  • Fish
  • Poultry and game
  • Pork
  • Lamb
  • Beef
  • Vegetable sides
  • Pasta and Rice
  • Afternoon tea
  • Hot puddings and cold desserts

Normally I would skip straight to the back of a cook book and look at the cakes but I found myself looking at the preserving hints and tips first as I’m getting really into making Jam at the moment. Then I saw the French Onion soup recipe. That is my all time favourite soup after an absolutely freezing walk around Ground Zero after I did the New York marathon twelve years ago. Nothing warms you up like a big bowl of French onion soup.

The aga cookbook Mary Berry Lucy YoungThere are loads of delicious looking tarts like the Lancashire cheese and rocket tart and the salmon en croute with asparagus which really looks delish. There are loads of worldly flavours throughout with recipes like pork noodle stir fry with it’s soy and rice wine vinegar flavouring and Nasi Goreng (as seen above) as well as traditionals like toad in the hole, beef lasagne and Coq au vin

The back pages

Oh yes, the best part of the book for bakers like us! Where to start? There’s tray bakes- chocolate fudge tray bake anyone? cupcakes, cherry cake, fruit cake with all the ingredients for all the sized cake tins, ‘wicked’ chocolate brownies, eclairs, bread, pear frangipane – I have to make this, double chocolate puddings (as seen below), bread and butter pudding, lime meringue roulade I could go on and on.

The aga cookbook Mary Berry Lucy YoungThe Verdict

I love this book. It has everything I need in a cookbook and doesn’t duplicate what I already have on my bookshelves. It’s the kind of book that you can’t put down. The photography and styling are beautiful, light and airy – just as they should be – I just wish I could get the same effect when I take pics for this blog. I think this book would make a great addition to anyone’s Christmas list.

The aga cookbook Mary Berry Lucy Young

 

You can get a copy of The Aga Cookbook by Mary Berry and Lucy Young on Amazon by clicking the affiliate link below 

 The Complete Aga Cookbook by Mary Berry and Lucy Young – available on Amazon

EmmaMT x

 

Disclaimer: Thank you to Headline publishing for giving me a copy of this book at the press launch and a big thank you to Mary and Lucy for signing it! All words and thoughts in this post are my own ramblings. 

Easy peasy White Chocolate cheesecake

Easy peasy White Chocolate cheesecakeWHITE CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE

Last Saturday I was out all day. I came home to an ill and bedridden Tim and Beau and a Darcey who was taking over the whole kitchen. If you’ve ever wondered how many bowls and utensils it takes to make a cheesecake when you’re nine years old I can tell you. ALL of them!

You have to give it to her though. She was bored and wanted to do something with her weekend. It wasn’t TV and it wasn’t games on the iPad so I was pretty happy, but I did get back in the nick of time. The recipes (yes plural recipes for one cake!) weren’t exactly what we had to hand. We didn’t have enough chocolate or cream cheese. We also had the wrong biscuits. Ever ingenious Darcey was going to make it work. She bashed up the snack biscuits we have for packed lunches – the individually wrapped chocolate covered bars. She didn’t turn them into fine breadcrumbs as you normally would with a cheesecake base. There were plenty of chocolatey lumps which meant the base of the cake tin wasn’t exactly covered. I switched off my perfectionism and let it go. It was after all Darcey’s cake.

cheesecake
As I got home she was just about to heat up the milk (which I had to reduce a little- like by half!) and add the chocolate. This is the kind of baking I do- make it up as you go along and take notes so you know what works and what doesn’t, but I don’t think she would ever know that. She just wanted to make a cake. By the time we had mashed the recipes together with what we had I suggested that we bake this ‘no bake’ cheesecake as it was a bit too runny and I doubt it would ever have set.

chocolate cheesecake
Once the cake was out of the oven and completely cooled Darcey covered it with chocolate which she had grated with our Cusipro grater that has this handy cover. When you turn the cover over it to the bottom it collects all the gratings. She grated milk and white chocolate and that was sprinkled over the whole cake. She didn’t stop there adding random dollops of chocolate sauce – the kind usually saved for ice-cream on top of the sprinkles. This unfortunately meant that Tim gave it the nick name of Darcey’s litter tray cheesecake. Luckily Darcey didn’t hear that and it didn’t stop him from tucking into a healthy slice of it.

The verdict?

Totally delicious! In fact it’s such a success I’ve asked Darcey to make it for our New Year’s Eve dinner. She’ll need to make it again anyway. She got really upset when it was all gone and everyone had eaten it up. I don’t thinks she quite gets that that is the desired outcome of any bake. It will come to her I’m sure. Until then I will continue to let my little one bake to her hearts content – no matter how many mash ups and books she need all at once. 

Darcey’s White Chocolate cheese cake

[yumprint-recipe id=’5′] 

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