A few weeks ago I tried to make mashed potato. We didn’t have a masher utensil so I decided to give it a go with a fork. It was all lumpy and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to get the kids to eat it so I had a bright idea
“I know- I’ll put it in the Nutribullet!”
Bad idea. Do you know what happens to potato when it’s blended at high speed? Well let’s just say you should be glad I didn’t take a photo of the result. It became like glue. It looked revolting. I still served it up and the girls ate a few spoonfuls but I really don’t know how!
Get the right tools
I was relaying this story to a PR friend as we discussed how I can bake with my eyes closed but cooking was far from my expertise. She told me I had to give the Masha a try and then she very kindly sent me one to play with.
Now, I’m not a one trick pony sort of a gal. I like my gadgets to be multi functional. They have to be seriously worthwhile if they’re going to take up space in my tiny kitchen and the Masha certainly is. It’s quick to assemble, easy to use, powerful and most of all makes the most delicious mashed potatoes ever. You can use it for all sorts of things like cake mixes, sauces, baby food, whisking up egg whites and batters and it’s just as easy to clean.
So last night we made some mashed potatoes and Darcey helped me to video the masher and show you how it’s childs play to do – note how she mentions the Nutribullet sludge. I don’t think I’ll ever live that one down.
So if you want really fluffy mashed potatoes I can really recommend the Masha
Disclaimer: Thanks to the Masha’s PR for sending me this great product. Darcey – the mash monster, says thank you too. All thoughts, opinions and ramblings are my own
This here blog has been going for five whole years at the end of this month and I have to say that it has truly become my baby. I didn’t realise just how much of my baby it had become till last month. You see behind the scenes there have been a few technical hitches. And when I say hitches I mean monumental screw ups. I broke my blog. COMPLETLEY!
There was stress. Then there was anger. Then there was all out sobbing like a baby – so much so that my very un touchy-feely daughter came up to me without saying a word and just hugged me tight and didn’t let go while I sobbed and sobbed – something she doesn’t do – hug or hold on tight. What did I do? It doesn’t really matter, all I’ll say is that I messed up and lost my readership and google ranking which is how people find me. My numbers dropped by 75% and I couldn’t see a way back up. I was devastated. I actually thought I might have to give up blogging. I’m not really a quitter but I thought I had come to the end of the road with no way back.
Feeling the baking love
During this time of stress some amazing things happened.
Tim sent me flowers. I don’t think he’s bought me flowers in 10 years! All the card said was “It’ll get better”. And he was right.
Readers were emailing me. Now, I get a lot of emails but usually they’re asking for help with Madeira cake. These emails were different. There were loads and loads of “Thank you’s”. Some were for helping with a problem I’d answered, some were just to say thanks for posting a particular recipe which they’d used and loved. Some were showing me their beautiful cakes but every one of them was showing me the baking love. Thank you. I really needed those emails right at that moment.
The other emails were asking me why the post they had previously bookmarked wasn’t there anymore or to tell me that something was broken. Without these emails I wouldn’t have known there was a problem. These lovely readers were kind enough to help me check – once I had fixed the problem, to see that everything was working again. A massive thank you goes out to you guys. Your time, patience and help means a lot to me. You know who you are. xxxxx
I learnt that everything is fixable and you can get outside help when you can’t fix a problem alone. You just have to keep looking for the right kind of help. It took me the whole of February to get back on track and for the numbers to go back up. Even missing two posts last month my numbers are practically better than ever. So thanks for your patience. Blogging will resume as normal now!
So, that is why it’s important to subscribe to CakesBakesAndCookies.com via email. If it all goes down the pan I can still send you yummy recipes, cake decorating tutorials or just plain old book and product reviews. So, if you haven’t already please, please subscribe to the blog by putting your email in the subscribe box on the right hand side or when the pop up – pops up!
All that’s left to say is a massive thank you to everyone who has helped me to get right back where I was at 100% and to those who helped me pull up my socks and get back in the kitchen – which let’s face it – I never really left. Gin cocktail cupcake anyone?
Love yourself this Valentine with Coconut oil scones
The best thing about scones is that they are so quick and easy to make. You don’t need to wait for cold butter to reach room temperature. You can walk in from work and have them baked on a plate and smothered in jam within half an hour.
This super delicious recipe is even simpler. Just three ingredients! Coconut oil, coconut milk and self raising flour. You’d think that they taste really coconutty but strangely they don’t! They have a slight hint of coconut but very light. When I baked the first test batch the girls ate them fresh out the oven with nothing on, but the second batch were cold so they smothered them with jam and cream (there goes the healthy loving yourself aspect!) and they were just as good.
Why Coconut oil
When I first received the Coconut oil from Amazon I had to have a feel. It looks like vaseline that’s been whisked up. I put some on my finger to feel it and where I rubbed it into my hands it felt really soft. There are a million and one ways to use this oil without even thinking about baking – like use it with sugar for a body scrub – yep that one works well, use it as a moisturizer, tick, add it to your bath- Mmmmm. In fact google “uses for coconut oil ” and you’ll find lists of 99, 101 and 107 uses for the stuff. That’s why it’s become the must have ingredient of the moment.
When it comes to eating coconut oil the list is just as long. Mix it with chia seeds for an energy boost – one blogwarns not to take this in the evening or you’ll never get to sleep! You can substitute the butter or oil in any recipe with it – but I’ve had mixed results with this.
The flavour is subtle but the end result with the scones was an instant winner. Coconut oil is definitely going to be a permanent fixture in our house – if I could only leave it in the kitchen and not the bathroom!
I’m a big smoothie fan. I do tend to make fresh juices more often but when it comes to a filling snack a smoothie is the best and healthiest option.
As the summer came to an end the strawberries were only lasting a day at best and didn’t taste of anything – I hate to buy out of season fruits but carrots in the bullet just don’t do it for me! So we started buying frozen fruit and we can’t be the only ones. There’s bags of variety in those frozen aisles. We go for strawberries and blueberries and also mango. You can also get raspberries and blackcurrents but I have to say that I don’t like the way raspberry seeds settle down at the bottom of your glass and you get a ton in one strawfull! You don’t get that with Chia seeds. They just seem to stay up in the smoothie.
The biggest benefit about frozen fruit is that when you place them in the bulllet or your blender and add almond milk, coconut milk or water then whizz it all up you get this sort of slushy milkshake drink and you forget that you’re drinking it to be healthy and nutritious and think it’s a thick shake – the kind I imagine they were talking about in Pulp Fiction – you know the $5 shake?
Why Chia seeds?
There are many health benefits to consuming Chia Seeds. The superfood is packed full of Omega-3 fatty acids, high in protein, they are relatively tasteless to they can be added to many dishes and bakes without ruining the flavour.
I put all the frozen fruit in the cup of the Nutribullet and leave it on the kitchen worktop for 30 minutes or so. That gives the fruits a chance to soften a little and when you blitz it it gets completely blended and you don’t end up with lumps. Once the liquid is added the drink becomes lovely and thick but the longer you leave it the thinner it gets – also all those lovely nutrients start to escape so the trick is to drink it up straight away!
Love yourself this Valentines with nutritious and delicious recipes
It’s time to love yourself this Valentines on CakesBakesAndCookies and we are forgetting all about chocolates and sticky gooey sugary stuff – there’s time for that next month. For the next three days we’re going to treat our insides to some delicious and nutritious yumminess.
Why go healthy
The reason I decided to do these up and coming posts is because not only do I have some good friends on the Bullet diet who talk about these amazing dishes they make using pure, natural and delicious ingredients but because good old Amazon is now selling them…. in their droves! You want Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil for less than the high street prices? You got it! You want nuts and Organic Chia Seeds and pulses. You can have that too. Queen Bee Manuka Honey– Oh yes please.
So without further ado heres the first of our delicious and nutritious recipes
Is it really pancake day already? I love a pancake. Any type, American, crepe, big, small, they all work for me. I’m a batter girl. Give me anything made with batter – or covered in it for that matter and I’ll love it.
Last week I picked up a copy of The Sainsburys magazine. Have you seen it? As you would expect it’s jam packed full of amazing recipes and foodie ideas but boy is the photography good – even Tim mentioned how good the recipes looked. This month the Ed’s letter explains how they plan, test and re-test each recipe before shooting it which really took me back to the taste test days at Woman & Home magazine. And who should be included in that front page letter? My lovely friend Mitzie whom I met while at W&H. Mitzie is amazing. Her recipes have appeared in so many magazines I couldn’t even start to list them all, so when I got to the page with a pic of her above her Spelt flour pancakes recipe I knew I had to give them a go.
So what is Spelt flour?
Spelt isn’t something I’ve tried before. It’s a bit more clumpy than regular flour but feels the same when you sieve it. It comes from a cereal grain similar to wheat and has some great nutritional qualities. It holds onto protein better but it’s still not suitable for people with a gluten free diet (sorry you guys!) You can use it instead of regular flour but recipes do tend to rise up a little more so watch for baking times with cakes.
Put the flour in a medium bowl with a pinch of salt and add the egg and about a third of the milk. Whisk until smooth and lump free, then gradually whisk in the remaining milk, 1 tablespoon of the yogurt, the melted butter and honey.
Heat a 16cm nonstick frying pan, and when hot, add about 2 tablespoons of the pancake mixture to the pan and swirl it around until the mixture thinly coats the pan. Cook for 2 minutes or until golden and brown underneath. Flip over and cook the other side for 1-2 minutes, until golden. As they are made, put the pancakes onto a plate, cover them with foil and keep them warm in a low oven while making the rest.
To serve, top the warm pancakes with a spoonful of Greek yogurt, a drizzle of honey and a few berries – add a wedge of lemon on the side to squeeze over, too.
I made a batch of Mitzie’s Spelt pancakes for myself and Beau for lunch on Saturday. We filled them with cream cheese then rolled them up and put them back in the pan to melt the cheese a little more. We ate them all! Darcey was due home soon after so I made a whole other batch which she ate with maple syrup, lemon and sugar and a touch of cream – serious sweet tooth going on there- I have no idea where she gets it from! She ate the whole batch in one go. By herself! So you can see – they’re really good!
Top tip for pancake day
The pancakes can be made and stored for later. I have done this loads with deep American pancakes. All you need to do is place a piece of baking paper between each pancake to stop them sticking. Re-heat in the pan or microwave or if you’re Darcey just eat them cold.
This recipe calls for melted butter in the batter so you don’t need to oil the pan. This worked so well I’m wondering if it would work with other pancake recipes too! I’m going to try it next time. Let me know how you guys get on with the added butter if you give it a try. Just leave a comment below.
Disclaimer: Thanks to Sainsburys for the pancake hamper that was waiting for me when I got home from work last week. It’s been yummy! Thanks too for giving me permission to share Mitzie’s Spelt pancake recipe. All thoughts and ramblings are my own.