Half term baking fun!

Yesterday was my day with my lovely friend Zoe. We’ve known each other since we trained as teachers in 2009 & since then every school break we’ve met up for copious amounts of tea, cakes & gossip! Yesterday however, we baked the cakes together!

We baked 2 varieties of muffins yesterday; peanut butter and white choc & glacé cherry. I favoured the latter white choc muffin which I was not expecting to!

Peanut butter muffins
Ingredients
125g crunchy peanut butter
125g muscovado sugar
50g soft margarine
2 medium eggs
85ml milk
150g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

The how to…
1) Preheat the oven to 200°c or gas mark 6.
2) Mix the peanut butter, sugar & margerine until fluffy & combined.
3) Beat the eggs & milk together.
4) Add the flour & baking powder to the peanut butter mixture & then pour on the egg and milk.
5) Spoon into muffin cases & if you want to add peanuts to the tops.
6) Bake for 20 minutes or until risen & baked all the way through.

I think these would have suited a mascapone or jam topping but nonetheless they were beautifully fluffy & a great texture!

Excuse the poor photo quality of my phone.

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The lovely Zoe.

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Zoe hard at work.

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Ready to go in.

White choc & glacé cherry muffins

Ingredients
250g plain flour
120g caster sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
Glacé cherries (amount depending on taste)
100g white chocolate drops
125ml of oil
250ml natural yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla essence

How to…
1) Preheat the oven to 200°c or gas mark 6.
2) Combine all of the dry ingredients in one bowl & all the wet in another.
3) Pour the wet ingredients into the dry & mix well.
4) Spoon into muffin cases & bake for 25-30 minutes or until well risen & firm.

This is a very wet mixture & we baked ours for only 20 minutes which left them quite moist inside. The yogurt which was a supermarket own, value make gave these muffins a gorgeous flavour & smell which combined with the white choc drops was amazing.

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All in all a great morning’s work I think you’d agree!

I’m going to do some plugging of my friend’s and husband’s blogs now. Check out the following…

Tom’s blog (movie reviews)
http://tomaustinmorgan.wordpress.com

His podcast (with his friend Ant covering all sorts of topics)
http://abhpod.com/episodes-2/

Jo’s blog (excellent writing)
http://jowilliams11.wordpress.com

The husband’s blog (video game reviews)
http://ozzit.wordpress.com/2013/05/14/thomas-was-alone/

Happy half term/Thursday!

Another slow cooker meal.

Half term is here! It’s been an immense & trying 6 weeks & I’m so happy to have a week off, even if I will have to plan, write reports & moderate writing.

Tonight’s meal once again comes courtesy of The Slow Cooker cookbook.

Spicy pulled pork
Ingredients
2 sliced onions
1.5 kg of boned & rolled pork shoulder
2 tbsp demerara sugar
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp American mustard
2 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tbsp cider vinegar
Salt & pepper
Bread rolls (although we used brioche buns)

How to…
1) Place the pork in the slow cooker with the onions.
2) Mix the other ingredients together & pour over the pork.
3) Cook on low for 8 hours.

Easy! We had our pulled pork in brioche buns with chips & sweetcorn & it was very tasty!!

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For pudding we cheated though… However I would highly recommend a tub of this. A perfect Saturday night treat.

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Happy weekend!

A May Fair, Eurovision, Birthday spectacular!

It’s been a while WordPress & I have missed you dearly. Not a day goes by where I don’t contemplate posting something, however small.
Work has been busier than ever and 13 hour days have been taking their toll on my sanity. I don’t want to waffle on as I know in this current climate everyone is working harder & for longer. This is just my excuse for not posting anything in a long time.

This weekend was my school’s May Fair. Us teacher’s spend 4 weeks at 30 minutes per week teaching our group (mixed across year groups) a country dancing routine. This year my group performed ‘Wring out the dishrag’ and I need to thank my wonderful husband & our friends Tom & Jo for coming to support on Saturday. I baked some simple cupcakes for the cake stall using my trusted weighing of the eggs first recipe. For this recipe please see previous posts.

I also made a black cherry and chocolate cake for my best friend and her boyfriend’s birthdays. Happy belated birthdays Queenie & Simon. I know Queenie will read this.

Ingredients
5 eggs (weighed to determine the measures of the other ingredients)
Self raising flour
Butter
Golden caster sugar
6 tablespoons of milk
4 tablespoons of cocoa powder (I used Galaxy hot chocolate) Adjust to taste.
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Extra thick double cream (how much depends on your taste)
Squirty cream
Black cherry pie filling

The how to
1) Mix the butter & sugar together until smooth using a wooden spoon.
2) Beat the eggs & vanilla extract until combined, don’t overbeat.
3) Add the flour & egg mixture a little at a time to the sugar mixture and stir using a metal spoon.
4) Heat the milk (about 20 seconds on full power) and stir in the cocoa powder before adding to the rest of the mixture.
5) Seperate the mixture between two 8″ cake tins & bake for around 20-25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
6) Spread one side of the cooled sponges with the thick double cream before adding the cherries. Place the other sponge on top and decorate with squirty cream. We added black stars to make it look like the cake had eyes (don’t ask why we felt it should have eyes – May madness perhaps)

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Combine this with Eurovision, friends & take away Chinese and you have the perfect combination for a Saturday night.

Hopefully there won’t be such a long time between posts next time! I hope you all have wonderfully speedy weeks!

Thomas Was Alone

The husband’s blog 🙂 Please read, like & share.

the chronicles of ozzit

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Genuinely Moving (upwards and to the right)

So I finished a game the other day, which is a rare occurrence for me recently. Whether this is due to my choice of games being of the longer and more involved variety, or due to the reduction in free time brought on by silly grownup things like getting married, I don’t know.

Whatever the reason may be, actually finishing something has become considerably more rewarding for me than it used to be when I was younger; when finishing something simply meant that the wait until I could afford another game to play would feel even longer. Indie games fill a handy niche then for me, providing both meaningful story and a satisfying conclusion in one small yet tasty package.

Thomas Was Alone caught my eye some time ago. The only reason I hadn’t bought and played it sooner was that I kept…

View original post 628 more words

Bank Holiday weekend fun!

I love bank holiday weekends & I’ve been looking forward to this one for ages.

We had a very chilled Friday night with just myself & the hubby. It’s been a very busy few weeks at school & a 3 day weekend was much anticipated. We spent Saturday with my sister treating ourselves to Nandos before making an Oreo© cheesecake for our pizza & gaming evening.

This is Nat’s recipe (her blog is coming soon so watch this space!) and I’m not sure where she got it from.

Nat’s Oreo© Cheesecake

The ingredients
200g of Oreos (crushed)
300g Philidelphia
300g Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
160g caster sugar
1 tsp of melted butter
1 small (3″x2″) gelatine sheet

How to…
1) Crush the oreos until they are small pieces.

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2) Add the melted butter & biscuits together and press into a cake tin. Either a springform or push out base.
3) Mix the essence, yogurt & philadelphia together with caster sugar and beat until smooth.

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4) Prepare the gelatine as instructed on the packet before adding the gelatine carefully to the yogurt mixture.
5) Spoon on top of the base & allow to set in the fridge for 3 hours.
6) Finish by decorating with halves of Oreos.

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Enjoy!

Tales from a slow cooker convert

Where has the last month gone? In between finalising wedding plans, getting married & going on our honeymoon, I’ve been contending with work & life in general which has left me very little time for blogging!

My parents bought us a slow cooker as a wedding gift & we’ve now used it 3 times! They also bought a great recipe book to go with it so the following 2 recipes come from The Slow Cooker Cookbook (probably also available on Amazon).
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This book has some great winter recipes but also like the 2 below; ones that would be great for summer. The recipes below are directly from the book The Slow Cooker

Chinese-style Barbecue Pulled Pork

Ingredients
2 crushed garlic cloves
1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp sweet white wine
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
900g boneless pork shoulder

3 spring onions and rice to serve.

The how to…
1) Put the garlic, ginger, honey, soy sauce, wine, oil & five spice in a bowl and mix before adding it the pork and leaving to marinate over night.
2) Place the pork with the marinade into the slow cooker & cook on high for 6 hours or low for 10 hours.
3) You should now be able to pull the pork apart using 2 forks.
4) We boiled white rice and then made it into egg fried rice by adding 2 eggs and some peas into a wok with the rice. As the rice cooks, ensure the egg is broken up & fried as though you were frying scrambled eggs. This is the only way I can think to describe it!
5) We added the sliced spring onions to the sauce left in the slow cooker while we served to soften it up.
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Ham cooked in cider

Ingredients
1kg boneless gammon joint
1 onion cut in half
4 cloves
6 black peppercorns
1 tsp juniper berries (although we couldn’t get hold of these)
1 chopped celery stick
1 sliced carrot
1 litre of medium cider
Fresh salad to serve.

The how to…
1) Place the gammon in the slow cooker with both halves of the onion studded with 2 cloves in each along with the peppercorns, juniper berries, celery & carrot.
2) Pour in the cider & cook for 8 hours on low.
3) When cooked, remove from the slow cooker and cover with foil.
4) Carve & serve with salad. We also had new potatoes.

Easy! Very few ingredients needed & once the meat is cooking, very little else to do! As I said, all recipes are directly from The Slow Cooker cookbook which I would highly recommend.

Sadly, there aren’t as many photos as usual but both meals were delicious as my husband & family can testify!

Happy bank holiday weekend!