Monthly Archives: October 2010

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone! Sorry for the delay in between posts. I have been ill and busy at work.  As it is Halloween today and the time for trick and treating, I have decided to show you some sweet treats in the form of Halloween inspired cakes.

I made these cakes to practice my cake decorating skills and to submit them for entry into English Mum’s Great Big Autumn Bake Off.   I recently received some cake decorating goodies from Sliver Spoon and some Fairtrade Taste The Difference 70% dark chocolate from Sainsbury’s and I wanted to put these to good use in making the cakes.

The graveyard cake is made using the Chocolate Family Cake recipe from Fiona Cairns ‘Bake and Decorate’ cookbook which I reviewed a while ago here.  The icing is from the same recipe too.  I used the Sainsbury’s Fairtrade Taste The Difference 70% dark chocolate to make the cake itself. The spooky cupcakes were made using the Kiss Me Cupcakes recipe that I used on my cupcake course here with the addition of cocoa. The chocolate buttercream is also from Fiona’s book.  All decorations were made using the food colouring and writing icing pens from Sliver Spoon.

I hope you like my cakes and I hope I have inspired you to get baking. Its not too late for Halloween inspired cakes just yet. Please add a link below in the comments if you have made your own Halloween themed bake, I would love to see your fabulous creations.

Thanks to Emma for the Sliver Spoon Products and Hayley for the Sainsbury’s products. They are much appreciated. Thanks :-)

Happy Cooking! :-)

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Cooking with Total Greek Yoghurt

Last month, I was fortunate to receive my own weight in Total Greek yoghurt. I have never seen so much yoghurt in my life. It was amazing. I was so shocked I forgot to take a photo of it. There was so much of it, I gave some away to family and friends as I did not think I could use it all by the use by date. Here are some of the things that my family, friends and I did with the Total Greek yoghurt:

  • Serve it simply with fruits and honey
  • Put it in a fruit smoothie
  • Added it to a curry to calm the fiery spicy heat down
  • Put a dollop on chili con carne instead of sour cream
  • Make raita and tzatziki for Indian/Greek feasts

However, two of my absolute favourite things to do with Greek yoghurt is to make some kind of fruit fool and bake a cake with it. I was lucky enough to win a copy of Nigel Slater’s new book ‘Tender Vol II: Fruit’ and in it was a recipe for blueberry fool. The recipe is simplicity itself: cook the fruit (can be any soft fruit you like) with sugar and a spot of water until softened, whip up some double cream until soft peaks are formed, mix it with the yoghurt and then once the fruit has cooled slightly, stir it in. It was lovely and very yummy.

As this week is National Baking Week, it seems only right to show you the cake that I made with the Greek yoghurt. My cake is a honey lemon yoghurt cake that was inspired from an Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa) recipe.  I made the cake using the quantities on the recipe, however I made the cake in a more British way by mixing the eggs, butter and sugar together first and then adding all the other ingredients. I baked the cake in a square cake tin and it cooked for about an hour. To glaze the cake, I warmed some honey in a saucepan and poured it over the still warm cake.  My work colleagues loved the cake and thought that the yoghurt gave the cake an interesting texture. It is one I will make again.

Many thanks to Julie for sending me the Total Greek Yoghurt

Happy Cooking! :-)

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24 Carrots Farmers Market

Yesterday, it was the 24 Carrots Farmer’s Market in the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham. The market is a monthly event that is organised by the Jewellery Quarter’s Residents Association and it brings in producers from Birmingham and beyond to sell their wares to the local residents. I found out about the market last month at the Midlands Food Bloggers Meet Up when Brian from 24 Carrots came and told us all about it. Louise from Comida Y Vida and I could not resist the chance to go and meet local Midlands food producers and purchase some goodies from them.

One of our fellow Midlands Food Blogger’s, Tom from Loaf was going to be there too selling lovely pizzas from his travelling wood fired pizza oven. However, Tom had a disaster when his oven broke on his way to the market. You can read all about it here on his blog and see a picture of the damaged oven. It was a massive shame and everyone was looking forward to pizzas to lunch. I hope he can get the oven fixed and be able to attend the next one. However, all was not lost, Tom set up an impromptu underground  pizza takeaway from his house last night to use up his 20kg of pizza dough and toppings that he had prepared for the market and I believe it was a success. Well done Tom! :-)

Another friend of mine had a stall at the market and that was Mary from Kiss Me Cupcakes, who I did a cupcake course with not so long ago. It was great to see her and get to eat her lovely cupcakes, without having to make them first! I brought a box of six home with me and am slowing eating them.

Our next stop was Squisito Deli which had the most amazing display on the stall. Sara had done a fantastic job. It just looked beautiful. Everything was freshly made by them including a variety of Italian breads, sausages, smoked spices and garlic. It was foodie heaven! Louise and I left with full bags of ciabatta, focaccia, sausages, oak smoked garlic, herbs and spices.

We then went to More Cocoa for the best hot chocolate we had ever had. It was delicious and freshly made straight in front of us. I brought some chocolate so that I could make at home myself. I do not normally like hot chocolate but I loved this one.

Over at Hincley’s Bakery Louise brought some spelt bread and I brought a Butalump. A soft buttery loaf that was perfect with bacon sandwiches this morning. I brought the bacon from Woodhouse Farm which has a traditional butchery and smoke-house. The bacon was thick and very yummy.

The market even had live entertainment from a band called McScraggy and The Suits. They were really good and gave a party atmosphere to the market. Louise and I had a fabulous time at the market and we would like to thank everyone at 24 Carrots and the stall holders who made our time so enjoyable. We will be back again soon! The dates for the last two markets of the year are Saturday 20th November and Saturday 18th December. We hope to see you there.

Until next time,

Happy Cooking! :-)

PS: See Louise’s post about the farmers market here

Midlands Food Bloggers Meet Up

On Sunday 19th September, the Midlands Food Bloggers  had their second meeting at the Urban Coffee Company in Birmingham.  It was attended by Louise of Comida Y Vida, Gavin of To Bizzy to Bake , Marie (@Maries_Cakes on Twitter, blog to follow soon),  Brian from 24 Carrots, the Jewellery Quarter’s Farmers Market and of course, Me!

Over coffee and cake, made for the Urban Coffee Company by Gavin (both chocolate Guinness and chocolate fudge cake, we chatted about Midlands food, the 24 Carrots Farmers Market, promoting ourselves and food businesses via social networking and how we could get the Midlands Food Bloggers known about more widely. It was decided that a blog would be set up for the Midlands Food Bloggers with a section to highlight local foodie businesses.  Louise and Jo also decided that they would visit the Jewellery Quarter’s farmers market to promote it on their blogs and the new MFB blog. We would like to thank everyone who came to the meet up, and Becs and the team from Urban Coffee Company who made us feel very welcome.  We will be back again soon!

If you would like more information on the Midlands Food Bloggers, please email midsfoodbloggers@hotmail. co.uk

Midlands Food Bloggers on Facebook

Midlands Food Bloggers on UK Food Bloggers Association

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Hello Again!

Hello again! I know it has been a while but I am back and ready to blog again. I have had a crazy month at work and not had the time to blog. I have missed you all and we have lots to catch up on. Some of the things I have been getting up to this month are:

  • Attended the Midlands Food Bloggers Meet Up at Urban Coffee Company (write up of event will be my next post)
  • Received my own weight in Total Greek Yoghurt and have been making up some recipes using it (post about this coming soon)
  • Won a signed of copy of Nigel Slater’s new book ‘Tender Volume II’ (will be making recipes from this book  soon)
  • Received a copy of the new Coca-Cola cookbook ‘When You Entertain’ (will be making recipes from this book soon)
  • Received some Sliver Spoon cake decorating items to make and decorate some cakes for Halloween
  • Made venison chorizo, red wine and peas risotto (recipe coming soon)
  • Received an updated version of the Lawrence Keough Kidney Care cookbook (will be cooking from this book soon)
  • Went for a meal at Jamie’s Italian in Covent Garden, London (review will be coming soon)
  • and finally, I still need to tell you about my foodie adventures  in Croatia in the summer

Phew, what a list! I had better get cracking. I will be back as soon as possible with my write up of the Midlands Food Bloggers Meet Up.

Back soon!

Happy Cooking! :-)

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