Friday, 28 August 2015

Bake With Bake Off Week Four

This weeks Great British Bake Off  was Dessert Week.

The Signature Dish was creme brulee, gorgeous pots of baked custard with a caramel topping..but no blow torches allowed.

We saw quite a few problems amongst the bakers in the tent with only Ian and Tamal having perfect custard. The others either had scrambled eggs or runny custards.

Onto the technical challenge and Mary set them the task of making a  Spanische Windtorte, which despite it's name is a combination of Swiss and French meringues with a  fruit and cream filling and decorated with tiny fondant violets.

Most of the bakers knew their meringues and there were not to many problems. There were a few, however, that had no idea what a violet looked like.

It was Paul and Ugne who came out on top with first and second place.

The Showstopper was three tiers of cheesecake.

Ian wowed the judges with his flavours, using tarragon and apple, pecan and rosemary.
Tamal also did really well with his mango, hazelnut and rosemary.

Sandy, however, had a really difficult week and her cheesecakes refused to stand on top of each other. She was told they were raw on the bottom and not cooked through and the fruit was too clumpy. Sadly, it was Sandy's last stand and she was sent home.

The Star Baker for the third week running was Ian for experimenting in a professor type way!

I am a huge fan of cheesecake, it is one of my favourite desserts. I've made them in so many different flavours..but...I've never made a baked cheesecake! So that is what I chose for my Bake With Bake Off Challenge this week set by Silver Mushroom.

Ginger and Blueberry Baked Cheesecake



























Ingredients:

200g ginger nut biscuits
100g unsalted butter
1tbs cornflour
50g caster sugar
500g full fat cream cheese
1 large egg
100ml double cream
1tsp vanilla extract
grated zest of 1 lemon
100g blueberries
3tsp caster sugar

Method:

preheat oven to 160C
grease and line a 20cm loose bottomed tin
melt butter
crush biscuits with a rolling pin, or in a food processor
add biscuits to butter and mix thoroughly
spread in bottom of tin and press down with a spoon
bake for 10 minutes.
turn oven up to 180C
while base is cooling, put cornflour and caster sugar into mixer
add cream cheese and mix until smooth and creamy
add egg and mix
slowly add cream while mixing slowly
add vanilla extract and lemon zest and continue mixing until thick and creamy
pour mixture on top of base
bake for 35 minutes.
leave to cool in tin then remove carefully
leave in fridge for at least an hour
put blueberries in pan with sugar and a little water
simmer for 10 minutes
leave to cool
use to dress cheesecake when serving.

Now I've baked my first cheesecake I'll definitely be making more. The taste and texture was different to my normal, unbaked, cheesecake but it was really tasty. I'd love to experiment with more flavours.



Tuesday, 25 August 2015

His Own Room

This week the Little Man moved into his own room.
Now you may think that being five years old he would have been in there sooner but it wasn't quite so simple. We have lived in this house for nearly two years now, but before we were living in a much smaller house and the kids didn't have their own rooms.

When I met my partner and we decided to have a baby we knew there wasn't really room but my older two were already teenagers so we figured it wouldn't be too long before they were making their own way in the world. That was plan A. Plan B was to divide our huge bedroom into two. Of course, Plan B always seemed the most likely, particularly when the next baby arrived and the two older ones were not going anywhere.

The division of the room was not too difficult, the main problem was having to replace one of the windows. However, before we got around to this, the next baby was on his way! We had a problem. Three bedrooms, four adults and three kids. Time to move.

So, we moved into this house and the girls wanted a room together, which meant the Little Man could have a room to himself. Only, when we moved in we used his room to dump all the stuff that we didn't know where else to put. We kept saying we'd sort it, but he had his little bed in our room and after sharing with all three kids, sharing with one wasn't so bad. (Plus, I loved it when he'd wake in the night and come into my bed for a cuddle) So I didn't rush. I guess, I wanted to keep him as my baby too, it was hard to let go.

Then he turned five. He kept asking to move into his own room and we couldn't hold back any longer. It took us just two days to get his room ready. It still needs painting, but as it's been unused the magnolia walls are still clean and bright in there so no rush for that. He has a new bed and new curtains but we still need to get some new furniture.

I kept his toddler bed in my room in case he had trouble sleeping.

He didn't.

The first night I checked in on him five times throughout the night. He didn't wake once.
In the morning, he waited for me to go in and tell him it was time to get up.

He loves his new room. He plays in there with his toys,

He sleeps in there like a real big boy.

And for the first time in ten years we have no children in our room!




Monday, 24 August 2015

Kids in the Kitchen - Soda Bread

Welcome to this weeks kids in the kitchen.
Each week I write up a new post and let you know what my little chefs have been up to in the kitchen. I also have a linky and invite you to share what you have been cooking with your kids, or even your recipes for kids. Everyone that links up gets a mention on my social media channels and their post pinned on my Pinterest board which is a great place to visit for inspiration.



Follow Anne's board Kids In The Kitchen on Pinterest.

The linky is open for a month and you can join in as many times as you wish.


Soda Bread


As it was bread week on the Great British Bake off last week Boo was keen to make some bread. However, kids do get bored waiting for the dough to prove so we made some quick bread, or soda bread.

Ingredients:

250g plain flour
250g wholemeal flour
1tsp salt 
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
about 400ml of buttermilk

If you don't have buttermilk you can add a tsp of lemon juice to milk and leave it at room temperature for at least 15 minutes.

Method:

Into a large bowl put all the dry ingredients and mix together
Make a well in the middle and add the butter milk, mixing it until you have a sticky dough and all the flour has been absorbed.
Tip the dough out and shape into a dome shape.
Put dough on a greased baking tray and cut a deep cross into the loaf.
Bake for about 30 minutes until golden and sounds hollow when tapped at the bottom.

Tips, Only add as much of the buttermilk as you need, as soon as all the flour is absorbed you have enough, don't make the dough too wet and sticky. If you really don't like the soda taste you could use just half tsp soda. This dough does not really need much kneading, just enough to bring it all together and shape the loaf.









So now it's over to you, get in the kitchen with your kids and come and share what you've cooked,
I'd also be mighty grateful if you included my badge in your post so others can see it and come along and join in. (although adding the badge is not compulsory to joining in)








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Friday, 21 August 2015

How Much Do You Share Online?

A friend asked me the other day what a blog was. I figured the easy way to explain was to show her mine. This friend has internet at home and several devices but she does not participate in any social network sites. She mostly looks things up and shops, but even then, she doesn't buy things online, she just chooses what she wants then goes to the shop and buys it. So I guess she is a little untrustworthy of the internet.

When she saw my blog she was shocked,
"why do you put all this personal stuff online for everyone to see?"

This is from someone that knows me quite well and can quite plainly see that I don't put everything in my blog. In fact I keep lots out. However, she still thought I shared too much. Photos of my kids, telling people of places where we'd been and things we'd done.

My eldest kids (who I don't really mention on my blog) are also very private when it comes the internet. They never use their real names, or photos despite being members of many groups and playing many online games. No-one knows anything about their real lives. They have asked me specifically not to include them here and I even had to remove my birth stories about them. (Shame because they were really interesting and some may have found them helpful, and I didn't include names or photos) 

I rarely mention my partner, or our relationship. I don't mention our jobs or other family members. I never mention our finances, or talk about the area where we live. 

I use nicknames for my kids, although these days the nicknames are used nearly as much in real life as they are on the blog, particularly Boo, who was so named long before she was actually born!

I don't name their school or any of their friends. If I use photos of other children I get permission off their parents. Sometimes other kids get in the photos at parties and days out, it can't be helped. 

I share more personal stuff on my Facebook page but then I keep my facebook friends tight, they are all people I've spoken with for many years, or I have met in real life, or family. I still don't share everything, I'm just not the type of person who runs to facebook after a row with the other half or similar.

In my opinion I don't think I share too much. There is so much more I would like to share, so much more I'd like to get off my chest and tell the world about. But I don't, I'm just a little too private to share it all. I think the most personal I got was when my mom was diagnosed with cancer. I used my blog (not this one) to pour out all my emotions and it really helped me to get through those few weeks she had left. I knew my friends were reading because they were sending me personal messages. I didn't have the strength to reply but I carried on writing and answering on my blog. Then before mom was buried I had to deal with finding my brother after he committed suicide. Yes, it was a tough time, and my blog helped me, but I don't really share all that now, well, not the emotional side anyway.

I do like to read blogs that share personal stuff. It's not that I'm nosey, it's just that it helps you relate to people, you find out that they are human too. I think sharing is good and I wish I could share more.

Can you share too much though?

Why do people steer clear of sharing?

I know why I do, I don't want to upset people close to me. If your sharing effects someone else then they need to be aware of what you are sharing and agree to it. 

Maybe people think that if others know too much about you they can use it against you? This can be true, especially in the world of the internet when people are more likely to attack from their keyboards when they wouldn't say anything to your face. Some people can be cruel.

Then there are the trolls, they are everywhere and you never know when they are going to strike. They can be hell to deal with, especially if you are vulnerable, and they tend to pick  on the vulnerable.

I do worry about putting my kids in the firing line. When they are young it's not so bad, but as they get older there is always the chance that someone at school can find stuff out about them and they can end up being teased or even bullied. I run another blog about Star's disabilities, I started it because I found it so hard to find information when she was first poorly and I wanted to put something out there for others who may find themselves in the same position. Then I realised that it may come back on her at a later date so I went through and deleted all recognisable photos of her. Hopefully, if any of her peers do come across it, they won't know it's her.

I've already made the decision that my kids will feature less on my blog as they get older. If I keep blogging I may have to take a different direction with it.

So what do you think? Do we share too much online? 



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Thursday, 20 August 2015

Bake With Bake Off - It's All I Knead

Week three of the Great British Bake Off and it's bread week. I love baking bread, I love the smell of it cooking in my kitchen. I love releasing the stress as I knead the dough. No breadmaker here, although if I did have one I'd probably never buy another loaf of bread from the supermarket.

Boo, was keen to get in on the action and made her very own loaf of soda bread. So quick and easy and we love it with a nice tangy jam like gooseberry or lime.


So how did the bakers in the tent get on this week?
The signature bake was, well, quick bread, which basically means soda bread. Or you can use baking powder, but you don't use yeast. The bread doesn't need proving and shouldn't be kneaded too much. You also need to get the right amount of liquid. The soda needs something to react with and this is usually buttermilk. I tend to make my own by putting lemon juice into milk and leaving it at room temperature for 30 minutes.

In the tent there were some amazing flavours going on, Tamal went for fig, cheese and walnut in his bread and Ian used wild garlic in his giving it a lovely green look.

The technical task was baguettes, you may think they are easy, but it's not for some. Nadiya, Sandy and Paul just didn't rise to the occasion and it was Ian who took first place. Has the curse of the star baker been lifted?

Finally, the show stopper had to be a 3D bread sculpture made with three different breads with one of them filled. Alvin went way over the top with five different types of bread, Tamal made the most amazing looking 'breadcycle' and Nadiya redeemed herself a little with her snake charmers basket, the snake looked delicious. It was Paul that received high praise though, for his amazing lion creation.
Dorret found herself in the firing line with her unmade bed, it was messy and undercooked. She even admitted to have not practicing it at home. Who enters a major cooking competition without practicing at home? So, it was Dorret who found herself being sent home, and not to practice.

This weeks star baker was Ian, again! He did do well in every round and I loved his flowerpot arrangement for the show stopper.

I decided to make a tea loaf for this weeks Bake With Bake Off challenge with Silver Mushroom. Again there is no yeast, and it's quick and easy to make. You could argue that fruit loaves are more like cake than bread, but if you can slice it like bread and add butter or jam if you wish then I will argue that it is bread.


Apricot and Sultana Tea Loaf


Ingredients: 


  • 225g self-raising white flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 115g soft brown sugar
  • 115g ready-to-eat dried apricots, chopped
  • 115g sultanas
  • 2 eggs
  • 150ml milk


Method:


  • Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4
  • Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin
  • Mix the flours, cinnamon and sugar in a bowl
  • Add apricots and sultanas and mix well
  • Add the eggs and milk and beat well until thoroughly mixed 
  • Pour the mixure into the loaf tin
  • Bake for about 1 hour or until golden brown and firm to touch.
  • Leave to cool, slice and serve.







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