This week it was pudding week on The Great British Bake Off. We had steamed puddings for signature bakes, molten chocolate puddings for technical and Trifles for show stopper bakes.
Now my  miserable family are not keen on puddings unless they are chocolate so I didn’t have much choice but to go for the molten chocolate puddings for my bake.

The next problem was…there are seven of us and most recipes for individual puddings were for 4 or six. So I had to do some adjusting and my recipe makes seven puddings, made in regular ramekins.

If I’m honest, they were not perfect to look at, but they did pass the taste test.

I added a little white chocolate to the kids puddings, both in the middle and on top. For the adults we had to make do with dark chocolate because the white didn’t go very far (or it may have got eaten by a family member when I left it in the fridge!)

molten chocolate pudding
As you can see, the white chocolate in the middle was trying it’s best to escape before I took a photo. This was the best of the batch of three, the others had already oozed out. I didn’t manage to make a neat job of spooning the white chocolate on the top either. Trust me, these puddings are alive, they ooze, they collapse they fall apart, all before you get the chance of a good shot….but they tasted yummy. I give them 10 for taste and 1 for presentation!
I’m not sure if you can tell by this photo but the sponge was light and fluffy and the inside gooey. Isn’t that the objective? Okay, I guess looking nice would be good too.

The other puddings fared even worse for presentation…it’s a minus 4 from me! As soon as I took them out of the ramekins they collapsed as the middle bit oozed out. Too much chocolate maybe? I think they might have needed a little more cooking. I was under the impression that they had to be served straight from the oven, which I’m sure contributed to them breaking up.

Here is my recipe (if you want it!)

Ingredients:

  • 200g butter
  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 100g white chocolate (if adding)
  • 5 eggs
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 75gg self raising flour
  • tbs of cocoa powder.

Method:

  • Melt the dark chocolate and butter in bowl over a pan of hot water. (or carefully in the microwave) set aside to cool
  • in a large bowl whisk together the eggs and sugar until pale and light
  • fold the chocolate into the egg mixture
  • add the flour and cocoa powder and fold in
  • grease 7 ramekin moulds
  • divide the mixture between the moulds place on a baking tray. If adding white chocolate put a chunk into the top of the mixture, no need to push it in as it will sink while baking.
  • bake in a pre-heated oven 180C/gas mark 4 for 10 – 12 minutes
  • when baked, loosen the puddings and turn out carefully onto serving plates.
Serve them with cream or melted white chocolate sauce.

Mummy Mishaps



I’m really getting into the Great British Bake Off now, despite the missing Mary, Mel and Sue. It’s all about the baking after all.
This week was bread week and I love baking bread…but I’ve not done so for a long time. The signature task was to bake tea cakes, something I’ve never tried before but I may try one day as I do like a nice toasted tea cake with my cuppa. The technical challenge was a cottage loaf, again I’ve not made one before but I do remember making a mini one many many years ago at school. Finally, the show stopper was a bread sculpture, yes, like I’d have the time, or energy for that!

So, I went for the cottage loaf. I love making bread kneading by hand but with my hands giving me so much trouble lately, it was good to have two little helpers to hand, Star and Boo, who each took turns with the kneading.

The recipe I used was a basic white loaf recipe.

Ingredients

500g bread flour
25g butter
1tbs sugar
1 1/2 tsp of salt
1tsp dried yeast
320 ml of warm water

Method:

rub the butter into the flour
add the sugar, salt and yeast,
mix in the water a little at a time until you have a firm dough
knead the dough for 10 mins and leave in a bowl covered with cling film, or a tea towel for about 1 hour
knead the dough again and shape into two rounds, one slightly bigger than the other
Put the smaller mound on top of the larger one and push two fingers all the way through both rounds from the middle of the top round.
leave to prove, covered lightly, for a further 30 mins.
Bake at 180 C for 40 mins, or until it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

cottage loaf

=

Mummy Mishaps



I’m a big fan of The Great British Bake Off and bake along with it every year. This year it changed channels and I forgot it was on last week! I did manage to catch it on catch-up tv though but it was too late to bake along. This week again I missed it when it was on, it’s just not a good time for me, but I recorded it to watch at leisure. I have to say, I’m enjoying the new show despite no Mary or Mel and Sue. After all, it’s about the baking really. The only thing I would say is that it seems a lot more rushed as they have to fit everything in for the adverts. One good thing about catch-up or recording, you don’t have to watch the adverts 🙂

This week it was biscuit week and for a long time now I’ve wanted to make Bourbons, but I guess I just didn’t feel like it, so I handed the challenge over to the kids.

Star went for the cream challenge and she made a softer cookie dough for her biscuits and piped them into rounds before I cooked them for her. Then she filled them with chocolate butter cream. I think they turned out pretty good, even though they were not all exactly the same.

chocolate cream swirl biscuits

Boo just wanted to do her own thing so she made a biscuit dough she could roll and cut out shapes from. She wanted to do different sized hearts but I couldn’t find my pack of heart cutters, so she just chose shapes from the box. This is just a small selection of them after she’d piped icing on them.

biscuit shapes decorated with piped icing

When I told the Little Man of the options he said he wanted to make a game. Mmmm a bit adventurous for a seven year old I think! Of course his favourite game at the moment is Mine Craft so he wanted to make Mine Craft biscuits. They had to be square to represent the blocks on Mine Craft. Then he decorated them himself, the middle biscuit is the player and the little ones around it are dirt blocks. I can’t really explain it any clearer.

chocolate square biscuits with piped designs

They had loads of fun with their baking and decorating, it was a great way to while away an afternoon. The biscuits all tasted pretty good too, especially as I just winged the recipe.

Next week it’s bread week and I’ve been meaning to bake some bread for a while now so fingers crossed it will be me baking…although the kids will probably want to make some too!

If you want to see what other bloggers have been baking this week then please check out the GBBO blogger linky over on Mummy Mishaps blog.

Mummy Mishaps



Dear Phil Vickery,

I was watching This Morning the other day when I spotted a lovely looking cheesecake in the background ad immediately began salivating. I love cheesecake! I had to have this cheesecake.

I watched and waited until your part came along where you showed us how to make the delicious looking delight. Did I tell you, I love cheesecake?

You made it look so easy, there was your shortbread all ready and waiting, “yes, the recipe is on the website you said.” Well, you were not wrong, but it wasn’t on the same page as the cheesecake recipe, and I’m not sure it was the right recipe, but it was for shortbread, and I hunted it down. I spent an hour making  the mix, chilling it, cooking it cooling it. Then I found that the recipe just gave me enough shortcake to use as the base of the cheesecake, I’d have to do it all again to make the decoration on the top. Hence my poor cheesecake had to go without.

“Pop the strawberries around the edge of your tin,” you said. You put one in as an example, you made it look so easy. It wasn’t easy. I spent another hour of my time trying to get the bloody strawberries to stick around the edge of the tin! I’d get three in then they’d all fall down, time and time again. I bet you had someone spend an hour putting all of your strawberries in too, didn’t you? And they made sure they left you a perfect little gap to pop in the last strawberry. Or maybe they were all glued to the tin?

So, now I’m two hours in the making of this super quick and easy cheesecake and I realise that hubby has bought me evaporated milk instead of condensed milk. “It’s the same stuff isn’t it?” He said.
Well, no it isn’t, but you probably know that. Condensed milk has lots of sugar but evaporated milk doesn’t. It’s ok though, I knew what to do. You just have to add sugar to a pan of evaporated milk and warm it up until it’s dissolved. I’ve not made cheesecake with condensed milk before, but I guess it’s the secret as to why this one is so ‘quick and easy.’

My condensed milk was sickly sweet but it’s okay because the cheesecake also contains lemon to counteract the sweetness. In fact three lemons and their zest. Have you ever zested three lemons? I guess you have someone do that for you. It took me ages and my arm was aching afterwards. Three lemons and zest is a lot of citrus.

Right, I had my shortcake base in place and the pan was, finally, lined with juicy strawberries, now it was time to make the cheesecake mix. In the video you said it must all be very cold, so my condensed milk was chilled, as was my mascarpone cheese and lemon juice and zest. I mixed the cheese and milk together then added the lemon. In the video I watched in awe as  your mixture instantly became thick and started to set, it was amazing to watch. Did it happen to mine? No! I was left with a custard like substance, a bowl of lemony slop.

Where did I go wrong, everything was weighed and measured, was it because of the home made condensed milk? I put it in the tin anyway and put it in the fridge to chill, after about two hours it started to set. I left it overnight. I reckon it’s taken fourteen hours from start to finish to make your super quick and easy cheesecake.

And don’t get me started on the mess! How come your kitchen worktop was so tidy? My entire kitchen looked like a bomb had hit it. Okay, I know you are on television and everything is ready for you, but, come on, you could let us know how much mess we would make if we were to try it at home! 

And how did it taste? Well, it was super, super lemony.

Thanks Phil, I won’t be trying this again.

By the way, did you know you could make a super quick and easy strawberry cheesecake using a digestive biscuit base (10 mins) a filling of cream cheese, half a lemon juice, whipped cream and icing sugar (10 mins) with an hour to set in the fridge?

Yours disappointingly,

Anne Sweet

My version of Phil Vickery’s Strawberry (very lemony) cheesecake 

My messy kitchen after making the cheesecake!

I’ve never owned a slow cooker, it’s just one of those appliances I’ve never felt the need to buy. When I was given the opportunity to review this Bella Triple Slow Cooker I thought, why not, let’s see what the fuss is about

Now, I’ll admit that initially I thought the purpose of slow cookers were to put your dinner on before going to work and it would be ready when you got home. I had two problems with this,

  • who has the time to prepare a meal first thing in the morning
  • I don’t like the idea of leaving something cooking at home when there is no-one there (I’m terrified of fire!)
I prepared a meal for the slow cooker and it involved a little browning of the meat which took 5 mins and the preparation of vegetables (which can be done anytime really.) Then I threw it in the pot with the herbs and spices etc and the whole thing took less than 10 mins. With pre-prep you could have it ready a lot sooner, in fact you could have it ready in the pot the night before and just turn it on in the morning.
I still don’t have an answer for the second one, although they do seem pretty safe. I kept an eye on mine all day and it never got really hot, or the liquid spill over. 
Since using a slow cooker I’ve discovered that it’s much more than having a meal ready when you get home from work. It’s a great way of just throwing stuff together and ending up with a great meal with little effort. The meat cooks so slow that it’s always really tender and you can get away with using tougher cuts of meat which are generally cheaper. 
Apparently you can cook cakes and desserts too, I might have to try that one day, it would be nice to have desert cooked for eating straight after dinner.
This three pot slow cooker is a little different to your usual slow cooker as it has three pots and most have only one. Each pot can hold 1.3 litres which is pretty good. A lot of the smaller slow cookers only hold 1 to 1.5 litres, although you can buy really big family size ones. It was suggested that one pot holds enough for 2-3 people and I found that about right, although we did get four small servings out of one pot. If you need to cook for more you can cook in two pots! 
An advantage of having three pots to cook in is that you can do three different meals. You’d need to be cooking for a large family though. I did try two different curries in two pots and this worked fine. I have a big household of 4 adults and 3 children and we don’t all like the same food so this is going to be handy.
We also often eat at different times which when this slow cooker really comes in handy. It will keep your food warm until ready to serve, so you can  you just help yourself whenever you need to. I found that when I did the two curries, I also made some rice and when it was cooked I put it in the third pot on warm. Perfect curry night!
It would also be great for entertaining, you can keep three meals warm and guests can just help themselves. 

Bella Triple Slow Cooker and Warming Station

So lets get down to the nitty gritty of the product. The Three Pot Slow Cooker is pretty big so make sure you have room for it. 
It is 56.4cm long, 26.5cm wide and 20cm high and it weighs 8kg. 
As I said each pot holds 1.3  litres which is enough for 2-3 good servings. 
Each pot has it’s own controls, Off, Low, High, Warm. 
The pots are good quality stoneware and are easy to wash. (They are stated to be dishwasher safe but I don’t have a dishwasher so I can’t really comment on that.)
They each have a spoon rest too which helps with keeping the area clean and tidy. 
The lids of each pot are glass and there is a holder for each lid when you are ready for serving.
It’s ideal for entertaining with buffet style serving and a keep warm option.
The product comes with an instruction manual with five recipes to get  you started.
You can purchase the Bella Triple Slow Cooker on Amazon for £54.99 (it’s currently on sale)

Recipe – Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken

Ingredients:
2 chicken breasts, chopped into chunks
1 medium onion, sliced
1 tbs sugar
1 tbs tomato ketchup
100 ml orange juice
1 tbs cornflour
2 tbs cider vinegar
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs fresh grated ginger
1 220g can pineapple chunks
1 green pepper, sliced
rice to serve.
Method:
Fry the chicken until it is browned (about 5 mins)
put all the ingredients into the slow cooker pot
turn to Low and leave for 6-7 hours
stir occasionally after 2 hours
Serve with rice.
So, so easy and incredibly delicious, this is the nicest sweet and sour I’ve ever cooked. It was even nicer than the one I had from the take-away restaurant last week!.
Disclosure: I was sent the Triple Slow Cooker for the purpose of this review, all thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.