Friday, 30 August 2013

I Heart Cake - Silicone Cake Baking Mould

I Heart Cake Silicone Mould

I was recently asked if I would like to take part in a baking challenge using the 'I Heart Cake' silicone cake baking mould from Find Me A Gift.

I do like to bake and I do like heart shaped things so I was unable to resist the challenge.  I received the 'I Heart Cake' baking mould and set about thinking of what I would use it for.

You can do sweet or savoury baking in it or even us it for jellies or ice cream (it is suitable for the freezer too).

You bake one big cake then cut it into 6 seperate heart shaped pieces.  You can slice them through the middle and ice in the middle and on top or even cover it completely with icing.

The mould is freezer and dishwasher safe and is made from a food safe, non-stick silicone.

For my cake challenge I wanted to use some of the blackberries from my allotment so have created a blackberry and coconut cake.

180g softened butter
180g golden caster sugar
3 large eggs
100g SR flour
2tsp baking powder
80g dessicated coconut
150g blackberries
Zest and juice of one lime

Preheat oven to 180oC or Gas mark 4
I used a silicone mould so didn't need to grease and flour but if using a conventional tin you should.

In a large bowl cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time and beat until thoroughly mixed.

Sift together the flour and baking powder then add coconut to dry mixture.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix thoroughly.  Fold in the blackberries and lime zest and juice.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 35-45 minutes until a skewer or cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes then turn out and continue to cool.

Cut into 6 pieces so that you have six heart shapes.  You can split in half and ice the middle if you want to.

I made an icing with about 80g of cream cheese (I used lactofree but any cream cheese will do)  I added icing sugar till I got the consistency I was after.

I popped a couple of blackberries into the icing to turn it a slight purple.

Below is my finished slice to send with Mr R for work tomorrow.  Hope he loves my heart!

And finally I would love to win the challenge! Thanks Find Me A Gift for the opportunity.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Warburtons Make Lunchtime Fun

Warburtons have asked me to help point out their 'Liven Up Your Lunch' Facebook campaign to have a fun and 'Krazy' lunchtime.  They have a series of videos on Facebook featuring some super size chickens causing havoc in their Krazy Kitchen whilst two families battle it out to win a challenge. 

My granddaughter, MissLizzie had great giggles wearing the chicken mask whilst I prepared her sandwich.

As you can see you can use a whole range of ingredients to make a great sandwich or wrap.

MissLizzie just wanted hers plain chicken, cheese and mayo.

To turn this into a fun lunch time I thought we could have a pic nic in the garden but we woke up to heavy rain.

Solution - put the pic nic blanket on the bed, add a few towels and cushions and have an inside pic nic (a pretend one)!

We even invited Jonty the dog to come to our pic nic! As long as he wore a hat and had his own dog food he was welcome.

MissLizzie giggled as she ate her Warburtons thin sandwich squares with the sailor hat on.

Because having fun at lunchtime isn't limited to home I thought Mr R should join in the fun too. He works in a serious environment and the thought of him wearing a sailor hat as he eats his lunch is worthy of a giggle !!

Warburtons would love you to have a look at their Facebook page and view their latest and last video installment in their Krazy Kitchens series, it previews today 23rd August 2013. 

This post was sponsored by Warburtons and I was sent a hamper of ingredients and props to use. The opinions are my own even though I have been paid to write this post.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Mighty Lights from Walkers - Crisps with 30% less fat

Nanny can I have some crisps? Normally I would have to think about that question due to the fat content of conventional crisps but now that Walkers have brought out Mighty Lights with 30% less fat the answer is more likely to be 'Yes'.

Mighty Lights are new from Walkers and just in time for back to school and those dreaded packed lunches!  It isn't easy to come up with new and innovative ideas for the lunch box and still keep it healthy. Now you know you can pop some crisps in that are a bit healthier than the competition.

There are no artificial colours or preservatives, no MSG and 30% less fat.  They are also a source of fibre and are suitable for vegetarians (yes, even the Roast Chicken flavour!).

There are three flavours of these non-greasy, ridged crisp, Cheese & Onion - throws some people that it is in a blue packet as I am sure it used to be green (my favourite), Lightly Salted and Roast Chicken. 

My 5 year old granddaughter is staying with me this week and we taste tested them together.  I have a duty to her parents to give her healthy things to eat whilst she is visiting and always pleased to find something I can honestly tell her parents is better than the average. I noticed that our fingers weren't greasy from eating them and MissLizzie just loved the taste and crunch.  Kids love the taste and you don't have to feel guilty saying yes when they want some.

Can I have another packet please Nanny? So time to think about the sandwiches you will be making in a few weeks, the fruit you will be putting into the lunch boxes and being able to give them a little something they will want to eat (you won't get them sharing their Mighty Bites!) and head down to the new addition to the crisp isle.
And they are not just for school lunch boxes, mums and dads who take their lunch or a snack to work will find them just as nice. No guilt feelings when you open a packet of these at your desk.
They are new and just in time for back to school and are available in shops nationwide and are retailing at about £1.99 for a six pack.

This is a sponsored post from Walkers and they sent me a six pack of each flavour to review.

Monday, 19 August 2013

It's official! London's favourite meal is a Roast Dinner!!

Tesco recently surveyed 2000 UK parents and a roast dinner came out as the number one family meal in London and the South East.

I couldn't agree more. Britons are passionate about their food but many are frightened to experiment at home, leaving that for eating out.

Although we sit glued to the TV watching Nigella, Greg & John, Nigel and many others we still go for a traditional roast chicken, roast potatoes and gravy!

Tesco have launched their new campaign 'Love Every Mouthful', about making and eating fantastic food and celebrating and sharing food with friends and family, and asked me to try out an alternate recipe for a weekday roast chicken. They sent me all the ingredients to make a Glazed Roast Chicken and serve with Charlotte potatoes and tenderstem broccoli.

It was really easy to first make a sticky glaze out of clear honey, soy sauce, garlic, ginger and rice wine.

Simply brush half the glaze on the chicken and pop it into the over for 50 minutes. Pour over the rest of the sticky glaze and cook for another 30 minutes

and at this time pop the potatoes into the oven with olive oil and lemon slices. Alough the recipe said to pop the potatoes into the oven I would personally par boil them next time. They did take longer than the 30 minutes to cook and could have been softer.

I served the meal with the tenderstem broccoli and courgettes which came from my allotment this afternoon!

Mr R was very happy to come home on a Monday night to roast chicken!

For the recipe and over 7,000 others click here!

Thank you Tesco for all the ingredients to make this delicious meal.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Matching Food with Wines from Touraine in the Loire Valley

Tuesday 16th July 2013 was the second birthday of my blog and who wouldn't love a birthday party. The components would include a dozen or so people, delicious food and perfect wines to match.

When I was invited to an evening of food and wine pairing by Touraine, Vins De Loire on that day I thought what a perfect blog birthday party! The event was well organised featuring Fiona Beckett, food and wine journalist and columnist for the Guardian. She is particularly interested in food and wine pairing.

A simple statement to keep in mind is that what grows together goes together, e.g. Muscadet & oysters!  Loire wines are fresh and aromatic, great for sipping in the summer and for drinking with food.

The old rule of red wine with meat and white wine with fish is now passee and you drink wines that you like factoring time and occassion into your choice.

To start the party Fiona talked to us about wines from the Loire region in France and the sort of foods and flavours that they went with and that complimented them. Then the party began!

We had a feast of food and matching wine, one after the other;

To start we had crostini topped with goats cheese and broad beans. To match this
Tesco Finest, Les Chaumes, Touraine Sauvignon, 2012, white a fresh citrusy taste going really well with cheese &
Lionel Gosseaume, Les Marcottes, Touraine, 2012, red, light and fruighty beajolais which can be served chilled in the summer for a refreshing change.

Then Vitenamese prawn and rice noodle salad with
* Thierry Delaunay, Touraine Sauvignon Blanc, 2012, white retailing at £8.99 and available from Majestic Wines. 2012 was a great vintage year. This has an elderflower tone.
Morrisson's, Touraine Sauvignon Blanc, 2011, white at a price of £6.99, fresh and zingy, 2011 was a good but standard year,

The 'party' continued with Sole goujons and chips with
Calvet, Touraine Sauvignon Blanc, 2012, white from Tesco and £8.99
Domaine Guenault, Famille Bougrier, Touraine Sauvignon, 2011, white from The Wine Society and only £6.95

Each time we had a plate of food we discussed the two wine choices that were served with them.  There were the usual spitoons on the tables but I prefer to sip and swallow.  I don't waste - I don't spit!

A lovely rare seared tuna with a sesame crust was next (one of my favourite fish) and served with
Domaine Pre Baron, Touraine Sauvignon Blanc, 2012, white from Majestic Wines, summery and lightly elderflowery.

Domaine Gul Allion, Les Quatgre Pierres, Touraine, 2010, red - a Cabernet Franc grape and from The Oxford Wine Company. This is wild fruit and very intense raisin. Great with chicken and lamb.

Our final tasting plate was Smoked Venison (I don't usually eat venison preferring not to consume Bambi's relatives! And with this we had two great examples and the second red which was my favourite!
Domaine Gul Allion, Les Quatre Pierres, Touraine, 2010, red available as above
* Henry Marionnet, Vinifera, Touraine, 2010 red again available from The Wine Society. When this wine came into contact with the venison there was a spice explosion in your mouth!

The final dish was a Surprise Dish which was served with Domaine Pagtes, Sparkling Rose, NV - such a nice freshness with a subtle taste of white flowers, apples and honey.

The best blog birthday dessert - a buffet table of wonderful things like whipped cream, fresh raspberries and strawberries, shortbread biscuits, mini merangues, peaches, sauces and so much more and we helped ourselves and created our perfect pudding to go with the sparkling rose.  Pudding heaven!

Then we were challenged with two bottles of wine to take home (a blog birthday present perhaps?) and create something to eat that goes really well with one of the wines.

I was lucky that the two bottles I received (see *) were my favourites of the evening!

As it happened I had 500g of uncooked prawns in the freezer (yummmm) so I got everything ready to make a lemon and prawn risotto to serve with my Thierry Delaunay, Touraine Sauvignon Blanc, 2012, white.

This wine comes from the Loire region in France and is made of the grape variety Sauvignon Blanc. It generally goes with crab, risotto, grilled prawns, fish and chips, BBQ fish like sardines and mackerel and loads of different street foods.

It is very crisp and lemony and a background flavour of a hint of tropical fruit.  I love a crisp, dry white wine and this one hit all the notes and rang all the bells!

My other bottle of wine, Henry Marionnet, Vinifera, Touraine, 2010, red. This is a medium to full-bodied wine and is made from the grape variety, Malbec and Cot, lighter than an Argentinian Malbec, ready to drink young or for laying down.

Generally this wine goes with roast, grilled or barbequed meat and I am planning on serving it with a veal roast.

I learned a lot about the wines of the Loire area in France which has always been one of my favourite anyway.  Thanks to Touraine, Vins de Loire for a great evening and amazing 2nd blog birthday party!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Keeping Kitchen Costs Down - Dinner for £0.45

Tonight I was very proud to be serving a tasty, nutritious, satisfying meal to Mr R but which cost the total sum of £0.45!  How did I do that?

Well, we had sausages, jacket potatoes, yellow courgettes and rainbow chard.

The sausages were turkey sausages and were a gift from a visit yesterday to Kelly Bronze Turkey Farm in Essex.


The courgettes were sauteed in a small amount of butter, salt and pepper and came from our allotment - free!

The Rainbow Chard was pan fried in a bit of olive oil and a tablespoon of sundried tomato paste with a little white wine.  The chard was grown on the allotment so free and the tomato paste an item in the goodie bag from last month's Food Blogger Connect conference.

The cost of this meal can be attributed to the bag of four baking potatoes I bought at the supermarket, originally priced £1.89 but reduced to - you guessed it - £0.45!

And for pudding we had Rachel's organic, low fat Mango yoghurt which was also sent to me for review. This is a creamy pot full of yoghurt with pieces of mango and low fat.

Thanks to Kelly Bronze Turkeys and Rachel's Yoghurt for their part in tonight's dinner.