Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Meal Planning Monday 2018 Week 34

The mini moo (baby S) and I had a nice few days last week with my parents visiting though my mum was ill on their last day which put paid to our plans to going out for lunch and a date night with my husband in the evening.

chicken tacos with leftover chicken from the roast I did at the weekend

marinaded tuna steak from this recipe for me, sausage and chips for him

meatballs and pasta with homemade basil pesto

chicken and bacon pie and mashed potato

Spanish style chicken bake, based on this recipe

Lunch/Dinner - BBQ with family. I need to take a dessert so plan to make a white chocolate and strawberry marquise

Lunch - fresh pasta we didn't have last week
Dinner - sausage casserole with mashed potato
Dessert - chocolate cheesecake trifle based on this recipe (but without the Baileys)

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Storecupboard Apple Sauce and Cinnamon Cake

This cake is made from ingredients you probably already have at home - or you might only need to buy one extra ingredient - so is great for those last-minute 'I need to make a cake' moments. It's also incredibly moist and really tasty so I think this is something I will be making again!

I made this cake when my parents came to visit - we'd had a busy weekend and I hadn't really thought about what food we would eat until two days before, so quickly did an online shop. I thought it would be nice to have some cake while they were here but hadn't thought about it in time to add anything to my shopping list, so decided to find a recipe using what I had in the house.

I have a recipe book I love called United Cakes of America, which has a different cake or pie representing every state, which I haven't used for a little while. It has a recipe from West Virginia for apple butter cake which I decided to adapt.

Apple butter is like apple sauce but creamier and more concentrated in flavour and more like a spread. I didn't have any and while you can get it in the UK, it's not something you can just pick up in Tesco. I did have a jar of apple sauce in the fridge so decided to use that, and the cake turned out really well. I also added more cinnamon to the mixture as the recipe only called for a quarter of a teaspoon which I didn't think was very much.

The filling for this cake also looked very elaborate - a buttercream that involved using milk, flour and sugar, heated in a pan -I usually just mix butter and icing sugar! I didn't have a lot of time so decided to make my usual easy buttercream but flavoured with cinnamon, as in the recipe, but also add a splash of apple juice.

The top of this cake would look nice decorated with sliced apple but again as I was only using storecupboard ingredients I didn't have any. Here's what I did - I'm calling this an original recipe as it was so far removed from the one in the book!

This makes a pretty deep 8 inch cake.

140g butter or margarine, softened
425g caster sugar
3 eggs
340g self-raising flour
pinch of salt
1 level teaspoon ground cinnamon
60ml milk
270g jar apple sauce
1 tsp vanilla flavouring

for the buttercream:
400g icing sugar, sifted
200g butter or margarine, softened
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp. apple juice

Preheat oven to 180C and grease two 8-inch or 9-inch cake tins.

Cream together the butter and sugar then beat in the eggs one at a time.

Fold in the flour, along with the salt and cinnamon.

Carefully fold in the milk, and then the apple sauce and vanilla flavouring until the mixture is well combined.

Spoon into the two cake tins and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the pans, then turn onto a baking rack to finish cooling.

To make the buttercream, cream together the butter and icing sugar with the cinnamon and apple juice.

When the cakes are cool, spread the filling in between the two layers and also on the top if you like (you will need to increase the quantity if you also want to ice the top and sides of the cake).

This cake kept beautifully moist for a few days and I really enjoyed it - you can taste both the cinnamon and the apple.

I'm sending this to Baking Crumbs hosted by Only Crumbs Remain
Love Cake at Jibber Jabber UK
CookBlogShare hosted by the Peachicks Bakery

Only Crumbs Remain Cook Blog Share

Monday, August 13, 2018

Meal Planning Monday 2018 Week 33

We had a really busy but fun weekend, visiting a friend in Cheltenham for her birthday and baby shower then with my husband's family for his dad's birthday. I was really tired on Sunday night and had a half hour nap which is a very rare thing for me to do! This morning I'm firing on all cylinders doing lots of admin (we came home to find my car on our driveway had a puncture, I need to make a doctor's appointment, finish unpacking from the weekend and so on). Baby S has just fallen asleep so I'm now doing this week's meal plan and online shop, as my parents are coming to stay from Wednesday and at the moment I've got no idea what we are eating!

tikka chicken steaks

beef medallions with a peppercorn sauce

 Lunch - beans on toast as it's easy for when my parents arrive
Dinner - chicken in a red wine and boursin sauce I keep meaning to make but cancelling

Lunch - possibly out
Dinner - spaghetti bolognese

Lunch - ham and cheese toasties
Dinner - might be out at the cinema, not sure yet as they don't release the listings for Fridays until two days before which always really annoys me! Assuming I am at home for dinner we will have the gammon steaks I intended to do recently but didn't.

Lunch - fresh pasta and garlic bread
Dinner - roast beef and Yorkshire puddings

Lunch - with my husband's family
Dinner - probably something easy like frozen pizza

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Homemade Iced Hazelnut / Caramel Latte

It's well known that during pregnancy some women develop cravings and others gain an aversion to foods they previously liked. I didn't really experience either so it was quite a surprise when I developed a post-natal taste for coffee.

I've never been a coffee drinker, unless you count a Starbucks Caramel Macchiato with extra cream, which to me never tasted much like regular coffee as it was so sweet and deliciously caramel-y.. I did occasionally self-medicate with a coffee when I felt extremely tired but it wasn't something I particularly enjoyed drinking. But since having baby S five months ago, I've sometimes found myself swapping my breakfast cup of tea for a coffee, and I've recently gotten an expensive habit of ordering the 250ml bottles of Starbucks Coffee Frappucino in caramel flavour from Tesco when I get my groceries delivered, which at £1.80 a pop soon adds up.

It must be possible to make something similar myself, I thought... a little bit of experimentation later and I've found the perfect iced latte drink to enjoy during the hot summer weather. I made it with hazelnut flavour as that's what I already had in the house, but it would be amazing with caramel, vanilla or any other flavour you want to try.

You need:
ice cubes
coffee - instant works perfectly and makes this super quick to make
Monin hazelnut syrup for coffee (or any other flavour) - see below
cold milk

Make a strong cup of coffee using two teaspoons of instant coffee.

Fill whatever drinking vessel you want to use - I used a cute little jam jar style glass with a straw that I got from Tiger - half full with ice cubes.

Pour over the hot coffee so the glass is half full - the ice cubes will start to melt but this actually makes the coffee the exact right temperature, once you add the milk. Add your flavoured syrup and then top up the glass with milk. Stir and enjoy!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Unicorn and Balloons Birthday Card

I went a bit unicorn-crazy recently after buying a new rubber stamp and some patterned papers. This card uses one of the papers as backing for the card - it's a busy pattern so I left a bit of white edging around the card.

I then added some die-cut pink balloons and some die-cut blue bunting, which matched the background of the card - I bought both sets of die cuts on Ebay. The 'happy birthday' is from an old set of stamps called Say it with Stamps from All Night Media, stamped onto a piece of pink card which I cut out freehand.

This would be a lovely birthday card for a young girl!

I'm sharing this with:
Penny Black - something beginning with B (balloon)
Outlawz Challenges - Up, up and away
Creative Knockouts - For the kids

Monday, August 6, 2018

Meal Planning Monday 2018 Week 32

This past week has been much better (we weren't ill, for a start), we have had nice weather and I've been taking baby S to some new classes like baby signing and one called Music and Me, which was really fun.

The coming week is still a bit up in the air as we may or may not be visiting friends at the weekend - it depends on other plans with my husband's family which we are still trying to pin down.



chicken stuffed with boursin in a red wine sauce I keep planning to make but cancelling

fish chargrill for me and either chicken goujons or pizza for him

Pizza-topped chicken I keep planning to make but cancelling



Sunday, August 5, 2018

Tuna Ice Lollies for Cats

Animals have been suffering in the heatwave we've had recently - I've seen several reminders on Facebook not to walk dogs during the hottest part of the day. My cat spent several days moving from one spot in the living room to another, seeking out the coolest bit of floor, so when I saw this idea on the internet (on Facebook again actually) I decided to give it a go.

Tuna ice lollies for cats - whatever will they think of next?! To make these, you simply mix the liquid from a tin of tuna in spring water (rather than brine which is too salty), with a little tap water, and freeze them in ice lolly makers.

To get the lollies out, stand the mould in a bowl of boiling water for a few seconds.

Unfortunately my cat didn't seem particularly interested but I have seen videos on the internet of cats licking these so apparently they do work at least with some animals!