Hi, it’s Friday – YAY. I have the perfect, cooling down drink, especially if you are under exam pressure in hot weather. Or just fancy a delicious, fruit packed drink at the end of a long week. Let me introduce you to my Raspberry Banana Ice Cream Smoothies!
Only 4 ingredients are needed to make this yummy, thick, ice cream smoothie. I made these for us last night, after the children had finished another long, hot day, at school, sitting exams. They absolutely loved them, as did I – obviously I have to check what I make just to ensure it tastes good/won’t poison them/cos I wanted to!!!!!
This ice cream smoothie is the perfect treat during a long day of revision, after returning home from school or the office – any reason to celebrate Friday!!!
Now let’s get on with how to make this luscious smoothie!
Recipe : Makes 4 Large Smoothies
3 Ripe Bananas
300g/11oz Frozen Raspberries
500ml/1 pint Vanilla Ice Cream
250ml/1/2 pint Milk – I used. Whole milk
Pour your Raspberry Banana Ice Cream Smoothies into tall glasses, add a straw and slurp!
These really are delicious, using frozen raspberries is much cheaper, however if you have an abundance of fresh berries, by all means use them.
I’m already thinking of other flavour combos – do you have any suggestions?
Hello people, do I have the perfect picnic Cupcake for you to make and enjoy this sunny day here in the UK today – I think so? Let me introduce the delicious Bakewell Cupcake. All the yumminess of Bakewell Tart in Cupcake form.
Now I love Bakewell Tart, the raspberry jam layer, enveloped in an Almond sponge or frangipane, so I set about turning one of my favourite tarts into a cupcake. Hence the Bakewell Cupcake was born.
You have to admit, these cupcakes even look cheerful – maybe it’s the bright red cherry on top of the Almond glaze? When you bite into these Bakewell Cupcakes your mouth is filled with an assortment of tastes and textures! The hidden Raspberry jam and Almond flakes in the centre are a wonderful surprise!
The use of flaked Almonds in the centre is two-fold, firstly they provided a delightful crunch, secondly they stop the Raspberry jam from sinking to the bottom of the cupcake. So when you bite through the glorious Almond glaze into the moist cupcake sponge, your mouth is then filled with tart Raspberry Jam and crunchy Almond flakes. The perfect cupcake balance!
Now enough of me telling you how scrummy these are, let’s get on with how to make them!!
Recipe : Makes 18 cupcakes
18 Cupcake Cases
225g/8oz Unsalted Butter – at room temp.
225g/8oz Caster Sugar
4 Large Eggs – pref free range
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2tsp Almond Extract
225g/8oz Self Raising White Flour
1/2 Jar Raspberry Jam
175g/6oz Flaked Almonds
For the topping:
400g/14oz Icing Sugar
1/2tsp Almond Extract
18 Red Glace Cherries
Preheat Oven to 175C/160C (fan).
Line muffin tins with the cupcake cases.
Add the butter, sugar and salt to a large bowl.
Add the remaining flour and eggs, whisk until combined.
Place the Bakewell Cupcakes into a preheated oven and bake for 15-20 mins, until the top is golden brown and springs back when lightly pressed.
To make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl, add 1/2tsp of Almond Extract and enough water to make a thick, fluid icing. It should be able to hold a figure of eight.
Bakewell Cupcakes are not only pretty and delicious, they also make perfect, portable, picnic food. They are ideal for sharing with friends, family or someone you know, who needs a little pick-me-up!
I hope you try my cupcake version of a traditional Bakewell Tart.
Hello there lovely people, regular readers will know just how fond I am of Cookies! So it should come as no surprise that I also love biscuits and all variations in between. Actually what is the difference between Cookies and Biscuits? Anyway I digress – these Chocolate Dipped Viennese Fingers definitely fit in the biscuit category (whatever that is??!!).
The Chocolate Dipped Viennese Fingers have a light, buttery crumb, which is complemented by the high quality chocolate dipped ends. This is definitely not a biscuit that I would dunk!
I also made some Viennese Swirls, which had their bases dipped in chocolate. Oh my, the biscuity, chocolatey, deliciousness in the shape of a swirl. Both Viennese fingers and swirls look so pretty. I imagine them adorning high tea cake stands, alongside scones and little triangle sandwiches with their crusts cut off! Oh hang on, is that the Ritz on the phone putting in an order? As if!!!!!
These fingers and swirls are piped, using the largest star tip you can get your hands on! They literally take moments to cook and cool, then you can get a-dunking in the gorgeous melted chocolate. If you have children in the house you will instantly have them in the kitchen the minute you start dunking! I guarantee it!!!
In fact I made 6 swirls and 19 (so annoying that it wasn’t 20!) fingers yesterday and they’ve all gone. Next time I’ll make a double batch – or hide them!!! That kinda goes against the sharing theme of this blog – oops! Looks like a double batch then.
Anyway, let me show you how I made these –
Recipe : Makes Approx 30 Fingers
200g/7oz Unsalted Butter – very soft
50g/2oz Icing Sugar
15g/ 1/2oz Corn Flour (also known as corn starch)
1tsp Vanilla Extract
100g/4oz Self-raising White Flour
100g/4oz Plain White Flour
150g Milk Chocolate – I used Green and Black’s as it has 37% Cocoa, most chocolate bars have 20%-25%
Method : Piping bag fitted with a large star tip.
Preheat oven to 180C/165C fan.
Whisk together the very soft butter, icing sugar and salt until light and fluffy.
Note – as the finished mixture is piped, having very soft butter will make the piping easier.
Ensure your piping bag is fitted with a large star tip, Wilton #1M is ideal.
Either use parchment paper lined baking sheets or non stick – I used a combination of both.
Here’s how to pipe the Viennese Fingers in pictures –
Now if you fancy making the Viennese swirls, this is how you do it!
Place the swirls and fingers in the oven. Bake the fingers for 10 minutes and the swirls for 10-12 minutes. They are cooked when they have just turned golden.
Leave to cool on the baking sheets for a couple of minutes and then, using a palette knife, move the fingers and swirls to a cooling rack.
Once cooled the fingers are ready for dunking in chocolate.
Place the Chocolate Dipped Viennese Fingers onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper – DO NOT place back on the cooling rack as I did. I’ll show you why later!!!
For the swirls I used a spoon to cover the base of the swirl with melted chocolate and then left them to cool, upside down, on the cooling rack.
You now can present your Chocolate Dipped Viennese Fingers and Swirls!
I promised to show you what happened when I cooled the Chocolate Dipped Viennese Fingers on the cooling rack…..
Totally my fault and very embarrassing as my previous post stated the importance of reading through a recipe before you start. Guess what, if I’d read the recipe I’d have known to cool the chocolate dipped fingers on parchment paper. My bad!!!
Still we had fun eating the broken fingers and they were amazing! Buttery, not too sweet and with delicious chocolate on the ends!
Hi, I was thinking the other day, where would we be, in our busy lives, without Pasta? There are so many dishes you can make using Pasta and today I have Chicken Pasta Pesto Salad to share with you.
This dish takes no more than 30 minutes to make from start to finish! It’s full of lean chicken and crammed with crunchy veggies. In fact if you left the chicken out you could easily make this as a vegetarian dish.
Everything about this dish makes it perfect for a quick, easy, mid-week meal, or you can make it ahead, keep it in an airtight container, in the fridge for up to three days. So it’s got to be one of the easiest meals ever, prepare in advance when you have a bit of time, or cook from scratch and have it on the table in 30 minutes!
Recipe : feeds 4-6 hungry people!
500g/1lb Packet Dried Pasta – I used fusilli
500g/1lb Boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts
1 Jar ready made Pesto Sauce
150g/5oz Sugar Snap Peas
1 Small Red Onion
1 Yellow Bell Pepper
225g/8oz Cherry Tomatoes
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste.
Optional – Fresh Basil Leaves
Fill a large pan with water and bring to the boil. Add salt and the pasta and cook according to package instructions.
In a separate pan place the chicken breasts – if very large cut in half first. Add cold water to just cover the chicken. Bring to a gentle simmer and poach for 15-20 minutes until cooked through. I take the largest piece out, cut through the thickest part with a knife and if the chicken is white – not pink, I know it is cooked.
When the pasta is cooked, drain and tip into a large bowl.
Remove the poached chicken breasts, once cooked and place on a plate to cool slightly.
Into a pan of boiling water add the sugar snap peas and cook for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse under a cold tap to halt the cooking process.
Chop the cherry tomatoes in half, dice the red onion and yellow pepper.
When the chicken is cool enough to handle chop into bite sized pieces.
Sprinkle over fresh Basil leaves and then serve warm as is, or refrigerate for a delicious cool Summer salad on a hot day!
This salad is very versatile, you can add whatever veggies you have on hand and as I’ve said, omit the chicken and you have a delightful, vegetarian dish!
If you make this I’d love to hear how it turns out?
Hello, have I baked up something delicious for you? If you love Chocolate and Brazil Nuts then you will be Nuts About Brownies!
This Brownie recipe is so easy as it’s all made in one saucepan. Come on we so love a recipe that doesn’t involve a mountain of washing up? Not only that, you line your baking dish/tin with foil – so even that stays clean! Anything to make life easier is very welcome around here!
Nigella is the inspiration behind this recipe. I’ve tinkered with it a little bit and I’d like to think she would approve. I’ve used Brazil nuts in these Nuts About Brownies, but Walnuts and Pecans work very well too. Whatever nuts I add, these Brownies disappear very quickly in our house!!!
Recipe : Makes 9 – 15 Brownies
150g/5oz Unsalted Butter
300g/10oz Dark Brown Muscavado Sugar
75g/2.5oz Cocoa Powder
150g/5oz Plain White Flour
1tsp Sodium Bicarbonate
4 Large Eggs – pref free range
2tsp Vanilla Extract
150g/5oz Brazil Nuts
150g/Dark Chocolate (70%)
Preheat oven to 175C/160C fan.
Line a 30cm x 20cm (12″ x 8″) baking tin with aluminium foil. Ensure the dish is at least 5cm (2″) deep.
Melt the butter and sugar gently over a low heat.
Crack the eggs into a jug. Add the vanilla extract and mix – don’t whisk as you don’t want to incorporate air.
Now the next step is important but might sound a bit odd – rap the baking tin hard against the worktop 3-4 times. This brings any bubbles to the surface, we want our brownies to be dense and fudgey, not light and airy like cake! Rapping the tin also settles the chocolate chunks and nuts into the batter.
Place the brownies in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. The brownies are cooked when the top is set, but there should still be a little bit of wobble in the middle. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 30 minutes.
Remove the brownies from the tin by simply lifting out the foil. Place on a cooling rack, pulling the foil away from the sides of the cooked brownie. Congratulate yourself on one less item to wash up!!!!!
Once cooled cut into squares. 9 big ones or 15 smaller ones. Pour yourself a large glass of milk and get ready to taste Nuts About Brownies!
These brownies are so simple to make and bake. 30 minutes from start to taking them out of the oven – perfect for when you have a chocolate brownie craving! Or is it just me that gets those???
Would you share your brownie?
What foods are off limits when it comes to sharing?
Hello there, I have the perfect cake to celebrate the sunshine, Zesty Lemon Lime Cake. Perfect for picnics, packed lunches or pausing for a cuppa in the garden!
The combination of lime with lemon results in a deliciously moist, tangy cake. Using the zest of the fruits gives a delightful depth of flavour to this delicious cake.
A gorgeous glaze made with both fresh lemon and lime juice is the perfect topping. Not too sweet, with a lovely zing!
I love cake, especially in the summer. There’s nothing quite like opening up a tin at a picnic, with friends and family, to find a pre-cut, delicious, home made cake to tuck into. That’s when tray bakes or square cakes really come into their own – perfectly portable pudding!!
225g/8oz Caster Sugar
225g/8oz Unsalted Butter – room temp
1 x Lime
1 x Lemon
1tsp Vanilla extract
4 Large Eggs – pref. free range
150ml/5fl oz Sour Cream
225g/8oz Self Raising White Flour
225g/8oz Icing Sugar
Method : Preheat Oven to 175C/160C fan
In a large bowl whisk together the butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy.
Add the vanilla extract, eggs, sour cream and zest of the lemon and lime and mix thoroughly – if the mixture starts to curdle add a couple of tablespoons of the flour.
Next add the flour and mix until just combined. Stir through the juice of half the lime.
Pour the mixture into a greased and line (I only line the bottom of the tin) 21cm x 21cm (8″ x 8″) square cake tin.
Place in the oven and bake for 45-50 mins until the cake spring back when lightly pressed – or a cocktail stick comes out cleanly, when inserted into the centre of the cake.
Once cooked remove the cake from the oven. Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tin, then turn out onto a cooling rack.
Tip – once the cake is turned out onto the cooling rack I remove the parchment paper and the use a second rack placed over the bottom of the cake and flip it. Now my cake is the right way up!! Very handy when you want the top of the cake to be on show.
Once the cake is cooled, transfer to a serving plate, as the icing drips down the sides of the cake.
To make the icing, add the juice of half a lime and enough lemon juice to the icing sugar, in a bowl, mixing until you reach a nice smooth consistency.
Allow the icing to set and then cut into squares – I made 12, but if you want larger pieces that’s fine
This Zesty Lemon Lime Cake has a lovely soft crumb texture and delicious citrus flavour. Perfect with a cup of lemon tea!
Do you have a favourite drink/cake flavour combination?
Hi, I’ve just made the easiest, tastiest, lunch ever: Perfect Panini Pizza. It’s so simple, yet so delicious.
Our daughter is at home, working hard on study leave. It’s exam time people! That means lots of study and lots of brain fuel – FOOD!! So in an effort to make lunchtime fun I decided to turn 2 panini rolls (ciabatta rolls would work fine too) into something other than a sandwich! Not that sandwiches aren’t good, but I wanted to change things up a bit and treat Star to a fabulous lunch. Perfect Panini Pizza totally hit the mark!
I’ve made pizza using baguette before, but I’ve always found it really, really hard to stop the curved edges of the baguette from toppling the whole pizza over, dumping the topping as it rolls. Now I’ve found a solution – Ciabatta bread. It’s flat!! I know right!! Takes me a while to catch on sometimes (always!!!!). But I got there in the end and ooh what a delicious result.
The best thing about this recipe is that you can top your pizza with whatever you have in the fridge. I’ve used Salami, but ham, peppers, olives, sweetcorn, really the list is endless. If you try this please let me know what toppings you try?
1 Panini roll/1/2 ciabatta loaf per person
Tomato Salsa – or tomato pasta sauce (in a jar!)
Mozzerella Cheese – or any other good melting cheese
Salami – or any topping of your choice!
Method : Preheat oven to 200C/185C fan
I specifically haven’t given quantities for the ingredients above as it really depends on how many pizzas you are making and how hungry the people you are making them for are!!
Here is how I made our Perfect Panini Pizzas :
Bake in the oven for 20 mins until the base and edges are all crispy and the cheese is gooey and melting over the sides!
Star and I thoroughly enjoyed our Perfect Panini Pizzas and had fun deciding what other toppings we’d like to try. The perfect break from studying. Rested and refuelled.
I’m sending lots of love to all students and school children ( it’s SATS week ) who are studying and taking exams at the moment.
Hello there people! The sun is shining and that makes me smile. It’s amazing how a little sunshine can improve our mood, as can the right food! Ooh that rhymed!! I have another fabulously easy side dish recipe for you today Baked Garlic Herb Potato Wedges.
Perfect on their own or as a side dish these Baked Garlic Herb Potato Wedges are a tasty alternative to oven chips. They are quick to prepare, need no attention whilst they bake in the oven and have a finger licking garlicky flavour.
Why is it food tastes better when eaten with our hands???
Sorry I’ll get back to the point – which is – these baked beauties go with just about anything: Roast Chicken, Fish, Quiche, Steak, Sausages…. The list is endless. Try them and let me know what you had them with?
Recipe : Serves 4-6 as a side.
1.5kg/3lb Baking Potatoes – scrubbed and dried
2-3 tbsp Olive Oil
4 Garlic Bulbs – crushed/finely minced
1 tbsp Fresh Thyme
Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 200C/185C fan.
Cut each baking potato in half lengthways. Cut each half into wedges, approx 1/2 inch wide – try to keep all the potato wedges a similar size, this will ensure even cooking. Place all the potato wedges onto a large baking sheet/roasting pan.
Ensure the wedges are spread out evenly and then place in the oven.
Bake for 40 – 50 minutes until golden and cooked through (I usually test larger wedges with a knife).
Note : I give the tin a good shake halfway through cooking, to ensure they don’t stick.
Serve immediately with a sprinkle of crunchy sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
I also make these using fresh, minced Rosemary in place of the Thyme. I honestly couldn’t pick a favourite – both versions are equally delicious!
I hope you enjoy trying and feasting on this dish.
Hi, thank you for stopping by to look at this scrumptious Strawberries And Cream Cake! I hope the sight of it puts a smile on your face? Strawberries in Spring remind me of the promise of sunshine, picnics in the park and days at the beach. Do Strawberries hold any treasured memories for you?
This is such a simple cake to make and yet looks so beautiful, it could easily turn any occasion into a Feast! I baked it simply because strawberries were on special offer. They were so sumptuous they deserved celebrating!
Normally in Summer, when it is hot, too hot for cake (yes there is such a thing in my world!!), Strawberries are eaten just as they are, warm from the sun, or churned into the most delicious ice cream. Spring allows for the indulgence of cake – and vanilla whipped cream – and Strawberries. Totally and utterly delicious!
Recipe : Strawberries And Cream Cake!
For the cake:
225g/8oz Caster Sugar
225g/8oz Unsalted Butter – room temp
225g/8oz Self raising Flour
4 Large Eggs – pref. Free Range
1tsp Vanilla Extract
For the filling:
450g/1lb Strawberries – hulled and sliced, save 1 pretty strawberry for the top
400ml/3/4 pint Double Cream
1 tsp Vanilla Bean Extract
1 tbsp Sugar
Method : Preheat the oven to 175C/160C fan
I’ve used the All in One Method for this cake. It’s so simple and quick, you simply place all the ingredients for the cake into a bowl and then beat together, with an electric whisk until just combined.
Divide the mixture in half and place into 2 buttered and lined 7″ sandwich tins.
The sponges are cooked when they are golden and spring back when lightly pressed in the centre. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes in their tins before turning out, onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Once the cakes have cooled, whisk together the cream, sugar and vanilla bean paste (sub 1 tsp of vanilla extract if you don’t have the paste). Whisk until the cream holds a soft peak.
Place the other cake on top, rounded side up. Cover with the rest of the cream and decorate with sliced strawberries, placing the whole strawberry in the middle.
Now take a photo!! Seriously if you look at this cake in the deepest, darkest, depths of icy winter, it will remind you that sunny days are ahead. Hope is powerful – even if it is in the form of cake!!!!
Now it’s time to get the family together and enjoy a slice of this Strawberries And Cream Cake! I know I’ve said it before – food really does taste better when it’s shared.
What’s your favourite food to share?
Please note this is NOT a sponsored or affiliated post.
Hi there everybody. I have another easy, dish for you today Sausage Plait With A Twist. What’s the twist? Sundried tomatoes and fresh thyme.
The addition of sundried tomatoes and thyme to pork sausage meat gives this sausage plait a deep savoury flavour. Ideal for a mid week meal, perfect for a buffet and portable for picnics!!
Now I have used a special roller, to create the lattice pattern on the top of the Sausage Plait. I bought it 20+ years ago. I’ve just had a quick peek on Amazon and they sell them for about £5. Which is probably about what I paid all those years ago!!!
If you bake a lot of pies and tarts then I would say this is a good buy. However the diamond effect on the pastry below was achieved by lightly scoring the uncooked pastry, on a slant, one way and then the other. When baked it produced a pretty, diamond effect pattern and I didn’t need a Lattice Roller. This technique would work for the Sausage Plait.
Whichever method you use, your Sausage Plait With A Twist is sure to go down well with everyone who tries it. Served hot or cold, it is completely scrummy!!!
Recipe : Makes 1 Sausage Plait With A Twist.
500g/1lb Block Puff Pastry – defrosted if frozen – I used Just Rol, not the all butter version.
500g/1lb Pork Sausage meat
15 Sundried Tomatoes (drained if in oil)
1 tbsp Fresh Thyme Leaves
1/2 tsp Black Pepper – freshly ground
1 Egg – for egg wash
Chop the sundried tomatoes, roughly, so there are no big pieces. Place into a bowl and add the Thyme, Sausage meat and black pepper. Using your hand, squish (technical term) all the ingredients together until well combined.
On a floured worktop roll out the puff pastry so that it measures 30cm x 35cm (10″x12″). Trim to neaten the edges. Now place the pastry onto a piece of parchment paper – the same size as your baking sheet. This will make transferring the sausage plait MUCH easier. MUCH!!!! I speak from experience!!
Place the sausagemeat mixture evenly down one side of the pastry, leaving a 1 inch (2.5cm) border.
Yep I know!! Bet you’re glad you don’t have to transfer this to a baking sheet now? My mistakes are your gain – sometimes it takes me a while to catch on!!!!
Bake for 40 – 50 minutes, in a preheated oven 190C/170C fan, until golden brown.
Such an easy dish to make, yet super impressive to look at and eat!
I hope you give this recipe a try and let me know what twists you put on your version?