A slice of nostalgia: Cornflake tart.

This year one of my main goals blog wise is to get at least one bake a month up. I do love to just empty my mind and whip up something sweet in the kitchen, but it can sometimes take so much time and effort that I just haven’t got, so another thing I’ll be trying to do is make the recipes even simpler than they were before. Something quick, easy with next to no effort required was the aim for todays recipe. it took me the whole of 30 seconds to remember this truly nostalgic dessert. Those of you who live in the Ribbleton area of Preston, will know of bake-away and of course these little belters they sell. Its one of the only places I know that still sell them, and its the only cake I get when we do go to grab a quick Northerners lunch – “Steak and pepper pie and a cornflake tart please”

For those not in the know, a cornflake tart is made up of three layers. first a buttery shortcrust pastry, then a lovely layer of sweet strawberry or raspberry jam finally topped off with a crunchy topping of golden syrup covered cornflakes flattened down and the whole thing is baked. I know its doesn’t sound like much, but trust me. These are perfect!

 

So, really simple to make. but first, below you’ll find exactly what you need.

 

For the pastry:

  • 250g plain flour,
  • 125g cold butter
  • cold water,

 

  • full jar of Strawberry jam
  • 150g golden caster sugar
  • 150g butter
  • 150g golden syrup
  • 200g cornflakes.

 

And here’s how you make it. 

 

First, make up the pastry. this can be done a number of ways, what I like to do is just put the butter and flour in a bowl and turn on the electric mixer for about 3-4 minutes, or until it turns into a golden coloured fine breadcrumb mix. Though you can achieve this by rubbing the butter into the flour with your fingertips too.

Once its achieved its fine breadcrumb like status, simple pour in a little trickle of cold water and mix again. Keep doing this until your dough comes together in one big ball. Cover your ball in cling fill and chill in the fridge.

Whilst your dough is chilling, preheat your oven to 170 and move your rack just above the middle shelf of your oven.

After about 15 minutes, you can take out your dough and roll out on a floured surface until your dough is the desired size of your baking tray. I’ve gone with a fairly medium sized, simple rectangle tray, there is no wrong size or shape for this, just be wary the bigger the tray, the thinner the pastry. – you also want to make sure your pastry base is around 1/4 inch thick minimum.

So, once you’ve rolled it out, line your baking tray with some greaseproof paper and pop in your pastry base. * dont worry if you overhang on some points but dont meet your tray on others. Just cut of your oversized dough and press into the parts where its too short.*

Bake for 20 minutes. You dont want anything to be golden. or even fully cooked, it’s going back in the oven.

So next step, really easy. whilst your pastry is baking, pop your caster sugar, golden syrup and 150g butter in a pan and put on a medium heat until everything has combined and melted.

Then pour in your cornflakes. give it all a really thorough mix before setting aside.

One your pastry is done, simply take out the oven, and slather over your jam. – the pastry will still be hot so be careful.

Then finish by pouring over your cornflake mixture, spreading it out evenly and giving it a good pat down.

Bake again, same temperature for another 10 minutes.

Once baked, simply take out the oven and leave to cool.

Slice when cold and serve.

Easy!

 

 

 

 

 

And this it! Really easy!

Do let me know how you get on if you give these a go.

 

Robyn,

TLWP.

 

 

Christmas Cookies.

I haven’t done a blog bake for SO long!!! But finally, I managed to scrape something together in time for Christmas. Today I’m sharing a really easy Christmas cookie recipe. These are basically vanilla biscuits, but the fab thing about them is not only are they easy, but you could decorate them a little fancy and give as beautiful handmade gifts or you could rope the kids in as a little Christmas Eve activity – get some delicious homemade biscuits under that tree for Santa!

Anyway, so simplicity, below you’ll find just how to make them.

 

 

 

What you’ll need:

  • 325g plain flour
  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 100g of chocolate drops
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract.

* These quantities will make roughly 24 biscuits.*

 

 

And here’s how to make them:

 

Firstly, tip your butter and sugar into a mixing bowl and give it a good whizz up.

Second, add your eggs and vanilla before giving another stir.

Next pour in half of your flour, combine, then add in the second half.

Then tip in your chocolate chips.

Give it all a good mix, before tipping out onto cling film.

Wrap your dough nice and snugly, before placing into the fridge to chill for at least an hour.

Once your dough has become nice and hard. Simply sprinkle your side with a little plain flour and roll out your dough to about 5mm thick.

Using any cookie cutters (I’ve gone with stars) cut out your biscuits and place on a baking paper lined baking tray.

Place your cookies on the middle shelf of your oven, bake at 160 (fan) for roughly 20 minutes or until golden.

When it comes to decorating you can be as fancy – or simple- as you like! These biscuits are melt in the mouth delicious. So I kept it super simple with only a dusting of icing sugar. However,, the girls wanted to give some out to their teachers and so they decorated them with a little melted chocolate and some sprinkles (you can see the mess they made over on my instagram stories!).

Easy as that!

 

 

 

They really are SO easy to make up. Its the perfect Christmas Eve activity with the kids if you’re stuck for something to do this weekend. Talking of this weekend, its only Christmas isnt it! – like you didn’t know! Ha – I hope you’re all a little more organised than I am. The year for the first time in over 7 years I am not making Christmas dinner! Instead we’ll be heading over to my mother-in-laws for the day, I think because I’ve not had to plan this big fancy meal for everyone I’ve just kind of bumbled my way through December thinking I’ve got load of time left! So, I’ll be spending this weekend running round like a headless chicken!

 

Anyway, have a happy Christmas readers, however your spending it! I’ll be back next week with a little look into our celebrations, plus some New Years news about the blog. Exciting!

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

 

 

 

The classic: Victoria sponge.

Hello there! Its been a while hasn’t it. I’ve been so busy carving out this new life, I’ve not really been very present over here… or on the internet in general. However, last week, I just had the urge to bake, to shoot, to create a lovely new little recipe post. So here we are. I was asked by my Step-mum a few months back to make her a Victoria sponge, I promised her I would at some point, though life’s general craziness always got in the way. Last week however, I turned up on her doorstep with a lovely big slab of the British classic. Its so easy to see why its such a classic. A simple fluffy sponge sandwich with a creamy buttercream and lashings of sweet strawberry jam. Delish! Its a must for any warm summers afternoon. Anyway, I know there are trillions of these recipes online, but this is mine, a failsafe method.

 

So, here’s what you’ll need.

For the sponge-

250g self raising flour,

250g caster sugar,

250g softened butter,

4 eggs,

2 tablespoons of milk,

1 teaspoon of baking powder,

splash of vanilla extract.

For the buttercream-

140g softened butter,

280g icing sugar,

1-2 tablespoon milk,

splash of vanilla extract.

You’ll also need-

2\3 jar of jam – I’ve gone for the classic strawberry.

2 cake tins.

 

 

And here’s how you make it, 

 

First up, time to make the sponge cakes. Preheat your oven to 200-180 (fan) and then pop your softened butter and caster sugar into a bowl, whisk until creamed together.

Second, add your eggs and whisk.

 

Then slowly add your flour, a little at a time, mix then add more, repeat until you’ve used up all your flour.

 

Next up, add your baking powder, a splash of vanilla and you’ll probably notice that your mixture is looking a little thick, so put in your tablespoons of milk to loosen up a little.

Butter and line your cake tins before spreading your sponge mixture equally between the two.

 

Place your tins, on the middle shelf, for around 35-40 minutes, or until your cake has risen, is golden and is cooked in the centre – using the squewer method is the perfect way to test.

So, as your cake is cooking, its time to make up the butter cream – which is SO simple! First up give your butter a good whisk up, just to fluff it up a little.

Then add 1/2 of your icing sugar, its a good idea when beginning to mix these together to start of on a slow setting (if using an electric whisk.) or you will definitely end up suffocating in a cloud of icing sugar.

 

Once you’ve combined that, add the rest of your icing sugar a tablespoon full at a time – again no a low setting. until you’ve used all of your icing sugar.

Next add your milk and vanilla, again just to loosen it up again.

Finally pop your bowl of butter cream in the fridge until about 10 minutes before you’ll be using it.

 

Putting together your cake is so simple. A little tip I like to use for any two layered cake, is to tip out the cake whilst its still warm, have it laid upside down (so the raised side flat) and leave to cool completely. This flattens the top and saves you having to cut off the top of the cake to make it flat.

 

Anyway, Once your cake has cooled completely (this is a MUST! Warm cake will destroy your buttercream!) you can now add your filling. Simply lay one cake down on your cake stand, and spoon on the buttercream nice and thickly.

 

Do the same for the Jam side.

 

Now, very carefully, pick the jam side up and place on top of the buttercream. Give it a gentle squash, pushing all of that lovely jam and cream filling to the edges.

 

This last part is completely optional, but I like a simple decoration on a Victoria sponge. A gentle dusting of Icing sugar is all thats needed. But to pretty it up a little, I like to use cookie cutters on top of the cake, dust over the icing sugar, remove the cookie cutters and voila! A pretty pattern.

 

So. Thats it, a very simple classic Victoria sponge. all done.

 

All thats left to do, is cut a slice….

 

And make a cup of tea….

 

How very British.

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

Rhubarb and custard cheesecake.

Happy first day of spring! After what has felt like the longest winter in history, seriously! I’m so glad to know the warmer weather is on its way! Though, I won’t get overly excited, I do after all still live in one of the rainiest parts of England. To celebrate the beginning of a new season, and the fact that my cooking mojo has returned, I thought I’d make up something sweetly spring like. In the form of a Rhubarb and custard cheesecake. A crunchy biscuit base, topped with a layer of creamy custard cheese and subtly tangy rhubarb, finished with white chocolate crumb. DELICIOUS!

 

So, here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1/4 pack Digestive biscuits,
  • 80g butter, melted.
  • 400g cream cheese.
  • 200ml ready made custard
  • 80ml double cream
  • 2x cans of rhubarb in syrup OR 400g fresh rhubarb diced.
  • 1 sachet of gelatine granuals.
  • red food colouring.
  • white chocolate (I’ve used white mini eggs) crushed.

 

And here’s what you’ll need to do:

First, we’ll make the biscuit base. A very easy process. I’ve used my food processor, but you can very easily just bash those biscuits up.

And once your digestives have been turned to crumb, add in your melted butter, giving the whole thing a good stir up.

Line your tin with a piece of baking paper (this will make it much easier to take out of your tin later on.) and pour in your biscuit base, giving it all a good pressing down. Pop it into the fridge to chill whilst you move onto the filling.

Next up, the creamy custard and cheese filling. The best part in my opinion. To do this, simply pop your cream cheese and double cream into a bowl, before giving it all a good whisk up.

Then, very slowly add your pre-made custard.

Giving it all another good whisk up.

Once all of your mixture is thoroughly combined, take out your biscuit based cake tin and layer over your custard/cream cheese mixture, making sure its spread out evenly over.

Now, pop your cake tin into the freezer and start on the topping, the sweet tangy rhubarb layer. I used tinned rhubarb for this, mainly because a) its constantly available and b) its much cheaper than the fresh stuff – handy really considering it took me three attempts to perfect it. So, to make the topping, tip out your rhubarb, disposing of the syrup from one of the tins, our the syrup from the second into the pan.

Simmer, on a low heat for around 25 minutes (until the syrup has reduced and the rhubarb has broken into strands.) Once finished, pop on the windowsill to cool – not completely but enough so it isn’t bubbling.)

Once your rhubarb mixture has cooled slightly, we can make it look a little prettier – because that brownish stringy ‘gloop’ will not make for a pretty dessert! To do this I’ve added a very small amount of red food colouring – less is more! add little, build it up slowly, rather than adding loads.-

I’ve also added gelatine, this will firm up the top layer, I didn’t want it all to fall apart once sliced into, so I added one sachet to the mixture. giving it all a good stir.

Now, you can spoon your rhubarb over the last layer. Again making sure to distribute it evenly.

Now, pop it back in the fridge (or freezer if you need it to set a little quicker) and leave it to set.

Once set, its time to turn out your cheesecake onto your cake stand (or plate, whatever you fancy.) This is where the baking parchement will come in handy. I highly recommend putting your cheesecake into the freezer for fifteen minutes prior to doing this step. It will mean no accidental breakages – I skipped this step during the second try of this recipe and ended up with a sloppy mess!

If you like, you can just serve it is it is, but I wanted to fancy it up a little bit more and so I blended up some milky bar eggs into chunks and scattered them around the edges of the cheesecake.

I saved a few of the eggs whole, for the centre.

And, that is that. The deliciously creamy rhubarb and custard cheesecake is finished!

Ready take a slice…

…And serve.

Delicious!

Do let me know if you have a try!

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

Sticky toffee pudding.

In the spirit of easing. my way back it normal life, I thought I’d pop up a recipe post. And I know, I know… Most of the world is on some sort of ‘New year, new me’ health kick, but seen as I’m all about balance, I thought I’d entice you over to the sweet side of life with this delicious classic, Sticky toffee pudding!

I have to be completely honest, this isn’t my recipe… its originally, this Ginger & sticky toffee pud by the baking goddess that is Mary berry (I’ve just tweaked it slightly for my tastes), I received a lot of feedback from the photo I posted on Christmas Day and so thought I’d give you a complete post all about it.

So, here’s how you make it.

Here’s what you’ll need

For the cake

175g Self raising four,

75g butter (softened),

150g soft brown sugar,

2 eggs,

1tsp baking powder,

2 tablespoons Black treacle,

1tsp Vanilla,

125ml full fat milk.

 

For the toffee sauce

110g Butter (Softened),

250g soft brown sugar,

350ml double cream,

1/2 tsp vanilla.

 

And here’s how to make it. 

First, put 75g of softened butter and 150g soft brown sugar in a bowl and beat together.

 

Then add the rest of your cake ingredients. Flour, eggs, bi-carb, vanilla, milk and treacle.

 

 

 …And give it all a good whisk up.

 

Whilst your cake batter is whisking, butter your dish. You can use a cake tin for this, if you want to turn it out and then pour over your toffee sauce, but it can get a bit messy, so I prefer a baking dish.

 

And finally you can pour your toffee cake batter into your dish. Pop it into the oven, middle shelf at 180 dg for around 40-50 minutes.

 

Once your cake has baked, pop it out of the oven and set aside, whilst you make up your caramel sauce.

 

Making up your caramel sauce is really easy, Simply grab a saucepan, pop in your butter, soft brown sugar, vanilla and double cream, Before turning your hob on medium heat. And now you just leave it to bubble, you can give the pan a swirl every now and again, but avoid stirring until the very end.

 

Once your sauce has turned a lovely rich caramel colour, simply take off the heat and give it a stir. * Be extremely careful with it. This stuff is like molten lava and it will really hurt you if you drip any of it on your skin*

 

Its as easy as that really! Now you can pour half of your sauce all over that delicious pudding…

 

And pour the rest into a jug for a side sauce.

 

Now its ready to serve. Simply scoop out a lovely big chunk, drizzle over some more of that homemade caramel sauce…

 

… And slather it with custard.

 

… and just enjoy.

The perfect way to start a balanced new year.

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

*Massive thank you to LJ Photoboards who very kindly gave me this beautiful textured/darkwood photo prop board. After being covered in flour and caramel sauce, they wiped down so easily, ready to be used again.*

2016. The best of this year.

Ahh 2016.  it’s been a pretty crazy year. In normal life I’ve been trying to rear the children into being a less feral state, I’ve been jumping from health kick to ‘how much fried food can I eat in 24 hours’. And I’ve been trying to figure out what the hell I want to do when I’m a grown up. Turns out this year I grew up, I decided on a route. And for the most part of the year I’ve been working on it. hooray for decision making!

The blog world has been just as eventful, 2016 was the year of interiors over here on TLWP. The sewing machine has pretty much lay abandoned this year, instead replaced with a hammer, or miter-saw. This year I’ve swapped spending all of my money at the fabric shop, for spending it all at Savoy, and my home really does thank me for it. All in all, I’m leaving 2016 feeling energised, excited and so much more knowledgeable than I was when we started it. Here are some of my best bits.

Food:

I darn’t even guess how much sugar I’ve used this year! But you all know by now, I’m all about the desserts, this years top blog post pick  for food is, my most popular bake of the year the Raspberry & White chocolate loaf cake.

 

 

Interiors:

My obsession with home building started way back in April, Sam and I hatched a plan to build a floor to ceiling TV unit, practical, pretty, perfect! It took an entire week of my downstairs looking like a rabbit hutch- seriously, sawdust everywhere! But we did it. And I am so glad we plucked up the courage to give it a go. I don’t think I’ve had a month off building some sort of bespoke unit since. Full posts can be found here & here.

 

Family life:

2016 Was the year of the Home life project. 12 months, one post a month, detailing our weekend through photo’s. I started this project with absolutely no direction, next to no skill, and absolutely nothing to bring the the table. I’m ending this year proud as punch that I persevered, kept on practicing, upgraded my camera and discovered a passion. Clare has assured me 2017 will bring lots of great things for this awesome link, I can’t wait to see how this next year goes.

 

Crafts:

This year hasn’t been as crafty as 2015 was, however I have still spent some time on the sewing machine. One of my favourites of the year has been this adorable drawstring bag tutorial. It is honestly SO easy to make up and they are completely customisable! Mine switch between ballet bags and PE bags. cheap, cheerful and so cute!

 

Lifestyle:

I dont tend to discuss my real life all that much over here, I tend to prefer keeping it all about the ‘How to’s’ However every now and again, something amazing happens & I just HAVE to share. This year my top pick for the lifestyle post, has to be my birthday trip to London. It re-ignited my love for leaving the hometown, even if for a short while. I spent an incredible 72 hours in the capital, sleeping in luxury, eating the most delicious food, and of course finally getting to visit the Harry Potter tour! It truly was amazing.

 

All in all, 2016 has been pretty good to me,  here’s to another year!!

Tonight, I’ll be doing what we do every year, I’ll make up our traditional beef wellington (Jamie Olivers incred recipe here.) the girls will settle around 8pm, Sam and I will share a few glasses of fizz, and play a game – usually a themed monopoly- This year we have Game of thrones Monopoly. I’m way more excited than I should be about this. ha. We’ll probably watch a little TV (We started The good wife last night) we’ll toast in the new year and shuffle off to bed at five past midnight, like the little elderly souls we are. There’s no other way I’d rather end and start any year.

Happy new year!

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

NYE celebration doughnuts.

We’re finally in the last week of the year!! How on earth did the happen?! With it being the end of the year, this is also my very last recipe post of 2016! So I thought I’d make it super fancy, something luxuriously delicious to end your week with. And of course you all know how obsessed I’ve been with those cake doughnuts this year, well I thought I’d finish up with an extremely delicious version. These are Hazelnut & chocolate doughnuts, topped with Dulce de leche & golden glitter (edible of course.) These are AMAZING!

So, here’s what you’ll need to make it.

  • 200g unsalted butter (s0ftened.)
  • 180g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 115g plain flour
  • 35g cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 100g ground hazlenuts
  • 100g milk chocolate (grated)
  • Ready made Dulce de leche / caramel sauce
  • edible glitter to finish.

And heres how to make it.

First, we have to make up the sponge cake mixture to make the doughnuts. To do this, add your butter and caster sugar into a bowl and give it all a good whisk together.

 

Next, add your eggs, one at a time, giving it all a good whisk in-between.

 

Now, add your dry ingredients. Your hazelnuts and grated chocolate first, giving it a good stir with a spoon…

 

Before pouring in your flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Finish with a good whisk up.

 

Now its time to get your Doughnut tray ready, these are the coolest thing! I’m really not a big lover of the normal doughnut, I think its the fried aspect. I just end up eating the filling and leaving the rest, tense why I love these cake versions SO much more. You can find the tray I use here. To prep for baking (and to make sure your sponge doesn’t stick) just rub a bit of butter round each doughnut shape, making sure you get it over the middle bit too.

 

Now you can spoon in your cake mixture. You can use a piping bag to do this part if you’re fancy. But I prefer to just use two teaspoons. You don’t want to fill up your trays completely, around 3/4 full is perfect.

 

You can now pop your doughnuts in to bake. Middle shelf, 180 (fan) for around 12/15 minutes. They’ll be firm to touch and risen nicely once they’re done.

 

Once you’ve taken them out of the oven (and whilst they’re still quite soft), grab a spoon and gently spoon around the sides of your doughnut trays, separating the edge of the doughnut from the tray, do the centres too. You now should be able to tip your tray upside down and they’ll fall out fully formed -though you may need to give the underside of the tray a good bang. Now set aside your doughnuts, re-butter the tray and add your second lot of cake mixture.

 

Once your doughnuts have completely cooled, you can decorate. To do this simply add your dulce de leche (I love to use this sainsburies version) to a piping bag with a plain circle nozzle.

 

Now simply, squeeze out a simple circle around the top of your doughnut.

 

You can use the blunt side of a knife to spread it slightly.

 

Before finishing with a sprinkle of glitter.

 

How fancy are these eh!

 

It is New Years after all, so I’ve paired mine with a glass of something bubbly..

 

And a bit of sparkle to finish them off nicely….

 

The perfect treat if you’re having guests over this New Years eve…. or even if your having a night in by yourself, indulge and eat them all!!! Ha.

 

Happy New Years!!

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

Port & Sage Chicken liver pate.

Chicken liver pate is a massive hit in our house, it really does make the most delicious snack. Or even Supper, which is what I’ve planned for Christmas Eve. With it being for Christmas though, I thought I’d fancy up my original recipe, by adding some port and sage. YUM it really is delicious, served on a slab of crusty baguette with a cool glass of red wine. Pure festive luxury.

So, here’s what you’ll need.

  • 220g unsalted butter, softened.
  • 3 shallots
  • 450g chicken livers
  • 60 ml port
  • 5/6 fresh sage leaves.
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped.
  • 2 tablespoons of creme fraiche.

 

And here’s what you need to do.

First, peel your shallots and garlic cloves, before adding them to a food processor.

Give it all a good blitz up, before adding your fresh sage leaves.

Now, add 20g of your softened butter to a pan, let it melt down and heat up, before adding your onion/garlic/sage mixture. give it a good fry, stirring regularly until your onion pieces have gone soft and golden. Empty into a bowl immediately and set aside.

Now its time to move on to the next bit. First, give your chicken livers a good wash, before patting them dry with kitchen roll.

Now slice your chicken livers in half,, making sure to cut off any stringy bits.

Now, add 30g of your softened butter to your pan before throwing in the chicken livers.

Chicken liver doesn’t need that much time to cook, round about 5 minutes on a medium heat should do just fine. The thing with cooking them is that if you over cook your livers will take on a grainy texture. If you really are unsure wether or not your livers are cooked, simply fork one out and slice it right down the middle, you want it to have paled all the way through. After about a minute of cooking your livers, pour in your Port, you want to infuse the cooking liver with the deep flavour of port as its cooking.

So, once everything cooked, transfer your livers (liquid and all) over to your blender. And give it a good blend, you want it to be nothing but paste, no lumps whatsoever.

Now pour your liver pate from your blender into a bowl, add your onion/garlic/sage mixture and two tablespoons of creme fraische. before giving it all a good mix.

Add your Salt and pepper, before giving it all another thorough stir.

Next up, add 55g of your butter to the blender and half of your pate mixture, give it all a good mix up, before adding another 55g and the other half of your pate.

Now you can transfer your pate into your chosen jars. I’m using some I kept from the M&S creme brulee’s (they where actually the only reason I bought the creme brulee’s.) I’m doing them in smaller portions because I’m going to freeze mine, I can take one out each time we want one, and the rest wont get wasted. I’ll tell you more about freezing further down.

Finally, melt down your remaining 50g of butter and pour over the top of your pate. This layer of butter, once set will help preserve your pate.

I’ve finished them off by dabbing a spare sage leaf into the top of the butter, you don’t have too… but it does look pretty.

I mentioned before that I was making these up for our Christmas Eve super, whilst they will last a week in the fridge thanks to the butter preserve, Its not enough for them to still be edible on Christmas Eve, so I’m going to freeze mine (well all but one.) to do this simple place a sheet of cling film over your pate, making sure its pressed agains the butter and place in the freezer. They’ll last  up to 2 months in there, and when you fancy having a posh supper, just take one out the morning before and leave to thaw out for the day. easy as that.

As for the one I left out. That gets sided with chunky slices of wholegrain baguette and a glass of M&S’s finest red.

Just testing it of course, don’t want Christmas Eve supper to be ruined now do I?!

Perfect.

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

Toffee apple muffins.

I’m always a little giddy at this time of year, fairy lights, present wrapping, christmas music, mulled wine… Lots of mulled wine – Maybe i’m more than a little giddy. Today, i’m making up the perfect side to a glass of Christmas juice, Toffee apple muffins. lovely soft muffin scattered with chunks of soft apple and melted fudge, all topped with a swirl of luxurious salted caramel sauce. YES! These are incredible!

 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 290g Self raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 2 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 250ml full fat milk
  • 50ml oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 eating apples (I’ve gone with golden delicious, they’re not too bitter, not too sweet.)
  • 100g fudge chunks
  • small jar of caramel sauce ( I like this one from Asda.)

 

Now, here’s what you’ll need to do. 

First, put all of your dry ingredients in a bowl. So the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg & brown sugar. Give it all a stir, the scent of Christmas should start whirling round you immediately.

Next, pour your milk, oil and egg into a jug and give it a quick stir.

Pop your wet ingredients into the bowl with your flour and give it all a good whisk up.

If you have a freehand mixer, you can use this time to prepare your apples (If you don’t, you can just prepare them up once you’ve finished mixing.) Peel your apples, cut into quarters and slice out the pips. Dice into smallish chunks, about 2cm thick is perfect.

Now toss your apple chunks in a light sprinkling of flour – this will prevent your apples from just sinking to the bottom of the muffins whilst they’re baking.

Then pour your Fudge chunks and apples into your muffin mixture, giving it all another good mix up.

Now its time to prep your oven, pop it on 200 / 180 (fan assisted), and pop your cake cases into a deep muffin tray.

And using a spoon or an ice-cream scoop (I prefer the latter) spoon your mixture into your muffin cases. Pop into the oven, middle shelf for around 20 minutes – or until golden and cooked through.

Once baked, put to the side and leave to cool (although they are incredible warm!).

Now comes the most delicious part – Caramel Sauce! I love this Salted Caramel version from ASDA.

I also found the most amazing piping bag for this next part, its silicone, pops in the dishwasher after use and is just so easy to use! So if like me you really struggle with piping, i’d definitely recommend I can’t find them online to share the link, but they’re £2.50 from ASDA, so keep an eye out. Anyway, yes back to the caramel sauce, simply fill your bag with Caramel and swirls away!

Your festive Toffee apple muffins are now ready to serve.

Don’t forget your side of mulled wine!

Now, eat, drink and most importantly… be merry!

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

Childhood nostalgia: Chocolate cake with mint custard.

Anyone who’s anyone will remember this dessert from school! It was loved by everyone, well almost everyone.. you always got those fussy kids that didn’t like ‘green custard’ like its not the best bit.

Making up the chocolate cake was easy, making up the custard however wasn’t. No matter what I did, I just couldn’t get it to taste right, it was never like they used to make it at school. Well, that was until I spoke to a dinner lady who gave me the big secret. It isn’t actually custard, more of a sweet white sauce flavoured with peppermint!! Three trials later and I have it perfected.

So, here’s what you need:

For the cake. 

-175g softened butter

-175g caster sugar

-125g self raising flour

-75g cocoa powder

-3 eggs

-1 teaspoon baking powder

-1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the custard.

-300ml whole fat milk

-1 tablespoon of plain flour/cornflour

-2 heaped teaspoons of caster sugar

-Roughly 2/3 drops of peppermint extract (stick to two, add more if needed.)

-Roughly 3/4 drops of green food colouring (again, stick to a little, add more if needed.)

 

And here’s what you need to do:

First, we need to make up the cake. This is the very basic of chocolate cakes, you have to remember schools in the 90’s (as they are now) have limited funding for school meals, so for authentic tastes, we’re keeping it fancy free.

For most cakes, I tend to mix wet ingredients then add dry, but for some reason, this chocolate cake benefits from just having all ingredients thrown in a bowl and whizzed up. I told you we’re keeping it fancy free.

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Once your cake mixture has been mixed, pop your oven on, preheat to 180 (fan). And grab a rectangle baking tray. Butter your tray and line the bottom with baking paper.

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Now pour in your cake mixture and pop in the oven, middle shelf, turning your temperature down to 160 (fan) for around 15 minutes.

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Once your cake is fully cooked (use the skewer in the centre method to test) take out of the oven and put aside.

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Now its time to make up the mint custard. This method is very simple, however it is very easy to get it wrong. So here’s what you do. Pour about 50ml of your milk into a saucepan, on a medium heat until it starts to bubble. Very quickly put your table spoon of flour in and whisk it all together. You want it to create a clumpy milk/flour mix.

Very slowly, trickle the rest of your milk into the saucepan, whisking the entire time until you’ve used all of your milk. Tip in your sugar and continue to stir.

Very quickly, your sauce will thicken, you’ll notice straight away, so take the pan of the heat and continue to whisk. The hard part is done.

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Now, add your peppermint extract and your green food colouring, again giving it all a good whisk. If your custard gets too thick, simply pour in a little more milk to thin out.

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Your favourite childhood dessert is ready to serve…

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…And devour. Relishing in the memories each mouthful brings back.

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Robyn,

The little woman pretends.