Life with two Smalls and a fistful of daydreams


Ah biscuit week. The one where I always think ‘oh I can do that’ and then fail miserably. Last year we had to make towers of biscuits and this year the challenge once again involved precarious balancing and a certain amount of artistic talent – something I don’t have much of.

First up I decided I would ignore the 3D challenge and just try out a new recipe. I have had the Hummingbird Bakery Home Sweet Home recipe book for months but have never dared attempt any of the beautiful recipes inside – this was the perfect excuse.

I picked out the reasonably simple but tasty looking Linzer Cookies and set to mixing and making. It made a very nice smooth dough which was easy to cut after chilling in the fridge however I should have kept a closer watch on them in the oven as instead of being pale and beautiful the majority of mine looked more like they should have been chocolate flavoured. ‘Over-Baked’ would have been understating it a bit – I took photos of the best ones to save face ;)

linzer cookies

I could have left it at that but I just wasn’t happy with them so I decided the next day to have another go but this time just use a simple vanilla sugar cookie recipe and try to construct a 3D scene.

I happen to be the proud owner of the Lakeland range of Doctor Who cookie cutters and decided I would try to make a scene of Daleks trying to surround the TARDIS (in honour of the new series starting next week) – I have no idea why I thought this would be a good idea after my failure at getting biscuits to stand up last year…

I did commit the cardinal sin and used ready to roll icing for decorating my biscuits but the artwork was all hand drawn on with an edible ink marker pen. This took aaaaages but was quite good fun.

dalek1

Once the ink was dry I mixed up some thick icing with water and icing sugar (in hindsight I should have added some egg too, but never mind) and began trying to get my three Daleks to stand up around my TARDIS.

The TARDIS was a total pain and had to be propped up with a rolling pin and various other kitchen implements to prevent a total collapse – it still looked a bit drunk in the end though. (Or, as my Dad said, ‘it’s just dizzy from whizzing through time and space.’)

The Daleks worked quite well though and once the icing had set I was able to remove all the props and nothing fell down!

Picdalek2Not the neatest 3D scene ever but I was pleased with it and it’s very tasty! There isn’t much left already!!

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GreatBloggersBakeOff
I’m taking part in the #GreatBloggersBakeOff2014
-
To see the other great entries in Biscuit Week click here to see the linky on MummyMishaps

Another week, another meal plan. Just me and the kids for dinner a few nights this week so there will be lots of lazy food.

Monday: Oriental Soy & Garlic Chicken with noodles

Tuesday: Bacon & Tomato Pasta

Wednesday: Sausages, chips and vegetables

Thursday: Southern fried chicken sticks with spaghetti shapes

Friday: Fishfingers, chips and peas

Saturday: We might be out tonight, not sure yet. If not then it will probably be pasta of some sort.

Sunday: BBQ Chicken Wings and burgers with corn on the cob slices and salad.

I'm linking up with Mrs M's Meal Planning Monday linky

I’m linking up with Mrs M’s Meal Planning Monday linky

 


227auToday my crazy boyfriend completed his first ever Olympic distance triathlon (yes, the morning after driving home from Scotland) in an epic rain storm. He did it in three and a half hours and I am super proud of him.

228auMade the most of the sun’s appearance today and all went for a romp in the park together.

229auThe Smalls and I went on a day trip with my parents today whilst Caius was at work. We visited Harlech Castle (which is great for hide and seek!) and then spent half an hour paddling on the beach just outside Barmouth. It was very windy but the rain held off until we were driving home which was great considering storms were forecast!

230auSomebody was having a Cars day and was very pleased to discover his trainers match his play suit.

231auAttempted a new recipe for the Great Bloggers Bake Off today – this is about the only one I didn’t ‘overbake’ (read: practically burn).

232auRound two of Bake Off baking saw me doing a more basic vanilla sugar biscuit recipe but going a bit more all out on the decoration (I even tried making them 3D in the end!)

233auLazy dinner tonight, just because we can :)

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky


It is with great excitement that I can reveal the awesome front cover for the re-release of Gustavo Florentin‘s detective mystery-thriller The Schwarzschild Raduis, designed by Andrea Garcia and published by Curiosity Quills Press.

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-manhattan-skyline-night-new-york-city-image28953902

Rachel, an 18-year-old Columbia University student, descends into the netherworld of runaways and predators to find her sister, Olivia, who has suddenly disappeared.

After getting a job in a strip joint where Olivia worked, then doing private shows in the homes of rich clients, Rachel discovers that Olivia has been abducted by a killer who auctions the deaths of young girls in an eBay of agony.

When she finds Olivia, Rachel becomes the killer’s next target.

~

You can find Gustavo Florentin on:

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads


I’m back! Didn’t think there was much point doing a post last week as it would have had a whole 2 meals on it as the kids were at their Dad’s and Caius and I were away!!

We are all home now though and I’m back on the wagon – trying to be a bit frugal this week too and using things from the cupboards/freezer means that I have only spent just over £30 on food for the four of us for the week.

Monday: Stir fry and noodles

Tuesday: The Smalls and I are out on a day trip with my parents today so I don’t know if we will be or home or not. If so it will probably be something easy like cheese on toast.

Wednesday: Roast Chicken & veg

Thursday: Sweet & Sour Chicken and rice (using yesterday’s left overs)

Friday: Sausage and bean casserole

Saturday: Piri Piri Chicken & Rice

Sunday: We are at a Christening this afternoon with afternoon tea afterwards so I don’t know how hungry we will be. Probably sandwiches for tea tonight.

I'm linking up with Mrs M's Meal Planning Monday linky

I’m linking up with Mrs M’s Meal Planning Monday linky

 


It’s back!!! I have been looking forward to the return of the Great British Bake Off and so, also, the Great Bloggers Bake Off since the finale last year. I love trying new things and sharing the fun (and failures) as we go along.

Nothing like starting with an adventure as I chose to make my first ever Swiss Roll for Cake Week. I didn’t really fancy making the cherry cake as I’m not a massive fruit cake fan (though I probably am a massive fruit cake, perhaps that’s why – cannibalism doesn’t sit well…) and as for 36 identical mini cakes – I can’t even make an identical batch of 12 cupcakes…

So Swiss Roll it was, and when it comes to Swiss Roll I almost always think of the ones my Grandma used to make, usually at Christmas. They were dark chocolate with a zingy green mint cream filling and, best of all, there was always a Cadbury’s Flake down the middle – sadly as Grandma got older and people started convincing her that sugar was the mother of all evils the Swiss Rolls started to be a bit less sweet and slightly more accident prone. Culminating in one year where Grandma forgot to take the greaseproof paper out of the middle of the roll before she put the cream in and rolled it up. That made it a touch chewier and more interesting to eat.

I used Grandma’s Swiss Roll as a model for my bake and though I did have a few incidents, I managed to at least remember to take off the greaseproof paper ;)

swissroll3Mint Chocolate Flake Swiss Roll

Ingredients:

4 Eggs

110g Caster Sugar

50g Self-Raising Flour

25g Cocoa Powder (or Hot Chocolate powder if you can’t find your Cocoa Powder like me…) plus extra for dusting

Vanilla (either a few drops of extract or seeds from a pod or about 3 twists on a grinder)

Vanilla Butter Icing (I had a batch in the freezer left over from Tori’s birthday cake)

105g Bar of Aero Mint Bubbly

8 squares of dark baking chocolate

1 Cadbury’s Flake

Hershey’s Chocolate Sauce/Squirty Cream for decorating (optional)

 

Method:

  1. Line a shallow baking tray/swiss roll tin with greaseproof paper and set your oven to preheat at 190·C
  2. Whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla until pale, fluffy and thick.
  3. Sift over the flour and cocoa powder and gently fold through the egg mixture.
  4. Pour the batter onto the baking tray and tilt gently to get it evenly spread without bashing any air out of it.
  5. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes until dark golden brown and springy to the touch.
  6. Immediately turn the cake out onto a second sheet of greaseproof paper dusted with cocoa powder and/or icing sugar and gently remove original sheet of greaseproof paper from the sponge.
  7. Carefully roll the still hot sponge using the second sheet of greaseproof paper to stop it sticking to itself and leave to cool whilst you make your filling.
  8. Melt the Aero bar and dark chocolate in a plastic bowl in the microwave (or in a glass bowl above gently boiling water).
  9. Mix the melted chocolate evenly through the vanilla butter icing.
  10. Once your sponge is cool, gently unroll it again.
  11. Using a tiny dab of icing, stick the flake on one of the short edges of your sponge before spreading buttercream over the rest of the sponge.
  12. Starting with the flake end, gently re-roll the sponge around the filling.
  13. Using a sharp knife, trim the ends to make the flake visible at either end of the roll.
  14. Decorate as desired – I used Hershey’s chocolate sauce, squirty cream and a crumbled Flake bar on mine.

Swiss Roll final

Hopefully your baking will be smoother than mine – I managed to not fold my flour and cocoa through properly and when I poured the mixture into the tin it all appeared dry in a big bubble in the middle so I had to try and carefully stir it in on the baking tray! I don’t think I did it evenly as when I got it out, one end of the sponge was effectively a chocolate flavoured omelette. I simply cut that bit off and just used the rest which is my excuse as to why I don’t have much of a swirl – I had three inches less cake than I was meant to!

swissroll2

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GreatBloggersBakeOff
I’m taking part in the #GreatBloggersBakeOff2014
-
To see the other great entries in Cake Week click here to see the linky on MummyMishaps

220auStill enjoying the novelty of not having the Smalls about, I went for a walk all by myself and discovered a bit of woodland I have never been in before not too far from my house!

221auStill loving this lack of small people thing…

222auCaius and I headed off to Edinburgh this evening – Caius headed to his office for a few days and me headed for adventures and discovery.

223auI had a busy day today and visited the National Museum of Scotland, National Library of Scotland and then wandered round Edinburgh visiting Greyfriars Bobby and the Castle on my meandering. And also visiting Primark and Lush, because I can never resist the lure…

224auToday was completely stunning. In the morning I visited National Gallery of Scotland (in a vain attempt to be cultured – it was mostly lost on me aside from a rather fine portrait of a dog called Callum) and then in the afternoon I simply lay in the park you can see there at the foot of the Castle and read my book, watched a tiny pug puppy chase leaves and dozed in the sunshine.

225auI spent most of today at Edinburgh Zoo which was brilliant. A fantastic day but I must have walked for miles and it’s on a very big hill!! As I left the heavens opened so I bolted back to the hotel and spent the rest of the day reading, watching naff TV and cross-stitching.

226auWe drove home today and on the way we stopped off at my favourite of all bookshops for lunch and a quick leg stretch, Barter’s Books in Alnwick. Another perk of the drive was XH588 (the Vulcan) flying over as we pulled into Tesco carpark in Leeds for a loo break!

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

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