Kids’ Cookery Club- Breakfast Smoothies

I love making smoothies but don’t always have the time to make them, especially during term time when I’m rushing off to work on a morning.  My kids love them too, especially when they can create their own.  A few years ago I bought a Kenwood Smoothie Maker which was worth it’s weight in gold.  It got used so much it wore out.  Eventually it was replaced by another blender and my children were pleased that they could make smoothies again.  If only their enthusiasm extended to them actually washing the jug out at the end without being asked to!

I also enjoyed making Smoothies a couple of times when I ran a Cookery Club at the school where I work as a teaching assistant.  One session was a smoothie making session, where we made three different smoothies, the other was part of a special breakfast session.  Both went down extremely well with the children and they enjoyed tasting the different flavours.

Here is a recipe for a Smoothie I make regularly at home and made for those Cookery Club sessions.  It is adapted from Annabel Karmel’s book 100 Family Meals from the My Kitchen Table series. It is a fab book for children learning to cook with their parents as well  as being very useful for ideas to cook for family friendly meals.  I use the recipes from it a lot at home.

Here is my version of Annabel’s Peach and Banana Smoothie.  Instead mine became a Raspberry and Banana one as I didn’t have peaches.

Serves 1 in a tall glass or two small child portions in a small tumbler glass.

150g raspberries,

I large banana chopped into chunks

1 small pot of strawberry or raspberry yoghurt (I used a strawberry Mullerlight one as that was all I had in the fridge)

1 tsp runny honey

100ml milk (for the children at school I used whole milk, but for us at home we only have skimmed!)

Prepare the fruit by just washing the raspberries in a colander and peeling the banana.  Chop the banana into big chunks and put the fruit into the smoothie blender.

Measure out the milk into a jug, pour into the blender and then add all the other ingredients.  Whizz the ingredients together until the lumps have come out of the smoothie.

Pour into a glass and enjoy!  Drink it straightaway for the best flavour.

Raspberry and Banana Smoothie.  I had this for my breakfast one morning and it was very filling!
Raspberry and Banana Smoothie. I had this for my breakfast one morning and it was very filling!

What smoothie flavours do you enjoy best?  My favourite smoothie is the Innocent Smoothie’s Pineapple, Banana and Coconut flavour. If I buy it though, it has always disappeared by the time I get round to drinking some!

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

BBC Good Food Magazine September 2013 Issue Review

I have been a subscriber of BBC Good Food Magazine for about 7 years now, renewing it every year through my Tesco Clubcard vouchers but sadly my subscription has now expired. I realised this when the last 2 issues never arrived in the post, much to my annoyance. I really must get organised and sort it out again as I can’t do without my monthly fix!  I need a good special offer though, let’s see what they have next month! Good Food never fails to disappoint and often gives me recipe inspiration for those tricky midweek meals and how to feed the whole family easily.

So, as I love Good Food mag so much I am going to try and write a review of each issue as it comes out and test a couple of the recipes if I can fit them in around my busy life.

The front cover:  A mouthwatering Raspberry and White Chocolate Cheesecake adorns the front cover. The delicate pastel pinks work well against the lavender/ blue background and immediately I am mentally adding the cheesecake recipe to the long list of things I want to bake. Yum Yum!

Good Food Magazine Cover September 2013. Image found on Google Images courtest of noteitposts.com
Good Food Magazine Cover September 2013. Image found on Google Images courtesy of noteitposts.com, I took a pic of my own copy on my phone but it wouldn’t come out!

This issue is entitled “The really useful issue” and I wanted to see if this really was the case.  I turned to the Make It Tonight feature which is normally useful for me as a wife, a working mum with teenage children, animals and a house to look after.  In this issue there are 4 different weeks (Monday-Friday) of easy meals.  You can choose from Healthy Meals, Family Suppers, Meat Free Meals or Suppers For Two.  I really need a combination of the first three- healthy meals which you can serve to the whole family without them turning their nose up which don’t contain red meat for my daughter.  Tall order, eh? I turned to Week 1 and noticed there is a handy shopping list at the left of the page. The same goes for the rest of the meal plans. Most of the recipes are things I would eat but for the family one I couldn’t see my kids eating any of it, which is so sad.  I will test out some of the recipes in the future though.

I love Good Food mag’s In Season feature too. This is useful to me because in this day and age with supermarkets offering fruit and veg all year round I tend to forget what the seasons are for some things.  My mouth watered at the thought of Mary Cadogan’s Tomato Confit and Semi Dried tomatoes, you could just see yourself scooping them up on fresh French bread sat outside in the sun! The photos just looked gorgeous, drenched in sunlight!  To add to the season’s favourites there are also recipes encouraging readers to eat more marrow.  I can’t say I like marrow very much, I’ve not eaten it since I was a child.

I took my copy of Good Food with me on holiday to Spain so I could read it on the plane.  So the “Souvenir Suppers” recipe feature was another added bonus.  Sadly though, only the Italian Margarita Risotto Balls are what might get eaten in our house, although my hubby does love hake when we go to Spain.  I can’t see him eating them with stewed peppers though.

James Martin’s Cheese feature looks absolutely gorgeous and I plan to make the Chicken Stuffed with Goats Cheese and Tarragon for my hubby on our wedding anniversary.  His Cheddar and Sage scones look delicious too and I’m hoping to make them to try out on my work colleagues sometime.

As we hope we still have good weather going into September there is a feature on Sunday Lunch in the garden.  I would love to have tried the recipes for this for a posh picnic but it wouldn’t have appealed to my children.

As a baking addict I must admit I always look for the cake and biscuit recipes first in any cookery mag!  Isn’t that terrible that I’m governed by sugar and butter?  However, the Tuck Shop Treats recipes were a wonderful nostalgia trip of childhood memories.  I showed the Giant Jaffa Orange Cake recipe to my son.  His favourite biscuits are Jaffa Cakes and we have already made Jaffa Cake Cupcakes but not a big cake!  One to try but I’m not a fan of fig rolls so I don’t think we’ll be making the Fudgy Fig Roll cake.  We’ll have a go at the Jammy Heart Drops as well, can’t see them lasting long in my house.

Baking Addicts will not be disappointed in this issue because now that the Great British Bake Off is back on our TV screens there are a few GBBO features in this issue:

First we get to see the lovely Jo Wheatley’s kitchen, complete with the blue AGA from where she gets the name of her blog (www.josblueaga.com) and also where she runs baking masterclasses and workshops.  Edd Kimber also provides us with a masterclass on iced biscuits.  As I bake and decorate biscuits like this already, I didn’t need to learn how to make them but I did like the sound of the recipe Edd uses for the fancy biscuits.  We also get a recipe masterclass from Paul Hollywood on making his Milk Loaf.  As a complete novice to breadmaking this will be useful to me. We are also treated to two rather gorgeous and scrumptious looking recipes from the new book to accompany the series: Spiced And Iced Carrot Cake followed by Apricot and Pistachio Tiffin.  Not forgetting an interview with the lovable finalist James Morton who wore Fair Isle tank tops and created the fabulous tumbledown gingerbread barn in the last series.

What I love also about Good Food Magazine is the Make It Healthier Feature where each month Angela Nilsen chooses a much loved dish (savoury or sweet) and challenges herself to make it healthier by lowering the fat/ saturatedfat, calories and salt as well as keeping the taste as much as possible.  Here was something I knew my family would eat and we tried eating the Crispy Chicken and Coleslaw last week. It was perfect for a Saturday tea time.  Read about how it was made on my blog here:

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Our version of the Crispy Chicken from the Make It Healthier feature, only I made it with turkey!

I’m looking forward to the next issue already, on sale in the shops on 30th August- tomorrow!!! It has a free One Pot Meals Cookbook with it, that’ll be perfect for all those Autumnal comfort food meals.

Happy Cooking!

Love Sam xx

Mary’s Angel Food Cake With Lemon Curd- The Great British Bake Off Week 1(Series 4)

Last week the latest series of The Great British Bake Off got off to a cracking start!  In Cake week the contestants had to make a sandwich cake as well as a showstopper chocolate cake. But what of the Technical Challenge, the bake that has everyone worried and panicking that it will pass muster from Paul and Mary.  I know I couldn’t have managed the Technical Challenge. I would have been like Ruby, the youngest contestant in this series.  It all got too much for her and she burst into tears. In the end Toby left, which was sad to see. I liked him, he seemed a crazy kind of guy but genuinely nice.  There were lots of disasters this time and a huge abundance of blue plasters being used!

The Technical Challenge this week was a cake that I’ve heard of and tasted but never attempted myself.  An Angel Food Cake is an American recipe, I believe where the rise comes from whisking egg whites to make them light and airy. The cake does not contain any fat but lots of sugar!  It isn’t something I would choose if one was on a menu in a cafe or something I would bake. Judging by the experiences of the GBBO bakers, ranging from raw cakes to a cake containing salt instead of sugar, it sounded like it was tricky.  I was determined to have a go myself though.

Some plain flour and about 1/3 of the caster sugar was weighed and sifted into a bowl.
Some plain flour and about 1/3 of the caster sugar was weighed and sifted into a bowl.
In another bowl I separated 10 egg whites, the yolks were put to one side to add to the lemon curd for later.
In another bowl I separated 10 egg whites, the yolks were put to one side to add to the lemon curd for later.

Separating eggs is one of those skills I either get right or wrong. I find if I don’t need the egg to be perfect it comes out neat or if I need a perfect separated yolk everything leaks and the eggs don’t come out right.  Today though they did work out, I separated them by hand easily enough.  You need 10 egg whites for the cake but luckily the egg yolks get used in the lemon curd. I hate recipes that involve waste like that!

The egg whites were whisked on a high speed until they were frothy.
The egg whites were whisked on a high speed until they were frothy.
The egg whites whisked up! Can you guess what crucial stage I missed out on?
The egg whites whisked up! Can you guess what crucial stage I missed out on?
I added lemon juice, cream of tartar and salt to the egg whites.
I added lemon juice, cream of tartar and salt to the egg whites.
Whisked again for a few minutes.
Whisked again for a few minutes.
The sugar and flour mixture was folded in gently. This was done in 3 stages.
The sugar and flour mixture was folded in gently. This was done in 3 stages.
Not the effect I was expecting. I tried folding the flour in carefully but it seemed to knock all the air out.
Not the effect I was expecting. I tried folding the flour in carefully but it seemed to knock all the air out.
There doesn't look to be much mixture in the pan!  This is where I thought, where have I gone wrong?
There doesn’t look to be much mixture in the pan! This is where I thought, where have I gone wrong?

I came to realise at this stage that this isn’t a cake you can make when you have lots of distractions.  Not long after I started getting the ingredients out, my teenage daughter decided to saunter down for breakfast and she began to make pancakes for herself and her brother.  Normally I don’t mind them doing this on a Sunday but the timing was completely out.  Then I left the ingredients out on the side as my mum phoned for a catch up.  As I got to the whisking stage I was distracted by nagging at my children for not putting things back in the cupboard. I realised when my cake didn’t look like other angel cakes I had seen that there must have been something wrong. One of my friends on Twitter asked if I had added the sugar?  I remembered I had about 200g to add that was still on the counter! Back to the beginning I went. Of course I couldn’t use the first attempt cake, it went in the bin and the tin went in the sink to soak!  As the mix was stuck to it (you don’t grease the tin but I think you should do it lightly!) I had no luck. I had to use my other ring tin, a Bundt style one.

I forgot to add the sugar!  This is what happens when you are distracted!
I forgot to add the sugar! This is what happens when you are distracted!
Skip an hour, extra ingredients later and carefully read instructions. Now here is version 2, this time made in my fluted ring tin. I didn't grease it like the instructions said!
Skip an hour, extra ingredients later and carefully read instructions. Now here is version 2, this time made in my fluted ring tin. I didn’t grease it like the instructions said!
I should have greased the pan!  This is what was left when the cake came out of the tin.  Not very easily, I hasten to add!
I should have greased the pan! This is what was left when the cake came out of the tin. Not very easily, I hasten to add!

There are two distinct camps here- the Greasers and the Non-Greasers.  IF and this is a big IF, I make this cake again I will grease the tin lightly. Unless I buy a special tin marketed as an Angel Cake tin. It’s just I didn’t want to go out and buy a tin to make a cake I might not bake ever again!

The "naked" Angel Cake.  It actually broke in half as I wrestled with it but it's amazing how I managed to stick it back together!
The “naked” Angel Cake. It actually broke in half as I wrestled with it but it’s amazing how I managed to stick it back together!
Straining the lemon curd through the sieve.  I had been worried it wouldn't set but it did eventually!
Straining the lemon curd through the sieve. I had been worried it wouldn’t set but it did eventually!

Making the Lemon Curd wasn’t stress free either.  The remaining egg yolks, caster sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest went into a pan and was heated on a medium heat. It didn’t seem to want to thicken up. I added the butter to it but it still seemed to take ages. I wasn’t convinced.  I felt like cheating and running up to the supermarket for a ready made jar!  In the end it got taken off the heat and about an hour later it looked more like it should do. It then had to be strained through a sieve. At least there was some spare to put in a jar for toast!

The remainder of the lemon curd was put into a jar and will be used for toast!
The remainder of the lemon curd was put into a jar and will be used for toast!

Then I realised I hadn’t got any double cream to decorate the cake with. I was doing really well here, so organised or what? I had to go up to our local Morrisons and grab a pot. It ended up being a shopping trip for several items we were low on like milk and bread!  I certainly wasn’t sticking to the 2 1/2 hour time limit that they had on the Bake Off! I had started this at 10am and it was now about 2.30pm!

To decorate the cake I whipped a 300ml pot of cream gently.
To decorate the cake I whipped a 300ml pot of cream gently.

The cream was whipped up but I think I whipped it up too much.  It just wouldn’t spread properly and it didn’t look very much.  You could still see the crumbs through the topping.  What a mess!

The cake was decorated with the whipped cream  and drizzled lemon curd. The GBBO version had passionfruit on it. I couldn't find any passionfruit in the shops so I used some yellow and white Dr Oetker wafer daisies to complement the colours of the cake.
The cake was decorated with the whipped cream and drizzled lemon curd. The GBBO version had passionfruit on it. I couldn’t find any passionfruit in the shops so I used some yellow and white Dr Oetker wafer daisies to complement the colours of the cake.

So what was the verdict?  My hubby found the cake to be very sweet and sickly. He didn’t like it and fed it to our dog!  The children didn’t fancy it because they didn’t like the lemon curd on it.  I had a small piece, the sponge tasted light and airy but it wasn’t worth all the faffing and the effort. If I make it again I will make it when I have no distractions or time constraints!

I would love to know how you’ve got on if you have baked the cake .

Here is the recipe if you are brave enough to have a go yourself:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/angel_food_cake_with_04002

A slice of Angel Cake cut up for pudding.
A slice of Angel Cake cut up for pudding.
The rest of the cake.
The rest of the cake.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Saturday Suppers- The Hairy Dieters’ Beachside Paella

 

 

 

 

The Seafood Paella all ready to serve.
Paella.

On Saturday night I TRY to cook something a little bit more special if we have time.  We have been back from our holiday in Spain for two weeks now and the time has gone so fast.  The weather has been up or down and on Friday and Saturday I began to wonder what had happened to our summer.  I began to think back to the hot, sunny climate of Spain and how every meal was sat outside.  The rest of the time being spent in the pool trying to cool down. Last Saturday I looked out of the window, seeing the rain lash down and felt a sudden need for something Spanish and holidaylike!

Moraira Harbour on the Costa Blanca in Spain
Moraira Harbour on the Costa Blanca in Spain

So what better than Paella?  My hubby and kids never seemed to want to try the paella when we were away so I couldn’t have it unless we were somewhere that did individual portions!  Last year on holiday in Ibiza I saw two blokes tucking in to a huge paella dish which was the side of a Sky Satellite dish!

At Alicante airport I went mad buying things in the Duty Free shop. Usually if I try to buy it in the supermarket with hubby watching I get the “What do you want that for?” but I wanted to buy some Turron to keep for Christmas. I spotted some paella rice and some pimenton so that was sneaked into the basket quickly.

A 500g bag of authentic Arroz for paella and a jar of pimenton.
A 500g bag of authentic Arroz for paella and a jar of pimenton.
I chopped two chicken breasts up into bite sized chunks.
I chopped two chicken breasts up into bite sized chunks.
The chicken breasts were fried gently in a pan with a spoonful of olive oil.
The chicken breasts were fried gently in a pan with a spoonful of olive oil.
I chopped two onions, a red pepper, a yellow pepper and 4 cloves garlic to go in the paella.
I chopped two onions, a red pepper, a yellow pepper and 4 cloves garlic to go in the paella.
The onions and garlic were gently fried in the pan.  The chicken had been removed once it had been browned.
The onions and garlic were gently fried in the pan. The chicken had been removed once it had been browned.
Then the peppers and a tin of green beans (drained) in water were added to the onions and garlic. These were cooked for a few more minutes.
Then the peppers and a tin of green beans (drained) in water were added to the onions and garlic. These were cooked for a few more minutes.
I made up a litre of hot chicken stock. It was made with a Knorr Stock cube.
I made up a litre of hot chicken stock. It was made with a Knorr Stock cube.
A couple of pinches of saffron and some pimenton were added to the pan to cook in the veg.
A couple of pinches of saffron and some pimenton were added to the pan to cook in the veg.
Then the rice was added until it was coated well in the oil and started to shine.
Then the rice was added until it was coated well in the oil and started to shine.
Chicken and Chorizo was added to one pan.
Chicken and Chorizo was added to one pan.
Both my frying pans are small ones so I had to make two paellas!
Both my frying pans are small ones so I had to make two paellas!

Chicken and Chorizo was added to one pan.
Chicken and Chorizo was added to one pan. This would also have some prawns added towards the end of the cooking time.
The paella begins to thicken up as the rice grains swell. Every now and again I ladelled in some more chicken stock.
The paella begins to thicken up as the rice grains swell. Every now and again I ladelled in some more chicken stock.
To the other paella I added seafood from a pack bought in Morrisons. This was for my hubby as he loves squid and mussels. I can't stand them!
To the other paella I added seafood from a pack bought in Morrisons. This was for my hubby as he loves squid and mussels. I can’t stand them!
A crafty Mojito to drink while I was cooking- cooks' perks!  I felt like Keith Floyd glugging down the wine!
A crafty Mojito to drink while I was cooking- cooks’ perks! I felt like Keith Floyd glugging down the wine!
The Seafood Paella all ready to serve.
The Seafood Paella all ready to serve.

 

I used the recipe from The Hairy Bikers’ Diet Book, (the first one with a white front cover) which is a huge favourite in our house.I cook a lot of meals out of it although I had not attempted their paella recipe. Their recipe is called Beachside Paella and serves 6. There was only 4 of us so we had far too much left over.  My children picked out bits they did not like. For me and my hubby we had two large Mojitos and shared a bottle of red wine.  I was rather sloshed after it so it defeated the object of being a “diet” meal! Get a grip, Sam!  I will definitely make this again but will save it for when we have visitors or friends over, it’s quite time consuming when you’re cooking it but it’s worth it!

Happy Cooking!

Love Sam xx