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.
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.
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!
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:
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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:
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!
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.
Last Wednesday I woke up feeling in a baking mood. I think the excitement of the Great British Bake Off starting back on TV and everyone talking baking on Twitter made me want to get my apron on. I didn’t need to bake anything, I just felt like it. It was a day when we were staying at home (apart from getting my son’s hair cut ) it was all about catching up on jobs for me. My daughter was stuck up in her room doing Art coursework and my son had his friend round. So apart from the usual, I needed something exciting to do! So what did I do- well baking, of course! What else?
I’d had my eye on the Apple and Oat Muffins in the Great British Bake Off Everyday book. I love making muffins. Did you know my nickname was Muffin when I was little? My Dad called me that because I couldn’t say Samantha properly when I was little, it came out as Muffind! Mind you, I was dead clumsy as a child and still am very accident prone, I wondered if it was because I was like Muffin The Mule!
These gorgeous muffins were easy to make and ideal if you want to make something in a hurry. They took just under an hour from start to finish and tasted delicious with a large mug of steaming hot coffee. They’d be lovely for breakfast or a snack and I’m sorry to say but they do taste much nicer than the ones you get in chain coffee shops!
So, here’s how I made them :
When I told my kids I had made muffins and they asked what flavour they were, they said “Urgh, gross!” and “What did you have to put apple in them for?” Funny how they all disappeared very quickly. Either that or we have a cake ghost in our house!
One of my favourite roles in my job as a teaching assistant and supply teacher in a local primary school is that I get to cook with the children I work with! I really enjoy it and judging by their response, I know they enjoy it too! For three years until funding and childcare issues stopped it, I ran an After School Cookery Club. This was a great hit with the children. Six children came after school once a week for an hour for Cookery Club in half termly blocks. The parents did have to pay a small contribution which was £1.50 per session to cover the cost of the ingredients used.
The idea behind the Cookery Club was, not only would the children get to cook, but they would also get to eat their creations at the end of the session depending on the nature of the food created. It was wonderful to watch the pupils sat around the table tucking into vegetable stir fries, fajitas and bologneses. If they were baking they would take their creations home at the end or they would be wrapped up and given to them the following day. Some recipes were more popular than others! For example the look on the children’s faces was a picture when the bogie snot coloured St Patrick’s Day Irish Potato and Chive Muffins came out of the oven!
Obviously, for security and protection reasons I haven’t got any photos of my Club sessions to share with you, but I would love to showcase a few of the recipes I used over the next coming weeks. Most of the recipes I used in Cookery Club were adapted from recipes I had at home and are ones I have made with my own two children over the years as practice!
We made Drop Scones as part of a Breakfast Session at Cookery Club, giving the children ideas of things they could make for breakfast! These weren’t really scones, more like small, thick pancakes! I’ve also seen them called Scotch Pancakes.
First, I sifted plain flour, bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar, salt and sugar into a bowl. Into another bowl I put the wet ingredients- golden syrup, a large beaten egg and milk. This was whisked for a little but you have to be careful not to overdo it or else the mixture will be tough.
Then, I heated my crepe pan up on the hob and added a tiny knob of butter which was enough to grease the pan. Once this was melted, I made a test scone by putting a large spoonful of batter into the pan. I let this cook for about 2 minutes, then flipped the scone over to cook on the other side.
Once this was cooked, it was kept on a warm plate and then I got on with cooking the rest of the scones. These were done in batches of three or four until all the batter was used up.
The scones are ideally eaten straightaway and taste better warm. There’s no danger of them not being eaten straightaway in our house though!
If you fancy having a go at making your own drop scones, I have found another recipe on the BBC Food Website which looks like a delicious one to try in the future.
I’ve always loved Tunnock’s Teacakes. To be honest I don’t usually buy packets of chocolate biscuits when I do my weekly food shop as I know once that packet is open, I’ll trough the lot! I did buy them when my children were at primary school and took packed lunches. We all love them in our house, so when we do buy a packet of teacakes, it’s a real treat.
In series 3 of the Great British Bake Off last summer the Technical Challenge in Biscuit Week was to make Chocolate Teacakes! I was excited to see this as they have always been a mystery about how you went about making them. As I had bought the book to accompany the last series How To Turn Everyday Bakes Into Showstoppers, I had the recipe but had absolutely no confidence in making them. Who can forget the lovely Cathryn and her famous catchphrase “Oh my giddy aunt!” every time something went wrong in the Bake Off tent. I also loved her comment “I can’t serve Mary Berry green carpet!” Cathryn was a joy to watch on the TV, her bakes were stunning but the chocolate teacakes and the other biscuit bakes led to her leaving the show.
It has taken me a year to have a go at baking the teacakes for a couple of reasons, mainly because I thought I couldn’t do it and also due to them being time consuming. It wasn’t until I went into my local Lakeland Limited shop in Harrogate and found out that they have started to sell the silicone chocolate moulds that you need to make these gorgeous treats!
To find out more about the Lakeland silicone moulds click here
Last Wednesday my husband was away working up in Scotland. I was spending a day catching up on jobs and errands but decided once and for all I was going to get on with making these teacakes. I knew I was in for a tricky time but I thought if I followed the instructions carefully then I mightbe ok.
While all the chocolate was setting I had a go at making the marshmallow filling. I have never, ever made marshmallow before and began to get worried once I saw the method. It involved heating the egg whites, golden syrup and salt in a pan rather like an Italian meringue. You needed to add a vanilla pod but I didn’t have one, so a splash of vanilla extract went in here instead. The one and only time I made Italian meringue to make a topping for lemon meringue cupcakes resulted in me burning my thumb when the meringue splashed on me. I still have a scar about 1cm long 2 years later! I opted for another method, mixing it all in the KitchenAid with my balloon whisk. It seemedto work ok.
By this time it was far too late to be baking. The chocolate in the mould still hadn’t set and I was tired. I thought I would leave it until the morning and assemble the teacakes in the morning when I got up!
Well, was it worth the effort? I’m so sorry to say but no it wasn’t. I found the recipe far too fiddly and time consuming. I will stick to buying Tunnocks as normal!
Here is a link to the recipe if you are brave enough to have a go at making your own chocolate tea cakes: