Pistachio Cupcakes

The pistachio nuts are ground up in my food processor.
The pistachio nuts are ground up in my food processor.

Last Thursday I was feeling rubbish. It was the last week of the school holidays and I was trying to get lots done.  But my body decided to make me go down with a cold. It started on the Tuesday morning as a sore throat.  I thought nothing of it at first and put it down to snoring the night before! But the sore throat did not wear off and by Wednesday had turned into a horrible cold.  By Thursday although it was nothing really in the scheme of things I felt very low.  I was meant to be meeting my Mum and our friend for a picnic in Clumber Park about an hour’s drive away from me over the border into Nottinghamshire. I hadn’t seen much of my Mum over the summer and I hadn’t seen our friend for ages either. I thought, well if I’m ok by tonight, we can still go!

I went ahead and did the baking for the picnic. I started off with Pistachio Cupcakes, a recipe I found on the Good Food IPhone Cake App. I love pistachio nuts and thought these cupcakes sounded pretty with their pastel colouring. Here’s how they were made:

Pistachio nuts chopped up in the food processor. About 20g were reserved back from a 100g bag to be kept for the cupcake toppings.
Butter, self raising flour, sugar and free range eggs were beaten up together in the all in one method. I used my hand held whisk as I couldn’t be bothered to get my Kitchen Aid out of the cupboard.
Finally, the chopped pistachios were folded into the mixture.
The mixture is spooned into the cupcake cases. I used silver foil ones.
The cooked cupcakes come out of the oven after about 20 minutes.
The cupcakes are then lifted to cool down onto a wire rack.
I mixed up some fondant icing and added a tiny bit of green food colouring to it. Unfortunately the icing was a bit too runny!
Each cupcake was decorated with two or three whole pistachios.

It was a shame that at the end I decided I felt too rough to go to the picnic. The baking I had done remained at home and got troughed over the next few days at home.  My children don’t really like pistachios so luckily these lasted a lot longer than the other things in the cake tin!

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:

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