Friday, February 19, 2010

A Belated Blog Anniversary and a Chocolate Giveaway


I have been blogging for approximately three and a half years, and have decided to host my own blog giveaway. The giveaway is chocolate, chocolate and even more chocolate.


My son set up my blog, possibly to keep in touch with all the things that I have cooked. I have to admit, I hadn't come across the world of blogs, and back then the blogosphere was a much smaller place. When I started the blog there were approximately 75 UK blogs on the 'Foodie List' but now there are so many that I couldn't possibly keep up with them all.

I have now had over 250,000 unique visitors since I started blogging in September 2006. My first posting, without a photograph, was a Delia Smith recipe - Fresh Tomato Soup with Basil. There are over 240 postings on the blog, and I have enjoyed every minute of blogging.

All of the products that have appeared on the blog have been extremely good quality, and therefore, they have been positive postings. I have been sent numerous products and would like to thank everyone.

I have had some surprising emails from people who have come across my blog, and a couple of them in particular still make me smile. One was from a marketing company in America who asked me how many people in the UK use a cafetiere to make coffee for breakfast every day - if I knew the answer to that, I think that there would be something seriously wrong with me.

Another email that made me smile was from a Sea Scouts Teacher, who said he was fed up with the meals his pupils served him whilst out at sea and could I suggest a menu so he could experience better food from them, ah!

Thank you to everyone who has visited my blog and also to those who have left comments they are always very much appreciated. I love visiting all of your blogs, old and new, time permitting, and I now feel as though I know many of my fellow food bloggers.

The banana and chocolate chip cupcakes are adapted from here and I simply added 50g of dark chocolate chips to the mix. The lemon tinted buttercream is a recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery cookery book, the buttercream is so sweet my husband couldn't bring himself to sink his teeth into one of my iced cupcakes and it had to be uniced cupcakes for him.

Anyway, for a chance to win the chocolate giveaway, please leave a comment telling me which of my postings is your favourite. The giveaway is open to anyone in the UK.

The winner will be chosen at random.
The closing date is midnight on Saturday, 27th February 2010. The winner will be announced after the closing date - please pop back to see if you have won and provide me with your email details.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

BLUEBERRY AND APRICOT FLAPJACK PUDDING


For the flapjack lover, flapjacks scattered over a fruit based pudding, instead of the usual crumble mix, is a wonderful thing.

I used a mixture of small rolled oats, and added some jumbo oats for texture, the mix worked perfectly. Fresh apricots and blueberries would have been wonderful, but we are still waiting for summer to come and therefore, a tin of drained canned apricots and frozen blueberries were used.

This pudding isn't really a looker when it's served up and perhaps it would be best to cook it in small individual dishes. To be honest, it looked like a nervous breakdown on a plate when I served it up and to make matters worse, I topped it with a dollop of creme fraiche which my husband said just added to it's misery. It made us laugh though, which can only be a good thing.

Moving on from looks, the pudding is amazing, the apricot and blueberry combo is perfect, and the buttery, crispy oat topping on this occasion, left crumble in the shade.

Serves: 4 people

You will need: 75g butter, 75g golden syrup, 45g oats, 45g jumbo oats, a tin of drained apricots quartered, 100g frozen or fresh blueberries, 1 tablespoon light muscovado sugar.

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C Fan/200°C/Gas 6.
2. Gently melt the butter in a small pan with the syrup and then fold in the oats.
3. Arrange the apricots and blueberries in the base of a small shallow ovenproof dish.
4. Sprinkle the fruit with the sugar and then scatter over the flapjack mixture allowing some of the fruit to show through. Bake for 30 minutes until the top is golden and crusty.
5. Serve warm or cold.

FLAPJACKS


Preheat the oven to Fan 160°C/180°C/Gas 4. Line a 23cm square tin with baking parchment.

1. Gently melt 240g salted butter with 180g demerara sugar and 6 tablespoons golden syrup over a medium heat.
2. Stir in 350g rolled oats.
3. Put the mixture into the tin and press down. Bake for 20 minutes.
4. Leave to cool and cut into squares.


The oats used in the above recipes were supplied by Mornflake, who have brought out some new products for 2010 including, Mornflake Utterly Apple Oat Crisp Clusters, Lyles Golden Syrup Granola, Oatbran Flakes with Sultanas & Apple, Toasted Oatbran, Ready Steady Oats and Superfast Oats with added Wheat Bran.

Mornflake have recently been championed in the Guild of Fine Food's Great Taste Awards for its range of Extra Crispy Mueslis.

You can read more about Mornflake and their product range by visiting their website.

Thank you to Mornflake and Kate.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

VALENTINE'S DAY AMARETTO TRIFLE


It's a sin not to eat trifle, at least once a year. I haven't made trifle for at least a couple of years, but to compensate I have made an Amaretto, berry, meringue and cream trifle, it was certainly worth the wait. The trifle was made with frozen berries, but I will definitely be making this again with fresh summer berries.



Meringues - just a few to break up. I used two large egg whites and 110g golden caster sugar, the recipe is here on Delia's website.
500g mixed berries - if using frozen, thaw in a sieve over a bowl to remove the excess juice.
4 tablespoons of Amaretto
250g Madeira cake - I made mine but again it is perfectly fine to buy some, don't be tempted to use trifle sponges though because you don't want soggy cake and trifle sponges will go soggy!
500ml fresh custard
300ml whipping cream, softly whipped

1. Place the thawed berries in a bowl and pour over the Amaretto, leave to marinate for 15 minutes.
2. Cut the Madeira cake into cubes and place in a large, deep serving bowl. Top with two-thirds of the fruit, and pour over the custard.
3. Pop into the fridge to firm up for a couple of hours then remove.
4. Spoon a layer of cream on top of the custard, arrange broken pieces of meringue on top of the cream and then place clouds of whipped cream around the meringue pieces.
5. Top with the rest of the berries.
6. Decorate with Valentine hearts.
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