30th January 2018 Helen

It wouldn’t be January without some sort of purge going on, would it? To be fair, I haven’t made any resolutions or joined any gyms (as if), but in my ongoing pursuit of a waist, and with a little encouragement from my friend and fellow cake maker and eater Emily over at The Nest, I am kicking the sugar – or at least cutting back. And, as everyone knows, misery loves company and, as this house isn’t actually a democracy, whatever goes for mama goes for everyone else. So, the good news for anyone who is equally inclined to cut…

Sugar-free Pancakes and Fruity 'Jam': a fast and (secretly) healthy family favourite
Print Recipe
A two-minute fruity and easy alternative to jam. Perfect on cakes, breads or pancakes - or mixed with natural yoghurt. Recipe works (so far) for strawberries, raspberries or blueberries.
Servings Prep Time
1 bowl / jar 3 minutes
Cook Time
2 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 bowl / jar 3 minutes
Cook Time
2 minutes
Sugar-free Pancakes and Fruity 'Jam': a fast and (secretly) healthy family favourite
Print Recipe
A two-minute fruity and easy alternative to jam. Perfect on cakes, breads or pancakes - or mixed with natural yoghurt. Recipe works (so far) for strawberries, raspberries or blueberries.
Servings Prep Time
1 bowl / jar 3 minutes
Cook Time
2 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 bowl / jar 3 minutes
Cook Time
2 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: bowl / jar
Instructions
  1. Prepare your ingredients.
  2. Put the fruit (frozen or thawed) in the pot with the water and heat gently until the fruit softens (c. 2 minutes).
  3. Add the vanilla, chia seeds and agave syrup (if using) and bring the mixture to the boil. Stir constantly.
  4. Blend using the stick blender until the berries are pureed. Return to the heat and - stirring constantly, allow the mixture to thicken (c. 1 minute).
  5. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. The jam is ready to use straight away or can be stored in a clear, sterilised tub / jar in the fridge for a week.
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19th December 2014 Helen 11Comment

If I don’t post this Basic Cookie Recipe I may as well apply to be in some sort of biscuit-making witness protection scheme.   Emily from The Nest is waiting not-so-patiently since I posted a snap of some Orange and Chocolate Chip Cookies I made for the knitting group on Facebook. As the days have passed there have been Netflix competitions, Christmas posts and even Coddle but no cookie recipe. So, at last, Emily, this is for you – and although I am sorry for the delay, we both know I like stringing you along at this time of the year! Now after…

Basic Cookie Recipe
Print Recipe
A great basic butter cookie which cook in no time, are easily made in advance and can be added to for endless combinations of yummy cookies. From www.thebusymamas.ie
Servings Prep Time
28 cookies 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
28 cookies 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 10 minutes
Basic Cookie Recipe
Print Recipe
A great basic butter cookie which cook in no time, are easily made in advance and can be added to for endless combinations of yummy cookies. From www.thebusymamas.ie
Servings Prep Time
28 cookies 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
28 cookies 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 10 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: cookies
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 160C (fan) / 170C conventional oven.
  2. Using a paddle attachment on a food mixer, cream the butter until soft. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
  3. Sift the flour and add one spoon at a time to form a dough.
  4. Tip the dough out onto a large sheet of greeseproof paper (say 30cm long) and create a long sausage shape about 4cm in diameter, by gently prodding and rolling it. Wrap in the paper and twist the ends closed. Put into the freezer for ten minutes to firm up.
  5. Remove dough from the freezer and uncover. Slice off into 1cm thick slices and cook on a baking tray (no need to cover or grease) and place in a preheated over.
  6. Check from about 11 minutes but cook for between 12 and 15 minutes until the outer edges of the cookies are a light golden brown.
  7. Remove the tray from the oven and allow to firm for a minute or two and immediately remove using a pallet knife to cool on a wire rack.
Recipe Notes

And the variations are endless. Just add these dry ingredients, or any you like yourself, as you add the flour:

  • Orange and Chocolate: add three drops of orange essence and 75g of dark / milk chocolate chips (or just chopped chocolate)
  • Lemon and Poppyseed: add two to four drops of lemon essence and 2 tablespoons of poppyseeds.
  • Chocolate Chip: add 75g milk chocolate chips.
  • Double Chocolate Chip: add 50g good quality cocoa powder reducing the flour to 250g, and add 100g dark chocolate chips.
  • Vanilla and Cranberries: add 1 teaspoon of vanilla paste (or 1 tsp of vanilla essence) and 50g roughly chopped cranberries.
  • Cranberry and White Chocolate: add 50g roughly chopped cranberries and 75g roughly chopped white chocolate.
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24th September 2014 Helen

Since he retired a few years ago my Dad has taken up a few very handy hobbies – including keeping bees. He went through a rough patch where the queens kept escaping taking their tens of thousands of minions with them, but his last few years he seems to have turned on the charms and had no such problems with his ladies.  His crop of honey last year was a little more solid and cloudy than before (he reckons it’s down to the rape seed crops in the area) but tasty beyond belief.  The kids – particularly his number 1…

14th September 2014 Helen 2Comment

This is a review post of the Annabel Karmel cookbook Quick and Easy Weaning. Full details of the review are below. Time flies. Having turned six months, Woodie’s eyes are wandering away from my breasts (I mean how?) and he’s looking for grub.  He’s eyeballing our plates, chewing everything he can find and sitting proud on laps while leaning forward to grab anything and everything within reach. Last week he stuck his hand in his Daddy’s Chicken Korma, stuffed it in his mouth and laughed.  So it’s high time I listen to the child, dust off the plastic pots, surrender to the extra smelly…

3rd September 2014 Helen 14Comment

Chickpea rolls are a big favourite around here and make for a great family dinner or ideal party food.  They got a mention in my post on Spidey’s birthday picnic where they were a bit hit with the hungry mummies and daddies and even a few of the kids. These are really tasty and, I’d like to convince myself, deliciously healthy and brilliant if you’re looking to feed a crowd on a budget.  They can be eaten hot or cold, and are great heated up for a few minutes in the oven, or with a minute in the microwave, the next day. A…

31st July 2014 Helen 6Comment

There’s a time in life when you have to be honest with yourself. Today is that day for me. I have to admit that I did eat almost half of this Chocolate Chip Brioche, that the kids liked it but knew when to stop, that I may have gout, and that I’m definitely a glutton. But while we’re being honest I also have to admit the kettle is on for a cup of proper coffee, the baby is asleep, the kids are trashing the back garden and I’m about to have more. To my fellow bloggers, breast feeders (or beast…