Tag Archives: recipe

Chocolate Courgette Muffins

I am sure most of you have heard of carrot cake, so I wanted to see what other vegetables could be incorporated into baking. In particular I wanted to focus on a vegetable that neither of the boys would agree to eat, if they saw it on their plate. I decided on courgette and knew it needed to be well hidden, to get past the point of them actually eating. Therefore a type of chocolate cake was the answer.

Chocolate Courgette Muffins

Chocolate Courgette Muffins

Ingredients (makes 12)

100g soft brown sugar
50ml vegetable oil
160g self raising flour
40g cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 large eggs
1 courgette (approx 200g)
few drops of vanilla essence

Method

Preheat fan oven to 180 degree C.
Place muffin cases in muffin baking tray.
Grate the courgette.
Add sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla essence to mixing bowl and beat together.
Mix in the grated courgette.
Sieve in the flour.
Add cocoa, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.
Fold in all these dry ingredients.
Spoon mixture into muffin cases.
Bake on middle shelf of preheated oven for about 20 minutes, until well risen and springy to the touch.
Cool on cooling rack.
Serve and enjoy.

Chocolate Courgette Muffins

So then I offered the “chocolate” muffins to the boys, which were initially eagerly accepted. And waited for the verdict on the experiment. Son1 asked if he could have a second muffin straightaway but son2 only ate half his muffin. Perhaps it needed more sugar to be disguised for son2. He could only say he didn’t like it, but not why.

I then told son1 there was a mystery ingredient and asked if he could guess it. He failed to guess and didn’t believe me when I told him it was courgette. I had to show him the photos to convince him. But I’m glad to say he continued to enjoy the muffins. And I thought they were very tasty too.

I’d love to hear your ideas for hiding secret vegetables in other dishes? I’m thinking chocolate might be a good cover for either beetroot or avocado too.

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An energy boost

I have just started a new job and there is lots to learn during the training period, which I find can be quite exhausting. Especially as I have to juggle it with family commitments.  Plus it is a shift role, so a mixture of early starts, late finishes plus night shifts again, which I’ve recently had a few months break from. So I was very pleased to be offered a free energy boosting goody pack from Pharmaton.

Energy boosting goodies

I received the following products.
75ml thisworks deep sleep pillow spray
Neom Energy Burst On the Go Mist
50g Nutriseed raw Maca powder
Boots £10 gift card (to purchase Pharmaton Vitality Capsules)

Pharmaton Vitality Capsules

So on my next shopping trip, I popped into Boots to buy a bottle of the Pharmaton Vitality Capsules. This contained 30 capsules, currently at an RRP of £9.49, for which the recommended dose is one tablet daily. I decided to take the full packet before telling you what I thought of them. The packet indicates that they are clinically proven against tiredness and lack of energy. Would I find that so?

The first 2 days didn’t go too well with me getting a bad headache overnight. The packet does warn that headaches may be a common side effect. But after that, things improved and although it is difficult to say with any certainty, I feel that overall I was probably more energised. During week 4, I did my first night shifts in several months, and I felt that my body adjusted back better afterwards.

Pharmaton Vitality Capsules

Pharmaton Vitality Capsules contain a special blend of vitamins and minerals, including the unique G115 ginseng extract. The idea is that they work with your body’s natural metabolism to relieve fatigue and restore vitality, and also help keep you stay mentally and physically alert. They can be taken every day for up to 12 weeks. (For the relief of temporary periods of fatigue. Always read the label).

And of course I tried out the other goodies too.

thisworks deep sleep pillow spray

The pillow spray is great. You just spray it on your pillow and the top end of your duvet. Then smell the delightful fragrance of lavender, vetivert and wild camomile as you drift off. Lavender is one of my favourite scents so this was perfect for me.

Neom Energy Burst On the Go Mist

The Neom mist has a lovely fragrance too and is 100% natural, but it comes in a very tiny bottle. I can’t see the size details on the packaging, but I’m guessing 5ml, so it won’t last me long. I’ve already used over half of it. Basically you spritz it above you or on your wrists, then supposedly breathe in through your nose for a count of 7 and out through your mouth for a count of 11. However I found that I couldn’t breathe for anything like this length, so I’m just doing it as slow as I can manage.

And finally the organic maca powder. I had never heard of maca, so I had to do some research. I found that the Incas have been cultivating it for 1000s of years in the high Peruvian Andes, boosting their energy at such a high altitude. More details on Wikipedia. The packet says to add 1-2 teaspoons to your smoothies, shakes, juices and healthy bakes. Well I decided to use it in my not quite so healthy chocolate cookie recipe.

Double choc chip cookies with maca

Double Choc Chip Cookies

Ingredients (makes about 13)

200g butter
200g plain flour
50g cocoa
1 heaped teasp maca powder
120g soft brown sugar
1 egg
few drops vanilla essence
1 tbsp milk
100g chocolate chips

Method

Preheat fan oven to 170 degree C.
Grease 2 baking trays.
Cream together the butter and sugar.
Beat in the egg.
Add the vanilla essence.
Sieve in the cocoa.
Add the maca powder.
Sieve in the flour.
Mix together.
Mix in the chocolate chips.
Mix in milk if mixture is too stiff.
Spoon balls of mixture onto the baking trays.
Bake in pre-heated oven for about 12 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack.
Serve and enjoy.

Double choc chip cookies with maca

Delicious. Everyone gave these the thumbs up.


And here are some more simple tips to help you make the most of your day and get your energy levels back.

  1. Stay Hydrated

It seems obvious but make sure you are drinking plenty of water throughout the day. According to the Natural Hydration Council, dehydration can reduce the ability to concentrate and impact cognitive and physical performance. NHS choices recommend that you drink at least 1.2 litres of fluid a day which is roughly 6-8 glasses of water. The best way to remind yourself is to keep a glass or bottle on your desk and set yourself a target amount to drink by the end of the day.

  1. Eat right

Make sure that you eat the right foods at the right time. It is tempting to reach for high fat, high sugar products when you are tired but these will leave your energy levels crashing, making you feel irritable and still hungry. Keep a pot of nuts such as almonds or cashews at your desk for when you need an energy boost.

  1. Get a good sleep

According to the national Sleep Council, your bedroom should not be an extension of the house. So don’t use the bedroom to eat, watch TV, work or talk in – the bedroom should be used for sleeping. Plan a consistent sleeping schedule by trying to get the same amount of sleep every night and at similar times. Move all screens out of the bedroom and try to avoid staring a bright screen an hour before bed, as the light keeps your brain awake leaving you struggling to drift off.

  1. Move it

If you feel your concentration failing, don’t reach for another coffee or sugary snack – get moving! Even low intensity exercise like a brisk walk around the block at lunch can help reduce the feeling of fatigue.

I’d be interested to hear your top energy boosting tips.

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Disclosure. This post includes a review of products I was sent for free. All opinions are my own.

Marble Cake

When one of my regular readers recently let me know that she was trying out my chocolate cake recipe, it got me thinking that it was time to try out something new too. And since I sometimes end up buying a marble cake at Lidl, I decided that I would try to bake one, something I’ve never tried before.

Marble Cake

Marble Cake

Ingredients

175g self raising flour
175g butter
175g golden caster sugar
3 eggs
1 tbsp baking powder
3 tbsp cocoa
vanilla essence
3 tbsp milk

Method

Preheat fan oven to 160 degree C.
Line a loaf tin.
Cream together the butter and sugar.
Beat in the eggs.
Add the vanilla essence.
Sieve and mix in the flour and baking powder.
Divide mixture between 2 bowls.
Mix cocoa into one bowl.
Mix milk into same bowl.
Spoon alternate mixtures into the tin.
Bake in pre-heated oven for about 50 – 60 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack.
Cut into slices.
Serve and enjoy.

Marble Cake

It looked and tasted delicious. I love the swirly way it looks. No wonder it is named marble cake. Just like the pattern of a glass marble.

Marble Cake

Marble Cake

I’d love to hear what cakes you enjoy baking?

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Oreo marshmallow fingers

Last month I took part in the Britmums Oreo Cookie Challenge and was delighted to be one of the winners. Taking part inspired me to try to come up with an Oreo recipe, especially aimed at son2 who is huge Oreo fan.

Oreo marshmallow fingers

Oreo marshmallow fingers

Ingredients (makes about 7)

25g butter
1 packet of Original Oreos
100g mini marshmallows

Method

Tip the Oreos into a large freezer bag.
Crush the Oreos with a rolling pin.
Gently melt the butter in a large pan.
Add the marshmallows and stir until melted.
Stir in the crushed Oreos.
Spoon the mixture into a loaf mould, pressing well into the corners.
Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
Remove from mould and cut into fingers.
Serve and enjoy.

Oreo marshmallow fingers

Son2 was very pleased with these, but with hindsight, it would have been better to bake a double batch, as they were all gone too quickly.

I’d love to hear your ideas for Oreo recipes.

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Bulk cooking chicken

I sometimes find it makes sense to buy a larger volume of meat and bulk cook two meals at the same time. This is what I did recently with chicken thighs. I cooked pesto chicken and potato at the same time as a chicken casserole. So no cooking required the next day.

Chicken Casserole with Cheesy Dumplings

Chicken Casserole with Cheesy Dumplings

Chicken Casserole with cheesy dumplings

Ingredients (serves 4)

4 chicken thighs
2tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp olive oil
350g jar of pasta sauce
100g self raising flour
50g cheese
50g suet
pinch of salt
5tbsp cold water

Method

Preheat fan oven to 180 degree C.
Spread the 2tbsp plain flour across a chopping board.
Place the chicken on the board and turn several times to coat in the flour.
Heat the oil gently in a large ovenproof casserole pot on the hob.
Add the chicken and brown slightly for about 5 minutes, turning halfway.
Pour over the sauce.
Place lid on casserole pot.
Put the casserole pot on middle shelf of preheated oven and cook for about 45 minutes.
Meanwhile grate the cheese.
Mix, flour, salt, suet and grated cheese in a bowl.
Add the cold water and mix to a dough.
Form into 8 dumpling balls.
Remove lid from casserole pot.
Place dumplings on top of casserole and return to oven for a further 20 minutes.
Serve and enjoy.

Chicken Casserole with Cheesy Dumplings


Pesto chicken and potato

Pesto chicken and potato

Pesto Chicken and Potato

Ingredients (serves 4)

4 – 6 chicken thighs (depending on size)
2tbsp plain flour
700g potatoes
4 small onions
50g basil
1 clove of garlic
30g pine nuts
30g parmesan
3 tbsp olive oil

Method

Preheat fan oven to 180 degree C.
Grate the parmesan.
Freshly pick the basil and wash leaves.
Place basil, garlic, pine nuts, grated parmesan and 2 tbsp oil in blender.
Blend pesto for a couple of minutes, until happy with texture.
Add extra oil if desired.
Peel and chop the potatoes.
Peel and top and tail the onions.
Spread the 2tbsp plain flour across a chopping board.
Place the chicken on the board and turn several times to coat in the flour.
Heat 1 tbsp oil gently in a deep baking tray on the hob.
Add the chicken and brown slightly for about 5 minutes, turning halfway.
Spoon pesto generously onto the chicken.
Add the potatoes and onions.
Turn a few times to coat with oil.
Spoon any remaining pesto over the potatoes and onions.
Cook on top shelf of preheated oven for about 50-60 minutes.
Serve and enjoy.

Pesto chicken and potato

I only used 2 onions in this dish, as the boys won’t eat onions, but I recommend 1 small onion per person.

I’d love to hear what food you bulk cook.

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Comfort Food by Julia Bettelheim

I have received a free e-copy of the recipe book Comfort Food by Julia Bettelheim to review.

Comfort Food by Julia Bettelheim

 

Here is the book blurb.

There’s nothing quite like Comfort Food to put a smile on your face and a feeling of contentment in your stomach. Chef Julia Bettelheim is passionate about feeding people; from the students in her university kitchen to guests and family at home. From recipes that are as simple as a sandwich to as technical as a fruit cake, she knows the importance of creating delicious meals that are full of flavour and which always have budget in mind. Her recipes include easy to make classics and mouth-watering family favourites, using easy to find products that are fresh and economical. Fun, fast, indulgent and nurturing, there’s a time and a place for Comfort Food in every kitchen.

I’ve always enjoyed browsing through recipe books, although I did reluctantly reduce my own collection which filled several shelves in the bookcase down to about one shelf to make more space for the boys’ books a few years back. So I was particularly looking forward to reading this book and trying my hand out at cooking some of the recipes. I’m hoping that e-recipe books may be the way forward for me.

Just like most recipe books it is sub-divided into chapters, starting with soups. There are some very tasty sounding treats, but equally a few that I would prefer to avoid like Scottish Rolls. This was one of the two recipes that I was asked to make, but I declined as it includes black pudding, something I hate. Maybe comfort food to some, but not for me. This particular recipe was in the England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales chapter which I laughed to see even included a Deep Fried Mars Bar.

However it was a delight to see tasty sandwiches included. Absolutely comfort food, but something not usually encompassed in a recipe book. And I loved reading the introduction where it mentioned how Julia started with index cards as a teenager. I’ve lost most of my handwritten childhood recipes, but I do still have one scrapbook that I used to paste in recipes from magazines, so I could really relate to that.

Comfort Food is available on Amazon, currently priced at £9.99 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. A nice recipe book, so long as you aren’t too bothered about the inconsistencies in units, which did bug me a bit. I’ve got my eye on trying the caramel crumble next.

Easy to navigate around the e-version to any recipe with a single click from the index. Nice photos although I would have preferred every recipe to have a picture.



I was asked to test out the Easy Biscuits recipe.

Easy Biscuits

Easy Biscuits

These biscuits are very easy to make; the only time-consuming bit is rolling the balls onto the sheet pan. The biscuits themselves are very plain, but you can let your imagination get the better of you.

Ingredients
500g butter
1 cup sugar
1 tin sweetened condensed milk
5 cups self-raising flour
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Cream together butter and sugar, then beat in the milk and vanilla. Stir through the flour until it is all mixed in. Roll tablespoonfuls onto a sheet pan and bake at 170 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until just golden. Using a small 8 oz ice cream scoop also works if you prefer large biscuits.

At this point you can divide the mixture into portions and add some goodies to each portion, for example:

  • 50g candy coloured chocolate
  • ½ cup white chocolate bits and ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup choc raisins
  • ½ cup milk choc bits

Store biscuits in an airtight container and they stay fresh for about a week.

Easy biscuits

With two blocks of butter, this certainly made a lot of biscuits. Took me a while getting all batches through the oven. And it really hit the spot with all the family, so I’ll definitely be baking this again. I chose to do four variants – plain, chocolate chip, honeycomb and currants using half a cup for each addition. Although you shouldn’t call the plain that in my opinion, as they were so sweet with both sugar and the condensed milk, especially compared to how I often try to reduce sugar content in baking.

I wasn’t quite sure what the recipe meant by rolling tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheet, so I just pushed the mixture off the tablespoon, but otherwise lives up to its name of easy biscuits. Also the recipe needs to be proof-read, as currently it reads that the additional ingredients should be added after baking. I assumed that they were to be added before cooking, not as decoration.

However I did find it particularly irritating that there was no consistency over the units used in the recipe – some ingredients in grams and some in cups. I feel it should have been one or the other. Personally I try to avoid recipes using cups, as I never know what size cup to choose, so mine may have then been wrong against the amount of butter. Also it would be more helpful if it indicated what size tin of milk to use. There was only one size at my supermarket, but is that the case everywhere?

It wasn’t just this recipe that had multiple units. It was fairly common throughout the book. Also some recipes had a combination of ounces and cups, introducing yet another unit. So if there is a reprint, I would recommend standardising the units used throughout. Otherwise define the size of a cup either at the start or end of the book.


About the author

Growing up in Wellington, New Zealand, British born Julia Bettelheim enjoyed an early start in the catering industry and as a teenager took lessons from a private chef. Her family then moved to Melbourne, Australia where she lived for the next twenty-two years and worked as a tupperware sales representative travelling the city providing cookery demonstrations and sharing recipes that were suitable for storing. After her divorce in 2008, Julia moved back to England where she now lives in Chatham, Kent and works as a chef in the kitchen of the cafe at UCL in London.


I’m participating in the blogtour. Do take time to browse round some of the other posts to see what tasty recipes they have tried.

Comfort Food by Julia Bettelheim

I’d love to hear what dishes are your comfort food?

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MamaMummyMum

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

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Sausage Plait

This recipe is a little bit more interesting than just using your sausagemeat to make sausage rolls.

Sausage Plait

Sausage Plait

Ingredients (serves 4)

375g puff pastry
500g sausage meat

Method

Preheat fan oven to 180 degree C.
Grease a baking tray.
Roll out pastry.
Lift pastry over the baking tray.
Place sausage meat onto the pastry and press into a flat rectangular shape.
Carefully cut pastry overhang into attached strips.
Plait the strips over the top of sausagement.
Bake on middle shelf of oven for 30 – 40 minutes until golden.
Cut into slices.
Serve with your choice of potatoes and vegetables.
Enjoy.

Sausage Plait


And as an accompaniment, I decided to try a variant on cheesy potatoes using yoghurt.

Yoghurt potatoes

Cheesy yoghurt potatoes

Ingredients (serves 4)

750g potatoes
250g yoghurt
100g cheddar cheese
salt and pepper

Method

Preheat fan oven to 180 degree C.
Peel and slice the potatoes.
Grate the cheese.
Place a layer of sliced potatoes in the bottom of an ovenproof dish.
Cover with yoghurt and grated cheese.
Repeat layers until all ingredients are in the dish, ending with a cheese layer.
Season with salt and pepper.
Bake on top shelf of oven for about 45 – 50 minutes, until potato has softened.
Serve as a side dish.
Enjoy.

Yoghurt potatoes

The sausage meat plait was very popular but mixed reactions to the potatoes. Two of us liked it and two weren’t so convinced.

I’d love to hear your recipes for potatoes or sausage meat.

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Tuppenny Rice and Treacle by Doris Coates

I have received a free e-copy of the book Tuppenny Rice and Treacle: Cottage Housekeeping 1900-1920 by Doris E Coates to review.

Tuppenny Rice and Treacle by Doris Coates

Here is the book blurb.

Feeding a family on a limited budget is always a challenge. Yet even with a budget as low as ten shillings (50p) a week in the early part of the twentieth century, it is remarkable how interesting and varied the menu could be.

This delightful book draws on recipes compiled by Doris’s mother in Derbyshire and mother-in-law in Cumberland, and contains detailed records of weekly expenditure.

It includes numerous recipes for nutritious and filling meals for working men and growing families, taking full advantage of what was available – hearty meat dishes, with lots of root vegetables, puddings and dumplings to fill them out, cakes and buns, sweets and jams, and beverages to go with them (some highly alcoholic!). The recipes work just as well now as then.

It is also full of household and cleaning hints and products, illustrating immense pride in the home, as well as medicines, lotions and potions that would ‘kill or cure’.

This book originally published in 1975, is mainly based on the recipes and notebooks of both Doris’s mother Margaret Dawson and mother-in-law Jane Coates from the period 1900 – 1920. This new edition includes additional material sourced by Doris’s son Richard Coates.

The notebooks would have included household accounts and money saving tips. And the recipes weren’t all food, they also encompassed how to make your own medicines and cleaning materials. It was very difficult for Margaret to balance the £1 budget and if she overspent one fortnight, she would have to cut back the following, as there was a family horror of debt. She supplemented the income with paying guests, teas for ramblers and piecework for the shoe factory, although this only earned 9d per dozen.

However her accounts for several years show no record of purchase of boots, shoes, major items of clothing or toiletries. Items like tinned fruit were beyond their means, but however short of money, she still had to fill the store cupboard for the winter, so there are recipes for preserves, pickles and bottled fruit. All such a fascinating insight.

Then recipes for cheap cuts of meat – rook pie for instance. Followed by substantial filling puddings, some were regional specialities like Coniston Pudding and Felixstowe Tart. And the interesting names of others like High Church Pudding and Duchess of Sutherland Pudding. Of course not missing out teatime favourites, again many are regional like Northumberland Griddle Cakes and Sledmere Gingerbread.

And I loved the fact that the teetotal family were of the opinion that potent homemade drinks were innocuous, so we see the likes of Nettle Beer and Cowslip Wine.

At least the author warns us not to try the cough mixture recipes, as I see ingredients like laudanum. And I love the household tips like how to test the heat of the oven.

Tuppenny Rice and Treacle is available on Amazon, currently priced at £11.95 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format or hardback. I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. A wonderful glimpse into the early twentieth century household accounts, with plenty of recipes to browse.


And I’ve been busy trying out the Bible Cake recipe. This is not just a recipe, but a puzzle too, with the ingredients all being listed as Bible references.

Bible cake

Bible Cake

This ‘puzzle recipe’ has been known in the North of England at least from the turn of the century.

  1. ½ lb Judges 5, verse 25 (last clause)
  2. ½ lb Jeremiah 6, verse 203. 1 tbsp 1 Samuel 14, verse 25
  3. 3 of Jeremiah 17, verse 11
  4. ½ lb 1 Samuel 30, verse 12
  5. ½ lb Nahum 3, verse 12 (chopped)
  6. 2 oz Numbers 17, verse 8 (blanched and chopped)
  7. 1 lb 1 Kings 4, verse 22
  8. season to taste with 2 Chronicles 9, verse 9
  9. a pinch of Leviticus 2, verse 13
  10. 1 tsp Amos 4, verse 5
  11. 1 tbsp Judges 4, verse 19

Note: leaven means baking powder.

Beat Nos 1, 2 and 3 to a cream; add 4 one at a time, still beating; then 5, 6 and 7, and beat again; add 8, 9, 10 and 11 having previously mixed them, and lastly No 12. Bake in a slow oven for one and a half hours.

Bible cake

Here is the solution to the puzzle:

  1. She brought forth butter in a lordly dish – ½ lb butter
  2. The sweet cane from a far country (sugar) – ½ lb sugar
  3. There was honey upon the ground – 1 tbsp honey
  4. As the partridge sitteth on eggs and hatcheth them not – 3 eggs
  5. And they gave him a piece of cake of figs, and two clusters of raisins – ½ lb raisins
  6. All thy strongholds shall be like fig trees with first-ripe figs – ½ lb figs (chopped)
  7. The rod of Aaron… yielded almonds – 2 oz almonds (chopped)
  8. Soloman’s provision was… thirty measures of fine flour – 1 lb flour
  9. Spices in great abundance – Season with spices to taste
  10. Thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt – Pinch salt
  11. A sacrifice with leaven (yeast) – 1 tsp baking powder
  12. And she opened a bottle of milk – 3 tbsp milk

This made a very large quantity of mixture, so I had to split it across 2 tins, as I didn’t have a large enough tin. I followed the quantities stipulated exactly and was quite surprised how stiff the mixture was for a cake, more like the consistency of rock buns. Also I had to guess what temperature a slow oven would be. I opted for 160 degree in my fan oven but with hindsight, this may have been too high. I ended up covering the cakes with greaseproof paper after 45 minutes to avoid the outside over-cooking and took them out of the oven at 65 minutes compared to the expected 90 minutes.

However the resulting cakes were delicious. But surely ingredients like figs would have been difficult to source in Margaret’s time, so I imagine this would have been a cake for a special occasion in those days.

Bible cake


About the Authors

Born in Eyam in the Peak District of Derbyshire, Doris E. Coates achieved a successful and varied career as a teacher in both Derbyshire and later in Norfolk. Along with her husband George, she was an active member of her community promoting local groups, enjoyed singing in the local choir and, after retirement, turned her talents to writing. Her son, Richard Coates, now based in Bath enjoyed a happy childhood and grew up appreciating the importance of a strong education. After gaining a scholarship at Oxford University he went on to read Politics, Philosophy and Economics. Later as a management consultant he worked for international companies including Audi, British Airways and Mars in both the UK and oversees and continues to sit on the board of Davos Consultancy. Now retired, and in memory of his mother, Richard has decided to republish her books with fascinating new additions after researching further into his family history.


I’m kicking off the book tour and you may like to check out some of the other blog stops on the tour. I’ll be back on January 29th with my review of Tunes on a Penny Whistle.

Tunes on a Penny Whistle by Doris Coates

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MamaMummyMum

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

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When is a Gingerbread Man, not a Gingerbread Man?

When it is a Reindeer!

Now I can’t take the credit for this idea as I’ve seen multiple images on the internet of a gingerbread man cutter being used upside down to create reindeer biscuits. I thought this was a great idea that my boys would love, so I decided to give it a try. I made my standard gingerbread recipe and then decorated them all as Rudolph.

Reindeer gingerbread biscuits

Reindeer Gingerbread Biscuits

Ingredients (makes about 30 biscuits)

350g plain flour
1 teasp bicarbonate of soda
2 teasp ginger
1/2 teasp cinnamon
125g butter
100g soft brown sugar
3 tbsp golden syrup

Black writing icing
Few drops of red food colouring
50g ready to roll white icing

Method

Preheat fan oven to 180 deg C.
Grease and line baking sheets with greaseproof paper.
Combine the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon in a mixing bowl.
Melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a saucepan over a low heat, stirring.
Add the dry ingredients.
Mix to form a stiff dough.
Roll a ball of dough to 5mm thickness, then use gingerbread man cutter to cut out biscuits.
Place on the lined baking sheets.
Continue to cut out until all dough used. (Number will vary according to size of your cutter).
Bake the biscuits in the oven for about 12 minutes, or until lightly golden.
Leave to cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes and then move to a wire rack.
Once cool, they can be decorated.
Use the writing icing to give each reindeer biscuit 2 eyes.
Place ready to roll icing in a small bowl.
Use your hands to squeeze it to make malleable.
Add enough food colouring to mix to a red ball.
Form into small balls, approx 1cm wide.
Then press an icing ball onto each reindeer for the nose.
Serve and enjoy.

Reindeer gingerbread men

Son2 said that only one should have had a red nose and that I should have made Dasher, Prancer, Dancer, Cupid, Comet, Donner, Vixen and Blitzen too. However we all agreed they were a tasty seasonal Christmas treat.

I’d love to hear what Christmas goodies you enjoy baking or eating?

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Lemon Bars

My goto recipe for lemons when baking is always a lemon drizzle cake. So I decided it was time to try something different.

lemon bars

Lemon Bars

Ingredients (makes 12)

125g plain flour
100g butter
50g icing sugar
2 eggs
1 lemon
200g granulated sugar
2 tbsp plain flour
icing sugar to decorate

Method

Preheat fan oven to 170 degree C.
Grease a 20cm square baking tin.
Mix the 125g flour, butter and icing sugar together, to form a dough.
Press dough into tin and bake for about 20 minutes until starting to turn golden.
Meanwhile grate the zest of the lemon and squeeze the juice.
Tip zest and juice into a mixing bowl.
Add eggs, granulated sugar and 2 tbsp flour.
Beat together.
Pour over hot base and return to oven for about 25 minutes until set and golden.
Cool on a wire rack.
Dust the top with icing sugar.
Cut into slices.
Serve and enjoy.

lemon bars

lemon bars

Delicious. Now to find a few more tasty lemon recipes. I’d love to hear what you bake using lemon?

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