Featured on Nandos UK Instagram Feed!

How cool is this!

I posted a pic on Instagram a few weeks ago, of my Nandos meal, and they contacted me to ask if I’d mind them sharing the image, with full credit to me!

I was very chuffed! Here it is on @nandosuk !

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For more foodie pics, you can follow me on Instagram too!

@phantom_giggler

It’s That Christmas Cookie Time of Year!

Around this time last year I baked my annual cookies… and it is no different this year!

(Recipe here if you are interested!)

I like to make them for the family, ande take some into school too as my Christmas gift to my colleagues! They tend to go down pretty well!

This year I also attempted to dip some in both Milk and White chocolate!

They didn’t come out too bad, did they? 🙂

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Cup of tea anyone?

Christmas Cooking! Nutella Tree

I love checking out all the videos that pop up on my Facebook page, especially the ones to do with food!

Last week the same particular item popped up a couple of times, different videos but the same treat… Nutella Christmas Trees!

Well, it would be rude not to try that, especially during this most festive of times!

So I headed on out and bought me some Puff Pastry. I had the Nutella at home, as did I have icing sugar, and egg for the egg wash!

Here is my attempt!

I was pretty impressed!

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And it didn’t last long either!

The kids loved it too!

There was quite a bit of excess pastry left, after cutting the triangular shape out so I made some chocolate filled croissants too! (So good for my diet… not!)

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Unfortunately Lil Princess and Hubby Dearest were hit by a tummy bug last night so I had very little sleep. Still, I figured that I deserved a naughty breakfast after being up half the night, washing sheets, changing sheets and mopping sweaty brows!

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Hope you get a chance to have a try, the end results of both were delicious! It would make a great sharing centrepiece for Christmas day!

I may even experiment with a savoury version one day!

Disastrous Cupcakes, But Gorgeous Nails!

On Thursday, I left school with a few ideas. My ideas are not always good, but still…

The first was to get my nails done. I opted for some chrome talons, to brighten my day…

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Fingers and tootsies done, I headed off to pick the children up from my in-laws. We had the Macmillan Coffee Morning the next day, and a cake sale, for charity, so I thought why not bake a batch or two of cupcakes for school!

Off we trotted to the supermarket to get the right ingredients, me tapping my new, shiny nails everywhere! (Love them!)

And the baking started in earnest. Lil Princess was eager to help so she took hold of the electric whisk and we got beating…

The rise was amazing… during the first 5 minutes, then they started to dip…

I ended up with two trays of sweet Yorkshire puddings!

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In all my time baking, never have I had that happen to me! I was devastated! And i had even got the buttercream icing ready to pipe too!

So frustrated was I that I anger-iced the cakes… and after that, there was no way I could take them anywhere to sell!

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Though Hubby Dearest and the kids assured me they were beautifully edible, if a tad crisp around the edges!

What was the point of rushing around the supermarket, for them!?

Sigh! Possible overbeating, I was informed by a friend who is a baker!

Still, at least my nails look good….

Carrot Cake Anyone?

Well, unless you have been sleeping under a rock the last few days, you will know that my Lil Man’s birthday was a few days ago, and he wasn’t with us.  Well, it’s been a few years since I actually baked a cake for him, as time has often been short, but this year, I wanted to do the right thing… and what did he want? No Spidey cakes or Starwars cakes for him this time. Rather a grown up Carrot cake was what he requested!

This is a pretty good recipe that I had found in a newspaper, and had made a few years ago, for my sister-in-law’s birthday initially. It is actually for a 3-tier cake, but that was huge!

This time, I still made the  3 tiers, but used 2 for his cake, and iced the third single one to take into work for my team!

Here are a couple of photos of the 3 tier version (apologies, the photos were a bit rubbish!) and the single one from this time round!

Now, I would be cruel if I left you with drool hanging, and didn’t share the recipe.. I am not that awful, so here it is!

The Best Carrot Cake Ever!

Ingredients

525ml vegetable oil
9 eggs
525g soft dark brown sugar
420g grated carrots
Grated zest of 3 large oranges
525g self-raising flour
Pinch of salt
1tbsp bicarbonate of soda
1 ½ tbsp. mixed spice
Seeds of one vanilla pod
2 drops vanilla extract
200g icing sugar
40g butter, cubed
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
115g low fat cream cheese, chilled
Handful of pecans or walnuts, toasted to decorate

Equipment

3 x 9inch round baking tins

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius/350 degrees Fahrenheit/Gas Mark 4.
  2. Prepare tins by oiling the insides and lining with baking paper.
  3. Put the oil, eggs, sugar, grated carrots and orange zest into a large bowl and mix with a wooden spoon. The mixture is a lot, you may need to do this in batches.
  4. Mix the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda and mixed spice, then sift into the bowl.
  5. Add the vanilla seeds and lightly mix everything together until the mixture is uniform, but still soft and runny.
  6. Ladle into tins and bake for 40-45 minutes.
  7. The cakes are ready when the sponge springs back up if pushed lightly. A skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean.
  8. Leave to cool for 5 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack, and peel off the baking paper.

For the cream cheese frosting

  1. Mix the icing sugar, butter, lemon zest and vanilla extract in a bowl then whisk well.
  2. Stir in the cream cheese. If the mixture looks runny then put in the fridge for 10 minutes to harden.
  3. When the cakes are cool, take two of them and slice off the domed tops, leaving them flat. Don’t slice the top off the third cake.
  4. Put a dollop of frosting in the middle of a serving plate to stop the cake from sliding.
  5. Take one of the flattened cakes and place it on top. Then pop a big spoonful of frosting and spread it all over, leaving a 2.5cm/1inch gap around the edge.
  6. Place the second flattened cake on top, then repeat.
  7. Put the unsliced cake on top then spread the frosting and decorate.
  8. ENJOY!!!

It was delicious, moist and carroty, with a hint of spice to warm things up! I definitely recommend it! If you get a chance, make it, and let me know what you think!

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