The Great British Bake Off Gifts

The Great British Bake Off Gifts

I have had a good run from Mr Postman lately. One of these was an insight into the Great British Bake Off gift range currently available to buy at Debenhams. While the format for this show will almost certainly be different next year (something that we will all have to wait and see about) this is a range that is perfect for avid bakers of all ages. With fun touches such as a cute cake shaped kitchen timer and cake tins to personalise these are the sort of fun gifts that are perfect stocking fillers at Christmas (although I’m not too sure a cake tin will fit into many stockings). Who knows, it might also be a hint to your baking gift recipient to make some sort of cake or pie for your enjoyment? (A win win situation in my opinion).

dsc_0024

I was sent this lovely grey apron from the Debenhams range. I think it will be used in my kitchen to show who is boss! Although there’s no contest really as the last time Dane baked was about 12 months ago!

To shop the full range click here.

I was kindly sent this as a PR sample.

Advertisements

A little homeware update

A little homeware update

I supposed this post goes slightly hand in hand with the fact that it was my birthday yesterday. Perhaps I have become a slightly more “adultier” adult? Anyway, as D was already pretty well installed into our home when I moved in, but we’re slowly making updates to little things in the decor (next stop is a new bed for us, whoopee!)

Here is a few of my favourites in case anyone is interested.

  1. Le Creuset Cast Iron Casserole Dish

Le Creuset is one of my absolute favourite places to buy cookware from. We have a few things that I have picked up over the past few months. However, this one is particularly special as I saved up vouchers I got for various work awards in order to buy this and it took me months so I was delighted to finally get this. I chose the Marseille Blue version to tone in with things we have already.

If you’re balking at the thought of paying more for one of these babies consider that my parents have Le Creuset cast iron cookware from when they were first married over 30 years ago so it’s price per use is actually decent.

2. John Lewis Croft Collection Colander

Apart from the fact that this is ridiculously pretty this probably isn’t an exciting purchase. our colander was won in a raffle by my parents and needed replacing so I picked up this one as I couldn’t resist the floral pattern. I look forward to using it.

3. Cole and Mason Spice Carousel

As a keen cook I am loving my new spice carousel. This was a wonderful belated Christmas gift from my parents on Monday. We are both pretty taken with how it looks and I am enjoying being able to season our meals without having to delve into our cupboards for herbs and/or spices. Thanks parents!

4. Various pictures from On the Wall

On the wall is an independent shop on Boar Lane in Leeds which specialises in selling vintage prints, art prints and posters from cult and anime films. We have recently updated our bedroom (and have more to go into the kitchen and bedroom) with various framed pictures. This has given our bedroom such a refresh and it feels so much more ours now. Also, taking older pictures down has made everything feel more spacious and I feel like have made a stamp on our home as a couple more now. (Next post will include the print with the t-rex on it!)

5. Chicken egg basket (and heart fruit bowl), Matalan

Matalan has some great finds in its homeware section. I was really excited to find both of these. They both cost less that £10 too which was pretty cool for something I had been angling for for a while (the fruit bowl is not pictures as mine is currently housing a few sad looking apples and kiwis). I do prefer finding home things from a variety of places as it really feels more like your own home and not a direct copy of a catalogue.

6. Rose Gold Photo Frame and Mug, New look

I can’t actually find my exact mug on the New Look website but it must be said, New Look have some fantastic home finds currently. Whether you’re decorating your first university room or casually sneaking girlier kitchenware past your boyfriend, don’t forget New Look if you want to add a few feminine touches.

BBC Spring Good Food Show 2016

BBC Spring Good Food Show 2016

Look at these beautiful photos my friend Mrs E took when we went to the BBC Good Food Show last week. I kindly got given free tickets this year and we really made the most of our visit; starting early and taking in a number of interviews and demonstrations in the Supertheatre. I certainly recommend getting at the show earlier; we managed to get round most of the stalls while it was still relatively quiet with the Harrogate International Centre getting busier as it got closer to lunchtime.

I think the Good Food show in Harrogate is always a fun day out for foodies as it gives visitors an opportunity to try new dishes, see demonstrations for gadgets and explore new trends in cooking and drinking. This is the third time I have attended the show since living in Harrogate and I still walk out having learned a new skill and eager to try a new recipe. I think Mrs E and I both most enjoyed watching the Hairy Bikers who were hilarious and produced dishes that made me excited for my lunch despite having only just finished my breakfast.

The only real bad part of going to the Good Food Show is that I always get into trouble or bringing home kitchen gadgets (this year was no exception). Lets just say there will be a heart shaped cake appearing on this very blog at some point in the not too distant future. Now its just the question of convincing D that we really must have a set of Kitchen Aid Appliances, a vegetable box delivery and several cases of Prosecco.

Blueberry yogurt swirl brownies (dairy and gluten free!)

Blueberry yogurt swirl brownies (dairy and gluten free!)

Anyone who is a regular follower of this blog knows I periodically post another variation on brownies. What can I say? I like a good traybake and occasionally get a massive craving for brownies. Anyway, these came about while thinking of cheesecake brownies and wondering if I could make a swirl type brownie without using dairy products. Turns out it works pretty well and I managed to do it without using any wheat or gluten containing products. Perfect for treating your friend with the dietary requirements as you can still get all of the ingredients in your local supermarket.

DSC_0378

To make a batch of brownies you will need:

100g coconut oil

200g good quality dark chocolate

250g brown sugar

30g cocoa powder

4 large eggs

100g cornflour

2 tablespoons vanilla soy yogurt

1 teaspoon maple syrup

1 handful frozen blueberries

Preheat your oven to 180°C. Line a deep baking tin with baking paper or greaseproof paper. Using an electric whisk beat together your eggs and sugar until the mix leaves a trail on the surface. In a separate bowl melt your chocolate and coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl. Set this aside to cool and then slowly fold this into the egg mixture.

DSC_0371

DSC_0372

Sift in the flour and cocoa powder and fold this into the mix. Pour this into the lined baking tin.

DSC_0373

DSC_0374

Mix together the yogurt, blueberries and maple syrup in a small bowl. Swirl this over the chocolate mix, but down mix too thoroughly to create a fetching pattern.

DSC_0375

Bake for 35-40 minutes until a skewer comes out almost clean.

Share with your friends, especially the poor one who usually has to pass on all baked goods for dietary reasons.

Chicken and ham filo pie

Chicken and ham filo pie

There’s nothing more comforting on a colder day than a homemade pie. There’s just something about the hearty filling and crisp pastry which makes it a favourite in our household (and across Yorkshire). Filo pastry makes this slightly lighter and less calorific than your average pie without compromising on the pie. I had to bat D’s hands away when I was photographing this as he kept stealing pieces of filo pastry to eat. Chicken pies are also a great way to use up leftover cooked chicken and to use cheaper bits of meal, I tend to use boneless chicken thighs in pies are the meat doesn’t dry out during cooking.

To make a filo pie you will need:

Approx 6 sheets of filo pastry

20g butter

6-8 filleted chicken thighs, cut into small pieces

1-2 handfuls leftover chicken (optional)

A large handful of cooked ham

1 onion, diced

2 leeks, sliced

1 clove garlic, crushed

Half a head of brocoli

200ml chicken stock

1/2 glass white wine

2 sprigs rosemary

Salt and pepper

1 large teaspoon low fat crème fraîche

Fry your onion, garlic and leeks on a medium heat until soft. Add your chicken, salt and pepper and cook for about 5 minutes until the chicken starts to look pretty much cooked. Add the ham, stock, wine and rosemary and cook for a further 10 minutes on a low to medium heat. Cut your brocoli into small pieces and cook for about 2 minutes (too much longer and it will be squishy in the pie). Take the filling off the heat and stir through the crème fraîche.

DSC_0112

DSC_0114

During this time preheat your oven to 180°C. Put your pie filling into a pie dish. To top your pie brush a thin layer of butter over your filo pastry, then scrunch up the pastry so that it partially covers the pie. Repeat until the whole pie is covered.

DSC_0117

DSC_0118

Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes. Here is my pie baking in my brand new oven! (Major household appliance excitement!)

DSC_0119

Once the pastry looks crispy and golden remove from the oven and serve. This pie is extremely pretty and doesn’t take too long. Perfect for those nights when you want to make a bit of effort, but you also sort of want to sit in your slippers watching tv.

DSC_0121

DSC_0122

What’s your favourite kind of pie?

BBC Good Food Show Spring 2015

So the BBC Good Food Show returned to Harrogate once more and I was lucky enough to get press tickets for the event again (a massive thank you for that, we had a very welcome day off work and very fun day today). This year the show was even more popular than last year and there was an overwhelmingly large number of foodies of all ages gathered together to buy food, kitchen gadgets, watch cookery demonstrations and of course catch a glimpse of the legendary Mary Berry.

If you live in Harrogate (or around Yorkshire) and haven’t yet been to the event, you still have opportunity to attend the Sunday! I would really recommend going, even if you went last year as there are a whole host of new trade stands, as well as a few people I have seen before at various events. This is one event where you certainly don’t leave hungry whatever your dietary requirements. There was one lady selling gluten free pork pies, while another stand served vegan pastry items. I took my favourite Kiwi DC to the event with me and together we had opportunity to try a whole host of different foods. We also managed to catch an interview with the Hairy Bikers who are hilarious and knowledgable in equal measure. It was also lovely to see Si and Dave reunited; if my memory serves correctly Dave was at the show alone last year, so it was wonderful to see Si looking pretty healthy (and flirting a lot with the interviewer, which was highly amusing)

I think the excellent thing about going to the Good Food Show is how enthusiastic everyone is about cooking and food. Just by watching cookery demonstrations I feel like I gain lots of useful tips for cooking that I take away and use day to do. Even when I don’t exactly follow a recipe given to me I take inspiration from other chefs and cooks with years of training and experience. I also enjoyed meeting lots of lovely people, both working on the trade stands and attending the event who I talked to about the show, food and my blog. It was a real privilege to meet so many lovely people and to attend the event as a food blogger. The BBC Good Food site is a regular inspiration of mine and I regularly go on their website and read the magazine (both of which I highly recommend).

Lastly, do wear your comfiest shoes, there is a lot of walking around and standing around straining to see (especially if you’re 5ft3) and I was certainly glad to be wearing my trainers. I would also talk a sturdy shopping bag, poor DC had to carry my sausage rolls as I had put on my smallest cross body bag.

For more information about the BBC Good Food Show and Upcoming Shows visit here

I started a herb garden – proof that even if you’re an absolute beginner you can learn the basics

I start this post with a confession. I am the worst person with plants ever! When I was housesharing I forgot to water my flatmate’s spider plant while she was away for 2 weeks until 2 days before she returned home. Whenever I had to water my mother’s peas when she went away it would get dark and then I’d remember I’d neglected my duties. I do not possess a green fingernail, left alone green fingers.

DSC_0441Still, things change and our garden is looking far less neglected for having some flowers. I also started a herb garden. I go through so many fresh herbs cooking, my parents have a decent herb garden and its so much nicer and so useful just being able to take cuttings from outside.

DSC_0442I bought the beginnings of my herb garden already grown and repotted them, as you can be. I took the advice from my parents and D’s mum. Things like mint take over so keep them to separate pots. Currently I have chives, rosemary, thyme and oregano but I am hoping for mint and sage too.

DSC_0443As you can see I also took advantage of the availability of bedding plants and I got mostly violas and French marigolds. I admit this was partially as they were cheapest (there’s no point buying the expensive stuff when there’s no guarantee I won’t kill things). To be honest our garden already looks better – despite the neglected bits with the flowers and leaves brightening stuff up.

DSC_0444DSC_0445I also planted some sunflowers and tomatoes using those handy kits (aimed at children) that you can find in most supermarkets. Following the instructions maybe I can hope for a tomato or two at some point?

DSC_0440Gardening in the sun is actually pretty soothing and I sort of realised through doing it, it’s not really something to be avoided or afraid of. Once you have a few things planted it makes everything look so much prettier and cared for. Plus, once the hard part is done most of the work is watering and a bit of weeding. I look forward to sitting outside with D holding a nice glass of wine over the summer.

Fingers crossed I don’t forget to water everything!