There are two ingredients which I have limited success with when baking – yeast and gelatine. When using yeast I simply don’t have the patience for the all the waiting around and gelatine is just very hit and miss with me especially if I’m adding it to a cold mixture. I had decided to make a raspberry cheesecake last week and went for the more traditional recipe which included gelatine. I spent a small fortune on the ingredients and set about creating my masterpiece. Well not quite the masterpiece I had hoped for – I ended up with a bowl of stringy, gelatinous goo. Straight in the bin it went.
A couple of days later my daughter had a day off school so I thought I’d use one of my tried and tested ‘cheat’ recipes for a foolproof baking session with her. Instead of the gelatine we used flavoured jelly cubes and it was a resounding success. So much easier and more flavourful too. So this easy no bake raspberry cheesecake might not be very authentic but it is very, very tasty.
Autumn is here and what’s not to love. Lovely sunny days, crisp fresh evenings, the gorgeous colours all around us and this rich, warming Burgundy chicken casserole served with a dollop of buttery mash and a glass of red wine.
This rather delectable Chicken Casserole ticks all the boxes for a warm and comforting Autumnal meal. I could go on and on about the gorgeous aroma, the delicious sauce and the juicy, fall off the bone chicken but it’s probably much easier to just say that it’s been a firm family favourite for at least the past 20 years and never fails to please.
I have to admit that carrot cake is not my favourite cake. That is not to say that I would ever refuse a slice if it was offered to me but it just would not be top of my list of favourite cakes. It is, however, my husband’s favourite cake. So with Father’s Day fast approaching I suggested to my daughter that we make a carrot cake as a surprise for her Dad. She was not impressed with the idea as her favourite would be a chocolate cake. After much persuasion she finally agreed and we decided we would make it on the Saturday. Saturday morning arrived and we were sitting round the table having breakfast when my daughter asked her Dad, “Dad, why do you have to like carrot cake?” That was it – the secret was out and my daughter still doesn’t understand how her Dad guessed he was getting a carrot cake for Father’s Day because she “never actually told him he was getting carrot cake.”
It was a very easy cake to make and went down a treat with our afternoon tea. It definitely gets better after a day or two so keep that in mind if you are going to make it.
I definitely go through phases with my cocktails. At the moment my absolute favourite has to be the Lemon Drop Martini.
Slightly sour, slightly sweet and very, very drinkable.
I normally use Absolut Citron Vodka but if I don’t have any then normal Vodka works just as well – just add the lemon zest to the cocktail shaker with the other ingredients to extract some of those lovely lemon oils for added flavour.
Strain into a chilled glass and decorate with a twist of lemon zest.
To make your own sugar syrup - add 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water to a pan. Bring to the boil, stirring all the time to dissolve the sugar. As soon as the sugar has dissolved, remove from the heat and leave to cool. Store in the refrigerator.
So tomorrow is Shrove Tuesday and the kids have placed their order for pancakes. For breakfast they want the thick, spongy Scotch pancakes with bacon and maple syrup and after school they want these thin pancakes (which I call crêpes) with Nutella. I’m not sure they fully understand the meaning of Pancake Day and that Lent follows soon after. I wonder how long they would last if they had to give up something important for the next six weeks? I might just test them out for fun.
These pancakes are so quick and easy and yes I know it’s easy to buy the mixture from the supermarkets but ‘made from scratch’ tastes so much better and the kids love getting involved. I haven’t had one stuck to my ceiling yet and that’s not from lack of trying by the kids.
Enjoy with lemon, sugar and cinnamon, Nutella, caramel sauce, fresh fruit and cream – basically anything you want really.