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.
Mooching around doing housework, getting the kids to do their homework, looking out at the garden and wishing it was a lovely sunny day. But it’s not to be. It’s cold, windy and very grey. A day to be indoors messing around in the kitchen I think. After a quick check to see what I had in the fridge all I could rustle up were some fresh lemons so a lemon pudding it would have to be.
There is nothing fancy about this lemon pudding but it is deliciously moist and tangy and very light. I used to make it at school so it uses the most basic of ingredients and is very simple to make. It is a pudding of two layers – the top being a very light sponge and the bottom is a thick custard/mousse like consistency.
Simple and delicious! I serve mine warm with pouring cream (because everything tastes better with cream – right?) but it would be just as good with ice cream or even just on its own.
So BritMums Live 2014, the UK’s biggest social media and bloggers conference has come and gone. I originally had no intention of going but I was lucky enough to be one of the 6 finalists in the BiBs awards and decided to treat myself to a couple of days of ‘me’ time in London. Sadly I didn’t go on to win the award but Lucy of Supergolden Bakes was a very well deserved winner. If you haven’t already come across her blog then go and have a look – it’s gorgeous. Thanks again to everybody who took the time to vote more me. It was a very special experience.
The event itself was full of positive energy and was packed with energetic and passionate speakers, leaving me feeling completely reenergised about my blog and about life in general. I love blogging but the one area I find the most difficult is building my social media presence. I am just not comfortable with the whole numbers game and find it hard to chase followers purely for the purpose of stats. It was therefore such a delight to listen to the lovely Jaume Marin from the Costa Brava Tourism talk about building relationships between their brand and travel bloggers. As a brand they believe not in the number of followers that you have but more in how you interact with your followers. This just makes perfect sense to me and I applaud their passion and common sense attitude to working and promoting their brand as well as the bloggers they work with. I left that session wishing I was a travel blogger 🙂
So what did I get out of my two days at BritMums Live apart from loads of good advice and meeting the lovely Lucy and Elizabeth? The answer is simply a renewed confidence in myself and a desire to be more creative with my time. It is not just about being a wife and a good Mum – it is about doing something for yourself, something that you love and that makes you happy.
And on that note I leave you with an all time classic dessert of a simple but delicious Strawberry and Chocolate Meringue. Perfect for summer entertaining.
Without a doubt the star of today’s strawberry shortcake recipe is the strawberry and yogurt filling. Normally I would use double cream which of course whips up to a delicious creamy consistency but is loaded with calories. For this dessert I wanted to try yogurt but to be honest I didn’t hold out much hope. I love yogurt and often eat it with my breakfast, use it in my cake mixtures and stir it into my main meals to give a lovely creamy sauce but could it substitute cream as one of the main ingredients in a dessert?
The problem with using yogurt as a substitute for cream is the watery liquid that sits on the top. Even if you mix it in, it will eventually separate leaving you with a soggy dessert. For my first attempt I tried putting the yogurt into a fine mesh sieve but that didn’t work. Most of the yogurt just ran through the sieve. My second attempt was much better, I used a muslin square (available from Lakeland) to line the sieve and then left the yogurt for about an hour. There was about half a cup of liquid which had drained into the bowl and I was left with a really thick yogurt which whipped beautifully and kept its shape once piped. Once the icing sugar had been added and mixed with the strawberries nobody could tell that it wasn’t cream. I absolutely adore cream but I can honestly say that I would replace it with yogurt in most of my desserts from now on.
There is nothing that makes me think of summer more than the smell of fresh raspberries. I spent my teenage years growing up on the East coast of Scotland where some of the best raspberries in the world are grown. During the summer school holidays we would set off to the local farms and pick raspberries for the farmers and make ourselves some pocket money. It was easy money for us – we were outdoors, sun shining, the berries were easy to pick and of course we were surrounded by the smell of ripe raspberries. Such good memories and one I wish my children could experience. So with the sun shining and the barbecue on, a delicious raspberry and white chocolate cheesecake was on order.
This cheesecake is so light and delicious – summer on a plate!
I have used low fat cream cheese and lovely thick Greek yogurt to make it a bit more calorie friendly than a traditional cheesecake but it still tastes just as good. I normally stick mine in the freezer to set and then just before we are ready to eat our main meal I will put it in the fridge to defrost. I don’t like using too much gelatine so the consistency will be quite soft if left out the fridge too long. The one in my photo had been out of the fridge for about an hour so you can see that it still holds its shape but is quite soft.
The chocolate rose was something I had wanted to try for a long time. Trying it out on a sunny day was probably not the best idea I’ve had but with a bit of perseverance it did finally work. I followed the tutorial on http://www.howtocookthat.net/public_html/how-to-make-a-chocolate-flower/ . The flower will not work unless you temper your chocolate and Anne also shows you how to do this using your microwave. The petals are so fine that if your chocolate is not tempered they will melt as soon as you try to handle them. I wouldn’t advise making this at the last minute. Make it when you have plenty of time and then keep it in the freezer until you need to use it.
It’s Tasty Tuesday time again. Pop over to Honest Mum for a feast of good food ideas.