baking


The perfect Victoria Sponge – Cooking with kids 12

There is a special place in heaven for kids that can bake amazing cakes.  Not only that there is something wonderful about having a child that can pull off making the perfect victoria sponge cake.  The queen of all cakes, a sponge cake can seem really simple, but can be tricky to get just right. The Vitoria Sponge is the perfect tea time winner and classic cake that has been around since Queen Victoria’s times.  Delicious, simple and moreish and we like ours with strawberry jam and fresh cream, although a purist might tell you it should be jam only.

How to make the perfect Victoria Sponge. Follow our secret tip to make the most delicious classic Victoria Sponge Sandwich. This tea time mainstay is a brilliant bake for cooking with kids.

Top ten food safety tips to protect your family from kitchen bugs 2

Top ten food safety tips to protect your family from kitchen bugs

Last week was Food Safety Week 2013, run by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and this year they focused on ways to reduce the risk of food poisoning at home. Here are some simple tips to help keep you and your family safe.

1. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before cooking and after changing nappies, touching the bin, using the toilet, handling pets or preparing raw food.

2. Wash or change dish cloths, tea towels, sponges and oven gloves regularly and let them dry fully before you use them again.

3. Remove unnecessary clutter and wash worktops before and after cooking to prevent cross-contamination.

4. Always use a chopping board and wash the board in hot, soapy water after using and in between preparing raw and ready-to-eat foods. Better still, use a separate chopping board for each.

5. You don’t need to wash raw meat or poultry as thorough cooking will kill any surface germs. Washing meat can actually splash germs and raw juices onto other surfaces and equipment.

6. Make sure your fridge is set below 5°C to prevent harmful germs from growing and multiplying.

7. Don’t overfill your fridge. Air needs to be able to circulate to maintain the set temperature. If you are using infant formula we recommend you make up each feed as your baby needs it, using boiled water at a temperature of 70ºC or above to reduce the risk of infection, and use it within 2 hours. If you have no choice but to store made up bottles, do so in the coolest part of your fridge, away from the door, and for no more than 24 hours.

8. Cook food thoroughly until steaming hot in the middle to kill harmful bacteria. Food can then be cooled to a suitable temperature for children by cutting into smaller pieces and separating into shallow bowls, or even placing in a sealed container and running it under cold water.

9. ‘Use by’ dates are typically found on perishable products (dairy, meat and fish) and are based on scientific testing to determine how long these foods will stay safe. After that date, food could be unsafe to eat even if it is correctly stored and looks and smells fine. If you need to store a food for longer, consider freezing it.

10. ‘Best before’ dates are used on foods that have a longer shelf life and tell us how long the food will be at its best. After that date it is normally safe to eat, but its flavour and texture might have deteriorated.

To see how safe your kitchen habits are and for more tips, take the FSA’s Kitchen Check online. You can get your little ones involved too by downloading their fun young people’s activities.

Kitchen Check can be found at: www.food.gov.uk/kitchen-check


Smartie Birthday Cake 5

It has become something of a tradition that Maxi always has a chocolate smartie cake for his birthday. This year I decided to try and do something a little more eye catching. I love baking, but find icing larger cakes something of a chore. So this cake is very forgiving.

Cake Ingredients

6 oz of butter or marg
6 oz caster sugar
5 oz of self raising flour
1 oz of coco powder
1 teaspoon of baking powder
2 eggs
half teaspoon of vanilla extract
3 tablespoons of milk

Method.

Cream together the marg/butter and sugar. Then add the rest of the ingredients in and mix well!

Put in two 7 inch cake tins (I line the tins with parchment and grease) and place in to a preheated oven of 180 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. You can tell if the cakes are cooked if when you press the top it gives slightly but springs back.

Remove from oven and leave for 2 minutes before removing from tins and placing on to a wire rack to cool.

Icing Ingredients:

1 block of butter (250gm of 10 oz)
450 grams icing sugar
50 gms of coco powder
half teaspoon of vanilla extract
4 tablespoons of milk
Method

Soften the butter in a mixer before adding the other ingredients. Make sure you start mixing very slowly so you do not get icing sugar everywhere. If your mixer does not have a splatter guard then cover with a tea towel.

Assembling the cake

Sandwich together your two cakes with icing and then apply the remaining icing around and on top of the cake. You are going to use the using around the cake to stick the chocolate fingers to the cake, so make sure you have enough at the sides.

I applied the fingers and then refrigerated the cake overnight, before covering the top with smarties the following day.


English Summer Cupcakes for the Great British Bake Off 6

I along with 9 other bloggers are taking part in The Great Blogger Bake Off challenge. Each of the bloggers involved has been allocated a letter to put on top of their cakes, you can see Cass’s and her Cherry Bakewell Cupcakes. There will be a letter a week over the ten weeks of the series, at the end you can unjumble them to find a word.

These cupcakes were pretty easy to bake and went down a treat at home. They look much more impressive than they are to make and I will be baking them again with different fillings and toppings.

We received most of the ingredients to make the cupcakes, a complimentary copy of the Great British Bake Off Book and the app.


Easy Egg White Cake Receipe 7

Whenever I make Spagetti Carbonara, I am always left with 4 egg whites, so I have been looking for a receipe, other than meranges (as MadDad doesnt like then) for quite a while.

Finally whilst looking through some old books came across one that I wrote down an age ago (when I used to rip out pages of magazines and buy food magazines, which means it was pre children). I do not know the source of this recipe, so can not quote it , sorry.


Patriotic Rice Krispy Puffle Cakes 14

The boys have gone to school today decked out in red, white and blue clothes (right down to their underwear) to celebrate the royal wedding tomorrow. The school is hosting a party for all the children and parents this afternoon and sent our a request for food for the party. So as we had been sent lots of things for baking over the Easter Holidays by Kellogg’s and Disney, which we hadn’t used as we were making the most of the fine weather, we decided to make patriotic Club Penguin Rice Krispy Puffle nests.


Not so gingery gingerbread 21

Last year we decorated gingerbread houses, but the boys do not like the taste of gingerbread so it was a waste in the long run, although it was fun. So this year we decided to make our own gingerbread men and decorate them instead, so I set about finding a not so gingery gingerbread recipe.  I couldn’t find one that was just perfect, so I adapted one until it was what we needed.   Ingredients 350g / 12oz plain flour 175g / 6oz light soft brown sugar 100g / 4oz butter 1 medium egg 4 tablespoons of golden syrup 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda ½ teaspoon of ground ginger ½ teaspoon more »


Cooking with Children – Halloween Cakes and Biscuits 2

I love cooking and baking with the boys and for me the secret is letting go and dealing with the mess afterwards, plus good planning, making sure all the ingredients are out and the equipment etc.  I think that by empowering the boys to cook and bake it will stand them in good stead as they get older, plus they can start cooking dinner and feed me!  Also it might not look perfect, but I can assure you it tastes mighty fine.  So I bring you Maxi’s chocolate cakes and biscuits. Basic Biscuit Recipe I use one without egg and it is fine if over handled, so perfect for children 175g/6oz more »


A Wonderful Bank Holiday Monday spent in the Kitchen and Garden

I think the sun forgot our little park of the North East today. So we have spent the day baking. Maxi did all the weighing and measuring Mini did most of the stirring and tasting We have had a lot of fun and made lots of cakes Oat and raisin cooks and mince pies (mini’s favorites) Many Muffins, sweet mincemeat and St Stephens Day Muffins, in addition to some fairy cakes. Whilst I was busy in the kitchen, MadDad tended the garden, including planting out the courgettes and cucumbers. Everything is looking great and really coming along. He also washed and cleaned the cars, ready for the trip we are taking today more »


The Best Ever Oat and Raisin Cookies in the world

I dont say it lightly, but these cookies are amazing and never last in our house.  They truly are the best.  This is an American Recipe (it came on the back of some sunmaid raisins from the US), but that said is super easy for the boys, as I have some plastic cup measures that they use. So here goes Ingredients 3/4 cup softened butter or margarine 1 cup soft brown sugar 1/2 cup caster sugar 1/4 cup milk 1 large egg 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 cup plain flour 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon salt 3 cups quick or old-fashioned oats 1 cup Raisins   more »


Easter Bakes, Making New Traditions

We have been busy in the kitchen this weekend, making and baking and bring in new traditions to TheMadHouse. Hot Cross Buns “Hot cross buns, Hot cross buns, One a penny, two a penny, Hot cross buns.” “If you have no daughters,  give them to your sons, One a penny, two a penny, Hot cross buns.” These have gone down well with mini and MadDad, so much so that I had to make extra! White Bread buns, which I make the dough in the bread-maker and then divide and leave to prove.  The temptation is to eat them hot, but my they really do give you indigestion. Magic Mummy mentioned that more »


Menu Plan Monday and shortbread recipe

It is half term for me and the minimads this week, so I have lunches to make for all and then MadDad will be on on Friday, so we are going for a day out Monday Lunch – Sandwiches Dinner – Curry and rice Tuesday Lunch – Pancakes Dinner -Spag bol Wednesday Lunch – leftovers Thursday – Jambalaya Friday Picnic and pot luck Saturday Home made chicken burgers and wedges Home made pizza Sunday – I am not sure what meat we will be going with this week, I will see what is on offer at the butchers I also wanted to give you the recipe for the almond shortbread biscuits, more »


Spiritual Sunday – St Valentines Day

What are we celebrating today?, Who was valentine? Well wikipedia says He was arrested and imprisoned upon being caught marrying Christian couples and otherwise aiding Christians who were at the time being persecuted by Claudius in Rome. Helping Christians at this time was considered a crime. Claudius took a liking to this prisoner — until Valentinus tried to convert the Emperor — whereupon this priest was condemned to death. He was beaten with clubs and stoned; when that didn’t finish him, he was beheaded outside the Flaminian Gate. MadDad and I have told the boys it is a day for recognising the people you love and for standing up for the more »


The Best Carrot Cake in the Whole Wide World 2

  Receipe 140ml vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing 2 Eggs 200g light brown sugar 300g grated Carrots, (grated weight) 100g raisins 75g pecans or Walnuts, chopped (optional) 180g self-raising flour 1 pinch Salt 1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of soda 1 tsp ground Cinnamon 1/2 tsp freshly grated Nutmeg 1/2 tsp Mixed spice Orange cream cheese icing – this rarely gets put on in this house, as everyone eats the cake before I get chance!! 50g cream cheese, chilled 50g Butter, at room temperature 1 tsp vanilla extract 275g icing sugar, sifted 1 Orange, zest only Method 1. Preheat the oven to 150C/gas 2. Oil and line a loaf tin with greaseproof more »