Making Brandy Snap Baskets

Making brandy snap baskets

I love those occasional weekend days you get when there’s nothing to do. The boys are entertaining themselves watching football/watching motorsport/playing cars/doing boy stuff (delete as appropriate) and I’m free to just potter in the kitchen for an hour or two.

What I really fancied making was a cake, but I’d run out of eggs and couldn’t be bothered to trek to the shop, so I searched for something else instead. And what I settled on was Brandy Snap Baskets.  Just because I’d always meant to try them but had never got around to it.

The mixture is easy to make, but the rest of it takes a little more patience and a bit of trial and error.  The spoonfuls of mixture spread ENORMOUSLY when they cook (a tablespoon spreads to be approx 6 inches across) so you have to leave MUCH more room than I did in the picture below. Also, watch the oven like a hawk for the last 2 minutes of cooking, they go from underdone to burned very quickly.  They’re well worth the effort though, they make a scoop of vanilla ice cream into something really special!

Ingredients:

The joy of jelly

joyofjelly2

Sometimes it’s nice to just stop and remember the simple pleasures in life. Like eating wobbly jelly with a spoon: something which gives you huge pleasure when you’re 7, but which I haven’t done in years! I was making this spectacularly retro-pudding and hand some jelly left over which my little boy wolfed down amid much concentrating and giggling.

Ah, the joy of jelly. Not to be underestimated.

The joy of jelly

Toffee Apple Fail

Toffee Apple Fail

I never stopped to consider how hard it would be to eat a toffee apple when your front teeth haven’t come through yet. This wasn’t even a toffee apple, it was a chocolate-dipped apple which has to be easier. As you can see my 7-year-old gave it a valiant try but truly struggled to get into the darn thing. Thank goodness I didn’t bother making a batch of toffee apples at home! Maybe next year…

Strawberry Swirled Meringues

Strawberry swirled meringues

There’s little in life as delicous as a home-made meringue, especially when they’re served with whipped cream *sigh*

I made these meringues for our Halloween Harry Potter party and thought that the strawberry swirl would make them look suitably ghoulish. I called them ‘Bloodthirsty Meringues’ and they didn’t last long at all!

They’re super-simple to make. Just make regular meringues and swirl some strawberry sauce through the mixture before you pop them into the oven. The strawberry sauce makes for a slightly gooey strawberry-flavoured toffee-type swirl on the top of the powdery meringue. Yum!

Ingredients:

  • 3  egg whites
  • 175g white caster sugar
  • Strawberry sauce (like the kind you put on ice-cream)

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Brief Bonfire Night Shenanigans

Bonfire night sparklers

We’re not the first people to photograph sparklers on Bonfire Night, and we certainly won’t be the last, but it’s the first time we’ve tried doing it and I’m rather pleased with the results! We’re all still a bit partied-out after our Harry Potter party at the weekend (I really will post photos of that soon) so half an hour in the garden plus a packet was sparklers was just about right for us. Now to retire to an upstairs window to watch the fireworks in the warmth and maybe with a cup of coffee and some of those left-over Halloween sweets!

Happy Bonfire night everyone!

Bonfire night sparklers

Bonfire night sparklers

The obligatory name writing (Dino)

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Obligatory name writing #2 (Theo)

Bonfire night sparklers

A map of our local karting track. Karting-mad those boys *sigh*

Win a Bird in The Bush set of stacking mugs

Bird in The Bush stacking mugs from Invotis Orange.

THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED. THE WINNER IS Jodie Harvey. CONGRATULATIONS JODIE, LIFESTYLEBAZAAR WITH CONTACT YOU DIRECTLY ABOUT YOUR PRIZE.

Fancy being supremely stylish around the breakfast table, or when your friends pop over for tea? What could be better than this beautiful set of stacking mugs which double up as art when you’re not using them!

About the prize:

I have one set of Bird in the Bush stacking mugs to give away to 1 lucky Nice Like Nigella reader thanks to the lovely people at Lifestylebazaar.

Bird in The Bush is a fun set of stacking mugs from Invotis Orange. These cups are not only very nice to use but also beautiful when stacked up, becoming a sculpture. Made of white porcelain with a single blue bird. Dimensions: 26cm x 12.5cm when stacked.

About Lifestylebazaar

“It’s hard to believe it’s ten years since the launch of Lifestylebazaar, created by partners Laurent Nurisso and Christopher Curtis who’s aim is to bring together an eclectic mix of design and decorative objects for the home that includes furniture and lighting.

Our philosophy is all about finding products for the home that are not seen on every high street, offering an eclectic mix of style, design, colours and texture. We aim to offer customers a personal shopping experience. We search the planet for all things new and look to constantly change ideas to reflect trends in home decor whilst appreciating that most of us live with our interior and exterior spaces for longer that just one season.”

Together they search for and hand-pick the designers and products featured on their website Lifestylebazaar.

So, how do you enter?

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Heart Healthy Banana Cake

Heart Healthy Banana Cake

This is a cake you can feel virtuous about eating. Not only is it packed with over-ripe bananas that you don’t know what to do with (I seem to constantly have this problem), but it’s also bursting with sultanas and cinnamon and tastes *amazing*! (recipe below)

It does have butter in it, but only 50g for the whole cake. The way I look at it butter (in moderation) has got to be way healthier than margarine (which after all is a by-product of the petrochemical industry – yeuch) and I’m just not as keen on cakes made with oil. So the butter was worth it IMHO. You could alwasy substitute it with oil if you prefer. I tried to find the conversion and found that 50g of butter = approx 50 ml of oil, but I haven’t tried this so let me know if you have more experience please! 🙂

Also, I was trying my new silicone cake tin out – only £5 from Ikea – how good is that? I just wish I’d bought their loaf tin from the same range, cakes always seem to get stuck in my regular loaf tin! Gotta love Ikea! Anyway, it left such pretty patterns in the bottom of the cake that I decided to whip up some chocolate ganache and spend a calming half an hour piping melted chocolate into the pattern (see my finished efforts below). Very satisfying!

Plus it meant my 7-year-old was very keen to eat the cake and had 2 slices – any way I can get fruit into him has got to be a good thing!

It was also such a healthy cake that I felt justified having a slice of it for breakfast this morning. What a great start to the day!

Heart Healthy Banana Cake

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