Tag Archives: baking

RECIPE: Easter biscuits

This weekend Little O and I decided to do some baking. Baking with toddlers is a bit of a mixed bag. It is probably about 75% stress and 25% joy. The pitfalls include a lot of mess, a lot of impatience and potential food hygiene issues. I manage to keep the latter under control by giving Little O a piece of dough to play with that never actually ends up in the oven… so there’s a tip for you.

These super easy biscuits are cute and colourful and manageable even with an almost three year old in tow!

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RECIPE: Peanut Butter brownies

I love peanut butter. It is probably my favourite flavour of all time. Nothing goes better with peanut butter than chocolate so when I saw this recipe for peanut butter brownies I couldn’t resist giving them a try. They were absolutely delicious. So if you like peanut butter and chocolate as much as I do, get on it!

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RECIPE: Baked vanilla cheesecake with berry compote

Last week I asked Mr O if there was anything in particular he would like me to bake and he said “cheesecake”. I have a few go to cheesecake recipes for set cheesecakes but I have never made a baked one so I decided to give it a go. It’s a bit fiddly but this recipe from Janie’s Patisserie came out perfectly. Not a single crack and the texture is heavenly. I have absolutely found my forever recipe.

This cheesecake needs to rest overnight so make sure you start the day before you expect to serve it.

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RECIPE: Chocolate chip banana loaf

Little O regularly eats half a banana and abandons the rest or declares a brown banana too “dirty” to eat, leaving us with a lot of random banana bits. I love banana in things but not raw banana on its own so I’ve been making banana bread to use up the bits. This chocolate chip one is by far the nicest I’ve ever tasted.

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RECIPE: Brownie crinkle cookies

Since I made the Boy Who Bakes ultimate chocolate chip cookies I have been a bit obsessed with his recipes. One of his most popular recipes if for brownie crinkle cookies, which are halfway between a brownie and a cookie. It sounded like a dream to me so I decided to give them a go. I can tell you that they deliver 100% on flavour and texture.

The recipe is very specific on timings and I would stress sticking to these to get the best results.

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RECIPE: Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

My friend M recently posted on Instagram about some chocolate chip cookies she made. M is a regular baker with high standards so when she raved about them I decided that I better try them myself to check if they lived up to the hype. They did.  I did the  24 hour “prove” of the cookies as suggested and I think it made a difference to the outcome. So if you need these cookies for a specific day make sure to start them off at least the day before. 

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RECIPE: Chocolate fudge birthday cake

Yesterday was my birthday and I am now officially 38 years old. I had a really lovely day and was showered with gifts, cards, messages and attention. A writer friend of mine even wrote me a poem. I felt extremely loved and very lucky to have so many wonderful people in my life. I have made some great friends at work so I decided to bake a cake that would be big enough to share with them but also for us to have at home. With that in mind I made this chocolate fudge tray bake, which is perfect for big birthday celebrations.

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RECIPE: Leftover Halloween pumpkin cake

Mr O and I are big Halloween fans. We love all the silly traditions from pumpkin carving, to getting into fancy dress to preparing for trick or treaters. This year Little O was old enough to help out with the carving and he is old enough to go trick or treating with the neighbourhood children.

After seeing a friend of mine’s post, I decide to get in on using the leftover pumpkin to bake a cake so I thought I’d share the recipe for anyone else who might be considering doing some carving over the next couple of days. This cake is super easy to make and reminiscent of a carrot cake. Little O loved helping out with the baking although he declared the cake “yucky”, like almost everything we offer him to eat.

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RECIPE: Carrot cake tray bake

As those who know me on Facebook and Instagram will be aware, I am leaving my job after almost 14 years. I have worked in a number of different roles for the same company but it finally feels like it is time to move on and try something new. So in a month from now I will be starting over. Yikes! When I announced to my team a few weeks ago that I was leaving, their biggest concern seemed to be who was going to feed them. I bake a lot for work. To make them feel better I agreed to bring something in weekly… and to take requests. I have been delving into my old faithful recipes but someone requested a carrot cake recently. I do have a carrot cake recipe but it’s a layer cake and transporting a layer cake across multiple train journeys at rush hour is not easy. Instead I decided to go for a tray bake. It was very popular and I will definitely be making it again.

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Things I have been cooking lately #177: Dinosaur birthday cake

When I was a child growing up my mum always made our birthday cakes. She’s extremely creative and they were really elaborate affairs. There were trains, tractors, princesses, umbrellas, monsters… my brother even had one based on the band U2. I am nowhere near as skilled or patient as my mum is but I really wanted to make Little O’s birthday cake. With some help from Pinterest and a recipe from my mum that I adapted, I think I pulled off something passable that pretty much anyone with a couple of hours of spare time could manage. The sponge cake method used here is an oldie but a goodie and makes a really light fluffy cake.

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Things I have been cooking lately #175: Quick, easy brownies

I have made loads of brownies in my life and my go to recipe is always Hummingbird Bakery, but there isn’t always time for all the melting and the long cook time especially when trying to bake around a small human. Plus with all that high content cocoa dark chocolate, they’re really expensive to make. This recipe is quick, easy and a lot cheaper and they are sooo good and sooo gooey. I am definitely making these my new everyday brownies. (Disclaimer: I don’t eat brownies every day and I am not suggesting that you do either…)

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Things I have been cooking lately #173: Mini Egg cookie bars

Being back at work means a willing audience to try out my baking on. I didn’t do much baking on maternity leave because it’s quite challenging with a little person constantly needing your attention but also because Mr O is not particularly interested in sweet things and with nowhere to take what I have created, I end up eating far too much of it myself… or ending up chucking bits away once they’ve passed their prime. As Easter is around the corner I decided to to some themed baking for my colleagues.

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Things I have been cooking lately #170: Jan Ellis pudding

Growing up in South Africa, you wouldn’t think we were very good at wintery food. However in Johannesburg, where I grew up, while the winter days are sunny and warm by Northern European standards, the temperature drops dramatically at night and it can get very chilly. One of my favourite wintery things that my mum used to make was warm baked puddings, always served with lashings of cold custard, which Mr O finds bizarre.

When our friend N (who is also South Afircan), visited a couple of weekends ago I decided to make a classic baked pudding to warm our cockles and he confirmed that cold custard was definitely the way to go. It must be a South African thing.

This pudding is named after some chap called Jan Ellis. I have no idea who he is but it has a subtle spicy, slightly orangey flavour and it took me right back to my childhood.

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Things I have been cooking lately #167: Pretzel tiffin

About a week ago when I was in Tesco buying essentials (nappies, bread, milk), I also came across a packet of salted caramel pretzel tiffin squares. These, of course, also counted as essential so I brought them home for Mr O and I to enjoy and they were glorious. I decided to make a sort of attempt to recreate them and although my version doesn’t have a caramel element they’re still pretty tasty… and very easy.

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Things I have been cooking lately #166: Coconut and raspberry jam squares

Since Little O was born I have had a lot less time to bake. It can be tricky enough to put up essential meals without finding the time for any extra bits. However recently he’s a lot more able to play on his own for periods of time or under Mr O’s supervision so when the urge struck me on Sunday I decided to go for it. I picked this recipe because Mr O particularly likes raspberries and coconut and he’s been raving about them ever since.

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Things I have been cooking lately #165: key lime pie

Over the weekend Mr O and I invited around his best friend,  Mr H, Mr H’s brother and their wives and kids to join us for a BBQ in our garden. I asked Mr O what I should make for a dessert and he said key lime pie. I have never made key lime pie and he’s never eaten it but he liked the sound of it so I took to my recipes and found one to make. It turned out to be a great success and even though we had ice lollies for the kids they all wanted to get in on the pie! If you get the chance to make this it’s packed with zesty lime flavours that are lovely and refreshing. It is worth mentioning though that there is a lot of cooling and refrigeration time so if you are going to make this you need to start relatively early the day before you want to eat it.

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Things I have been cooking lately #164: Crunchies

Crunchies are kind of like the South African equivalent of a flapjack although crunchier (hence the name) and less sweet and sticky. I grew up eating loads of these since they’re eggless and my brother was allergic to eggs as a child so baked treats he could eat were quite limited. I recently found this recipe on Pinterest and decided to make these as a snack since oats is supposed to aid breast milk production. Also they are just yummy!

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Things I have been cooking lately #159: Gestational diabetes friendly peanut butter blondies

With only 4 or 5 weeks until Little O makes his appearance and I can technically eat whatever I want I have been starting to fantisise about the list of things I am going to eat immediately post labour. In the meantime I am continuing to experiment with baking things that I can eat safely. My latest successful endeavor was these peanut butter blondies that I adapted from a Peace, Love and Low Carb recipe. They are very low sugar and carb so even if you don’t have GD and are trying to stick to these principles they’d be great for a sweet snack. They are also gluten free!

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Things I have been cooking lately #155: Gestational Diabetes friendly peanut butter brownies

When I started my virtually no sugar, low carb gestational diabetes diet I thought I was going to get mad sugar cravings and wake up in the night sweating and thinking of cake. That hasn’t happened. Although I sometimes dream of Ben &Jerry’s peanut butter cup ice-cream or wish I could just have a piece of fresh tiger bread, I have mostly been fine with getting to eat pretty much as much cheese as I want. What I have been missing is baking. A lot. Like a whole lot. So I decided to do a little experiment and rework one of my favourite brownie recipes to make it GD friendly… and it worked! Not only are these brownies very low in sugar and carbs but they’re also gluten free and passed the 15/30/45/60 blood sugar test advocated by the gestationaldiabetes.co.uk website. What that means is that I tested my blood sugar every fifteen minutes for an hour after eating one of these (paired with some creme fraiche) and all the readings were below my after food target. (Please note that if you have gestational diabetes or type 2 diabetes and want to try these you should repeat the same test on yourself to ensure you are not missing a spike. Everyone’s tolerance is different).

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Things I have been cooking lately #150: Peanut butter and white chocolate cookies

In a few weeks the team of developers I have been working with for the past six months will move onto a new project and a new Product Owner, which means they will no longer be my crew. I am really sad about this since I have had so much fun working with them. I think they’re quite sad too… mostly because the endless supply of my baking experiments is coming to an end. With this in mind I wasn’t surprised that the last time I asked them to add something to a piece of work they asked me what I was going to make them. These were my latest piece of bribery.

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