Do you remember how holidays used to be? READ MORE
Do you remember how holidays used to be? READ MORE
Oreos and milk; how American can you get?
Of course as a maker and baker of a lot of kid’s cakes I do love Oreos for their ability to immitate soil once whizzed up in a food processor.
So Lawrence could barely sit unaided until recently and now all of a sudden it’s action stations. Yesterday I rescued 2 remote controls, a Lego helicopter, a calculator, two mobile phones, a box of tissues, a nappy (unused), another baby, 3 plastic Octonaut toys, a laptop, a Hot Wheels track, a whisk, a rolling pin, 2 wooden spoons and some post from Lawrence. He’s one of ‘those’ babies. He’s wonderfully exhausting.
So what with all this racing about, I need Jaffa Cakes. Homemade ones. With a LOT of dark chocolate. Here we go…
But I couldn’t. I opened the larder door and the chocolate chips called to me. I had some yeast sachets that needed using up, plus some strong white flour that’s almost done for. And I really don’t like waste you see. It bothers me hugely.
The rest is history. But look! They’re very pretty. See:
Failure can be a good thing. Take London for example. The first time I took a solo trip to London it was a disaster.
In 1999 I was a fresher at Liverpool University, studying for a degree in English Language & Literature. One day I bought a copy of Vogue. Now given I was a chunky size 14 this was ill advised. However this copy did feature a writing competition. Which I of course, being full of arrogant youthfulness, entered.
Months later I received a very proper looking embossed letter telling me I hadn’t won, but I was a runner up. How exciting! Imagine! A girl from Leicester, via Liverpool, being invited to London! All the L’s and all the exclamations. At this point I should have been happy in my triumph, left it there and declined. But I didn’t.
I bought a pashmina. Because that’s what I imagined women in London who were invited to Vogue House might wear. It was beige. I also bought a pair of pedal pushers in a kind of gold colour. They fit badly and made my already reasonable sized backside look gargantuan. I also wore a white loose fitting peasant style T shirt. And heels. A pair of heels that barely fit, were again beige, and hurt considerably. Oh and a beige handbag that didn’t fit much in. Not an umbrella for instance.
But wait! The horror wasn’t complete! I decided, the night before I caught the train to London, from my teenage bedroom in Leicester, to fake tan my whole body.
Reader, I don’t think I need to tell you how bad I looked. A beige monstrosity, streaked in orange. It rained in London, as it often does, and I, being a girl from up North, had no idea that carrying an umbrella in the heat of the capital’s summer might be a good idea. I arrived; wet, streaked, stressed and beige.
I managed to sit through the lunch, in a panelled board room, with Alexandra Shulman (Editor), Miranda Sawyer (Journo) and Nick Hornby (Author), the latter whose work I bought days before to swot up on.
Shulman and I didn’t speak. I imagine she was concerned the beige horror might be a contagious disease. Sawyer chatted kindly, though clearly not engaged in anything a 19 year old student might have to say. (I don’t blame her). Nick was lovely. So interested in everyone. A real gent.
I took the Midland Mainline back to Leicester on the to pick up my Fiat Panda, feeling London was so very unattainable to me. I had embarrassed myself and done a disservice to every girl from the Midlands trying desperately to reinvent herself.
Just 3 years later I moved to London, again, solo. And it was anything but a disaster. I loved it. And I never wore a beige pashmina again. Or gold pedal pushers. (The same can’t be said for my love affair with ‘Holiday Skin’ fake tan).
I made a lovely video with the Scoff folks to show how to make these very easy white chocolate mousse eggs. You can see the vid on my YouTube channel and also the Scoff one. You can watch it below too.
White chocolate mousse eggs with lemon curd yolks
Makes about 9 though depends on the size of your chocolate eggs
For the curd:
For the mousse:
NB: These hollow eggs must be kept in the fridge until serving. It is advised not to serve raw eggs to young children, pregnant women or the elderly.
It was inevitable. It’s almost Easter, I have small children, I love novelty. What did you expect? I’ve upgraded my mini Easter nests recipe. This time they’re bigger, the nest is more nest like as it’s made of All Bran rather than Shredded Wheat, and… well a chick has hatched. These are altogether a better grade of Easter nest.
As you might expect they’re mighty easy. If you fancy a bit more a challenge over Easter may I suggest my white chocolate and cranberry hot cross buns or some mini Simnel cupcakes? If you’re entertaining then maybe my lemon and raspberry trifle.
Place 12 cupcake cases into a 12 hole cake tin. Melt the chocolate in a large bowl. I used the bain marie method to be sure the chocolate didn’t burn or seize up. Just be careful not to let any water get into the chocolate or allow the bottom of the bowl to touch the water in the pan. Once completely melted remove from the heat and add the All Bran. Stir really well until combined, giving a good dig about at the bottom of the bowl.
Spoon equally between the 12 cases, using the spoon to make a little dent in the middle of each ‘nest’. Add three eggs, then a little pastry chick. Leave to set completely (takes 4 hours ish) before eating.
If you don’t have the time or inclination to make pastry chicks then do sub with marshmallow chicks or similar from the supermarket.
These are not easy to make.
They involve a lot of stages.
They require you to boil sugar.
They ask you to hunt out a sugar thermometer.
They get through almost a kilogram of chocolate.
You also need a stand mixer.
So really, all in all, I’m trying to manage your expectations. It’s not that I don’t want you to make them. I do. These are good. Oh my, they are GOOD. You could make yourself sick eating the whole lot and still want to go back for more. However, they’re a bit of a pain in the backside.
But like my good friend Kitty says about women – all the best ones are a bit of a pain in the backside. In my opinion, the same applies to chocolate-peanut snacks.
P.S. Please, please, please don’t sub the dry roasted peanuts for salted peanuts, or, heaven forbid, unsalted peanuts. They need to be dry roasted. I know it seems wrong, but just trust me on this one.
For the chocolate layers:
For the nougat:
For the caramel
Oil a tray size 30 x 40cm (ish) with a little olive oil and cut a piece of non-stick baking parchment to fit the bottom. Melt half the milk chocolate with 1 tbsp olive oil in the microwave until molten. Tip into the tray and level out by tapping the tin on the work surface. Leave to set in the fridge.
Once the chocolate has set, make the nougat by placing the granulated sugar, honey, liquid glucose and 230mls cold water into a saucepan over a low heat until the sugar dissolves. Turn up the heat and boil until it reaches 150°C (use a sugar thermometer).
Whisk the egg whites in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment until you achieve soft peaks, then when the sugar thermometer is at 160°C slowly pour the boiling sugar into the egg white mixture with the whisk rotating at a medium speed. Try and aim the sugar at the egg whites rather than at the edge of the bowl.
Let the mixer whisk for about 3 – 4 minutes at a high speed until the mixture is very thick, starts to pull away from the side of the bowl and the stand mixer feels like it might be struggling. Stop the mixer then add the peanut butter and stir with a spatula or spoon then tip onto the chocolate layer. Straight away, tip the dry roasted peanuts over the top evenly and then press down with a piece of oiled non-stick baking parchment. Leave to set.
Make the caramel by heating the cream in a pan until boiling point. At the same time heat the golden syrup and the granulated sugar in a large pan until 155°C (use a jam thermometer), then remove from the heat and stir in the just boiled cream with a wooden spoon. Be careful as it can spit. Leave off the heat for 5 minutes. Then put back on the hob and heat until 127°C. Once this temperature is achieved remove from the heat and stir in the butter – be careful as it bubbles up a fair amount. Leave to cool in the pan for 20 minutes.
When cool but still spreadable, pour over the peanut layer of the snickers bar and allow to set in the fridge. Use a knife to eek it over the peanut layer if you need to. When the caramel has set (give it at least an hour) melt the other half of the chocolate with 1 tbsp oil (as before) and pour over the caramel layer. Leave to set.
Once completely set use a knife to cut into squares/bars. You can dip the knife into hot water before cutting to achieve cleaner cuts.
Mother’s Day looms. I already have my gifts; a little cardboard pot coloured in with felt tips and a card shaped like a tea pot with some letters written backwards. These are my riches and I’ll keep them until they wheel me into a rest home. If you’ve already got the card and have run out of cardboard boxes to colour in then may I suggest this little afternoon tea for your Ma?
Chocolate orange mini scones
Makes 12 mini chocolate orange scones