Happy Friday everyone, and happy Easter too! Here in the UK, Easter is more of a celebration of spring (and chocolate!) than it is about religion, which fits well with me!
On Friday evening, we headed to Erin’s house to look after baby Finley for the night. Erin had made us some amazing rocky road that we (ahem, Lee) ate far too much of – white chocolate, marshmallows, salted peanuts! Soo tasty! I’m not usually a fan of white chocolate but it really works here.
Poor Finley was just getting a rotten cold so he woke up after a while and instantly clocked that I wasn’t his mum! I did a pretty good job comforting him but he was an unhappy little baby! Thankfully his mum and dad came home not too long after!
On Saturday, we headed into Beeston to pick up some supplies – I got loads of fresh fruit and veg with a view to eating more of a varied diet this week! I also invested in some SPF100 facial suncream, since I get freckles easily (and obviously sun damage is the number one cause of wrinkles!) and I wanted to be protected! I also got started making my Ferrero Rocher and Nutella Cupcakes for Sunday’s Cake Club!
On Sunday, the weather was lovely so I did lots of tidying and washing – it’s nice to be able to dry the washing outside now! I headed to Cake Club with Erin and Finley… and started to feel funny. The first sign was not wanting to eat any cake – really I should have headed straight to a&e on that basis! There were lots of mini egg and creme egg options (weirdly I don’t like either creme eggs or mini eggs – too sickly even for me!).
And ever since then I’ve been in bed! I seem to have the flu (in APRIL), and I also currently can’t hear anything. Fun! The weather’s been really lovely and sunny so being stuck in bed feels extra unfair – I really can’t wait to feel anything approaching normal again! Fingers crossed for tomorrow?
Oh, and then I also gave Lee the lurgy, which is super fun, since now he’s sick too and we’ve used all the tissues in the house! Pretty plants are cheering me up, plus delicious food, when I have the energy to make anything – this lemon goats cheese pasta with asparagus was incredible!
One good thing that did happen this week is that my wedding earrings arrived! I wasn’t sure which of these two pairs I’d prefer (or perhaps neither of them!) so I asked Lee to get them both for my 30th birthday the week before our wedding. They’re absolutely gorgeous and I think I’ll go with the pair on the right for the big day. They’re from Rose and Raven on Etsy and I love loads of their handmade jewellery! It’s all so pretty.
Have a wonderful weekend friends! We’re heading to an all day music festival in Nottingham on Sunday, and I’m hoping to relax and get a lot of wedding/honeymoon planning done the rest of the time!
Whoa, I cannot believe it’s over halfway through April already! 2014 is flying by, which is pretty scary given that I get married in 8 weeks time! There are still quite a few things I need to sort out… gulp!
One of the best things about spring is the fun of lightened up, flavourful food! It’s halfway between the stodgy comfort food of winter and the salad days of summer (when I eat my own body weight in watermelon, feta, and ice cream!), and I love it!
With the long Easter weekend coming up, I also always find myself trying some bread baking or some other kitchen challenge! Here are some simple and delicious ideas that I’m planning on trying this spring.
1 . Spring Vegetable Risotto – I’m on a risotto kick right now, it’s just SO good! You can make this with whatever seasonal veg you have to hand.
2. Herb crusted Salmon – I had something similar in a restaurant recently, and I’m definitely trying it at home!
3 . Pea and feta frittata -I can struggle to get enough protein and this frittata is a delicious and easy way to make sure that happens.
4 . Herbed flatbreads -These look so yummy for an outdoor picnic or bbq!
5. Easy stuffed peppers – pretty healthy, but as long as there’s some carbs and cheese involved, these won’t leave me feeling deprived!
6. Asparagus Tuna Casserole -This may seem a little retro but I’ve been craving something similar… with plenty of lemon I think it’ll taste amazing!
7. Lemon Linguine – springtime is all about lemon. YUM.
8. Summery sweetcorn fritters – I must make these this year!
And, onto the sweet stuff! Brownies are still my number one squeeze, but at this time of year I start to choose treats including more lemony and fruity flavours.
9. Nutella brioche – perfect for a lazy Easter weekend brunch!
10. Carrot Cake whoopie pies – Such an original idea, so perfect for spring
11. Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf cake – just so vibrant, just so English, just so RIGHT for now
12. Coconut Macaroons – I’m hoping these will be one of the favours at our wedding, so I need to perfect them first! We don’t get shredded coconut in the UK so have to use dessicated
13. Blueberry Crumb Cake – YES.
Have I inspired you to make or bake something tasty?
When I was a student, I might have had a little bit of a Millie’s Cookies addiction… they’re just so delicious and chewy and delicious and chocolatey! Occasionally, the store near my uni halls even gave away FREE SAMPLES which just made my life.
You will LOVE this homemade version of a Millie’s Cookie, because they’re soft, chewy and packed full of delicious brown sugar and chocolate flavour. Even better, they’re super easy to make and throw together in just a few minutes, and you can use whatever your favourite type of chocolate/whatever you have on hand to stuff inside them. I used Cadbury Whole Nut (chocolate with hazlenuts) which was delicious – you could also use regular chocolate chunks, or these Easy Millie’s Cookies Style Chocolate Chunk Cookies would also be fab with pieces of mars bars, or peanut butter cups!
I also adapted the original recipe to cut down on the amount of sugar – but don’t worry, these cookies are still plenty sweet – just not to sweet. You could also adapt these cookies to be gluten-free by simply replacing the flour with gluten-free flour, but one thing is a must – use big chocolate chunks for a tasty and authentic Millie’s style cookie.
Pretty cookie tip – as well as incorporating chocolate chunks into the batter, hold a few back to press into the cookie dough on the baking sheet before it goes into the oven – this will give you the pretty chunks on top!
- 250g plain flour
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 170g unsalted butter, melted
- 150g dark brown/muscavado sugar
- 50g light brown muscavado sugar
- 100g golden caster sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 350g chocolate chips or chunks
- First, preheat your oven to 170C/gas mark 3/350F and grease three large cookie trays.
- Weigh out your flour, and whisk together in a large bowl with the salt and bicarbonate of soda. Set aside. In a smaller bowl, melt the butter in the microwave until completely liquid, and then remove and stir in the sugars. Beat until well blended and resembling a toffee mixture.
- Beat in the two eggs and vanilla into the butter sugar mix, and then pour everything into the larger bowl with the flour. Mix until just blended, then add your chocolate chips/chunks and incorporate with a wooden spoon. You can also leave the chips out for vanilla cookies, or add the extras of your choice.
- Using a tablespoon, dollop heaped tablespoons worth (about two if you want very large cookies, or one tablespoon full for smaller cookies). Leave plenty of room - at least three inches between cookies. Sprinkle a little sea salt onto each cookie and pop into the oven until very slightly browned, about 10-17 minutes depending on oven shelf. Take them out of the oven at this point although they might not look done, but they will firm up once they cool.
What’s your favourite Millie’s Cookie flavour? I think mine has to be the classic – chocolate chip, but I’m terribly partial to the giant frosted cookies too! Mmm, frosted cookie!
Happy friday, friends! How has your week been?
Have you discovered any amazing blogs, baked anything tasty, or generally had a nice time?
Last weekend was a quieter one – I finally got a chance to spend one at home rather than out and about around the country! Friday night we baked homemade pizzas and I spent most of Saturday tidying, organising and shopping, and baking!
I baked the Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns that I shared with you on Monday – and I discovered that the number of Hot Cross Buns that you can eat before you get tummy ache is three. I did this, of course, for science, and so you’d have this valuable information. You’re welcome.
On Saturday evening we watched (tried to watch) Pacific Rim, which was absurd. Definitely not a good film to watch if you tend to get hung up on the logic and sense behind a plot!
On Sunday I baked a HUGE Carrot Bundt Cake for my work colleagues. I like to think of bundts as a doughnut for giants, and this one went down really well! I’ll share the recipe with you in time for Easter!
Marsha is getting more used to us now, but her relationship with Milo isn’t great, so we’ve put her back in the spare room so that they can get used to each other more gradually. Why is it that cats don’t listen when you ask them to just be nice to each other?
On Tuesday I met Emma and Trista for after work drinks at the Crafty Crow, a new real-ale bar in Nottingham. It was very nice, and great fun to go out, especially now the weather is nicer and the nights are so light! We hatched plans for a trip to Wimpey and a 90s movie marathon comprising Clueless and 10 things I hate about you!
Wednesday evening was the monthly City WI meeting – this month we tried our hand at English paper piercing which was really fun!
This week I also discovered (implies I was being more proactive than I was – she actually emailed me!) another Nottingham based baking blog – Sweet 2 Eat Baking! Check out Lisa’s blog!
Have a wonderful weekend! I’m baking nutella cupcakes…
PS Did you see this month’s Waitrose magazine? The chocolate recipes are amazing!
Liana pimped her Creme Eggs… by adding rainbow sprinkles! I heartily approve!
Back to the future – women’s rights are being chipped away in the UK
A new way to eat cookie? Sign me up!
Jack Monroe’s recipe for risotto that costs just 64p a serving
Can’t eat gluten? Try these flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies – they look so yummy!
What is it like to live on Britain’s most expensive street - Kensington Palace Gardens
What’s in a name? Names like Gertrude and Cecil are in danger of becoming extinct
Hot Cross Buns are a favourite for Easter, although generally the ones you find in the shops aren’t great at all (although Good Housekeeping have rates Tesco’s as number one this year), plus… raisins.
Homemade Chocolate Chip Hot Cross buns are a whole other story – they still have the delicious spiced hot cross bun flavour that comes from orange zest and cinnamon, but they’re packed full of milk and white chocolate chips too, for a more indulgent and grown up Easter treat.
Is there anything in the world that isn’t improved by the addition of chocolate chips? The answer is no.
Making these Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns is super simple, but a little time consuming with all the proving, so if you want them to be ready for Saturday morning brunch, start making them on the Friday evening and let them have their second prove in the fridge overnight. You’ll have fresh hot cross buns in no time!
- 300ml whole milk, plus 2 tbsp more
- 50g butter
- 500g strong bread flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 95g caster sugar
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 7g sachet fast-action or easy-blend yeast
- 1 egg, beaten
- 75g plain flour
- 5 tbsp water
- 50g milk chocolate chips
- 50g white chocolate chips
- Heat the milk in a saucepan until bubbles appear and it begins to boil. Remove from the heat and and then drop the butter into the pan straight away, and let it melt.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine your flour, salt, sugar and yeast. Stir the milk and butter - it should now be combined. Pour the milk butter mixture into the flour, and then add your egg. Stir with a wooden spoon and everything should come together into a sticky dough.
- Tip out onto a clean surface with plenty of flour, and knead for five minutes. At first it will seem difficult, as the dough is very sticky, but as you knead, the dough will become smoother and more elastic. Pop into a large oiled bowl, and cover in clingfilm (tightly). Leave to prove in a warm place with no draughts for 1 hour.
- Once the hour is up, pour your chocolate chips into the bowl along with the dough, and knead the dough (still in the bowl) to incorporate the chips. At first, lots of them will fall out, but keep going and they'll all get mixed in. Re-cover with the clingfilm and leave to prove for another hour.
- Alternatively, pop into the fridge overnight at this point to bake the hot cross buns the next morning - just ensure you take them out around an hour before you want to bake them.
- After the second prove, prepare a large baking tray covered with parchment paper and divide your dough into 14 roughly even pieces. On a clean surface, roll each segment of dough until it forms a smooth bowl (kneading each one a little helps, so that the dough becomes sticky). Put onto your tray in a square formation, with a couple of centimetres between each bun.
- Cover the buns with clingfilm or a tea towel, and leave for their final prove for another hour.
- Prehat your oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Mix the 75g plain flour with enough water until it forms a thick but pipable paste - this will form the crosses on your buns!
- Just before the buns are ready to go into the oven, fill a piping bag (I prefer to use a sandwich bag, then cut off the tip) with the flour paste, and draw crosses on your buns - if your buns are lined up, you can do a long line one way and then the other.
- Pop into the oven for 20 minutes - the middle or bottom shelf is the best place for them. Towards the end of the cooking time, peel your buns of the parchment paper, and turn them upside down on the tray to allow the base to get nice and cooked through.
- Remove and leave to cool on a wire rack. Best eaten within a couple of days.
Try dark chocolate and fresh ginger, or dark chocolate with chilli for more fun twists on the traditional hot cross bun!
Happy friday, friends!
How’s your week been? Mine has been busy, but fun – things are really picking up the pace on the wedding front!
This past Friday I headed out for cocktails after work with a couple of work friends – we went to the Living Room in Nottingham for two for one cocktails! The Key Lime Pie was absolutely delicious, but the blueberry pancake was horrid!
Later, I headed home and baked some slutty brownies for a friends 30th birthday gift! They had a cookie dough base, a fudgy (almost liquid) brownie centre, and an amazing crackly top – plus they were packed full of Cadbury Dairy Milk with Oreo chunks!
I can’t WAIT to share the recipe with you, they were honestly the best brownies I’ve ever made in my whole life (and possibly ever eaten… possibly!).
On Saturday I headed home to see my parents for the weekend for Mother’s Day. We did some shopping (I picked up Maybelline Baby Lips and a pretty blue and white vintage plate) and mooched around. I also brought a Lemon Meringue Pie that I’d baked as it’s her favourite – I made sure it was super lemony! Pies aren’t really my favourite, but it was very tasty!
On Sunday, we headed to the Vintage Tea Emporium in Uttoxeter to have a lovely afternoon tea. The food there is super delicious and the staff are all wonderful too. We also posted mine and Lee’s wedding invitations! We’ve started to get RSVPs this week which is massively exciting!
I’ve spent lots of time this week hanging out with Marsha – she’s still living in our spare room but we’re trying to introduce her more to Milo, we had them eating at different ends of the same room yesterday. Does any who’s successfully brought another cat into their household have any tips?
This week, I also caught up with some old work colleagues and had the MOST AMAZING lunch at Wired Cafe bar in Nottingham. I know I’m always going on about them on here, and in real life, but the food there is simply AMAZING! I had a cream cheese and smoked salmon sandwich on the softest, most delicious seeded bread, with a lovely salad and coleslaw. If you live in Nottingham, go – NOW!
Have you had a good week? Are you planning on baking anything this weekend? If you fancy some kitchen pottering, and you have (or can acquire) some hazlenuts, some cocoa powder and some sugar, might I recommend my homemade nutella?
I stocked up on baking goods in the 3 for 2 at tesco (SO great for buying expensive items like pecans, coconut and vanilla bean paste!). I am baking this weekend – I’m making a huge carrot cake bundt with cream cheese frosting to share with my workmates!
So you guys know that I love Rainbow Cake, but did you know that there’s a whole world of other rainbow baking inspiration out there? Since it’s the second birthday of my rainbow cake, I thought I’d make this whole week rainbow themed here on Kerry Cooks!
Rainbows are a little bit of a theme at my wedding this June (and I’m so so excited that equal marriage is now in force so people of all sexualities can join us in getting married this year – even more rainbows!) so you may see one or hopefully more of these creations showing up at my Wedding Bake-Off!
Click on the link under the image for the recipes!
There are lots of options for decorating your rainbow cake – I particularly love the ruffle cake by I am Baker! I LOVE IT! I have a ruffle nozzle and need to start practicising!
Rainbow cookies are just so fun and cute too! Whether they’re rainbow coloured, or plain ones with fantastic rainbow decorations, or filled with Rainbow coloured frosting!
But wait! What about Rainbow Cupcakes?
These ones are just plain vanilla with rainbow frosting – how cute! I also made Rainbow Cupcakes a couple of years ago – they were a huge hit with kids!
Even though I’m normally totally opposed to fondant, these cupcakes are just too cute too resist…
So many rainbow baking ideas! Are you inspired to give any of them a try?
Happy Birthday Rainbow Cake! In the two years since I first published my rainbow cake post, it’s received over 140000 views, and over 275 comments! So many people have made it for birthdays (both for kids and big kids!) and other celebrations, and it makes me so happy to see you all making it successfully!
To help celebrate I put out a call for the pictures of all the Rainbow Cake’s that my blog readers have made – and got a great response! Take a look at them below – thank you so much for sharing them with me. You are all very, very clever!
I’ve also updated the recipe and photos on my Rainbow Cake, to make it easier than ever to make! Happy birthday Rainbow Cake!
I’ve been at work just three days this week but I’m still so glad it’s the weekend! How does that happen?
This past Friday, I baked some Lemon Curd Cupcakes to take into work for our sport relief bake-off – they sold out in record time! I’ll share the recipe with you guys soon.
On Friday night we headed to Pizza Savai in Nottingham for a date night – and I consumed a veggie calzone bigger than my head. Mmm dough! It was pretty delicious!
On Saturday I headed down to Worthing, near Brighton in Sussex to visit my brother for the weekend with my parents. We ate lots of delicious thai food, drank cider and caught up!
Jenga, food, the beach and Star Wars cookies! Laura made these for my brother for his birthday and I helped out.
I’m told that these are Stormtroppers, and Bobba Fetts.
We also flew a kite (it was super windy) and I got it to do dives and all kinds of stuff! Plus enjoyed cream tea, and played Mario Kart with Ben.
This week I also visited my wedding dress maker and saw the lace and chiffon ordered for my dress, as well as getting measured up, as well as enjoying an amazing brie and pickle sandwich in the Cheese Shop in Nottingham. So. Much. CHEESE!
Cat update: Marsha came to stay with us on Wednesday! She’s settling in well in her room and is getting more comfortable with us every day. Her new bed and toys came too! Milo also LOVES his new cardboard scratching mat and toys that we got him too.
Have a wonderful weekend! Are you getting up to anything fun?
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