Berrytastic

Red and black

Baked Berry Cheesecake

  • 8 digestive biscuits
  • 50g butter , melted
  • 600g cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 175g caster sugar
  • vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, plus 1 yolk
  • 142ml pot soured cream
  • 300g raspberries, blackberries and strawberries
  • icing sugar

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Crush 8 digestive biscuits in a food processor (or put in a plastic bag and bash with a rolling pin). Mix with 50g melted butter. Press into a 20cm springform tin and bake for 5 minutes, then cool.
  2. Beat 600g cream cheese with 2 tbsp flour, 175g caster sugar, a few drops of vanilla extract, 2 eggs, 1 yolk and a 142ml pot of soured cream until light and fluffy. Stir in 150g raspberries and pour into the tin. Bake for 40 minutes and then check, it should be set but slightly wobbly in the centre. Leave in the tin to cool.
  3. Using the remaining 150g raspberries, keep a few for the top and put the rest in a pan with 1 tbsp icing sugar. Heat until juicy and then squash with a fork. Push through a sieve. Serve the cheescake with the raspberry sauce and raspberries.

Summer Berry Baked cheesecake

LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE – enjoying and recording the everyday moments of life.

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Currytime

A slight change from the baking theme I have been posting each Saturday, as a family we love to cook and we decided that we would make a curry from scratch with the kids, these recipes made more than enough to serve 6. I do not think they realised how much went into the ones they like though. Before they were both born my husband and I used to do a lot of complex recipes and do a lot of experimenting, spending a few hours preparing. Now though we just tend to go for things that we can prepare in half an hour as we never seem to have enough time!

As the kids are now older and pretty adept in the kitchen. we have decided that most weekends we are going to try and cook something different and all get involved, it may not always be possible, but I plan to document our process and the recipes here.

SAG ALOO

  • 2.0 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1.0 tbsp chopped ginger
  • 500.0g potatoes, cut into 2cm, ¾in chunks
  • 1 large red chilli, halved, deseeded and finely sliced
  • ½ tsp each black mustard seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric
  • 250.0g spinach leaves
  1. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion, garlic and ginger, and fry for about 3 mins. Stir in the potatoes, chilli, spices and half a tsp salt and continue cooking and stirring for 5 mins more. Add a splash of water, cover, and cook for 8-10 mins.
  2. Check the potatoes are ready by spearing with the point of a knife, and if they are, add the spinach and let it wilt into the pan. Take off the heat and serve.

CHICKEN KORMA

  • 1.kg Chicken breast or mini breast fillets
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of finely grated fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 150g thick (plain) yogurt
  • 1 dried red chilli
  • 2 finely chopped onions
  • 1 tbsp ghee or veg. oil
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • Pinch of ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • water
  • 75g creamed coconut
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 heaped tbsps ground almonds
  • finely chopped Coriander Leaves, to garnish
  • juice of  1/2 lemon
  1. Cut the chicken breasts into bite sized chunks
  2. Mix the chicken with the ginger, garlic and yogurt. Cover and marinade for 12 hours or in the fridge overnight.
  3. Liquidise the chopped onion and red chillies, add a little water if you need to. blend til smooth.
  4. Heat the ghee/oil in a pan.
  5. Add the ground coriander, ground black pepper, turmeric and garam masala and stir fry for about 1-minute over a low heat.
  6. Turn up the heat, add the onion and chilli paste and stir fry for 10-minutes.
  7. Add the chicken and the marinade and continue to stir fry for another 10-minutes.
  8. Add the creamed coconut and enough water to *just* cover the chicken and bring to the boil, stirring until the coconut is dissolved. Stir in the ground almonds.
  9. Reduce heat to low, cover the pan and simmer until the chicken is tender (30-40 minutes).
  10. Remove from heat, add lemon juice and salt to taste. Mix well.

CHICK PEA CURRY

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • ¼ tsp coriander powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • ¼ tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 fresh tomato, chopped
  • 1 x 400g/14oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 5cm/2in piece root ginger, grated
  • pinch of garam masala
  1. Heat a deep saucepan or a medium sized wok and add the oil or butter followed by the onions and garlic.
  2. Fry the mixture till the onions are caramelised. Then add the salt, cumin, coriander, turmeric and red chilli powders. Mix for a minute and tip in the tomato. Cook the sauce until it begins to thicken.
  3. Add ¼ cup of water and stir. Then tip in the chickpeas and mix. Mash a few of the chickpeas while cooking. Cover and simmer for five minutes. Then add the ginger and the garam masala. Cook for another minute.

CHICKEN MADRAS

  • 4 chicken breasts, one per person!
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2cm block of fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 400g ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 300ml water
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • Coriander leaves, to garnish
  • 2–4 red chillies, finely chopped – You can de-seed if you prefer, but this will make it not as spicy
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1–3 tsp (or more!) hot chilli powder, to taste – Adding more or less will vary the hotness
  • 6–8 curry leaves
  • Juice of half a lemon or lime
  1. Cut the chicken into strips or cubes and put aside. Heat the oil and add the onions and cook until they start to soften which will be about 5 or 6 mins. Once the onions have started to brown add the chillies, the garlic and the ginger and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Then add the turmeric, cumin, coriander, curry leaves and chilli powder and leave to cook for a further minute or so.
  2. In that time, season the chicken you set aside earlier with the salt and pepper and add to the pan and cook stirring the pan until the chicken begins to go golden brown all over.
  3. At this stage you’ll want to add the water and the chopped tomatoes and then bring to boil. Once the pan is boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pan stirring ever so often. Let it simmer for about 30 minutes and add more water as needed if it begins to stick or the sauce becomes too dry – remember to stir well if you do need to add water. At the end of the 30 mins, stir in the garam masala and leave uncovered for another 10 mins, again taking care not to let it dry out.
  4. When the cooking’s finished and you’re ready to serve the chicken madras, garnish it with some coriander leaves (not the stalk!)

PILAU RICE

  • 450g/1lb basmatic rice
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • large knob butter, plus extra to serve
  • 4 cardamon pods
  • 8 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • pinch saffron threads
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 600ml/1 pint hot chicken stock, vegetable stock or water
  • Salt
  1. To make sure you get lovely fluffy rice, wash it in several changes of cold water, then leave to soak for about 30 minutes in fresh cold water. If you don’t have time for this, place in a sieve and wash under the cold tap for a minute or so.
  2. Cook the onion in the butter for around 5 minutes until softened. Add the spices, saffron and bay leaves and cook for a couple more minutes. The spices will give a wonderful fragrant flavour to the rice. Add the rice and stir until the grains are coated in the butter before stirring in the stock or water and salt. Bring to the boil and then cover with a tight-fitting lid. If the lid isn’t very tight, cover the pan with aluminium foil before putting the lid on. Turn the heat down low and leave to cook for 10 minutes before turning off the heat. Don’t remove the lid; just leave the rice to continue cooking in the pan for about 5 minutes until you’re ready to serve.
  3. The rice should have absorbed all the water and will just need fluffing up with a fork. Add a knob of butter before serving.

We did though cheat and buy the naans :-)

LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE – enjoying and recording the everyday moments of life.

Moreish Chocolate Cookies

We were fed up with the choice of Easter products to give as a gift so the kids decided it would be much nicer to take a more personal approach and asked it they could bake some biscuits and then decorate them for Easter gifts to family.

Chocolate upon chocolate

Rich Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 175g (6 oz) butter, unsalted and diced
  • 115g (4oz) caster sugar (superfine)
  • Finely grated rind of one lemon
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten
  • 225g (8oz) plain flour
  • 50g (2oz) chocolate chips
  • 2 bars of good chocolate to decorate
  • Decorations of your choice 🙂
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F) Gas 4
  2. Cream butter and sugar and lemon rind together until pale, light and fluffy. Add the beaten egg yolks, then stir in the flour and chocolate chips to make a firm dough. If it is a little soft (which ours was) chill it in the fridge until firm.
  3. Roll the dough on baking parchment to just under 5mm (1/4″) in thickness. Using a 9cm (3.5″) fluted cutter, stamp out rounds, and place, spaced slightly apart on non stick baking sheets.
  4. Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes, or until golden.
  5. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the baking sheets (as they will crumble if you try and take them off!)
  6. Melt the good chocolate over a bowl of water until it is nice and smooth and then carefully spoon it over the cookie tops.
  7. Whilst the chocolate is still warm put any decorations on top. We used chocolate mini eggs, chocolate buttons, sprinkles and mini smarties.
  8. Finally leave the chocolate to cool and set again, then enjoy.
This recipe makes 18 moreish cookies  🙂

Watching

Decorating

The Easter presents

LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE – enjoying and recording the everyday moments of life.

{Macro Monday} – the Fools eDition

It’s macro time again and this time I thought I would share this fantastic fruit I found called Rainbow Fruit, each mouthful tastes different, I can highly recommend it 🙂

Rainbow Fruit

Half a rainbow

The theme today for Macro Monday was “I Fooled You!”, loved doing this for April Fool’s Day, such fun.

On a personal note I would like to wish Happy Birthday to my Great Auntie Betty, 96 years young today!

LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE – enjoying and recording the everyday moments of life.

Chocolate Heaven

Well it is Saturday, so it is time for our weekly baking share. This time the kids decided that they should be chocolate ones, with of course even more chocolate on top! :-)

Gooey Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 150g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 50g blanched hazelnuts, ground
  • 200g self raising flour
  • 200g chocolate and hazelnut spread (nutella)
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F) Gas 4
  2. Put the chocolate in a heat proof bowl, set over a pan on gently simmering water. Do not let the bowl touch the water. Leave until almost melted. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale and fluffy, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the hazelnuts, then sift the flour into the mixture and fold in. Stir in the melted chocolate.
  4. Drop 1/2 heaped tablespoon of the mixture into each paper-case, then flatten and add an indentation into the centre using the back of a teaspoon. Drop a generous dollop of chocolate spread into the centre of each one, then divide the  remaining cake mixture between each cupcake, placing it on top.
  5. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 18 minutes until risen and the top springs back when gently pressed.
  6. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  7. To decorate make some butter icing 85g butter, whisked until pale and fluffy, then gradually beat in 170g of icing sugar. Finally add a few drops of vanilla extract and beat in.
  8. Top the cold cupcakes with a small quantity of the icing and decorate with chocolate buttons, hazelnuts or your own choice of topping :-)
This recipe makes 24 deliciously moist cupcakes
We are off on an Easter Egg hunt tomorrow where Downton Abbey was filmed………so excited 🙂

LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE – enjoying and recording the everyday moments of life.

Butterfly Baking

Another baking afternoon fun when the kids got home from school they wanted to make some cupcakes for the school fete, who am I to stop them. As usual they made the cake and then this time I did the final decoration as it is a little tricky for a 8 year old to cut the tops and do the butterfly wings :-)

Butterfly Cupcakes

  • 200g (8 oz) butter
  • 200g (8oz) caster sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 200g (8oz) self-raising flour
  • 4tbsp milk
  • 150g (6oz) butter
  • 350g (14oz) icing sugar
  • 2-4 tbsp milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 C (400 F) Gas 6
  2. Line two 12-hole bun tins with paper cases
  3. Cream butter and sugar together until pale, light and fluffy. Add the beaten eggs, a small amount at a time, beating well after each addition. Using a metal spoon, fold in the flour. If the mixture seems too dry, add a little milk so that you get a soft, dropping consistency.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases, dividing it equally. Then bake for 15-20 minutes or until nicely risen and they spring back when touched gently on top. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  5. To make the butter icing, cream the butter until pale, light and fluffy, then gradually add the icing sugar (I always sift it in and then stir slowly to avoid the sugar dust going everywhere!) beating it in really well. Add a few drops of milk if needed to get a smooth consistency.
  6. When the cupcakes are cold, slice the tops off with a sharp knife and then cut each top in half. Spoon a dollop of the butter icing on the top of each cake. Replace the tops to make the wings. Decorate with silver balls and jelly laces for the body and antennae or like I did with chocolate buttons!
  7. Finally dust with icing sugar, then enjoy.
This recipe makes 24 delicious and fun cupcakes  🙂

If you have a go at the recipe, please post a link to any photos you take of them or just leave a comment to let me know how they turned out as I would LOVE to know 🙂

LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE – enjoying and recording the everyday moments of life.

After school baking

Scrummy banana bread

Another Project Life collage for today, as I love spending quality time with my kids at the weekend above all else so I thought Saturdays would be a great day to share some of our forays into the culinary or craft field. Friday afternoon when we came home my son saw that we had some ripe bananas sitting in our fruit bowl and asked if we could bake, well who am I to refuse such a request. I do not know about you but I always seem to find myself with some very ripe bananas…one day they are green, the next speckled and almost too ripe. Our household does not like eating them when they get to this stage, so baking is a great way to use them up!

I love that both my kids have a love for baking and cooking in general. This banana loaf recipe is so easy, and so forgiving too, no matter what you do it seems to turn out delicious. This is our favourite banana loaf…I have made quite a few in my time and they are all good. But this one is one of the nicest. It is always moist and just perfect, and even gets better with age :-)

We listened to music signing, joking, discussing our days and laughing as we baked, such fun.

So annoyed with myself on the editing of this collage. Note to self, pay attention to the detail :-0

Banana Loaf

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 175g (6oz) butter or margarine
  • 175g (6oz) caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 225g (8oz) self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • handful of crushed walnuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180 deg C/350 deg F/Gas 4

  1. Peel the bananas then crush with a fork.
  2. Beat together the butter/margarine and sugar and then add the eggs alternately with the flour and baking powder.
  3. Fold in the crushed banana, vanilla essence and cinnamon and walnuts (if added).
  4. Pour the mixture into a greased 450g (1lb) loaf tin, and if liked top with long thin slices of an additional banana.
  5. Bake in a preheated oven for about 40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
  6. Cool slightly then turn out onto a wire rack.
  7. When cool, slice.
  8. ENJOY!

LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE – enjoying and recording the everyday moments of life.

Gingerbread fun

The fantastic gingerbread men

Today my post is a little different from my previous ones, this collage above was part of my Project Life 2012. The concept of Project Life itself was started by Beccy Higins and was designed as a way to simplify the documenting of every day life. If you do not know what it is, it is worth checking out. It is great for recording memories in an easy and fun way either digitally like me or in the traditional scrapbook form.

For many years I had been meaning to do a traditional scrapbook of my kids lives and to that end I have boxes and boxes (my husband with vouch for this!!!) of bits and pieces I hadkept, written, photos taken etc from the time I was pregnant with them both. So far I have managed one year of my daughters life in the traditional paper form, but time has always been an issue for me. “December Dailies” came to my attention when one of my friends (thank you so much Clare) mentioned it to me. I enjoyed doing this so much digitally that I started googling “Scrapbooking” which is when I came across Beccy and her account of Project Life. BINGO, I knew this was something I really wanted to have a go at as it looked so manageable.

Well. so far I have managed to stay up to date and have lots of pages made into a book for last year and I am well on my way to being ready to be make another at the end of this year and I am enjoying every minute of it too! Even now looking back over the last fifteen months at the pages brings the memories alive.

As a working mum I personally often feel that my kids miss out (I know deep down that they do not, but it does not change the way I feel!), so whenever I get the chance, I ensure that I have some one on one time with both of them, doing something that they will hopefully remember in the years to come! This day my son and I had a blast making these wonderfully tasty Gingerbread Men, so worth trying as they are yummy!

Gingerbread Men Recipe 

-makes 12 large Double Ginger gingerbread men

  • 140.0g unsalted butter
  • 100.0g dark muscovado sugar
  • 3.0 tbsp golden syrup
  • 350.0g plain flour
  • 1.0 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2.0 tsp ground ginger and 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 balls stem ginger from a jar, chopped
  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Line 2 baking sheets with baking parchment. Melt butter, sugar and syrup in a pan. Mix flour, soda, spices and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Stir in the butter mix and chopped ginger to make a stiff-ish dough.
  2. Wait until cool enough to handle, then roll out dough to about 5mm thick. Stamp out gingerbread men, re-rolling and pressing the trimmings back together and rolling again. Lift onto baking sheets. Bake for 12 mins until golden. Cool 10 mins on the sheets, then lift onto cooling racks.
  3. To decorate, mix icing sugar with a few drops of water until thick and smooth. Halve then slice cherries thinly to make smiles, and cut ginger into small squares. Spoon icing into a food bag, snip off the tiniest bit from one corner, then squeeze eyes and buttons, and a tiny smile onto 1 man at a time. Stick on a cherry smile and ginger buttons. Repeat; leave to set. Will keep up to 1 week in an airtight tin.

Decorating

You can also use raisins, sultanas or Smarties to decorate, if you prefer. (for our ones above, we just used icing pens and silver balls!)

LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE – enjoying and recording the everyday moments of life.