Wednesday, 22 October 2014

A pumpkin - from craft to table


We don't do much crafting in this house but I had seen some crafting kits to make Halloween themed bits and pieces in Wilko and had picked them up for them to use. So the other night after our unsuccessful conker hunt I set them the task of decorating a pumpkin each. The pack had various sticky on eyes, noses, stitches, mouths and hair. 



Bobs pumpkin

making us laugh

Fifi's finished pumpkin


So on Friday I was needing to use a pumpkin to make soup and cakes with. So I asked which one I could chop up and they both looked at me as if I had asked them which of the babies I could chop up!! So at the point I decided to leave it until they had gone home.


Later on that day I chopped the pumpkin in four, scooped out the seeds - which we fed to the chickens and sprinkled some oil on the pieces and roasted them off along with some peppers.




 I used a quarter of the pumpkin flesh and mixed it into a basic cake recipe made with oil rather than margarine and added some sultanas, These two did not even last for twenty four hours!!





The rest of the flesh I made some soup with. Added two ham stock cubes to roughly a pint and a half of water, threw in some lentils ( yes it was as exact as that)  and added the pumpkin flesh and the roasted peppers. Cooked it for forty five minutes and then pureed it with a stick blender. 




So there we have it, used to amuse the children and then feed the family.
Daughter No2 and her OH were coming down on Friday evening for the night as she was taking Fifi bridesmaid dress shopping on Saturday. Fifi had come down to pick up her hama beads as she had made one for one of the other bridesmaids and wanted it to take with her. So Fifi stopped for soup and cake. Later on I got a phone call from Bob who wanted to know if the cake or soup was safe for him to eat as he would like some. Sadly it wasn't. I could "see" his little face drop over the phone. So to save any tears I have promised him that I will leave his one and when he is here this week we will make cake and soup that he can eat.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Bobs first trifle

When you are dairy free it is nice to find alternatives. There are quite a few out there I can have but very few Bob can have, He has been soya free for a while now, and the main brand of oat milk has taken to making nut milks in the same factory so that rules that one out as well. So it leaves us pretty much with coconut milk, which both him and I love. 

We had a discussion last week about trifle, Fifi was going on about loving them, she had made one at school in her cooking class, and mum had bough her a few of the packet mix ones to make up at home, so Bob has decided he wants to try trifle, and wanted  me to make him one. If he wants something new its always grandma that gets the fun of experimenting. He is also more likely to try it if I make it than if mummy does as he can be funny with new food, even of he did ask for it. He has had jelly in the past, and he has had hot custard with cake and things but that does not mean he will try it cold. 

So I had some Rhythm coconut milk in the fridge waiting for just such an occasion, and so Bobs first trifle came about. 

Rhythm 100% Virgin Coconut Milk

Naturally delicious coconut creations with no added sugar – 100% coconut, nothing else
Our Virgin Coconut Milks are made with fully mature coconuts (usually ripened to around 9 months) and are bursting with the incredible, naturally sweet coconuty taste of first-pressed virgin coconut milk.
As we  cold –press the  fresh coconut meat to create the virgin coconut milks  they are  abundant with virgin coconut oil , in fact 26g as  per 100g of  the milk .Made  without the need  to dehydrate the coconut to capture the oil ..This means you get the benefit of the whole plants phytonutrients  that are present just as nature intended
Sourced from the beautiful, bountiful Philippines – home to many different kinds of coconut – we’ve carefully selected the best types (including an amazing naturally-reduced fat variety) to create two delicious delicacies…







So I opened the packet, the milk is fairly thick, is beautifully meaty, with a definite texture both to feel and taste. To allow me to make custard and a milk shake I diluted it to make a pint, and it still had more than enough "milkiness" to it.

Firstly I had some ripe bananas sitting so I made some into a banana milk shake, a great healthy and tasty drink and as Bob and I can only eat bananas either puréed or cooked its an easy way of consuming them.





a banana milkshake

Next off was the trifle. I phoned Bob and asked him what flavour of jelly he wanted, he picked lemonade - well he actually picked blackcurrant but I didn't have any. So I made the jelly and added some tinned mandarins and popped it in the fridge to set.


Next off I made the custard as you would normally with custard powder but using the rest of the coconut milk. Left the custard to cool and then spooned it on top of the jelly and again put it back in the fridge to set.


Decorated the top with some reserved mandarins and sprinkled on a few hundreds and thousands. Bob was delighted with it, he loved it, and ate nearly half in one sitting, and I am sure would have ate more had I let him.
Guess this is going to become a regular in the house.


Disclaimer - I received one pack of Rhythm 100% Virgin Coconut Milk but the recipe idea is my own.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Project 365 week 42 12th - 18th October

Sunday

This was a brilliant day, I got the chance to go to a blogger meeting in Glasgow. We do not get many options like this that come to Glasgow so how could I not accept the invitation?   It was a blogger bake off and I wrote a post about it here.




Lis with her cakes ready for the oven




Monday

We all got a goody bag to bring home with us from the baking day, here is mine. We all came away with a Kenwood kMix mixer, and I am well impressed with it.  We got to keep the aprons we were provided with, we also had a couple of nice heavy duty canvas bags, a Kenwood truck, keyring and dish towel and a Curry's usb memory stick.





the goody bag 



Tuesday

One of the recipes I had picked up from Sunday was for ganache, and so I decided to try it dairy free. So here is the result of that experimentation very nice it was too. If you are interested there is a  recipe post here.





was difficult to photograph the brown on brown




Wednesday

We were back visiting in the Stirling area and did some geocaching afterwards, last chance we will get as it will be dark from next month afterwards. I had planned on doing a new trail of them in Alloa, but they were not loaded onto my GPS, so decided to get some more of the ones at Gartmorn Dam. I liked the autumnal colours in this.



nice autumnal colours






Thursday


I had the children over tonight. We went out conker hunting before it got dark, but have to say we were disappointed did not find many at all. We did manage to find a cache that we had missed previously.  Upon our return we made a start on our Halloween decorations. They had a laugh making these, and Fifi decided this was the best way to get her photograph taken, the pumpkin was not finished at this stage.


can you see me





Friday

Our schools have had their October holiday this week, There was no hurry to send them home, and so they stayed and played.  One toy that comes out regularly is the Hama beads, these were today's creations. Her butterfly is for a friend and his heart has his initial and his girlfriends.

Bobs
Fifi's 
























Saturday


Daughter No2 and SIL were down last night, along with the dog. This is his new bed that he would not lie on, so OH made me laugh. I found the dogs stuffed toy sitting on the cushion reading a copy of the Historic Scotland magazine.
Daughter was taking Fifi and the other bridesmaids dress shopping today. I was informed it was very successful and despite being hyper the three of them were well behaved, would not have expected much else to be honest with you.




well somebody may as well use it



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Saturday, 18 October 2014

Dairy free ganache with my new kMix

Last week when we were at the Glasgow bake off we all, yes all, got to bring home a Kenwood KMik so I had to try mine out.  





This hand mixer belongs to the Kenwood kMix range. Compact, clean and designed for everyday use, the Hand Mixer can be relied upon to help with a variety of food preparation tasks.
The Hand Mixer has a powerful 350W motor, and five speeds plus pulse and high quality stainless steel beaters and kneaders for effortless mixing.
The die cast aluminium, ergonomic body has a soft grip handle. The tactile design of this hand mixer makes it both comfortable to use and beautiful to look at. 

One of the other things that we had made at the afternoon we were there was a ganache. This had been made with full fat cream, which I just cannot get away with eating at all, but I liked the idea of something other than "butter" icing to put on a cake, so I looked up a recipe on line and found a dairy free version and had to try it out. 

I made a basic Victoria sponge and added some drinking chocolate to flavour it, dairy free of course, 

200g sugar
200g margarine 
4 eggs
200g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tablespoon drinking choc. 

beat all ingredients together, split between two greased sandwich tins and bake at 170 oC for approx 20 mins.


So I set about making the ganache and hoped for the best. First off all I put a packet of uht coconut cream into a pan to warm up. Once the cream had warmed it became liquid.


add the uht coconut cream to a pan and heat gently

While the cream was warming, I weighed out the same weight in dairy free chocolate, I had some "chocolate" drops in the cupboard, not the cheapest but a very good quality. If you are on a budget some of the supermarkets do an own make basic plain chocolate that would work nearly as well.  


weigh out the same weight in chocolate



and melt together gently.


This made a smooth runny mixture that once it was cool can be used as it is to pour over a cake or a pudding. It can if you prefer be whisked to thicken it up to use for a filling or a topping on a cake. It can be whisked to different thickness's depending on how long you whisk it for. 



slightly too thick, a few seconds less would have been better


Have to say I thickened mine slightly too much and so had to microwave it for ten seconds to warm it up slightly to make it more manageable and spreadable.



in, on and decorated


I also made some small cakes with the same mixture  and decorated these with an icing bag. The finished ganache was amazing, very pleasant to eat and even OH has gone back for more, and you would not know it was dairy free. I will make this again. Chocolate fudge cake may well be on the cards next. 





So what did I think of my kmix? 

The mixer is well made and a good weight. It stands well on its base and can be placed on the work top between stages. I like the pulse switch on the mixer that allows for short bursts if needed. The switch is well placed and easy to switch up and down  with a thumb during use. It runs smoothly and quietly.  The handle is easy grip and very comfortable to hold. 


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           


I like the simple stand that comes with the product, it holds the beaters as well as dough hooks. The cord wraps round the bottom of the mixer to keep it neat and tidy.

on its stand



Curry's are asking us to share a baking tip in a blog post, my tip would be to use the best quality of ingredients that you can afford. 



Thursday, 16 October 2014

My afternoon at the Glasgow Bake Off.

I had an e-mail a while back, inviting me to a Glasgow Bake Off event being held at The Cookery School in Glasgow in Conjunction with #Currysinthekitchen. As my regular followers will know I like baking, be that just dairy free for me to eat or dairy/egg/gluten/wheat free for Bob to eat. So I thought the day would be fun, so having cleared it at work I could get the day off I readily said yes please. 

I had to take a small diversion on the way up to pick up a cache at Mitchell Street, how amazing is the art work on the wall? Anyway I digress. 




the art work at the cache on Mitchell Street




We arrived and were met by Shaun from @joesbloggers who had organised the event in conjunction with Currys who have written up a summary post of the day along with some pictures that they took, feel free and pop over for a look at their take on the event. 



The group of us outside the Cook School (taken by Currys) 


After a seat, coffee and an introduction done by Gemma we all toddled off through to the kitchen which was set up ready for our first baking - which was scones


We were introduced to our chef for the day Danny McArdle






Danny would take us through the cooking of the day, doing some explaining on items like flours and baking powder as well as the different qualities of chocolate. He took us back to basic levels and had a great sense of humour so it was quite light hearted. He would show us what was expected from us and then we would off into our groups and make our own.  The day must have seemed a bit strange as everybody had cameras and phones and we were all tweeting and sharing on instagram whilst we watched and listened. 



Danny making his scones 
I have never been to a cook school before, and was impressed at the set up, from there being more than enough tools for us all to work with, to the fact all our workstations had a sign on the desk showing which spot our goodies went into in the oven so we got the right ones back. The staff were attentive and on hand if we needed anything. 
I teamed up with  Anne from Frock Trade and Tatyana from Secret Little Stars and this is them 




adding the raisins to the scones. 





While our scones were cooking we were shown how to make Victoria sponges. We then had a break in which we could eat our scones 



our scones rose amazingly well. 




here is Lis enjoying her scone 



 We used the recipe to make both a large sponge and a dozen small ones.  These were cooked and cooling ready to decorate while we ate lunch . 



making the sponge


Some of the work stations had Kenwood food mixers on, and two of these were given away at the end of the day.

Amy and Irene tweeting and baking

Here is Lis showing me her cakes.





We filled the sponge with cream and jam and dusted the top with icing sugar before slicing it. 



Here are the cakes I decorated, this has never been a skill of mine. My baking tastes good but doesn't look overly pretty. 



Whenever I fill a sponge I use "butter" icing, well dairy free margarine to be truthful, but one of the things we were shown today was how to make ganache, something I have never heard of. This involved double cream, which I cannot eat at all so I googled it when I got home and have since made it dairy free - recipe to follow.

All to soon it was time to pack up our wares and head home. We all got to pick up a goody bag to take home with us. 




listening at the end of the day. 








OH was over the moon as all the goods were made with butter which I cannot eat and never use in the house and he enjoyed how rich and creamy everything tasted. 

I had a fab day, some great laughs and met some new blogger friends. Have to say it was nice that they had not invited what I would consider to be foodie bloggers, there was a spread of fashion, beauty and parent bloggers like myself.  I want to say a huge thank you to everybody involved in making this a brilliant day. Its nice to get events up here north of the border. 






Saturday, 11 October 2014

Project 365 5th - 11th October

Sunday

Got this lovely card with a nice wee pressie from the ladies at the crochet club. Its nice to be appreciated.










Monday

Spent a lot of the day in the garden, between helping to finish the chicken run and picking what was left of the tomatoes and cutting down the plants etc. Decided the tomatoes probably would not ripen to much more at this time of year so picked them all. Had nearly ten pounds time we weighed them out. The green ones got mushed and popped into bags in the freezer to use in cooking at a later date.














Tuesday

Had an appointment to get a filling replaced and a polish at the dentist. Was in the town a bit early and so decided to take a walk along the beach, was a lovely day. These four looked like students, the two on the sand were pretending to bury something and laughing manically as they did it. The other two had a camera and sound equipment between them.








Wednesday

Rather a yuck day weather wise, so did a bit of baking to relieve the boredom. This is a Victoria Sponge with some aero bubbles stirred through it, with the rest crushed and added to the butter icing.






Thursday

Visit day today, making the most of the remaining few light nights we will have after we come out. Took a walk round this picturesque loch.






Friday

The chicken run is finished and now they can get out any time they want. No more running round the garden pooping every where. Brought them a pile of leaves back from Stirling to kick about it, they seem to love it.









Saturday

Daughter No2 is down for the weekend and is spending it with the children. She took Bob and Fifi to a crafting place in Troon. This is Bob's gecko. He made a great job of doing it, and wanted to let me see it so I could make it picture of the day. Happy to do that for him.







A rather dull week I have to say. But that was the week it was.


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