Easter Gingerbread Biscuit Gifts

It’s been a week since I last made a blog post! I guess I haven’t had a lot of inspiration this past 7 days!

However, I have done some more Easter baking – this time it was treats to send out as gifts.

If you read my post …Easter Biscuit Traybake , you will see that this was where the original idea and inspiration came from. I wanted to make this idea better so decided I would make gingerbread dough this time to give the biscuit slab a smoother finish.

As I wanted two contrasting colours, I decided to make a plain gingerbread and a chocolate gingerbread. I found recipes for these online and went ahead and made the dough. I chilled the dough for several hours before rolling and cutting into my designs. As before, I cut out shapes from the rectangles I made and replaced them with shapes of the contrasting dough. A little fiddly but I think the effect is worth it.

I made 3 different biscuit slabs, one was kept as a tester and the other 2 I have sent out to family members who should receive them in the post tomorrow. I fear that the biscuits may be a little soft but perfectly edible I’m sure!

These were Easter themed so used the Easter cutters to create a nice picture out of the gingerbread dough. Here’s how they looked before baking.

After the biscuits had baked and cooled, I decorated them using icing pens. Once decorated, I wrapped in foil and packed carefully into a small letterbox size box.

I feel that these biscuits still need to look neater and more refined. Also some of the gingerbread didn’t fully merge together when baking so did break a little.
However, making these has given me so many new ideas for this style of biscuit. AI may try shortbread next…

The gingerbread tasted really good – the chocolate gingerbread was very rich but full of flavour and worked really well with the spices.

Thanks for reading,

Katie

Easter Biscuit Traybake

Ever since I made the Hot Cross Bun Bread and Butter Pudding I have been thinking about other Easter bakes that I can make.

I bought some Easter Biscuit cutters a little while ago and wanted to be able to use these but I didn’t want to make just shaped biscuits. I had an idea in my head that I wanted to test out…

Sometimes an idea in our heads doesn’t always quite work out how we imagined but I am happy with my first attempt…

I found a simple biscuit recipe and adapted it to make two lots of dough, a vanilla dough and a chocolate dough.

After 1 hour chilling in the fridge I rolled a little of each of the dough out and cut out 4 Easter shapes from each. All the remaining dough was put together and rolled into a rectangle.

I then put the rolled out dough into a large baking tray – it broke a little and I did have to press some of the dough in place! I then used the cutters to remove shapes of dough from the tray and filled in with the shapes I cut earlier. (This sounds confusing doesn’t it)!? There is probably an easier way to achieve this effect which is why this is attempt number 1 and I shall learn from this!!

Before baking

Next this went in the oven to bake and came out looking like this.

Not the neatest looking I admit! I decided I would use some icing pens to decorate it.

After this I decided it needed some colour so drew on some flowers with orange and pink icing pens.

This was just a fun baking experiment for me and I am quite pleased with how it looks for a first attempt and I am already thinking of what I can do to improve it. The ideas was completely in my head – I haven’t seen anything quite like this before which is why I thought I would give it a go.

It makes a great treat for a family. Smaller letterbox versions of these could be made which would make a great gift to post to loved ones.

Thanks for reading,

Katie

Kitchen Creations This Week

I like to end the week with a post about what I have been cooking and baking, so here is this week’s…

Evening Meals

On Sunday we had a lovely roast pork dinner, my husband cooked most of this so I can’t take the credit for it. He is a good cook too and I often refer to him as the Weekend Chef as that’s when he has the time to do cooking.

Because we had roast pork on Sunday, it meant we had leftovers. I chose to use the leftover pork in a risotto. I made a risotto with pork, yellow pepper and beans and flavoured with paprika.

Tuesday was the birthday party tea – you can read all about that here

Wednesday I made Toad in the Hole – I mentioned that we like this meal in my post Roasted Vegetables in Yorkshire Pudding. This time I used sausages and cooked them in the Yorkshire Pudding batter in my heart shaped dish!

Thursday was root vegetable pasty night. I made a mix of thinly sliced carrot, parsnip and potato and seasoned with lots of black pepper, salt, thyme and some melted butter. These were the filling to the homemade shortcrust pastry I made.

Friday I made vegetable lasagne – the filling was made from red lentils in passata with courgette, green peppers and chopped spinach. I added dried basil and oregano. The sauce was cheese sauce made with cheddar. I really like this version of lasagne and don’t miss having beef mince in it at all.

Lunches

I have had a few salads this week. As I don’t like to waste food, I saved all the offcuts from the Woodland Salad I made on Tuesday – This made the perfect salad for me on Wednesday with a few added extras. Talking of leftovers, I had some of the pasty filling leftover so fried that and ate it with my lunch on Friday.

I made a tuna pasta which my husband and daughter took in their lunchboxes one day this week. I like to eat a variety of things and wouldn’t want the same lunch everyday!

Breakfast

I have been making overnight oats this week which are really yummy and super quick! I love that in the morning you can just take it out the fridge and eat it straight away as all the preparation is done. This is good for my husband as he leaves for work early. I have also been enjoying berries with yoghurt and chocolate porridge with bananas.

Baking

I made the Gruffalo birthday cake at the beginning of the week and then later in the week I made Banana and Ginger Slices. These are really tasty and have a strong ginger flavour. I have frozen half of these for later as they will dry out quite quickly.

Cake Jenga!?

This week has been filled with tasty home cooking and comfort foods. I like variety and try to create different meals every week as well as cooking some old favourites.

Hope you’ve had a great week,

Katie

Gruffalo Themed 1st Birthday Dinner

Today it was a birthday celebration and whilst the only guests to the party were our household we still had fun.

My daughter received a Gruffalo recipe book for Christmas. As soon as she saw that there was a Gruffalo cake in the book she knew that would have to be made for her brothers birthday. I gladly accepted the challenge.

If you aren’t familiar with The Gruffalo, it’s a children’s book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Sheffler, the pair have created many books together and are very popular among children and parents alike.

I looked through the recipe book and decided I would make a few of the other recipes for the birthday meal. I chose to make toadstool pizzas, woodland salad and roasted fox (sweet potato chips). I also made terrible tusks, which are fruity kebabs. Then for the grande finale – The Gruffalo cake!

Pizzas
I chose to use a separate recipe for the pizza dough and made this first thing in the morning. Once risen I rolled out and cut into toadstool shapes. The decoration was simple, a coating of tomato passata and then circles of mozzarella to make them look like the white spots on toadstools.

Sweet Potato Chips (Roasted Fox)
I cut chip shapes out of sweet potatoes and also added one potato to the mix. I seasoned these with curry powder and coated in a tablespoon of oil.

Woodland Salad
This was just a simple task of making some salad vegetables look pretty! I used cucumber to make trees – and used a Christmas tree cutter. I made flowers from rounds of carrots and radishes. These were from ideas in the Gruffalo Crumble recipe book.

Fruit Kebabs (Terrible Tusks)
These were fun fruity kebabs just to add a bit of fruit and colour to the birthday food. I followed the recipe as a basic guide but used fruits of my choice. I used banana like the book stated as that was the part that looked like the Gruffalo’s tusks. The fruits I chose to use were cherry, melon and strawberries. I slid these fruits onto metal straws and created a fruity tusk for each one of us.

Gruffalo Cake
I was really excited about making this cake so couldn’t wait to make it! I chose to use a different cake recipe to the one in the book. I made a moist chocolate sponge that turned out really well. I cut the sponge as the recipe stated in the book and followed the directions for decorating it – making little tweaks depending on what ingredients I had available. It may not be exactly the same as the one in the book but I am pleased with how it looks!

As a family we had a great birthday tea and I think my son enjoyed his first birthday! In fact, he cried when we took the cake back into kitchen after he had eaten his small slice!!

I decorated the flat with a few balloons and even upcycled a Gruffalo vest to decorate a t-shirt with a number 1 for my son to wear! I did this on the sewing machine – perhaps I can get another blog post out of that!!?… It has been a great day, I definitely recommend the Gruffalo Crumble recipe book to fans of the books as it’s a great way to make fun food for children and also to cook with children. I did cook this meal alone but I have made other things from the book with my daughter such as the gingerbread mice and pesto snails.

For my daughter’s 1st Birthday Party in 2018 I did an Under the Sea Theme. I had written a blog post on this but that was on my old blog account name so I shall rewrite this and post it in the future…

Thanks for reading,

Katie

What We’ve Been Eating This Week

If you are a regular reader of my blog then you know that I do like to blog about food! Good food makes me happy and I love to cook and provide food for my family.

So, what have we been eating this week?

I made a couple of blog posts mentioning the pressure cooker chicken, after I made the pie(,Chicken and Mushroom Pie ) I still had some meat left so decided to make a pasta bake. Alongside the chicken I added courgettes and yellow peppers. I added a tin of tomatoes and some frozen spinach and lots of dried basil and oregano. I stirred in a little soft cheese for creaminess and poured into an oven proof dish. I grated on lots of cheddar and baked until golden.

Another meal we enjoyed this week was a risotto with adzuki beans and spinach in. I served this with garlic bread made from slices of cornbread topped with a mixture of garlic puree, butter and dried oregano.

Tonight we ate oat and chickpea balls in a tomato and basil sauce with pasta and greens. A definite comfort food winner…..Oat and Chickpea Balls

I also made pesto pizzas this week which I wrote a separate blog post about… Pesto Pizzas

I have been having more salads at lunch time and made a crunchy salad wrap for one lunch which was really tasty. Today I baked a broccoli, green bean and pesto quiche topped with feta. This was an excellent lunch time meal. I made a basic shortcrust pastry and baked, then I spread green pesto on top. The filling was made of cooked broccoli and green beans topped with an egg and milk mixture. I then added crumbled feta and baked until set.

This week my only baking has been cinnamon, sultana and apple muffins. These are full of flavour and low in sugar so great for all the family.

I have been having more soya milk in my breakfasts and also used it in the muffins just to slightly reduce my dairy consumption. I also made a smoothie which myself and my children enjoyed…. It was made from one banana, a large handful of frozen berries, vanilla soya yoghurt and soya milk. A very tasty and refreshing mid morning snack!

So that’s what we have been eating this week! Hope you have had a great week.

Katie

What’s Been Cooking This Week?

So this week has been a little more chilled and laid back. My husband has been off work this week so has been sharing some of the cooking. I also haven’t taken as many photo’s as I normally do so you’ll have to use your imagination a little!

So I shall begin with what I have been cooking…

At the beginning of the week I made a spaghetti and homemade meatball meal. This was really yummy and the sauce was made up of finely chopped vegetables mixed with tomatoes and herbs.

This was the spaghetti and sauce before the meatballs were added.

I have also cooked a bean casserole served with rice, a simple chickpea cous cous and a vegetable pie served with potato and sweet potato mash – I kept the skins on for this and it gave it a really great texture and flavour.

I made a pizza one night this week, which all the family love and topped it with passata, green peppers, sweetcorn, mushrooms, broccoli and cheese. I served this with seasoned sweet potato chips. I used paprika, oregano, salt and black pepper.

Last night I did a roast chicken dinner, however I cooked the chicken in the pressure cooker. This made the chicken really moist and tasty and only took 30 minutes! I look forward to using the rest of the chicken and the tasty stock over the next few days.

We had pancakes on Shrove Tuesday which my husband prepared and had these with Nutella and bananas!

I made a quick cherry crumble dessert using tinned cherries and a crumble topping made from oats, flour, butter and cornflakes. It’s nice just to have some tinned fruit in the cupboards for a quick dessert, especially in the winter.

I haven’t done lots of baking this week but did make some oat cakes, inspired by a blog post I read from Katie B’s Pantry…. https://wp.me/scqsj2-oatcakes. These are really tasty, I didn’t have rosemary so used dried thyme instead. I really like the fact that they are made with wholemeal flour which adds plenty of flavour plus increases the fibre content. I also made a honey and lemon traybake cake. It isn’t much to look at but tastes good, especially with the honey and lemon juice topping.

I mentioned in my previous post about trying to eat more healthily so have been enjoying a lot more vegetables at lunch times and had this tasty tuna wrap which had lots of celery, cucumber, green pepper and tomatoes in.

For breakfast yesterday I made us all a cinnamon and sultana porridge, this was a really good breakfast to start the day. I topped it with sliced banana. I mixed about 70g of porridge oats with 2 teaspoons of dark brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and about 2 tablespoons of sultanas. I cooked this in a pan with 400ml of milk. This served a family of 4.

So, there’s a bit of an insight as to what we’ve been eating this week. Hope you’ve had some good food and a great week.

Katie

Kitchen Creations This Week

With it being Valentine’s Day at the end of the week I thought I would so some love themed baking. I decided I would make some heart shaped biscuits with a jammy centre.

I made a chocolate biscuit dough and a plain biscuit dough and cut out heart shapes. I rolled the leftover dough together to create some marble effect biscuits.

Once the biscuits were baked and cooled, I sandwiched them together with apricot jam. Lovely, sweet heart biscuits!

I made soup again today for lunch, this time it was Curried Carrot, Potato and Butternut Soup. A tasty lunch for the family. I garnished the soup with trimmings from the carrot tops that I set in water a couple of weeks ago to re sprout!

Tonight’s dinner was a Spaghetti dish with peas, bacon and courgette in a cheese sauce. I made a thick cheese sauce which I added to fried bacon and courgette and then stirred in cooked spaghetti and peas. A filling and comforting meal.

So, that’s some of my kitchen creations this week so far.

Katie

Parsnip and Chickpea Curry with Homemade Naan Breads

Tonight on the menu was a homemade veggie curry. I had saved some parsnips that I wanted to use in the curry and used those and chickpeas as the main ingredients. I used a basic mild curry powder and garlic puree to flavour the curry along with chopped tomatoes and spinach. This made a really tasty curry that was mild in spice and full of flavour – perfect for all the family.

I knew I wanted to serve this curry with bread rather than rice so found a recipe in one of my books for naan breads. I only had wholemeal bread flour so I made wholemeal naan breads. These worked out really well and were enjoyed by all.

This turned out to be a light and healthy dinner full of flavour and goodness.

Hope you had a lovely Monday night dinner.

Katie

A Summary of This Week

I’ll start with what we’ve been eating/ what I have been cooking.

– Monday – I made a lentil Bolognese served with spaghetti. I also made a quick garlic bread out of a tiger bread baguette and some garlic, parsley and butter mixed together and spread between the slices.

– Tuesday – I made a spinach, green bean, pea and feta pie. This was a puff pastry pie filled with the seasoned green veg, feta and an egg to bind it. I served this with sweet potato chips and made a simple tzatziki to go with it.

– Wednesday – Beef chilli was on the menu, I didn’t put a lot of chilli powder in as I wanted the children to eat it! I also made a bread to go with it, one so hadn’t made before called a Tuscan Schiacciata which is a type of flatbread. I made it with wholemeal flour and topped it with garlic butter, salt and rosemary. This was a good accompaniment to the chilli.

– Thursday – This was the scone base pesto pizzas that I posted about yesterday. I didn’t have time to make a bread dough up and have run out of baking powder to made a pizza dough with that so a scone base pizza it was! These are really nice and filling and I really enjoyed using pesto instead of a tomato sauce on the pizzas.

– Friday – Today I made a simple chickpea and veg cous cous seasoned with paprika.

– Cakes and Bakes – On Tuesday I made the custard butterfly cakes which were really tasty and definitely something I will make in the future. They didn’t last long! Today I have made a batch of ginger scones, I will keep some out for eating and put some in the freezer to save for another day as scones dry out really quickly and it’s great having things in the freezer for when we have run out of sweet treats!

I have kept up with my daily walks even though the weather this week hasn’t been great. There has been a lot of wind and rain, however today was lovely and sunny so a refreshing change.

My cross stitch is coming on well, I am making a little progress on it each evening.

I have been using my planner to set little tasks to do each day or achieve by the end of the week. I have generally been quite good at following this although there are still a few things I need to tick off. I am hoping to clear out and organise the drawers in the sideboard next and then put new photos in frames to display on the sideboard.

This week I started a little growing project with me daughter. There was an article in my Kitchen Garden magazine about regrowing vegetables from veg trimmings. We decided we would use the carrot tops from the carrot soup we made. I have put them in a little bowl with water and we await new growth.

I have a few repair jobs to do on a couple of soft toys for my daughter so I hope to get that done by the end of the weekend. Also I want to start planning what I am going to grow on the patio and what resources I need to do so.

As you can tell my mind is constantly busy with thoughts, ideas and plans and I am also constantly busy with my children, housework and cooking!

Hope you have had a great week.

Katie

(I realise my food doesn’t look completely refined! You wouldn’t see food like that in a restaurant but it’s homemade and tasty. I often don’t get time to take artistic photos as we are all hungry and ready to eat)!

Carrot Soup and Custard Butterfly Cakes

My daughter requested soup for lunch and it had to be her favourite – carrot! I enjoy making soups for lunch and it’s a great way to get vegetables into our diet at lunch time!

I made a basic soup of carrots, garlic puree, dried oregano, black pepper, vegetable stock and red lentils. I left this simmering for about 40 minutes and then blended into a smooth soup. I have to say it was quite a successful soup and definitely one I will be making again.

I decided to make some cupcakes whilst the soup was simmering. I fancied something with a custard flavour. I made a 2 egg cake mix and substituted some of the flour for custard powder. This made the cake batter lovely and yellow.

Once the cakes were baked I decided that I would turn them into butterfly cakes and fill them with custard. I made up a small amount of thick custard and then cut a circle out of each cupcake and sliced those in half to form the butterfly wings. I then filled each cake with a teaspoon full of custard and topped with the butterfly wings.

I have enjoyed making some yummy creations in the kitchen today.

Katie