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

Three Favourite Meals from this Week

Here is this week’s edition of what I have been cooking this week. I have included some recipes and hope that they provide some meal inspiration for you.

Corn and Bean Casserole with Sweet Potato Scones

This was a good hearty meal full of veg and flavour. I decided that sweet potato would go well with it and found a recipe for sweet potato scones.

For the casserole I used
-1 tin of taco beans in spicy sauce
-1 tin of tomatoes
-1 diced shallot
– Half 1 red pepper diced
– 1 garlic clove minced
-1/2 cup of frozen sweetcorn

I cooked these in an oven proof pan and made up the scones. I followed a recipe book for this. It involved cooking and mashing sweet potatoes and adding them to a savoury scone mix which I made up following the recipe. I cut the scones into large circles and added on top of the casserole and baked for about 15 minutes.


Cheesy Leek and Spinach Pie.

This was another lovely meal. I cooked leeks, spinach, green beans and peas and seasoned well. I made a cheese sauce and covered the greens in it. This was encased in a shortcrust pastry and I baked in my heart shaped dish.

I served with fried new potatoes and greens.

Sausage and Bean Bake with Baked Eggs,

This was my favourite meal of the week, here’s how to make it;

Ingredients
– 2 sausages chopped up
-1 diced shallot
-1 finely chopped garlic clove
– 1 tin of kidney beans
-1 tin of tomatoes
-1 tin of baked beans
– 1/2 tsp of hot paprika
– 1 tsp of dried oregano
– 1 tbsp oil
– salt and pepper
– 4 eggs
– grated cheddar for sprinkling on top

Method
1. Gently fry shallots and sausages in the oil until lightly browned and then add the garlic, oregano and paprika.( Use an oven proof pan)

2. Add the beans and tomatoes and simmer for about 20 minutes. Season as required.

3. Crack the eggs into the pan and bake in the oven at a high temperature for about 6 minutes.

4. Once dished up add on the grated cheddar.

I served this with some sweet potato wedges. This meal could be made without sausages to suit vegetarians.

The eggs were cooked so that the yolks lovely and runny.

Hope you had great week and have eaten some lovely food!

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

Hot Cross Bun Bread and Butter Pudding

Yesterday I made a Hot Cross Bun Bread and Butter Pudding. It was a great success and I wanted to share it with you.

I had a couple of of Hot Cross Buns that were a little stale and I decided that they would be good in a pudding.

I found a bread and butter pudding recipe and adapted it, here’s what I did;

I sliced the buns into 3 slices, so I had 6 slices of of Hot Cross Buns. I layered these into a well buttered dish and drizzled melted butter on them.

For the custard mixture, I whisked 2 eggs with 225ml of whole milk, 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence and 1 tablespoon of caster sugar.

I poured the custard mix over the buns and allowed to soak for 20 minutes. I then drizzled a little golden syrup on top and finished with a sprinkling of nutmeg.

This baked in the oven at 180c until it was golden and had a firm wobble.

I really enjoyed this dessert, it was a lovely tasty treat. I love to eat Hot Cross Buns at this time of year and I am looking forward to doing more Easter cooking and baking. I enjoy Easter as a religious festival and find it such a poignant time of thought and reflection.

Hopefully I will be able to share some Easter Crafts soon.

Thanks for reading,

Katie

Under The Sea Birthday Party

This week I posted about my son’s 1st Birthday Party..Gruffalo Birthday Dinner…. As promised here is a blog post about what I did for daughter’s 1st birthday in 2018…. (Obviously in 2018 Covid-19 didn’t exist so we were able to have lots of party guests) We had an ‘under the sea’ birthday party for her. This party was lots of fun and I am going to share with you how we decorated the house and what food we served.

I wanted to make this party visually appealing so that there was lots to look at and to make the theme come to life.

We had lots of decorations hanging from the ceiling including shiny coils with fish characters on and we also hung string across the rooms and draped with pieces of crepe paper to create seaweed, coral and sea.

We also decorated the lamp shade to make it look like a large jellyfish hanging from the ceiling!

I made some salt dough fish characters and painted them, these were used to decorate windows. For the table, I bought a set of mermaid tableware which included tablecloths, napkins, cups, plates, bowls, party hats and party blowers. It also came with bunting which we hung up in the rooms.

I made up simple party bags for the children. Each child had two small tubes of bubbles and a party blower. The under ones got a fish soft toy and the older children got two packets of under the sea themed stickers. Each guest also took home some birthday cake.

For the food, everything we made fitted to the theme. We had fish shaped pizza, sea creature shaped potato, sweet potato and butternut squash chips and a coral reef vegetable tray.The pizza dough was all homemade and covered with a variety of colourful toppings. The recipe for this pizza was from one of my old recipe books that is based on Bible stories.

For the chips, we bought some metal cutters in the shape of a seahorse, shell and starfish. Once the vegetables were cut they were then coated in a little oil and baked. These were cut the night before and left in water.

I found the coral reef salad idea online but made it up using different vegetables to those I had seen to create my own version of a vegetable coral reef.

For dessert we had blue jelly with fruit shaped fish in, a turtle watermelon with fruit salad and banana dolphins. We also had fish shaped biscuits.

The birthday cake was a turtle on the sand. This was a madeira cake decorated with buttercream and fondant icing. My Mum made this cake – it looked really impressive.

I hope you have enjoyed looking through the photos of the party food and decorations and hope that I have provided you with some inspiration to throw your own ‘under the sea’ party!

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

DIY Embellished 1st Birthday T-Shirt

It was my son’s first birthday this week and I wanted to make him something special to wear to commemorate the day.

I have a sewing machine that I got last year but haven’t used it a lot. I am wanting to get more confident with using it so I can go on to make better things.

I decided I would use a basic t-shirt that my son already had (and will probably grow out of soon) and sew a number 1 onto it.

I had a bunch of clothes that no longer fit my children and hoped to use some of this fabric to create the design. We had a Gruffalo themed party and my son had an old Gruffalo vest so this was the perfect piece of old clothing to use.

I drew a number 1 on the vest and roughly cut it out. I then pinned this to the t-shirt, folding the edges under to give a neat finish. Lastly I put this onto the sewing machine and carefully sewed the number 1 onto the t-shirt using a zigzag stitch.

Overall I am impressed with the results, it’s not perfect but it made a memorable t-shirt for my son’s first birthday. It also meant I didn’t buy new clothing as I was able to upcycle and upgrade which is a great thing to do.

It’s really good to be able to use items we have and be inventive instead of having to buy new things all the time.

Thanks for reading,

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

Favourite Food Dishes from This Week

This week I don’t seem to have taken many foodie photos. So I’ll just do a roundup of favourite meals I cooked this week. (They are the ones I have taken photos of)!!.

Bean Enchiladas
These were full of flavour and delicious. For the filling I used a tin of mixed beans, diced green peppers, sweetcorn and passata. I seasoned this with oregano and paprika. When the filling was cooked I added in some grated cheddar. I spooned the filling into wholemeal wraps and rolled them up. I placed them into a tin, poured on passata and topped with grated cheese. These baked for about 20 minutes. I served them with sweet potato chips.

Squash and Chickpea Stew
This meal was from a recipe book – Veg Everyday by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. The dish is really full of flavour and packed with great I ingredients such as butternut squash and red lentils. The flavourings in this are cinnamon and ginger which gives it a nice warmth. The stew went really well with couscous.

Simple Green Veg Pasta
Sometimes the simplest meals can be the tastiest and most comforting.  There are days when I crave more green veg. I decided I would make a pasta full of greens so cooked some courgette, green pepper, leafy greens, frozen chopped spinach and peas. I added garlic, basil, oregano and black pepper to the veg and then poured in passata. I mixed this in with some cooked pasta shells.

Baking
My best baking this week was the mini quiches for packed lunches. These looked and tasted really great, they were filled with grated carrot and mushroom. I also made a simple sultana and mixed spice sponge cake and made some pear and nutmeg rock cakes. Not much to look at but tasty treats!

That’s a roundup of what’s been cooking this week!

Hope you have enjoyed some great food,

Katie

Healthy Lunchbox Treats

My 3 year old daughter has just started going to nursery 3 days a week and takes a packed lunch.

I am quite excited by this as it means I get to come up with different lunch ideas for her!

So, I have lots of ideas in my head but for just getting started this week I kept it simple with soft cheese sandwiches and used a sandwich cutter to make them into dolphin and whale shapes. Using shaped cutters really make things fun for young children. One day this week I cut some small pieces of cheese with a little heart shaped cutter. My daughter was amazed and wondered how I had made the cheese heart shaped!

I make sure my daughter has fruit and vegetables in her lunch. On Monday this week she had tomatoes, a piece of fresh fruit and a box of raisins. On Tuesday she had tomatoes, a banana and a jelly that I made up from jelly cubes and set berries in. I made it up in individual tubs for her so she has one left for tomorrow! The jelly was a big hit and she was excited by that.

I had mentioned to my daughter about making mini quiches for her to have in her packed lunch, so that was this morning’s baking project! We made pastry and cut into circles and placed in a muffin tin and baked. For the filling we chose to use grated carrots, mushrooms and tomatoes. I used thyme to add flavour and made up a basic two egg and milk mixture and poured this into the veg filled pastries. I added cheese on the top. I had some mixture left over so I poured this into some silicon cake cases and added tomatoes and cheese to make a couple of crustless quiches. We had these for our lunch today and my son loved the crustless quiche!

I have to say the mini quiches are a little rustic looking but it’s home cooking. I’m not aiming for perfection – I just want to make tasty and healthy food for my family.

So in tomorrow’s lunch box I will be packing a mini quiche, some slices of salad veg, a fruity jelly and a piece of fresh fruit.

I look forward to coming up with different ideas for new and exciting lunches.

What do you like to put in your packed lunches?

Katie