Homemade Banoffee Pie – Recipe

Steve decided to rummage through our tin cupboard yesterday, to see just what was hanging around in there. He found a variety of things, had a look on Google to see what he could make with them and then stumbled across this recipe on AllRecipes and adapted it just a little to make it his own.
Ingredients
Base: 100g (3.5 oz) butter, melted
250g (9 oz) digestive biscuits
Filling: 100g (3.5 oz) butter
100g (3.5 oz) dark brown soft sugar
397g Carnation Condensed Milk
Topping: 4 small bananas
300ml carton of double cream, lightly whipped
Grated chocolate
Yummy! 
Preparation
Prep time: 20 minutes Extra Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
1. Grease a 20cm (8″) loose-bottomed cake tin.

2. To make the base, process the biscuits until crushed. Stir in your melted butter. Press the mixture into your cake tin, plus 4cm (1.5″) up the sides. Leave this to chill whilst making your filling.

3.Place butter and sugar into a non-stick saucepan over a slow heat. Stir until the butter melts & the sugar dissolves. Add the condensed milk and bring to the boil slowly, whilst stirring throughout. When the caramel starts to boil, remove from the heat and pour over the base. Leave to cool then chill for an hour, until it is firm

4. Serving time. Remove pie from tin and put on serving plate. Slice the bananas and fold half into the softly whipped cream. Spoon over the caramel layer. Decorate with the remaining bananas and grated chocolate.

Be aware that the prep time given above is what AllRecipes recommend, however we found that it took quite a while longer as heating the condensed milk and whipping the cream took a lot longer than you would expect. 

This was absolutely delicious, although I could only manage a few mouthfuls as it was so sickly! I’m such a lucky girl!

Are you a culinary whizz in the kitchen?

Classic Chocolate Cake {with a twist}: Recipe

You should all know by now how fond Steve is of making yummy food and how fond I am of eating it all! He recently decided to try and make the Classic Chocolate Cake recipe from my Sainsbury’s Baking book(seen here) -however, we didn’t have all the right ingredients.

Here is what the ingredients should be:
FOR THE CAKE
200g unsalted butter, softened – 200g Sainsbury’s Fairtrade caster sugar (this can be substituted for any caster sugar, they only specify the Sainsbury’s brand as the book is by them) – 3 medium eggs, beaten – 200g Taste The Difference extra fine sponge flour, sifted – 60g Sainsbury’s Fairtrade cocoa powder – 2 tablespoons semi-skimmed milk

FOR DECORATION
150g unsalted butter or margarine, softened – 300g icing sugar, sifter – 60g Sainsbury’s Fairtrade cocoa  powder, sifted – Sainsbury’s sugar stars

We didn’t have the sponge flour, so substituted it for the same amount of self-raising flour. We also didn’t have any sugar stars, so left them out. The worst part is that we didn’t have any cocoa powder and none of our local shops had any either. So what did we use instead?

OPTIONS HOT CHOCOLATE SACHETS!

Seriously! Instead of 60g of cocoa powder, we used 100g of Options Belgian hot chocolate flavour. Be careful to remove some sugar from the mix though – don’t use all the 200g shown above if you are using hot chocolate sachets like us! Check how much you should put in on an online converter! We also used a coconut one with a Galaxy hot chocolate sachet for the icing. Yummy!

 ~ Obviously, when taking heed of these guidelines, remember that these are for if you have cocoa powder. If you are using hot chocolate sachets like us, remember to substitute ingredients ~

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas mark 4. Line 2x18cm round cake tins with cake tin liners – designed to give the cakes edges an attractive texture.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar, until light and creamy. Add the eggs, a little at a time, beating well after each one. Add some flour if the mixture begins to curdle.

3. Add the flour, cocoa powder/hot chocolate sachets and milk and beat until smooth. Divide the mixture between two tins and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 25 minutes until well risen. Remove from oven, lift out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely in the liners.

4. Meanwhile, start making the icing! Beat the butter/margarine in a large bowl until fluffy. Add icing sugar and cocoa powder/hot chocolate sachets and continue to beat until smooth and creamy. As the mixture becomes a tad dry, add 3 tablespoons of boiling water and mix well.

5. Sandwich the 2 cakes together with half of the icing. Spread the remaining icing on top of the cake and create peaks, using the back of a spoon. Sprinkle with sugar stars.

What yummy goodies have you made recently? 

The Spice Tailor Curry Pouches – A Review

A few weeks ago, I was kindly sent some curry pouches, courtesy of the Spice Tailor range by Anjum Anand, to review. I had seen a few reviews on various other blogs and had thought they sounded great, so when given the opportunity, I was more than willing to give these a try. As some of you may know, I don’t claim to be a beauty blog nor a fashion blog, I write about what interests me – and being a huge curry fan, this definitely tickled my taste buds!

The Spice Tailor curry pouches(*) are designed to make ‘authentic, delicious Indian meals in just 10 minutes‘. The range includes such delights as the ever popular Korma, Tikka Marsala and Rogan Josh, but also includes less well-known sauces such as Mangalore Herb and Keralan Coconut. These are rarely found in Indian restaurants and takeaways across Britain, seemingly staying an Indian secret…until now. These two lesser-known pouches were the two I was sent to review.

Their packaging is bright and colourful, they would definitely catch your eye in a supermarket. Another great thing about the packaging is the fact that the spices are kept separate from the sauce in their own little pouch – handy to stop you from overloading on them.

The Mangalore Herb was tangy and spicy, just right for me, but not quite spicy enough for Steve. We had a little disaster in the kitchen with this one, as the instructions tell you to pour some oil in a pan and put the spices in. Steve did this and black smoke rose up from the pan. This black smoke, of course, was very spicy and we spent half an hour airing out the house before giving it another go. Let’s just say, we were a little more careful with the Keralan curry.

Yes, I have an extremely dated kitchen – I can’t wait until we can buy a place of our own and redecorate!

The pictures above are of the preparation of the Keralan Coconut curry. Learning from our mistakes with the Mangalore curry, we only added a small dash of the spice for this curry, preferring to add as we went along if needs be.

To prepare this curry, you need:
-300g firm white fish, prawns, pork, chicken, duck breast or vegetables (It’s your choice – we chose chicken)
1tsp vegetable or  olive oil

THAT’S IT. Everything else is tucked away in those little pouches. The instructions tell you to:
1. Heat 1tsp of oil in a pan, add spices and cook for 20 seconds
2. Stir in the sauce along with 50ml of water and bring to the boil
3.Add your choice of meat or vegetables and simmer until they are cooked through.

Simple, easy and ready in 10 minutes. So what did we think?

As mentioned before, Steve wasn’t a total fan of the Mangalore Herb curry so it was interesting to see how this one measured up to his expectations. It was a success. Being coconut based, we were expecting a taste similar to Korma and although it was alike in some ways, this wasn’t as sweet and felt less indulgent than a Korma. Although it wasn’t as sweet, it definitely left me wanting more and I have been keeping my eyes out for these pouches ever since.

Would you give these curry pouches a try? You can buy them here for just £2.89 which I think is a total bargain for such a great product. I will definitely be repurchasing as I’m often pressed for time and a ten minute meal is right up my street.

xo

(A * means I was sent this product free of charge for consideration of review. As always, my thoughts and opinions are 100% honest and always will be.)

Yummy Millionaires Shortbread recipe

The other day, I took a look at my wonderful baking book and decided I wanted to make something from it. I didn’t get a chance to. In fact, Steve decided to pick it up, chose a recipe and sent me to the shop for any ingredients we didn’t have. Charming. But it was so worth letting him do the baking…I would never have been able to make anything as yummy as these!
Amazing baking book for a bargain price!
How they look in the book
The Recipe

Makes 12
Prep time: 15 minutes, plus chilling and cooling time
Cook time: 45 minutes

Ingredients
160g plain flour
60g caster sugar
215g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 x 397g tin of condensed milk
100g light brown soft sugar
2 tablespoons golden syrup
150g Sainsburys Belgian milk chocolate (we used Dairy Milk instead)
50g Sainsburys Belgian white chocolate (the only white chocolate we
 could find in the village was Milkybar,so we used that…lol!)

Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas mark 4.
2. In a food processor, whizz the flour, caster sugar and 115g
butter until it’s like breadcrumbs. Press into an 18cm square tin
and prick with a fork. Chill for 20 minutes, then bake for 30
minutes, until just turning golden. Cool in the tin.
3. In a pan, heat the condensed milk, brown sugar, syrup and the
remaining 100g butter. Bring to the boil, stirring all the time. Boil,
still stirring, for 5-8 minutes until thickened. Pour the caramel onto
the shortbread, then cool for 30 minutes.
4. Melt the milk and the white chocolate seperately. Pour the milk
chocolate on the caramel, then pour on the white chocolate. Swirl
with a skewer to create a marbled effect. Chill for 2 hours until set,
then remove from the tin and cut into squares.
And here is the finished result (super yummy!):
Before being cut into pieces
Already eaten a few too many….
The finished product.
It was amazing, probably the best Millionaire’s Shortbread I’ve ever had! So yummy!
Can’t wait to try out some more recipes from this book!
What do you love to make when in the kitchen?
xo


REVIEW: My Cocktail & Alfies

How many of you enjoy a cheeky little cocktail? How brilliant would it be if you could have your favourite tipples in the comfort of your own home? Well now you can. MyCocktail are ready to serve pre mixed cocktails, handily designed with an easy to use tap for pouring.
I was recently sent the Mojito(*) and Cosmopolitan (*) to trial and review. As a mum to a young baby, I have been sticking to soft drinks or non-alcoholic wine of late but was itching to be a little naughty and have a glass of alcohol. These more than satisfied my need. As soon as they arrived, Steve (my boyfriend) ripped open the packaging to see just what was inside. I have to admit, he was a little naughty and poured some straight into his mouth but I let it slide, preferring instead to find out his views on the products themselves.
For someone like Steve who rarely drinks, an alcoholic beverage has to be amazing for him to carry on drinking it…and that he did. I invited my friend Michelle round for a cocktail night and a catchup and he must have outdrank us on both cocktails! The Cosmopolitan is divine, just the right amount of vodka to the other ingredients and has to be my favourite. I have never been a great fan of Mojitos – after working in a pub and being made them time and time again by my boss, any love I could have ever had for the cocktail soon faded. This Mojito though is totally different, the premix is definitely right in regards to each product-each flavour compliments each other perfectly, rather than one in particular outweighing the other.
After countless glasses and numerous tastings by family and friends, I still have plenty of cocktail in each pouch left to enjoy a cheeky little drink by myself. The resounding opinion of nearly all of my fellow reviewers is that these cocktails are fabulous and some are planning on purchasing these pouches for upcoming occasions. Only one of my friends was left unimpressed, she couldn’t put her finger on why they left her feeling this way but I’m guessing she may be used to slightly different cocktails – having a cocktail made for you in a bar can easily lead to a bit more of one ingredient than the other, altering the overall taste.
I personally think these are great tasting drinks, perfect for the summer we have coming up – these are easy to carry, easy to pour and are perfect for barbecues, picnics and parties alike. These cocktail pouches currently retail online and in store at Asda for just £10 – a great price for a great product.


I was also sent a few other premixed drinks to try – Alfies Gin & Tonic(*) Alfies Gin & Diet Tonic(*) and Alfies Vodka & Orange(*). Apologies for the stock photo, my parents did not want me having all the fun and quickly snaffled these off me before I even got a look in – my Mum saved me just a drop of the vodka and orange 🙁

As mentioned above, I barely got a look in with these BUT I am now the greatest daughter ever. My Dad adores his gin and tonic but recently has found the bartenders (or the cans he buys) can’t get the mix quite right. My Dad and his best friend Mick tried a can out each and for a week afterwards, no word of a lie, they were begging me to find them more of these! They say that there is the perfect mix of gin to tonic and they definitely want more – so being the lovely daughter I am, I am going to buy some when I next see them in the shops.

My Mum tried the vodka and orange, leaving but a sip for me of course, and as a seasoned vodka drinker (that sounds really bad-you know what I mean), I eagerly awaited her verdict. She too came back with the statement that these are the perfect mix of each ingredient and has also informed me she wants more.

It seems next time I go grocery shopping, I shall be purchasing all of the above to keep everyone happy! You can purchase Alfie premixed cans at your local Spar, Nisa or Asda.

Would you try any of these? Do they seem like your kind of thing? Let me know – what do you think of premixed alcoholic drinks?

xo