10.30.2014

Pizza Night {prize draw promotion}

Nights in are the new black.

A night out can be a lot of fun, but so can a night in especially when you have your friends and family with you!

One of my favorite nights in is Pizza Night with my little family! 

What cartoon characters love pizza? The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. 

It is my all time favorite childhood cartoon and I am proud to say my girls love it too! It's a common pizza/movie night combo for us!

We make individual pizzas with all our favorite pizza toppings. Anything goes! 

Well, with in reason I mean we don't go as far as the turtles themselves, see suggestions by them below! 

Then after we're done with dinner we cuddle up with some dessert pizza and enjoy the movie! It's a great way to get the whole family involved and spend time together!


Pizza Dough

makes 4 invidiual pizzas, half the recipe for 2
400g Sainsbury’s Strong Canadian Bread flour
16g/2 pouches of Sainsbury’s Fast-Action dried yeast
pinch of salt
280ml luke warm water
extra virgin olive oil

In a mixing bowl mix the flour and yeast together, once combined put in the pinch of salt and mix again. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the warm water, plus a tablespoon of olive oil. Mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until it comes together as a wet-dough. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes on a floured surface, I always start out with a light dusting then add about another two light dustings while kneading. Once it’s smooth and elastic, lightly oil a separate bowl for the dough ball to rest cover with clingfilm and rest for 25 minutes.
While it’s resting lightly oil two baking sheets/trays and heat the oven to 200C.
Once it’s rested gently break it into four separate pieces. Use a sharp floured knife if you want a more even division of the dough. Roughly spread out into a circle or an oval as we did to fit on our trays.
Top with sauce and a choice of your favorite toppings, suggestions listed below, before baking in the oven for 18 minutes or until the edges just start to turn brown. After 10 minutes I switched the pizzas from the top shelf to the bottom shelf to insure even coloring for all the pizzas, but you don’t have to do this. Serve immediately with salad or any sides that you like!

Suggested Pizza Toppings
passata flavored or with added oregano and garlic salt to taste
tomato paste, just a squeeze
cheese, mozzarella is always a favorite
ham/sausage/pepperoni/pineapple/mushrooms/peppers/onion/olives/etc… 


Ninja Turtle Suggested Pizza Toppings:
Pepperoni & Ice Cream
Jelly Bean & Sausage
Anchovie & Peanut Butter
Whipped Cream
Sashimi
Bananas & Sausage
Cereal (Raisin Bran, Cornflakes, Coco Puffs)


Then for dessert we had pizza again! This is inspired by an American treat sometimes called cactus bread. I used mixes for this one to save on time and cost! Start this about 10 minutes before the pizzas are done or just after you've rotate the pizzas if you have done that.

Dessert Pizza

1 pkg (145g) Sainsbury’s pizza base mix
1 pkg (225g) Sainsbury’s crumble mix,
1-2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar (Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference or make your own)
100g icing sugar
1-2 tbsp of milk

Follow the instructions on the back of the pizza base mix package, leave to rise in front of the already heated oven. Once you've eaten your amazing pizzas from above your pizza dough should be risen, poke a few holes in it with a fork before spreading over the cinnamon sugar, then spread over the crumble mix. There will be leftover crumble mix because you don’t need very much to cover the top of this pizza. Bake in the oven according to the packaging. Both the pizza base and crumble mix bake for about the same amount of time.
Before it’s out of the oven make the glaze by mixing the icing sugar with the milk. Once it’s out of the oven while it’s still warm drizzle over the glaze. You might have a little leftover, but that’s okay you can use it as dip for the dessert pizza. Enjoy! 

That is one of my favorite nights in, but I have had many date nights in with my husband and occasionally I'll have a wine night in with my girl friends. So.... 

What's your favorite way to spend a night in? 
Sainsbury's want to know and they have a great prize draw with a chance to win a 40'' HDTV, 250 of Sainsbury’s vouchers and a top 10 DVD selection and all you have to do to enter is tell them what your favorite night in is!



notes: In association with Sainsbury’s, all opinions are my own please see my contact/policy page for more information. Ninja Turtle topping suggestions are taken from the first season of the original show. Pizza dough recipe adapted from Gino D'acampo's Italian Home Baking

10.27.2014

Shamed by Hollywood

Paul Hollywood that is! 

Earlier today, Jen from Blue Kitchen Bakes, and I attended the BBC Bakes & Cakes Show!

We were too busy talking on the circle line tube train, that we didn’t hear that it changed directions. 

Stupid tube trains.

If it weren’t for that we would have been in plenty of time to see Paul Hollywood at 11 in the Bakes & Cakes Theatre. However, we were not on time.

As we were sneaking in to take seats in the back, Paul totally called us out. Yes, he paused in the middle of his demonstration and said something about late comers.

At least he caught us up to where he was in his making of his Devonshire Splits, they did look delicious. 

Our faces were a little red, but hey-ho we really hadn’t missed much!

Also, did you know that Paul Hollywood is funny? I was mildly surprised by this fact. He really did put on a good show. The Great British Bake Off really makes him come off as a jerk sometimes. I guess it’s just the bad cop good cop thing they try to portray.


After that we had a great time running around seeing what there was to see.

We had a lovely chat with Scott, from Kooky Bakes and we learned a lot taste and our senses from Flavour Sense Nation. We also learned a lot about York and chocolate, I think I will be visiting there soon. Apparently when the wind is blowing the whole town smells like chocolate!

Overall it was a nice day out and the best was that I got to spend some time catching up with Jen!


notes: I was provided with a press pass for the event, all opinions are my own. Please see my contact/policy page for more information. The Bakes & Cakes Show was held at the Business Design Centre in London. 

10.26.2014

Quorn Cottage Pie {recipe review}

When ever I am exclaiming I love something, I’d say 9 out of 10 times it has to do with food.

There are many reasons I love autumn the most out of all the seasons, but the food is one of them. Who doesn't want something nice warm and comforting for dinner after a cold gloomy day?

My first go to comforting dinner is soup, then cottage pie. Cottage pie is one of those dinners that the whole family loves.

We aren't vegetarians, but I do buy Quorn as a healthier protein. I got into the habit when I first started Slimming World; I am no longer a member, but habits die hard.

I used the recipe provided here on their site. I used only one tablespoon of soy sauce because I didn't have the lighter version that is naturally less salty, I only had dark soy sauce. Other then that I stuck to the recipe.

It turned out really good, it had a lot of flavor and the whole family enjoyed it.

The one thing I would change next time is the parsnip in the mash. I didn't like the root-y flavor it gave the potatoes. Instead I would use a sweet potato or carrots. In my opinion they would have given a better flavor. 

Over all it filled all my criteria of a warm and comforting dinner and to be sure it was served on a cold gloomy day which made it all the better!

For more Quorn inspiration follow them on Twitter or Facebook! 



notes: In association with Quorn, I was given a voucher that supplied me with the Quorn mince, no other compensation was given – all opinions are my own. Please see my contact/policy page for further information. 

10.22.2014

Twix Brownies or Not Leftover Halloween Chocolate Bar Brownies


Last Friday I talked about my favorite five chocolaty things and the number one thing on that list is brownies. Then my most viewed post last week was 'How to use up leftover Halloween Candy.'

So, today I thought I would combine them.

I made leftover Halloween chocolate bar brownies.

Technically the chocolate bars I used weren't leftovers, because Halloween hasn't happened yet. They are Halloween candy though because it they were on offer for a pound so you know….

Anyhow, I do enjoy a Twix bar from time to time, so I layered my baking tin with Twix’s and poured brownie batter on top.

Now for these brownies I used a box brownie mix. If you are against the use of box mixes then any brownie recipe will do. I have plenty here on my blog!

Yes, I am self promoting. If I don’t do it, who will?

If you bought a lot of different chocolate bars to give out and you end up with loads left or if you take the children trick or treating and have an abundance of chocolate bars then use those.

A variety of different chocolate bars would make for very interesting brownies. I like the Twix for the cookie/biscuit base; it feels sturdier somehow.

I am probably just talking trash/rubbish, but it’s how I feel.


Twix Brownies aka Halloween Chocolate Brownies

1 package of brownie mix
            plus an egg, vegetable or sunflower oil, and water or whatever it says on the
            box.
20-23 Twix fun size bars

Line the base of an 8x8 inch pan with baking paper, then layer the Twix or leftover chocolate bars on the bottom. Heat the oven to the recommended temperature on the box or by whatever recipe that is being used. Make the brownies according the box instructions. Carefully pour the brownie mixture on top of the chocolate bars and gently smooth with a spatula. Bake according to the time on the box or by the recipe. I may not sound very helpful, but depending on what types of boxed brownies are used then the temperatures and times can vary!
Be sure to cool completely in the pan, especially depending on what type of chocolate bars used. Some of them could be very gooey and ooey as they are on the bottom. So, no matter how much a warm brownie from the oven is tempting, be sure to allow them to cool to avoid unwanted mess!



 notes: For these brownies I used Ghirardelli Triple Chocolate Brownie mix, which can be found at Costco. Costco do not approve of this post nor do Twix; not because they don’t like it, but because they don’t know about it. I just thought you might like to know where I get the best boxed brownies from and that Twix are great! For more information see my contact/policy page. 

10.20.2014

Pumpkin Spice Meringues

If you follow me on Instagram and if you don’t you should, you will have seen my whoopie pie disaster the other day. 

At the moment I am holding a grudge against the whoopie pies because, I still haven’t been able to figure out what when wrong? 

They turned out as very flat cookies. I was so mad at them that I couldn't eat them, but they didn't go to waste other family and friends ate them.

See I don’t like waste. It was for this very reason and because I had a coupon, that I bought egg whites in a carton. I didn't want to waste the yolks. 

I know there are many ways to use up egg yolks, but I didn't fee like being all frugal, I just wanted egg whites with no fuss.

However because of my grudge, I have yet to try to remake them to figure out what went wrong. That left me with a whole carton of egg whites.

I did what I usually do with leftover egg whites I made meringues. This time I added a lovely autumn-y twist. I added in some pumpkin spice and some color.

The pumpkin spice is subtle by definitely there, it's a nice kick to a very sweet treat!

These would be absolutely perfect with a little green colored tip and used at a Halloween party. Or skip the added color and top a pumpkin pie with it! The possibilities are out there!


Pumpkin Spice Meringues

12 tbsp of egg whites, or 6 egg whites 
300g caster sugar
1 tsp cornflour
½ tsp pumpkin spice
peach coloring paste

Preheat the oven at 100C/200F/gas ½
Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks with electric hand whisk or free, standing mixer (so much easier). Add 1 tablespoon of the sugar at a time, whisking constantly until the whites come to a stiff peak. Add the cornflour and the pumpkin spice - whisk until combined.
I drew circles on a piece of baking paper and flipped it over on my baking sheet, if I you leave it with the pencil side up the pencil can come off on the meringue.
Then I used a star tip and 'painted' stripes of peach coloring on the inside of the bag, before filling the piping bag with the meringue and piped the “pumpkins” in the circles. I think I may have painted too much food dye because the excess ran off and made puddles of color next to the meringues on the sheet and made them a little sticky! So, don't be too generous with the stripes. 
Bake in the heated oven for about 2 hours or more depending on the size of your meringues. Turn the oven off, but leave in the oven to cool. Over night is best from what I read, but a couple of hours would probably be all right. You just want them to dry out. 

this one really looks like a gourd!



notes: If you can’t find Pumpkin Spice try making your own: 1/3 cup ground cinnamon, 1 tablespoon ground ginger, 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg or mace, 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cloves, 1-1/2 teaspoons ground allspice.

10.17.2014

Five on Friday: Favorite Five Chocolaty Things

It’s the end of the National Chocolate Week and there have been a lot of chocolate stuff going on in London.

I wish I could tell you about all the fun I was having in there in London, but I wasn't there! 

So, from the comfort of my couch and laptop I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite chocolaty things for my Five on Friday.

1. Brownies
In the early days of my blog I was going to have a whole thing about my quest to find the best brownie recipe ever! Then I sorta stopped. However I have found my favorite brownie recipe and I haven’t used another one since. I wrote about them in the post Bribe Worthy Brownies (I still haven't taken my driver's test O_o ) and a look here for more brownie recipes!

2. Paul A. Young
He could secretly be made of chocolate. When I got to meet him briefly at last years Cake & Bake Show, he was super friendly and happy to answer any questions. I love his book and I love his shop(s). His book is full of amazing chocolate things and his store is filled with amazing chocolate treats! (His brownies are freakin’ amazing! If you want to know about my visit to his shop I wrote about here and if you want to know more about his book I wrote about it here and more about when I meet him look here!

3. Hotel Chocolat
They have great chocolate and the range of flavors and products is astounding! It is a bit pricey, but it’s part of why I think of it as such a treat! One time when I was pregnant I bought one of the Caramel Slabs and I hid it in the back of a cupboard so my husband didn't know about it because I didn't want to share and in 3 days I had finished the whole thing. So, unless he reads this he'll never know about it. 

4. Blackout Cake
I don’t ever think I ate anything so chocolaty and so rich as this cake. It is the cake that I found myself sneaking to the fridge with a fork to steal bites of it. Then when the cake looked a bit funny, due to the fork marks in it, I had to have a few more bites to even it out. Why I didn't just cut myself a slice is beyond me. More about the blackout cake here

5. Galaxy Ripples
I know I like high-end chocolate from places like Paul A. Young and mid-end chocolate from places like Hotel Chocolate, but there is something to be said about a Galaxy Ripple. I mean sometimes you just want a creamy chocolaty treat! These are my go to chocolate in times of need. 

A couple other things that almost made my list where:

Eric Lanlard’s book Chocolat:
&
Oatly Chocolate Oat Drink 


notes: Pictures are my own, except the Hotel Chocolate logo, it is from their website. All opinions are my own, no compensation was given for this post. Please see my contact/policy page for further information. 

10.15.2014

Hummus & Carrot Sticks

My blog is for the most part about the sweeter side of food. That is because I genuinely enjoy sweet foods.

However my blog probably gives a false impression on my eating habits. I have had more then one of my friends comment on how much cake I must eat.

To be honest I don’t, I eat one or two slices/pieces/squares/cookies etc… then the rest is shared among my friends and family.

“Everything in moderation,” is something that I try to live by for everything I do in my life.

Including my cake eating habits.

If I really ate sweet stuff 24/7 I would be way unhealthy and my teeth would have probably fallen out of my face by now.

When I saw a competition on the Simplyhealth website asking bloggers to share a recipe that used one of the ingredients listed here. I thought it would be a great opportunity to share something that I enjoy eating that isn't cake or cookies and that is good for you! 

My favorite lunch is hummus and carrot sticks. It is also my girls’ favorite lunch, I have taught them well.

Hummus is so easy to make at home, you throw everything into a food processor and lunch is made. It’s also a great base to add different flavors. This one just has some hot sauce drizzled on top to give it a bit of a kick. 


Hummus served with Carrot Sticks:

1 can of chickpeas
3 ½ tbsp of chickpea liquid
2 tsp tahini
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp sea salt    
1-2 tbsp white wine vinegar
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of Paprika
Hot sauce (optional)
Carrot Sticks

Drain the chickpeas, but reserve the liquid. Place the chickpeas, tahini, garlic clove, salt, chickpea liquid, and vinegar in a food processor. Pulse a couple of times before adding the olive oil. Blend until completely smooth.

Place in a dish and drizzle with hot sauce and scoop up with carrots!


Carrots are good for you because they have a lot of Vitamin A, which is a great way to keep your teeth happy and healthy. Also carrot sticks can act as a natural toothbrush! Bonus!


notes: I have entered thiscompetition, hosted by Simplyhealth, on my own accord. For more information please see my contact/policy page above. There is still time to enter if you are interested! 

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