Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Healthy Chocolate Thick Shake

This is a quick post as we are off on our holibobs tomorrow. Lots to do before we jet off to sunnier climes. But I wanted to bring you this quick and easy healthy ‘shake’ made in my brilliant Optimum 9400 from Froothie.

It tastes a bit like a thick chocolate shake, like the ones you get in a certain fast food outlet, but has way less calories.

I used to love those thick shakes. I went through a phase of having them all the time, when I was younger, before I realised I was drinking my own body weight in ice cream each time :D

So, when I bunged these ingredients into my blender, I was shocked at how much this tasted just like a chocolate thick shake.

All it takes is almond milk, vanilla extract, raw cacao powder (or unsweetened cocoa), half a frozen banana and some ice cubes. I use one tablespoon of the cacao/cocoa, but you could use two, if you like it more chocolatey.

The good thing with the Optimum 9400, is that it can pulverise the ice and leave the drink with a silky, thick shake like consistency. Have a go and you will see…

print recipe

Healthy Chocolate Thick Shake
tastes just like a fast food shake, with none of the guilt!
  • 200 ml almond milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon raw cacao powder
  • half a small banana, frozen
  • 10-12 ice cubes
Add the ingredients into a blender and blitz until thick and smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 1 large glass

Disclosure Statement: I received the Optimum 9400 blender free to review. I have not been paid for this post. Any opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Carrot Cake Meringue Pie

molten carrot cake in a pie shell topped with fluffy marshmallow meringue

It was my mum’s birthday last week. Quite a milestone as she turned 65 years old. She is a young 65 though, still working and has a great social life.

And as tradition dictates, we had mum around for a birthday dinner. If you are a regular visitor to Cakeyboi, you will know that I make a carrot cake (her favourite cake) for her every year, albeit with a twist.

Two years ago I made a Carrot Loaf Cake and last year was a Carrot Cake Swiss Roll. But this year I wanted to go for something a wee bit different – Carrot Cake Meringue Pie.

Let’s be clear, this is not a carrot meringue pie – a pie with sweet carrot curd – it is a gooey carrot cake, in a pie shell, topped with fluffy marshmallowy meringue.

The ‘cake’ part is like a molten carrot cake, it has a wee bit of golden syrup in there to keep it gooier but tastes just like a proper carrot cake.

I used a shop-bought pie crust shell, but you could make you own, obviously, if you had time.

I made LOTS of meringue and piled it HIGH. This means when it is toasted on the outside, the inside it still nice and fluffy.

molten carrot cake in a pie shell topped with fluffy marshmallow meringue

Mum and Disneyboi (and I) loved it and I know you will too!

print recipe

Carrot Cake Meringue Pie
gooey carrot cake in a pie crust topped with lots of fluffy mallowy meringue
  • 9" shortcrust pie shell
  • 40 grams unsalted butter, melted
  • 150 grams light brown sugar
  • 100 grams golden syrup
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 50 grams plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 60 grams grated carrot
  • 60 grams pecans, chopped
  • 6 egg whites
  • 250 grams granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoon cornflour
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 180C and place the pie shell, in it's foil dish on a baking tray. Sift together the flour, cinnamon, bicarb, and salt in a bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, mix together the melted butter, brown sugar and syrup until smooth. Add the eggs and beat until incorporated. Add the flour mix and gently combine until the dry ingredients have been absorbed. Add the carrots and pecans and stir through. Transfer the cake batter to the pie shell and fill the pie as full as you can. Bake in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes. The cake will darken on top and there shouldn't be much wobble except in the middle, when ready. Allow to cool completely. Beat the egg whites in a mixer until foamy then slowly add the sugar and cornflour. Beat for about 5 minutes until the meringue is thick and glossy. Stir in the vanilla. Spoon or pipe the meringue on to the cooled pie as high as you can. Either in a low grill or with a blow torch, brown the outside of the meringue. The inside should stay soft and marshmallow like and the outside will have golden edges.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 1 9" pie

I am also entering this Carrot Cake Meringue Pie into a new monthly challenge we are taking part in. When I say we - I am referring to a new group that has been formed - Baking Boy Bloggers. The theme this month is meringue.

If you are a male blogger who likes to bake, why don't you join us?

Here are some other meringue recipes to inspire you...

Rhubarb Meringue Pie by Michelle at Utterly Scrummy
Lemon Meringue Cake also by Michelle at Utterly Scrummy
Cherry Meringue Pie by Sarah at Maison Cupcake
Pavlotart by Kavey at Kavey Eats
Apple Meringue by Camilla at Fab Food 4 All

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Our (quick) Day at Foodies Festival Edinburgh

This is something I have been meaning to post for a few weeks now.  Last month Disneyboi and I went down to Edinburgh for the Foodies Festival at Inverleith Park. Unfortunately the Scottish weather was against us the day that we chose to attend, and we didn’t stay as long as we would have liked to.

We got there at about 11am and the weather was dull, but dry. We had a wander around the stalls. I met Morag from Mo’s Cookie Dough whom I see at the BBC Good Food Show every year. I’ll hopefully catch up with her properly next month.

lovely macaron at the Foodies Festival
We went to the booking tent to grab a couple of demonstrations. We chose firstly to see Glenn Cosby from the Great British Bake Off. We then planned to see a demonstration about making absinthe cupcakes by a woman called Emilly Ladybird.

We got to the tent, where Glenn would be demonstrating how to make some delicious looking Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cupcakes, just in time. Glenn is larger than life, cracking lots of jokes and telling anecdotes. He was in Edinburgh as he had a baking and comedy show at the Festival called Food Junkie, which unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to see.

Glenn baked his cupcakes and chatted away, all whilst the heavens opened and didn’t stop! The tent we were in started leaking onto Glenn, but he carried on, the true pro that he is!

During his demo, Jac from Tinned Tomatoes popped in and then afterwards, I met Lea Harris who was a contestant on series one of GBBO and has her own blog 'Off The Eaten Track'.

We then went to our demo on making absinthe cupcakes with ‘Emilly Ladybird’ who describes herself as a steampunk jewellery maker, and not a baker. To be honest I found the demo quite confusing. It seemed almost like a children’s show, but as it was baking with alcohol, this was NOT the case. Not for me I’m afraid.

During this show however, we met the face behind the fantastic blog ‘Keep Calm and Fanny On’. If you have never visited the blog - please, please visit. ‘Fanny’, as I call the enigmatic blogger, is (humorously) baking Fanny Cradock recipes (1970-71!), vegetarian styli. And ‘Fanny’ presented Jac and I with Fanny gifts. I received Fanny Cradock’s Christmas Cookery Book which accompanied the TV series (that is repeated ad infinitum on TV every year). A lovely gift I shall treasure.

We watched another demo in the tent (most folk were huddled in that tent by now, trying to stay dry), by Three Sisters Bake – although only two could be present. They whipped up a couple of cakes. One had a lovely ganache topping, and the other, on-trend ombre icing. Meanwhile, the rain got worse.

After that demo, we decided there looked like no let up on the rain and we made our way (to Ikea). It was such a shame as, had it been a good day, we would have stayed much longer, sampled lots of Scottish fare and chatted with our friends.

I’m hoping to attend next year’s Festival and keeping everything crossed for a dry day!

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Chocolate Biscoff Puppy Chow with Banana Chips

It’s been a while since I made Puppy Chow (not for dogs!!). Remember that stuff? It’s malted cereal smothered with things like chocolate and peanut butter (see below), plus lots of icing sugar.Very snackable and very dangerous.

I was recently sent some Lotus Biscoff spread to ‘try’ as it is now available in all good supermarkets.

But I have adored this stuff for over a year now. It’s also called speculoos (more on the continent) or cookie butter (in the US) but in the UK it’s being marketed as Biscoff. If you don’t know what it is, it’s those little spicy biscuits, cinnamony and lovely, made into a spreadable paste.

I have made blondies with it, a frosting for cupcakes, cakey doughnuts and used it’s former name of Speculoos. But as of now, I am officially calling it Biscoff – much nicer sounding really.

Biscoff comes in a smooth paste or a crunchy one. I personally prefer the crunchy one for spreading on toast or crumpets. And I like to use the smooth one in recipes.

When I was sent the spread I also received a couple of mini packs of the Biscoff biscuits which are coated on one side with chocolate. A great pairing. So I immediately thought it would be great as an ingredient in Puppy Chow (not for dogs!!). But the cereal on it's own didn’t cut it for me. What could I add to the mix?

How about little banana chips? I found small chewy ones in the supermarket (you didn't think I was going to make my own did you?) which I mixed through the cereal and the combination was lovely!

Here’s how easy it is to make;

print recipe

Chocolate Biscoff Puppy Chow with Banana Chips
Chocolate and Biscoff smothered cereal with chewy banana chips
  • 300 grams malted wheat cereal (such as Shreddies)
  • 55 grams unsalted butter
  • 190 grams milk chocolate, chopped
  • 125 grams smooth Biscoff spread
  • 190 grams icing sugar
  • 100 grams banana chips
Put the cereal in a large plastic tub with a sealable lid. Place the chopped chocolate, butter and Biscoff in a saucepan and place over medium heat until melted together. Pour the chocolate mix over the cereal and stir it through so everything gets combined. Add the icing sugar and place the lid on the tub. Shake the tub vigorously! Remove the lid and place the cereal on a large baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper. Pop in the fridge to set, about half an hour. Transfer back to the tub and add the banana chips. Mix the cereal and banana together. Now, scoop the puppy chow into little bowls and enjoy!
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: lots!

My other Biscoff Recipes
Biscoff Frosting
Biscoff Blondies
Biscoff Doughnuts

Disclosure Statement: I was sent the Biscoff Spreads free to sample. I was not requested to make a recipe. Any opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Sweet Pizza Time at Zizzi

I was recently asked if I would like to try Zizzi’s new sweet treat – their Chocolate and Strawberry Pizza! Sounded like heaven to me, so Disneyboi and I ventured along to our closest Zizzi ristorante which is in St. Andrews, Fife.

Zizzi were kindly offering us a complimentary meal in return for sampling their new sweet pizza, plus they wanted us to look at other savoury dishes that have turned sweet. Not a bad challenge at all – as I am known for some of my quirkier bakes.

But first on to the meal…

Disneyboi and I turned up at the restaurant last Sunday. It was both our first time in a Zizzi and I have to be honest and say it wasn’t what we expected. The atmosphere was really friendly and relaxed. We were pleasantly surprised and sat down to enjoy our leisurely dinner.

To start with we shared the Cicchetti Platter. This was a selection of Arancini risotto balls (which I love!), chicken and pepper skewers, baked king prawn skewers, mini calzone with spicy sausage and a salad of fresh bufala mozzarella and tomatoes. This was gobbled up in no time at all. It was lovely to try lots of smaller bites and whetted our appetite for the main course.

We also had fruity frascati to enjoy and an Italian bread bucket to nibble on in between each course and dipped the warm breads into fruity olive oil and tangy sweet balsamic vinegar.

For our main course, I chose the Crab Linguine and Disneyboi had the Linguine Arrabiata.

I absolutely adore seafood and the linguine had lots of white crab meat throughout. It was quite broth-like at the bottom, which I enjoyed. Not a heavy pasta dish at all. Although there is an unspoken rule that parmesan cheese shouldn't be served with fish or seafood, I love parmesan and had lashings of it.

Disneyboi likes it spicy and was warned by our waitress that this was the case with the Linguine Arrabiata. He loved it. It was spicy, but not to the point that you couldn’t enjoy the dish.

We were really full, but knew we had to save room for our dessert. Bring on the Pizza!

Actually, Disneyboi went for the Chocolate and Banana Calzone (which he thoroughly enjoyed) whilst I ordered the Chocolate and Strawberry Pizza.

I have to say, the pizza was amaze-balls! It was a real pizza base, and not only did it have sliced fresh strawberries, the chocolate was actually a chocolate and hazelnut sauce (so was just like Nutella drizzled all over it), and it had melty marshmallows as well. The marshmallows were my favourite part. 

They were golden on the edges and tasted like they had just been toasted over a campfire. They were ooey-gooey and the whole pizza was really, really sweet and delicious.

Disneyboi snuck in this unflattering shot!
We did manage everything on our plates, but I have to admit we were stuffed! We had a couple of cappuccinos (in gorgeous glass cups) and chatted to the manager before making our way.

I have come up with my own sweet pizza – which I affectionately call a Sweetza . Mines has a blondie base instead of pizza dough and has a raspberry sauce layer, a sweet cream cheese drizzle and chopped up fruit. The whole thing looks like a real savoury pizza – so don’t be fooled!

Sweet pizza with a blondie base and cream cheese sauce

I have in the past made a chocolate orange lasagne, which I think would work terribly well on the Zizzi menu! And other sweets treats I have made using savoury ingredients are;

Tomato Soup Muffins (be warned the photo is AWFUL)

Visit your local Zizzi to try out their sweet pizza if you get a chance. It’ a seasonal special, so might not be around forever. If you want to have a go at turning savoury into sweet share your creations using #SweetPizza.

Disclosure Statement: We received the meal free to review the sweet pizza. I have not been paid for the post. Any opinions expressed are my own.

Treat Petite September 2014

Me again! Yes I’m hosting Treat Petite this month too as Kat and I are ‘swapping’ months.

Thanks for all your No Bake entries in August – you are an inventive lot!!

Can you believe it, but Treat Petite is a year old! It has gone fast and we have had brilliant entries for our various themes over the past 12 months. Our first theme was ‘Anything Goes’ so basically anything individual you baked was fair game.

Kat and I have decided that this September we will keep the theme the same – so ‘Anything Goes’ again!

You might have noticed something's changed – the logo. We wanted something updated and fresh, so we plumped for the one you see at the top. We hope you like it.

(I shall be on my holibobs for a week, but rest assured I will retweet your entries when I can!!)

So here are those rules. They've changed a wee bit as we have added a linky tool for your convenience...

Treat Petite is for all of those delicious bites, which can be individually portioned. Tray bakes are fine, cookies, cupcakes, brownies, macarons and so on. No cakes, puddings, loaves – you get the idea…here are those all-important rules.

  1. Add your petite treat to the Linky at the bottom of this post by the 25th of the month, midnight at the latest.
  1. Post your bake onto your blog and link back to Cakeyboi and The Baking Explorer, stating who is hosting this month.
  1. Follow Cakeyboi and The Baking Explorer blogs on Google + (see sidebar links), if you haven’t already.
  1. If you tweet use  #treatpetite and mention @MrCakeyboi and @BakingExplorer – we will retweet

  2. Add the new challenge logo to the post and ‘Treat Petite’ as a label to the post

  3. Use any recipe as long as the source is noted
  1. If you like, add your photo to the ‘Treat Petite’ Pinterest board (request access from me – Cakeyboi)
  1. Feel free to enter old posts as long as you update the post and meet all the requirements above!

Above all else – have fun!!

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Treat Petite August 2014 Round Up

As we are fully into Sumtumn © now – it’s time for the Treat Petite round up for August. The theme was No-Bake as the weather had been so warm and we didn't fancy putting our ovens on much. Our ‘bakers’ didn’t let us down.

First off, Helen at Family-Friends-Food entered these brilliantly named Nobbly-bobbly Spiced Chocolate Biscoff Fruit & Nut CrispyBites. The fact these contain Biscoff has me sold instantly. And in case you are wondering the nobbly part is crispie cereal!

My good friend Luca, whom I met at Food Blogger Connect this year submitted these beautiful individual Cherry and Banana Cheesecake Verrine via his blog Oh La Vache. Luca, who lives in France, explains a verrine is simply a dessert served in a glass. He layers cherry jelly, speculoos biscuits then a heavenly mix of banana and mascarpone on top. Heavenly indeed.

Next Choclette, over at the Chocolate Log Blog made these Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispies inspired by Reese’s PB Cups. She was disappointed with the way they turned out after converting US measurements to UK, and with reduced ingredients, but I don’t they look bad at all!

Laura at I’d Much Rather Bake Than made these Peanut Butter and White Chocolate Rice Krispie Treats. The combination of white choc and PB is something I’ve not tried together before. However it looks delicious in Laura’s Treats.

Caroline at Caroline Makes, brought us two no-bake treats. Her first was a deconstructed Lemon Meringue Pie. In a glass she crumbled some digestives, then layered lemon curd on top, followed by a layer of whipped double cream. Lastly she sprinkled on some new Lemon Meringue Sprinkles, which I hadn’t heard of before.  This is a really fast, easy and impressive dessert!

Caroline also brought us this Strawberry Marshmallow Mousse. It’s from a Waitrose recipe and involves boiling strawbs with orange caster sugar and marshmallows. After this is cooled some fromage frais is folded in then the mix is left to set. Now that is ingenious!

Elizabeth at Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary made these Triple Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites. Now, I have made cookie dough bites before but never triple chocolate. These apparently are very addictive and I for one wouldn’t argue.

Pauline at Pauline’s Occasional Baking Adventures made these Baileys and Chocolate Miniature Cheesecakes. With lots of Baileys, chocolate, biscuit and cream cheese my only question is why does Pauline only bake occasionally?! You should bake all the time if this is the deliciousness you concoct!

Ros at The More Than Occasional Baker made these vibrant Chocolateand Peppermint Squares which have an Oreo crust, a pepperminty cream cheese layer then topped with minty Areo Bubbles. They look fantastic and that we addition of green food colouring really makes them stand out!

Next, Kate The Gluten Free Alchemist made these MarshmallowParty Bites. They are (giant) mallows topped with chocolate and then sprinkles, nuts or Smarties added on top. Kate says she thinks these are possibly the English version of my Top Hats I made recently. They look great fun for a kids party.

Manpreet at Eat Well Feel Good gave us a healthier no-bake Treat Petite in the form of these Date and Nut Energy Bites. Packed with natural, healthy ingredients these are perfect for those not wanting too much refined sugar in their diet.

Angela over at Garden Tea Cakes and Me made these ChewyToffee and Salted Cashew Nut Cookies. They are made in a pan, then rolled into parchment paper and when set sliced into ‘cookies’. I love the way the cashews are sliced in half and look really pretty.

My co-host Kat at the Baking Explorer made these traditional Chocolate Truffles. Made from melted chocolate, butter, egg yolks and icing sugar (plus a bit of vanilla) they set overnight before being rolled into balls and then coated in whatever you fancy such as vermicelli, coconut, sprinkles – you name it!

And lastly I made a healthy no-bake recipe in my Optimum9400 blender from Froothie. My Chocolate and Peanut Butter Pinwheels have a ‘chocolate’ layer made from dates, nuts and cacao powder (yes, not cocoa) and then homemade peanut butter is spread on top of that before this is rolled into a sausage shape. Sliced into little cookies, these are healthier and hit that chocolate/PB craving without too much guilt.

Thanks to everyone who didn’t bake this month – lol! We really appreciate your entries. And stay tuned for Treat Petite September – also hosted by me. See you soon!

Disclosure Statement: I received the blender for free. Any opinions expressed are my own.