Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Halloween No Fail Fudge

Fudge made with white chocolate and marshmallow creme packed with oreos, M&M's and candy corn

Halloween is meant to be a frightening time, but to me making fudge is pretty terrifying!

It’s something that I don’t achieve very well – past attempts have seen sludgy results or rock solid tooth-breaking morsels.

Fudge made with white chocolate and marshmallow creme packed with oreos, M&M's and candy corn

I did come across a no-fail version a while back (on Taste and Tell), which is perhaps not a traditional recipe, but tastes just as good. The flavour comes from two particular components – white chocolate chips and the part that makes it – ‘no-fail’ – marshmallow fluffy stuff.

I don’t know the science behind it, but the addition of the marshmallow seems to make the fudge set no matter what. I have made this recipe a while back to conjure up some tie-dye fudge which looked a bit like play-dough.

Fudge made with white chocolate and marshmallow creme packed with oreos, M&M's and candy corn

For this version however I chucked in some other sweet treats, a Halloween staple in the US  - Candy Corn, Oreos (the dark chocolate, almost black, biscuit is so brooding) and spooky coloured M&M’s. You could include anything in the mix however. I also stuck on some edible googly eyes with some left over white chocolate when it was cut up, to add to the spooky effect.

(Unlike me, I would score the fudge after you have poured it into the prepared pan, ready to be cut up when it is cool. Otherwise you get irregular size pieces.)

Fudge made with white chocolate and marshmallow creme packed with oreos, M&M's and candy corn

The fudge set well, quite crumbly almost tablet like – if you like Scottish Tablet you will love this too FYI. It would make an ideal treat to hand out on the 31st October, or just to scoff as you put the lights off and ignore the wee darlings chapping at the door (or is that just me…?)


Here’s how it’s made…



print recipe

Halloween No Fail Fudge
White chocolate Flavoured Fudge with Spooky Seasonal Additions
Ingredients
  • 565 grams granulated sugar
  • 113 grams unsalted butter
  • 140 ml evaporated milk
  • 213 grams marshmallow fluffy stuff
  • 225 grams white chocolate chips
  • Various amounts of additions such as candy corn, Oreos, M&Ms
Instructions
1. Line an 8”x8” baking tin with foil. 2. In a large saucepan add the sugar, butter and evap milk.3. Heat on medium until it begins to boil, then keep on boiling for a further 5 minutes, stirring constantly.4. After the 5 minutes remove from the heat and add the chocolate chips and marshmallow stuff.5. Stir through thoroughly (it will thicken) until everything is smooth.6. Add the additional sweets etc and stir them through so they are evenly distributed.7. Pour into the prepared pan and score the top gently with a knife into squares.8. Allow to cool fully then remove from pan and cut into the marked squares.9. Enjoy!
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 25 + servings

Fudge made with white chocolate and marshmallow creme packed with oreos, M&M's and candy corn

I'm adding these to this months Treat Petite hosted by Kat at the Baking Explorer and myself. The theme is Orange and Black (AKA Halloween!).


Monday, 26 October 2015

Edible Daddy Long Legs

Teacakes and chocolate biscuit sticks made to look like a creepy crawly Halloween Treat

No, not a Bush Tucker Trial!

These are another tasty Halloween treat for you to try. I can’t really call it a recipe as such – it’s made from shop bought goodies…

I was going to call them Teacake Spiders, but spiders have eight legs and I could only jam in six Mikado’s to the teacake before it crumbled.

Therefore, they are 'wingless' Daddy Long Legs, which do have six legs. And I’m sure you will agree the legs are long!

Teacakes and chocolate biscuit sticks made to look like a creepy crawly Halloween Treat

You could make your own teacakes if you so desire, I have a recipe here for Easter ones which can be easily tweaked to be non-Easter. For convenience and time however, I used pre-made ones. I used Daim bar Mikado’s for the legs, they are kind of knobbly, so add to the creepy effect. You could also use Matchmakers too.

I’d bought some edible googly eyes online, but you could improvise and us anything you like, such as white icing, white chocolate, but the eyes are a great investment. You get loads in a pack and will last you a few Halloweens.

Teacakes and chocolate biscuit sticks made to look like a creepy crawly Halloween Treat

To stick the eyes on I heated the end of a teaspoon and held it against the teacake to melt the chocolate a little, then stuck the eyes to that. I also made a hole in the top of some so the eyes popped out of the top of the teacakes which I thought were pretty cute.


These are such a simple idea, but one I think would add a tasty bit of ghoulishness to a Halloween buffet!



print recipe

Edible Daddy Long Legs
Teacakes and chocolate sweets made into a creepy crawly Halloween treat
Ingredients
  • 1 package teacakes
  • 6 per teacake Mikado or Matchmakers
  • two per teacake googly eyes
Instructions
1. Carefully insert the chocolate stick sweets into the teacakes, just above the biscuit base. 2. Add six, three on each side.3. Heat the end of a teaspoon and use this to melt some of the chocolate to adhere the eyes to.4. Allow the chocolate to set. 5. Lay your daddy long legs out for little kids (or big ones) to much on!
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: Varies


Teacakes and chocolate biscuit sticks made to look like a creepy crawly Halloween Treat

I am adding these Halloween treats to this week's Recipe of the Week hosted by Emily at A Mummy Too.

Link up your recipe of the week

I'm adding these into Credit Crunch Munch, hosted by Fuss Free Flavours and Fab Food 4 All. The teacakes and mikados were bought for just a pound each (in the pound shop) so great value for money!


Saturday, 24 October 2015

BBC Good Food Show Scotland - Some things to look forward to..

It's not long now until the BBC Good Food Show in Glasgow. Held at the SECC between the 6 and 8 November, tickets are going like hot cakes.


Have you entered my giveaway yet to win a pair of tickets to the event? The tickets are also good for the London and Birmingham show this year. Hurry the competition ends soon!

But to whet your whistle for the Scottish event, here are just a few of the exhibitors going to the event that I am personally looking forward to visiting.

Coco - Chocolatier



Coco is an artisan Edinburgh based chocolatier. They use ethically sourced, organic chocolate to create their bars which come in an array of flavours. I am particularly looking forward to trying a Haggis Spice Chocolate bar, oh and the Gin and Tonic one too!

Fever-Tree



As the popularity of gin increases it only makes sense that the accompanying tonic should get the premium treatment as well. Fever-Tree make, in my opinion, the best tasting tonics to go with your gin. As they say, if three-quarters of your G&T is the tonic, surely it should be the best. I'll be picking up some of their 7 varieties when I'm there.

Maw Broon's Home and Kitchen



For anyone, like me, who grew up reading The Broons every Sunday and waiting for the annual every other year, Maw Broon's Kitchen is not to be missed. There will be homewares, cookware and appliances all for sale under the name of Maw Broon. This will be a true chance to wallow in nostalgia!

Poporopo


Gourmet popcorn, air popped which is the healthiest method, all made in Scotland. Flavours include peanut butter, sea salted caramel and sweet ginger. Try holding me back!!

The Collective



I visited the Collective stand last year and enjoyed it so much, I will be back for more. The Collective make gourmet yoghurt. I am not a huge fan of yoghurt normally, but the flavours they sell are out of this world (gingerbread, coconut and lime anyone?) and the yoghurt tastes so creamy. I just hope they are selling their limited edition pumpkin spice one again this year!

Ochil Fudge Pantry




The Ochil Fudge Pantry are regulars at the BBC Good Food Show and every year I visit, I always pick up some of their fudge. They have a huge selection of flavours such as apple crumble, iron brew, maple syrup, sticky toffee pudding and more. For the sweet toothed like myself the Ochil Fudge Pantry is a must!

I'll be there at the BBC Good Food Show on Friday the 6th, wandering about trying lots of things. I hope to see you too!

To book tickets to the event go to the BBC Good Food Show Scotland page for details.

Disclosure Statement: I have not been paid to endorse the BBC Good Food Show or any of their exhibitors. I am receiving a free pass to the event however. Any opinions expressed are my own.



Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Food Blogger Connect 2015 - My Thoughts


A few weeks ago myself and my friend Jac from Tinned Tomatoes travelled down to London for the annual Food Blogger Connect Conference. FBC as it’s known is the world's leading international food blogging conference. This year the venue was advertised as Chiswick House and Gardens.

Jac and I turned up on the Friday morning and got out of a taxi alongside TV cook  and food writer Sophie Grigson who was giving a talk at FBC. We walked into the grounds chatting to her.


We met all of our peers and settled down for the first part of the conference which was Sophie, giving us a talk on food writing. This was a really interesting and fun talk on using certain words when describing foods, how to compile recipes and the like. I must remember not to use the word ‘delicious’ when describing food!!


Over the weekend there was a mixed bag of content, some of which I found useful and some I didn’t. We had a presentation from Pinterest, which I did find very helpful and will start to change the way I use the application.

In the grounds, outside the marquee where we had the classes, was what is billed as the ‘StrEAT Party’. A gathering of stalls promoting foods and drink from all over. We could sample hot dogs, burgers, pastas, Mexican food, birch water (not a fan!), greek cuisine and so on. We could chat to our friends and sample new foods.


On the Saturday afternoon, myself and a few others decamped for a while and went to our favourite bakery ‘Outsider Tart’, which I have visited on a couple of occasions already.


We received a goody bag at the end of FBC and sadly I couldn’t take everything with me, due to luggage restrictions, but I managed to cram in a very nice food rasp, a silicone Madeleine tin, tasty marshmallows, Pop chips and more.

I have to be honest and say I got more from last year’s conference. I didn’t find that I learned anything wildly new or different (aside from the Pinterest talk). Luca my friend who blogs at Chestnuts and Truffles suggested they have two ‘streams’ at future events - such as beginners and advanced, so bloggers get a choice at which level they want to join in. It is an expensive trip if you don’t find you learn that much.

The venue was not the best either. It was much further out and tricky to get to unless you lived in London. Also, it was advertised as being at Chiswick House and not in a tent in the grounds. As this was September in London, as the day went on things got a bit chillier. Plus as it got dark around 7pm, the ‘Streat Party’ failed to encourage people to stay afterwards as they had last year when it was held in June.

I’m not sure I will return next year, but for those who haven’t been before it is a great place to meet fellow bloggers and chat about things – the highlight of the weekend for me!


Whilst we were away Jac, Lisa from United Cakedom, Sarah from Maison Cupcake and myself were lucky enough to have been given accommodation at the Ibis Hotel in Shepherds Bush. This hotel, which is at the rear of Westfield Shopping Centre, was my first experience of staying in an Ibis.



The room was spacious, with lovely d├ęcor and a very funky bathroom. It was like a curved pod in the corner of the room. The inside had a wet room kind of feel with a level floor and a most spacious, powerful shower. Great for my weary bones.


We also had breakfast included where you could eat just about anything you desired. Lovely breads, fruit, yoghurts were on offer. Although I don’t usually I went for bacon, sausage, hash browns, egg etc. The breakfast area, which doubled as the bar the rest of the day was comfortable and modern, making you feel very relaxed.


The location is very central, perfect for the Central line funnily enough.


Overall, the weekend was enjoyable and I did have a good time seeing friends and learning some new things. The accommodation was lovely and I could not criticise that at all. As for Food Blogger Connect 2016? I shall wait and see what the schedule is before I make my mind up.

Disclosure Statement: I received free accommodation at the Ibis hotel in exchange for a review. Any opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Chocolate and Marmalade Baked Doughnuts

chocolate and marmalade baked doughnuts

I hadn’t made cake doughnuts for a while and thought I should dust off my doughnut pan which was languishing in the oven.

What flavour would I make though?
It’s coming up for Halloween, and I have a Halloweeny themed Treat Petite this month – Orange and Black – so I used this for my inspiration.

chocolate and marmalade baked doughnuts

I decided to make chocolate flavoured doughnuts and add in some marmalade into the mix. This way you get the chocolate flavour broken up with the subtle taste of orange, and as I used a rough shred marmalade, you get the odd bit of bitter rind as well, which tastes great against the sweetness. And for a bit of creaminess I added a little bit of mayonnaise!

I much prefer cake doughnuts over fried ones. These are not greasy and are really more like a ring shaped cupcake. In fact, you could just pop the batter into cupcake cases and bake them like that if you don’t have a doughnut pan.

chocolate and marmalade baked doughnuts

To ‘frost’ the doughnuts, I was a bit lazy and just bought myself a jar of marshmallow fluffy stuff. You could make your own of course, but if you are in a rush, the jars are just as good. All I did was melt it a little bit in the microwave, stirred through some orange food colouring – totally optional of course – and then dunked the doughnuts headlong into the mallow. You could pipe the mallow on, or spread with a spatula if you are a total neat freak, but I liked the drippy effect. Very Halloween. To finish with I sprinkled on some black sanding sugar I had in the cupboard.

The doughnuts were crisp on the outside, a bit of a crust forms when baking, and they were very tender when I bit in. The flavour of chocolate is balanced perfectly with the bitter marmalade. It’s then complemented by the sweet mallow stuff.

These are tasty and messy in equal measure. Can you imagine tying these up at a Halloween party and the state children would get in, trying to eat them without their hands (or is that just a Scottish thing?).

chocolate and marmalade baked doughnuts

Here’s how they are made….



print recipe

Chocolate & Marmalade Baked Doughnuts
Cake doughnuts baked with cocoa and marmalade
Ingredients
  • 150 grams plain flour
  • 50 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium egg
  • 170 grams granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 60 grams light mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 125 ml milk (i used semi-skimmed)
  • 100 grams golden shred marmalade
  • half jar marshmallow 'fluff'
  • Amount varies orange food colouring
Instructions
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C and grease a doughnut baking pan.2. Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a bowl.3. In a jug, beat together the egg, sugar, vegetable oil, mayonnaise, vanilla and milk until smooth.4. Microwave the marmalade for about 30 seconds until it is thinned and looser in texture.5. Stir the contents of the jug into the dry mix and stir until everything is combined. Add the marmalade and stir through completely.6. Transfer the batter to a piping bag or food bag with the corner snipped off and pipe the doughnut cavities about three-quarters full.7. Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the centre. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before easing carefully from the pan.8. Repeat the process if baking more than one batch. Allow to cool completely.9. Melt the marshmallow stuff in a bowl by placing it in the microwave for 10 to 20 seconds, until it is much looser in texture. Add orange food colouring, enough to get a shade you like.10. Dip the doughnuts lightly in the marshmallow and place on a wire rack, to allow the mallow to drip down. Sprinkle with sanding sugar, if you wish to do so.11. Alternately pipe or spread the mallow on the doughnuts.12. Enjoy!
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 18 doughnuts



These doughnuts are my entry to this month's Treat Petite - the theme is Black and Orange (AKA Halloween) and everything inbetween. My co-host is Kat from The Baking Explorer.


Thursday, 15 October 2015

Win Tickets to the BBC Good Food Show


The BBC Good Food Shows are approaching again!

If you love the shows as much as I do, you will be looking forward to them already. They are a great day out for foodie lovers like myself. You can see your favourite celebrity chefs on stage, hear them being interviewed by the lovely Lotte Duncan, buy great local produce and celebrate everything foodie.


Celebrities appearing this year include Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, James Martin, Michel Roux Jr. and many others depending on location. Check the website for full details of who is on when.


There are three shows coming up before the end of the year;

BBC Good Food Show Scotland – 6 – 8 November
BBC Good Food Show London – 13 – 15 November
BBC Good Food Show Winter (Birmingham) – 26 – 29 November.

I have a pair of tickets to be won to any one of the above shows. Please note that these tickets are not valid on Saturdays and do not include admission to the Supertheatre.


All you need do is enter via Rafflecopter below, leaving a blog comment minimum. The winner’s name will be announced on the Rafflecopter box below after the closing date of 29 October 2015. Good Luck.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions:
All tickets are general admission excluding Saturday.
Tickets are non refundable and non-exchangeable.
Ticket terms and conditions apply.
Tickets will be mailed out directly to the competition holder by Cakeyboi. 
Tickets do not include a seat in the Supertheatre.

Disclosure Statement: I have not been paid to run this giveaway. I will be receiving free access to the BBC Good Food Show Scotland. Any opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Latte Butter

slow cooked pumpkin butter with spices and coffee

I have an addiction. I really want to be honest and tell you the truth dear readers. I get very bad cravings which I regularly give into especially at this time of year.

My cravings can be satisfied however by visiting my nearest Starbucks. You see, my addiction is to Pumpkin Spice Latte. That warm, comforting cup of milk, coffee and the special syrup that you only get between September and October/November time drives me wild.

slow cooked pumpkin butter with spices and coffee

Any chance I get to indulge my addiction elsewhere, I take. And that is where this recipe comes in. Pumpkin Spice Latte Butter. Do you remember last year I made a batch of Slow-Cooked Apple Butter? Not butter as in the dairy spread (no idea why this is referred to as butter), it’ s more like a spreadable compote filled with spice and fruit. The apple butter was so good, I had to try making it again – but wanted to change it up.

That’s when I got to thinking about turning my favourite drink into a ‘butter’. Real pumpkin, cooked down with spices, and fresh coffee. Sounds good right?

slow cooked pumpkin butter with spices and coffee

I took a big pumpkin and roasted it in the oven before I transferred it to the slow cooker and added all the spices associated with PSL’s.  I then added a cup of hot strong coffee and let it slow cook overnight.

In the morning, I took off the lid and was hit by that familiar smell. Sheer heaven. I just had to blend it up a bit with my hand blender and transfer it to jars, ready to be cooled.

pumpkin spice latte butter

The pumpkin spice latter butter tastes spicy with cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice followed by a subtle aftertaste of coffee. Great spread on toast with some butter – those of you who have the same addiction as myself can now indulge at home. The butter freezes well, so you can stash some away for future cravings too.



Here’s how I made it (adapted from a recipe for Pumpkin Butter by Tasty Yummies) …



print recipe

Pumpkin Spice Latte Butter
a spreadable compote with pumpkin, spice and coffee
Ingredients
  • 1 large (about 3kg) Pumpkin
  • 250 ml Maple Syrup
  • 100 ml Apple Juice
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tablespoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon Allspice
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
  • 45 grams Light Brown Sugar
  • 200 ml Freshly Brewed Strong Coffee
Instructions
1. Cut the pumpkin into 4 and scoop out the seeds and membrane. Place on a baking tray skin side up and roast in a 180C oven for 45 minutes.2. Allow the pumpkin to cool then scrape the flesh away from the skin into a bowl. Measure this in a jug up to the 1 litre mark and transfer to a slow cooker.3. Add the maple syrup, apple juice, vanilla, spice, salt, coffee and brown sugar.4. Place the lid on the cooker and turn the slow cooker onto low setting and leave for 6 hours.  5. Allow to cool before blending into smooth spreadable consistency.6. Transfer to sterilised jars and allow to cool before storing in the fridge for a few weeks, or in the freezer for several months.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: Several Jars



I'm entering this PSL Butter into this month's Slow Cooke Challenge - hosted by Farmersgirl Janice and this month Lucy the Baking Queen. It's an open theme this month - so anything goes!


I'm also entering this slow cooker butter into this month's Tea Time Treats hosted by Janie at The Hedge Combers and this month Karen at Lavender and Lovage. The theme is Halloween and Bonfire Night.


Monday, 12 October 2015

That's What I Call New #9


It's been a while since the last, but here is the next instalment of ‘That’s What I Call New’, the series where I feature new products I have been sent to try.

1. Summer Harvest Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil - White Truffle Infused

image source
First off I was sent some Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil from a company called Summer Harvest. The oil is infused with white truffle and had a tantalisingly pungent aroma – a bit mushroom and almost a bit garlic. This is very much a drizzling oil, so you can enjoy the flavour and I had some over a risotto I made. Sheer heaven. Summer Harvest are Scottish producers who will be at this year’s BBC Good Food Show in Glasgow, with their oils, dressings and vinegars.

2. Belvita Soft Baked Breakfast Biscuits


You will probably have seen Belvita breakfast biscuits in the supermarket before now. But did you know they now make soft baked ones too? Coming in two flavours, Golden Grain and Red Berries, these are like the breakfast biscuits you know, except they are like soft chewy cookies. Packed with oaty flavour, they are perfect for an on-the-go breakfast. I loved them as I prefer my cookies on the soft side. Disneyboi tried them and preferred the original as he prefers harder biscuits. It’s down to personal preference really – if you like hard or soft biscuits.

3. Marriages - The Master Millers Golden Wholegrain Flours

Marriages, the Master Miller sent me two bags of new flour to try. They are launching golden wholegrain flours. These flours, I received plain and bread varieties of the Golden Wholegrain, contain 100% wholemeal, but are sweeter and milder than regular wholemeal types. These contain twice the amount of fibre than regular flours. I made a simple loaf of bread with my bread flour which sat somewhere between white and wholegrain. The loaf made fantastic toast and tasted like those 'best of both' loaves you can buy in the supermarkets, but much better. I'm trying the plain flour this weekend and expect equally good results.

4, The Lazy Arm


Next up the Lazy Arm – a flexible smart phone holder. This is a sturdy piece of kit that does what it says on the tin. It has a clip on one end to clasp on to a surface and a clip on the other end which grabs around your smartphone. This is perfect in the kitchen as you can clip it onto kitchen cabinets and have a recipe up on the screen, keeping it out the way when baking.  Its flexible arm means you can position it any way you like. A great idea with many uses around the house. Available online for around £8.95.

5. Bacofoil 2 in 1 Parchment & Foil and Easy Bake Non-Stick Paper


Last up, Bacofoil sent me some of their 2 in 1 parchment and foil and their easy bake non-stick paper. The former is essentially foil backed with parchment paper. What is the point of that you may ask? Well, it keeps it shape perfectly when folded and can be used for making perfect packages when cooking fish, I used it for my salmon en papillote. I also used a sheet, lining my oven tray when baking a fruit pie. I folded the edges up, meaning that any escaping juices were kept within the foil sheet and didn’t spill over. It can even be used to make impromptu muffin cases! The parchment and foil in one is such a handy idea for any kitchen.

The easy bake non-stick paper is essential for any baker. You can use it to line baking trays, knowing that nothing will stick to it. You can also use it to roll on, I use mines for rolling cookie dough, so your worktop doesn’t get all messy. Perfect for messy types like me!

I hope you've enjoyed this run through of new bits 'n' bobs. What's new in your baking world?

Disclosure Statement: I received all of these items free to try out. Any opinions expressed are entirely my own.
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