Monday, 31 January 2011

Chocolate Souffles - from The Comfort of Cooking

This was my first ever attempt at making souffle of any type, shape or form and was inspired by a guest post from Georgia of THE COMFORT OF COOKING as a featured blogger on Chef Dennis' MTMF

Do have a go at Georgia's recipe. I've got a funny feeling that perhaps I had the oven a little hot or perhaps cooked mine a little long. They were volcanic and in massive proportion ! Making this again, I'd either 1/2 the recipe or make 4 smaller ones as I really did struggle to try and scoff one of these and couldn't finish it.

Georgia makes hers beautiful and refined. Mine were rather rustic in appearance.....

After removing from the oven, I dusted them with some cocoa powder. They did sag a little - but at least did not sink before being eaten.

These enormous monsters came out the oven ! Below is what went in....

After this picture, I did run a teaspoon handle round the inside of the rim. I believed that was meant to give a good rise and an even top. They rose alright - to epic proportions - but the tops went a bit crazy.

Any ideas where I went wrong ?

Not bad for a first ever souffle though !

Sarah-Jane Nash -  - Feb'11

Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies

These carrot cake whoopie pies were my bake for last Saturday and I took them into work.

This has turned into a bit of a quest...... I saw Kim at (Lovin' The Oven) photo of her carrot cake whoopies during her "week of cookies" and just HAD to make them.

Actually - I've made them twice trying to get mine to look even vageuly like Kim's and trying desperately hard to get a cookie and not a cake.

The first time, I make the recipe exactly as Kim posted. However, I prepared the night in advance and refrigerated until morning before baking.

This is the first batch/ What resulted were little carrot cakes. Cakes. Not cookies. Pretty little cakes.... that made lovely little whoopie pies, sandwiched with cream cheese icing.

They looked ok, they tasted ok - but definately cakey and not cookie and the carrot (though aparent) looked naff in comparison to Kim's. Kim's looked absolutely delightful and cookie like. I adore the little wispy bits of baked carrot in her super photos.

So, I had another go and tweaked the recipe second time round

1 cup packed soft brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
250g salted butter
2 eggs
2 tsp of vanilla extract (homemade !)
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1.1/2 cups quick cooking oats
1.1/2 cups grated carrots

You'll see I omitted the salt as I used salted butter. I added more cinnamon and reduced the oats. As oats are very absorbant, I thought my cookies might spread more without them.

Crema butter and sugar, add eggs and combine. Add other ingredients and combine (keeping the carrots and oats back until last)

Cooked at 170deg C for approx 10mins.

I've no idea how many I made this into - but it was rather a lot.

My second batch (pictured first) were really the best. Nearest to cookie like and filled with buttercream icing. The icing was a bit on the sweet side though and was a real sugar overload. The only ones that looked carrotty on top were ones I'd laid some grated carrot over before baking.

They tasted ok - still a bit cakey. Texture was not what I really wanted and neither was the colour. Totally edible ( a couple of people had two) - but I'd set my heart on cookies and got a sort of carrot cake instead.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE carrot cake - but I'd make it as muffins or cake any day over and above whoopies. If you want CARROT CAKE WHOOPIES - these won't let you down. I just couldn't get them cookie like or looking like the photos.

I still love Kim's photo and am in awe of her carrot cake whoopie pie cookies - so my quest will continue and I'll adapt another recipe in my search. I'm gutted !

Kim, thanks for sharing the recipe and photos - will you send me one of your carrot cake whoopies ?? lol

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Saturday's Cake - Apple Crumble & Custard Muffins

Most (but not all) Saturdays I make some sort of cake or treat to take into work. The shop is only open for a couple of hours on a Saturday and many customers that come have traveled a long way. It's nice to be able to offer a nice fresh cup of coffee and a cake....

This one was a bit of a last minute brainwave. So last minute that by the time they came out of the oven, I was running about 20mins late. Thankfully, Colin and Martin were already in the office. No one noticed I was late on arriving - they only noticed hot cakes !

We've got some new 12 cell HOT PINK silicone muffin / cup cake pan moulds in. This colour has been extremely popular over the last year in 24 mini muffin size and customers have been requesting the larger size so they can have a matching set.

Didn't I warn you it was bright ? Takes normal, standard muffin papers.

We also now have a large selection of paper cases in mini, standard and American Jumbo muffin papers in our online shop.

As you can see - the crumble topping worked really well and the hidden custard layer in the inside was really yummy. These are best eatem warm, but are perfectly nice cold too.

 The muffins were very moist and this one kept 36 hours whilst waiting on being photographed (before being demolished this evening by the little cake tester....)

Apple Crumble Muffins
(base muffin recipe adapted from MUFFINS, FAST AND FANTASTIC)

250g plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
160g caster sugar
1 egg
190g of chopped eating apple
150ml milk
90ml vegetable oil

ready made custard (omit if you don't fancy it)

crumble topping was soft brown sugar, butter and flour (almost equal amounts) - I didn't weigh any of this... just winged it ! Rub together until it starts to bind and form lumpy crumbs.

Preheat oven to 180deg C. Basically, mix wet ingredients into dry and mix just enough to combine.

Spoon 1/2 of the batter into the paper cases. Spoon on a couple of heaped teaspoons of the custard into each case before adding the rest of the batter. Cover with a generous amount of crumble topping - enough to cover the batter and a bit more for luck :-P

These are mine before baking. Bake for approx 20 > 25 mins until the top is taking on a little colour. Due to the custard, using a cake tester would be pointless. These came out the oven at 23mins.....

Enjoy !

Sarah-Jane Nash, a happy baker - - the silicone bakeware cookshop, Norfolk, UK

Friday, 21 January 2011

Fancy a Fine Financier Finger ?

Well - I can't really claim these are financiers I don't suppose as there is absolutely no almonds in these pretty little teacakes....

Saying that, they were just as delightful - if not more so and fitting to share with 100 lovely blog followers. Thank you all so much for dropping in to view my creations and leave messages. It's truly appreciated. I just wish I could pass you all one of these right now with a cup of tea or coffee !

I made cherry financiers last year for the first time and instantly fell in love with these beautiful little French pastries. You can see them here.

This time (as if they were not delicious enough already) - I decided to tweak the recipe and make them instead with pistachio nuts. This worked wonderfully ! These are seventh heaven for pistachio lovers. Especially topped with some roughly chopped and whole nuts. Mmmmm.


We've got a new 12 cell sponge finger mould which is just awesome for making little bar like cakes such as these. Each cell is approx 30mm x 30mm x 75mm. The whole mould is approx 295 x 180mm overall. It WILL (as all our silicone bakeware moulds do) need support on a baking tray during use.

These are a lovely size for making little teacakes, bar type bakes and cakes and individually portioned brownies. Ideal size for cakes to go on cake stands for afternoon tea. The best cakes like these - always leave you wanting more.

Lightly grease and flour your silicone bakeware mould (tapping out any excess flour over the sink before filling).

I filled each cell about 3/4 full and then added more pistachios on top which were very roughly chopped - many still whole.

Recipe below made 16.

Pistachio Financier Fingers

With financiers, you need to cook the butter until nut brown.
175g melted butter (I use salted)
210g icing sugar
60 g plain flour
120g ground pistachio nuts (I ground whole nuts)
30 > 50g whole pistachios very roughly chopped - leave some whole
5 egg whites

Sift icing sugar and flour. Add ground pistachios and stir. Whip egg whites to break up until they start to foam, but well before they reach peaking. Add the eggs and mix. Quickly mix in warm / hot melted butter.
Pour into greased and floured 12 finger sponge mould. Each cell should be approx 3/4 full. This recipe filled 16 holes, so if you only have 1 x 12 finger mould, then fill a couple of muffin cases with the remaining batter
Cook in a fan oven at 190deg C for 15 > 20 mins until they spring back to the touch. Allow to cool for about 5 mins until hand hot before removing from the moulds and transferring to a wire rack.

Eaten a little warm, I find these a little greasy. Leave them to fully cool. I promise, they taste even better on the second day.

We were good. Oliver and I only had one each when I made them last Saturday. Most of the rest were taken to a very dear friend.

 Victoria - you are a complete and utter angel. We love you to bits x

Now - an apology. My photos are from now on going to be plastered with a dirty great big watermark. I've had it pointed out to me that a Chinese company (that we've never so much as heard of) have been lifting all my blog and website images in the hope of promoting their own products. I have contacted them, but they refuse to remove them and basically told me there was nothing I could do to stop them....

Cheeky, arrogant rat bags.

I hope I can prove them wrong. I'm having to prove all original photos and dates etc for over 40 stolen photos in the hope their hosts are going to make them remove them. Big time consuming job - but I'll do it for the principle.

Sarah-Jane (very annoyed !) 22/1/10 - - the silicone molds cook shop, shipping worldwide

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Awesome Triple Chocolate Cookies - Taste Test Approved

On Sunday afternoon, Oliver and I went shopping up in Norwich for a couple of jigsaws. He had been really good ALL day and I treated him to a cookie to eat in the car on the way home.

That was it - he'd had a taste of a real chocolate cookie..... and it was only going to be a matter of time before his request was put in. Oliver doesn't forget anything.

This morning, he was up and playing around the house after finishing his breakfast.

"Cookies ! Can Oliver and Mummy make cookies ?"

Well, we dug out an old recipe from the cupboard and made up a quick batch of these. They were made and ready (and Oliver had eaten one) before 11am !

On picking my rascal up from nursery this evening I found he had informed everyon that he had made chocolate cookies for breakfast. Ah well. He's only had ONE so far... and the rest will be rationed to make them last.

Do be warned. These cookies are delightfully fugdy and gooey and SERIOUSLY chocolatey. Almost brownie like in the centre but with crisp edges.


1 egg
125g salted butter
250g light brown soft sugar
1 tsp vanilla
175g self raising flour
70g cocoa powder
100g white chocolate chips
100g milk chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Add in sieved flour and cocoa and mix to combine. Mix in chocolate chips - you could add nuts too if you like

Roll into walnut size balls and place on prepared baking trays. Putting them on greaseproof paper is ok, but if you have silicone baking mats  / tray liners - my preference is to use the smooth side up.

Put into a 170deg C Fan oven for approx 9 mins. Theese do spread, but not too much. The cookies will end up about 3" diameter. You can get about 9 on a tray and this mix makes approx 24. Of course, you could always make them bigger and cook longer.

Mine were in the oven for 9 minutes. The outsides were crisp and the insides really yummy and squishy. From the outside, they looked disapointingly cakey when I wanted chewy and gooey - but looks sometimes do deceive ! Oliver seemed satisfied with the results. You can see how squidgy they are from the inside and the colour of his teeth. Yeuch !

I think we will be making these again soon.....

When removed from the oven, leave on the tray for a minute or two to cool before transferring to a wire rack until totally cooled. If putting on silicone baking sheets, these need to cool a little longer on the trays as the silicone retains quite a bit of heat.

Sarah-Jane Nash - January, 2011     silicone bakeware moulds

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Tunnocks Tea Cakes - GIVEAWAY of a WHOLE BIG BOX !!!

When I was in Scotland at Christmas, I picked up a WHOLE box of these beauties... Yes, they're Tunnocks Tea Cakes and it's a MASSIVE box of 36 of them.

I bought them specifically to give away to one lucky blog reader as part of my 1st Year of Blogging celebrations. Unfortunately, this one is only open to UK residents as these are very very fragile and don't travel very well.

For those of you who have never eaten one - they're classed as a biscuit with a big fluffy mallow type top and coated in a thin layer of milk chocolate. Think of it like tha marshmallow fluff you can get in jars that's only just stiff enough to hold it's shape. The biscuit is soft. Almost digestive like and more like a cross between a biscuit and a cake.

The factory is in Uddingston, Scotland and only about a mile or so from where my parent's live.

See how big a box this is ?

To be in with a chance to win :

you need to be a blog follower
reside in the UK
Comment, giving the most outrageous way you think you could eat your tunnocks chocolate tea cake !


Here is how Oliver does it....

Unwrap it - with a little help from Mummy.

Sniff it - because all sorts of strange things come from Scotland !

Smack it one with your hand and then pull a face when you realise your fingers are all goo.

Stick your finger in and give it a taste. Decide it may look funny, but tastes rather good !

Ram a police truck in it some more....

Suck all the stuck mallow out the grill of the police truck... and then get in a really sticky mess before mum shoves you in the bath.

Hope you've enjoyed my silly blog post !

copyrite Sarah-Jane - - Jan 2011.

This offer has absolutely no association with Tunnocks and all comments made are entirely my own !

Introducing Digger..... Just Born today 9/1/11

January is VERY early for a  baby foal to be born... but here he is. Born on the most beautiful day of the year so far.

Saying that, the ground was covered with a thick hard frost when he arrived this morning ... but both mum and baby are well.

Summer is a 15hh palomino Welsh section D mare. Digger's dad is a dun and white coloured cob called Castrol. This will be the only baby Castrol will sire as he "saw" the vet late last Spring.

Digger is going to be palomino just like his mum. Only time will tell if he is going to have any white leg markings.... since he has been born blessed with a thick furry coat to cope with the winter weather.

It's so lovely to have a new baby foal - especially when he is so friendly and Summer is so happy to have us all cuddle him (and her) too.

Last year, Summer had a little foal at the end of January. It died in a tragic accident when it fell in a pond and drowned. We were ALL heart broken - especially Summer.... and my husband who had to retrieve the little body from the pond to bury the next day. It should never have happened, but unfortunately, the day she foaled - I was in hospital with Oliver who was very sick with pneumonia. Had I been there, she would have been safely tucked up and in a stable with her baby instead of having got into the back field in the first place.

Because she had such bad luck, I vowed she would not lose another and let her have another baby. Summer is a total sweetheart and the proudest mummy. With much of the winter still to come, there is a lot of hard work on the way... but a lot of visitors and fun too !

I know this has absolutely no place on a food blog - but heck... it's not every day a new foal arrives :-)

I had every intention of baking and food blogging today. Instead, we spend much of the afternoon fetching more straw and foal cuddling !

Digger's father and mother - Castrol (left) and Summer (right). Summer 2010

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Blog Anniversary, Launch of LETTER MOULDS & a GIVEAWAY !!!!

Well - I can hardly believe it. Thursday 13th of January marks my first anniversary of blogging !

It actually feels a long time ago, probably since I've been cataloguing Oliver's antics with me in the kitchen. He's grown up SO much in the last year and now loves to be involved. He'll often even tell me it's time to take pictures !

This is also an exicting time for me as I'm now ready to start launching my brand new designs of silcone bakeware. It has been a huge project which has taken an unbelievable amount or research and time to sort out and produce. However, I'm pleased to be able to announce that you can now buy our SAY IT WITH CAKE moulds not only as the set words - but as individual letters and numbers.

The photo at the top was one I made for a Yorkshire Tea competition. I've not showcased it on the blog before - but it was really fun to make and won me some free cakes from Yorkshire Tea. They seemed to like it and Tweeted the photo too !

This next one was for a bit of a giggle. If you click on the photo to make it bigger, you'll get a bit better view.

I can't remember what type of cake it was - but it was for halloween and never made it to the blog....
It was covered it in buttercream and crushed Lotus biscuits to give a sand like effect. Don't worry - the black spiders are PLASTIC - I promise :-P

You may well recognise the photo of our C A K E cake above (REGISTERED DESIGN). We've been producing that silicone bakeware mould for a few years and it's very very popular. Hundreds upon hundred of you have these and rave to us about them all the time - yet few people review their purchases on our website. Can I request you perhaps leave us reviews on your purchases ? We love to here all your comments... whatever they may be.
Daily, we've been getting requests for custom made moulds to create names or words in cake for birthdays, anniversaries and other various celebrations. This just was not logistically possible. However, we're now making ALL 26 letters of the alphabet as single letters or as a set. Numbers are also now available too !

Our online webshop (shipping worldwide) is

Find us on Ebay too as  NATURALHEATING
So - whatever you want to say... it's now possible :


The list is truly endless ! You get the idea....

I've had a fab idea for my friend's birthday. I want to make her a cake that says VICTORIA'S SPONGE. Tee hee.

Darn - now I've told you that - I bet I'll find the blog entry before it's her birthday !
Also available in our range are set words : HAPPY, BIRTH, DAYS and CAKE. It often works out a little cheaper to start with those and then buy the additional letters you need. Those moulds are perfectly suitable to chop into individual letters.

These moulds are very flexible and you DO need to put them on a baking sheet in the oven. Around 8 single letter moulds will generally fit on a standard baking sheet.

Each letter is approx 115mm / 4.1/2" long, various widths (W and M are the biggest), 40mm / 1.1/2" deep

To ensure perfect release every time with letters and numbers (any tricky shapes) DO very lightly grease and flour (tapping out any excess before filling) every time you use them
Guides to words moulds : - fancy - basic - double layered

And so..... to our GIVEAWAY ..... for one ALPHABET set of SAY IT WITH CAKE moulds.
To enter, you need to be a blog follower and leave a comment with what word or phrase you'll like to make out of this set :-)
For an additional entry, put a wall posting on our Facebook page or Tweet about our giveaway / fabulous new silicone bakeware cake moulds.
I'll get Oliver to pick a random entry out of his dumper truck next Thusday !?!
Good Luck

Monday, 3 January 2011

Happy New Year & Hot Cross Buns !

Happy New Year Everyone !

I'd like to wish all of you the very best for 2011.

We've had a fairly quiet time since coming home from spending Christmas in Scotland. I'm still hoping to do (a rather late) blog post about some of that.

My husband and I spent most of the last day of the year doing a major clearout of the house and took down the baby stair gates. It's made a massive difference to the space in our house and Oliver really is not interested in wandering upstairs at all.... He knows all his toys live in our lounge !

Oliver having a rare, quiet "chill" moment !

Shamefully, I was in bed and asleep well before the midnight bells. I wasn't even up to open the door to "let the old year out and the new year in" as is pretty much our tradition.

We collected my in-laws the following day who came to stay overnight and spend some time with us.

I have absolutely no idea why, but I really had a notion of making hot cross buns... which I've never made before. It DID feel rather odd to make them totally out of season. Originally, I thought I'd just glaze them as spiced buns without the crosses.... but added the crossed just before putting them in the oven as they really need crosses as a final touch. Don't you think ?

Oliver was having a marvellous time with all his new toys as you can see. It was really cosy infront of our cast iron wood burning and multi fuel stove (an older style Abbey model from and the heat from the fire was super for making the hot cross buns rise. If you look carefully - they can be seen balanced on top of the nursery guard !

Hot Cross Buns - makes 8 > 10
(adapted from River Cottage Handbook no.3)

250g strong bread flour
250g plain flour
259g warm milk
7g sachet of instant yeast (same stuff for bread makers)
10g salt
50g caster sugar
1 egg
50g butter
100g raisins or sultanas
2 tsp of mixed spice

I added all the ingredients together to my Kitchenaid mixer apart from the sultanas and mixed on a low speed to combine. I then added the sultanas and let it mix until dough was smooth and silky (about 10 > 15 mins)

Finsh kneading by hand and leave dough to rise for approx 1 hour in a covered bowl in a warm place. I leave mine in the Kitchenaid mixer bowl, covered with cling film. When the stove is not on, I like to put it in the halogen oven / tabletop cooker to prove (in the kitchenaid bowl) with the tempreature setting set a little more than half way between off and THAW.

After first prove, knock dough back (just as you do normal bread dough), divide into balls and leave to rise. Mine were on top of a on a rather tatty old baking tray and infront of the fire as you can see.

The second prove does not take too long - generally about 20 > 30 mins.

If you want crosses on your buns - do this after the second prove judst before you pop them into the oven

Make a mix with 50g of plain flour and 50ml of water. Mix until smooth. Pour into a sandwich bag and twist the end to make it like a cone shape or piping bag. Snip a tiny bit of the end and pipe on your crosses.

Actually - you can have a bit of fun with this. I did two like spiders webs that looked amazing baked - yet forgot to photograph them !

I baked these at 180deg C fan oven for 18minutes.

On removing from the oven, you would typically glaze with melted apricot jam whilst hot. However, I didn't have any - so glazed with marmalade instead which worked wonderfully and gave a bitter orangey tang to the buns. The ones above are hot and just glazed. They were lovely still warm - but even better toasted the next day.

I dare say you might not want to make Hot Cross Buns in January - but it's worth having a go sometime as home made ones not only look awesome but taste sooooo good !

Sarah-Jane Nash - - 4th of January 2011