Monday, 28 January 2013

Mega MASSIVE Marshmallows - Toast on Your Fire !

My oh my - these marshmallows are TRULY enormous and totally dwarf anything I've ever seen before..

I made these in a 6 cell cylinder silicone bakeware mould. This is one of our new Spring collection of silicone molds, due for launch early March 2013 at We also have the brass toasting forks available at £8.99 each.

Each cell is 2" / 50mm in diameter and 2" / 50mm high with a liquid volume of 100mls. We made these moulds specifically with fondant covered celebration mini cakes in mind. However, these moulds are suitable for many uses including making soaps, candles and massive monster marshmallows !

The recipe below gave enough volume to make 18 of these whopping marshmallows... Normally I use less gelatine and a little less water in my mallows - but for these giant ones, the extra gelatine made them slightly less cloud like and a bit better for toasting. Do be careful though - once they start to go, marshmallows melt fast.


500g sugar
250mls of water
3 egg whites
3 sachets of Gelatine granules (I use Dr Oeteker)
200mls of water
2 tsp vanilla extract

Put the sugar and water in a large heavy based pan.

Put 200ml of water in a small bowl, sprinkle on the gelatine granules (you may want to stir) and leave to bloom for about 10 minutes.

Bring the sugar and water to the boil. Do NOT stir. Boil for about 5 mins until the sugar temperature reaches 122 deg C. You will need a little digital probe thermometer and these can be purchased for under £5.00 including postage on Ebay.

When the temperature of the sugar syrup reaches 110deg C, whip the egg whites to stiff peak.

When the sugar syrup gets to 122deg C , remove from the heat. Allow to sit for a minute or so and then stir in the bloomed gelatine mix.

Whilst beating the egg whites, slowly pour in the sugar syrup mix - avoiding it directly touching the beaters. You can use a hand held mixer for this.

When thickened (but pourable) - pour into a lightly oiled moulds. Allow to set for at least 3 hours until firm.

Cut into squares and then roll in a 50 : 50 mix of powdered sugar and cornflour - or into cocoa powder.


January in the UK has brought us a lot of snow - about 6" or so here in Norfolk, and that hung around for a good couple of weeks. On Saturday we had a big thaw and that resulted in lots of flooding here in East Anglia......

This is a photo my husband took of the ford just down the road from our house yesterday. The water proceeded to get deeper after that and I believe the signs disappeared / were washed away.

The ford coming the other direction was also rather flooded as were many other back roads. Victoria was coming to visit, but had to turn back due to the road blockages from the flooding.

Victoria took this picture from the main road in from the opposite direction.

Thankfully, we stay about a mile away from this ford and where we stay, the ground is a good bit higher so we have no risk of flooding.

Instead, Steve (my husband) went out in his land rover and helped tow out various stranded motorists who had driven into water such as this. He was gone most of the day ... any excuse to play in water !

Having parted with my pick-up truck on Saturday morning, my new little car unfortunately had to stay in the drive on Sunday. It simply wasn't sensible to go out, no matter how much I wanted to take it for a spin !

 Instead, Oliver and I played pirates and cars indoors for most of the day...... though he missed Emma terribly. Ah well - there is always tomorrow.... and the terrible twosome had some great fun on Saturday..

Oliver (4) and Emma (5) - in a box ! 27/1/2013

Friday, 25 January 2013

Sticky Toffee Pudding Cupcakes (Recipe) and Peek-A-Boo Chocolate Bears

It's been a cold snowy month here in Norfolk. We've had 6" of snow and temperatures down to -14deg C.

There have been a few days when the postal service and courier networks ground to a halt, schools shut and most people stayed home due to some rather nasty winter weather. After you've made snowmen outside, and come back in to thaw out.... these rib sticking cupcakes do down rather nicely with a hot cup of tea.

I couldn't resist adorning mine with these gorgeous chocolate Peek-A-Boo bears. These little bears were made in one of our new Chocolate collection silicone bakeware moulds from and are due for release early March 2013. You can find the new PEEK-A-BOO silicone chocolate mold here

Recipe - Makes 15 

180g plain (cake) flour
2.1/2 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
90mls corn (or sunflower) oil
150g light brown sugar
150g chopped and pitted Medijool dates

Add the chopped dates to a bowl with 180mls of boiling water, then pop in a microwave for a further minute. Remove and mash with a fork until thick and pulpy

Whisk sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla until thick and foamy. Sift flour and baking powder and fold into the whisked mixture, followed by the mashed dates.

Spoon equally into silicone muffin moulds, placed on a baking tray and lined with paper cupcake cases. Bake for approx 15 > 18 mins at 160deg C Fan / 180deg C normal until the tops are golden and springy and a toothpick comes out clean.

Remove and leave to cool.

Meanwhile, prepare the toffee frosting..... You will need to excuse me here as I tend to make most of my buttercream by eye rather than by weight !

Salted Toffee / Caramel Frosting

quick toffee sauce :

Put equal amounts of salted butter and golden syrup in a pan. Bring to the boil for approx 2 mins.  Remove from heat and add to a mixer bowl with 500g powdered icing sugar.

Start to beat and then add in about 150g of softened salted butter. Beat thoroughly until it comes together and is smooth and glossy. If too runny, you can add some more powdered sugar.

This frosting is quite slack and suitable for spreading or dolloping on cupcakes. It's not the sort that you can pipe into big ice cream swirls.

If at any point, it turns into something that looks really curdled and horrid or starts to sieze- do NOT panic. Simply put the bowl over a pot of hot water and keep mixing until it becomes smooth.

You do need to apply it to cakes whilst still a little warm.

The adorable little chocolate feet were made in another silicone chocolate mould from my Spring 2013 collection. A registered design from

Sarah-Jane Nash - - January 2013

Monday, 14 January 2013

Double Vanilla Fudge - Fabulously Easy Recipe !

 This is a new REGISTERED DESIGN silicone bakeware mould (available from mid March) which we have designed, specially for making bars of fudge, toffee, and Scottish tablet. Each cell will make a bar weighing approx 100g. Pre-sectioned markings makes these bars pretty to package and easy to portion.

Simply pour in your hot fudge /  toffee / candy. Allow to set and then pop out with ease.

By basic fudge recipe is very versatile and quick to make. Do however take extreme care. Hot sugar is ridiculously hot and can cause serious burns.

2 cups (250mls) of caster sugar
125g salted butter
3/4 cup of evaporated milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
12 marshmallows / 100g (Sainsbury's pink and whites)
150g white chocolate

Put all the ingredients apart from the chocolate into a large heavy based pan.

Bring to a rolling boil on a medium heat, stirring continuously. Boil for exactly 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate. Pour into your moulds. Leave to cool and then transfer to a fridge for a few hours.

This recipe is very versatile. You can additionally add a cup of dry ingredients such as broken oreos, smarties.... Try swapping out the white chocolate for dark, omit the vanilla and add some dried cherries and a tablespoon of kirch when it reached boiling point. Bailey works well as does Malibu. Various flavouring extracts and fruit and nut combos. It's simply as versatile as you are.

This recipe makes 8 x 100g bars using this style of mould. However, if you additionally choose to add a cup of dry ingredients such as candies, biscuits, dried fruit or nuts - then expect to get 10 (possibly 11) bars from your batch.

The packaging shown above was very simple to make. I used THE BOXER which is a tool from Crafter's Companion and available to buy on our website for £9.99 along with a selection of stock cards. The Boxer can be used on it's own - but is also compatible with THE ULTIMATE PRO. Just be careful to make sure the card does not slip when using The Boxer on it's own - when used in conjunction with Ultimate Pro, it backs up to a hard straight edge....

Take one sheet of A4 stock card. An A4 sheet is generally 8" / 200mm wide.

Cut a strip of card 200mm long x 90mm wide.

Here, I'm using THE BOXER in conjunction with ULTIMATE PRO. The Boxer can be used to make boxes of many shapes and sizes, but today we're just doing a really easy project to make simple card sleeves for fudge and toffee bars.

Use the scoring tool to score a line across your card strip at 6.5cm

Fold the first crease and then score the next line 2cm down from the first crease.

Repeat with another crease at 6.5cm and a following crease at 2cm. You will be left with some excess card. That's ok - we're going to put some double sided tape on that flap to complete our box sleeve.

Wrap your fudge bar in some cellophane. If you don't have any, clingfilm / saran wrap will do...

As you can see, the sleeve just needs a little strip of double sided tape. Perhaps if you have some nice labels with your name on, you may prefer to use those. Finish off with some pretty ribbon. You can make three of these pretty sleeves from one sheet of A4 card in just a couple of minutes.

Make your gift extra-special - after all, presentation is everything !

Sarah-Jane Nash - - 15th January 2013

Soft and Chewy, Crisp and Crunchy American Style Cookies

WARNING - these will contain far more calories than you wish to count !

Don't put more than 4 cookies per tray. What starts off looking like an innocent golf ball size lump of cookie dough will make a 4" / 100mm dia cookie .....

From memory, this cookie dough mix makes around 20 cookies. You may want to freeze some to use another day.

250g butter
300g soft brown sugar
150g caster sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
450g plain flour
4 tsp baking powder

Cream butter and sugar together. Mix in eggs and vanilla, followed by flour and baking powder.

 Divide batch in two.

Add 170g tube of Smarties to one batch 

100g chocolate + 3 full size Crunchie Bars (chopped) to the other - or try other candy of your choice.

Weigh into 70g balls. Space well apart then press down  little (just 4 per tray) on baking sheets lined with silicone baking tray liners or baking paper.

180deg C Fan - cook for 10 to 12 mins

Allow to cool for about 5 mins on the tray before transferring to a wire rack.

Oliver, age 4 and Emma age 5.

Best Friend's sharing a picnic - December 2012

These two had a sleep over last weekend at Emma's house..... Unfortunately the terrible two-some were up VERY early - but Victoria was kept entertained by their conversations :

 5.30am conversation went like this : 

Oliver: I'm the heaviest man in the world I am Emma, I could rescue you from anything..
Emma: you're the nicest kindest man ever Oliver I love you..
Oliver: yeah but I need a wee I do....
Emma: save me Oliver there's a t-rex coming ...
Oliver: yeah ok I've finished my wee.....
Both: Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhh t-rex run run run arghhhhhhh
Oliver: it's ok Emma I killed it in its heart I saved u..
Emma: oh thanku Oliver you're so kind...
Oliver: I'm so strong I am 
Emma: um shall we make breakfast now.....

Oliver: ok if you want to, yes I do love you Emma

No apologies for all the kiddie photos I'm afraid. This blog is also printed as a hard back book once yearly as a family recipe book and photo diary of my little one growing up.....

On a walk in Thetford Forest mid December with Daddy, Mummy and Kathryn

No mole was safe. Every mole hill for miles was well and truly jumped on.

Oliver proved there was more than one way to get round fallen branches....

Over them and under them in every way possible.

"Can you do this Mummy ?"

"Er.... No....."

Sarah-Jane Nash - - January 2013

Monday, 7 January 2013

Easy Chocolate Medallions - Gifts To Make At Home

Chocolate medallions are so simple and easy to make, yet make a stunning and delicious gift or nibbles to go with coffee after a dinner party. 

Using our silicone macaron mat (now available in black, red, lilac and brown colours), you can pipe a small amount of  tempered chocolate in to each cell and then pop a few pieces of dried fruit and nuts on top. The beauty of this is that every medallion will end up IDENTICAL in size.

Our macaroon / macaron mats are double sided. These medallions are 50mm / 2" diameter and made on the large side. However, if you flip the mat over, you can make smaller ones by using the other side.

Simply package up in a pretty little box, cello bag, or even a little wire frame basket like this. Chocolate medallions really have a wow factor despite being the easiest chocolate gift you will ever make !

Pass the plate please !

Sarah-Jane Nash - January 2013 -

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Handmade Chocolate Truffles Galore - Christmas Hamper Bake Off

Keeping up my tradition of making Christmas hampers for family and friends, this past week has been rather chaotic in our kitchen !

Kathryn (my cousin) moved to Norfolk at the beginning of this month and has joined us as a full time staff member. Unaware of how much work needed to be done to create the hampers, she was quite keen on me roping her in for some extra assistance.

Home made and hand rolled fresh cream truffles are a real luxury. They are very different to store bought chocolates and generally have a much shorter shelf life - although they'll store 1 to 2 weeks if refrigerated, longer if you use long life cream.

As you can see - we made a LOT of truffles and unfortunately it turned out there were not even any left overs. I'm guessing there were around 180 truffles in total.

Truffles are actually quite easy to make - but this is time consuming and messy. If you can't bear getting sticky and messy, then making these may not be a project you will enjoy. However, if you can ignore that bit and prepared that chocolate WILL get everywhere, then the resulting chocolates look really good indeed.

A bit of pretty packaging really sets them off !

We'll be stocking the chocolate box inners, stock card to create them and Crafters Companion Boxer Tool, boards and Ultimate Companion Pro at from January 2013.

The actual box is made using A4 card stock and a simple box making tool  - both of which we will also be offering for sale (including many card designs). The boxes are simple and easy to make and will really make the difference by giving the end product a very professional finish.

I'm currently in the process of noting down some sizes for boxes I'm making to fit around the various sizes of chocolate box inners. Hopefully I'll be able to do a pdf or tutorial post very soon showing both the finished boxes with the dimensions which will make it simple for blog followers to re-create these at  home.

In this finished box of 24 truffles, there are 4 different types : 

Whisky and honey in a milk chocolate shell
Sour cherry and dark chocolate rolled in cocoa powder
Malibu and toasted coconut in white chocolate
Coffee cream in a double thick white chocolate shell

To make the ganache fillings, you will need to scald some double cream by bringing it to the boil I like to add a tablespoon of corn syrup or  glucose to the cream. This helps extend the lifespan a little and but without affecting taste and helps the cream and chocolate emulsify for a smoother feel in your mouth.

Pour the scaled cream over some good quality Belgian chocolate. Allow the cream to melt the chocolate and then stir to combine. If the chocolate has not fully melted, carefully zap for a few seconds in the microwave if required.

Add any flavourings or add ins at this point and then allow to set. Setting can take several hours in the fridge (preferably over night) or an hour in the freezer.

Some ganaches will be softer than others, and the ratio that you use of chocolate to cream may depend on the chocolate brand and type. Dark chocolate is generally a 1 : 1 ratio of chocolate to cream. Use less cream for milk chocolate and less again for white. 


Whisky and Honey - 300g of milk chocolate, 200g of double cream, 1 tablespoon of whisky, 1 tablespoon of honey

Sour Cherry and Dark Chocolate - 300g of dark chocolate, 300g of double cream, 1 teaspoon of liquid glucose, 4 tablespoons (about 100g) of sour cherry jam

Malibu and Toasted Coconut - 350g white chocolate, 120g double cream, 1 tablespoon of Malibu, 3 tablespoons of toasted dessicated coconut ( plus an extra tablespoon or two for sprinkling later ), 1 teaspoon of liquid glucose

Coffee Cream - 300g milk chocolate, 250g double cream, 1 x sachet of  Starbucks Vie instant ground coffee, 1 teaspoon liquid glucose

To make the ganache fillings, put the cream in a saucepan and bring to a simmer (stirring constantly) to scald.  Add the liquid glucose and then pour over the chocolate. 

Leave for a minute or so - the heat of the cream will start to melt the chocolate and then stir from the centre outward until all combined. When the chocolate has melted, add in the alcohol if using and any other extras (such as coconut or jam)

Allow to cool and then refrigerate until chilled until firm.

Take about 1/2 to 3/4 size teaspoon amounts of the ganache and roll into balls. NOTE - your hands need to be as cold as possible. This stuff is sticky and melts fast !

Dust your hands in either icing sugar (for dipping in any chocolate) or cocoa powder before rolling in milk / dark chocolate.

Refrigerate the balls until firm before dipping in tempered chocolate of your choice. 

After dipping, drizzle with contrasting melted chocolate, sprinkle nuts / coconut etc on top, or roll in cocoa powder for an intense chocolatey hit.

To make the tartan chocolate box shown, I used one sheet of A4 Tartan card stock and one sheet of A4 gold card stock. Trim the card to 21cm wide x 27cm long.

Use your Crafters Companion Boxing Tool and score the card for the box lid at 2.5cm all the way round. Turn the Boxing tool round and 2.5cm for the base on the gold card. The tool is specially designed for the box tops and bottoms to be a slightly different size so the two slot neatly together.

Fold the edges on the score lines and cut the corners as shown in the instructions for the Boxer tool. You will need to glue these or use double sided sticky tape. See my chocolate packaging video on Youtube for a demonstration of a box being made.

I used 2 x 12 cell chocolate blister packs inside this box. I cut out the front and put acetate behind.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Beef and Red Wine Casserole With Cheesy Leek Scone Topping

The holiday shut down is over and it's back to work tomorrow. Time for one last slow cooked meal. 

Apologies for the dire photo. The lighting is DREADFUL in our kitchen at home and taking photos of anything indoors in the evening is next to useless.

This is easily enough to serve 4 - 5 adults, so we'll be having reheats tomorrow and probably Tuesday too !

For the casserole

500g braising steak
600g carrots
2 large onions
1 large parsnip
250g mushrooms
4 tablespoons of flour
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
3/4 tsp salt
500ml beef stock (water plus two stock cubes)
300ml red wine - I used Merlot
1 heaped teaspoon of Colemans English Mustard
1 heaped tablespoon dried oregano
4 tablespoons (about 80 > 100g) tomato puree

Toss the meat in the flour and brown all over. Set aside and cook the veg for a few minutes with a little liquid, followed by the onions and mushrooms. Add the stock, wine, herbs, mustard, tomato puree, seasoning plus any remaining flour and cook at about 140deg C fan oven in a covered container for about 1 hour. Remove the lid and cook for a further hour.

For the scone topping

315 g self raising flour
1tsp baking powder
1 leek (chopped, sweated in a pan with butter and cooled a little)
150g grated cheese
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 beaten egg
270ml milk

Add dry ingredients together followed by wet. Mix until just combined. 

When the casserole has cooked for a minimum of 2 hours, remove from the oven and spoon dollops over the top of the casserole. Return to the oven at 180deg C Fan for 15 > 20 minutes until done.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Mississippi Mud Pie - Recipe adapted from Hairy Bikers

 "Mummy..... Daddy and I would like Mississisisissippi Mud Pie."
"We saw it on the Hairy Bikers !" exclaimed Oliver.
Me - "Would you like worms with that ?"
Oliver - "It's chocolate mud Mummy - not real mud you know"

Poor Mummy had been busy and not got to see the programme, but it appeared Oliver and Daddy had. It's a rare occurrence that I get requests for specific recipes to be made, but no surprise that it should contain chocolate (and plenty of it).... By the time it was made and ready to eat - Oliver had mastered the art of pronouncing it !

Actually - this recipe is REALLY easy. Easy enough for a 4 year old to make - with a little assistance.

It's VERY rich and something like a cross between cheesecake and chocolate truffles.

Mississippi Mud Pie - adapted from Hairy Bikers

Recipe - serves approx 10

For the base : 

225g oreos
150g digestive biscuits
100g salted butter

Line a 10" tin or pie dish with foil.  The dish I used was terracotta.

Put biscuits in a bag and get a small child to bash to bits with a rolling pin (this kept Oliver occupied for ages.....). Mix in the melted butter and then press into the tin or dish, bringing the crumbs about 2" / 50mm up the sides. Chill in the fridge.

For the filling : 

80g milk chocolate
60g dark chocolate
135g butter
1 tsp espresso coffee powder
150g caster sugar
1 tsp black treacle / molasses
150ml double cream
25g cocoa powder
3 large eggs

For the topping : 

250mls double cream
1 tablespoon of icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
25g approx of chocolate (grated, chips or made into pretty curls)

Melt the chocolate and butter together with the butter until combined. This can be done in either a double boiler or in the microwave.

Whisk the eggs, sugar and treacle until trebled in volume. Sift in the cocoa and espresso powders. Whisk in and then add the chocolate / butter in a stream followed by the cream.

Pour into the base and then bake at 160deg C fan / 180deg C for approx 30 > 40 mins until just firm.

Allow to cool.

Whip the double cream with the icing sugar and vanilla to soft peaks and use to garnish, with some chocolate curls Mummy made earlier :-)

Happy New Year ! 

Can't believe it's 2013 already....  After Oliver had a breakfast of mud pie (without a birthday as an excuse ...), we spent a chilly but dry afternoon wandering around Norwich.

Oliver spent his Christmas money on a rather large yellow crane (which is currently keeping him very busy.) There was a little funfair outside the Forum and he had a quick go on one of the plane rides to keep him busy whilst Stave (Daddy) was off taking a few photos.

Sarah-Jane Nash, - January 1st, 2013