Whisky Banana Bread Pudding

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Colder nights are all about one thing… slow cooking! I’m pretty new to this slow cooker malarky and I was sceptical at the start, thinking,  how could I face preparing dinner before I’d even had my morning coffee!!! But I gave it a whirl and I have to say, it’s pretty awesome! Coming home to all manner of foodie delights bubbling away IS a very satisfying feeling. And so…today I’m sharing with you the ultimate comfort food recipe, slowly cooked with love…Whisky Banana Bread Pudding (It’s also got Amaretto but I didn’t want to get you over excited!).

Bread. Pudding. It’s just good stuff isn’t it, especially when it’s slow cooked into pudding perfection. This recipe is for a very wet kind of bread pudding, not the firm sort which is also divine.

Ingredients

Half loaf of bread

1 Jamaica Ginger cake

Shot of Whisky/ Amaretto/ BOTH

4 very ripe bananas

3 eggs

1/2 pint coconut milk

1 pint of milk

200g brown caster sugar

Chopped cherries/ nuts (optional)

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And you’ll love this, other than breaking up the bread and smashing the Jamaica loaf it’s just a mix-it- all-together kind of recipe. And then just wait for the magic to happen. The only rule: make sure all bread is covered by the liquid and sloooooow cook on ‘low’ for 6-8 hours.

I found it was tastiest served with natural yogurt as it is a pretty sweet recipe.  Enjoy! And please share your slow cook recipes, this rookie wants to know more!!!

Bake Yourself A £500 Wedding Cake

petite-words-homemade-wedding-cake-uniqueI love cake. So I was quite excited about getting married… I mean it’s not the reason I got married ,but it was high on the list of reasons, he he he. Jokes aside, to many people the Wedding cake is the centre piece of their wedding, and can come at quite a price.

A simple 3 tier wedding cake costs around £250 and when you start customising, those sugary little details could double the price! And I had my heart set on something a bit special.

So what’s a girl to do… “Hey mama why don’t we make the cake?!” How cunning I thought we were being and what a grand design we set out to bake! I wanted a 3 tier wedding cake, totally covered with sugar leaves and flowers of all different types, sizes and colours. Easy peasy. And we’d spend the money saved on more champagne! Win win.

wedding-cake-decorations-petite-wordsHowever, we are not wizard bakers and this was our first attempt at sugar flowers. And aside from 1 YouTube tutorial mama had watched, we had no bloody idea what we were doing! But we made a start: I bought a whole collection of edible paints and a truck load of roll out icing and we dyed it ball by ball. This was actually much more time consuming than  you’d imagine as you really have to kneed the colour in. Think major hand cramps, and wow is it a messy job!

Then we began making the sugar flowers and leaves, how lovely we thought. I bought a little pack of tools and we have an experiment. I was bored after the first 10! And believe me when I say, IT TAKES TIME. We clocked up about 20 hours on flowers and leaves alone. And you cannot leave it to the last minute as they need days, preferably weeks to dry out nicely.sugar-flowers-homemade-wedding-cake-petite-words

We had to guess the number of flowers to make, since we had no way of knowing how many we’d need to cover the cake. But really, once you reach the point, where you’re consuming more flowers than your saving for the cake you know you need to stop. We made a few hundred then called it a day/ fell asleep under the table. BIG WORK to say the least but wow do they look pretty all lined up in a row…. ahhh we thought, almost finished, well just need to make, ice ad marzipan 3 cakes, then stick all these flowers on, OMG, how much was bought cake again, can we do this!?

Yes we can! And on we ploughed… a relative had made a gorgeous genoa for the bottom tier and mama super star had made a 2nd tier fruit cake and the top tier was a rainbow sponge for added quirkiness. After the cakes were made we inserted ‘cake rods’ which can only be described as filled in cardboard straws (though much more expensive!) and they kept the tiers just separated enough, making for easy cutting on the day. On to the icing….

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This is probably the trickiest bit and where not being professional cake makers really got the better of us. Do you know how hard it is to ice cakes? It feels like rolling silk to lay on chippings! And you’re thinking “Where did all those lumps and bumps come from!” and “OMG my cake has cellulite” and “Is it too late just to buy a cake” and yes it was… but did is matter? NO! because the genius thing about this cake is no matter how messy the icing looks it’s all going to be covered with beautiful little flowers, carefully hiding all the flaws!

With all the cakes marzipaned and iced we could finally we could piece it together. But oops, minor set back, we’d made the top tier the same size as the 2nd, I mean the other tier was right there, we could clearly see they were identical! A moment of madness, I think by this point we were so desperate to eat the cake mum had purposely sabotaged the top tier knowing it would need to be trimmed (sneaky wedding cake bites taste amazing by the way). And so a little snip snip here and there, and a few bites of cake later, we were back on track.

homemade-wedding-cake-diy-petite-wordsNext we sealed all the ugly edges and gaps. We used piped icing to tidy it up, although it really wouldn’t have show, but mama chief was having a meltdown at the cakes imperfections, so we did it. Now the finish line was sight, so wine was poured and out came the edible super glue for the final (and most fun) stage. Let the flowertastic fun begin! Of course mama, being the loveliest mama in the world allowed me the honour of sticking all flowers and leaves on the cake.

It took about 2 and half hours to do, and big shout out to the edible glue. When you first use it, it’s like water, and I had serious doubts it would be up for the job, but it was.  Apparently icing just isn’t sticky enough, especially to hold anything of weight, so I highly recommend the glue.

flower-icing-decoration-wedding-cake-petite-wordsAnd the final touch a finally a sprinkling of golden glitter dust and a little creative piping round the back, because it turned out 200 flowers wasn’t enough to cover the whole cake! I went for an Indian pattern style, using the edible glitter dust and white icing, it turned out really lovely.

 And so there you have it one garden fairy princess wedding cake…. Mama and I both agree it was our biggest life achievement to date. And would we do it again, a million times over, because yes, we saves hundred of pounds but more importantly we made something totally unique that was so special money couldn’t by… and the look on your guests face when you unveil it at the wedding… priceless!

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Now for the serious stuff….Below if a breakdown of the cake costings (so you KNOW it can be done!):

Roll out icing 1KG X 8 =£17.60

Marzipan = £5.22

Edible glue =£2.99

Colours (pack of 12) = £12.99

Gold glitter dust = £1.99

Flower making tools = £0.99

Cake rods = £2.00

Cake boards = £6.99

Genoa: = £12.00

Fruit cake = £8.00

Rainbow sponge cake=  £3.99

Cake box (essential)= £12.00

TOTAL= £86.76 (WOW!)

Dairy Free Coconut & Orange Choco Bites

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Chocolate, how loved you are but sometimes you just don’t agree with people. And so I give you a little choccy alternative. No dairy bit taste and what an energy boost it give you. However, be prepared for the hit that dark chocolate delivers because this is really a rich treat with a strong bitter taste that might not be for everyone.

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Ingredients

1 clementine

100g organic coconut oil

50g coco powder

4 tbsp maple syrup/ honey/ date syrup

2 tbsp vanilla essence

1 tbsp orange essence

  1. First things first heat your coconut oil in a clean bowl positioned in a larger bowl of boiling water.
  2. Next zest and peel your clementine. Now, using a small baking tray lay the clementine segments along your tin, evenly. Add other fruit or seeds (cashew nights and cherries are my fav).
  3. Combine the coco powder, essence, and syrup, mix well with the coconut oil.
  4. Pour your mixture over the clementine segments and sprinkle with the zest and more nuts/ seeds if you choose.
  5. Finally, off the the fridge to harden overnight, then sprinkle with icing sugar before serving. And bite bite bite, enjoy!!!

Keep refrigerated, as you can imagine it softens rather quickly!

I hope you enjoy this recipe, check out my other quirky yum yums!

 

Russian Cheese Chocolate Bars

Russian_Cheese-Chocolate-Bars-Recipe-Petite-WordsI don’t know about you but I have a fascination with world food, specifically sweet treats and confectionary from different countries.

So when my husband kept mentioning these ‘chocolate cheese bars’ from Russian I thought I’d give it a look. I’m not a perfect housewife who bakes all her husbands favs, I mean I have a busy schedule, who’s got time to do it all! But after not finding these allusive ‘Chocolate Cheese Bars’ anywhere, including online I decided to give it a bash and make the famous ‘sirki v glazure’.

I confess, the first batch was a disaster, it’s a simple enough recipe, except the cottage cheese… it MUST be dry and if you can’t find ‘dry cottage cheese’ (I know in U.K polish shops may have it) then you have GOT to use cheese cloth to drain it super well. Goo to sawdust consistency, so my turning it upside down to drain on a plate overnight just didn’t cut the mustard!

Anyway, they turned out super scrumptious and the husband was gobsmacked I pulled it off, eventually…wifeing like a boss! So give it a whirl, they really are quite special, I’m sure you’ll love them.

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Ingredients

300g cottage cheese (DRY)
100g icing sugar
1 tsp of vanilla extract
70g unsalted butter

Chocolate coating:
100g of Organic dark chocolate
3 tbsp butter

  1. Drain all liquid from the cottage cheese (unless using dry cottage cheese). Do this with a cheese cloth.
  2. Mix or blend the cottage cheese so it has a smooth consistency and add the  icing sugar and vanilla extract, mix well.
  3. Cream your butter in a bowl and add the cottage cheese mixture, mix well.
  4. Cut  small foil sheets into rectangles, large enough to wrap the mixture into little bars, you’ll have enough mixture for approx  8 bars.
  5. Place 2tbsp of mixture in the middle of foil and fold all the sides, pinching at the top, getting the shape of a chocolate bar.
  6. Place in the freezer for 15-20 min to harden. You don’t want frozen bars, just solid.
  7.  Using a bowl of hot water, place a clean dry smaller bowl or cut into the water (be careful not to get any water drips in the cup, it runs chocolate!) melt your butter and chocolate in the bowl.
  8.  Taking your bars from the freezer, dip each bar into the chocolate. Once all bars are coated well in chocolate, place them back in the fridge overnight.
  9. Eat them up you’ll love them so!!!!

Caffeine Free Chai Latte

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I love Chai Lattes: milky goodness, full of sugar and spice. Unfortunately the dodgy stuff they serve up in most coffee shops isn’t the real deal, it’s just powered sugary flavour, so this is a recipe in celebration of spice, because spice is amazing. People often think about healthy living, fruit and veg, oily fish, pulses and lentils but few people mention spice. So spices are super powerful and have been used medicinally for centuries

So this recipe had ‘real’ spice, secondly unlike usual chai lattes which have about 1/3 of the caffeine of coffee, this one is totally caffeine free!

So I give you the best of both worlds, caffeine free and  healthy, yes I just used the H word!

Ingredients

1 pint (organic) milk

1/2 tbsp ground ginger

1/2 tbsp turmeric

1/2 tbsp cinnamon

2 tbsp honey or agave nectar (or date syrup for a less sweet version)

Simmer the milk and mix together for a few minutes, then enjoy the milky nectar! For summer months, just refrigerate and enjoy as a refreshing yet comforting drink.

I honesty cannot taste the difference between this recipe and the ones that use chai tea. Probably because I’ve added turmeric, which indecently is a marvellous spice, packed full of goodness (anti-aging, anti-cancer, lubricates joints to name but a few) and we must start using it more!

I hope you liked this recipe, let me know your favourite coffee alternatives!

 

 

Tropical Apple Cake


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I love baking cakes, and I’ve usually got a lot spices and other dry ingredients in ready for me to play with. But, how frustrating is it when you forget to pick up butter! I use butter everyday, so I often don’t have a whole pack spare.

Last week, when I wanted to use up all my apples soon to be rotton,  I decided to create a new recipe. I only had a bit of butter left, so got experimenting with coconut oil.

I didn’t want to use all coconut oil, as the particular one I use is pretty expensive, being that it’s extra virgin and organic. But just substituting the butter with a little coconut oil I was able to make my delicious Tropical Apple cake.

It’s a very moist cake, with a similar consistency to Jamaican Ginger cake, but not stogy in any way. It also has a really deep flavour, the brown sugar and spices make it rich and moorish.

This recipe was inspired by many different recipes, including a polish apple cake, Szarlotka which indecently is my name in Polish!  This has a few added extras and is much denser, browner and actually just very different! he he, it’s a unique cake, and very scrumptious. So here’s my Tropical Apple Cake recipe, let me know what you think and happy baking!

 

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Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  •  50g coconut oil
  • 75g butter or coconut oil
  • 200g brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 250g self-raising flour
  •  1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 100g dried pineapple and dried apricots
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1kg diced apples
    1. Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F)
    2.  Boil the chopped apples for about 15 minutes, until they are reasonably soft.
    3. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, spices and dried fruit.
    4. Cut in the butter and rub into the flour. Do this until it’s like a coarse meal texture.
    5. Mix in 1 egg, plus an extra egg yolk. The mixture should be crumbly but blinding well together. An electric mixer works best.
    6. Add the cooled apples and the honey, mix well with a spoon. The mixture should be a little wet, make sure there’s no clumps of sugar or butter.
    7. Spoon into the tray and sprinkle with brown sugar or coconut sugar.
    8. Bake for 1 hour, until light brown and cooked in the centre. Leave to cool and cut into slices. Ooo how exciting, it’s going to taste so yummy! Enjoy!

     

Fruit & Spice Carrot Cake

carrot_cake_petite_wordsI love cake. I absolutely adore almost every kind there is, my husband however, not so much. He hates sponge cake, is revolted by gooey icing or soft buttercream and generally only eats fruit cake. So when it comes to baking a pleasing cake, it’s not always easy. Who has time to be baking a Christmas cake every week! Introducing my solution; Fruit & Spice Carrot Cake, approved and loved by my spouse and me of course. It’s fruity and fragrant, fresh and just sweet enough to be a satisfying cake and there’s nothing sugary or sickly about it.

So here’s the recipe, relatively easy to prepare, it’s an adaption of Jamie Oliver’s Carrot Cake with Lime Icing, but I’ve cut a few, in my opinion,  non-essential corners and added a few quirks of my own!

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Ingredients

250 g unsalted butter , softened
250 g light brown soft sugar
5 large free-range eggs
1 orange , zest and juice
250g self-raising flour
1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
100 g dried fruit (sour cherries, goji berries, chopped apricots)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch sea salt
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon ground ginger
250 g carrots , peeled and grated

For the lime icing
250 g full-fat cream cheese
85 g icing sugar
1lime, zest and juice

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Grease and line a 22cm-square cake tin or a round equivalent with greaseproof paper. Mix the butter and sugar together, you’ll want a light and fluffy texture.
  2. Add the eggs, beating well after each addition. Then add the the orange zest and juice. Mix in the flour, with the baking powder, spices, salt, grated carrot and dried fruit.
  3. Spoon the mixture out into the tin and bake for approx  50 minutes until golden and plump, test with a knife in the middle as this is particularly juicy kind of cake.
  4. Bing, we’re done, the carrot cakey goodness, a heaven sent smell. Leave the cake alone. Let it cool for 10mins then plate it up ready for more cooling. A hour or two should do it. You want it to be really cool for the icing.
  5. Mix the cream cheese, icing sugar and zest then add the lime juice bit by bit. I found it’s very easy to make the icing too gooey and you want it like a whipped cream texture. Finish the cake off with some fresh or dried fruit and dust with orange and lime zest.
  6. WOW… the cake looks epic, eat, enjoy, then repeat.

 

Beetroot Chocolate Cookies

Beetroot_Cookies_petite_wordsTruth be told I’m not biscuit’s biggest fan, but I do love a good cookie-milk session. And for me cookies need 2 things; chocolate pieces, of course and a moreish yumminess that makes eating just 1, simply impossible.

So here’s my own recipe, adapted from ‘Nigella’s Butter Cut Out Cookies‘ that combines two wonderful tastes; fruity beetroot and salted caramel chocolate, trust, it just works. They are delicious and easy peasy,  I hope you think so too!

 

Ingredients (Makes 50-60 Cookies)

175g soft butter (I prefer salted)

200g caster sugar 

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon beetroot powder

400g plain flour 

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon seasalt

1/2 a bar salted caramel dark chocolate roughly broken (60% coco at least)

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  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4/350ºF.
  2. Mix the butter and sugar together until it’s nicely whipped, add the eggs, beating well after each addition. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and beetroot, mixing all dry ingredients together. Add the dry ingredients to the butter and eggs then mix. You want the dough to be soft but not sticky, add flour accordingly.
  3. Gather the dough and sprinkle your work surface with flour. Kneed in your chocolate pieces that have been roughly broken (a rolling pin is good for smashing chocolate) and make sure it’s evenly placed though the dough.  Next, roll it out to a ½ cm / ¼ inch thickness and cut your cookie shapes. I used heart cutters because I’m cool and you may wish to use some other crazy cool cut or just a classic cut circle. No rules here!
  4. Bake for 8–12 minutes, cookies should be golden and good to go by that time. Ding, they are ready, now leave them to cool and take in the cookie goodness, wow your kitchen will smell heavenly! Pour yourself a tall glass of milk and en…..joy.

 

 

THE JOYS OF FOOD SHOPPING

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Shopping for food is obviously something we all do. Some people plan meals, some stick to a tight budget, others just pick up whatever takes their fancy. The one thing that unites us all is the regularity of it all; most people probably do a ‘big shop’ every week.

So I thought something that important to our every day lives deserves it’s own post. I’m a person that really takes pride in my grocery shopping (words I never ever thought I’d utter, but proud I now do). I care about Organic, I believe in ethical buying and I love nutritious, yummy things, but, I am on a budget.

That said I do believe if you’re going to spend money on something, food, the fuel you put into your body everyday is a pretty good investment.

My main problem is, I detest supermarkets. I hate the crowds, the uncontrollable trollies, the bad lighting and the sheer bombardment of ‘stuff’. So online shopping has always been my besty. I love being able to click away meticulous, in the comfort of my own home, whilst nibbling away at piece of cake.

And up until a few weeks ago Asda was my supermarket of choice. They seemed the best value. But what did I know? How do we ever pick our supermarkets, do we choose what our friends advise or perhaps the supermarket we’ve seen the most delivery vans for. I mean, lots of us are just blindly making a very important choice, and that’s a bit worrying!

So, to cut a long story short, I washed my hands of Asda; too many weeks of rushed deliveries, with the driver telling me I needed to be quicker as he didn’t have much time per visit! Each time I struggled to fathom quick enough the dodgy substitutes that made up half my shopping, most of which were organic essentials I use everyday, I thought ‘NO MORE’!

And so I turned to Ocado to tempt my fancy (a company I’ve heard only good things about) and tempt my fancy they did. Firstly they give you a £20 voucher off your first £80 shop, pretty lovely. Then, they include a delighful free tea towel (yes, they had me at tea towel really), which is delivered with shopping, which, by the way, arrives in colour coded bags (fridge, freezer, cupboard etc) for easy unpacking and you are greeted by an exceptionally friendly driver that has clearly got all the time in the world, bit different from the frenzied other drivers.

As you might know Ocado are partners with Waitrose, and many other amazing companies. Yes I did just say Waitrose, the fanciest, most expensive supermarket out there, and I see you now wincing away, but stop, wince no more, you might be interested to know that Waitrose are not all bejeweled bananas and platinum pork pies they DO have a basic range. And that range is actually as cheap as other supermarkets, so prices are kept competitive and you can still enjoy a paradise of organic delights!

It’s amazing that Waitrose are now serious contenders in the supermarket fight. And they blooming well deserve to win! The truth is we should all be more picky when it comes to shopping and Waitrose are by far the most ethically ‘good’ supermarket out there; they source a great deal of produce from local farms and incorporating an extensive range of organic and Fairtrade as policy, not just novelty, quite frankly what’s not to love.

So why does everyone think they are so expensive? Well, the truth is, they DO have so many luxurious delights,they could potentially break the bank, but if you’re disciplined in my first experience I actually spent the same as an average Asda shop and had far better quality produce. And a free tea towel, don’t forget the lovely tea towel.

So, to conclude, I never thought I’d be ‘shopping at Waitrose’ but I also never thought it could be so reasonable, so acceptable and so amazing! So, look past the ” I can’t afford this’ illusion, enjoy the great service and excellent food, because we are all SO worth it!

P.S I’d love to know your grocery shop habits and rituals, leave a comment below! And happy ‘GOOD’ shopping!

SALTED CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT CREAMS

pEPPERMINT_CREAMS_PETITE_WORDS1Peppermint Creams are a classic sweet treat and, when done well they are the perfect accompaniment to a delicious after dinner coffee.

So here’s my little secret to wonderfully moorish peppermint creams. Salted chocolate, Himalayan to be exact! It just seems to go exceptionally well with the pepperminty sugar. I also experimented with beetroot powder. They act like mock candy cane cremes and it’s a great way to sneak antioxidants into treats! So here’s the recipe, it’s a bit relax because I’m not much of a precision baker, but you can’t really go wrong here!

Ingredients

Organic Peppermint Essence (2 Capfuls)

Water (A few splashes)

Icing Sugar (2 Cups)

Himalayan Salted Chocolate (Milk or Dark) (1 Bar, melted)

Powered Beetroot (If you fancy a pinch)

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Mix the icing sugar and peppermint essence  with a few splash of water. Also add the beetroot powered, if you’re using it, I used it for 1/3 peppermint creams, so I made a separate mixture. I recommend mixing it  very roughly, to give the marbled effect you can see in the pic.

Add a little water very slowly, and mix after every spoonful added, you can always add more. I find it’s different every time, so will leave it to your better judgment as to how much water is needed. Also I like strong peppermint creams so I add 2 sometimes 3 capfuls, in this case you need less water but again, up to you!

You want the mixture to be a thick paste, slightly moist dough, with now lumps.

Then you’re ready to make little balls with the mixture. After each ball is formed use a fork to flatten them, it gives each one a nice textured finish. Then off to the fridge they go, to harden.

After an hour they should be good to go. Heat the chocolate in a bowl set in boiling water (so you never burn it!). Then dip each peppermint cream into the chocolate. I did some half dipped but I actually thought the whole dipped ones tasted yummier.

And then let them set in the fridge, overnight is best.

The final step, of course the most important, TASTE THE PEPPERMINT CREAMS and enjoy!

P.S Let me know your favourite recipe adjustments for Peppermint Creams! Leave a comment below and have fun baking.