10 amazing apple recipes

Homegrown apples - perfect for autumn bakes

A couple of weeks ago I shared my recipe for Apple Sticky Toffee Pudding – it was so delicious and easy to make that I’m sure I’ll be baking it again soon. I still have a freezer full of apples though and I needed some inspiration to make something other than crumble! So I asked some of my fellow bloggers to share some of their favourite apple recipes and they came up with such a variety of different things I wanted to bring them all together in one post. Read more

Apple sticky toffee pudding recipe

Sticky toffee apple pudding and custard - perfect for autumn

My parents have got three apple trees in their garden. They’ve lived in their house since I was 5 so for me, autumn always means apples. I usually just make crumble, but when my dad brought round yet another bag of apples last week I decided to try something new. I fancied something with toffee or caramel, and after a quick Google I found this Sticky Toffee Apple Pudding recipe. It looked easy enough so I gave it a go!  Read more

Introducing new Richmond chicken sausages

The Nation's favourite sausage recipes with a twist

Everyone loves sausages right? They are one of the few things I can guarantee that Toby and Gabe will eat! Actually though, I’m not a big fan of pork sausages so I usually have chicken sausages that my mum gets from her local butchers – they only make them once a week though, and often sell out. So when I was invited to the launch of the new Richmond chicken sausages I was keen to see if they could compete with the ones I usually get, and with the added bonus of being able to just pick them up in the supermarket! Read more

Fool proof sponge cake recipe // A step by step guide

13 - The finished cakes

If you saw my post about the cake we made for Toby’s fourth birthday recently then you may have noticed me mention my fool proof sponge cake recipe. Well, I thought that sponge cake deserved a post all of its own. So here is my step-by-step guide to the perfect fool proof sponge cake, and if you are a seasoned baker then please forgive me if I am patronising you – I really wanted to go basic so that anyone can follow this recipe and get great results every time. Read more

How to make a Numberblocks cake // A step by step guide

Toby seeing his Numberblocks birthday cake for the first time

A few weeks ago it was Toby’s fourth birthday. He absolutely loves the CBeebies show Numberblocks and had asked if he could have a Numberblocks cake for his birthday. ‘Sure’ I said, that can’t be too hard! To be fair the cakes themselves weren’t too tricky, it was the decoration that was the hard part. But if you’re here then I guess you’re up for the challenge of making a Numberblocks cake of your own so I’m going to share a step by step guide as to how we did it.

We made numbers one to six at Toby’s request – I was only planning on doing up to five but we had to make six as well because purple is Toby’s favourite colour. My first top tip if you are going to make a Numberblocks cake is to just make one number – if I’d have thought about it I would just have made number four for Toby’s fourth birthday!

However if you want to make more numbers like we did then you need to start with the cake. Read more

How to make a monkey cake

As we head towards Toby’s fourth birthday, and I consider how I am going to make the requested Numberblocks cake, I thought it would be the perfect time to share this post of how I made his monkey cake again.

I’d never made a cake with any sort of design on it before so when we decided to have a (sort of) party for Toby’s 1st birthday I took to Pinterest to find some inspiration for his cake. I was considering doing a spotty number one cake but decided I didn’t want to brave proper icing and would prefer something with buttercream. Then I saw a few monkey cakes – a perfect choice for my little monkey. I combined a couple of tutorials to come up with a monkey cake of my own…and this is how I did it…

How to make a monkey cake

Step 1: Make the cakes

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Recipe: Extremely Chocolatey White Chocolate and Cranberry Cookies

White Chocolate and Cranberry cookie recipe

This is a super easy cookie recipe. It’s adapted from this white chocolate and raspberry cookie recipe on the Carnation website.

White chocolate and cranberry cookie recipe

You will need (makes about 20 medium-sized cookies):

  • 225g unsalted butter or baking spread (Stork)
  • 225g castor sugar
  • 170g tube condensed milk
  • 380g self-raising flour (this is more than in the Carnation recipe – I find it makes better cookies)
  • 300g white chocolate (you can use chocolate chips but I find using large bars is better)
  • 150g dried cranberries

Pre-heat your oven to 170°C and cut grease proof paper to the size of your baking tray(s) Read more

Recipe: Roasted butternut squash with mushroom stuffing

It’s been a while since I blogged a recipe so I thought I share this one for roasted butternut squash with you. I first had this when my sister-in-law cooked it for me years ago and since then I’ve played about a bit with the stuffing – it’s one of those recipes that you can really adapt to use whatever you fancy (or whatever you have hanging around in the fridge which is what I usually do). The really great thing about this recipe is that you don’t have to peel the butternut squash – and if you’ve ever tried to do that then you’ll appreciate what a bonus it is not having to do it!

We usually have this roasted butternut squash with salmon and broccoli but you could have it with anything really, or even as a vegetarian main course on its own.

butternut squash and salmon

You will need (serves 2):
  • 1 butternut squash (I try to find a small squash, if you can only get a big one then I would maybe cut off some of the main fleshy part and use it for something else – butternut squash soup is delicious!)
  • mushrooms (or any other vegetables you fancy – I sometimes add courgette too)
  • cheese (you can use any kind of cheese really – feta is good, or something like Lancashire or Wensleydale that doesn’t really melt)
  • cream cheese (again, it’s up to you whether you use this or not, something like roulé or Boursin would work well too)
  • oil (I use garlic infused olive oil for flavour)

Pre-heat your oven to 200°

You will need the biggest, sharpest knife you can find for the next bit – and be careful!

First trim both ends of the butternut squash. This removes the stalk part from the top and gives you a flat base to stand the squash up.

Stand the squash upright then very carefully cut it in half length ways (this is why you need a big sharp knife).

Remove the seeds from both halves.

Use a smaller knife to make diagonal cuts through the flesh of the squash (but not the skin) so you get a criss-cross pattern as you can see in the photo. This helps the squash cook a bit quicker.

Rub oil all over the squash and place in a roasting dish in the oven.

butternut squash

Cooking time really depends on the size of your squash – for the one we had I put it in the oven for 50 minutes initial cooking. You want the squash to be soft after this initial cooking time so just leave it in until you can easily poke a knife in it!

While your squash is cooking you can prepare the filling. Chop the mushrooms (or whatever veg you are using into small chunks). Chop the cheese into small cubes. Mix the veg and cheese together – if you want to use cream cheese then mix this in too.

After your initial cooking time is up remove the squash from the oven and fill the hollow in each half with your veg and cheese mixture. Put back in the oven for another 20 minutes. If you are having your roasted butternut squash with fish then you could put your fish in a tin foil parcel and put it in the oven at this point too.

And that’s all there is to it. Serve with whatever you fancy.

roasted butternut squash

This is a great dish for babies and toddlers too. If you are following babyled weaning then you could just give them a bit of everything – I usually avoid the skin of the squash but that’s about it. If you are doing more traditional weaning  then you could always mash the fish and squash together or I’m sure you could even purée it if you wanted to.

baby portion butternut squash

Do let me know if you give it a try – and if you think of any other interesting ingredients you could use in the filling.

And if you like the look of this recipe why not Pin it for later?

Roasted Buttternut squash with cheesy mushroom stuffing recipe

 

Easy one pot chicken, chorizo and roasted vegetables

We all have busy lives so who doesn’t love a quick dinner that can all be cooked together with minimal preparation and even less washing up!

This chicken and chorizo recipe is a regular in our house. Chicken and chorizo is a classic combination – in this recipe you can then add any vegetables of your choosing, stick it in the oven and you’re done!

Easy one pot chicken and chorizo

You will need (serves two):

Read more

Banana and mango smoothies with Nutribaby

The other day we had some bananas hanging about that were a bit past their best and we didn’t have time to make a banana loaf which would be my usual use for them so we decided to whip up some banana and mango smoothies using our Nutribaby from Babymoov.

babymoov-nutribaby

Toby loves to help in the kitchen and these smoothies were easy enough for him to get really involved in making them.

First he peeled the banana and broke it up into large pieces in the Nutribaby. Next the mango went in (we bought some pre-cut for ease).

toby-putting-bananas-in-the-nutribaby

On top of the fruit Toby put a couple of big dollops of Greek yogurt and topped it up with some milk. As we were making these smoothies for the kids we used full-fat yogurt and milk but you could easily substitute low-fat alternatives.

adding-natural-yoghurt-to-the-banana-and-mango

Once all the ingredients were in the blender jug of the Nutribaby we clicked on the lid and whizzed the whole lot up together.

banana-mango-yoghurt-and-milk-in-the-nutribaby

I really like the fact that the blender won’t work unless both the jug and lid are fully clicked into place – hands up if you’ve started a blender without the lid on before and sprayed stuff all over the kitchen!

pressing-the-button-on-the-nutribaby-to-whizz-everything-up

The only trouble we had making the smoothies was that Gabe really didn’t like the noise…

gabe-didnt-like-the-noise-of-the-nutribaby

I’d picked up these cute glass milk bottles and paper straws on offer at the garden centre a few days before we made the smoothies. A word of warning though – those paper straws might look cool but they are pretty useless for a toddler and turned to mush in seconds!

banana-and-mango-smoothies-from-the-babymoov-nutribaby

And now for my last confession – Gabe had a try of the smoothie and pulled a bit of a face, but then he’s funny about his food anyway.

gabe-had-a-try-of-the-smoothie

But unfortunately Toby also declared it ‘yucky’ and wouldn’t drink it either! I thought it was quite nice but I think the problem was that the mango wasn’t quite ripe enough so didn’t blend fully into the smoothie.

Anyway, in an effort to rescue the situation I made Toby another smoothie but I replaced the mango with a couple of spoons of chocolate Nesquik. The verdict? This one was yummy…

toby-enjoying-his-chocolate-and-banana-smoothie

Don’t forget to Pin this post for later if you like it…

banana-and-mango-smoothies

 

**Disclosure: We were sent the Nutribaby as a part of our role as Babymoov ambassadors. All opinions are my own.