The Simple Sponge Cake Recipe

For the sponges:

7oz self raising flour
6oz light brown sugar
2oz white sugar
2 eggs
3 tablespoons of soya milk
8oz butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the filling and decoration:

icing sugar

jam

malteasers

Preheat the oven to 180degrees. Grease three sandwich sponge tins with butter and flour.

Cream both sugars and the butter together. Add half of the flour and one egg and mix. Add the remaining flour and egg. Mix in the vanilla essence and the milk. Split the sponge mixture between the three tins evenly and put them in the oven.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a skewer in the middle comes out clean.

Remove the sponges from the oven and tip out onto cooling racks. Whilst they are still warm, spread jam on two of the sponges. Make buttercream icing using icing sugar and butter, using the measurements provided on the back. Once the sponges are completely cool add a thin layer of buttercream on top of the jam and assemble the cake. Cover the top in buttercream and decorate with malteasers.

(excuse the messy photo. Hurriedly taken before the cake was sliced and demolished!)

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Quick and Easy Tasty Dinners

Easy dinners

1. Stir fry. The easiest has got to be a stir fry. for the one below I used a garlic and hoisin sauce from Aldi, a Chinese stir fry mix from Tesco, mushrooms and dried egg noodles. It’s super easy to boil the noodles and stir fry the vegetables.

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2. At home Indian. For this one I shopped at Asda. I bought a saag aloo side for me, a chicken tikka masala for rob and a pack of 8 mini vegetable samosas and onion Bhajis. Boiling rice and warming up naan breads was simple enough and the other bits were microwaveable

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3. Shepherds pie. To make this one easier I use frozen mashed potato. Frying the meat and your choice of vegetables and adding gravy is quick and this can be prepared in advance and warmed in the oven before serving. I usually top mine with grated cheese

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4. Of course there has to be easy to make and delicious puddings too. One of my favourite is these double chocolate cookies. These are good for little fingers too. Find the recipe – one of my cookie in a jar gift ideas – here.

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traditional Christmas dinner or something else?

Traditional Christmas Dinner or Something Else?

Christmas dinner. Most people imagine turkey with all the trimmings. Roast potatoes. Stuffing. Red cabbage. Brussels sprouts. Roast parsnips. Cauliflower cheese. Pigs in blankets. Gravy.

But are you a family that chooses something else?

Over the years my family have had a variety of meats for dinner; turkey, chicken, gammon, lamb, beef, duck. (Not that it really affects me as I don’t eat the meat part.)
But regardless of the protein the rest of the dinner is pretty much the same.

Some ideas I’ve heard recently:

Fry up
A surprising number of people have a huge cooked breakfast for their Christmas dinner. This isn’t my favourite choice but it’s definitely an option for dealing with a Boxing Day morning hangover. (I’m sure plenty of people have a fry up for breakfast and then a roast turkey dinner on Christmas Day. It doesn’t need to be one or the other.)

Curry
This gives you a variety of meat options, just like roast dinner. It also means you can all pick your own spice strength and type of rice. Poppadoms and naan bread are easily ordered or bought from the supermarket. In fact you could easily buy a variety of curry dishes from Tesco or Sainsbury’s and heat them up. Much simpler than roasting an entire turkey.

Fish and chips
The old English favourite is another popular choice. I’m sure we will have a takeaway at some point over the festive period but for me it’s a roast dinner all the way.

Here’s a picture of Christmas dinner last year, cooked by me and my mum. Last year I was over 20 weeks pregnant. This year I have a 7 and a half month old little monkey.

Christmas dinner 2016

Food Amelia Couldn’t Live Without

1. Banana porridge
Amelia isn’t fussy if it’s cow and gate or aptamil as long as she gets her breakfast. She’ll eat other flavours if she has too but banana is her preference.
2. Fruity melty puffs
Amelia happily tucks into these as snacks or with her lunch (they are like baby wotsits). Her favourite ones are strawberry. Ella’s Kitchen strawberry and banana and kiddylicious strawberry puffs are two of Amelia’s favourites. If they aren’t available she’ll also tuck into carrot puffs from Aldi. She’s a growing girl and loves her food!
3. Yoghurts
Amelia particularly likes Yeo Valley – little yeo ones. Like the puffs if there are only alternatives available she’ll eat those too. Any fromage frais make her happy.
4. Rice crispies
Probably the strangest one on the list, Amelia has really taken to these. To start with I was putting these in her high chair tray so she could play with them whilst rob and I have dinner. (Unlike some things they are easy to clean up) In the last few weeks she stopped playing with them and started shoving them in her mouth. She loves the pop noise they make when they touch her tongue.

On another note – anyone else go to the shops and end up buying things they don’t need? Went over to Aldi to get baby milk and Amelia fell in love with a fluffy penguin. She was heart broken when I took it off her to pay for it. Who could resist that smile though?

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Halloween Feast

This week seems to have flown by. I had intended to write about my mini Halloween feast the day after Halloween but it just didn’t happen.

We had so many pumpkins from our little pumpkin picking outing that I decided to try and make pumpkin soup. Essentially all I did was chop up the pumpkin and an onion, cook them in butter and add stock. Obviously I added salt and pepper and blended it but it was otherwise really simple. And it was actually really nice. I also used the pumpkin seeds and roasted them with chilli.

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My mini Halloween feast included a bowl of pumpkin soup, devil dog courtesy of Tesco (black coloured hot dogs with green coloured ketchup), soldiers (sticks of toast), sweet potato fries and witches fingers (mozzarella sticks in a green bread crumb coating with tomato relish). It looked really good and Halloweeny and tasted really nice too.

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I still have a few pumpkins left so may do some pumpkin spaghetti or a pumpkin pie. Halloween this year was so much fun and Amelia looked adorable in her little pumpkin vest and green cardigan.

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Meal Time Fun Halloween Style

So I was sitting on the floor trying to coax an unhappy, tired titchy princess into having a nap, wondering what to write about for todays post when I found this months issue of the free magazine Tesco give out in stores. How did it end up on the floor, I am sure you are wondering? Well for some unknown reason, probably because I was half asleep, yesterday I decided to unpack the shopping onto the floor in our room and when Rob helped me put it away the magazine had got left on the floor.

This months the magazines theme is, unsurprisingly, Halloween. I’ll be honest, the doughnuts pictured on the front were what made me open it. I flicked through it, hoping to reach the doughnut page quickly, and instead found myself reading all the other recipes. If you are planning a Halloween party then definitely go and find yourself a copy of the magazine as there are loads of really good ideas for buffet food and cakes in there.

Whoever wrote this months issue must have done so with me in mind, as there is an entire segment dedicated to vegetarian food and a recipe for ‘mini brain fondue’ – and who doesn’t love a big pot of melted cheese to dip their food in?

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I will definitely be trying out the recipe, my one attempt at Halloween themed cooking. If you have older babies this would also be a good way to get them to eat their veggies!