Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Ok I'm Useless!!

I know I'm useless. Your daughter give's you a blog to write down life etc and then you fail to do so. So I'm just useless and I'm not going to say I'm going to get better at doing it but I will try.

Anyway it's been a funny old summer but as we go into autumn the farming year starts and we are hoping for a better one. This weekend is going to be a special one as Darling Ella is being Christened we are hoping for good weather as we want to have her baptised in St James's on the farm which is where Wellie's got married. Then it's tea here so I have the cake to do and will try and post it. The badly taken photo is of Ella taken a couple of weeks ago, it doesn't do her justice but hopefully Tori will take a better one to show you next time.

 The following Friday we are going to hold a coffee morning as part of the Macmillan World's Biggest Coffee Morning. So if you are near here do come.( If you e-mail me saying you would like to come I'll send you the details) If you are not near then there is bound to be one near you so go and support this worthy cause. Like many people we have been affected by cancer this year and our best friend lost his battle against it. This is just a small way which will hopefully help. Anyway what with celebrating a new life and hopefully raising money in remembrance of one taken too early it's going to be a busy week or two!                                                                                                                                

Love Caro xxx

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Chocolate Crinkles

    Made these little beauty's the other day having seen them on one of my favourite blogs. (Oh how I love blog land it's brilliant!!!) They were on Call me cupcakes which is a beautifully written blog and her photography is stunning. I must admit the recipe picture is of course a pasted one from her blog as I couldn't be so clever.

They looked so inviting that I had to make them straight away and they were as good as they looked as Tori said a mixture between brownies, biscuits and sponge just plain yummy. Mind you I did wonder after making them wether you could take some of the flour out and put malted milk powder making it taste a little like Maltesers. Tori didn't think it would work but her hubby thought it might be worth trying what do you think?

Sorry the post's have been so few the trouble is I'm back at Weight Watchers now this can affect my baking in two ways I either bake like mad and feel very virtuous or try to avoid it as I keep wanting to eat everything. Unfortunately this time it's the latter not sure why so like everything else at the moment I am going to blame the weather!
                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm so fed up with the rain I know we need it but honestly off I go on my walk today with my darling Lewie (a Scottie and West Highland Cross) and Granddog Dave (Wellies & Oli's wonderful Dog) with not only a heavy jacket on but my scarf as well and then I had to put my gloves on. It's ridiculous it's the 15th of May for goodness sake!!! I don't mind what time of year I wear my boots as we live and work on the farm but gloves, scarves in MAY! The only little hope that I have is that back in 1976 (the year of a brilliant summer & drought for those of you too young to remember) it snowed on the 12th June at Sandringham as my hubby was chopping out sugar beet and snow being rather unusual in June he has always remembered it. We had such a wonderful summer that year we had started to go out together in the January we were young and free I was working as a Nanny before my nursing training so lots of being outside, no school, weekends off, party's and SUN!!!! Those were the day's.

Dave and Lewie the best of friends who love nothing more than fast bunny (hare's) chasing with me whistling and screaming at the top of my voice peaceful is not how to describe my walks!

Ps Thanks to mydeerfriend my bag is beautiful!

Friday, 20 April 2012

Victoria Sandwich

This is the cake for Wellies boy or in other words my wonderful son in law Oli. He had a big birthday recently so of course a cake had to be made, now I was ready to make a large iced cake of some sort for him but when I ask him all he wanted was a sponge filled with cream (much to the horror of Wellies who has never done cream) so thats what I did. I added passionfruit ( a must for both of them as their company is Passionfruit design now shortened to PFD) to the cream with a tablespoon of icing sugar. You can just see that I put strawberry jam on the bottom cake then the cream mix and chopped strawberry's. Tori then put icing sugar and raspberries on top just before serving it otherwise the fruit might look a bit tired if left to long on top.
When Wellies posted this picture on her blog someone commented that they would love to know how to make a Victoria Sandwich. About that time I was cooking some hams for my nephews 21st so out came my very old and in pieces Aga cook book ( although I have cooked countless hams these ones were boneless so I thought I had better check ) when trying to find the right page which is difficult when it's so in bits I came across this recipe which puts it so brilliantly.  


         The weight of 3 eggs in butter, caster sugar and self raising flour. 
        1 tsp of good Vanilla essence you can also use lemon juice & rind or orange.

The method all depends on your mixer if you have a good free standing one then all you need to do is put all the ingredients in the bowl and mix till well blended. It should look like whipped cream and drop off the spoon easily if it seems dry just add a little milk. If you have a hand held mixer then I would recommend you whisk the butter and sugar until white and creamy then add the beaten eggs and the vanilla gradually if it looks curdled don't worry just add a little of the flour till combined, finally fold in the sifted flour with a metal spoon. Place into 2 greased 18cm (7") sandwich tins and cook for about 20 to 25 minutes at 180C until golden and it springs back when pressed. Turn onto a cooling rack and leave to cool completely. You can then put in whatever filling you choose. If you wish to have a bigger cake then I add another egg to each inch tin size that you want to use so for a 9"tins use 5 eggs and the same weight as them for the rest of the ingredients. You can add food colouring if you should wish to do so. I did this for my grandson's cake last year which you can see here.

The cakes above is one that I did for one of my closest friends for her granddaughters 1st birthday. it makes you think how quickly time goes as it doesn't seem to two minutes ago that I was making her children's cakes when they were tiny. Well she asked for a ladybird cake as it's Darling Edith's favourite book is What the Ladybird heard. Now my grandson hasn't got this book but my friend told me that it was by Julia Donaldson who of course wrote the Gruffalo which he loves so of course I'm straight on the web and ordering it. Well it's brilliant and a new favourite and as Edith's party was going to be in London with lots of family and my friend was going via train I decided that a mere ladybird wouldn't do and with the inspiration of the story and the wonderful illustrations by Lydia Monks I did a straight copy from the book around the cake and the ladybird on top. I was really pleased with it and so was my friend, Edith's Mum wrote too me to say she loved it and that Edith grabbed hold of the ladybird and ate it before photos could be taken. 
I used 4 8" sandwich cakes of which I coloured 2 of them pink and then put chocolate icing which gave it a Neapolitan ice cream look. I make the icing by melting 100grm of chocolate and then letting it cool then put 160grm butter, 280grm icing sugar, 3tbl double cream, 1/2tbl vanilla extract and the chocolate in a food processor and pulse until combined. If you don't have a processor then beat the butter until soft then add the other ingredients gradually until mixed together. As I used sugar paste I put the chocolate icing between the cakes and around the sides then popped it into the freezer until hard enough for me to be able to put the rolled out sugar paste on and smooth over the cake. If the chocolate icing around the cake is too hard then either add a little more if you have some left or heat a palette knife and just run that around the cake till you can see the icing has melted.
I hope you all have a good weekend I'm busy tomorrow making Mars bar cakes, Banana Blondies (recipe on an earlier post), beef pasties and cooking mustard and honey sausages for our local point to point at Fakenham as my hubby is going to have a stand with some of his Landrovers to show what he can do. Lets hope the rain isn't to bad but as a Farmers wife and Mother I shouldn't complain about it as apparently we need it I just wish it would come at night my poor garden is now overgrown with weeds I must get out there!
Anyway have fun whatever the weather!!!! 

Thursday, 5 April 2012


Hi Everyone.

Yet again have been very bad at getting another blog posted. This time though I do have a little excuse as we went to Cornwall for a few days holiday. It was fantastic to get away for a while and as normal we had a wonderful time. Lots of walking and although we have driven and had done a walk from the beach this time we visited Carhays Castle gardens. If you do find yourselves staying in Cornwall over Easter the I can recommend this place for a visit. I have never seen such beautiful and enormous flowers. The walking is easy although steep at times but lots of paths so you can do as little or as much as you like, not only was it beautiful but if kept on a short lead you can take your dog brilliant we wouldn't have gone if Lewis hadn't been able to come. The photo's were taken from one of the glorious Magnolia trees.

The cake above is my wonderful daughters in law birthday cake,  we celebrated with her just before we went away. She didn't seem to mind at all that her weird M.I.L had put Peppa pig on top for her Grandson she is an understanding Mummy and the little lad loved it. Hubby mentioned that he thought it was a Clanger to which I had to agree although we had to show the rest of the family what a Clanger was. I hadn't noticed the likeness before but perhaps it was because it was a model, so who out in the blogging world can remember Clangers we use to love them.( In fact my nephews 21st birthday party this weekend is for Childhood heroes perhaps I should go as one. If I remember I'll be brave and post a picture of what I finally choose to go as.) Back to the above the base of the cake was a chocolate I got the recipe from here Sweetapolita who is just brilliant and her icing skills far exceed mine. For the icing I used the very easy if somewhat rich Chocolate Ganache as you can see I've used white chocolate but you can use plain and it goes without saying the better the chocolate the better the taste. 

400g Chocolate (Plain or white )
400ml Double Cream.
Chop the chocolate into fairly small pieces and put into a heatproof bowl. Put the cream into a heavy based saucepan and bring to the boil, pour over the chocolate. Leave to stand without stirring for 5min, then stir until the chocolate has melted and then allow to cool.
Whisk the cooled mixture until it looks like whipped cream this can take some time and really does need an electric whisk ( I suppose it could be a good arm workout with a hand whisk but not one I would like to try!) When it looks like cream pop it into the fridge for 30 to 45min. Then cover the cake with it, if it gets too warm and starts to look a bit funny place it back into the fridge for a while. If its to hard to then place the bowl over some hot water until it softens. If like mine you decide to decorate with an icing bag and nozzle try to keep your hands as cool as possible and work quickly!

I've just remembered for the middle of the cake I made this icing that I found in the April Good Housekeeping mag.

100g Chocolate hazelnut spread (I used Nutella)
200g full-fat cream cheese.
100g icing sugar.
Combine the ingredients together and put on top of one of the cakes then place the other cake on top. Put in fridge or if your Ganache is ready place into the freezer for about 15mins this helps to prevent the crumbs coming off when icing a cake with any icing or jam. A useful tip that I only learnt about a year ago. My icing differs a little from the G.H one as I added icing sugar to make it solid enough to hold the decorations.

I will finish with this picture that I took at the party of my darling Granddaughter it was taken a few weeks ago and yet again not very well as it's not one of Wellies! If you do have the time have a quick look at her new site Tori photography, I know I'm biased but her latest ones from a walk near here I think are stunning.

I'll try and get back soon with son in laws cake and the one for my nephew.

Love Caro xxx

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Bars

Hi Everyone,

Sorry it's been so long but life has been busy although I must admit I'm not sure what with but it's been fun. If I think about it a fair bit of it has been playing with my grandson and getting to know my granddaughter (I can't believe she is a month old on Thursday where does time go!) I'm so lucky that I can see them most days. I've also been until the last couple days when it's been cold again trying to sort the garden out. I must admit I love gardening and it's so exciting this time of year with the buds coming out;  the Snowdrops and Aconites have been out for a while now but now the early Daffs are showing their pretty faces YEPHEE spring is coming!!!

Had a lovely day today went to London and  although it is cold and wet (as a farmers wife mustn't complain about the wet we sooo need the rain) even London had the feel of spring about it. Treated myself to a little taxi ride as do love seeing everywhere and I'm so hopeless with the buses, anyway my taxi driver was great really positive about the Olympics and the Jubilee which made such a change I'm already getting excited about them how about you?

The other exciting recent event was that along with Wellies,  her boy and my hubby we went to Twickenham to watch England against Wales, as you know England lost but they fought well and the whole day was such fun. Many thanks to my niece and her wonderful man and his family for making it such a memorable day. In fact the recipe that I'm going to share with you today we took for our picnic they have become a family favourite and on the day my little sister (who is a yummy cook) and I were having a friendly bake off between her Mars Bar cakes and my Peanut butter ones still not sure which won so I think we shall call it a draw it's just a pity the score for the game wasn't!!

Peanut butter and Chocolate Bars

I found the recipe here but changed the base and the top as easier to obtain the ingredients in England but we have done both and they are equally delicious.

Melt 100g Butter (I use salted but either will do) with 2tbl of Golden syrup and 100g of marshmallows on a slow heat until combined. Off the heat add 180g to 200g of Snap Crackle Pop cereal stir until they are well coated put into a non stick or lined tin I usually use about 12" by 4"tin but whatever you have to hand. Pop into a fridge or somewhere cool to set.

Melt 200g Milk Chocolate with 250g of smooth creamy peanut butter  (and a pinch of sea salt if you wish) in a heat proof bowl over simmering water or if you have an Aga then in a bowl on top of it but you will need to wait a little longer or go and garden for a while. Anyway when melted together pour and spread over the base and put into the fridge to set.

Melt 250g Plain Chocolate, 100g Butter and 2tsp of golden syrup as above. Cool for 2 minutes or so and then pour and spread over the peanut and chocolate let it set and then cut into squares and enjoy.

The picture above was taken by Wellies at my Birthday tea as I felt the P & C bars were needed and as usual she was busy snapping away. The top picture is the Grandson in his England shirt his Father was so pleased with it although I  think Fireman Sam one would be more popular with the Grandson.

Lots of Love, Caro xxx

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Hello to the Blondie's


So this is it my first solo blog. Wellies and her Boy kindly gave to me a blog as a present, so that I could share my love of cooking with you out in blog land.

So today I'm going to share these yummy scrummy Banana Blondies. I came upon the recipe when googling for Banana cake recipes and I always think Banana cake can well just be too banana-aree. These are very sweet but I warn you one is never enough. I found the recipe here. I have tweaked one or two things.

Banana Blondie:-

For the toffee:
75g caster sugar.
75g brazil nuts Roughly chopped (can be any nut)

Put sugar into a heavy based pan add 2tbsp of cold water bring to the boil and let it bubble away.( DO NOT STIR if you do it will not work) When it is a light reddish golden caramel and if you have a thermometer  it's 260F/124 C or if your hubby like mine has nicked your thermometer to use in his workshop (is it just my hubby!?) pour a drop from a teaspoon into cold water and if it sets into hard ball it's ready. Stir in the nuts off the heat and spread on a oiled baking tray and leave to go cold then chop up finely. I often do extra (especially if you have some nuts near their sell by date) it is brilliant on ice cream or top of puddings, or ground up on top of cakes.

For the Cakes.

200g Caster Sugar.
100g Unsalted Butter
200g White Chocolate
1 egg
2 peeled ripe bananas about 200-250g
2 tsp or 2 capfuls of good Vanilla extract (I always use Nielsen-Massey)
200g Plain flour
1/4 tsp Baking powder
Good pinch of sea-salt.

Line a 20cm square tin with lightly greased foil and preheat your oven to 190C / gas mark 5 or for 2 door Aga stand wired shelf upside down in the top oven with baking sheet on the first or second runners above. Heat butter and white choc in a pan on a low heat until melted, then spoon into a large bowl. Add and beat in the sugar, banana, egg and vanilla until smooth. Sift flour, salt and baking powder, fold into the mixture with the chopped toffee. Put into the tin and bake for about 30 to 35 minutes until just set and a golden colour. Leave till cold before turning out and cutting into squares.

Do try these they sound like a lot of hassle with the toffee but are totally worth it and has everyone wanting more. Even the hubby likes them and he is one of those strange men who doesn't do brownies very often. He is really weird at times!!!

I promise to do the other recipes that Tori mentioned in the introduction blog. I must also warn you that Tori gets all her picture skills from her Dada and not from her Mama hence why there is not a picture of the finished Blondie's as that picture was crap!!

Lots of Love Caro xxxx

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Happy Birthday Mum

As I write this you are in the kitchen making your own birthday cake. A recipe that you have been wanting to try for ages and not having an excuse to make it. Yesterday you made peanut bars because you thought they would be nice for your birthday tea. The day before you made a Norfolk vinegar cake because you thought it sounded interesting and the day before that you made lemon drizzle cake because it would make a nice change.

I don't know anyone else who enjoys baking as much as you. No recipe phases you in fact the opposite as it interests you instead. If it goes right it goes right, if it goes wrong - well never mind!

I have made you this blog so you can keep a record of all your recipes and share with people your story of baking - because Oli and I think it's worth sharing.

Happy Birthday Mum

Love Me & Oli x x x