Tag Archives: Homemade

Cheat’s Chocolate Fudge: a five minute recipe

Chocolate FudgeI made this with Scrip on one of our afternoons together after a half day at school. She’s always loved baking and sometimes we need a quick, simple recipe that doesn’t involve a sink full of washing up (but that leaves a very lickable spoon). She does tend to ask about tasting whatever it is as soon as we get the ingredients out but she managed to control herself during this one (and I did, too).

This is fab – it uses store cupboard ingredients and makes an impressive-looking fudge. I can’t pretend it’s up to true Cornish fudge standards (mmm Roskilly’s) but it’s tasty and moreish (best to cut it into small pieces). It’s also easy to halve the mixture and still get a decent amount. Enjoy.

Ingredients

500g (1lb 2oz) icing sugar
50g (2oz) cocoa powder
50mll (2fl oz) milk
50g (2oz) cold butter, chopped (mine was actually room temperature)
Large handful of roasted and salted peanuts or raisins

Method

Put the icing sugar and cocoa powder into a large microwave-safe bowl; whisk to combine. Add milk and chopped butter and cook on full power (800W) for 2 minutes. Meanwhile, line a tin or serving dish roughly 15cm x 25cm (6in x 10in) with baking parchment.

Whisk the hot mixture until smooth (it will thicken as you do so), then stir in the nuts or raisins. Empty into the lined tin, level the surface and chill for at least 20 minutes before cutting into small chunks.

I originally found this recipe in Good Housekeeping. Another five minute recipe favourite is my chocolate oaty slices.

Guest post: Goodness gracious great balls of dough 

Bread making collageWe’ve been enjoying fresh bread at home for the past few weeks courtesy of my husband – and it all started with a notonthehighstreet.com Dad Academy session. Here’s more.

Arts and crafts, DIY, cooking… I’ll chance my arm at most things to varying degrees of success. I have never been blessed, as my mum often tells me, with naturally practical genes but I like to think what I lack in God-given ability I make up through endeavour and determination.

So when I was asked by my wife to attend a session of Dad Academy from notonthehighstreet.com, my naturally competitive streak kicked in and I started to psyche myself up for what I imagined would be the urban equivalent of zip wiring through mangrove swamps with fellow chest beating males.

Not so.

I did, however, have the opportunity one reasonably balmy August evening to roll up my man sleeves and get mixing, kneading and baking through Ma Baker’s bread making course.

So off I went telling myself I’d be competing in The Great British Bake Off – albeit at Sunday League football level. A glass of bubbly down the hatch, I and fellow dads were welcomed to our pristine work surfaces with all our ingredients laid out to make our first bread – a lovely sourdough.

Nervous laughter aside at the thought of losing face in front of each other, Liz from Ma Baker cut through all our barely concealed bravado and took us back to the classroom with a fun and easy to follow session. Balls of dough at the ready we set about kneading our dough with the delicacy of heavyweight boxers.

I was jokingly reprimanded for some over-vociferous dough banging on the table but I knew, you see, that it’d give my mix the competitive advantage it would need. Off to the oven they went and off to the bar we went for discussion about the merits of dough scrapers and the quickest ways to remove congealed flour from our hands.

Back we came for round 2 and growing in confidence we set about delivering our second batch, this time a traditional white farmhouse loaf – the process once again expertly curated by Ma Baker herself.

It was a lovely evening and very good fun. Ma Baker was also very open to even the most basic of questions about baking and we were all happy another string had been added to our bows.

Whether my home creations have the same sparkle as those made on the day I’ll leave others to judge. I, on the other hand, look forward to the next instalment of Dad Academy: no doubt zip wiring through those swamps.

Sew Pretty: courses for complete beginners to seasoned pros

Sew Pretty sewing coursesBack in November I spent a great few hours refreshing my sewing skills at Sew Pretty, a sewing workshop in a purpose-built garden studio in Wimbledon. The owner, Katya, has created a lovely, relaxed atmosphere for those who want to start from scratch, those who are keen to dust off their sewing machines and learn some new skills (like me) or those ready to tackle more complex projects.

I’d really recommend a Sew Pretty workshop or course – they would make a great, original present (as mine was) and they’re a good way to learn something new whilst also creating something to take away: from PJ’s to bags to dresses.

Here’s my review for West London Mum to tell you more.

Toy-tidy: how to make a simple homemade drawstring bag

Homemade drawstring bagMine aren’t half as beautiful as Helen’s at Sew Coastal but they’re a quick way to help you tidy away toys – especially the little fiddly ones (where’s that yellow plastic hat from? Is that a rogue bath toy or one of Peppa’s endless fairground ride accessories?)

Ahead of me properly getting to grips with my sewing machine at my Sew Pretty course in a few weeks (I can’t wait), here’s how to make some drawstring bags using simple stitching and materials you should already have.

What you will need:
A canvas bag: the kind you’ve probably been given for free at some stage
A length of ribbon: shiny works best but any will do Continue reading

Simple Banana Bread: delicious and uses up bananas

Banana Bread SlicesFrom being an always-in-the-lunch-box baby staple, Scrip’s now a bit take it or leave it about bananas. She does like them mashed with milk and a bit of brown sugar (thanks to my mum for reminding me how much I used to like them like this!) And she’ll occasionally eat a whole one as long as she can try and peel it herself. But she’d generally rather have an apple or a pear. Which means that we sometimes have one or two  browning bananas left in the fruit bowl. Continue reading

Building a sandpit – in three easy steps

IMG_8365We promised Scrip a sandpit after the gardeners moved out and the mess and the dust sheets were all gone (although to be honest, she seemed pretty excited by all of that, not to mention the frequent tea rounds). Towards the end of the work she started asking when they’d be finished building her sandpit, which we gently tried to Continue reading

Sew Coastal – a brilliant business homemade in Cornwall

Sew Costal projectA few days in Cornwall and a healthy dose of sunshine and I’m already plotting our move down here. Not sure my husband feels quite the same (much as he loves it here it’s pretty far away from his Kent homeland, I have to admit) but Scrip certainly Continue reading

Microwave Marmalade – a newmumblings make

Jam and marmalade making doesn’t have to be the preserve (sorry) of those with bags of time and an industrial-sized kitchen. I’ve made this recipe every January for the past four or five years – so a few times pre-baby, then heavily pregnant (with a bit of carrying help from my mum) and when Scrip was just under a year old. And it’s easy and delicious.Microwave marmalade collage

There are no sticky jam thermometers involved or massive vats of liquid bubbling Continue reading