A few weeks ago I posted a recipe for bara brith and in the post I mentioned that, despite living in Wales for 15 years, I’d never had it before.  Well it’s the same for for Welsh rarebit.

Actually, that’s not 100% true.  I have had this before, just not in Wales.  The one and only time I’ve had it was in northern France.  Obviously!  It’s a bit of a thing over there apparently, and I did like the novelty of being in France and ordering a ‘welsh’!

In case you’ve not come across it before, welsh rarebit is basically just a variation of cheese on toast.  My husband and I made it for dinner last night and it was really easy to make and really tasty. So, on to the recipe!

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What you need:

  • 225g strong cheese such as Cheddar or Cheshire, grated
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of english mustard (or two if you want a bit more of a kick)
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • Pepper (a good few grinds of the pepper mill!)
  • 4 tablespoons of beer, stout or milk
  • 4 slices of toast (thick bread is best for this)

What you do:

  1. Put the cheese, butter, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, flour and pepper into a saucepan.
  2. Mix it all together well and then add the beer (or stout/milk, whatever you’re using).
  3. Stir it over a gentle heat until it’s all melted together into a pretty thick paste.
  4. Take off the heat and leave it to cool a little bit.
  5. Toast the bread while the cheese mixture is cooling slightly.
  6. Spread the cheese mixture on the toast and brown under a hot grill.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Things to note:

  • You’ll most likely want to make this once, and then tweak the recipe to suit your tastes.  We thought we’d most likely add a bit more mustard next time.
  • There are a few options to change this recipe up a bit, my husband put sweet chilli sauce on top of his and it was really tasty!  We also thought this would work as a topping for tuna melts.

If you like this recipe, you might also like this one for slow cooker sweet potatoes, where we ended up making a sweet potato tuna melt!

Cuddle Fairy

Ok, I know it’s nearly August, and not really soup season, but it’s been so un-summery the last few days that it felt ‘right’ to be making soup!

I normally make mycarrot and lentil soup but this week fancied something a bit different.  So I had a dig around in the fridge and found some leftover sweet potato and some carrots and we had some leek in the freezer.

So I thought, well, they should all go nicely together!

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Here is the recipe I came up with:

What you need:

2 small sweet potatoes
1 medium carrot
1 leek
1 litre vegetable or chicken stock
Black pepper

What you do:

1) Peel the sweet potatoes and carrot and chop into small chunks.

2) Slice the leek into discs about a centimetre wide.

3) Pop all that into the slow cooker.

4) Add a litre of stock.

5) Give it all a stir then add a good dose of black pepper.

6) Pop the lid on and cook for about 8 hours on low, or 4 hours on high.

7) Once it’s all cooked, blend it up to your preferred consistency.

8) Enjoy!

A few things to note:

  • This soup is quite sweet, so you might want to add some more black pepper once it’s cooked to balance out the flavours.
  • If you want a thicker soup you can always add some lentils when you’re putting everything in the slow cooker.

 

  • As is the way with soup, this is pretty adaptable, so you can easily change the amount of each ingredient that you put in depending on what you’ve got in the fridge!

If you like this, you might also like these!
Slow cooker sweet potatoes
Slow cooker carrot and lentil soup

Cuddle Fairy

I spent a fair bit of time on netflix while I was breastfeeding Nerys, and after exhausting several series I moved on to trying to find films to watch.  One that I came across, that I’d never heard of before, that I actually really enjoyed was ‘I give it a year’.  Have you seen it?  I really wasn’t expecting that much from it, but found myself laughing out loud several times and have gone back and watched it again recently.

One of the things that really tickled me was the fact that the main female character, Nat, sings the wrong lyrics to songs and it drives her husband absolutely mad.  I know that I’ll often sing the wrong words to songs, either intentionally or because I don’t know what the actual words are!  My family always sing this version of ‘I can see clearly now the rain has gone’ and it makes me laugh every time!

I can see clearly now Lorraine has gone

 

So, in case you ever get bored with singing the right words all the time, here are my top five misheard/alternative lyrics:“I’m Chris de Burgh and I like it”
I really don’t know if I heard this somewhere or made it up myself, but I always find myself singing these words instead of “I kissed a girl and I liked it”

 

“I travel the world in generic jeans”
This is one from “I give it a year”, when she’s singing along to ‘Sweet dreams are made of this’.

 

“Gotta love those Starbucks lovers”
I really didn’t ‘get’ this part of Taylor Swift’s song ‘Blank space’, until I read a post that informed me she was actually singing “Got a long list of ex-lovers”!  And as it turns out I wasn’t even mishearing it the same way as other people!

 

“You wash your hair with my shampoo, that’s why I hide it from you”
This one is a real oldy, but I still sing it quite a bit.  It was played on Capital radio back in the 90s, and was a parody of “Sweetest taboo”.  Love it.

 

“Here we are now, in containers”
One more from “I give it a year”, this is what Nat sings instead of ‘here we are now, entertain us’.  I think I prefer her version!

What song lyrics do you get wrong?  I’d love to hear some more!

Mums' Days

I’ve seen several posts recently where people have talked about loved ones they’ve lost and how much they cherish the few letters and notes that they have in that person’s handwriting.  There’s something about being able to hold in your hand something that they touched, that they wrote, that allows you to feel like they’re still close.

My Grandad passed away before I was born, and in the last few years I’ve lost my remaining 3 grandparents.  My husband has also lost both his nans in recent years.  And I’m finding myself getting more attached to those little things they all left behind.  The photos we have of them are, of course, so important.  But what I’m really happy to have are the scraps of paper with their handwritten recipes on.  Seeing that familiar writing brings all sorts of memories rushing back.  And there is something special about the idea of cooking a recipe that they used to make.  It feels almost like carrying on a part of them.

So when I was looking for something to make this week I turned to a little folder of family recipes that we have on our bookshelf.  And this is the one I chose.  Nana Marge’s bara brith.

Bara brith recipe

Bara brith literally means ‘speckled bread’ and is a cake/bread made with dried fruit, which explains the name!  It’s one of the things, like welsh cakes, that you always see in the shops in Wales, but that I’d never actually had before.  Steve had been on at me for ages to make it though, so I thought it was time to grab his Nan’s recipe and give it a go!

So, on with the recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 250g mixed dried fruit
  • 110g butter
  • 150g brown sugar
  • 240ml milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarb
  • 340g Self raising flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Melt the butter, sugar, milk, fruit and bicarb in a large pan.
  3. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes.
  4. Cool.
  5. Add beaten eggs and flour and mix well.
  6. Tip mixture into a greased/lined loaf tin and cook for 1 hour at 180.

A few things to note:

  • Top the cake with a sprinkle of brown sugar before you put it in the over for a nice crunchy finish!
  • Keep an eye on the cake once it’s in the oven.  If it looks like it’s starting to brown too quickly then you can cover it with some foil.
  • If you want you can soak the dried fruit for a bit (or overnight if you fancy) in a mug’s worth of black tea before making the bara brith.

I have a couple of recipes from my side of the family that I want to work my way through, so keep a look out for Granny’s chocolate cake in the future!

Do you have a treasured family recipe?  I’d love to know what it is!

Cuddle Fairy

I was sat doing our food shopping the other night.  I do it online these days.  So much easier than negotiating the supermarket with two small children in tow!

Anyway, I was doing a mental meal plan as I was shopping, working out what we would eat that week and therefore what I needed to buy.  I thought about getting some potatoes, so I could make my slow cooker baked potatoes.  But then spotted a pack of sweet potatoes.

We both love sweet potatoes, but I tend to cut them into wedges and bake them.  I’ve not have them as replacement for baked potatoes before, but thought it had to be worth a try.  Well. what can I say, other than YUM!

slow cooker baked sweet potatoes 

So, if you fancy trying slow cooker sweet potatoes for yourself, here is the ‘recipe’.  It’s pretty much exactly the same as the method for cooking normal potatoes in the slow cooker, but in case you haven’t read that recipe here’s how you do it:

  • Get some foil or baking parchment and scrunch a few pieces into balls and put them in the slow cooker.  You want enough to cover the base.

 

  • Rub a bit of oil, salt and pepper into the potato skins.

 

  • Wrap them in foil.

 

  • Put them in the slow cooker, on top of the scrunched up foil/baking parchment.

 

  • Cook on low for about 8 hours.

 

  • Remove and top with whatever you fancy – I think chilli would be so tasty with these!

 

  • Enjoy!

There are a few things to note with these:

  • The skins won’t be at all crispy.  That’s just the way it is with slow cooking!  So if crispy skins are important to you then you might want to either stick to oven cooking them, or cook them this way then pop them in a hot oven for 5 minutes to crisp them up.

 

  • You really don’t need to add any water to the slow cooker.

 

  • We ended up making sweet potato tuna melts which were so delicious – basically you cook the potatoes as described above, cut them in half and lie them on a baking tray.  Then top with tuna mayo and cheese and pop under the grill for a few minutes until the cheese starts to melt and bubble.  So good!

Sweet potatoes not your thing?  Then check out my recipe for slow cooker jacket potatoes.

Cuddle Fairy

I mentioned the other day that Rhys has been asking to make carrot cake a lot recently, so we’ve been experimenting with a few different recipes to find one that we really like.  And I think we’ve got a winner!

This takes a little bit of work in that you have to grate the apple and the carrot, but other than that it is a simple recipe and definitely one you can make with kids.

Carrot and apple cake recipe 

This recipe made about 15 little cakes.

What you need:

  • 150g self raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 125g softened butter
  • 125g brown sugar
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • I bramley apple, half grated, half chopped into tiny chunks
  • 50g raisins
  • 2 eggs

For the cream cheese icing (if you fancy it!)

  • 100g full fat or low fat cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 (gas mark 4)
  2. Put about 15 cake cases on a baking tray (or in a bun tray if you’re feeling fancy!)
  3. Sieve the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and mixed spice into a large bowl.
  4. Add the butter, brown sugar, carrot, apple, raisins and eggs. Beat together with a wooden spoon until well mixed.
  5. If the mixture seems a little too wet (sometimes you get loads of liquid from the carrot and apple), then add another tablespoon of flour..
  6. Divide the mixture between the cases and bake for 20-25 minutes until they spring back when pressed.
  7. Leave them to cool completely.
  8. They’re really tasty just as they are, but if you want to make the icing then just mix the cream cheese with the icing sugar in a bowl then spread on the cakes.
  9. Enjoy!
Carrot and apple cakes recipes 

Looking for more recipes to bake with your children?
Check these out!

Simple chocolate biscuits
Chocolate banana bread
Cuddle Fairy

I may have mentioned once or twice that I like coffee.  Ok, I love coffee, I need coffee, I can’t get going in the morning without my coffee.

But in this mini heatwave that we’ve been having it just feels a bit wrong to be drinking steaming hot mugs of the stuff.  So I have an alternative.

A cool, delicious, chocolatey, alternative.  The iced mocha.

Super easy iced mocha recipe

There are various recipes floating around the internet for this, but this is the way I like to do it!  It does require a little bit of planning though.

Basically, you need to make up a nice big mug of black coffee.  Then pour it into an ice cube tray and pop the tray in the freezer.

Once you’ve done this part you’re sorted.  Cold coffee treats can be yours whenever you want!

For my mocha recipe, grab a glass, fill it about 2/3 full with milk then use whatever you’ve got to make it chocolatey – chocolate milkshake powder, cocoa powder, chocolate syrup, whatever you’ve got!

Then go get about 5 or 6 of the coffee ice cubes and pop them in your chocolate milk.

Ta da!  Done.

You can drink it straight away, or leave it a few minutes for the ice cubes to start melting a bit and mingle with your chocolate milk.

Or if you’re feeling fancy you can blend the whole thing together.  Whatever floats your boat!

Easy iced mocha recipe

Looking to shake things up a bit?  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Leave out the chocolate bit and go for straight milk with the coffee ice cubes for an iced latte

 

  • Add  a cheeky splash of Baileys or Kahlua

 

  • Top it with whipped cream

 

  • On a really hot day you can make a cup of cold coffee and then just add some of the coffee ice cubes to it, to really chill the drink and get an extra coffee hit!

 

What do you think?  Are you an iced coffee fan, or are you a hot coffee purist?!