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Amazingly tasty chocolate cake

It was my husband’s birthday at the start of the month, and I wanted to make him a cake because, well, CAKE!

I normally make a nice simple chocolate cake which is basically a variation of my 2, 4, 4, 4 fairy cake recipe, with a chocolate buttercream topping.  It’s good cake.  But I wanted something a bit more special this year.

So I hit google, and really quickly found this recipe for the best chocolate cake recipe (ever).  And fair do’s, it is definitely the best chocolate cake I’ve ever made!

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The original recipe uses cups, which actually makes it so easy to make.  I highly recommend buying a set of measuring cups, I love mine!  But for the UK readers out there I’m including the translated measurements to make life easier.

So here is my take on Robyn’s best chocolate cake recipe:

What you  need (for the cake):

  • 250g (2 cups) plain flour
  • 400g (2 cups) caster sugar
  • 90g (¾ cup) cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 250ml (1 cup) milk
  • 110ml (½ cup) vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 250ml (1 cup) hot, black coffee water

What you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 180º C.  Prepare two 9-inch cake pans by spraying with baking spray or buttering and lightly flouring.
  2. Add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt to a large bowl and mix it all together thoroughly.
  3. Add milk, vegetable oil and eggs to the flour mixture and mix together until well combined.
  4. Make a cup of hot, black coffee and carefully add it to the mixture.  Mix well.
  5. Distribute cake batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, remove from the pan and cool completely.
  7. Cover the cake with Chocolate buttercream icing.

What you need (for the buttercream icing):

  • 340g (1½ cups) butter, softened
  • 120g (1 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 500g (5 cups) icing sugar
  • 120m (½) cup milk

What you do:

  1. Add the cocoa powder to a large bowl and whisk it through to get rid of any lumps.
  2. Cream together the butter and cocoa powder until they’re well-combined.
  3. Add icing sugar and milk to cocoa mixture by adding 100g ( 1 cup) of icing sugar followed by about a tablespoon of milk. Mix it well each time you add some.  Repeat this until you’ve added all the icing sugar and milk.
  4. If you think the icing seems too dry, then add a little more milk, and if it seems too wet then just add a little more icing sugar until you get the consistency you want!
  5. Sandwich the cake together with just about a third of the icing, then use the rest of the icing to cover the top and sides of the cake.

Things to note:
This recipe does make a lot of buttercream icing, you might not need to use it all!

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Cuddle Fairy
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Super simple cheats’ risotto

I’ve often said over the years that there’s no way I could ever do the Atkins diet – I love my carbs way too much!  Give me pasta, potatoes, rice or bread and I’m happy!

One carb-heavy dish I really enjoy is risotto, but we don’t tend to have it that much as it can be a bit of a faff to make.   I mean, it can be quite therapeutic, standing and gently stirring a steaming pan of rice and stock, but I don’t often have the time to do that.  And, well, it’s not quite so therapeutic doing that with a toddler trying to climb up your legs the whole time!

So I offer you an alternative – my super simple cheats’ risotto.

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I made this for lunch the other day and was really pleased with how well it turned out.  It’s so simple and requires minimal supervision which is great when you have kids around, or just aren’t in the mood to babysit a saucepan!

So here’s the recipe for my lovely simple risotto:

What you need:

  • 1 cup of arborio rice
  • 2 cups of hot stock (about 500ml)
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of soft cheese (I used the garlic and herb version for extra flavour!)
  • Handful of frozen peas

What you do:

  • Put the rice and stock in a saucepan, cover the pan and turn the heat on really low.
  • Cook the rice for about 15 mins, giving it a quick stir every 5ish minutes.
  • At the end of the cooking time, stir in the peas, butter and cheese.
  • Enjoy!

It really is as simple as that.  The butter and soft cheese give it the lovely creaminess that is associated with classic risotto, and make it really yummy!

simple risotto recipe 

This is a truly tasty risotto, just as it is, but it would also work really well with a few other ingredients thrown in.  I’m thinking chunks of roasted chicken would be great, or maybe some leeks and salmon.  Hmm, I think there might be more risotto recipes on here in the future!

So how about you?  Are you a risotto purist, recoiling in horror at this suggestion?  Or are you happy for any suggestions that might make your life easier!

Cuddle Fairy
Thoughts my children have when I make a cup of coffee

5 thoughts my children have when I go to make a cup of coffee

Did you know that yesterday was international coffee day?  A wonderful day I’m sure you’ll agree!  Although, every day is coffee day around here.

The thing is, children seem to come with an in-built radar that detects when you want to have a nice hot drink.  They seem determined to make it as difficult as possible for us to make a coffee or tea, and then make it damn near impossible to drink it while it’s actually still hot!

Here I give you 5 thoughts that I’m sure my children have when I go to make a cup of coffee.

5 thoughts my children have when I go to make a cup of coffee

 

1) Look, Mummy’s going in the kitchen.  I’d better ask for a biscuit/some chocolate/a drink.

 

2) Hmm, Mummy’s clearly trying to do something in the kitchen.  I think she needs me to go in and squeeze myself in the gap between her legs and the work surface.

 

3) Ah, Mummy’s coming back with her hot drink; now’s the time to cling to her legs and ask to be picked up.

 

4) Ohh, Mummy’s just sat down with her drink.  I’d better ask her to go and get me a biscuit/some chocolate/a drink.

 

5) Right, Mummy’s just about to start drinking her coffee, this is the opportunity I’ve been waiting for to tell her that I need a clean nappy.  Mwah ha ha ha.

 

Are your children the same?  Or have you discovered a secret to having a hot drink in peace?! 
Fairy cakes 2 4 4 4 recipe

Simple fairy cakes (the 2,4,4,4 recipe)

A fair few years ago, before I really started doing much cooking or baking for myself, I watched in slight amazement as my sister made fairy cakes without even glancing at a recipe.

I remember thinking that she must be some kind of baking genius to have memorised the exact amount of ingredients that she needed.  Then she explained that all she did was weigh the eggs she was going to use and then use double that amount of each of the other ingredients.  So simple!

And when I went to bake fairy cakes with my son a while later I found that there’s an even simpler method for making them.  

The 2, 4, 4, 4 method!

 

simple fairy cakes recipe 2 4 4 4

Basically, the recipe consists of 2 eggs, then 4oz each of flour, caster sugar and butter.  Really nice and easy to remember!

In case you’re like the me of a few years ago and are new to the world of fairy cakes, here’s the full recipe:

 

What you’ll need:

  • 2 eggs
  • 4oz (110g) self raising flour
  • 4oz (110g) caster sugar
  • 4oz (110g) butter

 

What you do:

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
  • Pop 12 cake cases onto a baking tray
  • Cream together the butter and sugar
  • Mix in the egg and then stir in the flour
  • Spoon the mixture out into the cake cases (about 2 teaspoons of mixture per case!)
  • Bake for about 12 minutes, until they spring back slightly when you press them
  • Leave to cool

 

Make them pretty:

  • Now, I don’t have exact measurements for the icing, but this is how I go about making it
  • Grab a bowl and tip in about 10 teaspoons of icing sugar.
  • Add a TINY amount of water and mix it in.
  • Add more water little by little until you get the consistency you want.
  • I like my icing to be good and thick so it doesn’t just run off the top of the cakes!
  • Spoon some icing on to a cake and then top with sprinkles, smarties or whatever else you fancy.

 

There are tons of variations you can do of the basic fairy cake, but this simple recipe is a great place to get started!

Welsh rarebit

Welsh rarebit recipe

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!

Welsh rarebit recipe

 

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!

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Slow cooker sweet potato, carrot and leek soup

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
My favourite misheard lyrics

I can see clearly now Lorraine has gone (and my other favourite alternative song lyrics!)

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