Monthly Archives: September 2014

Oreo Cupcakes

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I had seen a number of posts online where people had used mini Oreos on various cakes and thought they looked incredibly cute. I came across them in a shop the other day and instantly knew I wanted to make Oreo cupcakes with a mini Oreo on top. You could use a normal sized Oreo, but it doesn’t look as cute.

There are quite a few different recipes online for Oreo cupcakes so it was a case of looking around and finding the one I liked the sound of. I decided to make the recipe by Good Food Channel ( A few of the other recipes I had looked at said the cupcakes were too sweet or they hadn’t come out right. All of the recipes used cream cheese in the frosting which I thought sounded a little strange – cheese and chocolate, but it really works!

The original recipe said to use half an Oreo, but why would you use half when you can use the whole thing?! Yes I was feeling greedy, but I thought it would look better when you saw the inside of the cupcake.

For the cupcakes
11 large Oreo cookies
115g unsalted butter, softened
115g caster sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
100g self raising flour
20g cocoa powder
2 large eggs
1 tsp milk

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Line a muffin tin with 11 paper cases and put an Oreo in the bottom of each case

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  1. Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla extract together until  pale and fluffy
  2. Sift the flour and cocoa powder and add to the mixture along with the eggs. Mix until all ingredients are combined. Add the milk and mix to combine
  3. Divide the mixture evenly between the cupcake cases and bake for 20-25 mins or until a cocktail stick comes out clean

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For the frosting
50g butter, softened
80g full fat cream cheese
175g icing sugar
6 large Oreo cookies
11 mini Oreos to decorate

  1. If you have a food processor, whizz the large Oreos into fine crumbs. If like me you don’t have a food processor, but them in a sealed sandwich bag and bash them with a rolling pin. Make sure the crumbs are quite fine or else they will get stuck in the nozzle when you are piping
  2. Beat the butter, cream cheese and icing sugar together. Gently fold in the Oreo crumbs, be careful to not over mix. If the frosting is a little runny, put it in the fridge to chill for 15 mins or so

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  1. After you have piped the frosting onto the cupcakes, decorate each with a mini Oreo

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If you are making them in advanced, wait until you are about to serve them before you decorate with the mini Oreo as it can become a bit soft if you do this in advanced.

These cupcakes went down really well and are a must if you are an Oreo fan!


Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cat Bics 1(photo by me)

I first tried this recipe because of it’s claims to be as good as Millie’s cookies – I was not disappointed. They are delicious cookies with a crisp outside and a soft centre which is my favourite part of a cookie! I have made them a number of times since and people have said they taste even better than Millie’s cookies! They are really quick and simple to make. I always seem to have the ingredients in the cupboard for these so I can make a batch whenever is needed and no one is ever disappointed!

You can use chocolate chips you like and also add other flavours. I have made them with white chocolate chips and added 1 tbsp of freeze dried raspberries (I’ve seen these in Waitrose and Sainsburys). You could also try milk chocolate chips and chopped hazelnuts.

I really recommend trying this recipe as it is so simple and produces great results!

This was the final recipe that I made for my photography session with @BettyBeston. I learnt so much from my session with her which I am hoping you can see in the photos I have added recently. Please check out her website at – her photographs are amazing!

125g butter or margarine
100g light brown sugar
125g caster sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
225g self raising flour
½ tsp salt
200g chocolate chips

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Line baking trays with greaseproof paper and set aside
  2. Cream the butter and the sugars together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until combined
  3. Sift in the flour and salt and then add the chocolate chips and mix
  4. Shape into walnut sized balls (if this means nothing to you, mine are about the size of a 50p) and place them on the lined baking trays. Make sure the cookies are placed far enough apart to allow room for them to spread in the oven. If you don’t they will merge together and you will get one huge cookie…then again that does sound quite good! If you want them soft in the middle like Millie’s, bake them for 7 minutes. If you want a crisp cookie, bake for 10 minutes. After 7 minutes they will look quite pale and still very squidgey, if you want them soft in the middle don’t be tempted to put them back in because you think they need longer. They will harden up and be perfect

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  1. Take them out of the oven and leave them to cool slightly on the tray before moving them to cool completely on a wire rack

Cat bics 2(photo by me)

Cookies A(photo by Betty)

The original recipe can be found at

Curly’s pasty

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Week 7 of GBBO was another pastry week where the signature bake was a savory parcel. I thought I would have a go at my version of a Cornish pasty for #greatbloggersbakeoff2014. I am not usually a fan of Cornish pasties and would never normally eat them, but I wanted to try a slightly different version. The traditional Cornish pasty has a filling of beef, potato, onion and swede. My Curly’s pasty leaves the swede out and adds some herbs.

I used Paul Hollywood’s Cornish Pasty recipe because although he isn’t my favourite person (I think he is very arrogant), there is no denying that his food looks delicious. I found the recipe here: and it features a video which I found really helpful – especially when it came to the crimping. I must have watched the video 3 or 4 times and still couldn’t figure out how to crimp the edge of my pasty! In the end I had to ask Rien to help me, so the crimping is down to him (he does have this uses).

Paul must be a hungry man because these pasties are enormous! Next time, I think I will make them half the size. I was really pleased with how these turned out; the pastry had a lovely texture and the filling was delicious. I will definitely make these again and possibly try a slightly different filling.

For the pastry
500g strong bread flour
120g suet
½ tsp salt
25g margarine
175ml cold water
1 egg beaten with a pinch of salt for the glaze

  1. Add the flour, suet, salt, margarine and water to a bowl. Use a spoon to combine the ingredients the best you can and the use your hand to crush the dough together to get a dry dough. If it isn’t coming together, add a a splash more water
  2. Turn out the dough onto a clean surface. You shouldn’t need any flour as the dough is tight rather than sticky, but if you do use a very small amount
  3. Knead the dough to combine the ingredients and break down the suet. Keep kneading for 5-6 minutes until your dough is smooth and glossy. If you watch the video in the original recipe, you can see Paul is really rough with the dough. Don’t be afraid to smack it around because this apparently gives the best results (and is quite fun)
  4. When the dough is smooth, wrap it in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30-60 mins

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For the filling
400g braising steak
500g waxy potatoes
175g onions
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
Knob of butter
Spray oil

  1. While the dough is resting, peel and cut the potato and onion. The potato needs to be roughly 1cm² and the onion fairly finely diced. Cut the beef into similar sized chunks as the potato. Put the ingredients into a bowl along with the thyme, season generously with salt and pepper

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  1. Lightly grease a baking tray with spray oil and line with baking or silicone paper (not greaseproof). Preheat the oven to 170°C (150°C fan assisted)
  2. After the dough has been left to relax, take it out of the fridge and divide it into four equal pieces. Roll each piece into a circle roughly 25cm wide

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  1. Spoon a quarter of the filling into one half of each disc. Put a knob of butter on top of the filling
  2. Carefully fold the pastry over and seal the edges by pushing them together with your finger. Crimp the edges to seal the filling in. You can either do this by twisting the dough over (watch the video) or by using a fork. Once you get to the edge, fold the end corners underneath the pasty

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  1. Put the pasties on the baking try and brush the top of each with the egg and salt mixture. Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes or until the pasties are golden brown. If after 35 minutes they aren’t browning, increase the oven temperature by 10°C for the last 10 minutes or so

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Please visit for more of the #greatbloggersbakeoff2014 bakes.

Vanilla cake pops

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As well as other baking goodies, Rien’s sister bought me a cake pop making kit for my birthday. Included in the kit was a silicone cake pop mould to make it even easier. The other way to make cake pops is to make a normal cake and then crumble it up with frosting and shape into balls – like I did in my cake ball recipe. I really liked how simple the silicone mould was to use and that it kept the cake moist and light. You can buy silicon cake moulds very cheaply at supermarkets and Poundland; I recommend buying one to make your life easier!

I decided to make these when my friend Tasha was coming over so that we could both decorate them. You can use any flavour cake mix that you want, but I definitely recommend using Candy Melts for the icing. Candy Melts are chocolate coins which when melted give a lovely creamy consistency. What is really great about them is that they come in a wide variety of colours so there are lots to chose from. You will also need cake pop sticks to insert into the cake. You can buy both online or in Hobby Craft and Lakeland.

For the cake:
75g margarine
75g caster sugar
1 egg
½ tsp vanilla extract
75g self raising flour

  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC (160ºC fan assisted). Cream the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy
  2. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix again. Add the flour and mix until combined
  3. Fill the mould with the cake mix – I did this using a teaspoon. Fill them so that the mix is just below the top of the mould. If you overfill them, the mix will seep out and you won’t have the shape you need

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  1. Put in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool

For the icing
1 pack of Candy Melts
vegetable oil

  1. Melt the Candy Melts in the microwave for short periods of time making sure you stir in between each melt. This will help ensure it doesn’t become grainy
  2. Once melted, add enough vegetable oil to get a smooth consistency that will coat the back of a spoon. It needs to be runny enough to coat the cake evenly so there isn’t a set amount of oil to use, just keep adding a little as you go

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  1. Dip each stick in the melted chocolate so roughly 2cm of the stick is covered. Insert the stick 1cm into the cake ball and put in the fridge to firm up

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  1. Once the chocolate has hardened, dip each cake pop into the remaining Candy Melts so that the cake is completely covered. Tap the stick against the side of the bowl to remove excess chocolate – this is where your cake will fall of the stick if it hasn’t hardened long enough. If this happens, you will be forced to eat it to hide the evidence and put the rest of the cake pops back into the fridge to chill for longer
  2. When you have iced each cake pop in the Candy Melts, decorate them however you would like

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New York Cheesecake

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Thick, creamy cheesecake with a crisp biscuit base. With just a hint of lemon, New York Cheesecake is subtle in flavour but oh so indulgent!

New York Cheesecake is Rien’s favourite sweet treat. He’s not one for cakes but give him a slice of this cheesecake and he is a very happy man. I first made this cheesecake for him roughly 3 years ago for his birthday. I still lived at home so I was able to use all of my Mum’s baking equipment which was far better than the basic equipment I had at uni. For some reason, I managed to get myself incredibly flustered and stressed making it. Rien loved it but I vowed that I would never make it again. 

Two years ago, Rien and I moved into our flat together the week of his birthday so thankfully there was no mention of the dreaded cheesecake. So that brings us to this year, I had no excuses; the cheesecake had to be tackled. When I came to find the recipe on the BBC Good Food website, I remembered why I hated the cheesecake; it was the badly written recipe, not the actual cheesecake. I knew then that I would rewrite the recipe to help myself, but hopefully make it easier for others too. 

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The recipe does have a few steps, but when you read the recipe in full first and understand the steps, you will have no problems at all. This recipe is definitely made easier if you have a mixer in my opinion but you can obviously still make it if you don’t have one. 

UPDATE 2015 – The annual cheesecake making happened again! After last year I have tweaked the recipe slightly, definitely for the better. Rien loved the cheesecake as always, but said that if the base could be slightly thicker and less lemon then it would be perfect. From his comments, I increased the biscuit base and reduced the lemon and it was far better. 

Please read the whole recipe before starting to make sure you have all ingredients needed. 

For the base:
115g butter, melted
300g digestive biscuits, crushed into fine crumbs
1 tbsp caster sugar

  1. Preheat the oven to 160ºC (fan) or 180ºC and set a shelf to the middle. Line the base of a 23cm springform cake tin with parchment paper
  2. Melt the butter in a pan or in the microwave and then stir in the crushed biscuits and sugar until the biscuits are evenly coated. If like me you don’t have a food processor, put the biscuits in a sealed bag and bash them with a rolling pin. Press the mixture into the bottom of the tin making sure it is an even layer – I find it easier to do this with my hands. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes and then allow to cool while you make the filling

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For the filling
900g full fat cream cheese
250g caster sugar
3 tbsp plain flour
pinch of salt
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
Finely grated zest of ½lemon
1 ½ tsp lemon juice
3 large eggs, plus 1 yolk
200ml soured cream

  1. Increase the oven temperature to 240ºC or 200ºC for a fan oven. In a mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese at a medium-low speed for approximately 2 minutes until it is creamy. Reduce the mixer to a low speed and gradually add the sugar, flour and a pinch of salt

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  1. Change the paddle attachment to the whisk. Add the vanilla, lemon zest and juice to the cream cheese and mix. Whisk in the eggs and yolk, one at a time making sure you scrape down the bowl. Add the 200ml soured cream and mix on a low speed making sure you don’t over beat. The mix should be light and smooth

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  1. Brush the sides of the springform tin with melted butter and put on a baking sheet. Pour the filling into the tin – if there are any lumps push them into the mix with a knife. Bake for 10 minutes

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  1. After 10 minutes, reduce oven temperature to fan 90ºC or 110ºC conventional and bake for 25 minutes more. If you gently shake the tin, the filling should have a slight wobble. Turn off the oven and open the oven door for a cheesecake that’s creamy in the centre, or leave it closed if you prefer a drier texture. Let cool in the oven for 2 hours. The cheesecake may get a slight crack on top as it cools – don’t panic about this, the topping will cover it later

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For the topping:
226ml soured cream
1 tbsp caster sugar
2 tsp lemon juice

  1. Combine the soured cream with the sugar and lemon juice. Spread over the cheesecake right to the edges. Cover loosely with foil and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight

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  1. Run a pallet knife around the sides of the tin to loosen any stuck edges. Unlock the side, slide the cheesecake off the bottom of the tin onto a plate, then slide the parchment paper out from underneath. Or if you’re too scared to do this like me, just cut it on the base of the tin – doesn’t look as professional but its easier!

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If you aren’t very confident but would like to try a cheesecake, start with the chocolate ripple cheesecake and work up to the New York cheesecake. The original recipe can be found at

I’ve linked up to #GBBOBloggers2015. To check out the rest of the recipes visit and who is hosting this week.

Mummy Mishaps
Gym Bunny Mummy

Goat’s Cheese & Pepper Tart

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This post is inspired by Week 5 of GBBO which was tarts and pies. Although the tart they made in the show was sweet, I wanted to try a savoury one. I have been wanting to make a tart for a while now as my Mum bought be lots of baking bits for my birthday; including a tart tin and ceramic baking beans. I’ve only ever used shop bought pastry before because it is so convenient. I was slightly nervous about making it myself but it was very simple to make and turned out well. Goat’s cheese, peppers and thyme are a few of my favourite flavours so I knew I wanted to use them in my tart. I adapted a recipe from delicious magazine ( and used a BBC Food recipe for the shortcrust pastry.

For the shortcrust pastry
250g plain flour
pinch of salt
110g butter, cubed
5-6 tbsp cold water

  1. Put the flour and salt in a bowl and add the cubes of butter
  2. Rub the butter into the flour using your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Try to work quickly so it doesn’t become greasy
  3. Using a knife, stir in just enough water to bind the dough together
  4. Wrap the dough in cling film and chill for 10-15 minutes before you roll out

For the tart
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 peppers

2 tbsp fresh thyme
pinch of salt 

150g creamy goat’s cheese
200g low-fat crème fraîche

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Cut 2 peppers into strips and put them on a baking tray. Drizzle with the oil and vinegar and scatter with thyme leaves and salt. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes

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  1. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to a circle about 4cm wider than the tin. Carefully lift the pastry into the tin (23cm tart tin) and gently press into the base and sides, taking care not to stretch the pastry. Trim any excess pastry and prick the base with a fork. Chill for 20 minutes

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  1. Remove the pastry from the fridge. Scrunch up a sheet of baking paper then smooth out to fill the pastry case and then fill with baking beans. Make sure they completely cover the base in a single layer. Bake for 15 mins

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  1. Remove the baking beans and paper and bake for a further 15 minutes, until golden and crisp. Leave to cool slightly
  2. Beat the goat’s cheese and crème fraîche together in a bowl until creamy. Season to taste. Spoon evenly into the tart case and arrange the peppers over the top. Spoon over any cooking juices

2014-09-06 15.34.43   2014-09-06 15.41.00 For my first attempt at a tart I was very happy – I was just happy I didn’t have a soggy bottom! The flavours were delicious and went really well with onion chutney. Please visit to see other people that are joining in with The Great Bloggers Bake Off. GBBO

Apple and sultana chutney

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I made this chutney for two reasons – I had cider wine vinegar in the cupboard that I had bought but couldn’t remember why and Rien’s Nan gave me some cooking apples. This was my first time making chutney and I was surprised with how simple it was. After you’ve peeled and chopped the onions and apples (this does take a while), you can chuck it all in a big pan and let it bubble away.

The original recipe I used said to let is simmer for 30 minutes or so. I let mine cook for over an hour because I wanted a thick, syrupy texture with soft apples. Personally I think this chutney goes really well with pork; I’ve had it with sausage rolls, ham and the pulled pork I made in the previous post.

The chutney is quite sweet which isn’t to everyone’s taste so you can always add less sugar if you would prefer. I adapted the original recipe slightly but it can be found at

For the chutney:
1 ½ kg cooking apples, peeled and diced
750g light muscovado sugar
500g sultanas
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
700ml cider vinegar

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a large pan and bring it to a boil over a medium heat

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  1. Simmer uncovered for 1 – 1½ hours or until it is thick and syrupy
  2. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Once cooled transfer to steralised jars and seal
  3. Once opened store in the fridge and consume within 4 weeks. You can leave it in a dark cupboard for 2-3 months

Get the jars as clean as you can and then steralise them. Place the jars on a baking tray in an oven set at 180ºC for 10 mins. For the lids, put them in a pan of boiling water for 10 mins. leave to try on a clean tea towel.

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Pulled Pork

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I am obsessed with pork – especially pulled pork. If I’m in a restaurant and it’s on the menu, it is almost certain I will order it. I’m not sure where my love of pulled pork came from, but recent trips to America are where I’ve had the best pulled pork! I loved having pulled pork as part of a traditional Hawaiian breakfast, it was amazing with eggs and rice. Also by starting the day with pulled pork means you can have it for every meal of the day!

I put off trying to make my own because I thought it would be a long process. After looking around I found this recipe by Simon Rimmer on BBC Food which seemed quite simple. A lot of pulled pork recipes include a sauce of some sort, usually BBQ. This one doesn’t which meant it was perfect to go with my apple and sultana chutney I made (look out for the recipe soon).

The recipe was incredibly simple so even if you aren’t a confident cook, this is something that you can definitely try. It’s perfect for a lazy weekend meal because you prepare the pork and then let it cook away in the oven for a few hours without you having to pay it much attention.

For the pork:
2kg pork shoulder
1 tbsp chilli flakes of chilli powder
1 tbsp whole grain mustard
salt and freshly ground pepper
200ml white wine vinegar
250ml cider
3 onions, finely sliced
6 garlic cloves, sliced

  1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC
  2. Put the pork in a baking tray. Mix together the chilli, mustard, salt and pepper and rub it into the pork
  3. Pour the vinegar and cider over the pork and scatter with the onion and garlic

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  1. Cover with parchment paper and then wrap in foil. Put in the oven for thee hours. Remove the parchment paper and foil and return to the oven for another hour
  2. Using two forks, ‘pull’ the pork by shredding it into strands

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I served the pork in soft floury rolls which I dipped in the cooking juices before adding the pork. The cooking juices have such an amazing flavour from the cider so you really don’t want to let them go to waste! The onions that cooked alongside the pork make a great accompaniment to go in the rolls with my apple and sultana chutney. To go with the rolls, I made a few ordinary and sweet potato wedges with a small amount of oil, salt and pepper. An extra added treat is the beautifully salty crackling that this provides.

This recipe was a delicious and simple recipe to start with and I will definitely be making it again as well as trying different pulled pork recipes. The photos might not look as pretty as something like a cake, but when I look at them it makes me want to cook it all over again!

The original recipe can be found at