GIVEAWAY: My Summer Kitchen Wishlist and Win a £150 Steamer Trading Voucher

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I’m so very excited to bring you a new giveaway to win a £150 Steamer Trading voucher to use in their online store. As I’ve said before, Steamer Trading is one of my absolute favourite cookware stores – I can get lost for ages in their Chester store (quite literally as it looks tiny from the outside but goes back for seemingly miles and then up three floors ) browsing pretty kitchenware and cool gadgets.

When they offered me a £150 voucher to give away to one of my readers it got me thinking about what I would buy if I won (don’t worry I can’t actually enter :-) ). I suspect in reality I’d end up buying something very practical like a new saucepan set or some knives, but whilst they’d bring me lots of happy cooking hours they’re not very exciting, so as the sun is shining I decided instead to share a summer kitchen wishlist full of all of those things that will make sitting out in the sunshine even better…

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Mini Prawn Cocktail

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This post is sponsored by Heinz.

As you know, I love a good recipe challenge and so couldn’t resist when Heinz invited me to create a new recipe to celebrate the launch of their new [Seriously] Good Mayonnaise. There was however a twist to this challenge… it had to fit in a spoon. My immediate thought was to rush out and buy a giant spoon but apparently that’s cheating so I had to think of something dainty.

I immediately started listing out all of the foods I think taste even better smothered mayo and once I’d thought of prawns I stopped. I remember once being on holiday with a big bag of cooked prawns and a tub of mayo and just eating the prawns dipped in mayo for lunch in the sunshine (oh so yummy!). As delicious as it is to serve up a prawn with a dollop of mayo on it, I thought this recipe should be a touch fancier so I decided to create my own version of the 70’s classic – the prawn cocktail.

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Chocolate Buttercream

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Over the weekend I shared my chocolate birthday cake recipe and what chocolate cake is complete without a decent dollop of chocolate buttercream all over it? As soon as the chocolate cake recipe was perfected I got straight to work on creating the buttercream to go with it. For some strange and unknown reason I decided to leave sorting out the buttercream until I’d got the cake recipe nailed down, which meant baking even more cakes to test each buttercream with (OK I probably could have tasted the buttercreams without the cake and narrowed it down to a few favourites – but where’s the fun in that!).

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Chocolate Birthday Cake

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One question I’ve been asked a lot in the past is whether I can recommend a really good chocolate cake recipe, and I couldn’t… until now.

I hate getting questions that I can’t give a helpful answer to, so over the past few weeks I’ve been a busy bee trying to perfect my chocolate cake recipe. Now this couldn’t be just any old chocolate cake, it had to be perfect for a birthday which meant it must…

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Building My Blog – June 2016

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Welcome to my 24th monthly blog update, all about what I got up to behind the scenes of Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen in June 2016.

24th update? Yes, that means I’ve now been blogging for a whole 2 years! In some ways I still feel like a complete newbie, but I’m struggling to remember a time before I spent all day long thinking about cooking, photography and social media. I remember after having children wondering what on earth I did to fill my time before they arrived and it’s very much the same feeling I have about blogging.

This month I’m going to be talking about being a loser, my thoughts on Food Blogger Pro and switching from Lightroom to Photoshop for my photo editing.

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How To Make A Character Cake Topper

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When I was little I always loved the cakes that my mum made for my birthday. We had a book called Cake Magic and my sister and I could choose from it which cake design we wanted her to make for each birthday. I still look back on pictures of those cakes and smile, and it’s important to me that I can give my boys those same memories. My approach to cake decorating is a little different – I don’t work from a book, I simply let them pick a theme and from there on in I just make it up as I go along, but I have to say I’m really proud of the cakes I’ve managed to come up with.

A while ago I was asked on Facebook how I went about making the characters that I use to top my boys’ birthday cakes. It wasn’t a request for a specific character, more a question about the general approach that I take, so here it is…

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#TheFoodCalendar – July 2016

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Hi everyone and welcome to the newly named #TheFoodCalendar linky (it was my #FoodYearLinkup in case you couldn’t work that out :-) ).

With the miserable and un-summery weather we’ve been having over the last month, I’ve kept myself busy sat indoors doing a spot of rebranding. I suspect the miserable weather is actually all my fault as I happily mentioned enjoying lots of BBQs in the last linkup post – my garden has been thoroughly waterlogged ever since so sorry about that!

Along with the name change I’m also making a few changes to how the linky works (nothing too major, don’t worry). I’d love it if #TheFoodCalendar could become more than just a linky, so I’ve created more ways to join and share your posts, pictures and general thoughts about all of the events in the calendar.

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One-Tray Baked Salmon

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There are two reasons I’ve created this recipe to share with you (well actually three if you include the fact that it’s yummy and that should be reason enough by itself!). This first is that I’ve developed a real liking for this super low effort cooking malarky. Looking back through my recent recipes it definitely seems to have become a bit of a theme with me (3-minute lasagne, easy Irish stew, and one-tray roast chicken to name a few). I feel like I’ve been so busy recently and without a selection of easy dinners to choose from I very much suspect we’d default back to beans on toast several nights a week (we still do that a bit because despite my best cooking efforts it’s one of the boys’ absolute favourites – a fact which hurts me every time they tell me!).

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How To Temper Chocolate (Video Tutorial)

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I remember when I first saw chocolate being tempered (on a Paul Hollywood cooking programme a few years ago – I think it was called Pies & Puds), there was a guest tempering chocolate on a huge slab of marble spreading the chocolate around and scraping it back up again, all the while explaining that if you did it right you’d end up with beautifully tempered chocolate that you could use for your homemade chocolate making. I remember at that time feeling pretty confident that I would never try it, for starters the chances of my chocolate pouring off the edges of the marble slab and all over my kitchen seemed pretty high. I also had no idea how you were supposed to know whether you were doing all the spreading and scraping right to actually end up with chocolate worth using.

Fortunately I discovered a far easier technique, one where you can have a lot more certainty in what you’re doing and there’s no chance you’ll end up with your kitchen dripping in escaped chocolate.

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GIVEAWAY: Win A Voucher For The Juice Premium Worth £36

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I’m back with my monthly The Juice Premium giveaway, your chance to win a voucher worth £36 to treat yourself to a selection of delicious juices from their online store.

The Juice Premium is a cold-pressed apple juice which also features other traditional British fruits (and a few vegetables too) such as pears, strawberries, and even carrots with no additives or preservatives. My current favourite flavour is the apple and strawberry, it’s really yummy.

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