Chocolate Chip Soda Bread

chocolate chip soda bread slice

I enjoy making bread but it takes sooooooo long. By the time I’ve made, kneaded and proved the dough (twice) that’s several hours gone. Admittedly I can go and do other things whilst the bread is proving, but I can’t really go out as I need to keep an eye on it to make sure that I don’t overprove it.

That’s where soda bread comes in. It’s unbelievably simple. All you have to do it put the ingredients in a bowl, mix them up and pop them in the oven. Its about the easiest thing you can make.

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#FoodYearLinkup – March 2015

It’s nearly the end of February so it’s now time for March’s #FoodYearLinkup.

I was so proud of my linkup last month with a total of 30 fabulous recipes and foodie posts linked up for all sorts of events.

It’s been so tough to choose my favourite this month as there were so many and the ones for Valentine’s Day were particularly gorgeous. However, I’ve finally decided on this marshmallow jelly fondant recipe from Karen at Mummy Do It. It was a tough choice but in the end I was swayed by the fabulous recipe and the fact that Karen wished me Happy Birthday in her post and made me feel special (Thanks Karen).

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Hummus

Hummus pitta

I cook for four main reasons…

1) Something quick to eat.
2) To have fun with my children cooking together.
3) Simply for the enjoyment of creating something delicious.
4) A challenge – defeating my evil nemesis recipes that no matter how hard I try just won’t work (my current evil nemesis is Hollandaise Sauce but I will not be defeated).

Hummus falls very much into number 3. It’s a recipe that takes a little bit of effort but I alway feel really satisfied when it’s made and it tastes delicious, so it’s really worth it.

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Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter Cookies

Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe

After the success of my apple crumble flapjacks, I was allowed back into the kitchen by Charlotte to try my hand at another of my favourites – cookies. For me there is little better than a nice cup of tea with a cookie or two!

Cookies are relatively simple to make, however there are a couple of key choices to make upfront…

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Fairy Cakes (From my boys for my birthday)

fairy cakes

Today is my birthday and so the boys decided that they wanted to make me a cake (I know I probably shouldn’t be posting recipes on my birthday, but we celebrated yesterday so I think it’s OK!). After some discussion they decided that it would be most fun to make a selection of cupcakes.

They’re all made from a simple all-in-one vanilla sponge (recipe below) to which they added either chocolate chips, sultanas or kept them plain. They then made butter icing, glacé icing and melted milk chocolate and finished them off with a selection of different sprinkles.

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Caramel Macchiato Cupcakes

Caramel Macchiato Cupcakes Rack

When I make cupcakes I like to take my flavour inspiration from cakes, desserts or other delicious sweet things.

My inspiration for today’s cupcakes is Jon’s favourite Starbucks drink – A Caramel Macchiato. It combines a delicious coffee sponge, with a hidden caramel centre, topped with whipped vanilla cream and drizzled with a bit more caramel.

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Caramel Sauce

Whenever we go to Starbucks Jon’s favourite drink is a Caramel Macchiato. For anyone who’s never heard of it before, it’s a milky coffee (a bit like a cappuccino) with vanilla syrup and caramel drizzle sauce on top.

Since buying a coffee machine a couple of years ago I like to make them at home too. I’ve always bought the caramel drizzle sauce and vanilla syrup but I thought it might be fun to have a go at making my own (although I haven’t attempted the vanilla syrup yet).

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Farmyard Animal Pancakes

Farmyard pancake sheep

It’s Pancake Day on Tuesday and I think I may have gone a bit pancake crazy this year. I’ve made Traditional Pancakes, American Pancakes, American Style Lemon and Raisin Pancakes and ones that look like Mickey Mouse.

I honestly wasn’t planning on sharing another pancake recipe, but I thought these farm animals were too cute not to share.

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Scrambled Eggs

Scrambled Egg Croissant

In my life I’ve eaten a lot of bad scrambled eggs, either too dry or soft but watery. In fact for a long time I thought I didn’t really like scrambled eggs, much preferring poached or fried. It turns out they’re actually my favourite (although I’m quite fickle when it comes to food so don’t hold it against me if I change my mind later!).

In my opinion, perfect scrambled eggs are soft and creamy. I use both butter and milk in mine, which add to the creamy texture and flavour (unfortunately it also adds to the calories so they’re more of a treat that I eat less often than my poached or fried eggs).

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Really easy crispy bacon

Crispy bacon scrambled egg

I love bacon, it’s so versatile. I’ll happily eat it for breakfast lunch or dinner (I have seen a few recipes about that also use it in cakes but that’s a step further than I’ve gone so far – although you never know!).

The problem is that I always seem to cook it to go along with lots of other things (especially if I’m making a cooked breakfast) so I don’t have time to keep an eye on it in the frying pan whilst juggling the eggs, beans, toast, tea… you get the idea.

So I started cooking it in the oven. There’s a few advantages to doing it this way…

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