A Strong Coffee

Friday, 22 September 2017

Banoffee Millionaire's Shortbread

How can you make millionaire's shortbread even better? Add bananas! This banoffee millionaire's shortbread is a real treat.

I made this batch of banoffee millionaire's shortbread before the Great British Bake Off Caramel Week episode aired. If I had watched the episode first I would have baked the shortbread bases separately or waited for them to warm up a bit rather than cutting them straight out of the fridge. As you can see they aren't the prettiest of biscuits but luckily that has no effect whatsoever on the taste.

I also made an error on mt Tesco delivery. One that I didn't notice before I started baking. Rather than ordering Carnation condensed milk so I could combine it with golden syrup and butter to make the caramel, I ordered Carnation caramel. This wasn't a total disaster, but it did mean that the caramel was a little softer than I hoped. I did add some butter to it which I think helped a little.

At the end of the day, however, they tasted good and were gobbled up by the family. Cries of "Oh you can make this again." were heard from my eldest. I did have to stress that I couldn't make it that often as it is loaded in calories and I have no willpower and would happily scoff the lot! I certainly just can't stop at one bite!

Banoffee Millionaire's Shortbread

To make the shortbread:
  • 175g plain flour
  • 130g butter
  • 55g butter

For the Topping:
  • 1 can of Carnation Caramel
  • 60g butter
  • 2 bananas
  • 300g milk chocolate
  • banana chips
  1. Line an 8 inch square tin with grease proof paper and pre heat the oven to 150C
  2. Rub the butter into the flour.
  3. Mix in the caster sugar and press into the lined tin.
  4. Bake for around 30 minutes until it is a light golden brown.
  5. Allow the shortbread to cool.
  6. Warm the caramel through and add the butter. Allow to cool slightly and pour over the shortbread.
  7. Allow to cool in the fridge.
  8. Slice the bananas and add on top of the caramel. I used 16 slices.
  9. Melt the chocolate and pour over the top.
  10. Place banana chips on top of the chocolate.
  11. Allow the chocolate to harden then cut into pieces and enjoy!

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Thursday, 21 September 2017

Garlic Pork In Black Bean Sauce

When it comes to a simple and easy midweek meal that all the family will love, garlic pork in black bean sauce is perfect. As with most things, red meat is important in our diet in the correct quantities. It provides a range of important nutrients such as iron, zinc, B vitamins, selenium and potassium. These are often low in toddlers and children.

The Meat Advisory Panel has teamed with BritMums to promote red meat in the diet of children. Bloggers have been challenged to share our quick and tasty meat recipes that all the family will enjoy.

Garlic Pork In Black Bean Sauce

My boys are little carnivores and one of their favourite meats is pork. This garlic pork in black bean sauce is great as it can be easily adapted to your family's tastes. All my boys have enjoyed Chinese flavours from a young age and when they were smaller I would cook the dish with less garlic and minus the black beans.

As a further shortcut you can use microwave rice rather than boiling your own if you are short on time. To add some sneaky vegetables in you could steam peas with the rice. If it is Friday night and I have a little extra time then I will make it extra special by making egg fried rice.

The most important part of this dish is the marinade. It really does make a difference to the dish. It doesn't need to be done too much in advance but to make it easier you could do it the night before.

Garlic Pork In Black Bean Sauce

To make the marinade:
  • 1tbsp cornflour
  • 1tbsp soy sauce
  • 1tbsp sherry or rice wine
  • 1tbsp seaseme oil

For the main meal
  • 1/2 a red onion
  • 1/2 a red pepper
  • 1/2 tin of black beans (optional)
  • 8 cloves of garlic chopped (you may wish to vary this on depending on your tastes.)
  • 1 bottle of black bean sauce
  • 600g pork loin steaks
  1. Thinly slice the pork loin steaks removing all excess fat.
  2. Mix the marinade ingredients together and add to the pork.
  3. Chop the onion, pepper and garlic. 
  4. Add a small amount of sesame oil to a work and add the marinated pork, onion, garlic and pepper. Stir occasionally until the meat browns on the outside.
  5. Add the black beans and 180g of black bean sauce and cook for a further few minutes.
  6. Serve with your choice of rice.
close up Garlic Pork In Black Bean Sauce

Simple, easy and tasty. That is what I want from a family mid week meal. It is also good knowing that it is providing some of the nutrients that my boys need. We may need a bit more practice until we use chopsticks though! 

eating Garlic Pork In Black Bean Sauce

How do you incorporate red meat into your midweek meals?

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A simple and easy midweek meal this garlic pork in black bean sauce is ready in 15-20 minutes

This post is an entry for the BritMums #HealthyRedMeat, sponsored by the Meat Advisory Panel.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Cottage Loaf

Last week saw bread week on Great British Bake Off. As I managed to buy the ingredients for making fortune cookies but never got round to making them, I decided I better go for the easy option! Cottage loaf it is then.

I suppose I should start by saying that despite my initial worry that Channel 4 would ruin Bake Off, I am once again enjoying it. I really didn't get why they chose Noel Fielding, but he does the job well. I am converted. (Sorry Mel, Sue and Mary! I will always love you too.) I do find that watching it slightly delayed so I can fast forward the ads helps.

So as I said, I decided that cottage loaf was the most achievable bake for me this week. I'm pleased to say it was a winner. Now I have a food mixer, I was able to use the dough hook rather than spending forever kneading.

It was a totally winner with my boys. Exclamations included "It's like bread from the bakery Mummy" and "I just love it." Now that is a win.

Cottage Loaf

  • 500g Strong white flour
  • 1 sachet of easy bake yeast
  • 1 1/2tsp caster sugar
  • 1 1/2tsp salt
  • 25g butter
  • 300ml warm water
  1. Mix all the dry ingredients into a boel and rub in the butter.
  2. Add the water to make a dough and knead for 10 minutes.
  3. Place in a greased bowl and leave to rise so that it doubles in size.
  4. Knock out the air by kneading a few times and shape into one large ball and one small one. Place the small ball on the large and using a floured finger, push through the centre down to the bottom so that the balls stick together.
  5. Cover with a tea towel and allow to double in size again.
  6. Pre heat the oven to 200C
  7. Bake the bread for around 30 mins. Tap the bottom and if it sounds hollow it is done. Allow to cool and enjoy. Eating it slightly warm is just the best.

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easy to bake homemade cottage loaf recipe

Next week is caramel week. A seriously bad week for my healthy eating plan. But I have a great millionaires shortbread recipe on its way! Keep a look out!

What do you think of the new Bake Off?

Mummy Mishaps

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Awesome Little Green Men Review

When I was offered to review Awesome Little Green Men, I thought they would be perfect for middle man. He likes little collectibles. He still plays with his Moshi Monsters and World of Warriors. He often sets up battles in his castle so I thought it would be just the thing.

Awesome Little Green Men

I will be completely honest and say I was a little disappointed when the package turned up. We were sent the Awesome Little Green Battle Pack retailing at a whopping £24.99 and a couple of Blind Boxes at a more affordable £3.99. My disappointment was mainly regarding the size. They were much bigger than I was expecting. Now don't get me wrong, they are still small but each stand a couple of inches tall,. I had thought they would be smaller. I was initially concerned as to whether they would break, but on getting them out of the box, it was clear they were well made.

Middle and little man did not share any of my concerns and were excited to get them out of the box. The Battle Deluxe Pack comes with eight soldiers (three in a vehicle), eight dog-tags, a new recruits poster and game guide. My boys were mainly excited about the soldiers and what they were wearing and /or driving. They weren't really interested in the dog tags at all. When it came to the game it was a bit over their heads. They were happy setting up their own battle and doing their own thing.

Awesome Little Green Men Battle

They loved the Blind Boxes as there is the suspense as to which character you might get. They were keen to identify them on their guide and were really excited to have a super rare figure.

Only time will tell as to whether this becomes something they play with a lot or is a bit of a fad. If you have a child that likes role playing battles then this is probably something they would enjoy.
Awesome Little Green Men are available to buy in Tesco, Smyths and Toys R Us. To find out more information about Awesome Little Green Men and The Battle Game, visit their website.

Family Fever

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

A Lego Themed Room With Mayka Toy Block Tape

Middle man loves Lego, so there was no surprise when he asked that his new bedroom would have a Lego theme. It is currently a work in progress but has been helped greatly by my latest review which is that of the Mayka 4 stud 2m toy block tape.

Mayka toy block tape

I feel that I should start this review by telling you that I am a Lego snob. In my opinion there are no other toy blocks that compare to the quality of Lego. I would not usually even consider buying anything that says Lego compatible. If it isn't Lego branded then I am not interested.

However, when it comes to decorating a room with a Lego theme I am less fussy. I was keen to try out the tape to see whether it looked good. I also wanted middle man to be able to stick Lego pieces onto it if he wished.

The tape we were given was the 4 stud variety but you can purchase it in 2 stud. The reel it comes in makes it look like there is more than there is. At each 50cm you can see a slight join so that may be worth keeping in mind for any projects you have in mind.

I decided that we would use the tape to jazz up the old ikea storage units that middle man keeps his Lego bricks in. It was simple to cut to size (although using scissors can be hard to get straight.)  It is also great as the adhesive is removable so if you stick it in the wrong place you can easily adjust it.

Toy block tape on ikea storage

I also edged a shelf under his midsleeper as well as making up a picture frame with the remaining pieces.

Toy block tape

I have to say I am really impressed. If I was going to put it on the wall (which I am thinking of doing) I would probably buy a couple of rolls. The fact that it doesn't mark the surface it sticks to and can be removed easily is a big thumbs up from me.

But the all important question is what does middle man think?

Well he has been lining up his Lego men in an imaginary queue to use the toilet. There is also a famous you tuber in the line! Sometimes it is best not to know what middle man thinks, but as he has been playing with it, I take that as a big thumbs up too.

toy block tape with Lego on

The Toy Block Tape comes in a variety of colours and is currently retailing at £14.99 in Argos. For some more ideas of using the tape check out Helpful Mum's review.  You can also visit the Makya World website to find out more.

Family Fever

Home Etc

Monday, 11 September 2017

Soulful Baker Review And Giveaway

It wont come as a surprise to regular readers, that I love baking. So when I was offered to review Soulful Baker I jumped at the chance.  I hadn't actually heard of Julie Jones, but taking a look at her instagram, you can see what beautiful bakes she makes.

Baking became a form of therapy for Julie Jones when her mother, who taught her to cook, was diagnosed with dementia. They both gained comfort from baking together in the earlier stages of her condition which inspired Julie to create an Instagram record of this precious time, and in turn produce the stunning Soulful Baker

The bakes in the book are absolutely stunning. Some look too good to eat. I actually have lots of cutters that I use for fondant icing which would be perfect for decorating pies. Watch this space!

pastry decoration techniques

The recipes are varied and suitable for beginners and seasoned bakers. Some of the tips are ingenious. I would never have thought of using a doily and cocoa powder to decorate a chocolate tart before. It is these finishing touches that make such a difference.

I always like to try out a recipe if I am reviewing a book and for this I tried the crumpet one. They are something that I would not have considered baking before. The recipe was easy and whilst my crumpets didn't look as pretty as those which Julie makes, they tasted good. Possibly a little salty for my tastes but that is easily fixed.

Soulful Baker is out on 21st September and whilst I hate to mention the C word so early, it really would make a fantastic present for anyone with an interest in baking. Can't wait that long? Then you can pre order a copy from Amazon. 

I am excited to be able to offer 2 of my readers the chance to win a copy for themselves. Just complete the Gleam entry below. Good Luck!

Soulful Baker Recipe Book

Listed on Prizefinder

SuperLucky Blog Giveaway Linky

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Gorgonzola And Caramelized Onion Croissants

OK, I have to confess the idea of pairing Gorgonzola and caramelized onion is not mine. It is that of Prezzo. Or at least that is where my husband had it on some garlic bread and we both loved it.

Gorgonzola And Caramelized Onion Croissants

The Gorgonzola balances the sweetness of the onions. If you like Gorgonzola then this is really good.
I was thinking of making some kind of tart with these ingredients, however, I looked in the fridge and found a tin of croissant dough. I asked my husband what he thought of my idea. His answer? "They sound like some seriously sexy croissants!"

Of course this would also work well with ready cooked croissants. Just cut them in half, fill and heat though. Whilst I am usually a croissant and jam kind of girl, these savoury croissants were the best lunch I have made in a long time.

Gorgonzola And Caramelized Onion Croissants

  • 1 tube of croissant dough
  • caramlized onion chutney
  • Gorgonzola cheese
  • 1 egg
  • onion seeds
  1. Unroll the croissant dough and tear into triangles
  2. Spread onion chutney over the dough leaving a cm around the edges
  3. Crumble Gorgonzola over the chutney and roll into crab shape.
  4. Wash with egg and sprinkle onion seeds on top
  5. Cook at 180C for 10-15 minutes

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croissants filled with gorgonzola and caramilsed onion chutney. Topped with onion seeds

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Hijacked By Twins