Friday, 30 May 2014

Honey and Carrot Cake

The other day the hubby requested a carrot cake. However I was missing the ingredients for the topping which is a must have for a traditional carrot cake! I started looking through my cook books to find a different style of carrot cake.

As I was flicking through Rosemary Schrager's Bakes, Cakes and Puddings book I found a carrot cake that I had the ingredients for! But the original recipe was missing one of my favourite ingredients in carrot cake, it contained no orange. I was also missing the ingredients for the suggested mascarpone icing but the hubby suggested white chocolate which was perfect for this cake!

I changed the recipe to taste and this is what I got...

Honey and Carrot Cake


200g clear honey
50g golden caster sugar
160g dates, chopped
150g carrots, finely grated
Zest and juice of 1 orange/clementine
1tsp ground nutmeg
2tsp cinnamon
100g butter
180mls water
225g plain flour
25g ground almonds
75g flaked almonds
2tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 eggs
150g good quality white chocolate


Pre heat the oven to 180C

1 - Place the honey, golden cater sugar, butter, dates, carrot, orange zest, orange juice, nutmeg, cinnamon and water in a pan and heat on a medium heat until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved

2 - Turn the heat down and simmer for 5 minutes

3 - Remove from the heat and leave until lukewarm

4 - Combine together the plain flour, ground almonds, flaked almonds and bicarbonate of soda

5 - Beat the eggs and add to the warm honey mixture

6 - Add the flour mixture and stir until all of the ingredients are evenly combined together

7 - Place the cake mixture in a greased and lined cake tin

8 - Place in the centre of the pre heated oven and bake for about 50 minutes or until firm to the touch

9 - Leave to cool in the tin for 10 - 15 minutes before removing and leaving to cool completely on a cooling rack

10 - Once the cake has completely cooled melt the chocolate in a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water

11 - Gently pour on the melted chocolate and spread over the top of the cake

This cake can be enjoyed when the chocolate is still soft and warm as a dessert. It is also delicious the following day when the chocolate has hardened and is the perfect accompaniment to a cup of coffee or tea!

The honey makes this a soft, moist cake which, if kept in an air tight container, will stay deliciously moist for a few days after baking!

Enjoy x

Word of the Week - 30th May 2014

This week my word of the week has to be...

(Or lack of!)

This week has been a funny sort of week. Our daily routine has gone flying out of the window! The hubby was at home with us until Thursday and it is also half term.

Without our daily walk to school and routine I am feeling all out of sorts. The twins are at that challenging age and don't I know it! Somedays I feel so over whelmed with everything I could easily sit and cry. Yesterday and today I feel like I have no motivation, no get up and go!

Today Taylor's tantrums started as soon as we got up so it wasn't the greatest of starts to the day. I love having Joseph at home, he has been a great help to me, particularly this morning when everything has got to me, but I look forward to him going back to school purely to get back into our routine!

I need to sit down and plan a routine for the summer holidays as they are creeping up and will be here before we know it!

Sorry to moan but sometimes I feel like my blog is my only way to get my feelings out as I worry that people will tell me to stop being silly. It's always easier to write.

Thank you for listening x

As always I am sharing my word of the week with the lovely Jocelyn at The Reading Residence

The Reading Residence

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Crabtree and Evelyn York

One of my favourite "pamper me" brands has to be Crabtree and Evelyn.

So whilst we were in York I knew that this would be a shop that we had to visit!

The shop has such an air of luxury to it, you know that you will be getting products that are better than your average run of the mill toiletries. You know that you will be leaving with something special, a treat, which is something that we all need every now and then!

My favourite product from Crabree and Evelyn is their Hand Therapy cream. I always suffer with dry hands. I have tried so many creams and have ended up throwing them away as they have been no good. That was until I received a sample of their Tarocco Orange, Eucalyptus and Sage Hand Therapy and from then on it has been the only hand cream that I have trusted to soothed and restore my dry hands.

While we were looking around and trying to decide what treat I was going to be having we were greeted by the most helpful shop assistant. She happily showed us different products and answered any questions. I was curious about their 60 Second Fix For Hands. After she explained that the pack contained an exfoliating cream as well as the hand therapy she treated me to hand massage using the 60 Second Fix products. It was so relaxing and a great way to test the product before buying.

I finally settled on the La Source 60 Second Fix For Hands as it has a very light, refreshing scent which is perfect for any time of day. However we did not stop there, we also left with lip balm, more hand therapy cream, shower gel, two birthday presents, thank you present for my parents for looking after the kiddies and some shaving soap for the hubby! All of our purchases were luxuriously wrapped and handed over in beautiful cardboard gift bags. I also signed up for a points card so I have even more of an excuse to make more trips to my favourite shop!

 Disclosure: I have written this post because this is a brand and shop which I love. I have not received anything in return for this post. All views and opinions are my own and 100% honest.

How Does Your Garden Grow? Week 22

Well another week has flown by!

Unfortunately, thanks to the rain, we haven't been out much. However project greenhouse is almost complete. The vegetables are coming along so well and we are in love with all of the beautiful lupins that are brightening up our garden.

Yesterday I was treated to a new camera so I am hoping that I can improve on the quality of the pictures that I take of our garden.

This is how our garden has grown this week and how project greenhouse is going!

Taken with my phone camera...

Taken with my new camera...

So pleased to see the Elderflower coming into bloom!

It has been a wet few days 

The heavy rain has knocked the petals off of our
beautiful Peony but gave me a perfect opportunity
to play with the macro setting on the camera!

Lovely Lupins

A rain drenched Allium

As always I am sharing how our garden has grown and our project greenhouse with the lovely Mammasaurus' How Does Your Garden Grow?

Mammasaurus and How Does Your Garden Grow?

Strawberry and Elderflower Swiss Roll

One cake that I have been wanting to make for a while now is a Swiss roll.

When I noticed that I had a punnet of strawberries to use it gave me the perfect opportunity to make one. I have followed Rosemary Shrager's recipe for the sponge but have added my own filling. I used the recipe that is in Bakes, Cakes and Puddings.

The sponge is more of a time consuming cake to make so do allow yourself a good 15 minutes to prepare the mixture.

This is what I did...

Strawberry and Elderflower Swiss Roll



3 eggs, at room temperature
100g caster sugar
100g self raising flour
1tbsp milk


300g strawberries
100mls double cream
100g full fat cream cheese
3tbsp icing sugar
2tbsp elderflower cordial


Pre heat the oven to 190C

1 - Place the caster sugar and eggs in a large glass bowl.

2 - Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and begin to whisk.

3 - Whisk the eggs and caster sugar until it becomes thick and leaves a trail when you lift the whisk, be warned this will take a good 10 minutes of whisking!

4 - Remove the bowl from the heat and continue to whisk the mixture for a further 2 minutes.

5 - Sift in one third of the self raising flour and gently fold in.

6 - Repeat until all of the flour has been added.

7 - Mix in the milk and gently mix until you have a smooth mixture.

8 - Pour the mixture into a lined Swiss roll tin or deep baking tray and place in the centre of the pre heated oven and bake for 12 minutes.

9 - While the cake is baking prepare the surface for the cake to cool by placing a clean, damp tea towel on the side, put some baking paper on top and sprinkle with caster sugar.

10 - Remove the cake from the tin and place on top of the baking paper, remove the baking paper from the base of the cooked cake, place a fresh piece over it and put the warm baking tin over the top. This will ensure that the sponge does not dry out. Leave to cool completely.

11 - When the cake has cooled prepare the filling by whisking the cream, cream cheese and icing sugar together.

12 - Mix in the elderflower cordial.

13 - Using a pallet knife spread a layer of the cream mixture on the sponge.

14 - Lay the sliced strawberries over the cream, leaving an edge free of strawberries for the joining seal.

15 - Roll the sponge toward the side with the strawberry free edge, once rolled sprinkle with icing sugar.

This is delicious summer Swiss roll, perfect for a warm summers treat!

Enjoy x

I am sharing this recipe with the lovely Helen at Casa Costello - Bake of the Week

Casa Costello

Alphabet Project - C


Well, for me this is an easy one!
My C could only be...


Strawberry and Elderflower Swiss Roll

Honey and Carrot Cake

Mixed Fruit Crumble Cakes

I am sharing my C word in pictures with the lovely PODcast's Alphabet Project pop over and see what C others have captured

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Cheap Budget Meals - Roasted Turkey and Mediterranean Vegetables

As it is National Protein Week I thought that it would be fitting to do a meal which contains turkey as it is a great way to get protein into your diet.

Turkey and chicken, unfortunately, are not cheap meats, However if you bulk your meals out with vegetables you can make a little go a long way and also have some of your five a day!

This meal is such an easy meal to make, once it is prepared you can leave it in the oven and get on with some other jobs or spend some time with the children!

Here is this weeks Cheap Budget Meal recipe...

Roasted Turkey and Mediterranean Vegetables


300g turkey, diced (£3)
1 red onion, sliced thickly (19p)
1 courgette, sliced into chunks (34p)
1 red pepper, sliced into chunks (60p)
1 yellow pepper, sliced into chunks (60p)
6 mushrooms, quartered (50p)
3 large tomatoes, quartered (35p)
Olive oil
Fresh basil, 6 leaves chopped
Rice (40p per 500g bag)


Pre heat the oven to 200C

1 - Place 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a roasting tin and place in the pre heated oven.

2 - Lightly brown off the turkey in a frying pan over a medium heat.

3 - Place the turkey, all of the prepared vegetables and basil into the hot oil in the roasting tin, return to the oven and roast for 45 minutes. Toss the turkey and vegetables half way through to ensure they are covered in oil.

Serve immediately on a bed of rice.

This meal is a great, easy way to ensure you are getting protein into your diet.

I made this meal for £5.98 which is slightly more than I usually share as a Cheap Budget Meal however it is only £1.20 per serving and it has so many health benefits!

Enjoy x

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Schwartz Grill Mates Brazilian BBQ

As the summer and BBQ season approaches as does the 2014 World Cup.

To celebrate the world cup Schwartz have created a delicious Brazilian BBQ inspired Grill Mates. A handy sachet which makes a smoky, citrus flavoured marinade which is perfect for beef, chicken and even king prawns! It is a great way to zest up your summer BBQ and celebrate the carnival feeling that both summer and the world cup will bring to the UK this year.

This is how we enjoyed Schwartz Grill Mates Brazilian BBQ...

Schwartz Brazilian BBQ Smoky and Zesty Chicken Skewers


1 sachet of Schwartz Grill Mates Brazilian BBQ Marinade Mix
900g chicken, diced
50mls olive oil
2tsp white wine vinegar
1 onion
1 red pepper
1 green pepper


1 - Make the marinade by combining the sachet contents with both the olive oil and white wine vinegar in a large dish

2 - Add the diced chicken, making sure that it is all thoroughly coated in the marinade, cover and leave for at least 15 minutes. The packet does say that for best results marinade over night, however I put the chicken to marinade in the morning so it had a good 8 hours!

3 - Once the meat has had sufficient time to soak in all of the delicious flavours you can prepare the skewers for the BBQ

4 - To make the skewers add the chicken, red pepper, onion, chicken, green pepper, onion, and repeat until the skewer is full

5 - BBQ the skewers until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and serve!

This marinade is so versatile, easy to use and delicious. The smoked paprika and cumin give this dish a real taste of Brazil!

Perfect for a summers day in the garden, an evening in watching the world cup or a fun family meal.

Enjoy x

Disclosure: I was sent a Grill Mates Brazilian BBQ sachet from Schwartz for the purpose of this review. No payment was received. All views and opinions are my own and 100% honest.

Point + Shoot 24th May - 25th May 2014

I know that is has been a bank holiday weekend but I am sticking to just the weekend. This is mainly because we haven't really done a lot. The hubby has been busy in the garden working on project greenhouse so it's been like a regular Monday.

Our weekend has pretty much revolved around the trampoline. Hubby replaced the safety enclosure so the twins got their first taste of bouncing fun. They loved it and have headed straight for it as soon as they get outside!


As always I am linking up with the lovely Em at Snowing Indoors