Keeping refreshed with Robinsons Squash’d

Drinking lots of water is a no brainer, especially as the summer days arrive and the children are more likely to be found in the garden playing than relaxing around the house. But for me, remembering to drink enough water is the thing I usually remember as evening arrives, and for the little people stopping for a drink is always a chore.Robinsons Squash'dRobinsons are working with parents to create an awareness of the importance of keeping refreshed over the summer months, and ensuring that the whole family are keeping hydrated. Not only have Robinsons introduced two new flavours to their range – Orange & Peach and Lemon & Pink Grapefruit- but they’ve also introduced a fab range of Robinsons Squash’d, a super concentrated squash.

Robinsons Squash’d comes in a bottle so small that not only can you fit it without problem into your bag or picnic basket, but, if your family is like ours, and your children long for independence it’s perfect for little hands to make their own drinks. Robinsons Squash'dAnd I think that’s how we’ve increased our water consumption as a family. At work I’m more likely to say ‘yes’ to a cup of coffee than a glass of water. Knowing I’ve got a little bottle of Squash’d in my handbag means I’ve found myself drinking far more water, to the extent that this week I realised I’d actually gone a few days without any coffee (and survived!).

For the children it’s the independence.Robinsons Squash'dIn the same way as the children love sorting their own breakfast (plastic bowls and cereal in a low cupboard and a half full bottle of milk always in the fridge), they now love seeing to themselves when they want a drink (admittedly they’re using the toilet sink for water rather than overcoming the height of the kitchen sink).

And it’s great. Especially because whereas in the past we’ve stuck with a few standard bottles of Robinsons, now they have lots of variety to choose from, and bottles that are small enough and easy enough to handle.

Which means, more often than not, when they’re not raiding the fridge for snacks, they’re most often found enjoying a drink.

Hydration worried- be gone!Robinsons Squash'ed Robinsons Squash'edDisclosure: We received a gift box including Robinsons Squash’d for the purposes of this post. This post is an entry for BritMums #EnjoyMoreWater Challenge, sponsored by Robinsons. All views and opinions contained are my own.

A Go-To Celebration Cake

My relationship with baking has somewhat fizzled out over recent months, between work and trying to eat better I’ve stayed away from my love of baking cakes and bread. And it is a bit of a shame, because I probably love to bake more than I love to eat what I make, and I love to bake because it takes my mind of work. So the chance to bake this week for someone other than me was a win-win. I decided to go for a simple celebration cake, I was so fearful that I might have forgotten how to bake that I decided to stick with what I know.My Go-To Celebration CakeThe cake itself is a simple Victoria sandwich, I still bake using my mum’s trusty recipe- based on the weight of the eggs- and to give it the ‘more than a Victoria sandwich’ enthusiasm there’s trusty Cadbury’s Fingers and a load of Malteasers for a bit of ‘yum’. I discovered, now more committed than ever to getting the weight off, that this recipe is not great for keeping off the pounds, as based on a ‘normal’ round cake tin the perimeter of the cake takes exactly two packets of Cadbury’s fingers, plus four from the third packet. Conned.Victoria SandwichTo make this so simple cake, the first thing you need to do is:

Weight 4 eggs and preheat the oven at 180 degrees celsius.
Put into a mixing bowl the weight of the four eggs in Caster Sugar and Unsalted Butter, and cream.
Add two of the eggs and mix.
Measure the same weight of the four eggs in self-raising flour, add a couple of tablespoons to the mix.
Add the remaining two eggs and mix.
Add a third of the flour, combine, another third and combine, and the remainder and combine.
Add a couple of teaspoons of vanilla essence and mix.
Divide the mix between two cake tins.
Put in the oven for 20mins or until golden brown and a skewer is clean when put into the centre of the cake.
Remove from oven and leave to cool.
Sandwich the cakes together with jam.
Cover the cake with buttercream (a pre-bought tub works fine).Easy Celebration CakeAdd Cadbury’s Chocolate fingers around the cake. Simple Celebration CakeAnd add Malteasers, I start from the outside and work my way in. At this point I did of course realise using chocolate buttercream would have been far better. Easy, Simple Celebration CakeI have no idea why, it doesn’t need it, but I do prefer to add ribbon round the cake. The cake doesn’t need it, but I think it finishes the cake.My Go-To Celebration Cake

Good coffee at Academy Espresso Bar – Barry

I function on coffee. I wish it weren’t true. I’m weak like that.
Although I guess it’s another sign that I’m getting old that I drink herbal tea in the afternoon, more than ever appreciating the effect of caffeine.
But good coffee, well, it’s a holy grail.
So discovering a new place locally that meets the brief. It deserves a little happy dance (no doubt caffeine induced).Academy Espresso Bar Barry - Good CoffeeBarry’s pumping station has seen a complete overhaul, and now features Academy Espresso Bar. Within this grade II listed building, the decor of the place instantly makes me feel happy.Academy Espresso Bar Barry - Good CoffeeWith the kind of leather armchairs I always imagined having in my home thanks to Carrie Bradshaw, the industrial flooring not only is in keeping with the design but also serves an additional function, in making the place very pooch friendly.Academy Espresso Bar Barry - Good CoffeeIt’s also very parent friendly, I had to recite “do not approach the mum of twins” over and over as I people-watched so many parents enjoying a bit of time in these gorgeous surroundings.Academy Espresso Bar Barry - Good Coffee Because as you sit, you are able to take the time to breathe it all in.Academy Espresso Bar Barry - Good CoffeeThese features which only serve to make you happy.
Academy Espresso Bar Barry - Good Coffee And I have never tasted an almond croissant quite as delicious.Latte & Almond Croissant With coffee which more than stands up to the mark.Academy Espresso Bar Barry - Good Coffee And great company, of course.Academy Espresso Bar Barry - Good CoffeeNow, I just need to find out if there’s wi-fi. 

And if they’ll put up with me working there every once in a while*.

(*Which probably means at least once a week).

 

Jamie’s Italian Super Lunch Menu Review

When the sun is shining and you get to spend time with friends and/ or family, I’d have to say I enjoy nothing more than sitting down with good food and drinks to while away some time. And this week I got to spend some time with my best girls at Jamie’s Italian in Cardiff to enjoy the super lunch menu.Jamie's Italian CardiffWe really couldn’t have planned it better to take advantage of the half term good weather, and we were able to enjoy watching the world go by as we dined on The Hayes in Cardiff. And whilst it couldn’t have been more perfect for four women and a baby, I couldn’t help but think eating inside or out, the atmosphere created really works.Jamie's Italian CardiffWith enough time to while away the afternoon we managed to get through the three courses of the Super Lunch Menu. Available between 12.00-18.00 Monday to Friday, and priced £10.95 for two courses or £12.95 for three, it really does offer value for money, especially in the city centre. 

For starters we went for the Fritto Misto and Pâté Bruschetta. As a huge lover of fish (and mocked in work for my tendency to always go for squid in restaurants), the Fritto Misto was perfect, the garlic and lemon aioli was a great accompaniment and the batter was so light it didn’t overwhelm or over-faze. Jamie's Italian Fritto MistoThe Pâté Bruschetta was picture perfect, with pancetta, vin santo & Parmesan it didn’t last long. Jamie's Italian Pate BruschettaFor mains we went with Spaghetti Primavera and the Superfood Salad. Jamie's Italian Spaghetti PrimaveraThe superfood salad featured roasted beets, fennel, quinoa, black rice, curly kale, sprouting broccoli and  pomegranate and was perfect and similar to the favourite salads I pick up on lunch breaks when working away. It was accompanied with avocado and spicy harissa & creamy cottage cheese, at this point I wished I had read the menu more closely, I don’t do spicy and wished I had the foresight to have requested it without the harissa, as it was one of those things I kept eating because it was delicious… as my senses streamed.Jamie's Italian Super Food SaladIt’s fair to see we’re all dessert girls, and unlike our mains we ended up selecting one of each from the menu: chocolate orange cheesecake (Brownies were off, but it was great to have an alternative option offered); orange blossom polenta cake; strawberries and frozen yoghurt; and chocolate ice-cream with berry compote and smashed honeycomb.
And they were, of course, absolutely lush.Jamie's Italian Chocolate Orange Cheesecake Jamie's Italian Chocolate Ice-cream, Berry Compote, Smashed Honeycomb Jamie's Italian Strawberries & Frozen Yoghurt Jamie's Italian Orange Blossom Polenta CakeThe three courses were delicious, more than filling, they definitely offered value for money. The service was prompt without being overbearing, and as my latest bugbear in restaurants is how long it takes to pay, I was really impressed that from beginning to end there was no waiting around. The relaxed atmosphere of summer days was definitely achieved and enjoyed.

Disclosure: We were invited to try the Super Lunch Menu by Jamie’s Italian, Cardiff. All views and opinions contained are our own.

Baking Christmas Breads with Waitrose #recipe

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias

There is something about wintertime, the build up to Christmas. It’s the delicious scents and smells which go with the season. The wonderful recipes which are suddenly the most acceptable to feast on. And there is nothing as perfect as cwtching up on the sofa with my little family and a host of favourite breads, preferably with an accompanying hot chocolate.Waitrose selection of flour for baking funFor me, whenever bread baking is in store, a trip to Waitrose has to be in order, I love the range of flours they have and I always end up leaving with far more than on my shopping list. And of course there’s nothing like a food shop in the run up to Christmas to add a few more festive flavours to the kitchen cupboards.
And whilst we went in to stock up on bread flours, we ended up leaving with the ingredients for our favourite Christmas breads- Panettone and Stollen.Making stollen and panettoneAnd after a weekend of fun in the kitchen, controlling the excitement waiting to see if our breads rise, and then have patience in the baking process- of course, not quite achieving the full cooling process!

And so, for some really child-friendly recipes, for baking and for eating, these will definitely make your home a little bit more cosy.

And for an extra tip with Panettone, I find a really authentic bake can be obtained with a saucepan rather than adding another tin to the cupboard:
Baking cheat for Panettone
I’d love to hear about your festive recipes… and especially any cheats you might have!

Festive Stollen
Yields 1
A delicious marzipan filled bread- with lots of fruit to make it healthy!
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
4 hr 30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
4 hr 30 min
Ingredients
  1. 500g strong white flour (a little more for dusting)
  2. 100g caster sugar
  3. 10g fast action yeast
  4. 10g salt
  5. 150g unsalted butter, softened
  6. 250ml milk
  7. ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  8. ½ tsp ground cloves
  9. ½ tsp vanilla extract
  10. 2 drops almond extract
  11. 55g blanched almonds, finely chopped
  12. 50g glace cherries, roughly chopped
  13. 100g raisins
  14. 125g sultanas
  15. 125g mixed peel
  16. 25g butter, melted
  17. 225g marzipan
  18. Icing sugar, for dusting
Instructions
  1. Put the flour and sugar in a large bowl.
  2. Add the yeast on one side of the bowl and the salt on the other.
  3. Add the softened butter and milk.
  4. Using a dough hook if using a mixer, mix for 10 minutes.
  5. If kneading, bring the mixture together gradually adding the milk to form a soft dough. Transfer to floured work surface and knead for 6-7 minutes, or until smooth and pliable.
  6. Mix the nutmeg, cloves, vanilla and almond extract, almonds, fruit and mixed peel together in a large bowl.
  7. Put the dough on top and knead from the outside into the centre incorporating the dried fruit and spices as you go.
  8. When everything has been fully incorporated, cover the bowl with cling film and leave to rise for 1-2 hours in a warm place, or until doubled in size.
  9. Flatten the dough and roll out on a lightly floured work surface to a rectangle so the short side matches the longest side of your baking tray.
  10. Brush with the melted butter.
  11. Roll out the marzipan so the long side is approximately the width of the dough.
  12. Place on top of the dough in the middle.
  13. Roll the dough up to enclose the marzipan and transfer to a baking tray lined with baking parchment.
  14. Cover and leave to rise for about an hour, or until risen and doubled in size.
  15. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5 (fan 170C).
  16. When the dough is risen, bake for an hour. Remove from the oven and dust with icing sugar.
  17. Serve cold.
An Organised Mess http://anorganisedmess.com/

Black Cherry, Pistachio and Chocolate Panattone
Yields 1
A delicious Christmas treat using favourite ingredients
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
5 hr 30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
5 hr 30 min
Ingredients
  1. 500g/1lb 2oz strong white flour
  2. 10g salt
  3. 50g/2oz caster sugar
  4. 10g fast-action yeast
  5. 140ml/5fl oz warm milk
  6. 5 medium eggs
  7. 250g/9oz unsalted butter, softened
  8. 120g/4½oz dark cherries
  9. 120g/4½oz chocolate chips
  10. 120g/4½oz pistachios, chopped
Instructions
  1. Place the flour, salt, sugar, yeast, milk and the eggs into the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook.
  2. Mix slowly for two minutes, then increase the speed to medium and mix for a further 6-8 minutes until you have a soft dough.
  3. Add the softened butter and mix for another 5-8 minutes.
  4. Add the cherries, chocolate and pistachios, and combine.
  5. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave at room temperature for three hours.
  6. Line a tin/saucepan with baking parchment.
  7. Knock back the dough and place into the tin.
  8. Leave to prove at room temperature for an hour.
  9. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
  10. Bake for about 25 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 150C/300F/Gas 2 and bake for a further 35 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
  11. Remove the panettone from the tin immediately and allow to cool.
An Organised Mess http://anorganisedmess.com/

Sunday evening snacks with Clover

I hold dear the family traditions you take and make your own.

Friday nights when we were little we’d go to my nan’s. And for supper, after our fish ‘n’ chips from John’s on Broadway, we’d have french stick, butter and cheese.
All these years on the smell of that supper stays with me.Simple homemade bread recipe My mum took that tradition and turned it into our Sunday evening tradition. On winter nights when we were still full from a hearty Sunday roast dinner, a pick ‘n’ mix would be put on the dining table, of pizza, garlic bread and cheese & crackers.

For us, now, life has moved on again. And there’s nothing I enjoy more on a Sunday afternoon than making our own bread. I try to keep bread out of my diet, but a chunk of homemade bread, with nothing artificial, is my treat. And making bread is one of the best and simplest ways to show children the magic of baking.Making breadAnd once our bread is cooled from the oven, or cooled to touch, there is nothing better than spreading Clover over it and devouring. Reinforcing that meals with #NothingArtificial are that much tastier.

Because Clover brings more to our bread than a delicious buttery taste, it’s made with naturally low-fat buttermilk, with half the saturated fat of regular butter. With no artificial ingredients, it is 100% natural.

And so it’s a welcome addition to our family supper and our take on a tradition for our little ones to reinterpret.

If taste is important in your family and you do your best to get the best into your family’s tummy, why not check out Clover’s facebook page, post a picture on their page and you can win a personalised Clover fridge magnet and branded oven gloves. By the end of the campaign, 10,000 £1 discount vouchers redeemable against Clover will be given away. 

Simple bread
Yields 2
A simple and easy loaf to bake with children
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Prep Time
3 hr 30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
4 hr
Prep Time
3 hr 30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
4 hr
Ingredients
  1. 500g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
  2. 10g salt
  3. 7g fast-action dried yeast
  4. 40mls olive oil, plus extra for oiling
  5. 300mls tepid water
Instructions
  1. Put the flour in a food mixing bowl, add the salt on one side and the yeast on the other.
  2. Using a dough hook, pour the olive oil and 250mls of water in and start the mixer on a slow setting.
  3. Gradually add the remaining water and turn up to a medium setting, mix for a further 5 mins until you have a glossy dough which forms a smooth ball with an elasticity when falling from the hook.
  4. Put the dough into a lightly oiled large bowl, cover with oiled cling film or a tea towel, please in an airing cupboard for 1.5- 2 hours until doubled in size.
  5. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface, and divide into two.
  6. Knock back the individual dough, and shape into a loose rectangle, place in loaf tins.
  7. Cover with a tea towel and leave to prove in an airing cupboard for 1 hour.
  8. After 30mins turn the oven onto 220 degrees celcius and add a roasting tin half filled with water to the bottom of the oven.
  9. When the loaves are proved, lightly spray with water, dust with flour, and using a sharp knife make diagonal slashes across the top.
  10. Place the loaves on the middle shelf of the oven, and bake for 20mins.
  11. Lower the oven setting to 180 degrees celcius and bake for a further 10 mins.
  12. The loaves should have a golden colour and sound hollowed when the bottom is tapped.
  13. Cool on a wire rack.
  14. Slice and smoother in Clover.
An Organised Mess http://anorganisedmess.com/
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Clover. All views and opinions contained are our own.

Baking with children – Peach Puffs

CM has completely caught the ‘Bake Off’ buzz, and we’ve had a tough couple of weeks as we’ve reconciled that the after-school bakery class clashes with one of her squash lessons. We have however found a compromise and now Saturday afternoons are committed to our own bake-off.

Peach puffs - a recipe

The first was a hurried affair as, to be honest, Saturday afternoons aren’t great, I spend Saturday mornings walking back and forth with children as they swap classes, all I want to do in the afternoon is catch up on chores and drink coffee, but a 6-year-old is not to be swayed and this was a quick and easy choice, with the added boost of seeing CM’s reaction as the oven transformed them.

Making peach puffs with children

Peach Puffs
Yields 6
A really simple recipe to make treats with children
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 roll of ready made puff pastry
  2. 1 tin of peaches
  3. 1/2 lemon, juiced
  4. 50g dark brown sugar
  5. 1 tsp cinnamon
  6. 1 egg, beaten.
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius (fan oven).
  2. Lay out the puff pastry and cut it into rectangles.
  3. Mix the lemon juice, cinnamon and sugar in a bowl.
  4. Spread the mix into the centre of each of the rectangles.
  5. Spoon some peach slices onto one half of the rectangles.
  6. Fold the pastry into a triangle, and press the edges.
  7. Brush the top with egg wash.
  8. Place on a baking sheet, and place in the oven for 12-15 mins or until golden brown.
  9. Leave to cool and enjoy.
An Organised Mess http://anorganisedmess.com/
Peach Puffs - A Recipe

A Recipe: A family favourite pie – #GBBOBloggers2015

This week is all about Victorian baking, which kind of had me stumped. From the signature challenge of game pie, to the perfect fruit cake for the technical challenge, and the showstopper Charlotte Russe. If time had been on my side I might have been tempted by the showstopper challenge, but being away more than at home this week, I decided to keep it as simple, and make sure food is on the table whilst I’m away, and opted to put a pie on the table.
Beef pie recipe
I remember making shortcrust pies at home with my mum, so a favourite recipe and a little more reliant as a bake than some of my attempts this series. I think this is more than of a thrift pie than game pie, but it’s definitely one for the family to enjoy.
Beef pie recipe
This week I’m delighted to be hosting Mummy Mishaps Great Bloggers Bake Off link up, and you can find the link up beneath the recipe, and rules to the linky over on Jenny’s blog. I’m looking forward to seeing your interpretations on this week!

My mum's beef and bacon pie
Yields 1
A rustic and homely family pie
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Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Ingredients
  1. 300g plain flour
  2. 150g unsalted butter, cubed
  3. 10mls cold water
  4. 1 egg, beaten, for glaze.
  5. 1tbsp sunflower oil
  6. 1 medium red onion, chopped
  7. 100g mushrooms, sliced
  8. 7 rashers of bacon, sliced
  9. 400g diced beef
  10. 250mls beef stock
  11. 2 sprigs of rosemary
  12. Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Combine flour and butter in a mixing bowl until the ingredients resemble breadcrumbs.
  2. Add the water slowly, with just enough to bring the pastry together.
  3. Mix into a smooth dough, and roll into a ball.
  4. Wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge for at least an hour.
  5. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a low heat. Brown the onion and add the mushroom and cook gently until softened.
  6. Add the bacon, and a few minutes later add the beef.
  7. Add seasoning to taste.
  8. Cook gently until the beef is browned.
  9. I remove any excess fat at this point.
  10. Add the stock and rosemary.
  11. Leave to simmer, uncovered for ten minutes.
  12. Tip into a bowl and leave to cool.
  13. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius.
  14. Divide the pastry into 2/3 and 1/3.
  15. On a floured work surface, roll the 2/3 pastry and line a pie dish.
  16. Prick the lined pie dish and add parchment and baking balls.
  17. Bake the pastry for 10 minutes, remove parchment and balls and bake for a further 5 minutes.
  18. Bring out of the oven and leave to rest for five minutes.
  19. Spoon the filling into the pastry-lined dish, siphoning off excess liquid.
  20. Roll out the 1/3 pastry to create a lid.
  21. Use the beaten egg on the edges of the baked pastry and add the lid.
  22. Press the lid onto the pie with your fingers (or a fork to create a crimp), and brush the beaten egg over the lid.
  23. Make two hold in the top to let the steam out, and bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
  24. Leave to rest for 15 minutes or so and serve.
Adapted from from my mum's recipe
Adapted from from my mum's recipe
An Organised Mess http://anorganisedmess.com/




 

Mummy Mishaps

Raspberry Frangipane Recipe

As the Great British Bake Off continues to be a regular event in our house, CM has decided she needs to get more involved. Fortunately, for me, this went from being her and I ‘baking off’ to a bit of teamwork in the kitchen.

Raspberry frangipane tart recipe

We decided on raspberry frangipane tarts and had quite a bit of fun baking, the penny suddenly dropped for me that baking is a great way of getting CM involved in lots of ‘school stuff’, as she writes the recipe out, practices maths as we sort the ingredients, and gets to grips with new utensils in the kitchen.
Making raspberry frangipane tarts

But of course, the best bit is definitely in the eating!

Raspberry frangipane tarts
Yields 6
A simple and delicious frangipane tart.
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Prep Time
1 hr 30 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
2 hr 10 min
Prep Time
1 hr 30 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
2 hr 10 min
For the shortcrust pastry
  1. 150g plain flour
  2. 110g butter, cubed
  3. 80g golden caster sugar
  4. 1 lemon, zested
  5. 1 egg yolk
  6. 1/2tsp vanilla extract
For the frangipane
  1. 85g butter
  2. 85g golden caster sugar
  3. 85g ground almonds
  4. 1 egg
  5. 85g raspberries
Instructions
  1. Combine flour and butter in a mixing bowl until the ingredients resemble breadcrumbs.
  2. Add the sugar and combine, stir through the lemon zest.
  3. Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract, mix into a smooth dough, and roll into a ball.
  4. Wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge for at least an hour.
  5. For the frangipane, tip the butter, golden caster sugar, ground almonds and egg into a mixing bowl and combine well, fold the raspberries in, and leave in the fridge.
  6. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  7. On a floured surface, roll out the dough, and line either a 25cm loose bottomed tin or a muffin style tin.
  8. Tip with a knife so the pastry leaves a lip over the edge.
  9. Line with baking parchment and add ceramic baking balls.
  10. Bake for 15mins if large tin, and 10mins for smaller bakes, remove balls and parchment and bake again for 5 minutes.
  11. Spoon frangipane into pastry bases and bake for 20mins for smaller bakes and 30mins for large tin, or until golden brown.
  12. Trim overhanging pastry, leave to cool.
  13. Sprinkle with icing sugar.
  14. Serve.
An Organised Mess http://anorganisedmess.com/
Raspberry frangipane tart recipe

Mummy Mishaps
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