How to make blueberry smoothies

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Homemade blueberry smoothies

Having made this recipe over four times and refined it I thought it was high time I shared it on the blog! Whether you’ve got frozen blueberries in winter or fresh blueberries in summer, this makes a super refreshing and healthy drink to make at the weekend.

I’ve adapted the BBC Good Food recipe so here is my version:

140g frozen blueberries – add raspberries too for extra colour and taste

1 ripe banana – great way to use up old bananas!

3 heaped tablespoons of low fat Greek Yoghurt

100ml milk – add more if you need to decrease the thickness

Teaspoon of honey to taste – however try making it without the added sugar to make it even healthier.

Method:

  • Cut up the banana in to small chunks and add to a large measuring jug
  • Add your frozen blueberries
  • Add in 3 dollops of low fat greek yog
  • 100ml of milk
  • WHIZZ up with your stick blender. We bought this one from John Lewis for £20 and it’s really good and simple to use
  • Slurp down with a yummy brunch of scrambled eggs with avocado on the side
  • Voila! Brunch bliss!

For more blueberry-inspired pics head over to my Instagram feed!

Paul A Young’s Muscovado Truffles Review

Paul A Young Muscovado TrufflesPaul A Young. Is that A for Awesome, A for Alchemist or A for Adventure? Turns out he’s an English creative flavour alchemist or quite simply, a chocolatier. This was a fairly easy truffle recipe, it just requires plenty of time for cooling. You basically make a chocolate ganache. It looked super silky smooth, like something out of the Chocolat movie. You do have to let the cream and sugar mixture cool a bit (e.g. a minute) before you pour it on the dark chocolate pieces otherwise apparently you’ll get a split ganache. I didn’t have 64% Madagascan chocolate but I can assure you it turned out just fine with 70% Green & Black’s dark choc.

Once you’ve made the ganache whack it in the fridge and watch a film (preferably one that lasts for two hours). To make sure it’s set, put the bowl over your head. Well that’s what my BF did to me and luckily for me it had set!! Next up, mix up 50g of cocoa and 50g of muscovado sugar in a mixing bowl. Get lots on your fingers, then take a teaspoon of the cooled ganache and roll it in a ball. Mine were quite dainty, the boy’s were like boulders. Paul A Young’s look quite rustic. Then I popped them into little cellophane gift bags with little ribbons. Paul A Young recommends making a batch of these and keeping them in an air-tight container – I thought that was a good idea for unannounced visitors and effortless domestic goddess chicness. *Warning* these are not calorie free. They’re incredibly rich so one truffle will do in any one sitting!

dark muscovado trufflesTo try out the muscovado truffle recipe it’s published online here. For a few more details on the method this Guardian article is pretty handy.

So you want the recipe book? It’s called Adventures with Chocolate and you can find it here on Amazon. I received the book as a pressie a couple of years ago so I’d recommend as a gift for foodie lovers. I will be trying the dark choc and pecan tart recipe next week. Lush! And if you want to go to one of Paul’s chocolate tasting and making workshops you better get in there quick! Last I checked the next one available is in March!

Easy pancake recipe

Pepperoni and cheese pancake by Naomi Longworth
I decided to make pancakes a night early so here is the Delia recipe on the BBC Good Food website I used last night and some pics to give you some inspiration for different flavours. I can highly recommend cheddar cheese, pepperoni or salami slices with an accompanying salad and sunblushed tomatoes. For dessert, try blueberries, raspberries drizzled with loads of maple syrup. YUM! Delia gives a tip about sieving the flour high above the bowl. Definitely do this because it helps not to get lumps. I actually managed to get a really good consistency for the batter by doing this. Good luck tonight folks! In terms of how well I fared at flipping pancakes – I cut one pancake in half and hit the pan on the back wall  – whoops! and the first pancake I flipped ended up in the pan as a folded mess! Am clearly going to have to practise before next year! Oh and if you want to know what is the difference between a pancake and a crepe then read my post here or if you want to see my mini pancakes based on a Gordon Ramsay recipe click moi.

Raspberry, blueberry and maple syrup pancake

Nigella’s New Year Chocolate Cookies

Nigella Christmas chocolate cookies with chocolate glaze and sprinkles made by Naomi LongworthAfter Christmas I caught up on lots of Christmas cookery programmes like Nigella and Nigel Slater. I thought Nigella’s Christmas chocolate cookies looked yummy so I wanted to try them out. It turned out the programme was a repeat from 2008 and took me a while to find the recipe online – thanks to Living in the Kitchen with Puppies for this link. It was only in American units so I had to convert it. I’ve shared the recipe below which I also had to tweak a little bit (for the chocolate glaze). If you ever need to convert weights from US to UK for different ingredients then this is a useful site – Recipes4Us. The cookies should be baked at 160 degrees for a fan oven, 180 degrees for a normal oven.  Nigella can show you how to make the cookies far better than I can – here’s the YouTube clip.

The cookies turned out well if a bit crumbly so if you make bigger cookies I’d cook them for a bit longer than 15mins. And don’t bother cutting out nice Christmas shapes like I did originally – the cookies just expand and pretty much develop into circles whatever you do! I had fun choosing mini Christmas tree sprinkles and edible gold stars (part of my Christmas pressie!) to decorate the cookies over the chocolate glaze. For the first time, I took these photographs outside and I do think the light looks really good on them (thanks to Jonathan Pollock). More to come on food photography outside! BTW, the boyfriend loved the cookies and kept stealing them when I wasn’t looking (note the lesser number of cookies in the second picture) and they went down well with work colleagues although I ruined their healthy eating regimes on day 1. Whoops!

New Year cookies by Naomi Longworth

Cookie dough

260g butter (2 1/4 sticks)

170g caster sugar (3/4 cup)

33g cocoa powder (1/3 cup)

250 g flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Chocolate glaze

170g icing sugar (1 1/2 cup)

2 fl. oz of boiling water (1/4 cup)

1 tsp of vanilla extract

Christmas sprinkles

Edwardian Garden Party – afternoon tea treats

I have finally got back to the blogging after a little reprieve during the holidays but rest assured I have been baking and have lots to update you on! I have also been watching the Great British Bake Off and it has inspired me to do more baking. I thought the tarte au citron from Mary Berry would be a great recipe to try soon.

Back in June I was invited to an Edwardian Garden Party. It was great fun and full of delicious afternoon tea goodies. I managed to get a few snaps of the raspberry and champagne jelly and these little lemon and mini cupcake treats on vintage crockery! This year Lili Vanilli has been researching the Edwardian High Tea so you can see her photo story if you’re feeling inspired!

Mary Berry easy lemon cheesecake recipe review

lemon cheesecake by cake takes the biscuit blog

On Sunday I wanted to make a dessert for some friends coming round. After a BBQ with lots of meat, I thought something light and refreshing would go well. I started sifting through my recipe books and found that there were plenty of cheesecake recipes out there but a lot of them were a bit faffy especially if you had to bake one. In the end I plumped for the easy lemon cheesecake recipe from Mary Berry’s Ultimate Cake Book because it was super easy. I was impressed about how quickly it could be made.

It says to use a 9 inch flan dish, but as I didn’t have one, I used an 8 inch cake tin which was loose bottomed. The first thing to do is mix the 10 crushed digestive biscuits, 2 oz of melted butter and 1 oz demerara sugar together for the biscuit base. I found that the base did go a bit soggy when eating it so I now want to experiment with baking the base for a short amount of time before adding the filling.

For the cheesecake filling, you mix together 150ml of single cream, 1 tin of condensed milk, almost a pack of soft cheese (175g) and zest of 3 lemons. I used light condensed milk and light soft cheese so this was a bit healthier. Then you add the juice of 3 lemons – I actually put the juice through a sieve to make sure the filling was really smooth. It’s also really important to use a whisk to get rid of any lumps when you add the soft cheese. The lemon juice almost instantly thickens the mixture as long as you keep whisking. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and leave for four hours to set. Just before serving I added strawberries round the edge. If you’re more organised than me then you can make it the night before, which is actually a good plan if you’re preparing for a dinner party. I would definitely make this again because it was faff free. If you want more info on Mary Berry and her other books you can read about her here.

Pip Studio Cake Plate

Raspberry courting cake close up on Pip Studio plate

This is one of my most prized cake possessions – the Pip Studio cake plate. I saw it in a little gift shop in Edinburgh last year but didn’t buy it straight away as it was a bit of an extravagance. I decided I had to go back to the shop to get it, and almost missed the train home with my friend! She is used to my being very late for things! I’ve used the cake plate before but never been able to get a good photo of it. I made birthday cupcakes and displayed them on the plate last year but before I could get my camera, all the cakes had gone! Here, I made raspberry courting cake – the perfect summer treat – for my boyfriend’s parents. The good news is it went down well and seconds were requested! After much searching as it is sold out across most outlets, I found you can still buy it on the Selfridges website. Yay!

whole raspberry courting cake on Pip Studio cake plate

Yumbots – robot cupcakes!

My boyfriend spotted these when they first came out in America but it’s only recently they’ve become available in the UK. I spotted mine in the sale at Oliver Bonas (currently out of stock) but you can buy them from Play.com but they’re cheaper on Find me a Gift. In the box, you get four ‘yumbots’ – robot cupcakes moulds made out of silicone. They’re dishwasher safe, they swizzle their heads, and look super cool. What more could you want? Just be careful when taking them in and out of the oven as I found one of the yumbots came loose during the baking stage.  I filled them with vanilla sponge cupcake mix and then piped vanilla buttercream icing on their heads.  Perfect for a cake treat for your man or kids! Yum-bots!

Angry Birds Cupcakes

Angry Birds Cupcakes for the Cake takes the biscuit blog

My boyfriend sends me lots of links to cool cakes he sees on the web and hints at which cakes he’d like for his birthday. I knew an Angry Birds cake was on the list after he sent me the Playable Angry Birds Cake video and this clever modelled one. I’m not all that experienced at modelling so didn’t think I’d be able to do the birds justice. In the end I came up with the idea of cupcake toppers but found there are very few items of Angry Birds merchandise out there at the moment. I bought these off eBay and they’re very reasonably priced and were delivered quickly. I made vanilla sponge cupcakes with piped buttercream (Cakes4Fun recipe) and then added the toppers. I found the pigs came out the best because the printing of that topper was the most accurate colour wise. I then bought some happy birthday candles and was set! Note to self though, don’t walk with those happy bday candles – the wicks are really short and they fizzle out in seconds!

Let Them Eat Cake Exhibition Review

Tate & Lyle cake exhibitionA couple of days before the Royal Wedding, I took my Parisian friend to the ‘Let them eat cake’ exhibition organised by Tate and Lyle. She had asked to do something ‘British’ before she moved back to Paris permanently. We had already been to the Orangery for afternoon tea so I thought a royal wedding cake competition and exhibit would be the perfect cake outing. Tate & Lyle held a competition on Facebook for people to create their version of the royal wedding cake. At Wellington Arch, the cakes were presented and there were some great entries. They were works of art!

Whilst browsing the cakes and reading all the tid bits of information about royal wedding cakes throughout the ages, I was asked if I wanted to be filmed for a Channel 5 and OK magazine feature. I agreed although was horrified that I had gone out with no make-up on as I was too busy for make-up with all the moving house tasks. I spoke about what I thought the royal wedding cake would look like and which cakes I liked at the exhibition. I haven’t heard that the feature has gone out just yet but if it makes the cut, I’ll let you know!

Made with sugar paste on an aluminium armature

I learned all sorts of facts at the exhibition such as Queen Elizabeth II’s cake was 9ft high and a replica of Buckingham Palace with models of Balmoral and Windsor Castle! A 27 year old piece of cake from Princess Diana and Prince Charles’ wedding was sold at an auction for over £1,000! And in days gone by, wedding cakes had lots of lovely white icing, because it showed off how rich the bride’s family was because sugar was so expensive. Who knew! I loved the replica of the Victorian era cake because the detail and craftsmanship was beautiful. The It Must be Love cake was a big favourite of other visitors too. Enjoy the pics and you can see a slide show of more pictures on the Independent’s website here.

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