The Nerdy Nummies Cookbook by Rosanna Pansino

I am always on the look out for unusual cookbooks to help inspire my baking and The Nerdy Nummies Cookbook by Rosanna Pansino definitely falls into this category. It is full of unusual cakes and bakes that help to celebrate maths, science and geek culture. It is a cookbook that appealed to the scientist in me as well as the baker. As the book says it contains sweet treats for the geek in all of us.

Nerdy NummiesRosanna Pansino is the host of Nerdy Nummies, which is a popular internet baking show. Her videos have been watched more than 1 billion times and Rosanna is one of the most watched personalities on YouTube. The Nerdy Nummies Cookbook showcases her most popular creations as well as a selection of new recipes.

The book starts with an Introduction and section about the Nerdy Nummies show and how it started which is interesting reading. There is then an explanation on how to use the book with a list of tools, tips and techniques for decorating and information on where to get the templates to make the unusual shapes some of the recipes use. Templates are included at the back of the book and also available to download on-line. The recipes then start with a section on basic recipes. These are used to complete all the projects in the book and are set out in a really easy to follow way. There are various recipes from New York style cheesecake, to brownies, red velvet cake and different types of icing.

Nerdy-Nummies-2The baking projects then start, the book is broken into six chapters each devoted to a different theme. There is Math & Science, Space, Fantasy & Sci-Fi, Gaming, Tech & Web and Geeky Treats. Each recipe has an introduction with a full colour picture and a list of ingredients. There are then really easy to follow steps with photos to allow you to recreate the recipe really easily. The projects are inspired and I was quite happy just flicking though the book and reading it. 

The Math & Science section includes recipes like the Periodic Table of Cupcakes, Apple Pi Pie and Atom Cookies. These are inspired by Math & Science and are a great way to inspire people to find out more about the subject.

Nerdy NummiesSpace has a series of space inspired recipes, why not take off in a Rocket Ship Cookie Pop or create a cake resembling the moon? I also loved the Gaming section which not only recreates modern games but also recreates some traditional games. I love this Chocolate Chess Cake which would be a perfect centre piece for a party.ChessThe section on tech also had me smiling. These Emoticon cookes are guaranteed to please and if you feel creative why not try a Motherboard cake?

Nerdy NummiesThe Nerdy Nummies cookbook has a great range of recipes that can be tackled by basic and advanced cooks. These bakes will definitely make you stand out and look great fun to try. I am having fun deciding which one I am going to make first. The book would also make a great gift for someone who enjoys baking.

The Nerdy Nummies Cookbook: Sweet Treats for the Geek in all of Us is
available from Amazon and other bookstores. RRP £16.99

If you love baking you might also be interested in Fairy Tale Baking, a recipe book that helps bring fairy tales to life in cake form.

Hidden Newcastle: The Mining Institute

Next to Central Station in Newcastle is a building that I have walked past many times, Neville Hall. If you live in Newcastle you will recognise it. The building is home to The North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers or The Mining Institute which is an organisation dedicated to the research and preservation of knowledge relating to mining and mechanical engineering. Mining is very much part of Newcastle’s industrial past and the work of the Mining Institute did much to improve safety in mines and prevent explosions from occurring

The Mining InstituteThe Mining Institute is near to the Lit and Phil, which played a part in its foundation. In 1852 the Lit and Phil proposed setting up an institute which would discuss preventing accidents in mines and ventilating them better, along with other things. Nicolas Wood became the first president. Nicolas Wood was a mining and locomotive engineer who worked along side George Stephenson. The building that houses the institute was built slightly later and is an amazing building. Inside you will find a Victorian Library which is full of artwork and sculptures as well as having an ornate glass roof and windows. Beneath the library is the Edwardian Lecture Theatre which is modelled on the one in the Royal Institution. I have memories of watching the Royal Institution lectures every year on television at Christmas. It was part of our family tradition.

Visiting the Mining Institute

We chose to visit the Mining Institute on one of this years Heritage Open Days. We noticed there were tours as well as two new exhibitions one celebrating the bicentenary of the invention of the miners safety lamp and the second commemorating the bicentenary of the publication of William Smith’s ‘map that changed the world’.  The building is normally open to members and  the public  Monday to Friday 10:00 to 17:00, but was open on a Saturday for the Heritage Open Days. We managed to arrive mid way though a tour but tagged onto the end. We started in the Victorian library, entering though the door that said Members Only.

The Mining InstituteInside the library is impressive. It was built at a time when Gothic architecture was fashionable and the high windows and vaulted ceiling show this. The room is panelled and filled with paintings. A sculpture of Nicolas Wood looks down overseeing the room.

The Mining InstituteThe Mining Instiitute The Mining InstituteThe Mining InstituteIt must be a lovely place to sit and study. The exhibition showing the history of the mining lamps was at one end of the hall and this was really interesting reading, as were the displays of the different styles of miners lamps

The Mining InstituteEdwardian Lecture Theatre

The Edwardian lecture theatre is constructed from Cuban mahogany and is an impressive place. The dark panels are  topped with rows of photos showing past presidents of the Mining Institute. Many of these are well known industrialist at the time. Faces on the wall include  William George Armstrong known for the Armstrong works and Cragside, the first house powered by hydroelectricity and Robert Stephenson.

Mininig InstituteMining InstituteThe Archives

The Mining Institute has a vast collection of notebooks, letters, maps, plans, drawings andbooks and reports over 150 years related to every conceivable aspect of mining and the movement of coal. It is a great place to find out about the Industrial Revolution, in which the North East played a big part. You will also find a large amount of geological resources here including maps and plans. Many of these are of great historical significance. The Mining Institute has an archive which stores these resources which is fascinating. There are layers of shelves which can be moved around in order to find what you are looking for. I imagine it was a hard job to catalogue everything stored within.

The Mining InstituteLeaving the Mining Institute.

On the way out of the Mining Institute are a number of photos on the walls. These are black and white photos showing life as it used to be on Tyneside. We stopped for a while to look at these, they were really fascinating.

Mining InstituteThere was a model railway set up in one of the rooms on the way out which we also stopped to look at for a while. This was a great tribute to the industrial revolution and the part the Mining Institute played in it.

Mining InstituteMining InstituteThe Mining Institute was a fascinating place to visit and I am glad I took the time to pop in. The building is well worth a look around in it’s own right and the history behind the building only makes it more fascinating.

If you are interested in other historical hidden gems in Newcastle then the Holy Jesus Hospital is also an interesting place to visit.


Coconut Thumbprint Cookies

There is something about Christmas that makes me want to bake. There is nothing nicer than filling the house with the scent of baking biscuits. It mingles well with the scents I associate with the season, pine needles, gingerbread, orange and cinnamon and warming hot chocolate. All that is needed is a warming log fire to sit beside and watch the flames crackle as it snows outside. It is always a good idea to have some biscuits on hand to serve to unexpected guests. Christmas always brings old friends calling at the door to deliver cards and catch up on news.

Coconut thumbprint cookies

Recently I made some coconut thumbprint cookies. Thumbprint cookies are given this name because of the indentation in the middle that is filled up with jam. They are pretty to look at and would make a lovely addition to the Christmas tea table. You can use different types of jam and even marmalade to make different coloured centres for an interesting look.

coconut thumbprint cookiesI chose to make coconut thumbprint cookies as I had recently been sent some lovely coconut products from Coconut Merchant and this gave me a great excuse to try them. Coconut merchant is a new British brand that has been launched in the UK that offers a diverse range of products made from coconut. They work closely with farmers and cooperatives in South East Asia, to ensure all products are ethically sourced from farmers who are fairly paid and respected for their produce. Coconut is a super food which medium-chain fatty acid known as Lauric Acid, which may help lower cholesterol and can kill harmful pathogens such as bacteria, viruses and fungi. It also tastes really nice.

Coconut MerchantI was really surprised by the range of products from Coconut Merchant. They had everything, from coconut chips to coconut jam. One thing that did surprise me was the Coconut Merchant Extra-Virgin Organic Raw Coconut Oil. 300ml jar RRP £5.99 It has lots of different uses from cooking and baking to being a great moisturiser for your skin. I was however surprised to learn it is also good for dogs. A little bit can be added to their diet to improve digestion and the condition of their fur. It can also be used directly on the coat during a wash to keep their fur soft. As with anything only small amounts should be added to their diet. My dog loved it.

For my coconut thumbprint cookies I made use of the Coconut Merchant Coconut Snack Chips which come in 40g resealable bags RRP £1.49. I crushed these and used them to cover half the biscuits. The chips are really tasty and I must admit I managed to eat quite a few while I was baking. They are the ideal size for taking to work for a healthy snack. To fill my biscuits I used the Coconut Merchant Coconut Jam 330g jar RRP £5.99. The coconut jam is winner of a Great Taste Award 2015 and Highly Commended in the Free From Food Awards 2015. I have to admit to being really intrigued to what it tasted like. Having tasted it I still can’t describe it. The consistency is like that of nutella and the jam itself has a almost caramel like taste, without being as sweet. It is really nice and my son loves it. It worked really well in the centre of the biscuits.

Coconut thumbprint cookiesThe great thing about this recipe is it makes 24 biscuits, so you can store some away in a tin for unexpected guests. Having said that biscuits of any kind never last long in my house, my teenage son is always on the search for food. These were delicious and make a perfect afternoon treat. If you want to try the Coconut Merchant products yourself they are currently available on-line from, Amazon and Grape Tree stores, and selected products from Selfridges, Planet Organic, ASDA, Tesco, Revital and The Health Rack – as well as other independent stores.

Coconut Thumbprint Cookies Recipe

Coconut Thumbprint Cookies
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  1. 230g butter
  2. 100g sugar
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  5. Pinch of salt
  6. 260g flour
  7. 100g crushed coconut chips
  8. Coconut jam
  1. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
  2. Separate the egg whites from the yolks.
  3. Add the yolks and vanilla extract to the butter mix.
  4. Add the flour and salt and mix until a dough is formed.
  5. Place in the fridge for half an hour. In the meantime whisk the egg whites until fluffy.
  6. Preheat the oven to 180C, Gas Mark 4
  7. Roll the dough into small balls. Dip half in the egg white and roll in the coconut chips.
  8. Place on a baking tray lined with baking parchment.
  9. Press down with your thumb to make a dip in the centre of each biscuit and fill with a little jam
  10. Bake for 12-15 minutes until firm. Allow to cook for a few minutes on the tray then move to a wire rack to finish cooling
Dragons and Fairy Dust
If you are looking for other ideas for festive bakes, why not try Linzertorte Biscuits which look very stylish on the table.
Linzertorte biscuits
Christmas Wreath Biscuits also look pretty and Mincemeat biscuits are a great way to use up leftover mincemeat from mince pies.

Tasty Tuesdays on

Tomato and Raspberry Soup

There is nothing like a warming bowl of soup on a cold day. When the ice is lying on the ground outside it makes you feel warm and comforted. Tomato soup is one of those perfect comfort foods. The bright red colour looks cheerful and eating it is almost like eating a bowl of sunshine. With tomato soup on the table life cannot look bad. With Christmas on the way it is nice to try unusual flavour combinations to add a bit of interest to the festive table. Tomato and raspberry soup would make a lovely starter for the festive meal. The raspberry adds a little zing to the comfort of the tomato soup making it a little special. The red colour is perfect for the festive table and the swirl of cream makes it look special. If you have vegetarians to cater for it would be the ideal starter for them.

Tomato and raspberry soupFor some reason this year there was a bumper crop of raspberries. My freezer is still full of bags of frozen raspberries. I ended up freezing loads as they were appearing on the canes as fast as I picked them. Raspberries remind me of the summer, the sweet tangy taste makes you think of sunny days and warmth. Adding some raspberry puree to the tomato soup is almost like bringing a sprinkle of summer to the festive table.

tomato and raspberry soupA good soup needs some lovely crusty bread rolls to go alongside it. There is nothing nicer than a warm roll with a smear of butter to enjoy with your soup. Paul Hollywood came to my rescue by creating me some lovely wheatsheaf crusty rolls. Paul Hollywood did not visit my home in person, which is probably a good thing I don’t think he would have been impressed by my kitchen. Paul Hollywood has just created a range of ready to bake rolls produced using simple, good quality ingredients.They are called Paul Hollywood Ready to Bake.

Paul Hollywood Bake At home

All you need to do is to put them in the oven for ten minutes and you have the perfect roll to serve with your soup. Choose from Flour dusted wheatsheaf crusty rolls, a mixed pack of poppy and sesame seed topped rolls (3 of each) or a mixed pack of multiseed (linseed, sunflower, millet and sesame seeds) rolls. The rolls are perfect not just with soup, ideal for serving with stew or just making a sandwich as well. You can find Paul Hollywood Ready To Bake in Waitrose, Tesco, Ocado and Budgens stores,RRP £1.49

Tomato and raspberry soup recipe

Tomato and raspberry soup
Serves 6
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  1. 2 tbsp veg oil
  2. 1 onion
  3. 2 sticks celery
  4. 2 small carrots
  5. 2 397g can chopped tomatos
  6. 300ml veg stock
  7. Ground black pepper
  8. 450g raspberries sieved
  9. 2 tsp lemon juice
  10. 2 tsps caster sugar
  11. Garnish
  12. Mint
  13. Yoghurt
  1. Heat oil in pan. Chop onion, celery and carrot and fry for five minutes until soft Add tomatoes and stock. Season with pepper. Bring to boil and simmer 15 minutes. Pass raspberries though sieve to make purée.
  2. Add raspberry purée lemon juice and sugar to the soup and check the seasoning. Add salt and pepper if needed. Blend until smooth. Serve with swirl of natural yoghurt and a sprig of mint
Dragons and Fairy Dust

The rolls were the perfect accompaniment for the soup which was warming and zingy, the perfect pick me up for a freezing cold day. They also looked impressive and would be fabulous to serve to guests, you could pretend you made them yourself.

Tomato and raspberry soupFor other warming soup ideas why not try potato soup, with its added bacon and cheese it makes a perfect meal. If you had time you could make some home made bread to serve with it.


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Wellness Dog Food Review

A dog quickly becomes a member of the family. Routines are adjusted to fit in time dedicated to their welfare. Getting up early to take them for a morning walk so they are content for the day ahead and sleep while you are out. Throwing a toy for them because they woof at you and let you know they want to play. Allowing them on your bed at night because they are cold, even though they get in the way. My dog, Eddie, is a valuable family member. He is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and has a very happy attitude to life but is a useless guard dog. He is quite content just to be with the family.


Wellness Dog Food Range

In order to keep Eddie in the best of health I like to try and choose food for him that I know will keep him healthy. The problem is that he is a very fussy eater. He does not eat much and I really have to tempt him with food some days to get him to eat. I am always happy to try him with new foods and on the lookout for something he really loves. Recently Eddie was sent some Wellness Dog Food  to try out. This is available exclusively from Pets At Home. The food contains no wheat, corn, soya, artificial colours or preservatives. The recipes are full of real food like de-boned meat, healthy fruit and vegetables and are specially formulated to provide a well balanced diet for your pet. The wellness range contains both wet and dry food, so you have a choice which to feed your pet.

Wellness dog food

Wellness Simple

There are three Wellness products in the Wellness dog food range, CORE, Complete Health and Simple. Wellness Simple is a dry food diet that has been created for adult dogs with food sensitivities or allergies. If your dog has allergies it can be hard to get food for them so this is a welcome addition. Luckily Eddie does not have allergies so he tried a couple of other products in the range.

Wellness Core

There are two different dog foods in this range. Wellness Core dried dog food and Wellness Core Chunky Centers. Eddie tried the Wellness Core Chunky Centres. These are savoury pate dishes which have been topped with rich cuts in gravy. He tried two flavours, Chunky Centers – tuna, chicken and kale and Chunky Centers – turkey, duck and white sweet potato.

Wellness coreWhen I put the packs down on the floor before opening them Eddie was really interested, sniffing them and looking at me hopefully. You can see his ear fur in the photo, he was just so excited it was hard to move him. When I opened the pack you could distinctly see the two layers of food, it is a nice idea to have two flavours in one pack as it gives the dog some variety. When I gave him the tuna variety he gobbled it down, the food didn’t even touch the sides. He was not as keen on the turkey flavour but did eat it.

Wellness dog foodWellness dog food

Wellness Complete Health

The Wellness Small Breed Complete Health dog food is a dried food that has been designed specially for the needs of small breed dogs. It is mainly composed of fresh meat and also has ingredients to boost their energy and take care of their joints, skin and fur. Eddie loved the dried dog food and would happily eat this. As well as the dried dog food there are also the Wellness Petitie Entrée recipes in this range. These are casserole recipes containing meat and vegetables that can be fed alongside the dried dog food or by themselves as a complete meal. Eddie was not as keen on these but that is probably a matter of taste.

Wellness petitieI would be more than happy to feed Eddie this food, especially the Wellness Core Chunky Centres which he absolutely adored. You might also want to read about choosing the right pet toy for your dog.

Eddie was sent some Wellness dog food to try in return for an honest review.