Baking for Mother’s Day with Betty Crocker

Mother’s day is fast approaching and now my son is getting older he is getting more independent. He decided he wanted to do some baking for Mother’s Day. Luckily I had some help at hand, Betty Crocker was on standby to help out. Now before you think that Betty Crocker herself walked into my kitchen and started helping my son to bake, I must tell you that it was actually her range of cake and biscuit mixes that came to my rescue. It would have been quite nice to have Betty Crocker supervising but the cake mixes were the next best thing. They allowed my son to mix and bake without having to use the scales. All that was needed was to add some water, or eggs to the mix and a perfect bake was achieved.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

First he made some chocolate chip cookies using Betty Crocker chocolate chip cookie mix. All that he had to do was tip the packet into a bowl, add some water and mix into a dough. The cookies were then placed on a baking tray and cooked in the oven.

Chocolate chip cookiesThey turned out really well, soft and chewy with plenty of chocolate chips. My only complaint was there were not enough, next time I will use two packets of mix. My son was really pleased that he had made them himself and wanted to start on the next project which was a Victoria sponge.

Betty Crocker chocolate chip cookies

Victoria Sponge

The Victoria sponge was just as easy to make, the most complicated part was lining the cake tins. I have very old cake tins which tend to leak if I am not careful. I need to make sure the baking parchment prevents any of the mixture escaping. My son added eggs, water and some cooking oil to the cake mix and whisked it up.

Victoria sponge mixThe mixture was then poured into the tins and baked for twenty minutes. The smell as it cooked was gorgeous. The cakes were then left to cool so we could ice them. Waiting for them to cool always seems to take forever, my son waiting impatiently.

Victoria spongeBetty Crocker was also on hand to help with the icing. Buttercream icing can be fiddly and I always end up with icing sugar everywhere. The vanilla icing with rainbow sprinkles was perfect, just spread it on and top with the rainbow sprinkles. There was even enough for the middle and the top of the cake. We added a layer of jam to the middle of the Victoria Sponge as well.

Victoria spongeThe resulting cake was delicious and tastes just as good as a home made cake. It was perfect with a cup of tea mid afternoon.

Victoria spongeBetty Crocker have a range of different cake mixes, biscuit mixes and icing which are great if you want to mix up a cake in a hurry or let your child bake you a cake. Are you baking for Mother’s Day? I would love to know what you are making.

I was sent some Betty Crocker products to try out in return for an honest review.

Making Curry with Mum’s Masala

I love cooking and love nothing better than making a meal from scratch. When you work full time sometimes you just want to make something that is quick and easy. On these days I often turn to cooking sauces, they are a nice compromise. When it comes to making curry I usually use a cooking sauce or curry paste. I have tried many different types in the past  like  Pataks. I have never mastered the art of making a curry from scratch, you need a mystical blend of herbs and spices in certain proportions. You need time to let the spices blend and even then cooking it to perfection is a definite art. Apparently there is a particular science to making a curry, one day I may master it.

Recently I was introduced to Mum’s Masala, which is a new universal curry base which allows you to produce a curry at home easily. The sauces are low in saturated fat and made with a blend of spices and curry ingredients like tomatoes, onions, garlic and chilli allowing you to prepare a healthy curry. The only thing you need to add is meat and vegetables and some water and the curry is ready quickly and easily.

Mum's masala curry sauceMum’s Masala comes in three varieties, hot, medium and mild. You will find the jars in Morrisons RRP £2.29. The sauces contain no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives and are prepared using traditional Indian techniques. I tried out the medium variety and decided to use it with chicken and some onions and mushrooms.

Mum's masalaCooking with Mum’s Masala was a little bit different from using other cooking sauces. Normally i would brown the meat and onions before adding the sauce but with Mum’s Masala the sauce is added to the pan and simmered for five minutes before adding the meat. When the sauce is added to the pan you can see the chunks of vegetables in it.

Mums Masala sauceOnce the sauce has simmered you can add the meat, vegetables and water and leave it to simmer for another 35 minutes. It is then ready to serve with rice or whatever you prefer. The curry tasted lovely, the sauce was not too hot and had a lovely spicy taste that was just right. I would definitely use it again.

Mum's masalaMum’s Masala is endorsed by Heart Research UK and celebrity chef Sally Bee because the sauce is so healthy. Tikka Masala is usually quite fattening due to the addition of butter and cream. Mum’s Masala has only 100 calories per 100g. Even better each jar sold provides a contribution to Heart Research UK so you really are helping hearts when you eat.

I was sent some sauce and voucher towards the ingredients in order to write an honest review.

Weight Watchers Hot Chocolate

With the start of the new year many of us have realised exactly how much weight we have put on over Christmas and have made resolutions to lose some weight. The problem with starting a diet is you start to crave things you shouldn’t like chocolate. It is worse when the weather is cold, you can feel hungry and grab anything that comes to hand. Afterwards you think about the calorie count and feelings of guilt start. Fortunately Weight Watchers have a solution, Weight Watchers hot chocolate. The hot chocolate comes in three great flavours, Jaffa Cake, Cappuccino Cream Cake and Chocolate Cherry Brownie allowing you to have your cake and drink it! Weight Watchers are great at creating products to help you feel good whilst losing weight.

weight watchers hot chocolateIt was really difficult deciding which one to try first. In the end I opted for Cherry Brownie while my son decided he would try Cappuccino Cream Cake. As the weather was wild and windy as well as being cold it made the perfect treat to warm us both up after walking the dog.

Weightwatchers hot chocolateThe Cherry Brownie was lovely and chocolatey with a hint of cherry. If you think Black Forest Gateau it will give you a good idea of the taste. I was worried the Cappuccino Cream Cake would taste strongly of coffee and my son would not like it. The coffee flavour is really subtle and this is now my son’s favourite. He asks for a Cappuccino when he comes in from school. The Jaffa Cake tastes of jaffa cakes strangely enough.

Weight watcher hot chocolateThe drink was enough to prevent chocolate cravings and warm me up. I could be guilt free as well as  each serving has  only 1 ProPoint and 38 calories and and no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. I love the resealable plastic pouches as well, they are a nice size for storing in the cupboard. Each pouch contains eight servings and is RRP £1.49. I shall be popping a few of these in my cupboard to treat myself to until the weather warms up. I may even be really naughty and have a weight watchers dark chocolate digestive with my hot chocolate drink.

I was sent the product in return for an honest review.

 

Pancake Masterpieces

There are certain masterpiece paintings that everyone is aware of. Who is not familiar with the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci or The Scream by Edvard Munch. When Abra-ca-Debora got in touch and asked me if I would like to try and recreate classic works of art, using their pancakes as the base and toppings of fruit, nuts or anything that we fancied to create the art, I had to get involved. I set to work creating pancake masterpieces.

As Abra-ca-Debora are Dutch I decided to recreate a work of art from a Dutch master. Here we have The Girl with the Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer.
The girl with a pearl earringLovingly recreated using nutella, peanut butter, almonds and a cherry and blue cake sprinkles. What do you think? Does it resemble the original?  I think it is pretty close.

Next up my recreation of Claude Monet’s Water lillies. He actually did a series of paintings about Water lillies, this is one from 1917 with willow branches hanging over the water.

WaterlilliesI used a base of nutella, mint leaves to create the branches and grapes, cherries and almonds to create the water lillies. More blue cake sprinkles were used for the water.

 My final attempt was a painting from another Dutch master, Vincent Van Gogh. This time I attempted to recreate Starry Night.

starry night

 Chocolate orange pieces were used to create the tower, blue cake sprinkles for the sky and almonds and little Abra-ca-Debora pancakes used for the stars. The village was made with cherries.

Having put all that hard work into making pancake masterpieces they were then eaten and enjoyed by the family. I had never tried Abra-ca-Debora pancakes before, but will be getting them again, they are really tasty. As well as tasting delicious with sweet toppings I think they would be really nice used in a savoury combination. Definitely something to use to make a speedy supper.

If you want to see more examples of pancake art there are plenty on  Abra-ca-Debora’s Facebook Page.

I was sent a hamper of pancakes and ingredients to help me make pancake masterpieces.

 

Discover November’s Degustabox

There is something exciting about receiving a Degustabox and unwrapping it to find out what is inside. I was lucky enough to receive November’s Degustabox to review but had to delay opening it due visitors. It taunted me for a few days and finally I got the chance to open it and find out what was nestled inside. Degustabox is a food subscription box  which promises to bring you between 9 and 14 different food items every month. Many of these are new products to the market and all of them are a surprise, you never know what is in the box till you open it.      DegustaboxThis month’s box contained a mixture of new products from brands I know and products from brands I had never heard of. There was a great selection of foods to try, suitable for the whole family. So what was in the box?

 Lindt Lindor My Melting Moment

 Lindt Lindor My Melting MomentThere were five of these gorgeous Melting Moment chocolates from Lindt. These are snowflake shaped and gorgeously creamy. They were the first item we pounced on when I opened the box and they did not last long, they are delicious, a lovely treat for any time of year but very seasonal with the snowflake.

 Kent’s Kitchen Flavour Shots

Kents Kitchen flavour shotsI love the look of this Kent’s Kitchen Flavour shot, you just add it to diced meat to jazz up the flavour. The meat can then be served with rice, salad, in a wrap or however you want really. I love sauces like this that allow you to create a meal in a hurry and will be giving this a go soon. I have not tried Kent’s Kitchen before so am looking forward to finding out what it is like.

Kettle Chips Salsa & Mesquite

Kettle Chips Salsa and MesquiteI was already familiar with Kettle Chips and love their crispy crunchy crisps. Salsa & Mesquite is a new flavour which has been launched as a limited edition Christmas flavour. The flavour is meant to be a blend of tomatoes, chillies, peppers and  barbecues. I loved this flavour, they were really addictive and I could not stop munching them. They have quite a nice spicy flavour  and would be perfect  set out as nibbles before Christmas dinner.

 Cool Dawn Recovery Drink

Cool dawn recovery drinkThis was a totally new product to me, it is a herbal detox drink that helps prevent and cure hangovers. Ideal for the Christmas season! It does not contain stimulants and is not carbonated. It is hard to describe the taste, it was nice but somewhat unusual. Looking at the ingredients it contains a mix of citrus and liquorice flavours. I normally dislike liquorice but I didn’t actually notice the taste coming though in the drink and found it quite refreshing.

 Pip Organic Cloudy Apple Juice

Pip Cloudy Apple JuiceI love apple juice and Pip Organic apple juice was really tasty. Again it is a brand I had not heard of, Pip Organic are a family run London based business. The drinks are made from 100% organic fruit, with no added sugar, water, preservative or additive and the result is a lovely superior tasting apple juice.

Montano Cider

Montano ciderDescribed as “an elegantly crafted Italian cider made from apples grown in the foothills of the Dolomites”, this looks the perfect drink to enjoy after a stressful day at work. I actually have other plans and look for a recipe using this soon.

Branston Chutney

Branston ChutneyEveryone is familiar with Branston Pickle, it is often paired with cheese sandwiches and a ploughman’s lunch. I hadn’t realised that Branston also made chutney. This is caramelised onion but they also do a Mediterranean tomato version as well. This would make an ideal addition alongside the Christmas cheese board.

 Holy Cow Curry Sauce Pouches

Holy Cow SaucesMy husband loves curry so anything that can help me make curry in a hurry is a winner in my book. I love the look of these Holy Cow curry sauces. These are sauces made from natural ingredients with no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. I got two flavours, Mughlai Korma curry sauce and Mangalore Malabar curry sauce which I am looking forward to trying.

Drink Me Chai

Chai LatteI love chai teas, having found out about them when I reviewed the Tea India range. This Chai Latte was an extra sample present in the November’s Degustabox. It is a blend of spices, milk and sweetened tea that makes a different and unusual drink.

Degustabox also includes a number of recipe suggestions in the box, this month these included Mediterranean Tomato Bubble & Squeak Cakes, Sausage & Caramelised Onion Hot Pot and Flavour Shot Chicken Wrap. There was also a recipe for Cheese, Spinach and Caramelised onion quiche which is a great way to use up left over cheese.

A Degustabox subscription costs £12.99 per month, delivery included. The value of the products is guaranteed to be at least that, and is often more. Plus you get the added excitement of opening the box every month to find out what is inside.
 

I was sent a Degustabox in return for an honest review.