Archive for the Food Category


Posted in Food, Homemade, Journal, Musings with tags on 16/09/2011 by Jen Healey

At about 7am this morning I walked by my open bedroom window and caught the scent of autumn… it made me smile.  I love this time of year, there is so much to look forward to – Halloween (of course), Bonfire Night, Christmas and warming comfort food whilst snuggled up all cozy at home with family.  To quote Ina Garten – “What’s not to like?”

I don’t mind the cold or the dark, unsurprisingly.  The colours and clothes are more to my taste and who doesn’t like the festivities?

My hubby is not a fan of the trick or treaters and I don’t like the icy roads, but that’s about all I can think of as negative about this end of the year.  Bring it on!

Yesterday I cooked the first casserole of the year, beef with bacon, veggies and small jersey potatoes, which was finished off by Jakey and myself for lunch today.  Not to brag, but it was warm, tasty and felt wholesome and comforting.  Simple stuff, but nice little pleasures to be savoured.

To those poor folks who suffer with Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is not a term that I hear at work at all really, I say – get involved in the celebrations, at whatever level you are comfortable with.  You could go all out, if you have the time and resources, and make your own decorations for Halloween and Christmas, and cook/bake treats for parties and visitors.  Enjoy the simple things in good company this season and the next.  As long as the roads aren’t too bad!



Jakey’s 1st Birthday

Posted in Fledgling Foodie File, Food, Homemade, Journal with tags , , , , on 08/09/2011 by Jen Healey

Today is/was my little baby boy’s first birthday, it was pretty busy in places, but he’s fast asleep as I type – all tuckered out!  He’s not the only one!  The whole household is pretty tired, but I think we’ve all enjoyed marking the occasion.  We didn’t have a party, but there was a cake or two, obviously made by yours truly.  There were fairy cakes, which I baked yesterday and iced today –

The birthday boy, whilst I was icing and assembling the above, ate an entire (un-iced) fairy cake – that’s my boy!

His birthday cake was a chocolate sandwich cake, from a Cadbury’s cookbook, which I baked and iced yesterday, but applied the crumbled Flake today (as suggested by my hubby).

This was pretty much it’s best side!

I think I should maybe have a few days off baking, after one last batch of biscuits tomorrow (Rachel, save some room at lunch time).  This obsession is taking over my blog and I have many other subjects to blog about which aren’t getting a look in at the moment.

Bake-free Tuesday

Posted in Fledgling Foodie File, Food, Homemade, Journal with tags , on 06/09/2011 by Jen Healey

Today I have not baked anything yet!  I might have to use up the couple of dough-logs that I have left over in the fridge to abate my withdrawal symptoms to bake some biscuits.  Flippin’ Great British Bake Off, I’m sure my cakey-bakey obsession is being fuelled by my watching it, twice a week.

I did make some biscuits both yesterday and the day before however.

Sunday it was the quadruple chocolate beauties and yesterday it was the plain biscuits, which turned out more crumbly with softer butter and a dough that was worked a bit more –

Okay so they are not all uniform in size or colour, but they are yummy and I can’t believe that it has taken me until I am 30 years old to discover the wonder that is baking!  I used to love spending time at my grandma’s house ‘helping’ her to bake her cheese biscuits, mince pies and tea cake.  I always think of her when I bake, which has become everyday at the moment.  It is a lovely way to spend any bit of kitchen-time I can snatch that isn’t doing the everyday little tasks; loading the washing machine, dishwasher, tumble dryer, cooking meals etc.

Baking is more than therapeutic, it is my new addiction.

Although, I don’t really mind that much about not managing to bake today, as it has been a bit of a tiring day.  It was Bethany’s first day at a new school and I was so anxious for her to have a good day along with feeling very excited for her, as it appears to be a lovely little school.  I was so pleased that I almost clapped as I watched her file out with a proper bounce in her step and she was beaming – wonderful stuff.

Also, as my little boy is one on Thursday, I took a quick trip to Leamington with him this morning and spent a good chunk of cash in the Early Learning Centre and Clintons.

Which doesn’t sound like that much really, but I have been up and on the go since 5:45am.  So I’m off to bed early-ish, as I’m more busy tomorrow.


Quadruple Chocolate Cookies

Posted in Fledgling Foodie File, Food, Homemade, Journal with tags on 06/09/2011 by Jen Healey

I’m not sure there is such a thing as quadruple chocolate cookies but these biscuits that I made on 4th September have lots of chocolate in/on them.  The dough was made with cocoa, to which I added white chocolate chunks and milk chocolate chunks.  Once they were baked and cooled, the cookies then got a dose of melted white chocolate, I reckon that makes them quadruple chocolate creations…

They are all gone now…

My First Chocolate Cake

Posted in Fledgling Foodie File, Food, Homemade, Journal with tags , , on 03/09/2011 by Jen Healey

Sounds like the title of a children’s cookbook.  Anyway, yesterday (2nd September) I baked my first ever chocolate sandwich cake.  It looked better than it photographed and tasted yum!  That sounds like I ate the whole thing to myself… I haven’t.  There is still half of it left and I had two (and a bit) pieces over yesterday and today.

The top is dusted with Cocoa powder, although, I think whipped cream might be nice to top it with if it is going to be shared with a crowd next time.

Today I made some cookies with the same recipe I used for my first attempt/flop, these weren’t much better really, but they are going down pretty well, considering.

Cookies or biscuits?

Posted in Fledgling Foodie File, Food, Homemade, Journal with tags , , on 02/09/2011 by Jen Healey

It seems, after a quick search, that the only difference between cookies and biscuits is the Atlantic, the Americans calling biscuits over there – cookies and soft leavened bread a biscuit.  Whereas, here in the UK, the word cookie and biscuit seem to be interchangeable.  However, my baking efforts yesterday (1st September), identified as cookies in the recipe book (Bake – Rachel Allen, again), definitely seemed more like biscuits in my opinion.  They tasted very differently to the chocolate chip cookie flop I made on 30/08/11, which were chewier and not as crumbly as these ‘cookies’, which I felt sat squarely under the title of ‘biscuits’.

As you can see, some were more golden than others, as I was running late for a dentist appointment and the batch on the lower shelf could have done with a bit longer baking.  But they tasted pretty good, which is what counts.

Later, when I’d been to the dentist and run a few errands, I got a bit creative with some white chocolate –

I certainly don’t expect Michel Roux Jr to call offering me a job (scary), but I thought they looked pretty good, it was fun too.

Of course Bethany had a go with decorating whilst the chocolate was still warm –

Hubby is enjoying being a chief taste-tester for my obsession with baking.  Today I’ll be attempting a chocolate cake – eek, fingers crossed we don’t have another foodie flop!

Lastly, something I can’t help but mention (in a dorkily-funny way) is that when I’m uploading these pictures of biscuits, the computer says ‘crunching’.  Tee hee.



Proper Buttercream

Posted in Fledgling Foodie File, Food, Homemade, Journal with tags , , , on 02/09/2011 by Jen Healey

My second batch of fairy cakes (baked on Wednesday 31st August), made using Rachel Allen’s Bake recipe book, had a buttercream filling/topping made by heating milk, sugar and egg yolks carefully and adding this custard to softened butter and vanilla flavouring.

This is the plate of cakes that I assembled –

This is the plate of cakes that Beth assembled –

I think she did really well.

Here’s the one that ended up on the kitchen floor –

…proving that you shouldn’t run with cakes (I’ll know better next time – kidding!).

And this is the one that never got a topping –

Well, I had a hot drink and they hadn’t cooled yet!  I’m only human!

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