Monday, 29 June 2015

Eggy Puffs

I realise that's not the most tempting of titles, so I welcome all suggestions as to what to call these little crustless quiches (perhaps that's my title?) that are perfect for a snack, picnic or, the reason I made them, for Baby Led Weaning.  I was looking for a way to introduce a little meat without him having to pick up a chunk and gnaw at it - we're not quite there yet - and something to give a nice veggie hit of something he'd not tried before and doesn't work well in a baton.  Enter, spinach.  These perfect little lovies give your perfect little lovies the iron, dairy and protein they need in just one hit - fabulous, and mummy points for you (makes up for the chips you gave them earlier in the week, right?).

These don't take long to whip up and are easily doubled.  They can be eaten warm or cold, but don't taste great straight for the oven; the heat takes away their flavour and squishy texture that my son finds so fun.  And it's this squishy texture that helps the babes as they learn how to grip.  Expect a few pieces of these shooting out of their fists as they squeeze to hard, and get the camera ready for the look of shock when that happens.

One final point.  A silicone cupcake mould is essential here to make sure they don't stick and are easy enough to release from their cooking prison.

Puffy Eggs - Makes 6

Eggy Puffs - Great for Baby Led Weaning
Eggy Puffs - Great for Baby Led Weaning

  • Tsp oil
  • 2 spring onions, chopped into thin rounds
  • A good handful of washed spinach
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • Knob butter, melted
  • Couple of slices of ham
  • Grated cheese - amount to taste
  1. Heat the oil and fry the onions until soft.  Add the spinach and stir until wilted.  Remove from the heat.
  2. In a jug whisk the eggs, milk and butter until combined and pour evenly between six cups in the silicon mould.
  3. Tip the spinach mixture into the empty jug and chop until quite small with kitchen scissors (you can use a knife on a chopping board but this way is so much easier and not at all messy).
  4. Add the ham, torn into small pieces.
  5. Divide the spinach and ham mixture between the cups of egg
  6. Top with a good smattering of grated cheese (to taste - I add loads!)

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Ultimate English - A Review

Suffice to say, life has been super hectic of late; moving house, to another county with a rambunctious child, a whiny I-don't-want-to-sleep baby (what's up with him is anyone's guess) a bouncy dog and two desperate-to-escape cats is NOT recommended.  So it's taken me a while to sit down get social (Hi, Twitter, I'm still here!) and write a post or two.

Ultimate English Totally Luxurious Vanilla and Clotted Cream Fudge
Totally Luxurious Vanilla and Clotted Cream Fudge
Luckily, the folks over at Ultimate English sent me some delicious fudge to try which has given me a much needed sugar boost to get me through the last few days of moving, unpacking, building flat pack, going to the tip and cleaning, each activity interspersed with the popping of a piece of soft, sweet rich sugary milky goodness (pop! another piece just found its way in).

I was sent four treats to try.

The Totally Luxurious Vanilla and Clotted Cream Fudge, my favourite and currently sat in front of me, is flecked with vanilla seeds and has a pleasingly grainy texture of the fudge I remember eating back in the day. It's also the richest of the four, meaning it's lasted the longest in this household

Ultimate English Awesomely Smooth Salted Caramel Fudge
Awesomely Smooth Salted Caramel Fudge
Up next is the Awesomely Smooth Salted Caramel Fudge which, true to its name, is awesomely smooth in texture with the slightest hint of salt that doesn't totally overwhelm.  My mum, a salt hater actually said this was alright; my husband, a salt lover, said it was 'Amazing', only just understood through the mouthful of fudge.  

Ultimate English Simply Marvellous All Butter Fudge
Simply Marvellous All Butter Fudge
The last fudge, thSimply Marvellous All Butter Fudge is so buttery you could spread it on toast.  I wasn't over keen on the texture; somewhere between the grainy Vanilla and Clotted Cream and the smooth Salted Caramel varieties, I needed it to get off the texture-fence.  Having said that, the sweet buttery taste, made with 16% pure butter no less, made it a hit with the three year old.

Finally, a non-fudge contender, the Unbelievably Wonderful Coconut Ice.  I remember making and tasting coconut ice at school.  Urgh.  The manky texture, like chewing on blocks of damp sand, overly sweet, not at all coconutty -  happily, not at all what you'll find here.  I've not had coconut ice since that incident school put me off for life so I'm probably not the best person to review thanks to lack of comparison, but after eating all that fudge, the not-too-sweet coconut flavour and texture really hit the spot.  The pink squares were not so pink you worry about what it could do to your stomach lining, just pink enough to make you wonder if that colour would look nice in your downstairs loo (that's a complement, by the way!).  I'll buy Coconut Ice again, but only Unbelievably Wonderful Coconut Ice.

Ultimate English Unbelievably Wonderful Coconut Ice
Unbelievably Wonderful Coconut Ice
The Ultimate English range scored the most points when I looked at the Best Before Date.  November.  This year.  Brilliant.  I bought some fudge not so long ago that went off in over three years.  This stuff is meant to contain butter and condensed milk FGS; if it lasts that long, it can't be good for you.  If I'm going to be bad and eat loads of sweets, they'd better be natural and not full of E-numbers.  Sure enough, the 'I'll last forever and screw your brain' fudge ingredient list started with an E; this fudge?  Starts with Sugar, ends with Pure Vanilla extract (with more yummy stuff in between and nothing I don't recognise).

Where can you buy it, and how much for?
You won't find these treats in large chain stores, no siree; these beauties are the preserve of local delis, cafes, farm shops and independent retailers in and around Yorkshire, with over 300 outlets - head to The Ultimate English Website to find your nearest stockist, with prices at £3.99 RRP for a 180g box.  Sadly, I couldn't find where to buy it online.  Gutted that I scoffed the lot so quickly now that I can't replenish my stores.  However, with the brand being only one year old, The Serious Sweet Company are rolling out a plan of sales support for premium independents at venues across the North West for Summer 2015 - so watch this space for your local stockist - Sorry, Londoners!

Share with me - what's your favourite English sweet treat?

*Ultimate English sent these treats for me to ry and review.  All views are my own (and my family's).

Sunday, 7 June 2015

American Style Pancakes

I love Sundays. I realise this isn't a statement that makes me unique, but I do. And this is why.

My son is a Daddy's boy. Through and through, probably because they are the same mental age, but it means I'm generally not involved in games concerning cars, superheros, fire trucks... I just don't have the imagination for it and the child knows it.  I'm about finding fun, my husband creates it.  But even the car I made from a box, Daddy got the credit for (and the a-hole took it!)

However, Sunday morning is our time - one of the first things out of his mouth is 'Can we make pancakes, mummy'.  I love it.  Every week, my baby boy and I make delicious pancakes for the family - he cracks the egg, pours in the milk, gives a little stir before he gets bored.  Super easy, super fluffy, super quick and even better, child friendly, both in the making and the eating.  They are resolutely family friendly too - no baddies in the salt and sugar world in these babies means they are the perfect Baby Led Weaning food.

But like the three bears, we all have our own ways to guzzle these:
  • The baby - plain with a side of banana 

  • The Child - SMOTHERED with Nutella (It's the weekend after all)

  • The Man - sandwiched with pancake crack (also known as Pancake Syrup from Tate and Lyle) and bananas, sometimes topped with a few blueberries

  • Me - Stacked with maple syrup and fresh fruit (main picture) with a Nutella pancake chaser because I just can't resist.

One mix of this bad boy makes enough for a greedy Sunday breakfast for me and The Man, three for The Child, one for The Baby and one or two for the dog (not surprisingly, he has his plain).  There are around 20 pancakes about 7cm in diameter using a pancake pan but if using a frying pan you can choose your own size - but any bigger than 10cm or so won't cook inside before the outside is done.

When The Baby has a bigger appetite, I'll simply make double and keep the rest in the fridge until needed (a blast in the microwave will bring them back to life) or freeze until you have visitors, or more likely, need a snack-like bribe for the kids.

Finally, if you eat these every week, do invest in a pancake pan - they somehow make better pancakes and satisfy my need for uniformity in an otherwise crazy life.  Mine is from Amazon, here, but you can also get one with smiley faces here!  I've got a Christmas one too.... Sad.

American Style Pancakes (makes 20-24 small pancakes).


  • 200g self-raising flour

  • 1tsp baking powder

  • 300ml milk (semi-skimmed works best but if making for a baby, try to use whole if you are concerned)

  • 1 egg

  • 1/2 tsp flavourless oil (we use sunflower)

    PicMonkey Collage
  1. Simply place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk until the consistency of double cream and no lumps remain.

  2. Brush a non-stick pan with a the oil - there only needs be a super light coating.  Best to use a frying pan or, even better, a pancake pan like in the pictures.

  3. Heat on a medium heat until hot then pour a tbsp of batter into each pancake hole or into the pan until all holes or full, or you've no more room in your pan without them touching each other.

  4. Fry over a medium heat until little bubbles show on the uncooked surface then turn and cook on the other side.  If you are unsure, lift the edge of a pancake to see if they are a light golden brown and ready to turn.

  5. Cook on the other side, checking after a couple of minutes to see if they are done.

  6. Slide onto a serving plate and keep warm until the rest are cooked.

  7. Repeat until all batter is used.

  8. Serve topped with your favourite sweet topping

There's no need to serve them sweet - with no sugar in the batter a topping of cream cheese and ham might be nice?  Give it a try and let me know.