Category: Recipes

Num Noms Crazy Creation Challenge- Series 3 Lunch Box

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you might have seen my previous Num Noms post, Mini Chef Creations in October last year where Violet created some rather wacky courses using the Series 2 Diner and brunch kits! Well this time we were sent the brand new Series 3 Lunch Box set to have a go at the Num Noms Crazy Creation challenge!

Violet sitting with the Num Noms pack
Violet absolutely loves Num Noms and still plays with her series 2 kit (they’re all currently living in her doll house!), so she was pretty excited to receive the new collection and to take part in the #NumNomsCrazyCreation challenge!

Each one has it’s own scent so she loved having a look at each one and trying to figure out which one was which. The pack also included a stamper Num Nom!

Num Noms Line Up

The Num Noms Crazy Creation;

With chef’s hat in place, I asked Violet to pick a few of her favourites so we could come up with a Crazy Creation and get started.

Luckily I already had some things in the kitchen which pretty much matched the ones she had chosen- although her brother wasn’t too happy we used the last banana! Violet chose;

  • Nana Hearts (Banana)
  • Victor Vines (Grape)
  • Wanda Wildberry (Berry)
  • Brooklyn Blue (Berry)
  • Cherry Ann (Cherry)

I think she’s attracted to the bright colours and sweet smells of the fruity ones! This is what she came up with;

Violet's Creation
Basically it’s a banana sandwich, jelly smothered bread, and berry syrup covered banana topped with bright coloured sprinkles! This is what Violet chose to create with the ingredients we had and she loved it! As you can probably tell she was pretty chuffed with herself and it didn’t take her long to eat it, along with the help of her little brother!

Num Noms Crazy Creation Lip Gloss Pack

The other two small packs we received contained different Num Noms with little lip-gloss pots! Violet’s only 3 but she’s starting to show an interest in the world of princesses and dressing up so these made her very happy!

The possible creations with these Num Noms are endless! There are so many different flavours from fruit, sweets, doughnuts and veggies- and we even received a savoury cheesy taco within the mystery pack! It’s a really good way to get your little ones in the kitchen and get their creative juices going- no matter how wacky (or disgusting!) the recipe they create!

Do your little one’s have Num Noms? Why not have a go at the #NumNomsCrazyCreation challenge with them?!

Mother Hermit xx

 

Winter Warmer Recipes with Rachel’s Organic

Until recently I hadn’t ever tried Rachel’s Organic yoghurts. In fact, I’d never actually heard of them until I was asked if I’d like to try out some of their new recipes for Winter.

Rachel's Organic Yoghurts

I picked three recipes to try, a soup, a pasta dish and some cupcakes. I actually picked four originally and if you follow me on my social media you’ll have seen that my attempt at the Salted Caramel Malt Cake was an epic fail. Only because I used the wrong size cake tins though- the bits I rescued were amaaaazing! I also managed some Peanut Brittle- have a look at my Instagram.

Cauliflower Cheese Soup with Homemade Breadsticks

As I recently bought my very own soup maker I had to give this one a go. Whether you use a pan on the hob or a soup maker like me, you’ll find it’s super simple to follow. I’m a massive fan of Cauliflower Cheese and have it with everything, even my Sunday roasts, but I wasn’t really sure about it being a soup. Verdict? It’s honestly the tastiest soup I’ve had in a long time.

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Ingredients;

  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Leek- finely chopped
  • 1 Garlic Clove- chopped
  • 500g Cauliflower- cut into small florets
  • 1 Litre Hot Vegetable Stock
  • 100g Cheddar Cheese- grated
  • 2 tbsp Rachel’s Organic Greek Style Natural Yoghurt
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Pinch of English Mustard

For the Breadsticks;

  • 450g Strong Bread Flour (extra for dusting)
  • 1 x 7g sachet of fast acting Yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 100g Rachel’s Organic Greek Style Natural Low Fat Yoghurt
  • 150g Water
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil for greasing

Toppings (Just whatever you fancy!);

  • 2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 tsp Sesame Seeds
  • 2 tsp fresh Rosemary or Thyme
  • 2 tsp Paprika

Serves: 4 & makes 36 breadsticks Preparation & Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Method for soup:

1. Heat the olive oil in a deep frying pan or heavy bottom saucepan, add the leek and garlic clove and fry until softened

2. Add the cauliflower and stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until the cauliflower is cooked

3. Add the cheese and allow to melt, remove the pan from the heat and add the Rachel’s yogurt and seasoning; salt, pepper and a little pinch of English mustard powder

4. Allow the soup to cool slightly before transferring to a food processor and blend until smooth. Season again if necessary

5. Serve in a bowl with warm breadsticks (see recipe for homemade breadsticks below)
Method for breadsticks:

1. Preheat the oven 220°C/425°F/Gas Mark 7

2. Dust 2 large baking trays with flour

3. Put the flour, yeast and teaspoon of salt into a large bowl

4. Using a jug weigh out the yogurt and water, and warm slightly in a microwave until just tepid or hand hot. Alternatively, warm in a heatproof bowl over a pan of boiling water

5. Add enough of the yogurt and water mixture to make a soft dough

6. Knead the dough well for 10 minutes on a lightly floured work surface or for five minutes using an electric mixer – the mixer must be fitted with a dough hook

7. Divide the dough into 36 equal portions and roll the portions into balls, then roll them out into a long sausage shape approx 25cm long. Tip: for best results make the thickness of each breadstick equal, try making twists by splitting the dough piece in half and then braiding the two halves together

8. Place the breadsticks on the prepared baking trays and space them apart. Cover the breadsticks with oiled clingfilm making sure this is airtight. Leave in a warm place for 30 minutes or until the sticks have doubled in size

9. Remove the clingfilm and sprinkle the bread sticks with your choice of toppings. Bake the breadsticks until they are golden brown and feel firm. Remove the sticks from the oven and leave to cool on baking trays

Violet absolutely loved helping me make the breadsticks (she decided to make bread rolls too) and she’s a massive fan of the soup. I think I might actually have to use this one on my Christmas Dinner Menu as a starter option this year.

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Macaroni Cheese with Crispy Leeks & Bacon

I’m a huge fan of Macaroni Cheese and this is another super easy recipe suitable for all of the family. I made this for dinner one evening for us both and the kids and there wasn’t a scrap left- huge thumbs up!

Ingredients

  • 350g dried macaroni pasta
  • 100g streaky bacon, un-smoked, chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1 leek, finely chopped
  • 100g breadcrumbs
  • 100g medium cheddar cheese, grated
  • 15g parmesan cheese, grated

 

Sauce:

  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 30g plain flour
  • 285ml whole milk
  • 200g Rachel’s Greek Style natural set yogurt or Rachel’s crème fraiche
  • 200g medium cheddar cheese, grated
  • Salt & black pepper

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Method

Preparation time: 30 minutes Serves: 4
1. Prepare the pasta according to the packet instructions in a large saucepan

2. Meanwhile, in a large frying pan fry the bacon until cooked through and crispy. To this, add the finely chopped leek. Once they are both cooked, take the pan from the heat and keep to one side

3. To make the sauce, melt the butter in a small saucepan and then whisk in the flour. Mix until a smooth paste is formed

4. Little by little add the milk, with the pan still on the heat, whisking after each addition and until the milk is all incorporated. Add the yogurt or crème fraiche and cheese and continue to stir until the cheese is melted

5. Drain the cooked pasta and return to the saucepan, pour over the cheese sauce and toss well

6. Spoon the macaroni cheese into serving dishes and top with the reserved fried bacon and leek, and scatter with breadcrumbs, extra cheese and parmesan

7. Place the dishes under a hot grill for the cheese to melt and the topping to become nice & crisp

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Orange & Cranberry Cupcakes

Cupcakes are a major hit with anyone, anyday and these beauties are no different. Violet helped bake these and once they were finished, declared that they are ‘Christmassy!’. She’s totally right. Not only do they look perfect for Christmas, there’s just something about orange and cranberry which shouts all things festive! Oh, and from now on, I’ll be making my icing with yoghurt- it’s gorgeous!

Cupcake

Ingredients:

  • 225g margarine or butter, softened
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 225g self raising flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 100g Rachel’s low fat vanilla yogurt
  • 70g dried cranberries,
  • chopped Orange zest,
  • juice of ½ orange

To Decorate:

  • 250g icing sugar
  • 30g Rachel’s low fat vanilla yogurt

Preparation time: 15 mins Cooking time: 15 mins Makes: 12 cakes
Method:
Heat the oven to 190C/Fan 170C/Gas Mark 5. Arrange paper cases in muffin or bun tins. Place the margarine, sugar, flour and eggs into a large mixing bowl and beat for about two minutes until smooth, light and fluffy. Fold in the yogurt, dried cranberries, orange zest and juice. Divide the mixture between the cases so that they are half filled and bake for 12 – 15 minutes, until golden. Cool on a wire rack. To make the icing, mix the icing sugar with the yogurt and mix until smooth. Tip: the icing should be runny and flow.
Decorate each cake with a blob of icing and spread with a palette knife. Alternatively, leave to run to the edges of the paper case. Leave the icing to set.
Cakes will keep in an airtight container for up to four days.

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There you have it- three incredibly easy recipes all using Rachel’s organic yoghurts! If you’d like to find out more on the Rachel’s Organic range or have a look through some more of their fantastic recipes, have a look here.

Don’t forget to give me a tag or tweet if you try any of them- I’d love to see your photo’s!

Mother Hermit xx

“I was very kindly sent some vouchers for the Rachel’s Organic yoghurts for the purpose of this post. All views and opinions are that of my own”

 

 

 

Baking with the Toddler- Easy Vanilla Cupcakes

Finished Cupcakes

Yesterday we didn’t make our usual playgroup as both kids have been full of cold. We decided to have a day at home as the weather was terrible and I had loads of parcels due to arrive. The toddler kept asking for cupcakes, which we didn’t have. So I thought it was the ideal opportunity to try out some baking with her.

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Violet usually gets pretty bored with baking. She just likes to eat the creations when they’re finished. So I was very surprised at how excited she was to make some cupcakes and she was straight in with her apron on asking what she could mix.

Toddler Mixing

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She was obviously in the mood to get her bake on as she did the lot!

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We decided to divide the ingredients into six large cupcakes rather than make the 12 small as the recipe makes.

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When it came to doing the icing she had no patience left at all. Which meant that we ended up with a sloppy sort of buttercream, but it tasted good and it was Violet in colour so I let her get on with it. They’re her cakes after all.

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I managed to throw some sprinkles on the top of the cupcakes before the eating commenced too!

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The Cupcake Recipe

  • 100g Caster Sugar
  • 100g Butter
  • 100g Self Raising Flour (Which we didn’t have so used Plain Flour with a teaspoon of baking powder)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1tsp Vanilla Extract

For the Cupcake Icing

  • 200g Butter
  • 200g Icing Sugar
  • Food Colouring
  • Sprinkles for the top if you fancy

The Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180c/ gas mark 4
  • Soften the butter by giving it a good mix. Then add the sugar and mix it all together.
  • Beat the eggs in a separate bowl then add to the sugar and butter and mix it together.
  • Sift in the flour and again mix.
  • Add the beaten eggs and vanilla extract and mix everything together.
  • Spoon the mixture between the cupcake cases.
  • Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes until golden brown.

For the icing you just need to mix the butter and icing sugar together and add a drop of food colouring. If you have more time (and patience) than us, you will have a stiff mixture that you can then pipe onto the top. Or you could settle for a sloppy mix like us and let the toddler go wild!

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Enjoy!

Mother Hermit xx

 

Mummy in a Tutu

Halloween Krispie Treats

As it’s Halloween soon, this week I’ve been in the kitchen with the little one creating some Pumpkin Krispie Treats! They’re super quick and easy to make and the kids absolutely love them! I got the idea from pictures I have seen on Pinterest but didn’t use a particular recipe and just made my own up 🙂

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I’ll be honest, I’m not the best at measuring out ingredients when baking, I tend to just wing it, so I’ve given my best approximates below 🙂

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You will need;

7 Giant Marshmallows

2 tsp of butter or marg

Orange or Yellow and Red Food Colouring

Rice Krispies

Green Smarties or M&M’s

Wispa Bites or something similar

First start by melting the marshmallows and butter in a bowl. I used the microwave for this and kept putting it in for 30second bursts, it took around 2 minutes for everything to be totally melted. Then you can add the food colouring to the marshmallow mix. I used red and yellow, first adding the red followed by a few drops of yellow until I had a really bold orange. Next you add the Krispies; I added a handful at a time and after about 5 handfuls I had a stiff mixture and all of the Krispies were completely coated in the marshmallow mix.

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For this bit you will need to oil your hands as the mixture is super super sticky. I coated my hands with olive oil and took and handful at a time and rolled each bit into a ball. Pop each ball onto a greaseproof paper sheet until you’ve used the whole of the mixture.

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Next you can add the toppings! I had Wispa bites which I cut in half and pushed them into the middle, squashing each krispie treat slightly to make it look a bit more like a pumpkin. I then had green peanut M&M’s which I cut in half (watch your fingers!) and added to the side of the Wispa bite to make it look like a little leaf! I then put them into the fridge for half an hour so they didn’t fall apart in the heat. And that’s it!

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Happy Halloween!

Mother Hermit xx

 

Mummy in a Tutu

Num Noms Mini Chef Creations

Myself and Violet were invited to take part in a #MiniChefs challenge by Num Noms! Of course I said yes straight away, before realising that I had absolutely no idea what Num Noms were! I know, how on earth have I missed them?! It didn’t take me long to find them and wow- they’re oh so cute!

For those of you that, like me, may not have heard of these little beauties, Num Noms are cute little collectibles which all come with their own scent. You can then create your own creations, flavour fusions and recipes with them.

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We were set the challenge to create our own recipe using the Num Nom’s packs we were sent; Series 2 Diner and Brunch. We couldn’t just settle on one though so we decided to create two courses using both packs, with the help of Daddy!

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For the main course we mixed Frenchie Fries, Haley Hot Dog and Cheesy Go-Go;

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This really is as simple as it looks, sliced hot dogs, french fries and melted cheese and it was oh so good! Huge thumbs up from Violet so it could be on her menu a lot from now on 🙂

For dessert we mixed Berry Cakes and Jammin’ Razzy Go-Go;

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We got super creative and messy with this one! Myself and Violet both absolutely love Raspberry flavoured anything so we took full advantage. Thick maple syrup pancakes topped with a generous amount of raspberry jam, topped with squirty cream, raspberry sauce, repeated and finally topped with sprinkles! As you can tell by her face on the photo above, Violet adored this one and it was pretty hard to get a photo before she got stuck in!

Not only are we huge fans of Num Noms now, Violet is also enjoying creating different scents and flavours with the toys so watch this space for more recipes!

Have you heard of Num Noms before? Have you tried anything like this with them?

Mother Hermit xx

*We were very kindly sent both packs of Num Noms in return for this post. All views and opinions are that of my own*

 

Death By Chocolate Challenge- Dipping Sauce Recipe

So this week (10th-16th October) it’s National Chocolate Week! I wasn’t aware of this until I was asked if I’d like to partner up with the Dorset-based bakery T.J.Fudge’s, which involved taking on a challenge of creating a chocolate dipping sauce to accompany their divine Florentines! Couldn’t really say no to that now could I?!

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It took me a while to come up with an idea for my creation and I kept coming back to Salted Caramel, but this is used for EVERYTHING now so I wanted to try something a little different. I decided to opt for the citrus approach and ended up making two very simple but gorgeous dipping sauces!

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          For the dipping sauce you will need;

  • 100g Bar of Dark or Milk Chocolate (broken into chunks)
  • 50ml Double Cream
  • 50ml Whole or Semi Skimmed Milk
  • 1drop of Vanilla Essence
  • 2tbsp of Golden Syrup

The method is easy peasy; you throw everything into a pan and melt on a low/medium heat, stirring continuously until you get a smooth sauce.

I then split the sauce into two ramekins and with the first, created a Lime and Sea Salt flavour dip by adding the juice of half of a lime, 1-2tsp of Coarse Sea Salt and finishing it off with the lime zest. I realise this sounds like a strange concoction but it’s absolutely incredible!

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In the other half of the chocolate sauce I literally added 3tsp of Orange Extract- that’s it! I absolutely love chocolate and orange together, it’s the perfect combination.

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Whilst the Florentines were perfect on their own, I enjoyed dipping them in both sauces along with some fresh fruit!

Mother Hermit xx

*I was kindly sent the Thomas J Fudge’s Florentines and Chocolate for the purpose of this post. I was also gifted a voucher to buy any additional ingredients I required*

 

Campfire Stew- Slow Cooker Style!

I made this for tea last night and thought I’d share my recipe as it’s so easy to make and a massive favourite in my house. You can alter the vegetables and spices in the recipe as much as you want and again, like my Macaroni & Leek Cheese recipe, this one is Slimming World friendly- in fact this one is totally syn free- massive bonus!

 

Ingredients;

  • 1 Small Gammon Joint (All visible fat removed)
  • 1 chopped Red Onion
  • 2 chopped Peppers
  • 2 Garlic Cloves (Crushed or finely chopped- whichever you prefer)
  • 1.5 Tablespoons of Smoked Paprika
  • 1-2 Teaspoons of Chilli Powder (Add more if you like it spicy!)
  • 6 Tablespoons of Tomato Puree
  • 2 Tins of Baked Beans
  • 200ml water

 

Method;

Absolutely simple. Shove everything into the slow cooker, mix it all together and place the gammon joint on top of the other ingredients. Leave it to cook on high for 6 hours then turn it to low until you’re ready to serve it. Just before you’re ready to serve, use two forks to pull the gammon joint literally to shreds and mix it all up. That’s it- dish up and enjoy!

Mother Hermit xx

Mummy in a Tutu

Macaroni & Leek Cheese- Slimming World

I thought I’d share one of my favourite Slimming World recipes with you. To be honest I think I might share a few because I alter most of them but keep them free or of very low syn value. And I make sure everything is filling because let’s face it- no one wants to eat a bowl of lettuce leaves everyday do they?! Well, only if it’s the side dish to a scrummy meal!

This recipe was featured in the Slimming World magazine early last year I think. It’s a big hit in our house, whether we have it as a main or a side dish to our bbq’s- everyone loves it. So here’s my slighty altered version;

*Remember to use the grated cheese as your Healthy A (approx 40g) or if you’ve already had it that day you can leave the extra cheese out or just syn it- the rest is all FREE!*

Ingredients;

  • 300g dried Macaroni
  • 250g Quark
  • 200g Fat Free Cottage Cheese
  • 2 Leeks
  • Handful of Baby Spinach
  • 6 Table Spoons of Tomato Puree
  • 2 Garlic Cloves (Crushed)
  • 300ml Vegetable or Chicken Stock
  • 2 Eggs (Beaten)
  • Pinch of Salt & Pepper
  • 100g Reduced Fat Cheddar (grated)

Method;

  • Cook the macaroni and drain.
  • Slice the leeks and put them in a pan with the vegetable stock and garlic. Bring to the boil and simmer until the leeks have softened.
  • Mix the Quark, cottage cheese, tomato puree, eggs and salt & pepper together.
  • Combine all of the ingredients (keep a handful of the grated cheese to one side) and transfer to an oven proof dish. Cook at 190 for 15-20 minutes or until bubbling. Sprinkle a handful of the cheese on top 5 minutes before it’s finished cooking.

And that’s it- dinner sorted!

Enjoy!


Mother Hermit xx

Proud to be linking up with;

Petite Pudding

Easy Gherkin Relish

Monday. Eurgh. One of those days where I couldn’t find any energy or ‘oomph’ to do anything- so I decided on something simple for tea. Opened the freezer to see a pack of hotdogs and a pack of bread buns we only went and picked up at Ikea last week! I was saved! However, the creative cooking goddess in me was crying out for something to do- cue the gherkin relish accompaniment!

Ingredients;

3 large pickled gherkins (chopped however you like)

4 tablespoons of the pickle juice from the jar of gherkins

2 tablespoons of sugar

2 tablespoons of Ikea’s crispy fried onions

Okay, so the sugar you can just use whichever you have lying around- I used granulated because that’s what was in the tin next to the tea and coffee. The crispy fried onions you can use any onion really, I just shoved them in because we picked those up on our trip to Ikea. (No furniture picked up on this Ikea trip as you can probably tell!) And for the gherkins, I used a pickled jar from a supermarket which also had mustard seeds swimming within the pickle juice- tastes even better with some of these in the relish!

The method. Simply shove everything into a pan and bring to the boil (mind your eyes- the pickle can be quite strong and make them water a bit), then let it simmer gently while the relish thickens. Make sure you’re constantly stirring it or there’ll be some caramel explosion because of the sugar- and you’ll need a new pan! (Another trip to Ikea?!)

Basically, that’s it! I just added a few pinches of salt to take the edge off the sweet and sour of the sugar and pickle and voila- you have relish!


By the way, I totally recommend the Ikea hot dogs and hot dog buns, especially smothered in the relish- totally yummy! This is going to be perfect for those BBQ’s this summer.

Give it a go and let me know what you think- Enjoy!

 

Mother Hermit xx

 

Cuddle Fairy