Party Time… 🍸🍹

Just a brief one today, we have been busy getting stuff sorted for the party – I don’t think the queen has this much fuss – I know it’s self inflicted, no sympathy required 😋

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Hubby is on garden duty, the gazebo is up, chairs and tables ready to positioned, electric is available for the DJ boyfriend- neighbors have been warned/invited – thankfully  sadly this will all be over by 10pm at the latest 🤣🤣

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I have been baking, which is lovely on the hottest day of the years so far 🌋

As I said yesterday I use Nigella’s cupcake recipe, it’s simple and tastes great

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for 24 cupcakes I mixed 250g unsalted butter with 250g sugar and a blob of vanilla bean paste, till light and fluffy, add 4 eggs, one at a time to the mix, then add 250g of self raising flour about 1/4 at a time – add a little milk till the mixture is ‘dropping constantly.

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Spoon into the cases, don’t overfill them, half to 3/4 full is enough

IMG_4100Into a preheated oven (200) for 15 minutes, then leave to cool.

 

I made the icing sugar yesterday, the buttercream icing is simple, add 250g unsalted butter to the mixing bowl with a small blob of vanilla bean paste, beat till pale, then carefully add 500g of icing sugar, a bit at a time so it doesn’t look like a snow storm in the kitchen.  You can colour this at this point – I am making 2 batches, one natural, one pale pink.

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Spoon you icing into a large icing bag, with a star nozzle at the end, in today’s heat I popped this into the fridge for 20 minutes to firm a little.

IMG_4106I start with a blob of icing in the middle of each cake, and with a continuous swirl.

Decorate to suit – these are truly easy to make and look lovely, even if I do say so myself – great fun to make with kids 🤗

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The salads are finished off.

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The watermelon sliced and plated.

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The cakes arranged.

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Cocktails are go…

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Hubby is Grill King

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Lets Party……….

 

 

Party Prep 🥂

Tomorrow we are hosting a Birthday BBQ for our Daughter and her friends for her 21st.

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Today is prep day and we have been out shopping, the BBQ meat is from Iceland, as I saved some vouchers especially for this purpose- just the normal Burgers, sausages plus spices Chicken Wings and Tiger Prawns as they are her favourite – we are not going OTT. I have some Field Mushroom and Halloumi for the Veggies 😋

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I also got some frozen Macaron- they are so pretty and taste amazing and at this price I couldn’t make them.

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For a healthy sweet kick, sliced watermelon

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To go with savoury I am making 2 basic salads, one a giant Cous Cous Salad – I boil this in plenty of water for 10 minutes or until tender, drain and pop back into the pan with a good glug of olive oil to keep it from sticking together – I am leaving this to cool, and will add finely sliced spring onion, cucumber, red pepper and a whole pack of chopped coriander and mint, Stir though with salt, pepper and lemon juice till ‘right’

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The other a homemade coleslaw

IMG_4089I make this in the Magimix with the slicing and grating blades – I could make it in the Thermomix, but it Chops the veg and I prefer it sliced – this will be finalised tomorrow.

Instead of a Birthday cake, I am making 21 cupcakes, the base recipe I use is from Nigella’s Domestic Goddess book. These will be made tomorrow.

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I make my own icing sugar in the Thermomix a kilo of icing sugar costs £1.70 on Sainsbury’s website, a kilo of Aldi granulated sugar is 59p

IMG_4067I add 250g of sugar and a teaspoon of cornflour to the Thermomix bowl and whizz at speed 10 for 10 seconds, stop, shake the bowl, and whizz again for another 10 seconds – I pop a sheet of kitchen roll between the measuring cup and the lid to prevent a billow of icing sugar

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Repeat this till the sugar is used – hey presto – a kilo of icing sugar 🤗

I am keeping these simple with pale pink rosette icing with shop bought ‘toppers’

When Grace was tiny, she couldn’t pronounce ‘Grace’ and as everyone called her Gracie, she shortened her own name to Ce-Ce (see-see) that was lengthened to Cupcake – like Families do 🙄  So her birthday cake had to be Cupcakes 😇

IMG_4080For drinks, I said I would provide a toast drink, we are making Strawberry Dachari’s for those who like them from Homemade frozen Stawberry purée , vodka, Lime juice, crushed ice, whizzed up in the Thermomix 😉 Aparently Cocktails are very ‘in’, I personally would prefer an Expresso Martini 😇

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We also have a huge bottle of Prosecco to toast her with – I might even share it with others 🤣 Loads of soft drinks too

I am sure she will have a fab night, they are going onto a night club afterwards – we will be on Cleanup duty then flaking out 🤣 Just one more 21st to go (youngest) then they can arrange their own parties 🤗

Cocobay Coconut Rum Cocktails Party practice run

Our darling daughter is 21 next month, we are having a BBQ party for her and her friends, or pre-drinks as she calls it.

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Lovely Aldi have send me a bottle of their Cocobay Coconut Rum to try, and it is just perfect for Summer party cocktails I am testing 2 I am only making a glass of each today, but this will be made into big jugs for the party.

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Cocobay Mojito –

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Take 6 or so mint leaves and pop them in a glass, add a teaspoon of sugar of sugar, the juice of half a lime and with the end of wooden spoon bash together till the mint oil is released into the sugar and lime – it smells delicious.

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Add a measure of Cocobay and top up with a third of a glass of crushed ice and top up with soda water – this is so light, refreshing.

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Cocobay Cuba Libre

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Lets keep it simple, Cocobay Coconut Rum, Lime and cola for each glass a measure of Cocobay

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juice of half a lime and top up with crushed ice and cola

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These will keep the girls happy whilst we BBQ their food – I’m really looking forward to her ‘Big birthday’ I’m sure I will post more nearer the time 😉

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Thanks to Aldi for sending me the Cocobay – it’s delicious and a bargain price for a party.

Easter Eats – Healthy Alternatives for Aldi Easter Food

Easter is nearly here, and to offset eating our own body weight in Easter Egg Chocolate – I thought I would do a couple of healthier alternatives for Easter Meals. using Aldi ingredients – Bunny Butt Pancakes, Lime, Chilli Salmon with Cauliflower Cous Cous, a Milk Jelly Bunny on Edible Grass and Chocolate dipped Stawberry ‘Carrots’ 😊 All the ingredients from Aldi 👍

Bunny Butt Pancakes

These are an easy,  but cute way to start your Easter Break.

You can make the batter the night before, add

130ml Milk
1 large egg
A drop of vanilla bean paste (not Aldi)
2 tablespoons of melted butter
135g plain flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
A pinch of salt

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Mix the wet ingredients together, then mix in the dry indredient, whisk together, then leave for at least an hour, or as I said overnight for an easy start in the morning.

To a frying pan, heat to medium, and add a knob of butter, when melted add about a half ladle of the batter mix (rewhisk if left overnight).

You are looking for thick pancakes, around the size of a coaster – you can of course go bigger, just make sure they are cooked through.

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When they are golden brown on each side, plate up.

Using a can of Aldi ‘squirty cream’ make a bunny tail in the centre of each pancake.

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Slice a banana on the angle and put a slice just below and each side of the tail – using Aldi Chocolate drops make the bunny toes on each banana slice.

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Now for Lunch, traditionally we have the full on roast Lamb dinner – Aldi sell their legs of Lamb for an amazing price, so I feed the family with great quality UK Lamb for a bargain.

For those of us that do not want the whole roast dinner thing,  Here is a light and tasty, gluten Free alternative.

Lime and Chill Salmon Fillets with Cauliflower Cous Cous

Cauliflower has got to be one of my top 5 vegetables, so versatile… For the Cauliflower Cous Cous, I start with half a head of Cauliflower.

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I roughly break up into florets, and pop into the Thermomix bowl (and food processor would work- or even a box grater)

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whizz on turbo for 3 seconds, then check for consistency – the raw cauliflower should look cooked Cous Cous.  I tip the cauliflower into a plastic bowl, add a splash of water and microwave for 2 minutes on high, stir halfway through then leave to cool.

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Whilst this is cooling, finely chop green pepper, spring onion, cucumber, deseeded baby plum tomatoes – this can be mixed into the cold cauliflower Cous Cous with the juice of a lemon, a glug of olive oil, salt, pepper and a whole pack of fresh coriander, finely sliced.

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This can be left in the fridge till ready.

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These beautiful Aldi Salmon Fillets will be dressed with the juice and zest of a lime mixed with some sweet chilli sauce, salt and pepper. The fillets are lightly smoked, which gives an additional depth of flavour – lush…

Cover the fillets, and oven bake on 200 (preheat oven) for 10 minutes.

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To serve, lay a beautifully moist and tasty Salmon Fillets over the fresh and crunchy Cauliflower Cous Cous.   Really light and fresh 😍

I thought I would do a fun dessert too – a real blast from the past… but kids will love it

Wobbly Pink Bunny on Green Jelly Grass

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This will need to be made the day before, to allow time for the Jelly to set.

Take a pack of green jelly and make up as per instructions and pop into the fridge to set.

Take an Aldi strawberry or Raspberry jelly and add half a pint of boiling water and stir till the jelly has disappeared, then add a half pint of evaporated milk and stir through – this will make a very pale pink colour, somif you would like to add some pink food colouring, now is the time to do it.

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I picked up this lovely Bunny Mould from a jumble sale last year for 50p.

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Pour the pink ‘milk jelly’ into the bunny and leave to set overnight.

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To serve, chop the green jelly and put onto a plate (this is the grass) – carefully turn out the pink bunny jelly onto the centre of the plate.

Just another little add on – you can’t do Easter without a bit of chocolate 😉

Chocolate dipped Stawberry ‘Carrots’

A pack of Aldi Stawberries
200g Aldi Essentials White Chocolate
A couple of drops of orange colouring (not Aldi)

Gently melt the white chocolate and add a drop of food colouring at a time till you have the colour you want.

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Holding the Stawberries by the leaves, dip each into the chocolate and lay onto grease proof paper.

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When they have hardened, gently reheat the remaining chocolate and drizzle across the Stawberries in little lines and hey presto – Carrots – Kevin will be pleased.

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I would like to thanks Aldi for paying for all of the ingredients above.

Hoppy Easter 🐰

Happy Families….

Our ‘Big boy’ and his girlfriend are home today – so we are having another ‘mini’ Christmas – I love it when the kids are all together, they do love each other very much, even when they are ‘bundling’ each other – they are nearly 23, 21 and 18 – when does the ‘wrestling’ game stop 🙄

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Anyway – big hugs, squishes and lots of gossip to catch up on 🤗

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Dinner tonight is a simple Spag Bol.

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With garlic bread and salad, an easy dinner whilst we catch up.

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Tomorrows meal is a more elaborate affair, with all 8 of us together for a family feast 😍

Croquembouche – Alternative to Christmas Pudding

Christmas is coming and I have started to buy bits and pieces for the Christmas table and one thing I get stuck on is pud. I have said before, I am not a fan of Christmas Cake, I also can take or leave Christmas Pudding.  But….

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Aldi asked me to try their ‘Showstopper’ dessert, Croquembouche. It means ‘crunch in mouth’ and it’s not exactly a chore to review 😉

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Its a huge box, so if you are trying to play ‘Freezer Tetris’ I would recommend that you decant the contents from the box, but don’t forget to cut off the instructions to keep.

As you can see from the close up shot, this contains 60 profiteroles, some plain, some chocolate covered, more than enough for a crowd, either as a stand alone pudding or a bit of Buffett ‘Bling’.

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It comes complete with a stand, Caramel and Chocolate sauces and a pack of  gold ‘sprinkles’.

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Start by removing the stand from the packaging and put together – this is very simple no scissors or glue needed – I would recommend constructing this on a baking tray so it can be easily moved afterwards.

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Pop the frozen sauces into a jug of hot water to melt, and I put all of the profiteroles into a large bowl to make it easier to ‘grab’ them – this can be constructed whilst they are frozen.

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Carefully cut off the end of the Caramel pack, and put a blob onto the base of the profiteroles to ‘stick’ them to the stand.

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Continue to stack, placing each part of the stand on ready for the next layer.

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When you have reached the end, use the remaining caramel sauce to drizzle down the tower, and do the same with the Chocolate sauce, then sprinkle the edible glitter.

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Leave for an hour to defrost if using straight away, or put into the fridge to use within 24 hours.

If you have kids, I am sure they would love to help make this special pud for Christmas, nothing that a few wet wipes couldn’t solve 😉

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I could have made this myself from scratch, but I want to spend time with the family and I couldn’t make it for the £4.99 it cost. When we have the whole family round for food after Christmas, I intend to load the table with cold cuts, Cheeses, pickles, salad,  Homemade bread and an Aldi Croquembouche 😇

 

 

Kevin the Carrot Christmas cake and little treats.

I have a confession to make, I really don’t like Christmas Cake… I find it overly heavy and I have a massive aversion to Marzipan 😦

I do love Christmassy flavours, so I make Carrot cakes, as Aldi have kindly paid for the ingredients, I have made them Kevin the Carrot Christmas cakes.

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I use this base Recipe which is perfect for the Lakeland mini cake bar tin I have. I have amended it and will use orange juice not Triple sec as they will be eaten by children.

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I use my kitchen Aid for this and start by adding 85g of light brown sugar, 170ml Veg oil, 125g golden syrup, 3 eggs, a good blob of vanilla bean paste and a tablespoon of orange juice, mix until well combined.

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Add 140g of Self raising flour and 70g plain flour, a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda, half a teaspoon each of cinnamon and mixed spice, briefly mix into the liquid mix till just combined, like a muffin mix, this cannot be overworked.

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In a separate bowl, mix 2 medium grated carrots (sorry Kevin), 130g of sultana and 85g of chopped walnuts. This can be stirred though the cake mix.

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Then pour into your lined tins and bake for 30 minutes at 170.

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Whilst cooking, make the cream cheese topping by adding 120g Cream Cheese to 60g room temp butter to 200g of icing sugar and the zest of a lemon – beat together then put into the fridge to firm up.

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Take out the cakes and leave them to cool, then pipe on the frosting and decorate.

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When I went to my local Aldi, I bought one of their cute Musical biscuit tins, Mum in law is a sucker for a biscuit tin and for Shortbread and at £3.99 I think it’s good value, they come in a few different designs and would make a great teacher gift etc

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I also bought some of these amazing truffles – I’d rather have a few high quality Chocolates than a huge tub of okay ones, so these are a treat for me 😉 Though I,m sure hubby will help x

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