Easy Focaccia

Hello my lovelies,

I must apologize for not blogging much recently, I am working on rectifying this and hope to bring you some great blog posts, recipes and ideas every week starting today.

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It’s half-term for us and as such I try to do some baking or cooking with Missy (DD has now been renamed to Missy since she’s 7 going on 15!). She was really craving pizza but as a dairy free kid she can’t have shop bought pizza.  I know I can buy frozen pizza bases but I find they expensive when we can whip up a batch of pizza dough for mere pennies.  Plus, I get the added bonus of teaching Missy about weights and measures and help her to learn the life skill of cooking.

We made her pizza and used Marchego cheese which is a hard goats cheese. While I know this isn’t dairy free it doesn’t contain the cows milk protein that affects her, however, she only has it occasionally.

After we made her pizza, there was a lot of dough left and I really didn’t fancy pizza because I was having chicken soup for lunch.  Then I had an inspired thought… I could make focaccia!

 

This pizza dough is really versatile and can be used to make pizzas, focaccia, calzones, dough balls and much more.  Check out Kitchn’s post for some great ideas.

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Here’s the pizza dough recipe I use.  It’s easy enough for kids to help but best made in the morning so that it has time to prove if you want to use it to make lunch. If you’re using it to make dinner, make it in the early afternoon.

Easy Pizza dough

500g plain flour

1 sachet of dried yeast

1 tsp each of sugar and salt

250ml of warm water mixed with 2 tsp olive oil

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl until the dough is soft and well combined.  Knead well in the bowl for about 5 minutes to break down the gluten.

Place the dough in a warm place covered with a tea towel for about an hour until it’s doubled in size. Probably about an hour or so.

Knead the dough again  (also called knocking it back) for another 5 minutes. Cover with the tea towel and allow to rise in warm place.  About 1-2 hours.  It should be nicely risen.

This should make one small pizza and one swiss roll pan sized focaccia.

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To make the focaccia,  simply grease a swiss roll pan with a little olive oil and press the remaining pizza dough into the pan.  Make little dents in the dough with your fingers pressing all the way into the bottom of the pan.  Add some fresh sprigs of rosemary and brush with more olive oil all over the surface. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake at 220 degrees Celsius until it’s golden brown.

Simples!

 

I hope you enjoy this recipe and as always, if you try the recipe please leave me a comment and let me know how you enjoyed it.

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

 

 

 

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Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Raisin Baked French Toast

Hello my lovelies

I’ve been testing recipes again because I’ve been scouting around Pioneer Woman‘s website.  Oh my word, if you have not been to her website, you must run at turbo speed, do not walk!  There is sooooooooooooooo much to read and drool over!  Be prepared to linger…for quite some time.

Best take a cuppa.

And some cake.

While I was perusing the loveliness, I found a recipe for Cinnamon Raisin Baked French Toast.

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I couldn’t resist!  Especially since I had everything I needed to make it without making a special trip to the shops.  Hooray!

Honestly, this was sooooooooo incredibly good.  We had it for breakfast but it was so heavenly, it could easily be served with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for dessert.

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We had ours for a lazy Sunday morning breakfast before more renovations started and it was scrumptious galumptious!

It was so incredibly easy because you make it all up the night before and pop it into the fridge to chuck in the oven for an hour the next morning.

Perfect, for if you’re like me and wake up like a grumpy badger until you’ve had your second cup of coffee.

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I would recommend tasting it before adding syrup though because I found it really quite sweet

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And there are leftovers to have with ice cream tonight for dessert.

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Does it get any better?

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

Princess unicorn marshmallow crispy treats

Hello my lovelies,

I’m back with another recipe. It seems like all I’ve been doing recently but I’m loving the domesticity.  You guys know I have a culinary crush on Ree Drummond aka The Pioneer Woman, right?  Well I do, and I’ve been watching her series on the telly and practically drooling over her home cooking.  On the latest show I watched, Ree made these gorgeous pecan marshmallow crispy treats and I couldn’t wait to give them a go.

No really, I couldn’t even wait until I had been to Morrisons, so I made them up with what I had. Of course, I didn’t have any regular white marshmallows so the mixture came out pink and my daughter dubbed them Princess Unicorn marshmallow crispies.

Because they’re rainbow coloured and pink of course!

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Ree’s basic recipe ingredients are:

4 tablespoons of butter plus extra for greasing

300g marshmallows (I used pink and yellow ones)

1/4 t of salt

6 cups of rice crispies

First grease your dish well, I used a square one and it worked out perfectly.  Next add the butter to a large (I used my pressure cooker!) pot and once melted add the marshmallows. Melt on a low heat making sure to stir to prevent it catching.

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Add the salt and the 6 cups of rice crispies.

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Here you can add anything you have lying about to ‘flavour’ them.  I added white chocolate chunks, 1/2 a bag of mini pink and white marshmallows and 1/2 a bag of smarties.

Mix it all together and dump it out into the greased dish.  Working quickly, spread out in the dish to reach the sides and trying to make sure the layer is even.  I found that although I worked quickly, the mashmallow mixture started to get really sticky and I was getting more clinging to the wooden spoon than in the actual bowl.

On a spark of brilliance, I wet my hands a little and pressed the mixture into the pan in a nice even layer.

Again, working quickly, I poured over a slab of melted white chocolate and rainbow sprinkles.

I refrigerated for 3 hours then cut into squares.

Mr R and dear daughter (DD) adores these!

I’m already considering some other interesting combinations…. stay tuned

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Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

Super easy Lemonade

Hello my lovelies,

I’ve had a hankering recently for some sweet yet sharp and icy cold homemade lemonade. You know, the kind that makes you sigh in satisfaction as you lazily watch the roses in your garden bob their heads in the breeze?

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That’s what we made today and it is delicious.

First you need 6 unwaxed lemons chopped into quarters.  Then add 280g of sugar to your food processor along with with 500ml of cold water.  Toss in the lemons gently.

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Blend for about 5 minutes.  Next lay a large bowl into your sink with a fine sieve over it and pour over the lemon mix.

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Now, push all the lemon pulpy mix with a wooden spoon to squeeze out as much juice as possible.

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Throw the lemon pulp in the bin and remove the sieve.  Then add 1.5 litres of cold water to the bowl of lemonade and mix.

Pour into a jug with slices of lemon and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.  Of course, you could just pour it over ice but I didn’t have any.

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We’re having ours tonight with dough balls, homemade pizza and salad.

I can’t wait.

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

Giant surprise centre cupcake

Hello my lovelies,

I’m just dropping in very quickly to show you the giant surprise centre cupcake I made for my daughter’s 6th birthday. But before I do, here’s a really quick tip so listen up really well…

NEVER LET YOUR 6 YEAR OLD LOOK FOR HER BIRTHDAY CAKE ON PINTEREST WITH YOU!

Let her see a board of approved cakes you think would be appropriate first.  My daughter chose the giant cupcake and thankfully it was relatively easy to make but some of the other cakes she liked left me feeling terrified.  How I would have made them, I have no idea!

Anyway, here’s the cake. It really was a thing of beauty.

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I used the basic giant cupcake recipe from The Pink Whisk and changed it up by adding 30g of cocoa powder and decreased the flour by 30g.

I cut the base of the cupcake in half. I then made a basic icing and sandwiched the two pieces together with icing.  I then iced around the base of the cake and stuck on my chocolate fingers.  Once that was done, I scooped out a hole in the middle of the base (not all the way to the icing layer) and added in the Reeces peanut butter bits.  I smothered icing on the bottom of the top half and sandwiched the base and top together.

With me so far?  Good!

Next, I filled a piping bag and piped a small line of icing close to the top of the chocolate fingers and stuck on the maltesers.   Then I went to town piping rosettes all over the top of the cupcake.

I added maltesers and white chocolate stars at random and et voila!

When my daughter cut it open…

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Sorry about the bad quality picture, I had served up my daughter’s slice and hubby was complaining he wanted to sink his teeth into a slice but I was trying to take a picture.

This cake definitely had the wow factor!

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

Best EVER cinnamon rolls

Hello my lovelies,

Did I ever tell you about my celebrity crush on The Pioneer Woman?

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Oh, not in an icky way but in the, 0h-my-god-i-want-to-live-on-her-ranch-and-cook-with-her kind of way. I’m working on a way to get her to adopt me but I digress.   I started watching her tv series a couple of years ago and loved her then and of course, Sky decided to end the series half way though and only started at series 4 instead of series 1 but I was hooked.  I watched the episode when she made cinnamon rolls and I’ve wanted to make them ever since.

Today, after watching Ree make a pumpkin version of her cinnamon rolls last night, I decided the time had come for me to make her famous cinnamon rolls.

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You can totally tell those aren’t mine, can’t you? LOL!

You see, I’ve had a love affair with the South African kind of cinnamon rolls my whole life.  We call them Chelsea buns and while they are very similar (with raisins), just one look at Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon rolls and I can tell these are gonna be my old favourites on CRACK!

Before I start to tell you about my cinnamon roll journey today, I must give you a few words of advice on the outset.

  1. DO NOT CLEAN YOUR KITCHEN FROM TOP TO BOTTOM LIKE A DEMON WOMAN and then decide to make these. Bad, bad idea.
  2. Make sure you have everything set up before you start. I mean take out the cinnamon, sugar and every utensil you will need and have it next to you. If at all possible, work close to the sink.  This dough can be sticky and I now have sticky dough finger marks all over my kitchen cabinet doors and drawers.  Did I mention I cleaned my kitchen like a demon woman this morning?
  3. Also, make sure you have the disposable foil pans like the one above.  It really helps and as you will see mine didn’t smush together nicely like Ree’s did because I thought I knew better.
  4. Always trust The Pioneer Woman.
  5. A bag of powdered sugar (icing sugar) is supposedly 4 cups when I checked it online.
  6. Start the diet tomorrow.  There’s no point today when you’re going to be eating these.

I am not going to try to recreate the recipe here when there’s a perfectly good link to cinnamon roll perfection right here on The Pioneer Woman website.

I was quite surprised at how easy this recipe was.  It takes a little time, of course because there are a few stages but it’s not hugely labour intensive.

So, once I’d made the dough and allowed it to rise for 1 hour, I opted not to let it sit in the fridge for an hour.  This made it INCREDIBLY sticky.  I had to use at least a cup of flour on my counters and all over the dough to get it to a decent rolling consistency.

Once I’d poured on the butter sprinkled on the sugar and cinnamon and rolled it up, I had what looked like a giant earth worm.

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Seriously, this sucker was trying to slide off the counter.

Of course, since I thought I knew better than Pioneer Woman I used whatever pans I had instead of the round foil ones. 13871707_10154165047835659_1163353809_n

Since today is the coldest day we’ve had all summer there’s no warm sun coming in my kitchen windows like normal so I preheated the oven and opened the door to allow some of the warm air to help these babies rise for 20-30 minutes.

Then I got them in the oven while I made the frosting/icing.  When I made it up, it was too watery so I added another cup of icing sugar and it came out perfect.  Like the picture on Pioneer Woman’s post.

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Yeah, I had to switch to the iPad because my laptop battery died.

When they came out of the oven they were all golden and risen and smelled amazing!  I quickly go the icing on.

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I moved the folds of the cinnamon rolls a little to make sure that the icing really got into all the cracks and crevices.

Then I realised that that the icing had coffee in it and my 6 year old wouldn’t be able to have any. I don’t allow her coffee because she’s enough of a live wire all by herself.

So I made up a batch of icing sugar with water to pour over hers.

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And as you can see here’s yet another reason you should always trust The Pioneer Woman.  In those round foil dishes I wouldn’t have all the icing dropping off the sides!

I left the icing to set for a few minutes and then between my daughter and I, we couldn’t wait a second longer.

Don’t they look amazing!?

They taste like  a homemade miracle, trust me.

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I love how the ones made in the muffin tin look like a cinnamon roll muffin.

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All is right with my world.   I’m in a cinnamon roll induced coma and I’m perfectly okay with that.

Now if you’ll excuse me I gotta go clean my kitchen *sigh* again.

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

Foolproof home baked bread in minutes!

Hello my lovelies,

It’s the school holidays here in England and that means 6 weeks of scrambling to find activities for my child that won’t break the bank. Thank goodness for Pinterest and Facebook viral video’s! I found a really cool video for bread in a bag and just had to make it.

Yesterday we baked bread in a bag and it was a-mazing! Light, tasty and super duper easy to make.  In fact, my 5 year old daughter did 95% of the work!

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I measured out all the ingredients in 3 stages so that it was easy for my daughter to add them into the zip lock bag.  She had so much fun!  All you’ll need besides the ingredients, is a large zip lock bag and a few plastic tumblers.  The recipe is in cups which, surprise, surprise I couldn’t find yesterday so I used one of my daughter’s ikea plastic cups which worked perfectly.

So, here’s the recipe and method:

Foolproof bread in a bag

Into a large ziplock bag, add  1 cup of flour, 3 tablespoons white sugar (next time I’ll use 1/2 this mount as it seemed a little sweet to me), 1 pkg rapid rise yeast and 1 cup of warm water.

Seal the bag letting out the air as you go and then comes the fun part.  Play with the ziplock bag and massage it in your hands so that all the ingredients combine.  My daughter LOVED this part!

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When it’s combined, set the bag aside for 10 minutes.

Now open the bag and add 1 cup of flour, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Once again, seal the bag letting out the air as you go and play with the ingredients in the ziplock bag and manipulate it in your hands so that all the ingredients combine.

Open the bag and add a cup of flour.

Seal the bag again and manipulate to mix the flour in.

Lay the bread dough on a floured surface and gently mould into the shape of a bread loaf. Place into a greased loaf tin.

Cover and allow to rise for at least 45 minutes in a warm place.

Bake at 190 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Once baked, turn out onto a cooling rack and wait five minutes before devouring with butter and jam!

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Bright blessings,

Mama R

x