Pancake Day

Even though I am the baker in our household, Pancake Day is not my domain but my husbands. I love Pancake Day and I love it even more when I do not do any of the cooking but just get to enjoy the eating!

I thought I would share his Pancake Recipe with you as well as some of the pictures from our Pancake Day yesterday:

Ingredients

  • 110g of Plain Flour
  • 2 Eggs
  • 200ml of Milk
  • 75ml of Water
  • 1tbsp of Melted Butter
  • Pinch of Salt
Pancake Batter

Pancake Batter

Method

  1. Sieve the flour into a large bowl
  2. Make a well in the middle and add the eggs
  3. Whisk into the flour until a batter starts to form
  4. Gradually add the water and milk to the batter so it becomes thinner and smoother
  5. Finally add the tablespoon of melted butter and pinch of salt to finish the batter
  6. In a medium frying pan melt butter (better to use than oil) then ladle in a scoop of the batter and fry for 2 minutes on each side
  7. Repeat until all the batter has been used
  8. The pancakes can then be served and enjoyed with a topping of your choice!
The First Pancake

The First Pancake

Note: This recipe will make 10 small pancakes, we doubled up for an extra large portion and they can be used with sweet or savoury toppings!

Our Toppings

Our Toppings

I cannot say it enough, I love Pancake Day, even if I did say ‘uh I feel sick’ more than once!

Our Stack of Pancakes

Our Stack of Pancakes

As usual the boy did good and our pancakes were just as delicious as they are every year and I am left waiting for next February…

A Look Back at 2015

So now we are a month into 2016 and I have almost started to write a 6 instead of a 5 when dating things, I thought it was about time that I looked back on 2015. For personal reasons 2015 was the worst year of my life but I would like to focus on the positives as now we are into 2016 we have so much to look forward too. I am blessed with friends and family that have given me so many good memories to try and erase the shadow that was 2015 for me and that is why I want to share those memories with you in A Look Back at 2015:

Starting with our honeymoon in Mexico

mex

Seeing 2 of my dearest friends get married (and pregnant)!

beckie

 

kaeThe birth of the beautiful Louisa

louisa

Our amazing road trip through Scandinavia

roadtrip

Finding out we were expecting our own bundle of joy

baby

The birth of my Godson Toby

toby

And finally a festive season to end the year on a high with our friends here is Berlin!

xmas

That was A Look Back at 2015 from my perspective and it for good and for bad it is not a year I will be forgetting in a hurry.

Here is to a happy 2016 for us all!

Meeting my Godson – Trip to the UK

Last weekend we traveled back to the UK to catch up with friends and family as well as introducing them to ‘bump’ but most importantly I got to meet my Godson for the first time. I thought I would share a few of my favourite snaps from the trip with you:

As we do almost every time, our trip started with a catch up lunch with my best friend and her beautiful little ones, this turned into chaos when they decided that the stickers should no longer go into the book but onto David… I think he secretly liked it!

1

The next few days involved seeing some of our family, including a birthday meal for my sister-in-law and then the much anticipated meeting of Toby

2

We were lucky enough to also be there for Nathan’s (Toby’s Dad) birthday so went out for lunch in the New Forest and got some lovely snaps in Lyndhurst

3

As well as the chaos of fitting in seeing everyone we wanted in just 5 days we also got a little alone time and did some shopping for the bump too

4

And finally, before heading home we got in some last minute time with Toby as I sadly do not know when the next time I get to see him is!

5

As always our time was too short, it never seems to matter how long we visit, we never fit it all in and this time we do not know when our next trip will be. But I love seeing all of our friends and family and although Berlin is our home now, we miss them all a lot!

Mexican Black Beans and Feast

On New Years Eve my husband and I always choose to stay in (if you have ever been to Berlin on New Years Eve you will know why), cook something tasty and watch movies. This year when debating what to have we decided on something we haven’t made in a while but used to be a favourite so I thought I would share it with you.

So here is our Mexican Black Beans and Feast from New Years Eve:

Ingredients

For the Spicy Black Beans

  • 1 Finely Chopped Red Onion
  • 1tbsp of Olive Oil
  • 2 Crushed Garlic Cloves
  • 1tsp Cumin Powder
  • 1.2tsp Cinnamon Powder
  • 2 Tins of Black Beans (400g tins)

For the Guacamole

  • 2 Avocados
  • 1tsbp of Lime Juice
  • Black Pepper
  • Chili Flakes

For the Extras

  • Salsa
  • Sour Cream
  • Grated Cheese
  • Chopped Red Onion
  • 6 Tortillas
Mexican Black Beans and Feast

Mexican Black Beans and Feast

Method

  1. Firstly prepare the spicy black beans by draining the tins of beans whilst retaining the liquid in a bowl beneath
  2. Start frying the onion in olive oil until soft
  3. Then add the garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes
  4. Add the cumin and cinnamon and cook for a further minute
  5. Add the beans and a couple of tablespoons of the reserved liquid
  6. Cover the beans and cook on a medium-low heat for 10 minutes until they start to break down
  7. Then remove from the heat and love to cool slightly
  8. Mash about 3/4 of the beans roughly with a fork, leaving some whole
  9. They are ready to serve so set to one side and start on the guacamole
  10. To do this, mash the avocado flesh in a bowl, add the lime juice
  11. Then add black pepper and chili to your taste then mash until smooth
  12. This can also be set aside, I then grate the cheese, chop some onion and pour the other ingredients into bowls for serving buffet style
  13. Finally I prepare the tortillas, do this set your grill to 200C
  14. Cut the tortillas into slices (i do this like a pizza) and arrange on a baking tray, grill for around 90 seconds on each side until they start to crisp and go brown, it may take a few trays to do them all
  15. Once cool your Mexican Feast can be served!

Our Mexican Black Beans and Feast is inspired by a recipe from Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course Recipe Book called Spicy Black Beans with Feta and Avocado, however I don’t really like Feta and Avocado so our dish kind of evolved to the above with the black beans being the central focus. Now I do not mean to offend Mr Ramsay but I like our version better :)

Christmas in Berlin

We love spending our Christmas in Berlin and creating our won traditions as a family so this post is mostly for our families back in the UK that I know pop in from time to time to see what we are getting up too. We had a brilliant Christmas period with our friends and I wanted to share a few of those moments with you!

The best thing about Christmas in Berlin, German Christmas Markets, we must have visited one at least every weekend in December!

xmas markets

I also love decorating the house, for the first time this year we got a big tree and new decorations to boot

xmas tree

This winter has been pretty mild (not anymore) but up until Christmas is was, which gave us the perfect excuse to go and explore the centre of Berlin on Christmas Eve (minus tourists)

xmas eve walk

Our Christmas Eve walk was followed by our Pizza and Home Alone tradition before bed

xmas eve pizza

When we get up on Christmas morning, the first thing we do is get the turkey in the oven, this was our 4 year at a turkey(well mostly my husband) and it is definitely getting better and better

turkey prep

Then we open our gifts, turtle included of course

opening presents

Before getting ready for friends to arrive for lunch

ready for xmas day

This year we did a second Christmas on Boxing Day, which involved this little nuggets first Christmas

louisa

Followed by another roast dinner

xmas number 2

Then a Christmas Tree Pavlova!

xmas treet pavlova

As you can see the two most important things about our Christmas in Berlin are food and friends, which I do not think is so bad at all!

I hope you all had a lovely festive season too!

Christmas Tree Pavlova with Pistachios and Chocolate Baubles

I saw a form of this on a Christmas baking programme and just thought the idea looked great especially as I love making meringue since being taught by my Mother-In-Law (the queen of pavlova) but maybe it was a chance to make my own unique version. So here it is, my attempt at a Christmas Tree Pavlova with Pistachios and Chocolate Baubles:

Ingredients

  • 4 Eggs Whites
  • 8oz of Sugar
  • 1tbsp of Lemon Juice
  • 2tbsp of Cornflour
  • 200ml of Cream
  • 50g of Finely Chopped Pistachios
  • 15-20 Chocolate Balls
Christmas Tree Pavlova with Pistachios and Chocolate Baubles

Christmas Tree Pavlova with Pistachios and Chocolate Baubles

Method

  1. Firstly you want to draw your Christmas Tree onto a piece of baking paper, I just did this free hand as you are looking for a rough shape and not anything exact!
  2. Then flip the baking paper over and use to line a large baking tray (pencil down) also preheat your oven to 150C (fan)
  3. To start on your meringue separate 4 egg whites into a clean, dry large bowl, this is very important as it will ensure the pavlova holds its shape
  4. Then whisk (electrically or by hand if you have the courage) until the egg whites are stiff and forming peaks
  5. Sieve in the sugar then cornflour gradually whilst continuing to whisk
  6. Finally add the lemon juice and give the meringue a final whisk whilst ensuring it is still a stiff mixture
  7. Then using a spoon spread onto your Christmas tree outline carefully, building it up around the edges until you have your final shape, try to handle the mixture as little as possible so that the air stays inside
  8. Place carefully into the oven and turn down to 130C (fan) and cook for 45-55 minutes
  9. Turn the oven off and leave the pavlova to cool inside, usually around 4 hours but can be made the night before and left until morning
  10. Once cool whisk your cream and use to spread over the top of your pavlova
  11. Then spread the pistachios all over and add the chocolate baubles as desired

I was so happy at how my Christmas Tree Pavlova with Pistachios and Chocolate Baubles turned out, I was prepared for a potential disaster (which is OK, then you can make some type of Eton mess) but it was just as I wanted it and very very festive. It also must have tasted good as the whole thing was eaten by 4 people in one sitting after a starter and roast dinner!

I know Christmas has passed but I didn’t make this until our second Christmas with friends on Boxing Day so it may be one to store away for next Christmas. I am also thinking of adapting it for other times of the year, perhaps a heart at valentines day or a sun in the summer… If I do, I will be sure to share them with you!

Happy New Year – Chocolate Tiffin Bar

So it is now 2016 and there is probably no Chocolate Tiffin Bar left from Christmas but I still wanted to share this recipe, firstly because it is one of my favourites and secondly because something about it screams Christmas to me (probably that it has like a million calories and we all know those don’t count at Christmas). I have shared this recipe a long time ago, but it is a good’un so why not share again!

Ingredients

  • 200g of Digestive Biscuits
  • 200g of Milk Chocolate
  • 100g of Walnuts
  • 100g of Almonds
  • 65g of Ready Made Meringue
  • 150g of Unsalted Butter
  • 100g of Mini Marshmallows
  • 1tbsp of Golden Syrup
Chocolate Tiffin Bar

Chocolate Tiffin Bar

Method

  1. Firstly line a large plastic container (around 20cmx30cm) with cling film, leaving plenty of extra film around the edges to help turn out your tiffin when its set
  2. Break the biscuits up into small pieces in a large bowl
  3. Add the walnuts, almonds and marshmallows and mix together
  4. Put the chocolate, butter and broken up meringue into a glass bowl and put on a low heat over a pan of simmering water until the butter and chocolate are almost melted
  5. At this point add the golden syrup and stir until thoroughly melted
  6. Combine the biscuit/nut mix and the chocolate and stir thoroughly ensuring that all ingredients are covered in chocolate
  7. Pour the mixture into the line plastic container and push down to form a solid bar
  8. Place in into the fridge until it has set
  9. After it is completely set turn the tiffin out of the container onto a plate and slice into chunky slices ready to serve

I do not really need to say much about this recipe for Chocolate Tiffin Bar except that it is blooming lovely and will last in the fridge for 10 days (if it lasts that long) and is a great treat when you are lounging about this festive season, or in any season, just make it and eat it!

If you want to see this original post click here.

Banoffee Pie

Christmas may now be coming to an end but luckily we still have Banoffee Pie left! This has become our Christmas dessert for the past few years and is definitely a tradition that is here to stay. Here is how I make ours:

Ingredients

  • 400g of Chocolate Digestive Biscuits
  • 75g of Butter
  • ¾ Ripe Bananas
  • 1 Tin of Ready Made Caramel (I tried to make my own once, major fail)
  • 200ml of Whipping Cream
  • 50g of Milk Chocolate
Banoffee Pie

Banoffee Pie

Method

  1. Start by greasing a 26cm spring form tin
  2. Ground the chocolate digestives until fine
  3. Melt the butter and allow to cool slightly
  4. Mix the butter and ground biscuits into a bowl and squeeze together with the back of a wooden spoon
  5. Tip into your tin and push down to compact in a flat even surface
  6. Place this into the fridge for 30 minutes to cool and harden
  7. After 30 minutes you can then tip the caramel onto the biscuit base and smooth so again it is fully covered and even
  8. Place back into the fridge for 30 minutes
  9. Then slice your bananas and place into circles on top of the caramel starting at the outside and working your way in until you have a full layer of bananas
  10. Whip the cream until stiff and spread over the top, evenly or in a pattern if you are feeling fancy
  11. Finally grate your chocolate over the top
  12. It then needs to be refrigerated for 4 hours (or overnight) before serving

I always find that it is best to make your Banoffee Pie the day before you want to use it as it is fully set and easier to remove from the spring form tin before serving. To do this, run a sharp, think knife under the hot tap to warm the blade, then use this to glide around the outside of the tin to loosen the edges before undoing. So far, this has worked every time for me.

This dessert is very rich for Christmas Day and I usually spend the whole time I am eating it complaining I am too full but I eat it anyway because, isn’t that what Christmas is about?

P.S. The best bit is, there is always some left as this serves at least 8 big portions!

Merry Christmas Everyone

As you all sit down to Christmas lunch I wanted to say Merry Christmas Everyone!

bakingginger

We have friends over today for a traditional English Christmas, even though we are in Germany, it is my husband and I’s 4th Christmas here in Berlin (5th but the first we went back to the UK) and we are really starting to refine our own traditions.

They start on Christmas Eve when we make homemade pizzas, make the dessert for Christmas Day (always Banoffee Pie, I will share my recipe soon) and then when the pizzas are done we put on our new pajamas and watch Home Alone 1 and 2!

On Christmas morning we get up and start the cooking by getting the Turkey in the oven and peeling the mountain of veg! Then we sit down under our tree to open presents before eating a breakfast of chocolate. Then it is time to get dressed for friends to arrive.

I really really love Christmas and get so excited about all of the details, especially the baking but now I cannot wait for next year already!

What are your Christmas traditions and/or what are you doing this year?

Malteaser Topped Chocolate Birthday Cake

So this weekend was my husbands birthday and I usually try to make something a little extravagant and a lot out of my comfort zone, this year I was inspired by the Malteaser Christmas Pudding cake I have seen making the rounds as my husband loves Malteasers but of course I had to take the ‘Christmas’ out of it. So I had a practise run with my Malteaser cupcakes and decided that I could do this (can I?) so here is my attempt at a Malteaser Topped Chocolate Birthday Cake:

Ingredients

For the Cake;

  • 5 oz of Castor Sugar
  • 6 ½ oz of Plain Flour
  • 1 ½ level tsp of Baking Powder
  • 1 level tsp of Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 2 tbsp of Cocoa
  • 2 Lightly Beaten Eggs
  • ¼ pt of Milk
  • ¼ pt of Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp of Hot Water

For the Filling

  • 3 oz of Butter
  • 4 oz of Icing Sugar

For the Topping;

  • 6 oz of Butter
  • 6 oz of Icing Sugar
  • 2 oz of Cocoa
  • 500g of Malteasers (2.5 bags)
Malteaser Topped Chocolate Birthday Cake

Malteaser Topped Chocolate Birthday Cake

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 150c (Fan) and grease a 8” cake tin
  2. Sieve all of the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix together thoroughly
  3. Mix the oil, milk and eggs into a jug
  4. Gradually add the oil, milk and eggs to the dry ingredients and mix until smooth
  5. Once the mixture is smooth add the hot water and mix
  6. Poor the mixture into the tin
  7. Place in the oven for 30-35 minutes
  8. Once the cake has cooked allow to cool thoroughly before starting on the filling
  9. To make the filling sieve the icing sugar into a bowl
  10. Then add the butter and mix until you have a smooth mixture
  11. Cut the cake half way through (and as evenly as possible)
  12. Spread the frosting onto the bottom piece before gently placing the top back on
  13. Then you can make the topping
  14. To make the topping sieve the icing sugar and cocoa together
  15. Add the butter and cream until smooth
  16. Then use the frosting to cover the whole cake, top and sides, this does not need to be smooth or even but a thick layer is needed
  17. Once this is complete you can start adding the malteasers, I did this by starting in the middle at the top of the cake and working my way out in sort of circles as you can see in the picture
  18. This is time consuming but once you are done, you can show the person whose birthday it is and eat!

Note: This recipe is in different measurements than I normally use as it has been passed down to us from a family member, but rest assured it makes the best chocolate cake!

This Malteaser Topped Chocolate Birthday Cake took ages to make, but honestly, it looks so good when it is completed that it makes it totally worth it, usually I have a high chance of failure with big cakes (hence why I stick with cupcakes) but this makes me really proud. As ever the cake is super moist so this contrasts deliciously with the crunch of the Malteasers!

Now what am I going to do next year!