Happy Easter with 20p Chocolate Lollipops

Happy Easter! Hope you’re having a wonderful day.

Sometimes I make Easter gifts overly complicated, but this year I kept it really simple, by making chocolate lollipops.

Easter choc lollipops

I picked up the plastic mold in a kit for 79p in Tesco last year after Easter, which came with 4 lolly sticks (and some dubious looking ‘chocolate mix’). I used Tesco Value chocolate at 35p per 100g (which made 4 or more), both milk and dark, depending on the recipient.

To make chocolate lollipops, melt the chocolate gently in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, pour into the mold and roll the sticks to ensure they set firmly into the lollipop.  I’d recommend cooling in the fridge before removing, to make the chocolate nice and glossy, then just pop each lollipop out.

Easter chocolate lollipop

I then wrapped each lolly in cellophane (which is a staple crafting good here!) and tied with one of the little ribbons you get when you cut the hanging loops out of clothes.

So 10p per lolly for the mould, 8p per lollipop for the chocolate and 2p per lolly stick – all for a fraction of the price and twice the thoughtfulness of a shop-bought lollipop!

Easter Egg Hot Chocolate

Have you got Easter eggs coming out of your ears? If so, why not use some to make a delicious hot chocolate?

Just heat up the milk in the microwave for one minute, remove and add in chunks of delicious chocolate:

Return to the microwave for a further minute and then remove and stir:

Simple and delicious!

Easter Iced Cookies

I think that cookies are a good way to celebrate all occasions, so here are some fun Easter and spring time cookies. Plus I got to use Yolky (the very cute egg separator) for the first time.
Recipe: Easter Iced Cookies
225g plain flour
100g sugar
125g butter
1 egg yolk
1-2 tbsps water
Pinch of salt
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180℃/350℉/Gas Mark 4
2. Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and stir in the sugar
3. Using your fingers, rub the cubes of butter into the flour mix until it resembles breadcrumbs
4. Stir in egg yolk and enough water to hold the mixture together, form into a ball
5. Wrap the ball of dough in foil and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes
6. Roll out on a floured board to approximately 0.5cm thick and cut into shapes
7. Bake on a greased baking tray in the centre of the pre-heated oven for approximately ten minutes, until lightly golden
Decorate using pastel shades of icing and all manner of pretty sprinkles:

Send some to a friend, if you can bare to spare a few:

And finally, go out and enjoying the beautiful spring sunshine we’ve been having in England today!

Bramley Apple Week: Apple and Blackberry Betty

This week (5th-12th February) is Bramley Apple week and what better excuse to make a fruit and oat betty and celebrate an obscure food festival?

This isn’t much of a quantities recipe- more of a ‘throw it all together’ affair…

Apple and Blackberry Betty
Serves 4

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and pick out some lovely large Bramley apples:

Peel, core and slice the apples and place them in a saucepan, (I added some defrosted blackberries that I’ve been saving in the freezer for a rainy day at this point). Sprinkle the fruit with sugar and a couple of tablespoons of water and cook on a low heat for 7 or 8 minutes:

Meanwhile, rub together some cold butter from the fridge (approx 75g), plain flour, porridge oats and demerara sugar to make the topping:

Transfer the fruit in the bottom of the bowl, sprinkle the oaty goodness over the top and press down:

Then cook in the oven for approximately 30 minutes, until you have a delicious fruity, oaty mess:

Have a happy Bramley Apple Week!

Christmas Pudding Truffles

I will start by saying that truffles are sadly not thrifty, but they are delicious and home made ones are certainly a lovely gift and much cheaper than their shop-bought equivalents. I have been making truffles for Christmas for a few years now, but this year I decided to stray into unchartered territory- Christmas pudding truffles (in look, not flavour, although that will definitely be next!)

I was quite pleased with the result, even if they were a bit fiddly and could have done with a flatter base so they didn’t keep rolling away for the photos…

Ingredients:
250g (8oz) good quality dark chocolate
175ml (6 fl oz) double cream
50g white chocolate
Green roll out icing
Red writing icing
+ A lot of patience

1. Break the chocolate up into a heatproof bowl
2. Heat the cream in a saucepan on a medium heat until its nearly boiling
3. Pour the cream over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate has metled and the two are combined
4 Leave the mixture to cool (at room temperature for the first 15 minutes and then it can go in the fridge to speed it up a bit!)
5. Using a teaspoon or melon baller, scoop out into small balls
6. Chill the truffles in the fridge for an hour. Whilst they are chilling, cut out holly leaves from green icing
7. Gently melt the white chocolate in a bowl over simmering water and carefully spoon over the top of the truffles
8. Stick the holly leaves in
9. Once the white chocolate has cooled, dot on berries with the writing icing

The truffles will keep for a few days in the fridge, or you can freeze them after step 5 if you want to decorate at a later stage.

Make, Do and Mend

Today I am taking the old adage ‘make do and mend’ very literally, by making, doing and mending some of the things I’ve been saving for a rainy day.

Make:

I made these very simple rocky road pieces to nibble on whilst enjoying a nail biting grand prix today.

Ingredients:
150g milk chocolate
60g of marshmallows, chopped
70g digestive biscuits, broken into chunks
25g raisins

Method:
1. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water
2. Once the chocolate has melted, stir in the marshmallows, biscuits and raisins
3. Pour mixture onto a lined baking tray
4. Put in the fridge to set for about an hour

Makes about 8 medium sized pieces

Most rocky road recipes use mini marshmallows, but these tend to be more expensive, so I just chop up the big ones, as above

Do:

Consider cheaper cuts of meat- I’ve just put a delicious ‘speedy roast’ in the oven of chicken thighs and drumsticks (far cheaper than breast meat) with potatoes, pepper, lemon, onion and garlic, drizzled in olive oil, honey, white wine and seasoned with salt, pepper and rosemary, yum! The smell is wafting in rather temptingly whilst I type…

Mend:

Today I glued my boots back together, putting an end to the flappy ‘puppet mouth’ look I’ve been sporting.

I also got out my unpicker to remove a zip and buttons from an otherwise unsalvageable pair of linen trousers with several large holes in. I’ll store these for another rainy day when I learn to use my zipper foot!

 I love all the old ‘make do and mend’ book covers and adverts and having a look at them is giving me some ideas for a project… Check out my Pinterest Board.