Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Easy Chocolate Birthday Cake

There is a glut of birthdays in our family around this time so I was pleased to discover this chocolate cake recipe in a book recently. The kids helped me make it a few times, and really enjoyed it.

60g butter (softened)
165g caster sugar
1 egg
225g self-raising flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
125ml milk
60ml boiling water
1/4 tsp bicarb soda

160g icing sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1-2 tbsp boiling water

Cream the butter & sugar until smooth, and add in the egg, beating well.

Sift the flour and cocoa together, and fold them into the creamed mixture, alternating with the milk.  

In a cup, combine the water and bicarb, and lightly fold into the mixture.  Pour the complete mixture into a well greased cake tin and take at 180 / 160 fan for around 30-40 mins.  Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

When you are ready to ice the cake, sift the flour and cocoa into a bowl and mix together.  Add the water a little at a time until you reach your desired consistency.  Spread over the cool cake.

Before the icing dries & sets completely, carefully sit your numbers (or letters if you want to spell out a name!) on top and sprinkle over Hundreds & Thousands.  Gently left the numbers up and you will be left with sprinkled numbers in your desired age - easy peasy!

I saw the idea of using pre-cut numbers or letters a while back - I think the Blogger in question cut them out of cardboard so if you don't have these kind of plastic ones you could easily do that.

You could always add some more decorations to fancy it up further, or just some candles. I love the idea of using jelly beans to create flowers too - check it out here.  

Monday, 26 August 2013

Prawn & Chilli Linguine

This is one of my fail-safe recipes, a fall back when I don't have anything else planned or we need a quick meal.  Obviously it's not kid friendly, as I add fresh chilli (unless your kids have very tolerant palates!)  It has a lovely clean fresh taste, and I can guarantee that everything in this recipe will already be in my cupboard, fridge or freezer so chances are you will have the ingredients too.

Linguine or spaghetti (enough for 2 people)
Pack of frozen prawns
1 fresh red chilli, deseeded & chopped
30g Parmesan, grated
Any left over veg (in this photo, I used green beans but the previous week I added cherry tomatoes so use whatever you have lying around)
Half a fresh lemon - grated zest plus the juice

Put the pasta on to boil.  If you are using fresh veg like the green beans, put these on to boil for a few mins too or they may be too crunchy.

Heat a little oil in a frying pan, and add the chilli.  Add the prawns & the grated lemon zest, and allow to cook through.

When the pasta is ready, drain and add immediately to the frying pan.  Throw in the lemon juice, the veg and the Parmesan and toss well.

Serve immediately with a glass of chilled white wine (and no, that part is *not* optional!) 

If I don't have prawns, I use a tin of crab meat - equally delicious.  If I don't have a fresh chilli, I use Lazy Chilli from a jar.  See, there really is no excuse not to make this!