Chocolate Orange Trifle

Chocolate Orange Trifle


2 tins mandarin oranges in juice

2 chocolate swiss rolls (approx 250g)

100-200g chocolate dark is best*

400g pot/carton of vanilla custard

275ml crème fraiche

Cocoa powder for dusting

*With Easter coming up any leftover Easter egg chocolate could be melted and used in the custard.


  1. Separate mandarins from juice and spread them evenly across the bottom of trifle bowl, add a couple of teaspoons of the juice.
  2. Cut swiss roll into 1cm slices and layer over the mandarins, piecing the slices together to cover the mandarins as much as possible.
  3. Take the chocolate and melt on a low heat in the microwave, once melted stir into the custard until it becomes a rich dark brown.
  4. Pour the chocolate custard over the swiss roll and smooth to make an even layer.
  5. Add the crème fraiche and spread gently to cover the custard without mixing together.
  6. Dust the top of trifle with sieved cocoa powder  (If you like the star decoration invest in some coffee stencils).
  7. Chill in the fridge for at least half an hour before serving.

Top Tip: The stars were made using a coffee stencil. See amazon for the set I used:


Posted in Quick Easy Recipe, Recipes | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have started changing my family’s diet to eat more protein and less grain. This is loosely based on the Paleo diet; while reading around on the subject I have found this lovely recipe for cookies which I put into my son’s lunchbox.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Abra Ca Debora Winner

The winner is revealed:

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Abra Ca Debora

Abra Ca Debora

Pancake day 4th March. How do you like to eat your pancakes? I have some lovely pancakes from Abra Ca Debora to give away along with everything in the hamper – yes lots of lovely fillings for your pancakes. Leave a comment sharing how you like to eat your pancakes and on pancake day I’ll choose a winner. Good luck!

Posted in Uncategorized | 263 Comments

This Year’s Work in Pictures


Posted in Cakes | 1 Comment

Chrismas Gifts – Cake Decorating Book

The Cake Decorating Bible Juliet SearSorry to not have blogged for a shamefully long time but well life has been busy! I’m baking for two local cafes now, working two and a half days as a secretary and also being a full time Mum!

Since I started sharing my cakes on my facebook page I sometimes get asked if I’ll ever give classes – this is something I can’t fit in to my schedule – so if you would like to learn more about cake decorating ask for this book for Christmas: The Cake Decorating Bible by Juliet Sear.

Juliet Sear’s shop ‘Fancy Nancy’ is in my home town Leigh-on-Sea and her cakes are sold in Harvey Nichols, as well as having a customer list which includes Holly Willoughby, Peaches Geldof and Sir Ian McKellen. Read my original review of it here.

This book taught me all the basics and improved my skills dramatically. Buy for someone who likes to bake or put on your own Christmas list!

Posted in Book Reviews, Cakes | Tagged | Leave a comment

Guest Blogger – Sweet Chilli Salmon And Noodles

Elle from shared this lovely recipe with me. I hope you like her guest post:

“One of my favourite quick, healthy and easy meals to make when I am in a rush is sweet chilli salmon, mangetout and noodles.

I told my colleagues that I had this when my partner was out and I had a really busy evening and they could not believe that I had gone to ‘so much trouble’ just to feed myself. Actually, I had only troubled myself for 20 minutes from start to finish! Here’s how I did it:

Elle’s Sweet Chilli Salmon And Noodles


1. Turn the oven on. Put your noodles in a pan of water, turn the hob on to full power.

2. Coat your salmon fillet in a teaspoon of sweet chilli sauce, put it on a sheet of tin foil in a baking tray (less scrubbing when you wash up!) and set your timer for about 16 minutes.

3. When the noodles are softening, add your mangetout to the water – they will only need a couple of minutes.

4. Drain the noodles and mangetout, put back into the pan with a tablespoon of sweet chilli sauce, warm through and then transfer on to your plate.

5. Take your salmon out of the oven, check it is cooked through and serve on top of your noodles.

6. Time to eat!*

*Glass of dry white wine to serve is optional

If my calculations are correct, that meal took me 20 minutes to make including preheating the oven. Oven chips take approximately 20- 25 minutes plus time to preheat the oven. Point made?

If salmon isn’t your cup of tea, you could always use a chicken breast cut into about eight or nine pieces and dry fried. Vegetarians can scrap the meat altogether and just put in whatever vegetables you have lurking in the fridge – mushrooms, sweetcorn, sugar snap peas – anything really!

What’s your favourite quick and healthy meal to prepare?

Elle blog signiture

Posted in Quick Easy Meals, Quick Easy Recipe, Recipes | Leave a comment

Home Baking by Jo Wheatley

jo wheatleyI think Jo Wheatley is fantastic; two years ago she was the winner of The Great British Bake Off. Rather unfairly she was my favourite from the start, after all she is a Mum from Essex who loves to bake – just the same as me. Yet, it was her down-to-earth, unassuming nature, matched by her skill that consolidated my support for her.

Last week I was delighted to receive Jo’s second book ‘Home Baking’ to review.  I was so impressed with Jo’s first book which was much more than I had expected that when her second book came along I was unsure how many more recipes Jo would have. How wrong I was! Jo’s second book is bigger than her last, more recipes, a greater variety, and once again real recipes that you actual want to start cooking straight away.

This is why I love Jo, her book is made for real people and with what I call ‘real ingredients’ – ingredients you can find in your local shops. I’m looking forward to trying her Stem Ginger Cheeesecake, Fruit and Nut Brownies, Cornbread and I could go on. Fantastic! From one Essex Mum to another I know that Jo has skill, talent and passion. Seeing Jo’s food brought to life in her beautifully styled books and knowing this is the food she dishes up for her family and friends inspires me. I am encouraged to keep striving on to improve, bake more, cook more and know that homemade food is really appreciated. Thank you Jo.

For sale exclusively at Sainsbury’s



Posted in Biscuits & Cookies, Book Reviews, Cooking with kids, Recipes | Leave a comment

My Garlic Prawn Recipe

garlic prawnsLast night was the first dinner we had outside in our garden so we could take advantage of the sunshine. It is lovely to enjoy our garden and appreciate our new fruit trees given to us by the Actimel Family Wellbeing Fund. I cooked such a quick meal but it was also healthy and yummy! We are trying to eat more fish and get away from too many stodgy carbohydrate meals. For this meal I used tiger prawns which we bought on special offer but use whatever type of prawns you prefer. Here is the recipe if you want to cook a super quick meal.

Serves 2


  • 1/2 tbsp vegetable/olive oil (whichever you have)
  • 50g butter
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 spring onions or half an onion, chopped
  • 1tsp mixed dried herbs
  • 200g fresh tiger prawns
  • 1tsp tomato puree
  • 250ml white wine (or substitute with chicken/vegetable stock)
  • Black pepper


  1. Heat saucepan, add oil and butter, once oil is hot add in garlic, onion and herbs.
  2. Stir and check onion is lightly browned and add prawns along with tomato puree and continue stirring.
  3. Add white wine, and as much black pepper as you like, and leave until the liquid is bubbling and all the prawns have turned from grey to pink.
  4. Serve with any fresh herbs you may have, parsley, chives etc.

We ate this meal with brown rice and salad. To make the salad interesting I made a fresh dressing

Orange & Hazelnut Dressing:

  1. Toast a large handful of hazelnut.
  2. Crush them roughly in a pestle and mortar.
  3. Add some oil (approx 1 tbsp).
  4. Throw in some chopped chives.
  5. Finish with the juice of a freshly squeezed orange. 
  6. Drizzle over your salad.





Posted in Quick Easy Meals, Quick Easy Recipe, Recipes | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Actimel Family Wellbeing Fund & Our Mini Garden Orchard

apples on tree 2apple treeapple blossom

A couple of months ago I was invited by Actimel to apply for funding for a project I thought would be beneficial to my family involving food. It didn’t take me long to realise this would be my chance to ask for funding towards the fruit trees I’ve been longing for. When we bought our bungalow it already had a well established apple tree bearing Golden Delicious apples. It was lovely to have our own supply of apples and my next move was to find a local pick your own fruit farm. During the summer and autumn my son and I spend many happy hours wandering through the orchards at the last pick your own in our area, and have made friends with the 70 year old lady farmer who sees to its maintenance. Now, with the Actimel Wellbeing Fund, would be my chance to have more fruit in our own garden and to make jams, chutneys and preserves to last all year by freezing and canning the fruit. I saw this as a way to increase my family’s fruit intake and reduce our food bill, Actimel agreed and last month we were allowed to buy 5 of our own fruit trees for our garden!

Thank you very much to Actimel for choosing our family and funding our project. The good news is that there is more funding to be awarded and Actimel want bloggers to apply. My funding was awarded under the EAT category of the Family Wellbeing project but there are 5 more categories: PLAY, CONNECT, MOVE, LEARN & GIVE.

If you would like to apply for funding check out their website: Actimel Family Wellbeing

Posted in Food Thoughts & Nutrition, My Life | Leave a comment