Chocolate Overkill!

I was asked to make a cake by one of my daughters Rainbows leaders for today. It had to be chocolate fudge cake, with chocolate butter cream filling, chocolate fudge icing and smarties! That’s one huge chocolate hit… Kind of sad I had to give it away, it looked lovely!

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Since I was baking anyway I made some cupcakes too…. A little treat for the family-they were delicious too!

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Macmillan Coffee Morning

I’ve had an amazing day today!

I was organising a Macmillan coffee morning at the school where I am a Food teacher. We invited parents to come in for coffee and cakes and asked pupils to bring in donations of cakes to sell on the day.

As well as this, I took the opportunity to bring the staff together by organising a cake baking session after school yesterday! I had twenty staff, including the Head Teacher, baking cakes for this very worthwhile cause. We had three levels of competence – beginners making choc chip muffins, intermediates making ginger bang biscuits and advanced bakers making swiss roll. There were lots of staff who don’t cook very often, so it was great for them to be able to come along and cook with help nearby if they needed it! And some of them certainly needed it……..

It was a huge success, and this morning we were ready to go. There were tables and tables of cakes waiting to be sold and parents began arriving at 9.00. It was lovely to see parents interacting with the students who were serving tea and coffee along with slices of cake, and knowing that it was helping a good cause made it even better!

After a very busy morning and break-time, it was back to teaching, and then preparations began for more cake selling at lunch. It was a very busy day, and I don’t think I have sat down since 7.45am this morning, but counting up all of the donations before coming home this afternoon made it all worth it.

We made….wait for it……a whopping £400.31!

This was a huge achievement and a big thank you goes to all of the staff, parents and pupils for their kind donations of cakes and cash, but also for giving up their time for helping to make it happen.

Not only did we make money for a worthwhile cause, but the staff have thoroughly enjoyed it, and are now asking for more cooking sessions in the run up to Christmas!

Feeling tired is nothing compared to what some people have to go through when they are dealing with cancer on a daily basis. I’m sure that we all know someone who has had cancer at some point in our lives and the Macmillan nurses do a fantastic job in supporting both patients and families in order to make the whole situation as bearable as possible.

Nan – I know you would have been proud of me and what I have achieved today. It is nearly eleven years to the day that we lost you to cancer and I miss you as much today as I did then. So all of those cakes that I have baked and sold today (and over the past few years) are in loving memory of you and all of the things that we didn’t get to share. I wish my children had been given the chance to get to know you, but sadly that wasn’t to be x x x

 

National Wear a Tea Cosy on Your Head Day!

National Wear a Tea Cosy on Your Head Day…….I had never heard of it before, but after reading about it on their website, http://www.whitestuff.com I really liked the idea of drawing attention to myself in order to instigate the question Why do you have a tea cosy on your head?
For anyone who knows me, they know that I don’t “do” hats…..they really don’t suit me, so this resulted in even more interest than usual! And the best thing is it can be used on your teapot after the event! It’s made of pure lambswool too, and so will insulate your tea pot nicely, leaving you more time to dunk your biscuits!
The website donates 10% of all sales on the day to Charity and what’s great is that these monies are put towards helping disadvantaged children and young people in the UK – it’s great to hear that this money is staying in this country to help those that really need it! Eight five different charities are supported, so the love and money is being shared out in order to benefit as many people as possible.
There are loads of lovely items in the shop, so why not head over and take a look? They have both men and women’s clothing and some of the most beautiful bags and accessories!
Anyway, here’s me in mine ( kindly donated to me from http://www.whitestuff.com to help raise awareness of this charitable event ).

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I’ve had a s**t day……

In the words of Pink…I’ve had a s**t day, (NO!)
Have you had a shit day? (NO!), we’ve had a shit day (NO!)

This song was playing on the radio when I arrived at work this morning…..it was stuck in my head, like those annoying catchy songs that stay there all day, but little did I realise that it would hold so much truth for me!

It was like Piccadilly Circus this morning – from the moment I walked through the door at work, until the moment that I left!

On arrival I was bombarded with boys who wanted to put their ingredients in the fridge ready for their practical lesson later on – great if they actually knew which ingredients needed to go in the fridge and which ones didn’t! Then there was several students who had forgotten ingredients and homework who had just come down to let me know. I took this all in my stride, but so far I had been at work for 30 minutes and achieved nothing, nada, zilch!

When the trail of boys had finally finished, I got on with setting up my room for my mornings lesson. In come my class, I take the register and collect in homework…..out of a class of 20 boys, 8 had not done their work and had no good reason as to why. Just  “I haven’t done it”. When asked why, their response ” I don’t know”. Great, so that’s a load of admin –  recording on our internal system that it hasn’t been done, and my lunch hour spent with the boys trying to extract some homework out of them. Could it get any worse?

Well, yes!

I’ve had a s**t day, (NO!)
Have you had a shit day? (NO!), we’ve had a shit day (NO!)

GCSE practical lesson next! 3 boys absent from the lesson, one with no ingredients! Oh well, at least the rest are prepared and ready to cook. Noooooooo they are not – 3 have no recipe and no idea how to make their chosen products, one has a recipe but everything is in ounces and he doesn’t know how to convert it and when I explained, he couldn’t be bothered to do the maths, so just kept on asking what quantities he needed! Our theme for this week was cooking with sauces – they had made 4 different types in the last lesson, and yet I had fruit scones, chocolate brownies x 2 and muffins. Thank goodness for the spaghetti bolognaise and shortbread with chocolate dipping sauce – at least that was a little reassurance that I had asked them to cook something that included a sauce!

The rest of the day seemed to be going quite smoothly. It was very busy – marking, planning, making a birthday cake for a member of staff who is fifty tomorrow……. and then it was lunch time! And off we go again…..half the boys that should of turned up to a detention did not come, so that was another load of admin and emails to rearrange the detention for another day this week, this time after school. Nothing cheers me up more on a Monday than to know that on Wednesday I won’t be able to get on with what I need to do because I am chasing boys for homework.

And if that wasn’t enough, I knew that I was going home to a pile of ironing tonight and more marking and planning. Not only that, but I have open evening tomorrow – I have to cook tomorrows’ tea tonight and sort out my DD’s uniform for her club, plus arrange for someone to take her and bring her home! I have done reading with daughter, helped my son with his homework, and have had such an all round s**t day, that I wanted to sit and blog and just give myself a few minutes to relax. But even that is not going to happen….. as I sit here typing, my OH is calling down the stairs. After upgrading to ios 6 his texts aren’t working, he is not receiving emails and he has no wi-fi!

Heaven help me……I new that song this morning was a bad omen! I think that the best thing that I can do is take myself off to bed, and hope for a better day tomorrow!

I hope your day has been better than mine……..

*goes away singing*

I’ve had a s**t day, (NO!)
Have you had a shit day? (NO!), we’ve had a shit day (NO!)

#foodiefotofriday

I was asked to make some pretty cakes for a girly sleepover…..here you go!
The recipe that I used was one from http://tothecakelady.wordpress.com
I used two colours of buttercream icing in the same piping bag to get the two-tone look

It’s Friday again already which means it’s time to post some yummy pictures of food and make us drool.
A great blog about all things cooking related!

The Crazy Kitchen

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Casa Costello

Lets eat cake!

Although I’m not a professional, i make cakes for family and friends. I cook as part of my job as a teacher, so people just expect me to be good at making food!!!
It took me ages to find a recipe that was suitable for the cakes that I make. Some were too soft and didn’t hold up very well when decorated and others were too dry but provided a great texture for icing. There is two recipes that I use regularly now and I find that both of them work well. One provides a slighly firmer cake than the other, so I swap between the two depending on the design that I am creating.

This first recipe is a quick Madeira cake that is made using the all-in-one method. I make this in the food processor to get a consistant mixture. It can be made using the creaming method if you have the time, but if you are doing so leave out the baking powder.

This recipe will make two cakes in 18cm round sandwich tins. I use one bigger single tin, and adjust the quantities accordingly.

175g butter (sotened)

175g caster sugar

3 large eggs (I only use Free Range)

1 tsp baking powder

3 tbsp milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Pre-heat the oven to 180c (I use 170c for a fan oven) or Gas 4

Put all ingredients into the food processor or a bowl and mix until combined.

Spoon mixture between the two tins, and level out.

Bake for 25-35 minutes or until firm to touch. If the top is getting too brown, turn the oven down a little.

Leave to cool for 5-10 mins then turn onto a wire rack and allow to cool.

(If you are in a hurry to decorate it, put the cake in the fridge.

I find it best if I make the cake the day before, as it allows the cake to firm up a little before decorating.

You can also freeze the cake and then decorate once removed from the freezer. This makes it easier to work with when decorating.

Filling:

250g unslated butter

500g icing sugar

1 jar quality jam (I use homemade)

With a large knife or a cake wire, cut the cake in half. Spread jam over one half, making sure to go close to the edges.

Cream butter and icing sugar together until smooth, adding a little milk i required. I also like to add 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.

On the other side of the cake, spread the buttercream.

Sandwich the two halfs together, making sure that you line the cakes up so that it goes back together as one whole cake. This prevents ridges when you are decorating it!

With the remaining buttercream, spread a thin layer all over the top and sides of the cake. This is the easiest way to hold the fondant icing in place, and also fills any minor imperfections to give a good finish.

Now decorate as you please!

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OSS…. Odd Sock Syndrome

I was sorting out the washing at the weekend when it struck me…..Odd socks! How on earth do we have so many odd socks in our house? It’s got to the point where we have a little Ikea box thingy in a drawer and all the odd socks get sent to coventry! I don’t know where they are come from or on the flip side, where they all go? The washing washing basket is empty, there is not an ounce of washing in the house, and still I have a pile of odd socks that would keep a centipede happy!
So where do these odd socks go? Well, I have checked under beds (my DD throws them there….actually she leaves them all over the place *note to self, teach daughter to deposit socks safely in washing basket*), in socks drawers- they may have escaped and hidden themselves in the undergrowth, in other drawers….just in case they went AWOL, in the washing machine, in the tumble drier and just about anywhere else you can think of. No joy!
Now occasionally I’m lucky and my search is fruitful….I may find one that has managed to squirrel away and hide itself in the bottom of a duvet cover, or a pair that are similar and been matched together, but there are a lot of socks that disappear into the unknown. Sometimes they may only be a few weeks old, so I know that the socks are definitely getting smarter these days!
Look at them all…..

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And that’s not all of them!
So what I want to know is do any of you suffer from OSS (odd sock syndrome) or am I alone in this? Even better, do you know how to cure it…….or at least help me cope with it? And what strategies can I put in place to help me deal with it, because it is really becoming difficult to manage! I’m fairly sure that I am not the only one out there who suffers at that the hands of the Odd Sock, so if you have had similar experiences, I’d really love to hear about them.

Foody Friday!

This is what I have been cooking this week….

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Mini bakewell tarts
And chocolate tarts…..

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And my first attempt at cake pops…. Not as easy as they look!

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Why not join in with Foody Friday?

It’s Friday again already which means it’s time to post some yummy pictures of food and make us drool.
A great blog about all things cooking related!

The Crazy Kitchen