Fluffy Bunny Pancakes

Tomorrow is Pancake Day! It’s the perfect excuse to have a fun dinner or a sweet treat.

Since this is the first Pancake Day Olivia can take part in, I was trying to think of ways to make it fun. I always love pictures of people making animal pancakes for their kids. There are no rules. You can make teddy bears, butterflies and everyone remembers the pancake art trend. Olivia is still too young to appreciate full blown pancake art but I wanted to practice a simple design that I can make her on Sunday mornings or a grey day to cheer her up and I thought one of the most simple (and cute) designs would be a bunny!

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Although I had a lot of fun making these, I can’t wait until she’s a tad older and can decorate her bunny how she likes. Whipped cream tail? Chocolate whiskers? Strawberry teeth? Banana eyes and blueberry nose? If you do make these, please share your designs with me! I would love to see how you (or your children) decorate them.

Not only is this adorable, but they actually taste so good. I had some left over batter, after making these, and decided to have some for breakfast (as it was just there, and honestly, they’re so delicious!). I topped mine with strawberries and honey (how grown up am I?) but I kind of wanted to cover it in Nutella, whipped cream and sprinkles. Not gonna lie.

The recipe is perfect and you don’t need to run to the shops to get anything ‘special’. Chances are you’ll already have everything you need in the cupboard. So, without further adieu…


Fluffy Pancake Recipe

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Ingredients

  • 135g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 130ml milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Method

  1. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar into a large bowl.
  2. Lightly whisk the milk and egg together in a seperate bowl, then add the olive oil.
  3. Pour the milk mixture into the large bowl with the flour and whisk with a fork until completely combined.
  4. Leave batter to rest for a few minutes.
  5. Heat up a frying pan with 1 tbsp of oil to stop the pancakes sticking (you’ll need to add oil as you go).
  6. Add a ladle of batter to the heated pan. For the bunny you will need 1 large (body), 1 medium (head), two small (feet) and two ear-shaped pancakes. You’ll want to make several of each so you can practice and pick the best ones.
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  7. Once the top of the batter begins to bubble, flip the pancake over and cook until golden brown on both sides.
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  8. Arrange into a bunny shape and decorate!!!
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And that’s it! It’s literally that simple! These are perfect for a spur of the moment pancake craving or a spontaneous weekend breakfast.

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Thank you for taking the time to read. I hope you all have a very yummy Pancake Day!

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DIY Valentine Treats

Looking for something yummy this Valentine’s? Then look no further! I have everything you need for a romantic night in, a gift to share and those who hate V-day. These are also great if you’re having a ‘Palentines’ or ‘Galentines’ get together. If you make any of the following, please tag me in your creations on social media as I’d love to see how you recreate these.

Chocolate Strawberry Hearts

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Everyone loves chocolate covered strawberries on Valentine’s day. Why not make some for your valentine with a twist?

What you will need:

  • Strawberries
  • Chocolate
  • Pink Candy Melts
  • Toothpicks

Method

  1. Cut the tops off of the strawberries and cut in half.
  2. Arrange two halves into a heart shape (flat side down, points together). You may need to trim the edges to be more rounded.
  3. Push a toothpick through the two pieces of strawberry to secure them. Place onto greaseproof paper.
  4. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and drizzle over the strawberries until evenly covered.
  5. Allow the chocolate to set and remove the toothpick.
  6. Melt Candy Melts in a heatproof bowl and drizzle over the strawberries in a zig zag pattern. Allow to set.
  7. Serve immediately or refigerate until ready to serve.

Giant Valentine Cookie

This is the perfect gift! I make this everytime we decide to have a stay-at-home valentine’s. It’s so good to share in front of the TV. If you’re not very artistic and not sure how to decorate it, NO WORRIES! Melt some chocolate over it when it comes out the oven, add ice cream on top and it makes the perfect dessert.

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What you will need:

  • A batch of your favourite cookie dough
  • Royal Icing coloured red and white
  • Sprinkles

Method

  1. Create a batch of your favourite cookie dough. (I used a packet as it was quicker).
  2. Arrange cookie dough into a heart shaped pattern on a lined baking tray.
  3. Bake accordingly and allow to fully cool.
  4. Create royal icing (recipe below). Divide icing into two bowls and dye one of the bowls of icing red.
  5. Decorate the cookie as you would like. I think this looks particularly good with a traditional valentine message like ‘Be Mine’, ‘Will you be my Valentine?’ or ‘I love you’. Add sprinkles or other edible decorations.

 

Anti-valentine Biscuits

Not everyone likes Valentine’s day so if you’re one of those people (or you’re having a ‘Palentines’, this would also be fun) this is for you.

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To make the biscuits

You will need:

  • 100g sugar
  • 200g butter
  • 300g plain flour

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160ºC/140ºC fan/Gas Mark 3 and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (take care not to overmix).
  3. Slowly add the flour to the mixture until fully combined.
  4. Use your hands to squeeze the mixture together into a ball.
  5. Gently roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface. Cut your shapes out (I used a large heart cookie cutter). Place the biscuits onto the baking tray and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Cool on a wire rack.

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To Decorate

You will need:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 500g icing sugar (sifted)
  • 3 tsp water
  • red food colouring

Method

  1. Whisk egg whites until white and fluffy with soft peaks.
  2. Slowly add the icing sugar 1tbsp at a time and mix thoroughly.
  3. Mix until the icing forms a soft peak on the whisk. Not stiff enough to stand straight but just loose enough for the point of the peak to slowly fold over.
  4. Seperate the mixture into two bowls. Dye one bowl of icing red and put half of the red icing into a piping bag with a small round tip.
  5. Carefully pipe a boarder around the heart biscuits and leave to set.
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  6. Add 1tsp of water at a time to the remaining red icing until it is slightly runnier. 
  7. Carefuly pipe the runnier icing onto the biscuits and use a toothpick to ensure the icing evenly flood the biscuit to the boarder.
  8. Once set, put white icing into another piping bag with a small round nozzle and pipe words in the centre of them. You can pipe any words. You could even make these like traditional candy hearts by using different colours and ‘lovey dovey’ expressions.

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I really loved making all of these and I can honestly say they are all delicious! Thank you for reading and please check out some of my other posts. I recently did a post you might like called ‘Super Easy Valentine Crafts To Do With Your Kids’, although to be honest anyone could do them!

I am the owner and creator of all above content.

The Blue Month

First of all, Happy New Year! I can’t believe we’re in the year 2020 already. Unfortunately, with the new year comes the worst month. January, yuk.

January is just the longest month but also the most miserable. Not only do you have to suffer the financial backlash of Christmas and wait even longer until the next pay day but there is so much social pressure to better yourself, make big changes to your life and announce them to the world. Why? There’s a huge fad to start diets with the new year but I honestly think that this is the worst time of year to do it. It’s still winter! Biologically, our bodies are still craving comfort food and foods with higher calorific value. Only a few generations ago, we had to consume more food to survive the winter and since it was in short supply we had to find food with higher fat content.

Do you also find yourself struggling to get out of bed in the mornings? Its thought that our ancestors slept longer in the winter in order to burn less calories as food supply was low. Instead of getting up at the crack of dawn to work in the fields and burn more calories, they would sleep longer and conserve energy.

I, personally, feel the lowest in January (and usually February) mostly due to coming down from the hype of Christmas. Now, the days are still short, the home looks bare and no one is celebrating. People don’t go out together because they’re trying to make it through until payday, people aren’t drinking or eating ‘naughty’ foods and people bully themselves about what they need to ‘resolute’.

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Every year I find myself in a grey day slump for 2 months. Last year, I was too busy to notice with a new baby. This year, I prepared. For Christmas, I asked for lots and lots of books. I thought I would read my way through the slump and therefore my mind would be on vacation for the majority of it. I think I will do this every year. Not only did my mind have the opportunity to transport somewhere else, but even when I wasn’t reading, my mind thought of its vacation spot. While changing Olivia’s nappy, my mind wondered to ‘Feminists Don’t Wear Pink and other lies’ instead of how miserable the weather is. Before I fall asleep my head thought of ‘The Proposal’ rather than my never ending to do list.

It’s not just the reading. It’s transforming it into a form of self care. I light a candle, I cuddle up to Cody with a blanket, take a few deep breaths and immerse myself in the moment. It’s a great way to be present and switch off.

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I also started journaling. At first, I was using it as a way of dumping my thoughts, worries and hopes but after reading ‘The Witch’s Book of Self Care’ by , I tried other methods of journaling for self care. It took my mind off my worries and made me focus on the things I love and am grateful for.

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One of the books I started reading was ‘Notes on a Nervous Planet’ by Matt Haig. In this beautifully outlined book, Haig talks about his own personal struggles, the trial and errors he went through to solve them and why society may be feeling this way. Tucked between this are beautiful quotes and pieces of texts on the matter that I found very resonating. The chapters are short and for that reason I like this book as a bedtime read. You don’t have to force yourself to persevere 5 more pages until the end of the chapter as your eyes get heavier.

 

The Best Gingerbread Biscuits

I think my most favourite part of this festive season is the baking. One of the best things to bake, that will most definitely get you in the Christmas spirit (and make your house smell amazing), is gingerbread. I recently made a batch and I forgot how much I love to bake and decorate biscuits. I got fully immersed, to the point where I didn’t realise hours went by. This is only because I was doing really intricate decoration and I’m a perfectionist. The average person will do this in way less time. Especially when each batch only takes 10 minutes in the oven!

These biscuits are perfect to make with kids. You can make the dough ahead of time. Just allow 10 minutes after taking it out of the fridge for it to de-chill and simply roll it out onto a floured surface. You’ll want to roll it out to about 4 mm thickness. If you wish for your biscuits to be crunchier and have a snap, roll them slightly thinner. Similarly, if you wish for them to be more chewy, roll them slightly thicker.

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When it comes to decorating, I always favour a simple plain white royal icing. Royal icing is harder than water icing so your design is more likely to last longer. I prefer not to colour it as I think the white looks so elegant against the dark brown gingerbread. If you’re decorating with children, I recommend lots of different colours and perhaps using a simple water icing. I get a lot of enjoyment from piping so I spent a lot of time preparing my designs and getting them perfect.

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Below you will find the gingerbread biscuit recipe I use and also the royal icing recipe.

Gingerbread Recipe

Ingredients

  • 400g Plain Flour
  • 3/4 tsp Bicarbonate Soda
  • 2 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Mixed Spice
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 180g Butter (soft)
  • 125g Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 125g Black Treacle

Method

  1. Sift flour, bicarbonate soda and spices together into a large bowl.
  2. Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy.
  3. Add the egg and treacle. Mix until combined.
  4. Slowly add the flour mixture gradually as you mix until it is all combined and forms a loose dough.
  5. Divide the dough into 3 and wrap individually in cling film.
  6. Chill overnight – 2 days.
  7. When you’re ready to bake the biscuits, preheat the oven to 170°C (fan).
  8. Remove the dough from the fridge and allow to de-chill for 10 minutes.
  9. Roll out dough onto a floured surface 4 mm thick.
  10. Cut biscuit shapes out and place on a lined baking tray.
  11. Bake for 8-12 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the tray then transfer onto a cooling wrack.

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Royal Icing Recipe

Ingredients

  • 325g Icing Sugar
  • 2 Egg Whites
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice

Method

  1. Sift icing sugar into a large bowl.
  2. Whisk egg whites in a stand mixer or hand held mixer with lemon juice until frothy.
  3. Slowly add icing sugar until all combined.
  4. Whisk until it forms soft peaks.
  5. Pour into a prepared icing bag if you wish to pipe your designs. Otherwise, you can store in an air-tight container in the fridge for a week.

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Then, start having fun! You can get the family involved or use it as some therapeutic me time (like I did). You can add sprinkles, edible glitter or sweets. Go wherever the Christmas spirit takes you! I would love to see your creations so please share them!

Merry Baking!

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2019 Christmas Decor

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, again! I could not be more excited. I’ve always loved Christmas since I was a kid. It’s not the same excitement, obviously, because as you grow up, Christmas Day is just not as good. Let’s face it. However, I am still excited for the lead up to Christmas. I love watching the same Christmas movies year after year, writing cards to people and, of course, the food.

I kick off the festive season with a tradition-filled December 1st. On the first day of December we decorate the house, walk into town to see the spectacular Christmas lights and visit the church’s Christmas tree festival. More than likely, we will also grab a Pecoro pizza on the way home. This year was no different.

We started the day by blasting Bublé on the TV while unpacking the mass of decorations. This year was particularly fun because not only do we have Cody to ‘help’ but Olivia has reached that age now where she can also ‘help’. She wasn’t as intrigued by the decorations as I’d hoped but rather she wanted to use the boxes as a climbing frame.

I always really love getting the decorations down from the loft and rooting through the boxes, looking at decorations of Christmas past and seeing what excuses I can come up with to buy new ones. It’s a sickness. I also have way too many garlands, lights and baubles. I mean, is there such a thing? So you can find them throughout my house.

I have baubles going up my stairs, in a glass dish and my special Swarovski ones on a special Swarovski stand. There’s something so pleasing about a bauble. Aesthetically pleasing, elegant and magical.

My garlands stretch from windows to hallways to the kitchen hob. And lights? Well, they’re on the tree, above the TV, in the kitchen, up the stairs and around our bed frame. Is it even Christmas if you can’t light your whole house using just Christmas lights?

After the hours of decorating (and redecorating until everything looks right to me) we get all wrapped up in coats, hats and scarves and walk into town. There’s one particular house, which is famous in our local community, that do a huge Christmas lights display to raise money for the air ambulance. It is a must-do as they are the best lights around.

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A more recent tradition is to go to a local church to look around their Christmas tree festival. Every year the church is filled with different and creatively decorated Christmas trees. They are all decorated by local businesses, schools and charities. Each one has a different theme and I really look forward to it because I thrive off of other people’s creativity.

There was even a tree with a few familiar faces. The Shuttleworth tree featured my handsome fiance, a few members of his family and the late Fred Harris. Topped with the Shuttleworth bear.

As we stroll home in the dark, we always happen to pass Pecoro, our local Italian restaurant. They do the best pizzas and the tiramisu is to die for! Steve and I always struggle to pass it without getting something. So this time, we got the Monti pizza to take home with us. It was the perfect end to a perfect day. Olivia was asleep in bed, we had warm pizza with a glass of wine and watched the last series of Gavin and Stacey in preparation for the Christmas Special! Who else is excited for it?!


And so, the tree is on, the halls are decked and the dog is asleep under a festive blanket. Christmas has begun! Have you decked your halls?

 

 

I am the owner and creator of all images in this post.