Thursday, 28 February 2013

Cake and Bake Show Giveaway

I have five sets of tickets to giveaway for the upcoming Cake and Bake Show in Manchester from 5-7 April, you can enter via Rafflecopter below.  I was too heavily pregnant to be able to go to the London show so I'm really pleased there will be another one, and in Manchester.  There is also going to be a Clandestine Cake Club Cake competition at the event.

Press Release

The Cake & Bake Show - the UK’s biggest experiential event dedicated to all things baking - is proud to announce that Paul Hollywood, Dan Lepard, Simon Rimmer and Andrew Nutter will be at the show in Manchester. They will join Eric Lanlard, Peter Sidwell, Mich Turner, Juliet Sear and all of the contestants from Great British Bake Off 2012.

Expanding to three days, the Cake & Bake Show Manchester brings together all of the nation’s favourite baking stars on April 5-7. Paul Hollywood, the UK’s most famous bread maker and judge on the Great British Bake Off returns to the show, demonstrating on the main Bakery Stage and hosting live bake offs on’s stand on the Sunday.

Award-winning baker and food writer Dan Lepard will be headlining the Competitions Theatre sponsored by Sainsbury’s. As well as his books, which include The Handmade Loaf and most recently Short and Sweet, he writes for Sainsbury’s magazine and has a weekly baking column in the Guardian. He is also a judge on the Australian Bake Off.

Simon Rimmer, co-presenter and chef on Channel 4’s hit weekend show Sunday Brunch, will be appearing at the show on Friday and Saturday. He runs two restaurants in the Greater Manchester area, Earle and Greens and has authored several cookbooks, the next of which is due out in Spring 2013.

Local celebrity chef Andrew Nutter will also be presenting at the show. He has received numerous awards including Manchester Chef of the Year in 2012 for his restaurant Nutters.

In addition to celeb baker demos and delicious cakes and bakes in the marketplace, features at the Cake & Bake Show Manchester include Baking Mad’s stand with live demonstrations from some of the shows stars, the Competitions Theatre sponsored by Sainsbury’s where members of the public will be invited to compete alongside stars of the Great British Bake Off and Britain’s Best Bakery, the Stork Cake Catwalk – a fashionista-themed cake competition, Billington’s giant gingerbread village, and The Lakeland Interview Stage – offering visitors the chance to quiz their favourite baking celebrities.

Visitors will also be able to book classes in the Classrooms – where baking experts will host 30 minute demonstrations covering a range of topics, as well as sessions in The Sugarcraft Academy, sponsored by Renshaw, plus new for this year – VIP tickets will be available, guaranteeing fast track entry into the show, and a front row seat at a main stage demonstration of their choice. For full details visit  Tickets: In advance - £14.50 adults, £12 concessions (OAPs and students), £7 children aged 5-12, free for under 5s; £20 two day ticket. On the door - £18 adults, £15 concessions, £10 children, free under 5s. See website for class and VIP ticket pricing.

How to enter
Follow the instructions on the rafflecopter widget.  The winners will be selected at random by the rafflecopter.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Meal Planning Monday (on a Tuesday)

I normally always meal plan, so we can then do our weekly shop, but I don't always get the time to blog what we're eating.

We're away this weekend so I'm only planning until Friday, seeing as we'll be eating out on Saturday and Sunday.

Monday - lamb steaks with roasted veg (potatoes, carrots and swede), with peas (and gravy for Phil)
Tuesday - Chicken curry with rice
Wednesday - cheesy mushroom pasta (SW All in One cookbook)
Thursday - Chilli with jacket potatoes
Friday - Cheesy ham and potato hash (SW All in One cookbook) with broccoli

I bought the slimming world all in one book the other week but haven't made anything out of it yet.  Looking through the recipes I'll have to amend quite a lot of them to suit all our tastes. But that makes things a bit more interesting.

Last week I ate out on the Saturday night, I opted for a chicken and bacon risotto over a pizza - even though I really fancied pizza, but I had goats cheese to start.  And wine.  And beer...

This weekend I'll try to make good choices that are as close to being slimming world friendly as I can.

You can find the other meal planners on Mrs M's blog.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Hello Fresh follow up

To celebrate a year of trading, and a follow up to the post I did on their Vegetarian 3 Meal box I was offered another box to review for Hello Fresh.

The Hello Fresh concept is to order a 3 or 5 meal box, they send you all the ingredients you need to make each of the recipes, along with an easy to follow recipe card - no forgetting of key ingredients in the supermarket - and no supermarket trip, the box is delivered to your door.

We opted for a meat and fish one this time and were sent the ingredients for Warm Sweet Potato Salad with Pan-Fried Sea Bream, Spiced Pork Skewers with Caramelised Onion Rice and Super Food Quinoa Salad with Roasted Vegetables and Chicken.

We didn't end up making the Quinoa salad - it had too many things in that Phil isn't keen on, so we used the ingredients for other dishes instead.  I absolutely loved both the other dishes though - Phil cooked them both and found both dishes easy to do, they were tasty, light and healthy.

It's a great concept, but definitely out of my price range while I'm on maternity leave.

Thank you very much to Hello Fresh for the 3 meal box.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

A month of Slimming World

In my first month I've lost 11ibs.  I should have been Slimmer of the Month but the results of my first week were halved to make it fair to existing members - I was beaten by a quarter of a pound.  So annoying.

I won't lie, I haven't found it easy.  I just don't have enough time to devote to doing it properly.  I hope as the weeks go by and looking after Daisy gets a bit easier then I'll be a bit more prepared, able to make better lunches etc. In the last week I've ended up not eating at all during the day, because I didn't have time to chop and cook something syn free and didn't want to add more syns to my total.  That's not a healthy way of losing weight.

The things I like about it are that I can eat as much as I want of the free foods, which includes carbs.  A refreshing change after other diets.  What I don't like is how much convenience products are pushed, rather than healthy eating - such as smash, mug shots etc.  But - I have the choice to eat them or not, and I can easily choose not to.

Our group session hasn't been very useful so far, which is disappointing after hearing other people say theirs is inspiring and helpful - at ours they just do a round robin of who has lost what weight, and then the target members smugly give some recipes and then get annoyed if people don't stick to them... Going to a different one isn't an option for me, living out in the sticks.  So I will stick with it and hope that when people start to drop off a smaller group will be a more productive group session.

We also don't seem to have much of the 'Body Magic' pushed on us (or exercising as it's more commonly known), I know I would lose weight more successfully if also exercising.  I manage to do walking with Daisy most days but haven't managed any substantial exercise - I definitely don't have time to go to the gym.  But soon the weather will be better and I'll be able to get out on my bike, although Phil will have to stop at home to look after Daisy and I feel a bit scared cycling on the roads on my own.

I think perhaps I should have waited until Daisy was five or six months old before starting Slimming World.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

GBBO Chocolate Truffle Cake

I finally got round to doing some baking last weekend, so opened up my Great British Bake Off Showstoppers book for some inspiration.  

Knowing I was catering for a house full of chocolate lovers the Chocolate Truffle Cake stood out as the best one to bake.  It could also be an option of a cake suitable for my next Clandestine Cake Club event on Tuesday 12th Feb - what could be more fitting for a valentines theme than a sumptuous chocolate cake?

We headed out in the snow to pick up the ingredients we didn't already have in.  Just as we were about to get to the tills, with our basket laden with bars of 72% dark chocolate, I spotted my Slimming World consultant!  I don't think she saw me, but I hid anyway and then scurried to the tills before she could spot the naughty contents of my basket...

We trudged back through the snow and I set about making the cake - only to find that I'd misread the recipe and was a bar of chocolate short for the recipe.  I substituted 50g of flour for 50g cocoa to make up for the lack of chocolate.  That's the only revision I made to the recipe of the cake itself - very restrained for me, I usually tweak with three or four changes.  The recipe was easy to follow, but I have to admit that Phil sliced it in two for me - I'm hopeless at cutting things!

When it came to decorating the cake I didn't have rose petals as the book suggested, so opened up my baking cupboard for inspiration.  Out popped the popping candy (how fitting).  I've been meaning to use it for a while.  I think it brightens the cake up nicely. 

The cake tasted lovely, and definitely improved after a couple of days.  But was far too rich to eat much of - but then I can't eat much cake while on slimming world anyway, so this was perfect to have a small slither of and still feel like I was getting that sugary, chocolatey cake rush.

Do you have a favourite recipe from the GBBO Showstopper book?