Country Cottage Bakes

Hey everyone,

So it’s been 3 months since I started focussing on my food blog Country Cottage Bakes and I’m loving it! I’ve tried some new recipes that I’m really pleased with including chocolate & almond bundt cakesmini doughnuts and dark chocolate & ginger brownies.

I’ve also been baking the dedicated recipe of each month from the GBBO (Great British Bake Off) calendar that I got for Christmas. January was Rugelach a crescent shaped pastry with a sugar and walnut mixture that goes great with coffee and judging by the reaction of my family and colleagues, it was possibly one of the best, new recipes I’ve tried so far.

I’m so excited to continue with my love of baking and being in the kitchen and I can’t wait to make some more recipes. I would love for you to stop by my new blog and I hope that you find some delicious, mouth-watering recipes that you also want to try.

In the meantime, I hope you’re having a great 2017 so far and eating lots of tasty food.

 

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Life Without My Wellies Update

Hey everyone,

You will have noticed that I’ve been a bit quiet on here for the last month but I have some exciting news to share.

I love my blog and have done ever since I set it up. It’s taught me a lot about my writing style and writing in general as well as creating content, but it’s also shown me how much passion I have for food. If it’s not clear already, I love being in the kitchen. Whether it’s some baking or cooking, to try a recipe I found in cookbook or try and create something myself, I just love it and I want to do more. With this in mind I’ve decided to set up a blog dedicated to food…

So I’d like to introduce you to Country Cottage Bakes. I’ve been gradually building this blog up using recipes from Life Without My Wellies and although there are still some recipes to be transferred over, I’m now ready to start posting some new content too.

I know some of you have already found Country Cottage Bakes and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all so much for your support here on LWMW and I hope that you stop by my new blog too for some inspiring food posts. I will occasionally post some lifestyle posts on here when I can, but for now I’m going to concentrate on my food blog and get back in the kitchen to create some delicious bakes.

Thank you again and hopefully see you around Country Cottage Bakes soon.

choc chip fudge cookies

Choc Chip Fudge Cookies

A vintage inspired baking kit in a jar is fast becoming a popular gift for foodies. Supermarkets, department stores and market stalls are all selling them and with various recipes to choose from, there is something for everyone.

3 years ago my friend Vicky gave me one of these jars, but it wasn’t one she picked up from the local shops, it was one she made. Ok so the jar she bought but the recipe was one she had chosen, tried and tested before carefully weighing out the ingredients and layering them one on top of the other until the jar was filled. She finished it off with a homemade tag with the baking instructions. I loved it, still do! In fact since then I have returned the jar each year before Christmas for a refill and this year, I had some choc chip fudge cookies to bake. So with my new apron on (another Christmas present) I decided to get baking.

choc chip fudge cookies

Without an image of what the finished cookies should look like, I only had my baking knowledge to go on when it came to how they were looking. Although I added more oil, I perhaps needed a bit more as the cookies were shaped rather than rolled into balls before being put on the baking tray. After 15 minutes in the oven, the cookies had browned nicely so I popped them onto the wire rack to cool. As Vicky instructed I had one with my cup of tea and they tasted delicious. The outer was crunchy, the middle was chewy and the chocolate chips melted by the touch of my fingers. An indulgent treat perfect for Christmas time when the calories don’t count (or at least that’s what I’ve been told).

choc chip fudge cookies

Choc Chip Fudge Cookies – makes about 20

Ingredients:

150g plain flour

½ teaspoon of bicarbonate soda

½ teaspoon of baking powder

150g soft light brown sugar

120g oats

100g dark chocolate chips

100g fudge pieces

1 egg

2 large tablespoons of vegetable/sunflower oil

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper

Empty the contents of the jar (or measure the ingredients out) into a mixing bowl, add the egg and oil and stir well

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Roll in balls approx. 3cm in diameter and space well apart

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Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes until golden brown

Eat and enjoy with a cup of tea

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salted caramel and chocolate cupcakes

Salted Caramel & Chocolate Cupcakes

When I go into the office tomorrow, I may get asked where the cupcakes from this post are and unfortunately there won’t be any because I actually made these a few weeks ago, but before we get into the festive season and the seasonal treats that come out at this time of year, I thought I would share this quick and easy cupcake recipe that is guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser.

Salted caramel is the flavour of the moment with coffees, tarts and even candles promising this sweet flavour. So when I was in Morrisons perusing the baking section, I just had to buy a bottle of salted caramel food flavouring. And it didn’t contain any dairy, bonus!

salted caramel food colouring

These salted caramel and chocolate cupcakes are the perfect sweet treat to accompany that mid-morning coffee. If you fancy giving them a go then the recipe is below.

Salted Caramel & Chocolate Cupcakes: Makes 12

Ingredients:

For the chocolate cupcakes:

100g plain flour

20g cocoa powder

140g caster sugar

1½ teaspoons of baking powder

40g dairy free butter

120ml almond milk

1 egg

¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract

For the icing

125g icing sugar

40g dairy free butter

½ teaspoon of salted caramel food flavouring

Chocolate shavings to decorate

How to…

First of all preheat your oven 170°c and line your baking tray with cupcake cases

Then to make the cupcakes beat together the flour, cocoa powder, caster sugar, baking powder and butter until you get a crumbly mixture

In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, egg and vanilla essence

Pour this into the crumbly mixture and beat until combined and the mixture is smooth

Divide the mixture between the cases and pop them into bake for 20-25 minutes

Once cooked, leave them on a wire rack to cool down completely before decorating

To make the icing, beat together butter and icing sugar until you get a crumbly mixture

Add the salted caramel food flavouring and beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy

Pipe the icing on top of each cupcake and sprinkle on some chocolate shavings to finish the decoration (use dark chocolate if making them dairy free)

And ta dah!

salted caramel and chocolate cupcakessalted caramel and chocolate cupcakes

Carnival, Let The Party Begin…

After watching Ed Balls dance a Salsa to Gangnam Style on last week’s Strictly (which if you haven’t watched you must YouTube – trust me you won’t be disappointed) I was in the mood to carry on the party. And what better way than the Wells Carnival!

Carnival is and always will be a family tradition. My parents went as kids, they took Oli and I when we were kids and even now at the age of 26, I still look forward to carnival just as much as when I was five years old, rushing home from school to get dressed up in my warmest layers. In fact it’s a tradition for many families in Somerset. Wrapped up in thick coats, fluffy scarves and bobble hats, adults and children of all ages come together to line the streets of Wells (and other towns) in anticipation of what’s to come. Then the firework goes off and the show begins…

Each year we stand in the same spot, next to one of the judges and just halfway up a road that allows us to see the lights from each float illuminating the night sky as they come round the corner. Despite the heavy rainfall that unfortunately seemed to put a few people off, we had our umbrellas up and were ready.

My parents invited their friends to come and watch this year for the first time. Although they were excited at just the thought of it earlier when we were back at home eating dinner, they were more excited actually stood there. Every time they saw lights approaching and the distant rumbles of music getting louder and louder, they would bob up and down trying to get a better look at what was coming.

Of course the carnival started with the with the town mayor and carnival queens coming through. Then a mixture of floats, big and small interspersed with dancing troops and individual entries.

Each piece of music chosen was catchy and included some good ol’ favourites including Dolly Parton’s ‘working 9 to 5’. Usually there is a Christmas themed float which seemed to missing this year, but the intricacy of the designs and all the themes were so impressive that we were all in awe of the spectacular show that we were witnessing. And even though we watched the carnival, we experienced it all again in the warmth of our living room when we hooked the cameras up to the TV and went through the photos and videos that we took during the night.

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My parents’ friends were so impressed with what they saw that carnival was still the hot topic over breakfast the next morning and they even said about coming down again next year…guess that’s another family who will be joining the tradition.

Out & About On Holiday

Even though it was sometimes hard to leave the cosy cottage that we had rented for the week, mum and I did venture out. Occasionally we were disappointed like when our favourite café was closed for the month of November or the pub that was raved about in the visitors book had stopped trading, but this meant we found other gems.

As with any holiday, be it abroad or in this country, it’s an unwritten rule to forget any diet and indulge in treats from the local area, which is exactly what mum and I did.

Harbour House Café – known for being the best kept secret in Kingsbridge, it serves up an array of vegetarian meals and tasty cakes. My mum tends to turn veggie when eating out so this was an ideal spot for us. I had the slightly spicy pumpkin soup with sourdough bread while mum opted for the sweet and sour caponata and a cappuccino each. I obviously can’t say anything about my mum’s lunch other than she said it was really nice, but my soup was delicious. It had a thick consistency with a few almond shavings and it had just the right amount of spice.

Harbour House Cafe KingsbridgeSpicy pumpkin soup and caponata

Salcombe Dairy – although we visited Salcombe where their factory is, it was Dartmouth where we were able to sample the ice cream. I’m not sure my mum was keen to start with, but as soon as the guy pointed out the Christmas pudding ice cream and the brandy butter ice cream accompaniment, she couldn’t refuse. For me, well I don’t like small portions when it comes to food so I chose their sundae of the month – 3 scoops of ice cream, chocolate orange, coffee and salted caramel topped with marshmallows, caramel sauce and whipped cream with two wafers. Of course after that there was no need for lunch, but I spied something else on the menu that I was eager to try…

Salcombe Dairy sundae of the month

So a few days later we returned. Mum had the same again getting her fix of Christmas pudding before the festive season begins, while I opted for the warm cinnamon waffles with two scoops of ice cream, salted caramel and honeycomb with whipped cream and honeycomb pieces.

Salcombe Dairy waffles

It may be November and the cosy jumpers may be out, but that doesn’t mean I can’t eat ice cream especially when it’s that sweet and delicious.

It wasn’t just cafes and restaurants that were closed either. According to a local shopkeeper some shops had started closing early or shutting for the colder months and reopening in December to catch the festive trade. This seemed annoying at first but there were a few benefits, including not having as many shops to trawl through and being less crowded meant we could peruse the shelves and little knick-knacks at our leisure. The other main benefit to shopping in smaller towns was the amount of cute things to be seen such as a rabbit tea party in a high end boutique, a selection of festive displays and a gorgeous dog that was content watching the world go by.

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We had a fantastic time on holiday, we bought some Christmas presents, ate some tasty food and saw some beautiful sights. Now it’s time to return to daily life, to work, routine, chores and…planning my next holiday.

You can read about where we stayed in my post Coach House Cottage.