Ava and Thea decorating cakes

Ava and Thea’s February: Hairstyling, Half Term and A Joke

February has been a busy month for us, not least because we have started on our kitchen renovation! We’ve also had half term, which was fun but hard work (for me!) The girls have had fun spotting snowdrops and we are all getting excited about the evenings being slightly less dark.

ALL ABOUT THE HAIR

We have put some black protective flooring over our lounge floor whilst the kitchen is put in, and the girls loved rolling around on it. I discovered it makes a great backdrop for photos too!Ava pulling a funny face

Doesn’t Ava’s hair look great spread out like that? And speaking of hair… I found a few chunks of Thea’s on our table…
Thea's hair cut

There was some more on the floor too! When I asked her about it, she said ‘It’s just that I have too much hair!”

Ava also made a little hair salon, and did her first plait! I took a little video, she’s so funny with her hairdresser patter.

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My Best Ever Flapjack Recipe: Easy, Gooey & Delicious

My flapjacks are famous amongst my friends. I once took some to work and was told by several people I could give up my job and make flapjack for a living. I think that would be rather foolish, but you get the point! Sorry if you think I’m blowing my own trumpet, but try these and see what you think – I’d love to know, so please leave me a comment below! The best flapjack you'll ever taste, full of golden syrup, brown sugar, butter, oats and dessicated coconut. Delicious in moderation!

So the time has come to share my recipe… Continue reading

ingredients for Death By Chocolate cake

Death by chocolate: decadent gluten-free cake

It was my sister’s birthday at the weekend so I wanted to make her an awesome cake, but as she can’t have gluten, it needed to be gluten-free.

I was perusing my favourite baking book, The Great British Book of Baking, by Linda Collister, when I spotted a recipe for Death by Chocolate, which I had somehow never noticed before. Not only is it gluten-free, it’s also a real celebration cake, as it’s incredibly rich. The 500g of chocolate alone cost £5, so it’s definitely a ‘treat’ cake.

This seems like quite a simple recipe, and actually it is, but it takes quite a bit of patience, as you will see!

For the cake:

300g good quality dark chocolate (I used Green & Black’s Cooking Chocolate)
150g unsalted butter, diced
5 medium eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
100g caster sugar

For the topping:

200g good quality dark chocolate (I used Green & Black’s)
100ml double cream

Preheat oven to 180°/350°/gas 4 (160° for fan ovens.) Grease and line the base of a 22cm spring clip tin. (I used a 20cm tin and it worked fine.)

Break up the chocolate and put it in a heat-proof bowl with the butter over a pan of hot water. Don’t let the bowl touch the water, and don’t boil it or the chocolate will go all clumpy. Once it’s melted, take it off the pan and leave to cool whilst you whisk the eggs.

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Gluten-free Lemon Drizzle Cake

I don’t know about you, but cake is one of the most important things in my life, and my sister Debbie’s. So when we realised that my she couldn’t eat wheat, it was a big issue for her and because I love to bake, it became one for me too!

Eating out used to be a real pain for her, although restaurants are now making much more of an effort to provide gluten-free options.

Now one of my close friends has been diagnosed with coeliac disease, I am trying new gluten-free recipes, or de-glutening existing ones, so that when she comes over for a cuppa, I can offer her something tempting!

The recipe below is one that I’ve made quite a few times in it’s original format, it’s from The Great British Book of Baking, and it worked so well (after a few timing adjustments which I will come on to later) that I even bought a special spring-form cake tin!

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