Chocolate mini Easter egg nests

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Me and Boy Lacer made these this afternoon from this recipe, they’re good but not sticking together too well (they’ve had an hour in the fridge). Back when I had no baking skills whatsoever my piece de resistance used to be cornflake cakes made with melted Mars Bar, now those stuck together, they also broke your teeth mind you. Hmmm I think I need to get experimenting and find a hybrid between the two.>

Welsh Rarebit

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I grew up eating cheese on toast, like I guess my kids have grown up eating pizza but it was always the slap some slices of cheese on some toasted bread and stick it under a grill kind, I never had proper Welsh rarebit, well I have now. This recipe was from Baker’s Daughter, I think it’s a pretty standard recipe though. A good way of using up eggs.>

My Sister Lives On The Mantlepiece

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I haven’t devoured a book so quickly in a long time, My Sister Lives On The Mantlepiece by Annabel Pitcher is an incredibly sad but hopeful kids book about a family destroyed when one of the children, Rose, dies in a terrorist attack, leaving behind a twin sister Jas, a younger brother Jamie who doesn’t really remember his sister, an alcoholic father and a mother who is having an affair. Told from the viewpoint of Jamie, five years later, they’ve moved to the country with their father and it is not the ‘fresh new start’ they were promised. The story is about loss, alcoholism, bullying, friendship, love and islamophobia and it’s one of the best and probably one of the most hard hitting kids books I’ve read in a long time.

Tate Britain Refurb and Phyllida Barlow

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Me and the kids hadn’t been to Tate Britain for ages and well the Phyllida Barlow exhibition looked cool and I wanted to see this staircase all the media reports had been going on about, so we went. Above is the staircase, which was indeed pretty cool, I liked their other one to, is it wrong to say that my favourite bits were the staircases?

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But Phyllida Barlow was pretty cool to, it certainly sparked the kids imaginations, with both kids coming up with explanations as to what the ginormous sculptures were.

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My favourite (not pictured as I was using my phone and the camera app cocked up at that point) was what looked like basically a giant empty loo roll floating in space.

We also ate some extremely highly priced and bad cake from the cafe (I wouldn’t recommend, the V&A and National Gallery are definitely outclassing them on the cake front, although all three institutions are equally shockingly priced) and saw some of the other Modern Art galleries, me and the kids particularly liked the David Hockneys amongst other stuff.

Chocolate mini egg brownie

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Me and the kids made chocolate mini egg brownies this afternoon, inspired by this post, which was in turn inspired by Nigella’s Everyday Brownie recipe from Kitchen (which can also be found here). We swopped the corner shop chocolate for a tube of chocolate mini eggs, half mixed in with the brownie mix and the other half placed on top. Unfortunately as the brownie rose, the eggs on top stayed where they were, so they pretty much got buried, maybe if we’d placed the second half of the chocolate mini eggs on the cake towards the end of cooking time, they’d have been more visible. But can’t complain too much because they are delicious, as the brownie itself is really good and it’s great when you get to an egg and you’re biting into pure chocolate. The recipe is a great way of using up spare chocolate this Easter, I’m already wondering what this recipe would be like with Maltesers or yum, even better, Rolos!
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The Greatcoat

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Hammer have a line of ghost / horror books out, of which The Greatcoat by Helen Dunmore is one of them. Set in the post war 1950s in Yorkshire, Is is the new wife of a young doctor in a new town, lonely and cold, she takes to sleeping under an old Greatcoat she finds in a cupboard, then one night there is a knock on the window and an airman who appears to know her, wants to come in. The Greatcoat is not particularly scary, it is scary I suppose in that it’s hard for Is to escape what’s happening to her but it’s subtle. I thought the ending was quite good but for most of the book I wanted to give Is a good shake and tell her to get herself together. I think that is more of a lack of empathy on my part, I can imagine that the life of a new wife in the 1950s in a new town was probably very isolating and restrictive but I couldn’t help seeing her with my 21st century eyes.

*** (out of 5 stars)

Marmite and cheddar swirl loaf (John Whaite Bakes at Home)

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I love John Whaite, I think he’s my favourite ex-reality TV person going, for those that don’t know he won Great British Bake Off a season or two back, he was the one who wasn’t doing too brilliantly for most of the series but really grew and developed, so that by the time it was the final, wow. Anyway, since the series he’s been pretty prolific and is now on his second recipe book, the first was brilliant but I think the second, John Whaite Bakes at Home looks even better!

The first recipe I had to try was the Marmite and Cheddar Swirl Loaf, now I love marmite and I love cheddar but I’m not one of those weird people who sticks both together but I was going to trust in John, I was even going to trust in John with the amount of Marmite to put in, as even though I love marmite (marmite on heavily buttered plastic white bread toast is ambrosia), Mr. Lacer teases me that my idea of putting marmite on a sandwich is to just wave the jar at the bread, I do not like my Marmite strong but I was going to go with what the recipe said and the result was gorgeous! The cheddar manages to soften the possible harshness of the excess Marmite, so those people who like their cheese and marmite sandwiches, maybe they’ve got something going after all (I am not, although tempted, going to go as far as Marmite cheese, ok, actually I am very tempted, so probably). The bread itself, well the crust is very nice and crisp and the inner loaf gorgeously soft, however I’m not sure I’d be liking it that much without the cheese and marmite in but it doesn’t matter because it is in there!

As for the rest of the book, well Whaite was taunting his twitter followers with some gorgeous images from the book for weeks before it was published. What I like about Whaite’s books is that his recipes are always nice and different and are a nice mix between everyday stuff and really impressive show stoppers that are still, thanks to great instructions, possible to achieve. I also like how John has also included some savoury baked recipes as well. Must try recipes for me include chilli, saffron and spelt loaf, sticky ginger muffins, lemon and poppy seed muffins, choco-cola macaroons, sherbet lemon cake, two toned madelines, aussie crunch, giant jam tart, rolo meringue kisses, gingerbread soldiers with yellow and white dip, vanilla and chocolate pinwheels, blackberry jam crumble shortbreads, crumble in a jar, cookie dough brownies, rhubarb and rose shorts, baked arancini, stromboli buns, mini gingerbread teacup houses, popping cranberry chocolate shards, cookie dough fudge, chocolate mud mug pig and if ever I was to make a cake for a very large crowd, the splash three tier celebration cake looks amazing.