Apricot, Lemon and White Chocolate Cookies

Apricot, Lemon and White Chocolate Cookies

Oh my, these luscious lemony cookies filled with apricot chunks and white chocolate chips are absolutely dreamy. Soft and very slightly chewy, they’re crammed full of delicious and tantalising flavours that make these cookies a real joy to eat. I definitely recommend serving the Apricot, Lemon and White Chocolate Cookies with a pot of your favourite tea for a delightful afternoon tea treat.

If you’re thinking of baking something for mum this coming Mother’s day then these delightful cookies would make a wonderful edible gift.

Apricot, Lemon and White Chocolate Cookies

Apricot, Lemon and White Chocolate Cookies

  • Servings: 16
  • Time: 1hr 30mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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IngredientsApricot, Lemon and White Chocolate Cookies

175g unsalted butter (softened)
100g caster sugar
100g white chocolate chips
50g dried apricots (chopped in 5mm pieces)
zest of 2 small lemons
225g plain flour

Method

1. Cream together the butter and sugar together until thoroughly combined.

2. Mix in the white chocolate chips, dried apricot pieces and lemon zest.

3. Add the flour and mix until the mixture becomes a dough.

4. Line two baking sheets with baking parchment.

5. Divide the cookie dough into 16 pieces, roll each piece into a ball. Then, place the balls of cookie dough on the lined baking sheet and flatten until about 1cm thick. Smooth the edges of the cookies with your hands if they are cracked.

6. Place both the baking sheets in the fridge to allow the uncooked cookies to firm up, chill for at least 1 hour.

7. Pre heat the oven to Fan 160c.

8. Oven bake the cookies for about 20 minutes, the cookies will be pale gold when cooked. Don’t over bake as they will lose their soft texture.

9. Once cooked remove from the oven and leave on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Apricot, Lemon and White Chocolate Cookies

Happy baking.

Julie
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Creamy Parsnip Soup and a visit to the Harry Potter studios

Creamy Parsnip Soup Julie's Family Kitchen

Have you ever wondered what Butterbeer tastes like? OK, so you have to be a diehard Harry Potter fan to be asking this question in the first place. During the school half term holidays, we took the children to The Making of Harry Potter at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London. Whilst there we sampled the popular drink consumed by witches and wizards at drinking establishments such as the Leaky Cauldron, the Three Broomsticks and the Hog’s Head. Well, all I’m going to say is that it tastes remarkably like cream soda! It’s an experience not to be missed for Potter fans and I’d highly recommend it.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a recipe for Butterbeer but I do have a wholesome recipe for Creamy Parsnip Soup. I tend to associate parsnips with Christmas as that’s really the only time I buy them but I had three largish parsnips in my organic veg box recently that needed to be used. Inspired by the success of my Celeriac Soup, I made this deliciously creamy soup. I think you’ll enjoy it too.

Creamy Parsnip Soup

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Time: 45mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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IngredientsCreamy Parsnip Soup Julie's Family Kitchen

450g parsnips (peeled and chopped)
1 medium onion (finely chopped)
1 stick of celery (finely chopped)
½ tablespoon olive oil
600ml hot chicken or vegetable stock
100ml milk
salt and pepper
half fat creme fraiche (optional)

Method

1. In a lidded casserole pan heat the olive oil.

2. Sauté the onion and celery for until soft. Then, add the parsnips and cook for a further 2 to 3 minutes.

3. Add the hot chicken or vegetable stock and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then simmer with the lid on for 30 minutes until the parsnips are tender.

4. Transfer to a blender and blitz until smooth, return the soup to the pan and stir through the milk on the heat.

5. Then serve with spoonful of creme fraiche and extra black pepper. Enjoy!

Creamy Parsnip Soup Julie's Family Kitchen

Until next time.

Julie
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Celeriac Soup

Celeriac Soup Julie's Family Kitchen

As vegetables go celeriac is a pretty ugly vegetable, knobbly and gnarly looking it is not that appealing. Celeriac is not a vegetable that I’d normally buy but it so happened to be one of the substituted items in my new weekly organic veg box delivery. However, I’m now completely won over by this overlooked vegetable and its subtle celery taste. I’ve added some milk to this celeriac soup recipe to help bring out the natural creaminess of the vegetable. It really is a delicious soup and is a great way of introducing yourself to this root vegetable, go on give it a go.

Celeriac Soup Julie's Family Kitchen

Celeriac Soup

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 1hr
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

IngredientsCeleriac Soup Julie's Family Kitchen

650g celeriac (peeled and diced weight)
1 medium white onion (finely diced)
1 stick of celery (finely diced)
½ tablespoon olive oil
600ml hot vegetable stock
100ml milk
Sunflower seeds
Pumpkin seeds
Salt and pepper

Method

1. In a large lidded casserole pan heat the olive oil.

2. Dice the onion and celery, then sauté in the pan until soft.

3. Add the diced celeriac to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Sauté for a couple of minutes.

4. Add the hot stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer with the lid on for about 35 minutes, until the celeriac is tender.

5. Transfer to a blender and blitz until smooth, return to the pan and stir in the milk on the heat.

6. Serve in bowls with a scattering of seeds on top. Enjoy with crusty seeded rolls.

Celeriac Soup Julie's Family Kitchen

Does anyone else have a weekly veg box delivery? If so, do you use a nationwide distributor like Abel & Cole and Riverford or do you have a local provider instead? What do you think about the quality, quantity and selection of vegetables you receive? I’m a little undecided at the moment whether it’s for me, so I’m going to continue for another couple of weeks before I make up my mind.

Until next time.

Julie
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Giveaway: Win The Caravan Trail Teapot and Mug Giftset

Just in time for Mother’s Day I have an absolutely fantastic giveaway prize, that I think any mum would be thrilled to receive. The generous people at The Caravan Trail are kindly providing one lucky reader the chance to win the Fowey teapot and the Riviera mug giftset from their delightful Riviera collection. The Riviera collection features rich tones and colourful prints inspired by the beautiful Cornish Riviera, an area that I love to visit.

The Caravan Trail Riviera Mug Giftset

The Caravan Trail Riviera Mug Giftset

The Caravan Trail Fowey Teapot

The Caravan Trail Fowey Teapot

To be in with a chance of winning The Caravan Trail Fowey teapot and Riviera mug giftset you will need to complete the Rafflecopter entry form and provide an answer to the giveaway question as a blog comment. (Leaving a blog comment is mandatory, so please ensure you follow this requirement to ensure your entry is valid). Once, you have done that there are further chances to win.

Click here to enter the giveaway


The giveaway will close at 00:00 on 9 March 2015 and is open to UK entrants only.

I wish you all the very best of luck.

Julie
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Terms and Conditions:
This giveaway will close at 00:00 on 9 March 2015. Leaving a blog post comment is a mandatory entry option. This prize is offered by The Caravan Trail and I am hosting it on behalf of them. Please note, I am not responsible for posting the prize out or providing it. The winner will be selected at random from all correct entries received by the Rafflecopter widget. The winner will be notified within 7 days of the closing date. The Caravan Trail will send out the prize within 14 days of the winner providing me with their name and address. The prize is as stated, The Caravan Trail Fowey teapot and Riviera mug giftset, no cash alternatives are available. This giveaway is open to UK entrants only.

Disclosure:
The Caravan Trail are kindly offering the prize to one lucky reader. I have not been sponsored or paid to host this giveaway, although The Caravan Trail have offered to send me the mug gift set. All opinions are honest and my own.

Valentine’s Day Shortbread Biscuits

Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us and sometimes it can be tricky to find that perfect gift for your loved one. These Valentine’s Day Shortbread Biscuit recipes from my blog archives are ideal if you want to spoil them with a home baked gift. Buttery and light these shortbread biscuits are sure to melt anyones heart.

Cherry Shortbread Hearts

Cherry Shortbread Hearts Julie's Family Kitchen

Chocolate Drizzle Shortbread Hearts

chocolate shortbread Julie's Family Kitchen

Happy baking and Happy Valentine’s Day.

Julie
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Coconut and Raspberry Jam Loaf Cake

Coconut and Raspberry Jam Loaf Cake

Sometimes only tea and cake will do, you know when it’s been one of those days when things haven’t quite gone your way. This delightful Coconut and Raspberry Jam Loaf Cake is the perfect antidote with a pot of tea. Whilst being big on flavours with a moist coconut sponge with a jammy coconut topping, it really is very simple to make. So pull up a chair and enjoy a slice of tea and cake.

Coconut and Raspberry Jam Loaf Cake

The cake is made using the all in one method, so it really is just a case of throwing it all in the mixing bowl and beating it for a minute or two. Then to make life even easier, which I always do is to use a non stick loaf tin liner from Lakeland. That way there’s no faffing with greasing the tin and cutting out baking parchment.

Coconut and Raspberry Jam Loaf Cake

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Time: 1hr 45mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

IngredientsCoconut and Raspberry Jam Loaf Cake

Cake
225g self raising flour
175g unsalted butter
175g caster sugar
75g dried sweetened coconut*
3 large eggs

Topping
4 tablespoons raspberry conserve or jam
40g dried sweetened coconut*

*I used Sweet & Tender Coconut by Sainsbury’s found in the baking aisle

Method

1. Pre heat your oven to 160c Fan.

2. Line a 2lb loaf tin with a cake tin liner or grease and line with baking parchment.

3. Place all the cake ingredients in a mixer and mix until well combined (about 2 minutes).

4. Spoon the mixture in the lined tin and bake for 1 hour. Check to see if it’s done, if not cover with foil and bake for a further 15 minutes.

5. Once baked allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

6. When the cake is cold spread the raspberry conserve on the top then scatter over the dried sweetened coconut. Enjoy with a cup of tea!

Coconut and Raspberry Jam Loaf Cake Julie's Family Kitchen

Coconut and Raspberry Jam Loaf Cake

I’d love to know if you try out the recipe. If you do, you can tweet me a picture at @Juliemcpher or alternatively leave me a comment below.

Happy baking.

Julie
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Annabelle Jane Cake School Review

Annabelle Jane Cake School Julie's Family Kitchen

I’ve always wanted to develop my cake decorating skills and learn the art of sugarcraft. My girls birthdays are coming up soon so it was the perfect time for me to enrol in a class ahead of making their special birthday cakes. I booked myself on the Introduction to People Modelling class at the Annabelle Jane Cake School in Maidstone, Kent. The course is designed to teach you how to make a cute baby wrapped in a blanket and an adult sat in an armchair using modelling paste.

Annabelle Jane Cake School

I arrived about 15 minutes before the class and was welcomed immediately by Barbara the course tutor. I used that time to have a good look around the amazing shop. I’m hoping my photos do it justice. The shop stocks the most comprehensive range of cake decorating equipment and edible products I’ve ever seen. There is an impressive display of decorated cakes and for those really keen to take their cake decorating more seriously there is a cake club you can join.

I’ve had a go at making cake decorations using ready made fondant icing in the past, some were successful and others not so much. I quickly found out that you need to combine a magic product called CMC or Sugarcel to regular sugarpaste/fondant so that it becomes modelling paste. Now I know this, hopefully my sugar models will retain their shape.

During the class we were given the option to either use a mould or model the faces of our sugar characters ourselves. I decided to have a go at the modelling myself and was pretty pleased that I was able to form a face out of modelling paste.

As the day progressed our models took shape. By far the hardest aspect was painting on the eyes, I could feel myself tensing up because I was concentrating so hard. Painting the features is definitely a skill that requires practice and a lot of patience. Overall, I’m very happy with the models, they aren’t perfect but I had so much fun making them and hope to get better with practice.

I really felt as though I had learnt a lot in one day, I certainly feel more confident about making my own sugar models in the future. If you are looking to learn more about cake decorating and live in the South East of England I highly recommend you check out the Annabelle Jane Cake School.

I want to say a huge thank you to Barbara who was a delightful and knowledgeable tutor, plus thank you to Annabelle who gave me permission to publish the photos of her shop.

Until next time.

Julie
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Disclosure: I paid for the Introduction to People Modelling course myself. I’ve written this review because I wanted to share with my readers my experience. I have not been paid or sponsored in any way for my review by the Annabelle Jane Cake School.

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Passionfruit Cheesecake Pots

Julie's Family Kitchen Passionfruit Cheesecake Pots

With Valentine’s Day not too far away it’s time to get planning that romantic meal for your loved one. Especially, as the big day falls on a Saturday it’s virtually impossible to get a table booked at a good restaurant (I know, we’ve tried and failed!). These delectable Passionfruit Cheesecake Pots are sure to impress and take next to no time to prepare. Zingy, refreshing and creamy these cheesecakes are an absolute delight to eat. The recipe makes 4 individual cheesecakes, they keep well in the fridge for a couple of days but they’re so hard to resist you could just have two each! It goes without saying, I highly recommend you enjoy your passionfruit cheesecake pots with a glass of bubbly or two.

Passionfruit Cheesecake Pots

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 15mins plus 4hrs chilling
  • Difficulty: easy
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IngredientsJulie's Family Kitchen Passionfruit Cheesecake Pots

115g milk chocolate Hobnob biscuits (6 approx)
20g unsalted butter
180g Philadelphia full fat cream cheese (room temperature)
2 tablespoons icing sugar
4 tablespoons passionfruit curd
8 Dr Oetker cocoa crunch chocolate squares

Method

1. In a mini chopper or food processor blitz the biscuits until you have crumbs.

2. Melt the butter on a low heat in a saucepan. Then, add the biscuit crumbs and mix well.

3. Divide biscuit mixture equally between 4 glass ramekins and press down lightly. Refrigerate until needed.

4. In a bowl beat together the cream cheese and icing sugar, then mix in the passionfruit curd.

5. Spoon the cream cheese mixture on top of the biscuit base and carefully level. Refrigerate the cheesecakes for at least 4 hours or over night, then serve each cheesecake with 2 chocolate squares placed in the centre. Enjoy!

Julie's Family Kitchen Passionfruit Cheesecake Pots

Until next time.

Julie
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Healthier Recipe Collection by Sainsbury’s Review and Giveaway

Julie's Family Kitchen Healthier Recipe Collection

January is the month for focusing our minds on healthy eating but the reality is that it can be a pretty hard task. Sainsbury’s have very recently published an enticing collection of 100 no fuss healthier recipes to help with eating a balanced diet. The Healthier Recipe Collection cookbook includes great tasting recipes from breakfast through to dinner and even has some sweet treats too. Plus there is fab advice and tips on how to lead a healthier lifestyle too.

My children always come out of school ravenous but finding a healthier after school snack can sometimes be tricky. I decided to bake a batch of the Tropical Fruit Breakfast Muffins from the breakfast chapter. Deliciously moist and packed full of fresh mango, banana, apple and coconut these muffins went down a treat with my girls and me too.

Julie's Family Kitchen Healthier Tropical Fruit Muffins

I’m genuinely delighted with this cookbook, the recipes are fresh and inspiring plus knowing that they’re healthier is a brilliant bonus.

Julie's Family Kitchen Healthier Recipe Collection

To be in with a chance of winning a copy of Healthier Recipe Collection by Sainsbury’s you will need to complete the Rafflecopter entry form and provide an answer to the giveaway question as a blog comment. Once, you have done that there are further chances to win.

Click here to enter the giveaway

The giveaway is open until 00:00 on 11 February 2015 and is open to UK entrants only.

I wish you all the very best of luck.

Julie
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Terms and Conditions:
This giveaway will close at 00:00 on 11 February 2015. This prize is offered by Sainsbury’s and I am hosting it on behalf of them. Please note, I am not responsible for posting the prize out or providing it. The winner will be selected at random from all correct entries received by the Rafflecopter widget. The winner will be notified within 7 days of the closing date. Sainsbury’s will send out the prize within 14 days of the winner providing me with their name and address. The prize is as stated, a copy of Healthier Recipe Collection by Sainsbury’s, no cash alternatives are available. This giveaway is open to UK entrants only.

Disclosure:
Sainsbury’s are kindly offering the prize to one lucky reader. I have not been sponsored or paid to host this giveaway, although I have received a copy of Healthier Recipe Collection by Sainsbury’s to review.

SuperLucky Blog Giveaway Linky

Mushroom Spelt Spaghetti


Julie's Family Kitchen Mushroom Spelt Spaghetti

Wholegrain spelt spaghetti is a brilliant and tasty alternative to traditional wheat spaghetti. If you have never tried if before it tastes very similar to wholewheat spaghetti but has twice the fibre of standard pasta. I’ve teamed the spelt spaghetti with a light and creamy mushroom sauce made using one of my favourite magic ingredients, creme fraiche. My mushroom spelt spaghetti is an incredibly quick meal to rustle up, taking no longer than 10 minutes from start to finish.

I’ve used mini portabella mushrooms which I found in my local supermarket but if you can’t find them I’d suggest using chestnut mushrooms instead.

Mushroom Spelt Spaghetti

  • Servings: 1
  • Time: 10mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

IngredientsJulie's Family Kitchen Mushroom Spelt Spaghetti

100g wholegrain spelt spaghetti
½ tablespoon olive oil
90g mini portabella mushrooms (peeled and sliced)
¼  teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoon half fat creme fraiche
salt and black pepper
Parmesan cheese to serve

Method

1. Cook the spaghetti in a large pan of salted boiling water until al dente.

2. Meanwhile, heat the olive in a frying pan and add the mushrooms. Add the dried oregano and season with salt and pepper.

3. When the mushrooms are cooked add the creme fraiche and stir well.

4. Add the cooked spaghetti and heat through. Serve with freshly grated parmesan and a green mixed leaf salad on the side. Enjoy!

Julie's Family Kitchen Mushroom Spelt Spaghetti

Until next time.

Julie
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