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Chocolate Brownie – Blind Bakeathon – Scottish Mum Style

I couldn’t get the internet to work, so I decided to bake a batch of brownies.  The only problem was that I didn’t have all the right ingredients for it, so I compromised – Do you think it worked?


  • 190g unsalted butter
  • 185g chocolate  (I had half Galaxy and half cooking chocolate)
  • 130g plain flour
  • 100g chocolate spread (I used Nutella)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 275g caster sugar
  • 40g chopped hazlenuts or choc chunks or fudge pieces etc.  (I had chopped hazlenuts)
Before you start – put your oven on at approx 150c or 140c for fan asssisted.

Step 1
Easy to do, just put the chocolate and the butter into separate bowls and microwave until melted.   With cooking chocolate you have to do it 20 seconds at a time or the chocolate might curdle.  Mix the butter and chocolate together and leave to cool.


Step 2
Put the eggs and sugar into a mixer and whisk.  It may take up to 10 minutes depending on your mixer for it to go light and fluffy in colour and texture.  When the mix leaves a trail if you dip a spoon in, it is ready.

Step 3
Fold the butter/chocolate mix into the eggy mix until completely mixed.

Step 4
Put the chocolate spread / Nutella into the microwave for 1 minute

Step 5

Sift the plain flour into the bowl and fold into the mixture.  Try using a figure of eight in alternation with a regular fold.

Step 6
Fold the nutella into your mixture.

Step 7
Fold the hazlenuts, or chocolate chunks into the mix.  When it is ready the mix will look like a treackly gooey mix.

Step 8
Pour the mix into a greased baking tray.  Mine is a rectangle shape about 20cms long.

Step 9
Bake for approx 45 minutes until the side begin to shrink and the middle doesn’t wobble when you shake the tin.

Step 10
Wait until the brownie is completely cool, cut and turn out of baking tray.

Voila – Verdict – They were too nice to leave lying around.  Sadly I will have to make them again.

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Making Soy Milk (Dairy Free) at Home Is this a Fabulous Food Find ??

Looking at the title of this post, I can imagine some of you are making some strange assumptions.

On Twitter, when I first mentioned it, there was a comment or two that arrived joking about cows in the garden.  The milk is dairy free so suitable for those who are lactose intolerant, but it is really the bees knees?

I buy a lot of shop bought soy milk so I reasoned to myself that making it out of the soy beans would be infinitely cheaper than buying ready-made soy milk every couple of days.

A dedicated milk making machine costs upwards of £100, so I attempted to make it by hand – which was easier than I first thought to do.

I am not kidding when I say that it is actually very easy to make the soy milk.  This is what I did, and I will share my thoughts at the end.


125g white dried soy beans for “approximately” 1 litre of milk.   I bought Tesco soy beans to practice with.


1 –  Soak the beans

The beans are dried, and they really need soaking overnight so that they are soft and pliable.  Cover the beans in a container with water.  Change  the water a couple of times if you can and then just leave them to do their magic.

Some recipes seem to say that it would be good to dehull the beans after they are soaked, but considering they are going to be liquidised later, I don’t see the need to do that.

Make sure you take out any discoloured or damaged beans as you don’t want to spoil the quality of your soy milk.  Soaking can probably be done from 6 – 24 hours to be able to use the beans, and they are ready when they are soft to the bite or soft and pliable when you squeeze them.

2 – Microwave the soy beans

Some recipes recommend heating up the soy beans before using them for milk as it takes away the beany taste.  I was not sure about that, but I did micro mine for about 2 minutes before doing anything else with them.

3 – Liquidise / Blend the Soy Beans

In a blender or liquidiser (or a coffee bean grinder which I used) put the beans AND 1 litre of water in if you can.  I had to do  mine little by little as I used the small grinder to do mine, but I would root out the blender next time and do it in one go.


4 – Boil the Liquid

As with any heated milk, it has the potential to froth up very quickly when you get it to boiling point.  Anyone who has heated milk in a pan for slightly too long will know what I mean by that.   It is a good idea to use a fairly big pan so that the milk doesn’t boil over the top as you will need to boil the mixture for about 5 – 10 minutes to get it right.

Stir the liquid while it is cooking all the way through.  I did not stop stirring with mine, just in case, but I imagine you could get away with some time away from the pot at a time, but I wouldn’t risk it.

As with any milk that you boil, if you are taken by surprise and it looks like it is going to boil over, add some cold water and the foam should shrink back into the pot.  If you don’t take care at this stage, you could end up with a right mess on your cooker top.

When it is ready, the milk will have separated from the curds and the mixture will look slightly grainy.

5 – Separating the curds from the milk.

To separate the curds (ochra) from the milk, use a fine sieve, or a cloth bag and strain the mixture.  A bit of squeezing of the mix, or using a spatula might get every last drop out of the mix.  The ochra can be used for soup, stews as a filler, but I just threw mine away.  In future, I might be tempted to give it a try to see what it tastes like and how it cooks.



To end with it, I forgot to take a pretty picture of it in a glass to make it pretty – sorry.    Next time.  There will have to be a next time as I really did not get much milk out of my recipe.  I would guess that I needed much more water than I used and on my next attempt, I will add 2 litres of water to the mix.

I might also microwave it for much longer at my next attempt, as it tasted very very beany to me which I really didn’t like.  I’ve read that cows milk has a lot of salt added so I might try adding some sugar or salt to see if I can get to a taste that I find palatable for using in coffee, which is what I really use it for.  It looks idea for making tofu, so that might be an idea for the next time as well.   I definitely left mine too long and too much water boiled off.

Have a go yourself it really is quite easy.



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Fabulous Food Find – HUGE Watermelon from Costco

Fabulous food find today was a HUGE – SEEDLESS watermelon from Costo in Aberdeen at £2.99.       Absolutely fabulous and the kids are hugely impressed with how much there is in the bowl after I sliced it all up to put it in the fridge for nibbles.

Watermelon works out at about 30 calories per 100g (according to my iphone diet calorie checker).    A whole kg worth of water melon would only set me back 300 calories.  Now that is a stomach filling prospect.



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Quick and Easy Chocolate Fudge

This is the easy recipe for chocolate fudge that I got off of a tin of Nestle Condensed milk.  I don’t usually do much in the way of  potted recipes and this one is VERY sweet, but I thought I would share the results of how it came out.


400g chocolate
397g tin condensed milk
25g butter
100g icing sugar
55g sugar strands / chopped nuts etc for decoration

Put chocolate, condensed milk and butter into a bowl and microwave until all melted.  Take out of micro at 10 – 20 second intervals and stir well until it is very smooth.

When nice and smooth, beat in sieved icing sugar (if you don’t sieve it, it will go into lumps).

I used little cake cases, but the recipe calls for a tray bake.  I got 40 little sweets in the cases.  When the mixture is in, sprinkle on the sugar strands or chopped nuts.

Put in fridge for about an hour.

Hey presto.


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Thai Style Crackers – Sweet Chilli Flavour from Asda 60g

Now these are just a little bit of heaven.  Quite spicy and like prawn crackers without the ickiness for me.    Although I absolutely love prawn cocktail flavoured Walkers crisps, I am not a fan of any brand prawn crackers.   They just seem too fishy for me.

I know, I know, I can hear you all laugh as me saying prawns taste a bit fishy to me.

These Sweet Chilli crackers are really spicy, and I am someone who is not usually into things that are too hot, and I do need a drink of water or juice beside me to eat these, but I really did enjoy them.

The best bit for me has to be that it is quite a big bag of crackers, and at 60g, it’s not too shoddy an amount to sit and actually eat.

Per 20g
Calories 82 – so that makes it a reasonable 246 calories for the WHOLE bag.

As a crisp addict, these are just perfect for me.




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Jam and Cream Roulade (Roly Poly) – No Oil or Fat – Modify for Dairy / Lactose Free

 I just have to share the recipe for this one.  I didn’t build it from any recipe that was in any book.  It is simply trial and error, and I finally hit on a masterpiece that my children absolutely adore. 

I bake – a lot.  I bake blind – a lot.  I throw things in, measure how much they are and judge from the mixture, and how it looks, to tell me if it is enough or not. 

This recipe for the roulade is one that is very popular with my kids and there is NO fat in it at all. 

Are you listening – None at all.  Sugar, eggs and flour, yes, but NO fat, butter, marg, or oil.  

 The cake does still come out lovely and moist.  My boys love the fact that I also use sugar strands to add a little decoration to the mix.

4 oz caster sugar
3 whole eggs, and 1 extra egg white
2.5/3 oz plain flour
1 oz sugar strands
1 teaspoon vanilla flavouring, or 5 drops vanilla essence
Jam and Cream (or custard / marmalade / butter icing) for filling

Put caster sugar and eggs into a mixing bowl, or mixer and whisk until it begins to thicken.   When the mixture turns almost totally white and lt leaves a trail, similar to yoghurt, it is ready. 

Simply add in the vanilla flavouring, and fold in the flour and sugar strands.

Use a baking tray about 8″ x 10″ and line with baking paper.  Tip mixture into the tin.

Bake at 200 C/400F/Gas 6  for approximately10 – 15 minutes.  While baking, the sugar strands should sink to the bottom of the mixture.   When the roulade is lightly golden brown and feels cakey to the touch, remove it from the oven.

Place a piece of baking paper onto a table, sprinkle caster sugar all over the paper and tip your cooked mix out onto the paper.  Press lightly onto the caster sugar and peel off the backing baking paper.  Turn over the piece of roulade and repeat for the other side (which should be coloured with the sugar strands, and coated in the caster sugar). 

Leave the roulade on the baking paper.  Roll it up while hot, and close both ends to stop it unrolling.  I use elastic bands on either end.

Leave it to cool until it is completely cool. 

If you unroll while it is still warm, it will fall apart. 

When it is completely cool, unroll it, spread on whipped cream and jam, and roll it back up again. 

 I had to cut mine into two pieces, as one piece was too big for the one plate.

Then, simply slice and eat. 

This roll must be kept in the fridge after making as it is fresh cream, and there is no fat in the recipe.

I used a lot of cream for my recipe, about 6 oz double cream whipped would give a more  perfect looking roll. 

 I used more than that, and added jam so not so much room to have a perfect swirl.  It all depends on how perfect you like your roll to look.  If you want to remove fat totally, or have dairy free, you could use cream alternatives, or make different fillings, eg lemon curd, butter icing using dairy free spreads etc etc.

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Eating Out – Childrens’ Portions

I am guessing that you are all sitting waiting for some huge revelation into the type of food (or packet gunk) that they might be serving up, but no, that is not what has me champing at the bit when we eat out.

Picture this

Small fingers, trying to manipulate knives and forks that are not fully compatible with the small hands that are trying to hold them the same way that mum and dad do. 

The plate is small, and the food is tightly packed onto the plate.  With no room for manoeuvre, the food spins out of control, whirrs off the plate and invariably ends up on someones’ clothes.

How difficult is it to give a young child a plate that is big enough for them to use their cutlery.

I’d love to tell the PR and media types who deal with restaurant chains, hotel kitchen outlets and supermarket food courts that they are not fooling anyone into thinking there is more on the plate, simply because it is miniature sized.

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Making Quiche / Flans on the Fly

Making quiche is easy.  It takes very little time, and you have a cracking meal very quickly.  

 I am one of these cooks who tends only to weigh what she has to.

  I weigh for doughs, bread and cakes, but I rarely weigh for things like pie fillings, pastas, rice, quiche, risottos, currys, stir frys etc etc. 

For those dishes, I reserve a remedy called

“chuck it in and hope for the best.”

Usually my chuck it in dishes turn out perfectly.  Not always, and one day I will post some of them.   Today is all about how I make quiche, or flan.

I have to thank @superamazingmum on twitter for the outline of how to make a flan, as I had no idea how easy it was until she posted it to me in three tweets.  I have made about a dozen of them since, and they ALL come out fabulous.


Making shortcrust pastry is easy, especially if you have a food mixer.  I really would recommend having one if you are planning to so any serious cooking for any length of time, as the pain it saves in your arms from all the mixing if you home cook a lot, is a true blessing.

250g  plain flour
110g  butter
Two pinches salt
Some water

This is easy.  Put flour and butter into a bowl and either rub the butter into the flour, or mix it in the food processor until it is a breadcrumb consistency.  Make sure that all the lumps of butter are rubbed in.

Add a couple of pinches of salt and mis in with your breadcrumb consistency.

Add a little water at a time and either mix by hand, or in the mixer / processor until the dough forms a ball.   Stop when the dough has bound together. 

Wrap the dough up with clingfilm and refridgerate for approximtely half an hour before using it. 


The dough mixed above, gives me enough dough for one large flan dish which is 8″ diameter, and two smaller ones approx 4″ diameter.

Taking the dough out of the fridge, flour a surface so that you can roll out the dough to the shape you need.  I use my rolling pin to roll the dough to a larger size than I need for my biggest flan dish.  I used to butter the dish before putting my pastry in, but now I have more professional baking tins, the ones I use for my flans (which came from tesco) don’t need greased before cooking.  I plop my rolled out piece of dough in the flan dish, press around the botton and the top, which takes the excess dough off the tin, and  repeat for the smaller flan trays.  Easy as 1, 2 3

All I need to do next is decide on a filling.  This week I have made cheese and tomato with chicken, and cheese and herb with garlic.  The world is your oyster.  Put in your flan whatever you want to.    Do not use raw meat in a quiche or flan as quiche is not cooked long enough or hot enough to cook the meat thoroughly. 

The egg and milk mix is the glue that holds the quiche / flan together.  To make one 8″ and 2 x 4″ flans, I need to crack open about 6 – 8 eggs and using a fork, whisk them for a minute.  I  then add 250 –  300ml of milk for each 4 eggs, or until I judge by eye that I have enough.

  •  To add a cheese and tomato with chicken, I would line the botton of the flan dish with a thick layer of grated cheese (usually mozarella in this  house).
  • Add chicken and sprinkle across the top of the cheese around the flan dish.
  • Place tomatoes, herbs and anything else you want to add on the top.
  • Fill up the empty space with the egg and milk mixture.
  • Bake for between 20 – 40 minutes at 160 – 170 degrees until all the egg is solidified.

The time to bake will depend on your flan size.  When you take it out of the oven, let it lie for five minutes for the egg to settle.