Saturday, 18 March 2017

Recipe: Creme Egg Scotch Eggs

I've always loved cake.  Well, I say always, there was a month or so around December when I totally went off chocolate and sweet things... but generally, if I end up at a restaurant my eyes will immediately skitter off the starters and mains and straight on to perusing the 'Sweet' menu.

And March in our house is a month of cake.  Both Hubby and I have birthdays that fall in March - actually just six days apart, so we take that as the perfect excuse to stock up on our cake stores!

Normally we buy cake, or make and shake one... this year however we decided to push the boat out.  We had our kitchen totally redone in January, complete with new worktops, cupboards and appliances - so what better way than birthday cake to totally break in the new oven.  So we went all out: a birthday cake each.

Hubby went for a 6 layer rainbow cake for me (excellent work my man!), where as I went for a more seasonal offering for his birthday pudding: Creme Egg Scotch Eggs.



Sorry, shall I say that again?  Creme. Egg.  Scotch. Eggs.

I can not take any credit for these little beauties - I found the recipe posted on OmmNomm's site although I did doctor them a little bit.  What I would say, is that these bad boys should come with a health warning.  



Some tips for consumption:

  1. Eat with a partner - each one of these Scotch Eggs is the equivelent of a sixth of a chocolate cake, fondant, more chocolate, a creme egg and more chocolate (or if you follow my varient Oreo cookies).  Halving one with a loved one is definitely the way to go.
  2. Keep in the fridge - it's odd to me the idea of keeping cake in the fridge, but these go all 'fudgy' if they're kept refrigerated.  So clear enough space!
  3. Don't think about the calories - there will be a lot.  But hey, it's nearly Easter, so if it's just an occasional treat, I'd say settle down and enjoy. 
Here's the recipe I followed (as mentioned, a bit of a tweaked version of the OmmNomm's version - I think it really works!)


Ingredients

  • 6 Creme Eggs
  • 100gm dark chcoloate
  • 100gm milk chocolate
  • 1 packet of oreo cookies - crushed
Cake mix:
  • 175gm unsalted softened butter
  • 175gm caster sugar
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 120g self-raising flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 60g cocoa powder
Fondant
  • 120g softened unsalted butter
  • 120gm icing sugar
  • 20gm cocoa powder

Method

  1. Firstly make the cake - simply cream together the butter and sugar, and then add all of the other ingredients together.  As simple as it comes.  Once the mix is ready pop the cake into a lined tin (doesn't really matter what shape you use as you're going to destroy the cake you make any way!) and bake for 20-30minutes at 160 degrees
  2. Once the cake is firm and a cocktail stick comes out clean, remove from oven and leave to cool.  Whilst the cake is cooling cream together the fondant ingredients.  If you find that these do not come together very well you can use a few drops of water to help this combine (literally a few drops is all you need.
  3. When the cake is completely cool break apart into breadcrumbs.  Yes. Totally.  The whole cake.  Break it into little bits. 
  4. Add the fondant mixture into the cake-breadcrumbs and knead together.  I found it easiest to use my hands for this (and meant that I got to enjoy licking my chocolately fingers clean once I was done - bonus!), until you have a shortcrust pastry-like "dough".  Separate the dough into 6 equal sized balls.
  5. Unwrap the creme eggs and carefully wrap your dough around each of the creme eggs.  I found the best method was to flatten the dough in your hand over your palm, then place a creme egg on your palm and then carefully lift the mixture around the egg.  Once your egg is well wrapped, put the chocolate balls in the fridge to chill and firm up.  This is really important.  Make sure you leave enough time for this step.
  6. Whilst the balls are chilling, melt your chocolate (I cheated and did it in the microwave, but you can do it properly over boiling water if you like) - feel free to put both chocolate types together.  I liked the combination, the bitterness of the dark chocolate prevented oversweetness.
  7. Take your firm balls (oi! mind out of the gutter please!), out of the fridge and carefully dunk each into the melted chocolate mixture so that it is totally coated.  Immediately then transfer the balls to a  bowl of crushed Oreos (the Oreo addition adds a cheesecakeyness to the Scotch Eggs, which I really loved) and coat in the crushed biscuits.  Pop back in the fridge to set.
Once they are cold and the chocolate has set enjoy - but recommend you remember the health warnings listed above.


Saturday, 4 February 2017

"Do you know what you're having?"

"When are you due?"

"How are you feeling?"

It's like these questions are hard wired into the brain ready to pop out whenever you're faced with a pregnant woman. I'm just as guilty - I find out a lady is expecting and these questions come unbidden to my tongue, and are suddenly out of my mouth without any involvement of my brain.

So now the shoe is on the other foot, I thought I'd take a moment to reflect. Do I mind when people ask? Hand on heart. Honestly. No, not one bit. It just means a lot that people care. The question itself really isn't what is important - it's just acting as to telegraph the fact that they are interested, and want to offer even the smallest amount of support.

What is funny though, is when people get an answer to one of these questions that doesn't quite conform to the 'usual' answer - something that they weren't quite expecting... an example:

Kind hearted soul: "So, do you know what you're having?"

Us: "Yes, we do. We're having a.... baby."

Hubby and I made the decision relatively early that we wanted to know our little one's gender. Not so we could colour scheme or really plan names, but it just helps us to be that little bit closer to, and to bond with that little life busily growing in my belly. 

We also came to the decision quite easily, that if we did find out, we didn't want a big gender reveal (and certainly nothing like they do in the US and have a full blown party) - in fact, we agreed that if we could, we wanted to keep this little tiny piece of our son or daughter to ourselves.  Because gender to us, really doesn't matter.



My mum was shocked by this, and originally was positive we'd let slip - but we've known for nearly 3 weeks now and we're happily swapping around pronouns, continuing to use our pre-gender nickname ("Pickett" - after a little Bowtrunkle with attachment issues in Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them (said once as a joke but it just sorta stuck)), and it's had the added bonus of preventing our parents going mad and buying cupboards full of pink/blue clothes. Now I'm all for a spot of pink/blue, but I'm also looking forward to dressing my little one in red, black, grey, yellow and green. 

Life is better with a splash of variety after all.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

A bit of an update: Two become three

So, here's the thing.

I've not been entirely truthful.  It's not so much a lie, but an omission.  I've been using this blog as a diary on and off for the past few years, and those of you who have followed my journey may recall the reason I was "Learning Early."

You see, back in 2012 I discovered I was pregnant.  I made the decision, practically on day one, to blog my journey, and all the lessons I would learn as a first time mum... the disposable/reusable nappy debate, selecting a push chair, whether we'd agree to skip the gender reveal and stay Team Yellow... How naive I was.  I had some other, much harder lessons to learn first.

I miscarried my first pregnancy at 7 weeks.

There was the physical and emotional pain that followed, the snubbing out of a future that had been so clear in our minds.  It evaporated like mist.

It would take us four years and surgery for endometriosis to get pregnant again, but sadly this second little life decided not to stay with us, and I was confirmed to have had a missed miscarriage at my 12 week scan in March 2016 - just days before my 30th birthday.  Part of me thought I was more prepared, I knew what to expect, I'd been there before... I was wrong.  Just as each life I carried was different, so was the process I went through to grieve them.

"It wasn't meant to be."

"Your time will come."

"There must have been something wrong"

Kind words, but they felt like razor blades - these were my children.  They would never be named, never get a nursery, but each one would stay with me.



So when hubby and I discovered last September that we were expecting again, we dared not get excited.  We held hands as we looked at the little plastic stick on the side of the wash basin and took a deep breath, already starting to build up those protective walls should the worst happen again.

Well, here we are, a few months on, and the worst hasn't happened.   I little wriggly thing that I've seen on a sonographer's screen and that has been given top marks by all the doctors so far.  We're 22 weeks along - over half way - and this morning hubby got to join in by feeling our child tap on my tummy.

So it felt that the time was right to come clean - We've braved the Mothercare Sales,  I'm wearing maternity clothes.  There's a box in our spare room that contains a buggy.

We're expecting a baby.