I’m no Annabel Karmel

Hands up, how many of you own an Annabel Karmel cookbook? The days of Annabel Karmel are long gone in our house and I’ve been known to serve spaghetti out of a tin, beans on toast or worse, McDonald’s.  However, we were recently sent Annabel’s Kitchen, My First Cookbook to have a look at.  I frequently use children’s cookbooks as it’s indicative of my cooking abilities but I also like flipping through them for inspiration for meals for Madame.

So far, I’ve tried two of the recipes, Oriental Plum Chicken Wraps and the Meatball Pasta Bake and before I go any further, they were both delicious.

However, as a working mum I often don’t have the time, energy or ingredients to make Cat and Mouse baked potatoes, Jelly sailboats or Bagel Snakes! By the time I fly through the door at about 6pm, I only have an hour with my daughter and I don’t want to spend all this time in the kitchen.  I do involve her with the cooking and she enjoys it but she has the attention span of a newt and normally wanders off half way through, leaving me to do the rest.

I know Ms. Karmel is busy building an empire but I’d bet my life on it that she doesn’t do this herself at home.  Books like this just add to my level of guilt as a parent.  Please can you just give me recipes that are quick, healthy and don’t require 20 ingredients!  I also found it very frustrating that the recipes were all mixed together, separate sections for mains, puddings etc, could save me a valuable 5 minutes.

Saying all this I am looking forward to trying the Lamb Biryani and the Prawn and Sausage Paella but I’ll have to save them for my day off.

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Banoffee Cupcakes

I was sent these from the people at Baking Mad.  And I was supposed to turn it into this, using this recipe.

Stop laughing!  Overall, it wasn’t too bad except a few minor hiccups, which was mostly due to my being domestically challenged.

How to make them Mediocre Mum Style:

  • Work out what the hell Dulce de Leche is???  Ask on twitter and then quickly ring a mate who is an RD person in the food industry, trained as dietician and all around genius in the kitchen.
  • Blag said friend into getting some Dulce de Leche in town, bringing it around and bamboozle her into making the cupcakes with Madame.
  • Stand back and watch the professional work.
  • Learn that using a whisk in a circular motion is not whisking.  Whisking is from side to side.  If you want to ‘fold’ anything into it apparently you must use a figure 8 motion or you will knock all the lovely air you put into it????
  • Make friend a coffee and send her on her way, thanking her profusely.  Open wine.
  • Let the cupcakes cool overnight.
  • Wake up to Madame wanting to decorate the muffins first thing.  Get slightly annoyed because you would rather being drinking coffee and tweeting.
  • Don Apron.
  • Follow recipe for icing to a T and don’t question that it calls for milk.  Panic because the icing resembles pancake batter and would ooze out of the decorating bag.  Quickly ask on twitter how to fix it.  Add more icing sugar as suggested, nearly the whole box, mix, mix, mix and get more annoyed because it still isn’t working.  Stress and start grumbling at Madame because she is throwing the last of the icing sugar around the kitchen.  Grrr!
  • Thanks to Twitter realize that I shouldn’t have put milk in it.  Throw the first lot down the sink and start again.
  • Omit the dried banana chips, not because I didn’t have any but because dried fruit makes me gag! :-)


So, what do you think?  They’re absolutely delicious!!  I think I could manage it on my own next time.

5 Minute Chocolate Mug Cake!

OMG this was so much fun and so easy! I was planning on doing a bit of baking today with Madame, but as usual I fell at the first hurdle as I didn’t have the ingredients I needed to make brownies. What the hell is Vanilla Sugar anyhow? Anyway, the lovely @jinks67 suggested I Google 5 Minute Mug Cakes so I did and this was the result!

They were so simple a 3 year old could make them. Honestly, they weren’t too my liking, bear in mind I don’t normally eat chocolate, but Madame wolfed them down. I think they’d be much more inviting with a dollop of cream or vanilla ice-cream.

If you want to have a go here’s the recipe.

My Secret (Blogger) Santa Present

I must admit that I did chuckle a wee bit when I opened my Secret (Blogger) Santa present and read the card, which said ‘I thought you would like this because you like to cook’.  This is not meant to be ungrateful or rude as I absolutely LOVE the present, which was an Oxfam Cookie Stamper.  It’s not that I don’t like to cook it’s just that I’m really not very good at it.

Madame was very excited about using the Cookie Stamp so I was bamboozled at 9.15 am this morning, hung-over, into making cookies and true to form I managed to make a pig’s ear of it, even though, I followed the recipe to a T.


250g butter

140g caster sugar

½ tsp salt

½ tsp baking powder

300g plain flour

1 egg yolk

2tsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.
  3. Mix in the butter and blend until mixture is crumbly.  Stir in the egg yolk and vanilla.  Chill dough for an hour.
  4. Separate dough into golf ball sized chunks.  Slightly flatten the balls on a floured surface and stamp.  Place on a greased cookie sheet.
  5. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until lightly brown

However, it didn’t turn into a ball of dough as it was supposed to, it resembled lumpy flour.  It’s was like trying to make a snowball out of sand.  In the end, I winged it and added more butter and another egg yolk. I was pleasantly surprised with our result and they tasted yummy!

Thank you to my Secret (Blogger) Santa for a wonderful present.  It really did make cooking more fun and I love the fact that you purchased an ethical present!  Happy Christmas to you whoever you are!