Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Trolley Dolly Review

Trolley Dolly, well what can I say???  In short it works, looks great and is immensely practical. Now for the review ;0)

Mumsnet asked me if I would like to try and review the ‘Trolley Dolly’, I was more than happy to put this invention through its paces, it arrived as quickly as I had pressed the reply button! I was sent the ‘Poppy Dots’ print much to my Husbands disgust, I was more than happy but he did say he would only use it if we shopped together as it is a bright print. But I have to say there is where most of the criticism will stop.
It was clearly created by a truly organised and practical Mum; all I can say is ‘Well done!’As you can see it is a small bag basically full of bags, added extras include; a trolley coin, a good zipped pocket, phone pocket, a shoulder strap and various way’s of attaching it too the trolley. 


  •          The first real advantage to using the ‘Trolley Dolly’ was clear before we even left the house! The space it saves is amazing! As you can see my hall and the boot of my car are far tidier with my new addition! (It also fits easily under each of my pushchairs)
  •          Secondly, the extra space in the bag is more than enough to fit in; nappy, wipes, purse, phone and emergency biscuits! (was great to take one bag in to town rather than three)
  •         There are three/ four ways of attaching the bag to the trolley also which comes in handy as your child grows; it can hang from the hook in the front by the red webbing or the handles, or you can use the strong ‘velcro’ strip over the handle of the trolley.  This was a great help to us because Roo used to find having the bags in kickable distance most annoying, and putting the bags in the trolley left room for nothing else! Problem solved!
  •          The internal bags are really strong and it was handy having shoulder bags whilst shopping in town, personally I find them more comfortable. I guess I should say here about colour coding your shop but I just don’t do that and never have, but we both loved the colours anyway   
  •          The ‘trolley coin’ has also been a godsend twice now, not that we didn’t have change, it simply made the children put the trolley back and give us back the token rather than losing a pound every time.
  •          Our weekly shop of £200 fitted in easily, the website quotes £300 but I guess that depends where you shop and what you are buying.


·         The only gripe came from my Husband and was mentioned above, I guess target market will be those who ‘shop most’ and that tends to be the woman, but in our household the task is evenly shared, (I sometimes just let him loose alone) . So in hindsight if I was choosing one I may have not gone for the’ Dots’ but chosen a more ‘man friendly’ print.
  •          I also have not yet made use of the green nets as much as I felt I should do and maybe would have preferred less of them and a couple more of the other bags. This of course will probably change as my shopping habits change sometimes you don’t use something because you don’t have it, now I have then who knows?

Just to finish off the ‘Trolley Dolly’ is our new best friend, it goes everywhere we do and performs the job of something, indeed some things that are twice its size and require much more thought and effort to remember! At £29.95 I feel it is a bargain every home should have one! All of the bags are extremely well stitched and have the added bonus of the feel good factor ecologically! Fully washable in case of spills and actually just fabulous! Maybe not a good Christmas present though chaps .....

I am a member of the Mumsnet Blogging Network, a group of parent bloggers picked by Mumsnet to review products, services, events and brands. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity”. 

Thursday, 24 November 2011

truffles .. Christmas again =0)

These are so easy it would be rude not to do them ...

Truffles (Basic and low fat)
·         1 (200g) tub cream cheese, softened( you could use quark here to reduce the fat content)
·         350g icing sugar, sifted
·         500g plain chocolate, melted
·         1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually beat in icing sugar until well blended. Stir in melted chocolate and vanilla until no streaks remain. Refrigerate for about 1 hour. Shape into 2.5cm balls.
Roll truffles in ground walnuts (or any ground nuts), cocoa, coconut, icing sugar, etc. 
To flavour truffles with liqueurs or other flavourings, omit vanilla. Divide truffle mixture into thirds. Add 1 tablespoon liqueur (almond, coffee, orange) to each mixture; mix well.

Super duper truffles
5 oz (150 g) very best quality dark chocolate (at least 75 per cent cocoa solids) I use lindt stuff mostly but aldi and lidl are great!)
 5 fl oz (150 ml) thick double cream
 1 oz (25 g) unsalted butter
 2 tablespoons rum or brandy
 1 level tablespoon Greek yoghurt
 For the plain truffles:
 1 level dessertspoon cocoa powder
For the ginger truffles:
¾ oz (20 g) preserved ginger, very finely chopped plus some extra more randomly cut up for decoration
For the toasted almond truffles:
1 oz (25 g) flaked almonds, very finely chopped and well toasted
For the chocolate-coated truffles:
 2 oz (50 g) dark chocolate (at least 75 per cent cocoa solids)
 ½ teaspoon groundnut oil
 a little cocoa for dusting

1.    Break up the chocolate , I do mine in the food processor, it needs to look kinda like granulated sugar
2.    Heat up the cream butter and alcohol on the hob (this MUST NOT boil)
3.    Add this into the food processor through the tube thing
4.    Blend until smooth
5.    Add the yoghurt
6.    Throw it in the fridge
7.    Leave till the following day
8.    Roll it in to balls

For the plain truffles
Roll into balls and drop and coat in cocoa powder
For the ginger truffles:
As above after adding the ginger with a fork and rolling ,these are also nice with a crushed walnut covering
For the toasted almond truffles:
As above once the almonds are mixed in, you could also use pecans etc
For the chocolate-coated truffles:
Melt chocolate and oil over a pan of hot water, have a sheet of greaseproof nearby, roll the mixture into balls using cocoa powder... using a couple of cocktail sticks dip in the chocolate ... quickly put them on the paper allow to set ... you can add decoration then ie nuts/ginger/chilli .. or use cocktail stick to apply thin stripes of white chocolate over the set dark stuff .. simples ..
Box up and give to anyone and everyone =0) x

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Brandy butter ... before i forget ;0)

This is just the best addition to ANY hot or cold pudding at Christmas and so damned easy! We tend to steer away from the usual puddings here but Christmas for me would not be the same without at least one mince pie and some brandy butter ... oh yes!! 
Brandy Butter (or other alternatives)
·         125g/4oz unsalted butter, softened
·         125g/4oz icing sugar
·         2 tbsp boiling water
·         3 tbsp brandy/cointreau/whiskey/ drambouie

1.   Cream together the butter and the icing sugar
2.   Beat in the boiling water and brandy until smooth.
3.   Chill until needed and serve with mince pies or Christmas pudding.

Lebkuchen .. another from my grandad!

This is another blast from childhood really, I will be making these next week, this weekend is a bit busy I get to see everyone including my super special almost son who is home from 'Vegas baby' for a few days! These are delicious spicy biscuits just right for Christmas that bring back many memories for me, make them a part of your new traditions!! They are fat free... just full of sugar ;0) .. enjoy!!!


·         1 1/3 cups honey
·         1/3 cup darkbrown sugar
·         2 cups plain flour
·         1 teaspoon baking powder
·         1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
·         1 tablespoon light sesame oil
·         1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
·         1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
·         2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
·         1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
·         1/4 teaspoon ground allspice (optional)
·         1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
·         1 1/2 cups plain flour
·         Sugar paper

Vanilla glaze
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. water
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
This is heated until the sugar disappears
Chocolate glace 
200g (7 oz )  powder ( icing ) sugar, sifted
30 g cocoa, sifted
enough hot water to make thick runny mixture to brush on
Almond Glaze
200 g (7 oz ) powder ( icing ) sugar, sifted
1 or 2  drops of almond extract
enough hot water to make a thick runny mixture to brush on


1.    heat the honey and 1/3 cup sugar in a microwave for 1 minute. Pour this mixture into a mixing bowl.
2.    Sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add to the honey mixture. Stir well.
3.    Add and mix in by hand the oil, and spices.
4.    Add 1 1/2 to 2 cups more flour. Knead dough to mix (dough will be stiff).
5.    Cover and put in the fridge overnight
6.    Spray bottom and sides of a 10 x15 inch baking tray or baking sheet with a non-stick spray. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (170 degrees C).
7.     Spread into pan OR roll into balls and put on the sheet( I use sugar paper circles for this type just add the mix on top of the sugar paper)  the dough must be at least ¼ inch thick Bake for 20 minutes until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
8.    Cut into squares. May be frosted with sugar glaze or eaten plain.
9.    Store in an airtight tin/container, these will keep, they are supposed to be fairly moist so if you find them dry store with a slice of apple in the tin for the right consistency

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Yule log christmas two =0)

This is one i do every year and will be doing soon promise a picture when its done =0) ... I have also been known just to cover shop bought swiss rolls .. 'it all goes down the same hole!' .... another from my mother, who come to think of it was a corker and no mistake ...


1.   300g Bourneville chocolate, broken up
2.   6 large eggs, separated
3.   175g golden caster sugar
4.   Icing sugar, to dust

For the filling choice 1

1.   4 tbsp Nutella spread
2.   250g tub mascarpone
3.   2 tbsp brandy

For the filling choice 2

250g tub or marscapone
5 drops of peppermint essence and five crushed mint matchmakers

1.   1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4. Grease and line a 28 x 38cm Swiss roll tin with baking paper. Put 175g of the chocolate into a bowl over a pan of simmering water and heat gently until melted. Remove from the heat and stir until smooth.
2.   2. Put the egg yolks and sugar into a large bowl. Using an electric hand whisk, whisk until mousse-like, then whisk in the melted chocolate.
3.   3. In a dry, grease-free bowl, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. Stir a little into the chocolate mixture, then carefully fold in the rest with a metal spoon. Pour into the tin and bake for 20-25 minutes, until spongy to the touch. Cool for 10 minutes, then cover with a damp tea towel. When cool, chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
4.   4. While the roulade is chilling, make the filling. Mix the Nutella and mascarpone together until smooth. Gradually mix in the brandy. Cover and chill until needed.
5.   5. Carefully turn out the roulade on a sheet of baking paper. (At this stage, you can wrap it in cling film and freeze for up to one month. When ready to use, thaw at room temperature, then fill and roll.)
6.   6. Make the chocolate ‘bark’. Melt the remaining chocolate as before, then allow to cool for 10 minutes. Pour onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and thinly spread out with a spatula. Chill for 8-10 minutes, until the chocolate is firm but still pliable. Tear the chocolate into small jagged pieces. Put in a single layer on a large lined baking sheet. Chill for 15 minutes until crisp.
7.   7. Spread half the filling over the roulade. Holding the baking paper, lift up the nearest short edge to you and carefully roll up the roulade – don’t worry if it cracks. Transfer to a plate. Spread the rest of the filling over the top of the roulade, then arrange the chocolate on top, overlapping. Chill for 1 hour. Dust with icing sugar to serve.

First Christmas recipe ...

Here is the start of a collection of Christmas goodies, all totally good and doable with small people in tow. These are great for the tree or even just as gifts for friends maybe? Icing is great fun for little (and large) hands =0)!

Christmas Biscuits

·         100g/3½oz unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
·         100g/3½oz caster sugar
·         1 free-range egg, lightly beaten
·         275g/10oz plain flour
·         1 tsp vanilla extract/or cinnamon and nutmeg
·         To decorate
·         400g/14oz icing sugar
·         3-4 tbsp water
·         2-3 drops food colouring
·         Edible glitter/any other decorations you can think of!
·         Another option is to add some dried fruit/ crushed nuts.


1.   Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
2.   Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale, light and fluffy.
3.   Beat in the egg slowly
4.   Stir in the flour until the mixture comes together as a dough.
5.   Roll the dough out on a lightly floured work surface to a thickness of 1cm/½in.
6.   Using biscuit cutters or a glass, cut biscuits out of the dough and carefully place onto the baking tray. To make into Christmas tree decorations, carefully make a hole in the top of the biscuit using a straw.
7.   Bake the biscuits for 8-10 minutes, or until pale golden-brown. Set aside to harden for 5 minutes, then cool on a wire rack.
8.   For the icing, sift the icing sugar into a large mixing bowl and stir in enough water to create a smooth mixture. Stir in the food colouring.
9.   Carefully spread the icing onto the biscuits using a knife and sprinkle over the glitter. Set aside until the icing hardens.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Roasted sweet potato and vegetable chilli

        This was one of the chilli's that I made for our bonfire party ... it was absolutely smashing .... now i do sound old  =0). The sweet potato really made it .. and I hate hate hate quorn!!
Sweet potato and vegetable chilli

·         2 medium-sized sweet potatoes, (approximately 500g       
·         1 level teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus extra for sprinkling
·         1 heaped teaspoon ground cumin, plus extra for sprinkling
·         1 level teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus extra for sprinkling
·         olive oil
·         sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
·         1 onion
·         1 red pepper
·         1 yellow pepper
·         a bunch of fresh coriander
·         1 red chilli
·         1 green chilli
·         2 cloves of garlic
·         2 x 400g tins beans - try kidney, chickpea, pinto, cannellini
·         2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes

     • Preheat the oven to 200˚C/400˚F/gas 6 

• Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into bite-sized chunks 
• Sprinkle with a pinch each of cayenne, cumin and cinnamon, drizzle with olive oil and scatter with a pinch of salt and pepper 
• Toss to coat then put them on a baking tray
• Peel and roughly chop the onion 
• Halve, deseed and roughly chop the peppers
• Pick the coriander leaves and put aside, finely chop the stalks 
• Deseed and finely chop the chillies
• Peel and finely chop the garlic
• Put the tray of sweet potato in the hot oven to cook for 40 minutes until soft and golden 
• Put a large pan on a medium-high heat and add a couple of lugs of olive oil 
• Add the onion, peppers and garlic and cook for 5 minutes 
• Add the coriander stalks, chilli and spices and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes 
• Drain the cans of beans, then tip them into the pan with the tinned tomatoes 
• Stir well and bring to the boil, then reduce to a medium-low heat and leave to tick away for 25 to 30 minute
• Keep an eye on it, and add a splash of water if it gets a bit thick
• Get the roasted sweet potato out of the oven and stir it through your chilli with most of the coriander leaves
• Taste and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, if needed 
• Scatter the remaining leaves over the top, and serve with soured cream, guacamole and rice or tortillas