Monday, 20 October 2014

Cheesy Witches Fingers, Fiery chilli and Gaucamouldy Eyeballs

I was sent some goodies to cook up a Halloween treat from Unilever Kitchen, to cook up some ghoulish treats for the family.

When it comes to Halloween, the Unilever Kitchen much prefer the ‘treat’ to the ‘trick’ here, so they challenged me to whip up some ‘treat’ snacks and dishes to keep the family warm during the Halloween and Bonfire season.

To help me on my spooky challenge they provided  a delicious foodie Halloween and autumn themed hamper, full of mouth-watering seasonal treats, Unilever products as well as some Halloween inspired surprises. 

I decided to try and make a ghoulish  autumn dish that would be fiery and gruesome all in one. Witches fingers are incredibly good fun to make, children love them, they add a great tough to a buffet table and they taste lovely cheesy and light too.

So I made a fiery hot chilli, using the Mexican Knorr Flavour Pot, adding some gory eyeballs to the dish to keep the food looking Halloween themed. 

Then my real scary addition Witches fingers, I could only find sweet recipes, so I went to a cheese biscuit recipe I make at Christmas, not knowing if it would work, but I think it was a total success.

I am probably teaching you nothing new with a chilli recipe. I always add cumin, its an authentic flavour for chilli but I am sure you may have your own go to recipe.
The Mexican flavour pot is very handy for an all in one flavour. Easy to use and gives a nice flavour addition to my standard ingredients. For children's palates, i would definitely stick with the Knorr flavour pot.
 We d like our food fiery so I did add more chilli.

You will need 500g lean minced beef
1 large onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 red pepper 
1 green pepper
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tin of tomato puree
Knorr Mexican Flavour pot
1-2 tsps extra chilli if you like it hot.
1 tsp cumin

Brown the mince and add to a large saucepan, fry the onions, peppers, garlic until soft, add to the pan. Add all the other ingredients, bring to the boil and then simmer for at least 20 minutes, its better if you leave it cooking for about 45 minutes.

To prepare the Gaucamouldy eyeballs you will need, these I saw on Pinterest, if you like an easy homemade guacamole see my recipe here, shop bought is fine too. 

Cherry tomatoes
Guacamole and black olives

Chop the cherry tomatoes in half, scoop out some of the inside. Fill with guacamole, then top with a slice of olive.

Finally the most fun I have had with a recipe, using the Flora buttery made this recipe a cinch, I usually use butter and have to wait for it to soften, this time I could get stuck in straight away. The end taste was as good as with butter and it is so fast to make, using a processor, these are great to whip up for any dinner party, just make them in rounds rather than the spooky fingers. 

Cheesy Witches Fingers

250g strong Cheddar cheese
75g Flora
150g plain flour
1 egg
Salt to taste 
A  pinch of chilli powder or paprika (optional)
Egg or milk to glaze.
Whole almonds.

Put all the ingredients apart from the almonds into a food processor, using the chopping blade. Process until the mixture comes together into large pieces.

Remove from the processor, knead lightly and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, can be left for an hour or so. this bit is important as it just will not roll properly and or crack in the oven.

Next roll out small balls of the cheese dough and then use grease proof or parchment paper, if you have warm hands like me or without if cool handed! 

Roll each ball into a sausage shape about the size of your finger.

Next using your forefinger and middle finger spaced, make two gentle dents in the dough, these will be the knuckles.

Make sharp small cuts into the dough to create finger creases.

Push a whole almond quite deeply but gently into the dough, sort out any bulges at the side, redo any creases, then place on a lined baking tray, gently glaze with egg.

Place into the oven 160 Fan, 180C, Gas mark 4 for 20- 25 minutes, do cheack after 15 depending on thickness of the fingers and your oven.

Leave to cool totally before removing.

I arranged on a bed of kale and added some washed plastic spiders to make it more spooky. What do you think, scarily realistic?

Thanks to Unilever for the Halloween fun, I hope whatever you make this year its a success. Why not have a look at Twitter for other ghoulish recipes @UnileverKitchen, using the hashtag #UnileverHalloween

I was sent a hamper of food to choose some of to make this Halloween feast.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Freebie Friday 17th October

I have had lack of internet this week, so a poor poor offering for you. So sorry.

Please forgive me and if you spotted any freebies, feel free to add into comments. The same for giveaways, if you  are on a comping spree and spot a blog giveaway, just add to the linky and share the love.

Bloggers, thanks for adding last week, the traffic going to the blogs is growing each week and thanks to you all for linking up. Don't forget discounts and deals, any freebies such as Halloween printables are all welcome.


Asda are offering families the chance to join the Spook Squad this Halloween with our spooktacular activities happening in selected Asda stores! Kids will be given clue sheets to guide them around store, and masks with “Monster Vision” to help them spot the mischievous Fang and Fangle hidden in our red reveal floor stickers. Children will be given a membership card and stickers to take home. More details here.

Free Editor pretty friendship bracelets

Kikkoman Bottle of Sesame Dressing

Free Diorskin Star samples and makeover 
Discover Diorskin Star at the Dior Beauty counter in your nearest Debenhams store. Find your perfect shade with Dior’s innovative shade analyser and receive a complimentary makeover and a personalised travel size sample

Astral Nutrition Range Samples

Kenco Millicano Coffee

Clinique Smart Serum Sample

Huggies Pull Ups

Last chance fajita seasoning 21/10

Sun Perks Readers Only

Free E book worth £4.99
Nathalia Buttface and the Most Embarrassing Dad in the World
Free Odeon Kids pass every weekend

Worth a Go As So Many

500 Free Balance Activ Conceive Fertility Sprays

50p off Birds Eye Steam Fresh and a chance to win lots of prizes (Daily)

3,000 Yorkshire Tea Full size boxes

1 Alarm Clock and 100 Yakult calenders

100 Max Factor Masterpiece Transform (Daily entries)

100 Shay and Blue Salt Caramel Fragrances

100 Sanctuary Body Washes (photo needed) 100 Rose day creams

500 Ipad Minis

You can generate 3 free codes without purchase, these are emailed to you.

1,000 Health and Safety Activity Pack Safety ideas and tips, Recipes, Kids Poster and Reflector stickers.

1,000 Ideal home tickets
FREEBIE discount code ‘CHKM19

Word FREE image made from cubes,  mosaic pattern thanks to Shutterstock 

Spotlight image thanks to Shutterstock

Free label image thanks to Shutterstock

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Orange and Sultana Pudding and a Giveaway

As it is National BakingWeek Oxo Good Grips invited me to use some of their baking accessories to make some recipes, my internet has been down, this is very bad as I could not add my recipes until now, but very good as I have had more time to bake and not be distracted by the lure of social media.

I am trying out the OxoGood Grips mixing bowl, an 11' balloon whisk and a flour sifter and the good news for you is a) you get to drool over my baked orange and sultana pudding, plus my husbands ‘Proper Yorkshire Puddings’  coming soon as I shamefully got so carried away mixing I forgot to get a shot of it.

 Then b) enter the giveaway to win the set shown above. Please note you do not get the puddings or the husband.

My recipe inspired by Nigella Lawson’s Marmalade pudding. I have made this a couple of times, tweaking as I do to make a different spin. I have changed it to a tipsy pudding by adding Grand Marnier. Then one occasion the addition of leftover sultanas from another recipe, made a really moist and sweet fruity twist on the original dish. This sponge sweet is surprisingly light and fluffy, despite the heavy satisfied feeling in your tummy.

You will thank me if you do make this.

This can be made in a food processor as an all in one pudding for speed. I had time on my hands as the internet was down, so made it with the creaming method, also it gave me chance to try out my new OXO goodies. 

The whisk is brilliant really firm, my now consigned to the charity shop whisk, was too flimsy and sort of too wide to successfully whip up a storm. The handle is lovely and comfortable, this is a must when you bake and cook lots.

The bowl is a lovely size to make a cake or pudding. It is very sturdy and does not slip about. A nice lip around the edge makes it easy to hold when pouring food. It is recommended for marinades, all mixing and great for storing. It is dishwasher safe also.

The shame of me that I did not show the sifter in action as  it is very good, hence adding Chris's Yorkshire pudding mix to another post, not because it is actually way superior to mine!! ;)

This pudding demands good custard  or a dollop of clotted cream for a rib sticking warming Sunday dessert.

You will need
  • 250g soft unsalted butter (plus some for greasing)
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 75g soft brown sugar
  • 150g marmalade for the pudding
  • 75g marmalade for the glaze.
  • 225g plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • teaspoon baking powder
  • large eggs
  • zest and juice of orange 
  •  Juice of ½ orange for glaze

  • Preheat the oven to Fan 160, 180°C/gas  4/350°F and grease an  square ovenproof dish.

Cream the butter and sugars, whisk in the marmalade followed by the dry ingredients bar the sultanas, then the eggs and finally the orange zest and juice. Lastly fold through the sultanas and give a final whisk to incorporate.

Bake in the oven for about 40 -45 minutes, check after 30 minutes as ovens are so different heat wise. Check with a skewer and if there is no mixture on the skewer. It is ready.

  • Put the 75g marmalade and juice of half an orange into a small pan and warm slowly, when it is a nice gooey liquid, brush over the still warm pudding. 
  • Find out more about OXO Good Grips baking accessories and other handy gadgets here

Win the OXO Good Grips Baking accessories used in this recipe. 


Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Philips #RealJuice Review

I am just about to take part in the  Philips Campaign for Real Juice which centres on incorporating juicing into my lifestyle, rather than doing a crash detox! 

  It also gives me chance to try out the Philips Viva Collection Juicer.

The plan suits me a whole lot more than a detox, I find I cannot commit to a full fruit detox as I have to be rushing around with Granny and having done them before, i find I need to rest more.

Making my own juice at home means it is packed with nutrients and allows me to ensure that all of the ingredients included in it are fresh. 

Philips say that 'By juicing fruits and vegetables for yourself you can avoid other ‘fruit juices’ on the market that have little or no health benefits. Plus it makes it easier to include more vegetables in your diet, which reduces the sugar level of juice compared to juicing just fruit and offers many nutritional benefits.'

I have  a little help from celebrity nutritionist Madeleine Shaw who has created several recipes such as pre-workout, energy boosting, post-workout, I am on a permanent workout caring for an elderly relative so this applies to me as well.

First I want to talk about the Philips Juicer. I love that it is compact, it fits neatly on my kitchen side. I had a huge juicer before, it was too big, took up too much room and had so many different slicing parts, it was a chore to clean, the sieves were nightmarish and after scrubbing for ages, I got fed up with using.

The Viva is very easy to set up.
It all slots together easily, its lightweight and it all disassembles as easily. The pulp is all stored in  the container and all the parts I found easy to wash, even the sieve, which has  QuickClean which means a normal sponge just gets rid of the fruit and veg fibres.

This is what makes it an item that I will use, I do want the benefits of fresh juice but it needs to be easy to clear up after.

So my first juicing was really interesting. I started with the Classic Cleanse Juice
3 medium carrots
1 small beetroot
1 apple
2 stalks of celery.
This juice supports the liver and helps to invigorate your body. I certainly need invigorating.

You need to peel the veg and fruit you usually use and cut them into chunks that will fit the shoot. The plunger then can be pushed to aid the fruit to pass through the sieve. The fruit goes through incredibly fast and if I was not taking photos, it would be seconds to do. The QuickClean extraction system allows you to make up to 1.5l of healthy, fresh juice in one go without needing to empty the pulp container so really an all in one machine

The handy jug supplied collected my juice, but the spout is high enough to fit a 12 cm height glass under too.

My tips once made is give the drink a good stir and add a couple of ice cubes as it was a little warm. 

My first taste and I was a bit unsure, I think I would drop another apple through next time to make it sweeter. I drank it quite quickly as I am not a great veggie juice lover, but I need a real boost at the moment and this is sure to be a great weeks boosting.

I will be back next week to tell you how I got on, the Philips juicer is going to get a full workout and my body is hopefully going to be fitter, skin clearer and I will report any other effects. Follow me on twitter @Jo_Bryan and Instagram @mrsjobryan to see my daily juices too. 

In the past year alone, juicer sales have soared by 131%**, showing that the love of juicing shows no sign of slowing down - so you can join in and back Philips Campaign for Real Juice. For further inspiration and Madeleine’s juicing recipes visit Facebook and share your juicing journey online using the hash-tag #RealJuice.

 Available from Amazon, Argos and Curry’s and I have seen in John Lewis starting at £59.99, slightly cheaper on Amazon.

Family Fever

Brilliant blog posts on

Sunday, 12 October 2014

My Sunday Photo

I love this time of year, though Christmas seems to be vying with Halloween, as all the Christmas displays were at the same garden centre. 

Pumpkins are really the ultimate giant fruit or vegetable, (they are classed as both apparently) if we were all self sufficient. You could breathe a sigh of relief, when you saw these on your vegetable patch for a bountiful larder! Though I would have a job getting that big one to the kitchen!


Friday, 10 October 2014

Freebie Friday 10th October

Well it seems slim pickings this week or my eagle eye is a bit skewiff!! If I have missed any amazing ones, feel free to shout at me in the comments!!

I have tried to add a few more 'Worth A Go's as it look a bit empty and as some are good odds, I am hoping you all get lucky. I just won one of the footballs from Capital one so give that one a go. It says they even send the pump!

 Do visit the other weeks links as a lot are still running!

If you do like a bargain not necessarily free but ideas for under a fiver pop over to Mummy To the Max, she has a weekly 5 for under£5 and its great for Christmas prezzies!

Bloggers thank you for all the giveaways they are becoming a great success and people are using the linky more and more each week, bloggers and entrants

Pick up two Tesco (Food Family Living) Magazine the October mag,  on page 20 a voucher for £1 of Coke Life bottle These are currently on offer in Tesco 2 for £2.


Felix Crunchy Crumbles
(Sun Perks only)
Five Odeon Child's Cinema tickets 

The Ogre Downstairs by Diana Wynne Jones

O2 Freebies and Offers

Free Organic little Miracles Drink
25% off Cafe Rouge
45% off Cineworld Tickets

Worth a Go as So Many

3,000 Full size Beauty products
Sign up once 100 a day

4,000 Witch Blemish Sticks

Money Off Coupons and Clever supermarket/coupon combining

75p off Rachel's Divine Pots

Old El Paso Kit for £1 (Asda currently £2)

With £1 off coupon here

Free New Covent Garden Soup at Morrisons
£1 off coupon here and currently on offer at £1
Ocado have it for £1.15
Tesco £1.50

Last weeks Freebie Friday

Word FREE image made from cubes,  mosaic pattern thanks to Shutterstock 

02 Logo thanks to Shutterstock

Spotlight image thanks to Shutterstock

Free label image thanks to Shutterstock


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