Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Rainbow Piñata Cake

Hi everyone and welcome back to the Tea Cozy Kitchen. So, I mentioned in my last post that I was doing a bit of baking at the weekend for a first birthday party. I thought I would share with you the cake that I baked and also the process which was involved in making this cake.

For this first birthday party I made a Rainbow Piñata Cake. I mean what could be better for a kids party than a brightly coloured cake that explodes smarties when you cut into it!  For the cake sponge I just used a very simple all in one Victoria sponge method with a little added vanilla and made four layers with it. I used Mary Berry's Victoria sponge recipe as you really just cant go wrong with a recipe by her. I mean Mary Berry knows her cakes. To get the colour on the inside I used some gel food colouring. I wanted the colour to be vibrant so I used quite a lot (maybe could have done with a wee bit less, the colour was almost fluorescent).





As you can see the outside of the cake was decorated very simply with a light and fluffy vanilla buttercream and topped with some fresh berries. I wanted the outside to not give any hints on what was hiding on the inside. I did two layers of the buttercream to try and get an opaque finish! It was pretty hard to achieve this as I have made so many semi-naked cakes recently.


Between the cake layers was a thick layer of buttercream but also a good bit of strawberry jam. I always think that vanilla and strawberry jam screams kids birthday cake. To get the smarties in the centre I used a cookie cutter to cut a circle in the centre of the first three layers. When they were stacked and assembled with buttercream there was a column down the middle that I was able to fill with smarties. The top layer had no hole and was set on top to stop the smarties falling out.


 And that's how I made this Rainbow Piñata Cake, I think it's possibly one of the most fun cakes I have ever made and it went down a treat with the kids and adults alike. What's your favourite thing that you have baked? I would love to know! Thanks so much for reading,

Rachael xx.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Meal Plan Monday


Hello, it's Monday and that can only mean one thing, it's meal plan day! I hope everyone had a lovely weekend. I had a rather busy weekend doing some baking for a first birthday party and I will be sharing with you what I baked on the blog this week, if you're interested. So this week, the diet/health kick continues with a lot of healthy meal inspiration courtesy of BBC Good Food and a couple of my own recipes too. If you want the recipes for any of these dishes, check out the BBC Good Food website as a lot of these can be found there. Anyway, on with the plan...


MON: Sweet Potato Tex Mex Salad, Good Food.

TUES: Slow Cooked Spanish Chicken, Good Food.
WED: Kidney Bean Curry, Good Food.

THURS: Penne Arrabiatta, Good Food.

FRI: Sardine and Broccoli Traybake, Good Food.

SAT: Veggie Stir-fry, my own recipe.

SUN: Goan Pulled Pork, Good Food.

And there you have it, everything that I will be cooking and eating this week. Do you have a meal plan for the week? I would love to know what you will be cooking and eating. Thanks so much for reading,

Rachael xx.








Friday, 12 May 2017

Sweet Potato, Feta and Tomato Mini Frittatas

Hi everyone and welcome back to the Tea Cozy Kitchen. I hope you all had a wonderful week, we finally made it to Friday guys, YAY! Today i've got another easy recipe to share with you. These frittatas are so easy to make and taste delicious, perfect for summery buffet style lunches, packed lunches, picnics or even as a post-workout snack. Another great thing about them is they are so easy to change up depending on what ingredients you have to hand.  You should definitely give these a try!



INGREDIENTS
(makes about 4 mini frittatas)

2 medium eggs,
50ml of milk,
1/2 tsp of dried oregano,
2 small sweet potatoes, chopped into small chunks,
1/2 tsp paprika,
a small handful of plum tomatoes, halved,
50g feta, crumbled,
a drizzle of oil.


METHOD

1.Preheat oven to 180 degrees.  Put the chopped sweet potato in a baking tray and toss with the paprika and oil. Roast in oven for about 35mins or until soft and coloured slightly. I didn't peel my potatoes as I like the skin but it can work either way.
2. When the potatoes are done, leave to cool slightly and mix up the eggs with all the other ingredients.
3. Grease (grease REALLY WELL as they can be difficult to get out) 4 holes in a muffin tray and pop a few sweet potatoes chunks in the bottom, pour over the egg mix and top with the remaining sweet potato.
4. Cook in the oven for about 15mins until they look nearly set, then turn your grill to high and grill for 5mins to brown and crisp up the tops slightly.
5. Leave to cool for packed lunches or scoff straight away for a tasty snack/lunch.

Anyway, that's it for today! Happy weekend all! Do you have any exciting plans for the weekend? I will be spending mine gardening (as per usual) and baking a very special cake for a very special person's first birthday. I'm so excited to share this cake with you, it's quite unusual. Thanks so much for reading,

Rachael xx.







Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Greek Pasta Salad

HELLO! The sun is STILL shining here in Northern Ireland, which is pretty much unheard of. So, today I've got a lovely summery and healthy recipe to share with you guys. This recipe is so easy to make and is perfect for summer picnics, work lunches or just as a healthy snack. I just threw this together for my lunch today and thought it was really tasty so just had to share because lunches can get pretty boring (am I right?!). Can you really go wrong with these ingredients?


GREEK PASTA SALAD

INGREDIENTS (makes enough for one hungry person)

a handful of dried pasta, I used penne
a handful of black olives, halved
a couple of plum tomatoes, halved
1/4 of a cucumber, cut into small chunks
about 50g of feta, crumbled
1/4 of a red onion, finely diced
3tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 juice of a lemon.

METHOD

1. Boil the pasta according to packet instructions.
2. Chop all your veg and mix the lemon juice, olive oil and a little salt and pepper together.
3. When the pasta is done, mix everything together. Save a little feta to top the dish.
4. You can eat it now or leave it to cool and have it cold, either way it's delicious.

And there you have it a quick and easy lunch recipe. If you try this I would love to know what you think! Anyway, i'm off to watch more Riverdale now (i'm completely obsessed!). Hope you have a lovely day! Thanks so much for reading,

Rachael xx.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Meal Plan Monday


Hi all and welcome back to another meal plan Monday. I hope you all had a fabulous weekend. We have gorgeous weather in Northern Ireland at the moment so I'm attempting to get a little colour on my pasty ginger skin! This meal plan is a little healthier than normal as I'm on a little bit of a health kick at the minute. My husband and I are heading away in a couple of weeks to Croatia and we are both so excited, we haven't had a proper summer holiday in two years. But alas, I went to try on a couple of my favourite summer pieces and let's just say they were a little more snug than I would like. So, I'm hoping to just drop a couple of pounds before the holiday but nothing drastic, there will be no detox teas or juice cleanses here. I'm just going to be choosing better snacks, less coffee, more green tea, more walks and less desserts but I will still be having my little bit of chocolate every evening with my cup of tea! Anyway here's what I will be cooking and eating this week!



MON: Healthy Mac 'n' Cheese.

TUES: Moroccan Squash, Chickpea and Kale Stew.

WED: Tex Mex Eggs.

THURS: Pea and Broad Bean Shakshuka.

FRI: Pea and Broad Bean Risotto.

SAT: Spanakopita.

SUN: Halloumi Flatbreads.

All the recipes for these dishes come from the current issue of BBC Good Food magazine, the May issue. This issue has some really tasty dishes with loads of veg which is just what I need before this holiday! So I would definitely recommend picking it up if you are in need of some inspiration! I am particularly looking forward to the Spanakopita and the healthy-ish mac 'n' cheese. Are you making anything exciting this week, I would love to know. Until next time, thank you so much for reading,

Rachael xx.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Chocolate, Oat and Raisin Cookies

HELLO! How is everyone? We just had a lovely sunny bank holiday here in Northern Ireland (hence why there is no meal plan Monday!). I spent the whole day in the garden planting, painting, playing with the pup and of course drinking a G&T or two! But today, I've got a really tasty recipe to share with you. These cookies are one of the best cookies I've ever made ( a very bold claim I know!) but they are just the perfect combination of crispy, soft and chewy, not to mention so easy to make. I made these one afternoon as I was really craving cookies but didn't have any eggs, and voila, such a yummy cookie was born. They are the perfect afternoon snack with a cup of tea or coffee. Or they would also be delicious with ice-cream sandwiched between them for an easy dessert. I really recommend you give 'em a try!


Ingredients

Makes about 10 big cookies

110g butter,
105g light brown sugar,
1tsp vanilla extract,
95g plain flour,
a pinch of salt,
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda,
30ml boiling water,
80g porridge oats,
40g ( a large handful) of raisins,
100g dark chocolate, chopped into chunks.

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees for a fan oven. Beat the butter with the sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.
2. Stir in the flour and salt.
3. Dissolve the bicarbonate of soda in boiling water and add to the mix along with the oats, raisins and chocolate chips.
4. Roll into 10 equal size balls and flatten each slightly on a baking try lined with baking paper. Make sure to spread the cookies out as they well spread in the oven.
5. Bake for 12 mins or until golden and crispy.

And there you go, a delicious cookie recipe to try! Let me know if you give them a go, I would love to know what you think! Until next time, thank you so much for reading,

Rachael xx.

Friday, 28 April 2017

20 Facts about Me

Hi all and welcome back to The Tea Cozy Kitchen! I have slightly different post for you today! I have seen these types of posts floating about Instagram (i'm @rachheron1 if you want to give me a follow) and I thought it would be fun to give it a go! It's a little bit more personal than i'm used to, but, I thought it would be good to show the person behind the food, so here goes, 20 facts about me.



  1. My name is Rachael and I am 26 and live in Belfast in Northern Ireland.
  2. I went to an all girls high school and loved it.
  3. I got engaged when I was 21 and married when I was 23 to my lovely husband Sean.
  4. He was my first and only boyfriend. We met when we were 19 and that was that!
  5. My husband and I both have lots of red hair, we are typically Irish looking.
  6. I started doing a degree in Actuarial Studies but switched to an English Literature degree two years in. I studied at Queen's University Belfast.
  7. I am such a worry wart and if there is anything to worry about I will definitely find it, much to the annoyance of my husband.
  8. I used to work in Retail but recently just left my job as it was not what I wanted to do long term (loved the people though!) and I wanted to pursue food as a career.
  9. I love to bake (as you can probably tell!) and bake a lot for family and friends.
  10. I also love to cook but didn't really do any cooking until about 5 years ago. I credit Good Food magazine for teaching me to cook and helping me to love food.
  11. I'm a complete literature geek and love all the classics. I recently just did an evening course on the Bronte sisters and it was amazing.
  12. I read all the Jane Austen novels when I was 14 and this nurtured my love for literature.
  13. I'm a complete perfectionist and put a lot of pressure on myself for everything to be PERFECT! If I feel like it's not then I've failed even though others don't see the failure.
  14. My first love was my Golden Labrador Ben who my family got when I was 5, he was my best friend and had the kindest and most gentle soul. Unlike my puppy Ralph, he's a tad mental.
  15. I baked my first wedding cake a couple of weeks ago! Eeek!
  16. I have two younger sisters who I think are absolutely amazing!
  17. I love to sleep and can never sleep enough. Haha 8hours is a short nights sleep for me, I go to bed very early!
  18. I lived in Australia for 6 months when I was 2 as my parents were working there. I don't remember it at all but i'm told that I picked up a bit of an accent whilst I was there.
  19. I love to go for walks in the country and nothing makes me feel better, both physically and mentally than a nice long walk in the fresh air and beautiful countryside of Northern Ireland.
  20. I'm a coffee addict and need at least two cups a day. The first one needs to be within 10mins of waking up otherwise I get majorly GRUMPY!

And there you go, now you know everything about me, well, there might be a wee bit more. I would love to know a fact about you, so please feel free to share in the comments. Thanks so much for reading,

Rachael xx.