Early Mother’s Day gift for you!
Mums I have a food related gift for you. No, it’s not Butlers in the Buff. It’s almost as good but in an entirely different way. I bring you the gift of time. It’s what we all long for most, right?
Have you, like me, ever experienced the following scenario? It’s the end of a long day – you’ve walked the dog, sorted the school P.E. kit, done the ironing, cleaned up the kitchen and now you’re looking forward to finally sitting down with a glass of wine. But before you do you glance at the calendar and horror of horrors, there’s a School Bake Sale the next morning (donations to be dropped off by 8am). The shops are shut and you’ve only got one out-of-date egg and a half eaten bar of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk (half eaten? Pah! I hear you cry).
Now I’d love to say that when this happened to me I nonchalantly took it in my stride – that I explained to the Mini Muddies the never-ending juggle of being a working Mum and that we all marched empty handed, but heads held high, through the school gates the following morning. Sadly, it didn’t go down that way. I forced everyone up at the crack of dawn, bought some stale looking chocolate sponge things from the local Post Office and dropped the whole lot on the car floor when deceptively decanting them onto my home-bake plates.
Because the thing is, and yes I hate myself for it, I care. I know it’s very silly, but there you go. On one rare occasion when I actually remembered to bake cupcakes for a Christmas fair and real people actually bought them my son swears he saw me silently fist pump. I’m not proud, *hangs head*.
Maybe we all care a little more than we, er, care to admit. So I was openly delighted when Ketta Shimmin owner of Flossie Pops Cakery, near Cranbrook, admitted that even for her a school cake stall invokes a tiny bit of dread. And, even better, as a working parent of three primary-school-aged children she decided to do something about this modern Mum’s malaise. Ketta has produced a collection of recipes for time-starved parents everywhere. And here, exclusively, for the first time ever (her book-in-waiting is yet to be published) she spills the beans on two of her easy-peasy, cheaty-cheaty but oh-so-delicious concoctions…
Ketta says: ‘This one’s so simple every Mum I tell says – “I can’t believe I didn’t think of that!” You’ll even gain a sense of pride that you’ve included fruit on a bake sale table! Also a fabulously quick home-made present for Mother’s Day.’
15 minutes plus chilling
You will need:
Baking parchment or greaseproof paper, cupcake cases
A punnet of strawberries (straight from the fridge),
120g chocolate (plain, millk or white, whatever takes your fancy!)
30g contrasting chocolate
Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper or baking parchment
Pop the chocolate in a microwave safe container and heat in 20 second bursts until just melted.
Wash and thoroughly dry the strawberries. Hold a strawberry by the leaves, half dip in the melted chocolate, gently shake off the excess and place on some baking parchment.
Once all the strawberries have been dipped, pop the tray in the fridge to set and present in cupcake cases, or clear plastic food presentation bags tied with a pretty ribbon.
Keeps in the fridge for 24 hours but best eaten as soon as possible!
If you have time: melt the different type chocolate in the microwave in the same way and use a spoon to drizzle a little contrasting over each strawberry before placing in the fridge to set.
Ketta says: ‘The first time I came across this idea, the fudge was presented in little striped paper bags in a wicker basket and sold out in minutes. I later found out it had been made by a mum-of-three with a brand new baby at 1am the night before! It really only takes a few minutes, but you do need to allow a little time for it to set.’
5 minutes plus chilling (makes around 48 squares)
You will need:
A brownie tin (20cm square), greaseproof paper or aluminium foil and non-stick baking or oil spray, small paper bags or clear food presentation bags.
1 x 397g tin of sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated)
500g of chocolate chips or chopped up chocolate bar (anything you like!)
Line the tin with the greaseproof paper or foil and spray lightly with non-stick spray.
Mix together the condensed milk and chocolate in a microwave safe bowl.
Heat in the microwave on high power for 1 minute and stir with a silicon spatula until thick and well combined. If the chocolate hasn’t completely melted, heat for a further 20 seconds then stir and repeat until all the chocolate has melted and you have a thick, smooth mixture
Spoon the mixture in and smooth down.
Chill for 30 minutes in the freezer and cut into squares.
Keeps in a cool, dry place for a week.
If you have time:
Place chopped pistachios, toasted flaked almonds, chocolate vermicelli, honeycomb pieces or sprinkles of your choice on the fudge before chilling.