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Quick and easy cooking is very important to me. I am a busy mum of two who also wants to start getting the kids involved in cooking with me, so the quicker and easier the better.

FAQ
:bulletgreen: Instead of baguettes you can use slices of toast or any other bread you have. You can even use puff pastry!

:bulletgreen: If you really, really have to you can use the microwave to melt the cheese but your base will not be crisp and maybe even soggy
:bulletgreen: Not a fan of savoury? replace the toppings with chocolate, marshmallow, oreo, chocolate chips etc

:bulletgreen: Experiment with shapes, cut out shapes with cookie cutters if using toast.
:bulletgreen: you can replace the bread with gluten free bread and cheese with dairy free for those with intolerance's.



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I have had these wonderful cool mint oreos since christmas from a lovely friend who sent then to me from America as you can't buy them here in the UK.
I have been waiting and waiting for a special occasion to finally open them for and now have one as tomorrow is fathers day here in the UK so i have made one for my dad and one for my boyfriend though i am sure the kids will end up having most of it.

RECIPE
The following quantities are rough estimates and will vary depending on the size of the glasses you use and personal taste so try as you go and adjust accordingly . I also used an online conversion chart for different weights so fingers crossed they are correct or near enough.
INGREDIENTS
10 Mint Oreo's
115g (8 tbsp = = 1/2 cup = 1 stick = 4 oz) Cream Cheese (i use Philadelphia)
85g (5.5tbsp = 1/3 cup = 85ml = 2.8oz) Double/Heavy Cream
40-50g (3tbsp = 1/4 cup = 1/3 stick = 1.7oz) Butter, melted

METHOD
1. Separate enough cookies from the mint cream with a knife to just be able to cover the base of your chosen glass/container then add to separate bowls.
2. Crush the cookies then add the melted butter until wet but not dripping to form the base.
3. Whip cream until you have stiff peaks.
4. Mix the mint cream with some cream cheese, fold in the cream. (OPTIONAL: If you think your cheesecake needs to be a little sweeter add a couple tbsp of icing/confectioners/powdered sugar) Add to the mixture to the base then refrigerate until cooled and set (20 minutes minimum)
5. Store in an air tight container and consume within 3 days.

More Oreo


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Vanilla sponge cakes smothered in dark chocolate and topped with Cadbury Mini Eggs.

It's that time of the year again when everyone gets far too many chocolate and chocolate eggs to know what to do with so here is some inspiration! Most of my creating comes just after Easter with all the leftovers but I love Mini Eggs so just had to get one bag when first seeing them in the shops.

For us Easter is all about chocolate and family, the best things in life! We are not religious so use this time as a great excuse to spend time with family and friends during the two weeks Easter holidays here in the UK. It's also a great time for baking with leftovers.

Recipe for the sponge used


Last years treats


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Banana, walnut, rum, banana chips, chocolate chips and chocolate ganache! This is certainly a big and bold cake with a lot of flavour and attitude. A special cake, for a very special friends birthday.

Lee loves banana cake, he once bought me bananas, eggs, sugar etc round my house so i could bake him a cake while he was here. Since then i mentioned banana and walnut and he got very excited which gave me an idea. I searched many recipes and ideas until i finally found this one on the BBC good food website [link] Of course me being me i just had to adapt the recipe to put my own stamp on it. Instead of vanilla i added rum, chocolate chips to the cake mix and baked it in two tins instead of one so i could fill the center as well as the top of the cake with chocolate ganache. I used two kinds of chocolate ganache, milk and semi sweet then topped it off with banana chips as chopped bananas would have discoloured too quickly plus the chips have lots of flavour, chopped walnuts and chocolate chips.

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Sneaky cookies you ask? Well these were going to be chocolate chunk cookies but my youngest decided to open a bag of raisins and throw them into the cookie dough when i wasn't looking so sneaky cookies they became.
I had a busy weekend so wasn't even going to take photos for this but I just had to have a bit of sneakiness in my gallery.

BASIC RECIPE


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Having a little break today from perfecting muffin making to make some cheesecake chocolates for some friends who are coming to visit. They will be getting muffins too but once i get an idea of something to bake in my head i won't settle until it's done even if it is at 6am on a Saturday morning!

I melted some left over Easter eggs (yes i still have some!) and covered the bottom and sides of some silicone heart cases the size of a 2p coin with it. Then filled it with my basic cheesecake recipe of cream cheese mixed with icing sugar and a layer of crushed digestives (graham crackers) mixed with melted butter. i didn't feel it needed any extra flavours because of the chocolate. Finally i covered the tops with more chocolate then left to set int he fridge. Once set i popped them out the cases and drizzled with white chocolate.

They were nommy.

more cheesecake creations (yes i love cheesecake!)



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Shortbread cookies sandwiched and decorated with white chocolate ganache for my eldest daughters lunchbox tomorrow.
Using up leftovers again! Today using up some butter and cream as i want it all out of the house and replaced with dairy free items. You can probably tell i got my inspiration from yesterdays star cake.

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Moist gluten free sponge layered with fresh juicy local strawberries and a naughty helping of whipped cream.

The tastiest cake I have ever made! Made for my dad as part of a late Fathers Day meal as he has been busy, the problem is I am not sure there will be any cake left for him tomorrow as half of it has gone already! Oops!

Recipe

SPONGE
220g self raising flour (+1 tsp of xantham gum if using gluten free flour)
220g softened butter
220g castor or granulated sugar
4 large eggs
6tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract
FILLING/TOPPING
1 Punnet of strawberries
300ml tub of double/heavy cream
3 tbsp of sugar

1. Preheat oven to 200oC and line two 8/9inch cake tins with baking paper.
2. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Whisk in eggs and vanilla until thoroughly mixed and airy.
4. Gently mix in flour (and xantham gum for those gluten free bakers)
5. Add water 1tbsp to loosen the mixture.
6. Divide into baking tins
7. OPTIONAL Place each baking tin onto a deep baking tray and fill halfway up with boiling water, this helps keeps the cake lovely and moist and browns it less, this is how I now make all my cakes, it makes a huge difference so at least give it a go :)
8. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean.
9. Allow to cool throughly on a cooling rack.
10. Wash strawberries, remove green, slice in half then place on a paper towel sliced side down to drain the juices, reducing the strawberries bleeding into the whipped cream later on.
11. Whip cream with the sugar (add more or less sugar to taste) until you have reached a soft peak.
12. Spread half the cream onto one of the sponges, cover in strawberries, then a few dollops of cream on top to stick on the next layer of sponge.
13. Cover the top of the cake with the remaining cream then get creative with decorating with the remaining strawberries.
14. Best eaten on day of baking, refrigerate remaining cake in a container for up to three days, removing from fridge an hour before serving to allow it to come up to room temperature.

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Flaky puff pastry sprinkled with sugar, sweet and juicy strawberries and smooth chocolaty nutella makes for some tasty turnovers.

I don't always have time to spend hours in the kitchen so having some puff pastry sheets in the freezer for when I am in a hurry is always handy. Today I had some local strawberries that needed using up but I didn't fancy making a cake so decided on turnovers, then when I was putting them together spotted a jar of Nutella and it just had to be done! It's just a shame they are not gluten free and I can't try them but the kids and husband had seconds!

There are a few ways to make turnovers, many like to but the strawberries in the pastry before baking but these were lovely fresh strawberries so there was no way I was going to ruin them by cooking them, if they were starting to go a little over however they would be perfect for baking.

RECIPE:
1 puff pastry sheet
1 punnet of strawberries
Nutella
Sugar
Optional
Jam
Honemade Whipped cream (Highly recommended! I was all out of double/heavy cream when I made these)

1. Defrost/prepare/make puff pastry as directed.
2. Preheat oven to 200oC.
3. Cut the pastry into triangles of your choosing (I made both small for the kids and large for adults)
4. Place on a baking sheet, sprinkle with sugar and bake for around 15 minutes or until light-golden brown.
5. Chop up the strawberries and mix with some jam for extra sweetness if using.
6. Once the puff pastry is cool cut in half but not all the way through, leave the longest side intact, this keeps the turnovers together and makes them look nicer.
7. Heat a little Nutella (as much as you want to use) to make it easier to spread.
8. Fill the turnovers with the nutella, strawberries and homemade whipped cream if using.
9. Best served straight away but can be refrigerated for a couple of days.
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Strawberry jam gluten free tartlets with a sweet crumble topping.

I am a little obsessed with all the foodie pages on facebook but rarely inspired to actually make any of it until now! As soon as I saw the recipe for this on uktv [link] I just had to make it as crumble is one of my favourite desserts and I love jam. Naturally I made some adjustments to suite my needs. I used gluten free flour, took out the coconut and halved the recipe to make 3 individual tartlets instead of 1 big one. I'm not one for making the same flavour of recipe over and over again but this was amazing, I will have to make it again.

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