Sunday, 28 April 2013

Raspberry, Vanilla and Black Pepper Chocolates - RECIPE and TUTORIAL - Union Jack Flag

These beautiful chocolates were made using our unique, registered design chocolate mould depicting the British Union Jack Flag. This 12 cell silicone mold is available from, currently priced at £4.49

In this blog post, I'm going to tell you how to make these chocolates and the pretty handmade chocolate box shown above. For those of you that are avid blog and Facebook followers, we're introducing PROJECT PACKS so you can join in many of our forthcoming creations.

This first project pack will include the BOXER board with scoring tool, double sided tape pen, 9 sheets of pretty Kanban card (two each of the British patterns shown, plus 1 each of 5 colours in polka dot), a sheet of acetate for making aperture windows in chocolate boxes, 100 mini paper cases and union jack silicone chocolate mould.

The goods in this pack would normally cost over £30.00 with UK shipping, but the project pack will be just £23.99 including UK delivery. International shipping options are also available.

Lets get started !

First of all, you will need some tempered chocolate. I chose to use milk couveture chocolate. Most supermarket chocolate has had most of the cocoa butter content removed and replaced with vegetable oil. It's really not suitable for tempering. Tempering is what gives you that beautiful sheen and snap.

If buying couveture chocolate, two brands I would recommend are Callebaut and Belcolade. If you are just starting out however, you'll find that Lidl's dark chocolate is pretty good and is generally suitable for microwave tempering. Just be sure to chop it up into small pieces.

There is a short video guide to microwave chocolate tempering here (see part 1). I also wrote a blog post about tempering a few months ago.

First of all, take a chocolate mould of your choice (at least 2cm deep). Place it on top of a baking tray and fill all the cells FULL of chocolate. Give the mould (on the tray) a good rap on the counter to help get rid of any air bubbles. Then, pour all of the chocolate back out into the bowl.

You really need both hands to do this ! I was trying to tip it out with one hand and photograph with the other. This made rather a lot of mess !

Using a bench scraper, wall paper scraper or flat spatula, scrape all the excess chocolate off the top surface of the mould. Leave the mould for about 5 mins until the chocolate begins to set, then pop in the fridge for a further 5 minutes to fully harden.

Now, make the chocolate filling. This mix will make enough to fill approx 48 chocolates. You may prefer to scale down the volume. It's a versatile recipe and easily adapted by changing the alcohol to some other liqueur or flavouring


50g butter
12g glucose
350g tempered white chocolate
1 tablespoon Chambord (raspberry liquer)
1/4tsp black pepper
seeds of 1/2 a vanilla pod

First of all, put the room temperature unsalted butter, glucose, pepper and vanilla pod seeds in a bowl. Beat with a hand mixer until light and fluffy.

Change to a wooden spoon and gradually mix in the tempered white chocolate. Once combined, mix in the liquer.

Put this mix into a disposable piping bag. Tie a knot at the top.

Get your moulds back out the fridge, and pipe filling into the chocolate shells. It's very important that the shells are not over full. You need at least 3mm of space above the filling to be able to cap them off with chocolate after filling !

After capping with chocolate, pop into the fridge for 10 mins to fully set up. Remove (wearing gloves - so not to put fingerprints on your chocolates.


Take your boxing board. One side has metric measurements and the other side is inches. For this box, I used the metric side.

Turn the board so the end that says BOX LID is facing the top.

Take a sheet of A4 stock card and score it  using your scoring tool (with the card portrait and on the reverse) at 11cm. 

You need to do this twice and cut two pieces of card to 215mm x 110mm. Note - these pieces of card need to be IDENTICAL in size although they do not have to be the same pattern. 

Choose which piece you are going to use for the lid, and which piece for the base. That needs to be decided now !

Score the lid at the 2.5cm marking on all four sides (right round) - then ROTATE the board and do the same for the base. If you don't turn the board round, you'll end up with two lids that will not fit together.

Where the folds cross over, cut some small V's out. These will create the box flaps. Do this on both top and base pieces.

If you want an aperture / window in the box, measure 1cm down from the fold at the narrow end of the box and cut out a piece 40mm wide x 45mm deep.

If using a coloured card (ie not cream or white), take a felt marker and run this over the cut edge for the aperture. This is not essential, but does really neaten up the finished box.

Cut a piece of acetate a little bigger than the window in the box. 

Use the mouse pen on the card, and put a line of double sided sticky tape close around the window. Press on the acetate.

Fold the sides for the box. Use the mouse glue pen on the front side corners of the box to apply the sticky tape and then press to hold the corners in place

That's it ! Place 5 chocolates in mini paper cases into each box and it's done :-)

Quick, simple and easy ....

Happy Box Making !

Sarah-Jane Nash - - April 2013

PLEASE Mummy - just one more !

Monday, 22 April 2013

Banana Bran Breakfast Muffins (RECIPE - Lower Sugar, Low Fat)

Honestly - these banana bran breakfast muffins are better than you could EVER imagine. I'll be honest - I think they're my favourite muffin / small cake of all time..... and what's more, they're good for you !

Read the ingredients and turn up your nose - doesn't sound like something many people would initially want to make. I promise though, one bite and these will have you converted for life. It's funny - if you ask someone "Would you like a bran muffin?" then I can almost guarantee you 8 out of 10 times they'll say no. Offer one of these on a plate without saying what they are, and they disappear at lightning speed and loads of people requesting the recipe.

This low sugar and banana version is a re-vamp of my plain version. With the decorated tops, these look more appealing but still taste every bit as good.

BE WARNED - Bran is an effective and natural laxative effect as does molasses / black treacle, so don't overdose on muffins !?! More than one certainly gets things moving !

RECIPE (makes 10) - EASY

75g wheat bran (normal bran - not breakfast cereal !)
225g plain flour
125ml of skimmed milk
125ml of low fat greek yogurt
1 banana, mashed
1/2 cup of raisins (optional)
1/2 cup of tea (optional)
3 tsp baking powder
60ml treacle
1/2tsp salt
1 egg
 50g sugar
100ml sunflower or vegetable oil
2tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
1tsp ground ginger (optional)

to decorate tops : 

1 tablespoon of porridge oats
small handful of banana chips
2 tablespoons of warmed honey or agave syrup to glaze

First, make a cup of black tea ! Soak 1/2 a cup of raisins or sultanas in 1/2 a cup of hot tea for about 20 mins to plump them up. (makes a total of 1 cup)

Heat the oven to 180deg C Fan and line a 12 hole silicone muffin mould or tin with paper cake cases.

You will need two bowls.

In the first bowl, put the bran, milk, yogurt, mashed banana, oil, egg, sugar and black treacle. Mix well to combine. Drain off about 1/2 the tea and add the raisins to this bowl. Set aside for at least 10 minutes. (note - if not using rasins and tea, add about 100ml extra milk.

In another bowl, mix the flour, spices, salt, baking powder together. Add the bowl of wet ingredients and stir to combine. Stop as soon as dry ingredients can no longer be seen.

Spoon into your prepared muffin mould or tin. This doesn't rise a lot, so the cases will appear rather full.

Place a few banana chips (I used 3 per muffin) on top and scatter on a few oats.

Bake for approx 20 minutes until a cocktail stick comes out clean (mine were done in bang on 20mins).

Remove from the oven and brush the tops with some warm honey or agave syrup to glaze.

Not been doing a huge amount of baking recently. Been on a diet and had a few other things going on ! This teddy is the last "proper" cake I made which was about 2 or 3 weeks ago now.

Kitchen for work has just arrived and sat waiting to go in. Electrician comes today, so finally everything should start getting a move on.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Fig and Dolcelatte Mini Breads - Recipe

Apologies for the lack of blog entries in the last few weeks. I had to take some necessary time off from work.... and on my return, we all came down with some horrid sickness / flu type bug. Not nice with three of us being sick.... and it's taken quite a bit of time for us all to bounce back.

I'm astonished - but I honestly have not been baking or evolving new projects for the last month !

Anyway...... time to get something in the oven, and these pretty little Fig and Dolcelatte Mini Breads were the result.

Baked in a new stock silicone bakeware mould - the 10 cell mini bread / cake mould. Ideal for single portion mini loaf cakes or breads.

This recipe made 16 mini bread loaves / rolls. I could possibly have squeezed it to make up to 18  if they had been a little smaller. In this photo, they were proven and ready to bake.


450g strong white bread flour
1 sachet of instant yeast
300mls of tepid water
25mls of olive oil
3 tsp of caster sugar
1.1/2 tsp of salt
125g of chopped fresh figs
90g of chopped Dolcelatte cheese (soft cheese with a blue vein)

Put flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a large bowl. Take care not to let salt and yeast touch. Add warm water and oil and bring together as a dough. 

Knead for a good 10mins by hand until soft and silky, but in a tight shape. Cover and allow to rest in a warm area until doubled in size.

Knock back and add in fresh figs and cheese. Divide into 16 > 18 equal sized portions and drizzle a little  olive oil on top of each. Again, cover and set aside until doubled in size.

Bake at 200deg C Fan for approx 15mins.

Sarah-Jane Nash -

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