Chocolate Crunch

revisiting childhood banner

So here it is our inaugural childhood recipes post. I hope you’re all ready and raring to go and intrigued about the recipe that’s coming your way!?

The very first recipe in the Gnome Gnotebook is something called Chocolate Crunch, which I confess I have no recollection of ever having made in my life, which means sadly I can’t share any wondrous stories of baking this as a child. A slight fail on the first recipe we have to make in this new blog series, but I’m not one to cheat and ignore this recipe. Instead we got stuck into the recipe on Saturday and gave it a whirl.

The result? Um totally delicious and I’m devastated that I have never tasted this wonderful chocolate crunch before. It really is delicious (in both its raw and baked forms) and I will most certainly be making in the future! It’s a simple tray bake recipe and tastes like chocolate biscuits. Always a winning combination.
If you fancy giving it a whirl yourself you will need:

  • 1lb plain flour
  • 2oz cocoa
  • ¾lb margarine
  • ¾lb caster sugar
  • A dash of Vanilla essence


And it couldn’t be easier to create this scrumptious baked item…

  1. Melt the butter and vanilla essence in the microwave until it’s of an oil consistency
  2. Mix the dry ingredients together in another bowl and then stir in the melted ingredients.
  3. The mixture should form a biscuit type mixture.
  4. Press the mixture into a greased tin so it’s about half an inch thick
  5. Bake on 160°C for 15 minutes until the top is no longer wobbly!
  6. When the tray bake has cooled, remove from the tin and cut into squares and eat.

cc_ready to eat

This truly was delicious and so simple to make, so I can see I’ll be making this an awful lot in the future!

– Fi xx


Mug Cakes

Yes, today is all about speedy baking and by speedy I mean making a cake in under 5 minutes. Genius right? You’re completely intrigued now aren’t you!

Anyway before we get started on this recipe here’s a really quick background/history lesson before we get into this baking post.

Back when I was in my second year at university I lived in a house with three other lovely ladies who will always be my life long friends – it’s like in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, there are just some experiences that make you friends, no matter who you are. And okay we didn’t have to fight a mountain troll, but the shared experience of the ‘dog meat pie’, weird salsa lessons, Mrs Tozer (pronounced toes-ser didn’t you know) and the 20 crazy medics in our building during our first year in Leicester was clearly enough to make me recognise the amazingness of these three girls straight away.

So one afternoon probably just after our daily ritual of watching the lunchtime episodes of Neighbours and Doctors we were craving cake, but we had none in the house which in itself is crazy. Don’t believe me? We had a whole cupboard in our kitchen dedicated to snacks and it was always full of all the sweet stuff, so much so that the 6 guys living next door would always pounce on it when they nipped around for a cup of tea, because they new it had all the good stuff in it. Anyway, we had not cake in our goodies cupboard and no one wanted to go to the corner shop (literally 2 minutes away) or bake as that would just take too long. Luckily for all of us, the marvelous Nina decided to share her microwavable cake in a bowl recipe. Which took all of about 2 minutes to make – talk about a revelation! Plus I remember that when we turned it out of the bowl it even had syrup running down the sides, from the sugary goodness that we had placed in the bowl first. I think we only made this cake once, so I don’t have the recipe, mainly because we never let the cupboard of goodness get bare again. But this cake in a bowl has stuck in my mind ever since and I have always meant to get the recipe off of Nina.

Right that’s the history section over with. I know you’re probably all wondering why I waffled on about my uni years there, but it’s because I made a mug cake the other day and it reminded me of that time when the Hartopp Road girls made something very similar. So yes today I am sharing a recipe for a mug cake. I’ve seen these all over pinterest recently and then when I was flicking through the Sorted boys cookbook I saw a version from them. Actually having a physical copy of the recipe meant that I just had to make it. So on Sunday after a mammoth (11 mile) run I decided I needed a treat and went for it.

Here’s what you’ll need:

2 tbsp self raising flour
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp instant coffee powder
1 small egg
1 tbsp milk
1 tbsp sunflower oil
white chocolate buttons

And here’s what you do:

spoon all the dry ingredients in the mug
Crack in the egg and whisk to combine
Add the milk and oil and mix
Add the chocolate buttons
Cook in the microwave for 2 and a half minutes on full power
Leave to stand and then eat

And here’s what mine ended up looking like. Nom nom nom!  

Seriously this was so good that it disappeared into my tummy in less than 5 minutes!

Quickest and easiest cake ever. Go on give it a go. You know you want to. 

Lau xx

The post Mug Cakes was first posted on This Rambling Corner as Speedy Baking – Mug Cakes.

Avocado Brownies – sort of

So here’s the thing, I happen to have an obsession with brownies, an unhealthy obsession to them if I’m honest. Whenever I spot them in a cafe it’s almost impossible to not have one and I’ve baked so many different variations – let’s see there was the scrumptious plain chocolate onesraspberry and biscuit ones, some featuring butternut squash, ones with mint and then there were the Oreo ones and the marshmallow ones, basically anytime I see an interesting recipe for brownies I have to give them a whirl. This obsession is not always great because of course gooey, chocolate brownies are not altogether good for you now are they? Plus how can anyone have just one homemade brownie? It’s basically an impossibility, well for me anyway. If you can do, then yay to you. I would be jealous but you know I’m too busy eating my fourth brownie of the day!

Anyway recently I discovered a recipe on the wondrous Pinterest for brownies that were healthy and only 27 calories a pop! Amazing right? I mean imagine the guilt free brownie scoffing that could ensue at just 27 calories a brownie?!?! It’s my ultimate dream! What makes them healthy I hear you say? Well you replace the butter and sugar with other ingredients, namely yogurt, Stevia and avocado. Yes avocado – don’t worry you don’t get the flavour of the avocado it’s purely for texture. Let’s be honest that would be a bit weird wouldn’t it? Needless to say I had to make them straightaway (or at least once I found all the ingredients, Stevia is not that easy to find FYI). My only issue with these brownies? Well there not really brownies. They’re more cakey than that and quite solid – there’s none of the gooey middle you get (and want) in a brownie in these. Don’t get me wrong they are nice, once heated in the microwave and covered in custard, but they’re not really brownies – at least not in my book. You should definitely make them, but treat them like a healthy cake and you’ll be much happier!

So here’s the recipe, which of course you can find over on the awesome blog Undressed Skeleton, which is chocked full of awesome looking food!

1 avocado – 3 eggs – 1 cup wholemeal flour – 1/2 cup cocoa powder – 1/3 cup hot water – 1 tbsp vanilla extract – 6oz fat free vanilla yogurt – 5 packets of Stevia – 3 tbsp dark chocolate chips – 3 tbsp agave nectar

Beat the avocado, eggs and yogurt until there are no avocado lumps, next add the vanilla extract and Stevia and beat until fully combined.

In a different bowl combine the water and cocoa together to form a paste (I needed to add a bit more water to get the right consistency). Then add to the avocado mixture and mix well.

Finally add the flour and combine again before pouring into the pre-greased brownie tray

Sprinkle with chocolate chips and cook on 180 degrees for 20 minutes.

If you make them I’d love to hear your thoughts, I’m intrigued to know how you ate them and if you’d class them as a brownie or not…

– Fi xxx

Originally posted on The Adventures of Fi on 20th January 2014.

Cook Bake and Eat do Ready Steady Cook #4

Greetings fellow foodies and how are you this merry Wednesday? Can you believe that there’s just over a month until Christmas, how exciting is that – I’m not sure I can bear it. I’m almost buzzing with excitement and I can’t wait until it’s okay to wear my Christmas jumper in public, it’s still too soon right? Today’s post is the fourth instalment of this here Ready Steady Cook business, I bet you’re excited to see what we’ve been nibbling on aren’t you?! Well read on…


So as Lau mentioned in her last post, we’ve sort of changed the rules of the challenge, so now it’s five ingredients and not £5. As let’s be honest sometimes you want to treat yourself which you can’t always do for just £5. The ingredients Lau picked for me were a pack of sausages, lots of raspberries, brownie mix, sweet potatoes and digestive biscuits. As you can see from the ingredients, someone fancied brownies! As for what I made, I went for a classic autumn recipe with the sausages and made a toad in the hole, which was out-of-this-world in its deliciousness. It was so good that I now want it every single week, there’s just something about the crunchy top of the Yorkshire pudding and the squishy doughy inside – scrumptious pairing if you ask me.

The toad in the hole was a breeze to make, simply

  • cook the sausages for ten minutes in your dish (add some vegetable oil so they don’t stick)
  • Combine two eggs and 140g plain flour to form a smooth paste. Then add in 175ml of milk a bit at a time, stirring continuously.
  • Pour the batter mix over the sausages so that they are 2/3 covered
  • Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes
  • If you’re like me you’ll forget to take pictures of the finished article, whoops! It was just too good I couldn’t help it!

I served out toad in the hole with ketchup and sweet potato fries, see here for the recipe we used. An interesting combination I agree, but delicious nonetheless!

For pudding I created a new form of brownie: The raspberry, chocolate and biscuit brownie AKA brownie heaven! To make these wonderful creations you do the following:

  • Line your brownie pan and then spread the bottom with broken up digestive biscuits
  • Make up the brownie mix as per the instructions on the pack before adding in half of your raspberries – slowly stir to combine
  • Pour the mix over the biscuit base
  • Sprinkle the rest of the raspberries on top
  • Bake as per the brownie mix instructions

So there you have it, an amazingly delicious ready steady cook meal, what do you think, did I do good?

Now over to Lau for the scores, argh the pressure! Fi x

Hello, here are the scores on the doors –

Use of Ingredients – 10/10

Ingenuity – 10/10

Taste – 10/10

So full marks all round from me. Both of the dishes that Fi cooked were completely delicious, used all the ingredients well and had clever thinking so I couldn’t mark any other way!

Lau xx


Amazingly delicious gooey marshmallow brownies

In our October foody update I mentioned the fact that I’d recently made marshmallow brownies, so I thought it was high time I actually shared te recipe with you. You’re welcome!

The recipe is one I’d pinned to my Sweet Eats board twice, yes really twice, in the past and seemed like a logical recipe to try as after all I do seem to have a bit of an obsession with brownies. Don’t believe me? Check out my previous brownie posts, so far I’ve made: Oreo brownies, sweet potato brownies and (one of my faves the mint brownies. So of course these fantastically chocolatey Marsmallow Brownies seemed like a great recipe to attempt. As surely marshmallows (one of my favourite things) would make the perfect addition, when I think of the pairing of chocolate and marshmallow gooeyness, I can’t even form words. Just wow – talk about match made in heaven! Also don’t they just look divine?

As for the ingredients, this was another plus point as I have all the required ingredients in my cupboards already – they are staples after all. So limited preparations – perfect! The recipe suggests that you make them for Halloween, which is quite ingenious, but I honestly could not handle waiting until then, I needed to make these brownies asap!

So here’s the recipe:


1 – Mix together the flour, cocoa and sugar
2 – Beat the eggs together
3 – Melt the chocolate and butter together
4 – Stir all the ingredients together
5 – Fold in the marshmallows
6 – Pour into a lined tin (30cm squared)
7 – Bake on 190⁰C for twenty minutes until set on top but still gooey in the middle

So easy right? And can I just say, totally delicious, full of gooeyness and crunch as well as caramelised bites of marshmallow. Divine.

I should flag that I baked these brownies for twenty minutes at the temperature specified and the top burnt whilst the middle was a tad (okay a lot) too squishy. So definitely cook these for longer and on a lower temperature if you’re not prepared to dig in with a spoon!

So what do you think do you fancy giving these a whirl? And any other brownie flavours I just have to try?

– Fi xx

This post was adapted from Pinterest Corner #32 – Marshmallow Brownies, a post originally posted on Fi’s Daily Ponderings.

Chocolate Tea Loaf

I spotted this recipe yonks ago on the BBC good food website here and have been itching to make it ever since for a couple of reasons; one it’s a chocolate cake and it looks super easy. And two it’s a loaf cake and I have never made a loaf cake – don’t ask me why, but it just has never happened!

Anyway I got the chance to make this a few days ago when I found out that it was a work friends birthday and therefore cake was needed. Cue me offering to make this chocolate tea loaf in time for Friday. I followed the recipe exactly so I’m not going to type it all out again. Just use the link above if you do want to bake it yourself. What I will say though is that this loaf is so moist it’s unbelievable. Plus you get slight goey bits where the chocolate chips are. Next time I make this I’m tempted to add in a few white chocolate chips too. Just for a bit of extra colour.


All my taste testers loved the cake, it was the perfect thing for a Friday afternoon pick me up. Another excellent point to make is that loaf cakes are so easy to transport. I just wrapped it up in the baking parchment and away we skipped to work. Easy as pie (even if it is a cake!).

Lau xxx

Ready Steady Cook #2

Massive apologies one and all as it’s taken me FOREVER to actually write up this post about part two of our Ready Steady Cook challenge. I’m not sure what’s taken me so long apart from life generally getting in the way, so sorry about that and let’s get back to the business of a cooking challenge! As you might remember it was Lau’s turn to choose the mystery ingredients for me to cook with, and she presented me with the following: Scottish mackerel fillet (£2.00), milk chocolate (30p), a potato (98p), basic digestives (31p), Spinach (50p) and a pot of double cream (85p). In total my six ingredients came to £5.04, so only marginally over budget and actually if you remove the cost of the squares of chocolate and numerous digestives that I ate during the cooking process then we’re probably under budget! 20130922-162959.jpg

I was ever so slightly concerned when presented with my ingredients, not the sweet ones as I knew straight off what I’d make with those, but with the mackerel. Confession time: I’ve never cooked with mackerel before and I’ve only ever eaten it in pate form so I wasn’t sure where to start! I automatically thought pie but I didn’t know what kind really, but thankfully my good friend, the Good Food website, came to my rescue as I found this recipe for a mackerel pie which contained all of my ingredients. Perfect you say? I followed the recipe almost exactly:

  • Boil the potatoes until they are almost ready to eat
  • Cut them into chunks and lay half of them on the bottom of the two dishes
  • Remove the bones and skin from the fish and throw the flesh on top of the potato layer
  • Add the remainig potatoes to the top
  • Pour over the cream
  • Cover the dishes with foil and bake on 190°C for half an hour
  • Remove the foil and bake for another 25 minutes until brown (or you’ve lost all patience!)
  • EAT with a side salad of spinach leaves

This mackerel pie was absolutely scrumptious and I can highly recommend it for the upcoming cooler evenings. As for the pudding side of things, I went for a simple rocky road recipe as with biscuits and chocolate it was begging to be done! Thankfully we have a massive collection of nuts and dried fruit in the cupboard so I had lots of options to add to the ingredients Lau gave me. For the Rocky Road I simply:

  • Melted the chocolate in the microwave
  • Mixed together the broken up digestives, raisins, sultanas, flaked almonds, hazelnuts and cashews in a separate bowl
  • Combined the two
  • Pressed the mixture into a lined tray
  • Cooled it all in the fridge for two hours before cutting them into large squares

This is possibly my favourite pudding idea, as it’s just so so simple and tastes divine. Also you don’t really need a lot to make it scrumptious! So there we have it my two yummy dishes: Mackerel and potato creamy pie and rocky road – yummy! Now we just need to know what Lau thought of my endeavors. So Lau, over to you…

Use of ingredients: 10/10 – I felt a bit mean with these ingredients, but Fi used them so well that she really does deserve top marks. 

Ingenuity: 7/10 – the fact that Fi picked something completely new deserves high marks, but the rocky road appears quite a lot in the flat so I think a seven is fair here. 

Taste: 10/10 – Totally delicious and the fish dish is one of my new favourites.

– Fi and Lau xx