April Cupcake Crumbs: With a gift for you and me from the Fairy Hobmother

I have several reasons to be cheerful and will share some in this round up of nearly two months’ worth of Maison Cupcake Crumbs.

To celebrate, what better time to wave the magic wand of the Fairy Hobmother from Appliances Online?

This blogosphere tooth fairy visits blogs in the night and delivers gadgets just for the hell of being nice – at least when not busy selling cookers and other white goods.

After I left a comment on Fuss Free Flavours, the Fairy Hobmother sent the magic my way in the shape of this Zanussi dishwasher. My husband, who washes the dishes in our house, is feeling redundant now but that’s my revenge for him buying a sat nav. He knows how it feels now.

To invite a wave of the Fairy Hobmother’s magic wand over you, leave a comment at the bottom of this post saying which item from their site you’d most like to receive. One lucky reader will hear back soon…

In other news… Channel 4 Food Best Baking Blogs

Alongside a few other folks, I’ve been named as one of Channel 4 Food’s Best Baking Blogs. Click through here to see what lovely things they said about me and the other sites too.

 

Next I have two new link ups with kitchenware brands to tell you about:

 

I’m a Morphy Richards’ Innovator!

The Morphy Richards’ Innovator scheme will see me roadtesting and reviewing a series of Morphy Richards gadgets.

The first one will be the long promised bread maker review – hurrah! I finally made some proper bread!

 

 

 

…and I’m trying products out for Lakeland!

Lakeland are one of my favourite high street and mail order brands so I was delighted to be asked to try some of their products out.

I will get to try out whizzy new gadgets from Lakeland and tell you what I think of them.

My first two bits of Lakeland kit were very handy for breakfast. Green silicone egg poaching pods (above) can help you get perfect poached eggs every time.

It’s a huge improvement on my usual messy efforts. However, I recommend smearing them with oil for soft eggs. Firm poached eggs can be turned out fine without oil.

I was initially sceptical about the need for a stain proof microwave saucepan but am now positively evangelical about its usefulness.

It’s brilliant for cooking a few broccoli florets or peas without fiddling with cling film. The handle stays cool and you can drain liquid off easily. If they wanted it back, I’d miss it terribly.

Real British dry cure bacon

Also shown above is some “Real British Bacon” and some limited edition Heinz Tomato Ketchup with Balsamic Vinegar. The bacon arrived to coincide with the Great British Food Revival series on BBC2 which I previewed back in February.

“Real” bacon is dry cured using a mix of salt and sugar and then hung for a period of up to 20 days as opposed to the cheaper Danish method using intensive processing and curing with injected saline (hence the white scum that comes out of it). Noticeably better quality than cheap bacon, it shrank less and left little mess in the grill pan.

You can join the I Love Real Bacon campaign on Facebook.

Meanwhile, Heinz have made 1 million and 57 bottles of their special edition Tomato Ketchup with Balsamic Vinegar (also above). If you hurry to the shops, you should find it right now, otherwise the Heinz Ketchup Facebook page is giving away 3,000 bottles to fans who cannot find it elsewhere.

 

Posh brownies with er… Hellman’s mayonnaise

Hellman’s Mayonnaise hosted an evening for people to sample various recipes including these “Posh brownies”. Truth be told, whereas other dishes on the night were tasty, the brownies were a dusty dry let down.

Happily, I hear two friends enjoyed better results at home; Ren at Fabulicious Food and Anne at I Heart Cupcakes (who turned them into brownie pops).

 

 

New Total split pot Greek yogurts

More virtuously, I received nearly a fridge full of split pots from Total yogurt.

These 0% fat Greek yogurt split pots come in tropical fruit, strawberry, blueberry and honey varieties. They’re all wonderfully fruity, way better than the obvious competing brand, but my personal favourite was the honey one.

They supposedly retail at an outrageous £1.70 although are being more reasonably priced on promotion for around £1.09. So look out for them on offer.

PRICE UPDATE: I’ve just been told £1.09 is the usual price and the promotion price may be around 79p.

 

 

Healthy popcorn – a gluten free snack

As if not suffering enough in March, I endured near death by press release for Diva air popped popcorn.

Finally I succumbed and discovered a gluten free, high fibre, low fat alternative to a bag of crisps that doesn’t vanish in a flash like other diet “treats”.

At under 100 calories per bag no wonder they’re shouting about them. I loved sea salt and balsamic vinegar but was less keen on too sweet chipotle chilli.

Stockists include Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Dobbies Garden Centres (whoever they are… someone please fill me in) and Wholefoods aswell as various independent cafes and high street health chains.

I’m surprised none of the big supermarkets are selling this stuff yet. Grab a bag if you find them.

Moon Dough Pizza Set

Since reaching the top end of the Tots 100, I get sent a lot of parenting related stuff, at least 80% of which is irrelevant but occasionally I spot something fun for Ted that I can slip in as food related.

You wouldn’t want to eat Moon Dough by mistake, it has a similar feel to polystyrene only soft and smells very peculiar. Talking about Moon Dough without comparing with Play Doh is impossible. Play Doh is attractively coloured, therapeutic to squeeze and smells appealingly nostalgic. Moon Dough smells of toilet cleaner, comes in washed out colours nowhere near resembling the things it’s meant to be and has a texture that set my teeth on edge. Kneading it is kind of like manipulating bad crumbly pastry you accidentally made with talcum powder.

Ted was suitably excited on opening the parcel and has played with it repeatedly. Which is what counts.

On the plus side, the crank handled moulding machine for shaping pretend broccoli, tomatoes and mushrooms is fun to use (for me I mean, Ted finds it a bit difficult to turn), it leaves no residue behind (bits yes, but not grease) and these puffy bits are easier to gather together and put away than the evil twin Moon Sand.

No… it’s not bubble bath

I should swot up on my history really, I had a quaint email from the East India Company vaunting their charter from Queen Elizabeth (the first, not the current one) in 1600.

This snippet was little more meaningful than Lord Sugar’s Loughton HQ being in the Domesday Book (it isn’t… is it?).

However I accepted their offer to try a bottle of Lavender cordial. The kind of bottle you’d get in Crabtree & Evelyn arrived by mail. I’ve had a sniff but cannot bring myself to drink it as a drink. I’m intending to experiment with some lavender jellies and syrups but life being as it has been lately, not got around it yet. Watch this space.

 

 

It’s better than sex… oops I mean Baileys

But let’s move to something I can drink quite happily in abundance. Thornton’s have been given a bit of stick by Mary Queen of Shops lately but possibly her view of their shops might have been improved if she’d been handed a tumbler of their heavenly chocolate liqueur at the door.

I was invited to a product launch for Thornton’s Chocolate Liqueur but couldn’t go yet to my surprise a bottle had been left with my neighbours whilst I was in Paris. My Bailey’s Chocolate Cupcakes are one of my most popular recipes on here so seeing what else I can do with cream liqueur is very tempting.

“Pour down throat whilst reclined on chaise longue” comes high on the list.

This stuff tastes so darned good, it’s like Baileys only chocolate flavoured, so I doubt I’ll be able to hold onto it long enough to cook with it.

 

 

 

 

Phew. No wonder I’ve been busy.

Still awake?

Don’t forget to comment below which gift you’d most like to receive from the Fairy Hobmother…

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Sarah Trivuncic

Sarah Trivuncic is one of the UK's leading food bloggers. She is the author of Bake Me I'm Yours... Sweet Bitesize Bakes and has been the voice behind Maison Cupcake since 2009. You can also connect with her on Google+

51 comments

  1. My mayo brownies came out really great not dry at all. I made iced tea with a lavendar simple syrup and it was really nice when it was so hot out (if you like the taste of lavendar) a little goes a long way (ie very strong tasting stuff lavendar)!

    • Those both sound very good. I will try my lavender cordial with ice too.

  2. My washer dryer packed up yesterday and I am bereft without it, so I would dealy love it if the Fairy Hobmother were to bless me with a LG F1403RD6 Washer Dryer

  3. Your Lakeland Ambassador status is very exciting!! They are without a doubt my favourite company ever – their returns policy is second to none (even a year or so later) and I’ve had to speak to their Customer Service department on a few occasions and it’s always been a pleasure. Lucky you!!

    Also glad to hear of the campaign for real bacon – it’s my favourite food group ;)

    I was reading over on http://katescakesandbakes.blogspot.com/ about her Magimix and I was overcome with jealousy so should Ken…. I mean The Fairy Hobmother read this, that would be my wish ;)

    Congratulations on your dishwasher – you’ll be blessed with many years of happy marriage now! Along with a sat nav, I’m convinced it’s saved my marriage.

  4. My gosh what a mammoth round-up! Great job. Thank you for the brownie mention :-) I didn’t get on with moon dough when I got some for my boy, it didn’t seem to stick together very well and was quite messy. Thorntons chocolate liqueur…now we’re talking! LOVELY news about your mention on the Channel 4 site too, there were a couple of new blogs I discovered through that.

    Now, can the Fairy Hobmother furnish me with a new mains water pipe as we have sprung a huge leak and now I have no water or any working applicances needing water. If not, then once I do have water I would positively LOVE a dishwasher too, as we don’t have one and with all my baking and blogging I desperately need one!

    • It was good to hear that you and Anne Cupcake had success with those brownies so now I know the recipe does work. Goodness knows how they dried up so many of them on the night…!

  5. Hello – love your blog and well done for the C4 recommendation.
    Just having the kitchen re done (which so far has taken about about 3 months!) and it’s getting really expensive. It’s a small kichen and I thought it would come in quite cheaply – but it hasn’t. Therefore, trying to be thrifty we decided the old washing machine would have to stay. Three weeks ago it packed in and we”ve been traipsing to the laundarette ever since.
    Therefore ANY washing machine from Appliances online would be nice. But the Hotpoint WMV7601 would do the job!

    • Oh no, I remember the days of an old fridge frosting up big style so you couldn’t shut the door. Nightmare!

  6. Fabulous round up and I am jealous about your Lakeland Ambassador status!! Although not as much as I am about the dishwasher – have been looking to get a little dishwasher for some time – my kitchens too small for a huge one but could really do with one, especially at the moment when testing baking recipes!
    Cheers for the link to my brownies – mine came out really moist – have made them about three times now – maybe Hellmans should’ve got some bloggers in to bake for them ;)
    I reckon Manny would love that Thorntons Liqueur so may have to get some to bake some cupcakes for him with it!

    • The liqueur is wonderful and I can’t wait to try more Lakeland gizmos. You’ll have about it all here!

  7. well, after scouring their website, i’d have to go for a new free standing cooker, the Leisure CMTE95K Electric Range Cooker would fit perfectly in my new kitchen which we’re having re-built as we speak! and i’ve always lusted after something like this… I know it’s a LOT to ask but my kitchen is my world and I’d use it all the time and love it for ever!

    • Oh you are lucky having kitchen redone. Does this mean you’ll put a picture of the new kitchen on your blog header?

  8. I am fed up with my electric hob having a mind of its own. Being all electric with no gas in sight I think the only thing that would save me is one of those ever so posh and clever induction hobs. My antiquated ceramic hob currently likes to play ‘guess the quickest’ and ‘lets heat up the whole work top’. Not the safest or yummy food inducing.

  9. i wish i wish I WISH!!! the fairy hobmother would wave her magic wand and magic me up a Indesit PWDE8148S Free Standing Washer/Dryer as my washing machine has died on me leaving me feeling very much like cinderella hand washing all the laundry or lugging heavy bags down to the launderette. please grant my wish fairy hobmother!! i have been a very good little girl!! and i do believe in fairies… i do i do i do…..

  10. Oh, a 5 ring hob would make my day, week, month and year! I wanted one when we had a new kitchen (at last!) but ran out of funds for the hob I really wanted…

    • Oh I dream of a new kitchen… they really cut corners renovating my house and the oven is the titchiest cheapest one ever.

  11. Well done on the deserved listing by C4. It looks like you are back into the swing of things and I hope the little one is feeling better.

  12. Well done on the4 C4 listing. I too am a Morphy Richards Ambassadore and would love to be one for lakeland! We hate moondough and moon snad with a vengenace in this house.

  13. Well done on all your news – sounds like you’ve been having a fun couple of months!

    I’d love for the fairy hobmother to wave her magic wand and grant my wish of a free standing oven! At the moment my kitchen is without any oven or hob at all as we’re saving to buy one for our new house. As creative as I try and be with microwave cooking there is only so much I can seem to make. A new free standing oven would truly make me very very happy at the moment and would would make my boyfriend a very happy man indeed! Finally I’d be able to cook him a proper home cooked meal to thank him for all his hard work decorating our first house together! I particularly like this one http://www.appliancesonline.co.uk/product/HUG61X-Hotpoint-Gas-Cooker-Stainless-Steel-21661.aspx but would honestly be over the moon with anything that isn’t a microwave!

  14. Oh, I really am so jealous of your Lakeland link… I loved Lakeland when we lived in England, and they made my life when they opened up in Liverpool One.

    How lucky are you to have ben visited by the Fairy Hobmother! I love that dishwasher, and my first purchase when I get a job is going to be a dishwasher, I currently have a 20 year old Maytag that came with the house :-)

    But if course, if the Fairy Hobmother deigned to visit me, I would ask her for a small free standing fridge… don’t care which brand, I never have enough space in my fridge. Somehow I don’t think she delivers to Canada though :-(

  15. Oooh I don’t know whether I’m more jealous of your dishwasher or your Lakeland news ;-)

    I’d love a new dishwasher if the fairy hobmother would like to come to visit me x

  16. I’ve seen the recipe for those mayonnaise brownies in ads in various magazines, and they terrify me. I just can’t imagine that something that contains chocolate/cocoa AND mayo could possibly be nice. Perhaps I should give them a go… but I know I’m too chicken.

    I would LOVE a little chest freezer, if the fairy hobmother is reading, to help me out with a bit of batch cooking so I can spend less time in the kitchen and more time on the allotment :)

  17. A Lakeland Ambassador? That is so awesome- I’d definately choose being a Lakeland Ambassador over say, British Ambassador for a small South American country, no matter how many Ferrero Rocher I’d be promised. I love that shop! Whenever I visit my siblings in Cardiff Lakeland is Number One on the list of things to do. And Number Two. And Three. Etc etc.

    The Fairy HobMother would make my boyfriends (the longsuffering Chief Cake Taster that he is: I think I may have heard him shout out ‘NO, please no more sugar!’ in his sleep last night) dream come true if a wine fridge magically appeared in the middle of the night. I’ve been saving up for ages for one for him! But thats a bit of a cheeky wish.

    And many, many congratulations on the Channel 4 mention! That’s brilliant!

  18. Goodness you have been busy! Congrats on having your wish come true. How exciting to be a Lakeland Ambassador, I’m so jealous – eeeeh I used to buy stuff off them in the early 80s when they sold at Agricultural shows! Love that Total Yogurt, I was lucky enough to get some to try too, it is gorgeous.

  19. That Lakeland Ambassador thing sounds brilliant!

    I would love an upright freezer. Our chest freezer is _killing_ my back! Or minions. I’d like some kitchen minions too :)

  20. What a great roundup and so pleased the Fairy Hobmother paid you a visit and made hubby redundant. She has been a very busy fairy recently!

    I can appreciate the need for a dishwasher as my hubby doesn’t seem to know where the sink is and consequently our overworked ancient dishwasher has “funny fives” every few days and I’m sure it’ll be going to appliance heaven very soon.

  21. In my absolute wildest kitchen dreams, I would LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE a Kitchenaid Stand Mixer in one of the wonderful colours! Though on second thoughts, I don’t know if I’d ever be able to bring myself to use it – unless staring lovingly at it counts? :D

  22. A slow cooker! But nobody sends anything to Holland :( Thought I’d try! You never know the Fairy Hobmother might fancy a flight over Windmill fields

  23. Wow, loads of good things happening. Ambassador, Great baking blog – well done. Hard work does pay off…..Have fun. Don’t think they’ll ship to the Netherlands. Sigh

  24. Wow! How did I miss this post until now! I guess I’ve just been baking and blogging too much that I missed it! Congrats on being a Lakeland Ambassador – very jealous! Looks like so many amazing things are happening for you and your blog – just wish some of your luck would rub off on me! I’ve been following this mysterious Fairy Hobmother around for sometime now, and I have to say that it’s probably a bit of an obvious choice for me to want this – but really – how could I not want the Pink Retro Smeg Fridge! (FAB30QRO Fridge). I’ve always wanted this fridge, ever since the day I saw it. I hope people don’t think I’m just wishing for it because it’s so expensive, but I really have always wanted it to go with the rest of my pink kitchen appliances, but there’s no way I’d be able to afford it with our first little one on the way. ** Keeping my fingers crossed **

  25. fantastic giveaway! after dribbling at the screen for an hour picking my favourite appliance, I have finally settled on the lovely smeg dishwasher that would replace the one i have which is coughing and spluttering at the moment and apathetic about actually doing any cleaning! I keep trying to save up for a new one, but shiny kitchen gadgets keep enticing me …

  26. Both myself and my hubbie work full time, we both absolutely love our food, and I love cooking, so I would so love to win a Whirlpool AFG6516-B Free Standing Chest Freezer to keep in my cellar, so I can make ahead and freeze meals for us to enjoy when we come in from work.

  27. Congrats on being among Ch 4’s best baking blog – well deserved Sarah!
    Did Lakeland change their mind about working with bloggers then? Well obviously they did, and I’m so glad!

    • Yes it appears they have! I know they weren’t doing it at all before…

  28. [...] little while ago I posted a comment on Maison Cupcake’s lovely blog in response to one of her excellent round-up posts and her mention of a visit from [...]

  29. I completely adore your blog name!
    Congratulations on your Fairy Hobmother visit! My dishwasher sadly are either my own two hands or my longtime boyfriend (that is, if I can get him to do it at all!) so I envy your new handy gadget! Enjoy your lovely gift!

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