Classic Miniature Victoria Sponge Cakes

I’ve always been a massive fan of baking and you can’t beat a classic victoria sponge cake. It’s a perfect addition to a cup of tea whilst sat in the garden basking under the summer sun. These miniature victoria sponges are a lovely alternative to the usual cupcake and are so easy to make. My best friend introduced me to this vanilla sponge cake recipe and for that I will be eternally grateful. This recipe turns out perfectly golden and deliciously flavourful cake, which stays moist for days! I brought these cakes along whilst visiting a friend and he impressively ate five in one day! Happy baking!

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Ingredients

110g softened butter or margarine
110g caster sugar (or xylitol for a sugar free version)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
110g sifted self raising flour
1-2 tbsp milk

The filling:

140g softened butter
280g sifted icing sugar
2 tbsp milk
a few spoonfuls of strawberry or raspberry jam

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a mini sandwich tin with butter. Here is the link to the one that I used: http://www.lakeland.co.uk/15170/My-Kitchen-12-Cup-Mini-Sandwich-Tin.

Mix the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs a little at a time and add in the vanilla extract.

Fold in the flour. Then little by little, pour in the milk until the mixture is of a dropping consistency. Spoon the mixture evenly into the tin until they are half full.

Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until golden-brown on top and a knife or skewer inserted into one of the cakes comes out clean. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the tin and cool on a wire rack.

For the buttercream filling, beat the butter in a large bowl until fluffy and soft. Add around half of the icing sugar and beat until smooth.

Then fold in the remaining icing sugar alongside one tablespoon of the milk, adding more milk if necessary, until the mix is silky and creamy.

Once the cakes have cooled, cut them carefully in half using a bread knife.

Spoon the icing into a piping bag and pipe the icing using a spiralling motion onto one half of the cakes. Spread the jam on the other half and then gently push both halves together. Dust with icing sugar and they’re ready to go!

Serve them on pretty vintage china plates with a lovely pot of English tea!

Glazed, Sugar free Sticky Ribs!

One of my favourite side dishes to order from the Chinese takeaway is sticky, capital spare ribs. They’re oh so delicious but oh so bad for you! A standard recipe for them would ask for roughly a bucket of sugar and just the thought of eating them would make you put on around a stone! However, we all need a treat every now and again, and I’ve found a way to cut the sugar without losing out on flavour. This is my tried and tested recipe (my husband made me make them two nights in a row he loved them so much!). They take a bit of time to make but once you’ve tried them you’ll never have to reach for that takeaway menu again!

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Ingredients

900g pork spare ribs
2 tbsp malt vinegar
2 tbsp sesame oil
90ml rice or wine vinegar
4 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tsp of ground ginger
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
grated zest of one lime
4 tbsp Xylitol
1/2 tsp of Chinese five spice powder

Method

Wash and dry the ribs and place them in a large pan. Cover them with cold water along with the malt vinegar. Bring the water to a boil, then simmer for around 20 minutes.
Whilst the ribs are simmering, put the rest of the ingredients into a small pan and bring to the boil. Simmer the mixture until it has reduced and thickened slightly.
Drain the water from the ribs and place them in a roasting dish. Pour over the thickened sauce and coat the ribs evenly.
Cover the roasting dish with foil and roast at 220 degrees celsius for about 30 minutes.
Once that time is up, take away the foil and return to the oven for another 30 minutes.

I like to serve these with sweet potato fries, homemade coleslaw and a big fresh salad. But most importantly, remember the napkins!!

Sugar Free Homemade Fajita Seasoning Mix

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As is the same for the majority of the population, I’m feeling the need for a bit of a health kick after the indulgences of Christmas, so I have been attempting to cut sugar and processed food from my diet as much as possible! One of the culprits of ‘hidden sugar’ is the Old El Paso Fajita Seasoning mix. This mix has a rich smoky flavour, which is hard to find in many homemade fajita mix recipes, but I think I may have cracked the recipe! I have substituted sugar with xylitol, a natural sweetener, which is really good for your teeth and doesn’t raise your blood sugar so is perfect for diabetics!

So here it is, my sugar free version of the Old El Paso classic:

Ingredients

2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp xylitol
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dried onion powder
1 tsp dried garlic powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper powder

Method

Mix together the ingredients and store in an airtight jar. This recipe makes about 5 tablespoons of spice mix. I like to use 2 tablespoons when I’m frying chicken and vegetables for two people as I like it quite spicy, but you can use as much or as little as you like!

All you need to do is, fry strips of chicken with some sliced onions and peppers until cooked through, then add 2 tablespoons of spice mix and stir-fry. You can add a bit of water if the mix starts to stick to the pan! I like to serve this in flour tortillas with a few spoonfuls of guacamole, sour cream and salsa, with a sprinkle of mature cheddar thrown in! Unprocessed, sugar-free and seriously yummy!