Love Da Popcorn Competition

Love Da Popcorn - Level 4 - Bathing in popcorn

I thought I’d give a quick mention about this Love Da Popcorn / Yourvine challenge for all you food and competition lovers out there!
Love Da Popcorn was first featured on Dragon’s Den and when Peter Jones said ‘I’m in’ things got interesting! The collaboration resulted in a new fun range of flavoured popcorn including sea salt & black pepper, sea salt & balsamic vinegar, white chocolate, caramel & toffee, sweet chilli & lime and sweet honey & sea salt (available in Waitrose around the country).
To be in with a chance to win some tasty popcorn, sign up over at Yourvine using this link: and take part in one (or all!) of the popcorn challenges.
Here are the challenges:

Level 1 – It takes one to know one

Challenge: It’s time to unveil our magical poster generating machine… Step inside popcorn lovers and make a poster about yourself.

Reward: A large bag of Love Da Popcorn


Level 2 – And they lived happily ever after

Challenge: We’re full of stories, but now it’s your turn. Here you get to tell us a story about a funny failure from your past.

Reward: Break a Guinness World Record and try new flavours before anyone else


Level 3 – Love Da Popcorn Basketball

Challenge: Play a game of popcorn basketball with your mouth as the net.

Reward: Get 5 bags of limited edition white chocolate popcorn and an original signed Love Da Popcorn poster


Level 4 – On a mission

Challenge: We’re on a mission to supply the whole damn world with popcorn. But in the meantime, there are a few people we really want to see with a bag of Love Da Popcorn, and you can help make it happen….

Reward: A year’s supply of Love Da Popcorn

Also you can see some of the amazing entries that have already been submitted for Popcorn Basketball here –
All fun ways to win some free tasty popcorn. Let me know if you take part and what tasty flavours you would like to try!


Business Relationship

Jubilee Jubilations

Jubilee celebration cupcakes from

I couldn’t let this weekend go by without mentioning the Jubilee! Not only is it a fantastic way to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II reign for 60 years but it’s also a big excuse to get all patriotic and adorn our streets, our food and even ourselves in red, white and blue! Also below is the recipe for the new Elizabeth Sponge, a rich chocolate sponge cake with peppermint frosting and diamonds!*
(*Not real diamonds – glacier mints disguised as them!)
Jubilee fashion
jubilee baking products

Elizabeth Sponge Recipe

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Baking temperature and time (using Neff’s CircoTherm®): 160C for 25-28 minutes
Baking temperature and time with any other oven: conventional 180C gas mark 5
Serves: 8-10
Chocolate sponge:
200g Caster sugar
200g Butter softened
4 Eggs – lightly beaten
250g Self raising flour
1 tsp Baking powder
4 tbsp Cocoa dissolved in 4 tbsp hot water
1 tbsp Maple syrup
Dark chocolate peppermint cream filling
55-65g Peppermint matchmakers
55g 85% Dark cocoa solids
100ml Double cream
15g Butter
1 Egg white whisked until stiff
200g Plain Belgian chocolate
175ml Double cream
30g Butter – soft
6-8 Glacier mints – crushed roughly
Sponge method:
– Lightly oil 2 x 23cm (9”) sandwich tins and line the bases with circles of baking parchment
– Cream butter and sugar until light and Fluffy, add eggs a little at a time
– In a separate bowl sift together the flour and baking powder then fold in to the butter, sugar and egg mixture
– Stir in dissolved Cocoa and maple syrup and mix thoroughly
– Divide mixture between the two sandwich tins
– Place tins in the centre of a pre-heated oven and bake for approximately 25 minutes.
– Sponge is baked through when well risen and firm to touch. Allow to cool in the tins for 10 minutes then carefully turn out on to wire racks, remove baking parchment and allow to cool thoroughly
Peppermint cream filling method:
– In a saucepan over a low heat, warm the cream and gently melt chocolate and Matchmakers into the warm cream
– Once melted together remove from heat and beat in the butter
– Fold in whisked egg white then leave to cool and set
Ganache method:
– In a pan over a low heat, melt chocolate into the cream, remove from heat
– Beat butter into the mixture until it’s thick and glossy. Set aside and allow to cool
Construct the perfect Elizabeth sponge:
– Spread peppermint cream filling on to one cooled sponge then sandwich the second sponge cake on top
– Use the Ganache mixture to spread across top and down the sides of the cake
– Refrigerate for 2-3 hours before serving
– Sprinkle the top with crushed Glace Mints for a diamond like sparkle
Cooks tip:
For additional texture, break 4-6 matchmakers into small pieces and scatter over peppermint cream before assembling the cake
How delicious does that cake sound? I’d be tempted to add matchmakers but know I will eat them before they make it onto the cake! Whatever you’re doing over the bank holiday weekend, have a lovely time and if you’re baking I’d love to hear about what you’re making.
P.S. Cupcakes featured are from my new cakes and bakes website and start from £1.50 each.


Business Relationship

*Sponsored Post* Healthy Eating Campaign

Mango Chicken salad

After recently setting up my cupcake business it’s very hard to keep to a healthy eating regime without giving into temptation, especially when there are so many baked goodies to trial and test. And I mean who doesn’t like the smell of freshly baked cakes?!
If you’re a regular reader you will know that I have struggled with my weight and always seem to be one of those people trying to lose that last 10lbs, and coupled with having crohn’s disease it means that food that was once a friend has become a right pain in the ass!
So bombarded with media images, advertising and too much information about about nutrition (eat 5-a-day, don’t eat red meat, this yoghurt will make your life better etc etc) I decided to bite the bullet and get some proper advice about healthy eating and losing weight.
Firstly I sought help by trying to get to the root of my eating issues and I’m working through a book which helps identify eating problems and why weight has always been a problem for me. Then I joined a slimming club which I am following to the letter (one which advocates lots of ‘free foods’ and healthy low fat foods which fill you up and I am re-learning how to eat properly and losing weight. I also recently met celebrity chef Dale Pinnock, ‘The Medicinal Chef’ who gave me some great nutritional advice for crohn’s disease including foods I should be eating more of and those to avoid. (Plus he made an amazing pate of artichoke, garlic, green olives and anchovies – thought I would hate it but it was incredibly good!)
For the first time in years I feel like I have the willpower and knowledge to make better food choices and create a healthy lifestyle without feeling deprived of foods.
However, I know that having a low calorie diet doesn’t always mean a healthy diet. Take a look at my Top ten low calorie snacks for example, they might be great for the odd treat but actually the nutritional value of a lot of them isn’t that high and in fact, even the fruit smoothie I suggested could be having a detrimental effect because although it may be low calorie, filling and full of vitamins, it can really effect the health of your teeth.
I’ve had two fillings this year :( and I can guarantee my love for smoothies and fruit juice is the one thing that has caused wear on my teeth because for years I have had one or two a day because they are easy to digest, so even now those I have to have in moderation.
Now I’m a bit more clued up some of my favourite healthy eating foods now are:
– Chopped fruit with fat free yoghurt
– Oats mixed with yoghurt, left overnight and next morning stir in chopped fruit
– Roasted sweet potato skins dipped in extra light mayonnaise mixed with chopped herbs
– Ryvita topped with mashed banana
– Salad (yup seriously, M&S do an amazing salad bowl but any salad where you literally chuck everything in!)
– Potato salad made with new potatoes, boiled egg, salad onions, lean bacon, chives and fat free yoghurt or creme fraiche
– Coleslaw made in the same way as above but with grated carrots, apple and red cabbage
– Thai salmon fishcakes, healthy (home) baked potato wedges and chilli sauce
If anything I have learnt the following principals which are common sense but sometimes we need a little reminder!
– Everything in moderation
– Don’t deny foods you really want (incase you end up bingeing or creating unhealthy thoughts about food or even an eating disorder)
– Move more! Do more exercise and make more effort to do things
– Understand the difference between good and bad fats – avoid sunflower oils and swap for oily fish or olive oil
– Don’t underestimate how many calories are in food – and use a daily guideline – 2000 a day for women
– Remember everything that goes into your body effects EVERY part of your body from your teeth and oral health to your skin, nails, hair and not to mention health of your internal organs
– Have fun with food and don’t get hung up on strict or faddy diets

What are your favourite healthy eating recipes?