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Getting Ready For Halloween!

Once the children go back to school after the summer holidays, my mind turns back to business. Part of running your own store involves thinking a season or two ahead. Now often, I can’t think a day or two ahead but I’ve learnt from experience that if I don’t get in there quick, the new product ranges are all sold out.

So the beginning of September means I have to be thinking of Halloween (and I’m afraid to say, Christmas, shortly thereafter!). This week, I had great fun looking through the Wilton 2009 yearbook and ordering new items in for our Halloween range.

Cupcake cases are always popular and I’m sure these new Halloween ones will be no exception.

Autumn Leaves Mini Muffin Cases

Autumn Leaves Mini Muffin Cases

 Sometimes the best things happen by mistake! Trying to read my hurried scrawl, I typed in the wrong reference number when I ordered from the supplier. Instead of the anticipated Christmas cake cases, these turned up and they’re  rather lovely…..just the thing for this autumnal weather. They fit perfectly in our 24ct mini muffin pans.

Spooky Ghost Cake Cases

Spooky Ghost Cake Cases


 Spooky ghost cupcake cases are available in standard (5cm base diameter) and mini cupcake (2.5cm base) sizes. Best sellers last Halloween, they’ve continued to sell throughout the entire year. So, a ghost’s not just for Halloween…….

Scary Cupcake Cases

Scary Cupcake Cases

These “Boo Scary” cupcake cases are a welcome addition to our Halloween range. Made by Wilton, they are available in standard size and come in packs of 75. These make a fantastic match with our new orange and black sparkling sugars also from Wilton.



I think of all the goodies we sell in our seasonal ranges, this gingerbread Haunted House has to be my favourite. It’s prebaked which means less hassle for the adults and comes with everything the kids need to make the perfect haunted house.

Prebaked Gingerbread Haunted House
Prebaked Gingerbread Haunted House

My youngest daughter doesn’t like carving pumpkins but thoroughly loved making one of these last year. In fact, Halloween fell in the middle of half-term week in Swansea so it was a great activity for passing the time, especially on the rainier days. Annabel took the completed article over to a neighbours and it took pride of place as acenterpiece for the Halloween party. 




September 5, 2008 at 10:05 am Leave a comment

Ice Cream For Rainy Days

OK, the summer holidays are nearly over and with the dreadful weather across most of the UK, I suspect many parents and kids will be pleased when they’re back to school. Afterall, there are only so many places you can visit when it rains day after day. But of course, you can always head into the kitchen to pass some time….. try out these great ice cream recipes.

(this is great for ages 3-6)
3 large unwaxed lemons
175g icing sugar
200ml double cream
250ml Greek yoghurt
3 tbsp ice cold water

2 large bowls; fine grater; small sharp knife; chopping board; sieve; wooden spoon; balloon whisk; metal tablespoon; freezer proof container

  1. Grate the lemon zest into a large bowl. Carefully cut them in half and squeeze all of their juice into the bowl.
  2. Sift the icing sugar on to the lemon juice and stir until smooth. Leave to rest for 30 minutes.
  3. Pour the cream, yoghurt and cold water into another large bowl. Whisk together until the mixture just thickens – you don’t want it to get too stiff.
  4. Gently stir in the lemon syrup, using a metal spoon. Pour the ice cream into a  container and pop in the freezer for 4-5 hours, until you’re ready to eat. Take it out of the freezer 10 minutes before you need it to allow the ice cream to soften.


Chocolate Ice Cream
(great for 7-10 year olds to make)
150g chocolate, 70% cocoa solids
400ml double cream
400ml milk
2 large eggs
1 tspn vanilla extract
300g caster sugar
medium bowl; medium saucepan; freshly boiled kettle of water; wooden spoon; balloon whisk;
freezer proof container

  1. Break the chocolate into small pieces and put into a medium bowl. Pop the bowl in a saucepan and carefully pour boiling water in, until it comes one-third of the way up the pan. Ask for help to place over a medium-low heat, stirring until the chocolate melts.
  2. Pour the milk, cream and sugar into a large bowl. Crack in the eggs and whisk together until smooth and well combined.
  3. Once melted, stir in the chocolate into the milk and cream mix – take care as the chocolate bowl will be hot! Whisk together then pour into a freezer proof container. Pop in the freezer (or an ice cream maker if you have one – ask an adult to show you how to use it). Take out of the freezer to whisk every 2 hours, until frozen.

Try adding chocolate chips for an even better taste. For mint choc chip ice cream, add 1-2 tspns mint extract to the melted chocolate and beat in well before pouring into the cream mixture.

August 27, 2008 at 3:06 pm Leave a comment

Long Time No Blogging

I really can’t believe how long it’s been since I posted on this blog. Cottage Cooks has taken off big style, with over 100 members on our cooking courses and that’s taken up most of my time. I’ve also spent a long time looking for new ranges to add to the online store and have managed to come up with some cracking goodies. Check out our new pink and blue utensil sets for younger cooks and these amazing cupcake wrappers from the USA….they sure know how to dress up a cupcake in the States! Actually there are far too many new items to mention them all, so go take a look for yourself at

So I’m back with a vengeance……lots of new ideas buzzing round in my head which I just need to get down onto the blog!

August 27, 2008 at 12:26 pm Leave a comment

In Good Company!

nigella.jpgI’ve long since been a fan of Nigella Lawson….indeed, her influence has led to the purchase of Kitchen Aid mixers and blenders as well as a fabulous Magimix food processor. I love her style and I think that’s because she’s a cook rather than a chef – she makes food that anyone can make, eat and enjoy.

I joined her food forum,  a little over a year ago. I never thought I’d be a member of an oline forum but then again, I never thought I’d be writing a blog! But it’s given me chance to make some great new friends and explore some wonderful recipe ideas too.

So I was delighted a couple of days ago when Nigella’s Admin contacted me to say they would be adding Cottage Cooks to their list of UK baking stockists. So there we are…….up with the likes of Jane Asher, Montgomery Moore Chocolate and King Arthur Flour, and proud if it!

March 11, 2007 at 7:09 am Leave a comment


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