Macaroon Nests on Like Mam Used to Bake

MacaroonNestsonLikeMamUsedtoBake (10)

Yes, I am still alive. And no, I didn’t forget about you. Apologies for the long absence but between morning sickness, all day sickness, heartburn and just generally enjoying pregnancy blogging went on the back burner for longer than I anticipated. I have been baking a little here and there since the dreaded all day sickness abated slightly, but I’ve been sticking to old favourites already on the blog or in the book. And as my tastes have changed quite considerably over the last few months I just seem to fancy the same few things over experimenting with new recipes. But, I do hope to blog a little bit now as I face into the final countdown and I thought Easter is as good a time as any to start.


Mr. LMUTB arrived in the door recently with some Crimble’s macaroons, and they were happily dipped into when the kettle boiled. They’ve been on my mind ever since and so I thought I would bake up some macaroons to bring to dad’s for Easter. I’m making these as I did the strawberry coconut thumbprints in my book, but instead of baking strawberry jam in the thumbprint I am replacing it with Nutella once they have cooled. Add in some Mini Eggs and a little chick if you fancy, and you have the perfect Easter treat. These are super easy to mix up and so are an ideal kitchen project to tackle with the children if you are trapped indoors thanks to the dreaded rain. Happy Easter!

MacaroonNestsonLikeMamUsedtoBake (7)

Macaroon Nests

{makes 12}

250g desiccated coconut

1 x 397g tin of condensed milk

1tsp vanilla extract

3 large egg whites

Pinch of salt


Mini Eggs, to decorate

Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl mix together the coconut, condensed milk and vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites and the salt using an electric hand-held whisk/standalone mixer until they form stiff peaks.

Gently fold half of the egg whites through the coconut mixture. Repeat with the remaining egg whites.

Using an ice-cream scoop, place scoops of the mixture evenly spaced onto the prepared baking sheets. Flatten them down a little using the back of a wet tablespoon. Make a little indent, similar to a thumbprint, in the top of each one using the back of a wet teaspoon.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, then turn the baking sheets to ensure they brown evenly and bake for a further 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Add a teaspoon, or more, of Nutella to the thumbprint in each macaroon and spread it out a little. Top each with Mini Eggs, and an Easter chick if you wish, to decorate.

MacaroonNestsonLikeMamUsedtoBake (9)

Pin It

That Day on Like Mam Used to Bake

That day has rolled around again.

The one that I dread all year through.

The one that I wish would just fall from the calendar.

The one that has had me on edge, and caused tears these last few days.

This time though, it has a bitter sweet edge.

We have so much to look forward to this year.

We are counting down to their arrival.

We are excited. We are busy planning. We are nervous. And we are overjoyed.


But you won’t meet. You two.

No kisses and cuddles from you.

No voice at the end of the phone to reassure.

No sweets produced from your handbag even when I say no.

But, they will know you.

Your picture will smile down from the walls.

We will mention you often.

We will tell the stories that make us laugh.

But more than that, I will love them. Just as you loved me.

We both will.

We all will.

Enough for you too.


Happy New Year 2015 on Like Mam Used to Bake

I know, I know, I’m a bit late with this. And I know, I know, I’ve been missing in action now for far too long. Inexcusable really, but I hope that you will understand when I explain. But first things first, I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year, and hope that 2015 is one of health, happiness and love for each of us. Secondly I hope that you all had a lovely Christmas. I had the loveliest one with family and friends and plenty of just me and him time. Far too much sitting around doing nothing. Bliss.

And now for the apology and explanation. I have missed blogging and pootling about in the kitchen, but have been forced to take an involuntary break from both. If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter you will be aware of the reason, for those of you who don’t, Mr. LMUTB and I will be adding to our little family this summer. I am busy baking away my most precious cake yet, Babycakes. As a result I had weeks on end of 24/7 morning sickness. That name is such a lie, who do I speak to about having that changed? I have also sadly lost my appetite for all things cake and really just food in general. I am waiting patiently for that to return and with it my experiments in the kitchen and blogging. Other than that I am all good and just looking forward excitedly to meeting this little human who already has stolen my heart.

So dear blog readers I do hope that you understand and can excuse my recent absence, and continue to read along with me just as soon as my appetite and my blogging mojo return.

Until then, once again wishing you a healthy and happy 2015 filled with love and laughter.


Savour Kilkenny 2014 on Like Mam Used to Bake

So I’ve been a bit of a little Miss Judgey pants lately. Last week I selflessly tasted too many cakes to count in a sugar haze, and this weekend I will do the same. Savour Kilkenny is set to take place this coming weekend, and I will be donning my elasticated waistbands on Saturday and Sunday alongside Edward Hayden, with Dee Laffan and Gina Miltiadou of Easy Food magazine to judge Kilkenny’s finest bakes in the Easy Food Baking Games. If you love to bake you can enter your kitchen creations in four categories; cakes, cupcakes, breads and pastries. If you prefer to leave the baking to others you can pop along to simply marvel at the baked goods, and do a little drooling if you like. Full details are below. Savour Kilkenny is set to be a fantastic food filled weekend, the full programme of events is available here. Hope to see you there!

Savour KK

Christmas Baking on Like Mam Used to Bake

STOP SHOUTING AT ME!!! I know. I KNOW. The kids are barely back in school. We haven’t even dressed up for Halloween yet. But, I said it last year, and I’ll most likely say it next year again, you have to plan and bake ahead when it comes to Christmas. Now is the perfect time to make a start. Or just to start shopping for the ingredients. If you pick up a few bits each week you’ll be ready to go by the end of the month. The big bakes that you should tackle early, before the madness of wrapping presents and decking halls kicks in, are the Christmas cake, Christmas pudding and mince meat. They all benefit from time to mature too so that they are at their peak once the big day rolls round.

I will include links for each of them below so that you have all of the recipes in one place. I have also gone to the trouble of doing up a shopping list for those of you who plan on making all three. I’m good like that. No, honestly, no need to thank me. Print it out and stick it in your bag or wallet so that each time you are in the supermarket you can cross a few items off. Christmas baking is very forgiving, it doesn’t require any specialist skills, if you can stir you’re sucking diesel. What it does require however is organisation, and a little bit of patience to measure the ingredients out before you start to blindly throw things into a bowl. The recipes for the Christmas cake and Christmas pudding have a printable page included, print them out and as you measure each item put a little tick beside it, and then as you add each item to the bowl a second tick. If you do that much you really can’t go wrong.

The recipes for the Christmas cake and Christmas pudding both make two each. You can halve the recipes if you want but I think that when you are going to that much trouble you might as well bake two and gift one to someone else. You can find the printable shopping list for all of the ingredients required to make the Christmas cake, Christmas pudding and mince meat below, and links to the three recipes. Happy Christmas baking!




Christmas cake, find recipe here.


Christmas pudding, find recipe here.


Mince meat, find recipe here.

Damson Cheese on Like Mam Used to Bake


No, not that kind of cheese, think Membrillo or quince paste instead. I can’t remember when I first read about damson cheese, but never having stumbled upon damsons I hadn’t had the opportunity to make it. I have been very lucky in recent weeks to have received numerous gifts of garden bounty from various people. We’ve feasted on home-grown cabbage, lettuce, rhubarb and apples, and I’ve been roasting far too many potatoes for my waistband’s liking. But they’re just sooooo good. My latest garden gift arrived this week, dropped around to me by a very kind neighbour, and I made up my mind pretty much instantly on the fate of that beautiful bowl of damsons.

My favourite cheese is Gorgonzola. I love the sharp, salty almost pungent veining beautifully encased by the smooth and creamy cheese. Add a little sweet to the mix and you’re pretty much guaranteed a party in your mouth. I sometimes throw together a plate of Italian meats and cheese as a late snack or a light lunch for myself and Mr. LMUTB, and so I thought damson cheese would make the perfect accompaniment. As it is said to keep pretty much indefinitely in the fridge I am also hoping we might have some left to see us through Christmas entertaining too.

Before I set about making my damson cheese I did a little bit of investigating. Recipes varied quite a bit in both the list of ingredients and the ratios used. Following some tap tap tapping on my calculator, much scribbling on some paper and quite a lot of head scratching I decided that a ratio of 100g sugar to 150ml damson purée fell somewhere in the middle of the majority of recipes. I went with that and following much patient stirring, which I am terrible at because I think God left out patience when he made me, I was rewarded with a most glorious deep ruby jelly. I have eaten it both on its own and with some Stilton, the cheese counter was out of Gorgonzola, and it is deliciously sweet with just a hint of tart plum. If you are lucky enough to have a glut of damsons this is a super simple way to preserve their flavour to enjoy throughout the winter.


Damson Cheese


I am not going to give exact quantities for this recipe as it is likely that people will gather various quantities from their gardens or hedgerows, so instead I will give the ratios I used as a guideline.

This recipe is not difficult to make, if you can stir you’re already winning, but it does require some time and patience.

As you are working with hot sugar here be extremely careful, you don’t want to end up with a nasty burn. If you have small children in the house it might be an idea to keep them busy in a different room.



Caster sugar

Wash the damsons, remove any stalks or leaves, and discard any which have burst their skins or have been attacked by greedy birds. Pop them into a large, heavy based saucepan. Add a couple of tablespoons of water, cover with a lid and set over a medium-low heat stirring every few minutes until they are tender and break down easily. This will take at least 30-40 minutes, be patient.

Reduce the heat to low, remove the pan from the heat and one ladle full at a time press the contents through a sieve into a large bowl pushing the flesh through, discarding the stones and skin as you go. Rinse out the saucepan and set it on a scales. Add the damson purée to the saucepan and for every 150ml of purée that you have add 100g of caster sugar and stir through.

Return the saucepan to the heat, this time uncovered and allow it to simmer gently, stirring every 5 minutes or so to ensure that it doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan. This is where that patience comes in to play as you will need to allow it to simmer for at least 60 minutes, but more than likely 90 minutes. Don’t be tempted to turn the heat up to speed things along as you risk burning it, and as a person who as many times burnt sugar onto the bottom of a pan you don’t want to have to clean up that mess.

As the liquid starts to thicken up keep a very close eye on it, you will notice the bubbles hold their shape a little longer before they pop on the surface. At this point drag a wooden spoon through it, when a clear path is visible for a couple of seconds it’s done. Grease and line a loaf tin or a brownie pan with parchment paper. I chose to use a loaf tin as I wanted slices of damson cheese, if you prefer squares go with the brownie pan. Very carefully pour the damson cheese into the line tin and set aside to cool and set. Once it has cooled pop it into the fridge overnight. Remove from the tin and cut into slices or squares, wrapping them individually in parchment or greaseproof paper. Store in the fridge until needed.


Pin It

Oat Spelt Cookies on Like Mam Used to Bake


Back to school is tough going. Especially on the littlest of scholars. I’ve heard many tired and frustrated sobs emanating from little school uniform clad figures as they troop past the window each afternoon. So many new experiences, so many new faces and so many long hours away from home, well it can all be a bit much in the beginning. I need a little lie down just thinking about it. If all of that is not enough, there is still homework to contend with and uniforms to change out of before play time can begin. Sure it’s no wonder the poor childer are exhausted, and a little bit emotional.

I think a little treat might be in order, don’t you? What could be better than cookies, still warm from the oven? Well, maybe cookies, still warm from the oven and with lots of lovely oats inside. These cookies are also wheat, dairy and refined sugar free. In their place I have used spelt flour, coconut oil and maple syrup. It’s not just for drizzling over your pancakes you know. The cake like texture of these cookies means that one is more than enough to fill you up as a snack, and the oats provide a lovely slow release energy, keeping tummies feeling fuller for longer.



If like LMUTB HQ your house is occupied solely by big people these cookies are a perfect pick me up for the 3 o’clock slump, or running between tasks throughout the day. If that’s not reason enough to make them just imagine warm cookies as a weekend breakfast treat, I mean it’s practically porridge, right? I also plan on packing them with a flask of hot chocolate for chilly autumn and winter walks in the park or on the beach.

Oh and did I mention they taste great too? Sweet without being overly so, with just a hint of warming spice. The ground oats add a lovely texture, and the coconut oil lends a buttery richness along with its subtle flavour of the exotic. Sure where would you get it, exotic oats, wah?! Ground oats can be more expensive than their whole cousins to buy so I just buy bags of jumbo oats and blitz them in the food processor. This way I can also control how finely they are ground. I don’t blitz them into oblivion as I like them to add some texture to breads and other bakes, but feel free to grind them finer if you prefer. Enjoy!



Oat Spelt Cookies

{Makes 12}

60g coconut oil

100ml maple syrup

1 large egg

120g spelt flour

60g ground porridge oats

1tsp baking powder

1tsp mixed spice

1/4tsp salt

In a large bowl cream together the coconut oil and the maple syrup, using an electric hand whisk/standalone mixer, for approximately 3 minutes. As you cream them and the coconut oil breaks down into smaller pieces the mixture will look like it has split, and rather disgusting if I’m honest, but don’t worry just continue beating.

Add the egg and mix just until evenly combined. Again the mixture will look like it has split, but don’t worry.

Add all of the dry ingredients and again mix until just combined, use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl for any of the dry ingredients that escaped the electric mixer and mix them through. Pop the bowl into the fridge to chill the dough for half an hour.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4.

Remove the dough from the fridge and with slightly wet hands roll it into 12 equal balls, roughly walnut sized. Place the dough balls evenly spaced apart on the baking sheet and flatten them down a little with your hand. Bake in the preheated oven for between 12 and 15 minutes, rotating the tray half way to ensure they bake evenly.  The cookies are done when they are just starting to crisp up around the edges, they will remain pale in colour as you can see from the pictures. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely, or gobble them up while they are still warm.

There are just a few hours left to vote in the Blog Awards 2014. If you haven’t already I would love a vote, just click the image below. Thank you!


Pin It