Cassiefairy – My Thrifty Life

Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog – Saving money every day with DIY crafts, sewing projets, low-cost recipes & shppping tips


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Pieday Friday recipe – No bake chocolate cheesecake with raspberries

Happy Friday everyone, isn’t it a lovely Spring day out there today? Hope it’s just as nice where you are too! I’m in an especially good mood because I’m starting work on my kitchen renovation today. I can’t wait to get it looking fresh and clean – just imagine all the lovely recipes I’ll be able to make in there once the new worktop and oven is installed!Seeing as I can’t do much cooking myself at the moment I’ve decided to share a delicious recipe from Delicake today. After getting a Delicake dish earlier this month, I’ve been browsing their recipe website a lot and asked if it would be okay to share one of their fab desserts with you today.

Ingredients: 250g biscuits for the base, 75g butter to combine, 250g cream cheese, ½ cup caster sugar, 600ml thick cream, 200g white chocolate (or milk chocolate if you prefer), 1 punnet raspberries, 1 tablespoon gelatine, ¼ cup of hot water for the gelatine.

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Pieday Friday – The Hairy Bikers’ coffee cake for Red Nose Day

Today’s recipe post comes directly from The Hairy Bikers, who have shared this recipe in aid of Comic Relief. The fundraising spectacular takes place on 24th March this year so you’ve got plenty of time to perfect your sponge cake before the big event! Without further ado I’m handing over to Si and Dave  to share their recipe – enjoy!
A deliciously moist, old-fashioned coffee and walnut cake is one of our very favourite treats and we like to make it with Camp chicory and coffee essence. If you can’t track this down in your local stores, use very strong black coffee instead. Make sure the walnuts you use are nice and fresh.

SERVES 12 – 65g walnut halves, 225g softened butter, cubed, plus extra for greasing, 225g caster sugar, 4 medium eggs, 225g self-raising flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 2 tbsp Camp chicory and coffee essence

Icing – 150g softened butter, cubed, 300g icing sugar, sifted, 4 tsp Camp chicory and coffee essence,12 walnut halves

Preheat the oven to 190°C/Gas 5.

  1. Butter two 20cm loose-based sandwich tins and line the bases with discs of baking parchment. Put the walnut halves in a food processor and blitz them into fairly fine crumbs, but don’t worry if there are a few larger pieces remaining. Tip the walnuts into a bowl.
  2. Put the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder and coffee essence in a food processor and blend on the pulse setting until well combined and creamy. You may need to remove the lid once or twice and push the mixture down with a rubber spatula. Take care not to process for too long or you will end up with a heavy sponge.
  3. Add the blitzed walnuts to the batter and mix until just combined. If you don’t have a food processor, finely chop the nuts, tip all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl, then beat like hell!
  4. Spoon the mixture evenly into the greased and lined tins and smooth the surface. Bake on the same shelf in the centre of the oven for about 25 minutes or until the sponge is well risen and just beginning to shrink back from the sides of the tin.
  5. Remove the tins from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes before running a knife around the edge of the cakes and turning them out onto a wire rack. Peel off the baking parchment and leave to cool completely.

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Pieday Friday – 3 healthy juice recipes

It’s all about the juicing this year. Or at least it is in my household because we’ve got a new juicer! As someone who has never tried combinations of juice before (seriously, orange juice is as adventurous as it got!) I’ve been really intrigued to start reading up on juicing and looking into recipes. There are SO many options out there; savoury juices, fruity juices, herby juices and even spicy juices. I wanted to make a healthy swap for my sometimes not-too-healthy shakes and smoothies, so I gave juicing a go for the very first time.I’ve read plenty of recipes where one or two of the ingredients were things that I’m not too keen on (like mango or parsley) so I decided to come up with my own combinations to test out my new juicer and to see whether or not I was going to enjoy fresh juice at all! Today’s Pieday Friday recipe post is the result of my experiments earlier this week and, if you’re a keen juicer yourself, I’m pretty sure that you’re going to like them.  The juicer I’m using is the Phillips Avance Collection Centrifugal Juicer, which is a pretty darn effective piece of equipment. When I started using it for the first time, I was rather surprised by how fast and easily it juiced the fruit and veg that I was putting through it. Sure, I guessed that soft grapes and pears would be easy to juice but who knew that so much moisture could come out of a carrot? Seriously, my carrots were pretty dry when they went in, but boy did they make a lot of juice! And, come to think of it, the pulp that came out was really dry too. I guess the machine got every drop out of the bunch.

So, here are the ingredients for each of the three juices I made last week. I went for a crowd-pleasing fresh fruity drink (the purple one), an exotic juice with tropical flavours (the yellow one) and a nutritious spicy savoury juice (the orange one – yes, the one with the carrots in). Of course, the instructions for each recipe is pretty-much “juice the ingredients” so I won’t bore you with that! Just know that it’s a good idea to remove rinds and skins from fruits like the pineapple, papaya, oranges and kiwi fruits.

One of my experiments that ended in disaster was juicing kiwis with their skins on. I read online that it was fine to eat the skins and while it may be possible to eat the skins, it’s not the nicest texture. So if you don’t want to drink a furry juice, I’d recommend taking off the skins before juicing!

Juice 1 – Cooked beetroot, apples, pears, white grapes.

Juice 2 – Pineapple, papaya, kiwi, oranges

Juice 3 – Carrots, celery, tomatoes, chilli

These juices make a pretty looking bunch, don’t they? I really enjoyed the purple beetroot-based juice and could drink that all day long. And the ‘bloody mary’ style veg juice was delicious too, in a savoury kind of way. I had a bit leftover that I heated up at lunchtime to try it as a soup. If you’re a fan of thin soups, this might be one for you. Tropical flavours aren’t really my thing, by my husband liked the exotic juice, so everyone’s happy with our new juicer!  Do you already make your own juice or will you be starting as part of a healthy habit swap this January? I know I’ll be trying to keep it up during the year so let me know your ideas for recipes or fruit ‘n’ veg combinations by leaving me a comment below or by tweeting me @Cassiefairy.


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Pieday Friday – Chocolate gingerbread skeletons recipe for Halloween

A slightly different take on the classic festive gingerbread man, this cookie dough contains cocoa powder so it produces a dark, crisp biscuit. When cut out with a gingerbread cutter they’re the perfect shape for icing a skeleton design for Halloween. The darker colour biscuit emphasises the spooky shape and tastes even better than normal gingerbread thanks to all the chocolate in the recipe!diy-halloween-cookie-recipe-chocolate-gingerbread-men-skeletons-treat-dessert-pudding-12I think that these homemade biscuits would be great to give out to trick-or-treaters or could be the dessert for your spooky Halloween party. Here’s how to make the dough and bake the perfect chocolate gingerbread skeletons:diy-halloween-cookie-recipe-chocolate-gingerbread-men-skeletons-treat-dessert-pudding-11Ingredients for around 18 biscuits (depending on the size of your cutter): 300g plain flour, 50g cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon ground ginger, 120g butter, 120g brown sugar, 140g golden syrup, icing sugar for icing the skeleton shape.diy-halloween-cookie-recipe-chocolate-gingerbread-men-skeletons-treat-dessert-puddingdiy-halloween-cookie-recipe-chocolate-gingerbread-men-skeletons-treat-dessert-pudding-2Step 1: Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Mix flour, cocoa, ginger powder and butter together in a bowl. Either use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour, like a crumble recipe, or put into a food processor and pulse together until it forms a crumbly consistency. Drizzle in the golden syrup and continue pulsing the processor until it forms a dough, or mix with a knife if you’re doing it the manual way.diy-halloween-cookie-recipe-chocolate-gingerbread-men-skeletons-treat-dessert-pudding-3Step 2: Divide the dough into quarters and place between two sheets of greaseproof paper. Roll out the dough then peel away the top layer of paper.diy-halloween-cookie-recipe-chocolate-gingerbread-men-skeletons-treat-dessert-pudding-4 diy-halloween-cookie-recipe-chocolate-gingerbread-men-skeletons-treat-dessert-pudding-5diy-halloween-cookie-recipe-chocolate-gingerbread-men-skeletons-treat-dessert-pudding-6Step 3: Use a gingerbread man cutter to press shapes into the dough. Peel away the excess dough, leaving the gingerbread man shapes on the greaseproof paper.diy-halloween-cookie-recipe-chocolate-gingerbread-men-skeletons-treat-dessert-pudding-7diy-halloween-cookie-recipe-chocolate-gingerbread-men-skeletons-treat-dessert-pudding-8

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Pieday Friday – Bottomless Harvest Pie

After going foraging on a blackberry walk last weekend, today’s blog post is the result of that walk. I decided to combine the blackberries with apples (cooking apples are abundant in the garden at the moment) and make a bottomless pie. What does that mean? It means that I made a blind-baked pie base and it shrunk so much that I couldn’t use it! I therefore went for just a pie crust on top of the filling in a pie dish. Don’t worry, it tasted just as yummy and actually it’s a little bit of a healthier pudding, because there’s about half the amount of pastry!diy-recipe-baking-harvest-pie-cooking-apple-and-blackberry-pastry-dessert-pudding-7 diy-recipe-baking-harvest-pie-cooking-apple-and-blackberry-pastry-dessert-pudding-3Ingredients: 225g plain flour, 100g butter, 25g caster sugar, 2 tablespoons water, a pinch of salt, 100g sugar, a dash of amaretto, plus as many cooking apples as it takes to fill your pie dish and as many blackberries as you can gather!

The pastry: Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl and rub in the butter using your fingertips. Add the cold water and stir with a knife until it comes together into a stuff dough. Roll out on a floured surface to the thickness of a pound coin. By the way, my pretty rolling pin is from The Caravan Trail if you’re interested. I like to use it for pastry as it’s ceramic so stays cool – very important in pastry-making!diy-recipe-baking-harvest-pie-cooking-apple-and-blackberry-pastry-dessert-pudding diy-recipe-baking-harvest-pie-cooking-apple-and-blackberry-pastry-dessert-pudding-2The filling: Peel, core and slice enough apples to fill your pie dish. Put the apples in a pan over a medium heat and add 100g sugar to sweeten the tangy taste of the cooking apples and a splash of water (or a dash of amaretto if you like the flavour). Allow to cook down (keeping some chunky bits) and allow the apples to become a little mushy. Taste the apples and add more sugar if needed. diy-recipe-baking-harvest-pie-cooking-apple-and-blackberry-pastry-dessert-pudding-4 diy-recipe-baking-harvest-pie-cooking-apple-and-blackberry-pastry-dessert-pudding-5

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Pieday Friday – Build Your Own Smoothie recipe book review

If you’ve been reading my little blog for a while you might have noticed how much I love smoothies and milkshakes. I’ve whisked up a few healthy of my own recipes over the years, including my fruity oat smoothie and my energy boosting breakfast smoothie. I’ve also shared my ultimate caramel doughnut freakshake recipe, but that’s more of a weekend treat than an everyday shake 😉 So you can imagine how excited I was to find a recipe book dedicated to my favourite drink! I grabbed a copy of Make Your Own Smoothie by Michelle Keogh and started to investigate…pieday-friday-recipe-book-review-make-your-own-smoothie-cookbook-milkshake

It may sound like a rather boring plus-point, but this recipe book is spiral bound. I really prefer this type of binding for all recipe books, as it makes it much easier to keep your place when working on a recipe. That said, it’s a particularly important feature of this book as it allows you to mix and match the ingredients to create over 60,000 smoothie combinations. Much like those funny head-body-legs books you read as a child, you simply flip over the pages to find the ideal combination of base ingredients, liquid and ‘boost’ toppings.pieday-friday-recipe-book-review-make-your-own-smoothie-cookbook-milkshake-2With that in mind, this is probably the only smoothie recipe book you’ll ever need. I defy you to find an ingredient that isn’t already somewhere in this recipe book so you’ll be sure to find the right taste and texture to suit you. Don’t like coconut? No problem! Can’t function without freeze dried fruit? It’s all in there. There are gluten-free, low-fat, vegan and dairy-free options, so you can make any flavour of smoothie into something that suits your own diet.

My own preference for smoothies is something milk-based so that it feels more like a naughty shake rather than a healthy drink! Even so, there are SO many options for the liquid layer (including fruit juices, yoghurts, waters, teas, vegetable juices and proteins) that even a die-hard milkshake fan like me might actually start to be a little more adventurous with my smoothie ‘designs’.pieday-friday-recipe-book-review-make-your-own-smoothie-cookbook-milkshake-3But you don’t have to rummage through all the options before finding a suitable recipe – at the back of the book there’s a list of classic smoothie combos to try and some basic recipes to help you get started. And it’s not just healthy smoothies either… if you don’t believe me, just have a look at the cinnamon apple cookie shake I concocted above!

Let me know what your favourite smoothie ingredients are by leaving me a comment below and tweet me a photo of your weekend smoothie @Cassiefairy or tag me in your Instagram pics @Cassiefairy. Build Your Own Smoothie by Michelle Keogh is published by Quarto.


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Pieday Friday – Kitchen mishaps

Over the years I’ve come realise that I’m quite a clumsy person. I trip over on flat pavements and I bruise myself almost daily by bumping into things. I’m a bit of a calamity but thankfully I’ve never seriously hurt myself or anyone around me. The worrying thing is when someone with a tendency to be slightly clumsy gets into the kitchen. Expect trouble, and lots of it! And that’s what I’m blogging about today: the mishaps and mistakes I’ve made in my kitchen and the reasons why it makes sense to stay focussed when you’re baking…pans-419249_1920Grills. Many a time I have turned on a grill to ‘pre heat’ without opening the grill door, or checking whether there’s already something under there. This is how my mum’s favourite frying pan (the one she’d owned for longer than she’s had me) ended up with its wooden handle on fire. Okay, I didn’t put it in there in the first place, but I did turn on the grill without checking that it was empty. Another frying pan handle met its doom in my grill recently when I was trying to brown the top of a Spanish omelette. It was all going great, with a crispy golden cheesy layer forming nicely, until the (not heat-proof, it turns out) handle started bubbling. Oops.muffins-480513_1920Hobs. Hobs are my worst enemy. They stay hot for far too long, and I regularly get scolded on the rim of hot pans. But the main problem I have with hobs is that they are not a work surface. Let me explain. In my home (in fact, in all of my previous homes) I have a small kitchen with not much work space. I therefore tend to use the back two hobs of the oven as an extra surface, which is where my kettle etc live when they are not in use. The trouble is when I turn on the front hob to cook a dish and start to wonder why my onions aren’t sizzling away. The smell of melting plastic soon helps me to realise that I’ve turned on the back hob by mistake. And chiseling the base of a molten coffee machine off the back hob made me realise that I’m always just a couple of minutes away from disaster when I cook.kettle-653673

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Weekend treat – A vegetarian curry feast!

Today’s Pieday Friday recipe is a lovely guest post from my blogging pal Lucy. When I saw her mouth-watering curry recipes on her blog LucyLovesYa, I emailed to ask her permission to share these delicious dishes with you today. And thankfully she said yes! These vegetarian dishes are packed full of freshness and flavour – and it costs a lot less to make your own ‘takeaway’ at home than it does to go out for a meal! Lucy says add as many chillies as you like until you get the right level of hotness for you, and don’t forget to cool things down with coriander,  lemons and natural yoghurt mixed with some chopped mint. I never knew how to make an onion bhaji until I read Lucy’s recipe so I hope you’ll enjoy making some of these simple recipes at home too! Vegetarian-Curry-Onion Bhaji Ingredients: 2 large onions, 1 mug gram flour (chickpea flour), salt to taste, 1 egg, handful coriander leaves, pinch chilli powder, 1 tablespoon curry powder, 1 teaspoon paprikaMix the ingredients together until a smooth consistency is formed. Don’t feel tempted to add water as the onions will provide a natural liquid if allowed to stand for an hour before frying. Ladle individual bhajis into a frying pan of hot oil. When they are golden brown, remove and serve with a squeeze of lemon all over and a dash of natural yoghurt.Veg-Curry-Recipe1

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Pieday FriYAY – Energy boosting mocha smoothie

The summer holidays are drawing to an end and all that’s left is happy memories of melting ice cream, collecting shells, splashing in the sea, fish ‘n’ chips lunches, breezy promenades and fluffy candy floss on the pier. Yes, I have to admit that I’ve indulged a little too much during August, but haven’t we all? I blame ‘holiday spirit’ for encouraging us to wave thoughts of healthy eating aside as we buy a bag of sugary donuts from the beach kiosk and tuck into a full English breakfast in the hotel. If this sounds like you, I’ve got an easy way to get back on the healthy-eating wagon and it all starts with breakfast…healthy breakfast recipe inspiration friyay smoothie oats coffee latte banana chocolate-16 healthy breakfast recipe inspiration friyay smoothie oats coffee latte banana chocolate-20After needing to kick-start my healthy habits after a summer of indulgence I’ve come up with a quick and easy recipe for a breakfast smoothie. It can be prepared the night before (which gives the oats plenty of time to soak) or whizzed up in the morning. Take it with you on your commute to work or – if you’re feeling particularly enthusiastic – enjoy it after an early morning gym visit. It’s the perfect breakfast to fill you up without feeling stodgy and the caffeine from the coffee gives you a boost of energy, so it’s a great brunch treat too. Start your day with a healthy treat that feels rich and indulgent because this recipe contains everything you need to #MakeItAYayDay; bananas, soaked oats, coffee, almond milk, cacao and ice.healthy breakfast recipe inspiration friyay smoothie oats coffee latte banana chocolate-15healthy breakfast recipe inspiration friyay smoothie oats coffee latte banana chocolateIngredients (serves 1): One ripe banana, 100g oats soaked in around 200g almond milk (or normal milk if you prefer), a spoonful of cacao powder, 1 cup of Emmi CAFFÈ LATTE Strong Macchiato or Skinny Iced Coffee, a handful of ice.

  1. Soak the oats in the milk until they are softened and the milk has thickened. This should take about 30 mins in the morning, or you can soak the oats overnight.

  2. Add a ripe banana before sprinkling in a spoonful of cacao powder to your preferred taste.

  1. Throw in a handful of ice and pour over a cup of Emmi CAFFÈ LATTE Strong Macchiato or Skinny Iced Coffee if you prefer.
  1. Whizz all the ingredients together in a blender until smooth.

If you’ve got an early start in the morning you could prepare your breakfast smoothie in advance and keep it in the fridge ready to grab-and-go. Simply blend all the ingredients together but skip the ice as this will make the smoothie too watery if left overnight. The oats don’t need to be pre-soaked in this instance, you can put them into the smoothie dry. They will soak in the coffee and milk overnight and will be soft by the morning, ready to make any day a yay day for you!

Let me know if you have a go at making this energy-boosting breakfast smoothie yourself and I’d love to hear more ideas of ingredients to add to my morning oat smoothie so please get in touch by leaving me a comment below. And please tag me in your Instagram photos @cassiefairy with the hashtag #MakeItAYayDay so that I can check out your own breakfast smoothies and ideas for ingredients.

 

 

 


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Pineapple Infused Vodka + DIY Cocktail Glass

Summer is in full swing AND it’s the weekend, double wooo! To celebrate, I’m sharing a summery cocktail and spirit infusion and a quick DIY cocktail glass project. These have all been extracted from Mason Jar Nation by JoAnn Moser. This recipe wold be great for fruity summer cocktails or even for a birthday party so read on to find out how to make it…mason jar nation book reviewIn honour of moonshiners of old and new, here’s a less volatile preparation that doesn’t require a still: pineapple-infused vodka. Complete the concoction with a Mason jar cocktail glass and a summery drink recipe using your homemade hooch, and you’ll be good to go.

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