Thursday, 2 October 2014

Choc-chip bread and butter pudding recipe with a2 milk & Hadleigh Maid Chocolate Buttons.

I love to cook for friends but If I'm honest although I will go to great lengths for a fancy starter or a complex main course with multiple ingredients when it comes to pudding I am a lazy chef!

It's not that I don't like desserts but if I had to choose between an appetiser or dessert I would choose the savoury option 99 per cent of the time.

semi-skimmed a2 milk bottleSo my guests either bring their showpiece puds or they know they are highly likely to be served fruit crumble, chocolate fondue or some variation of a bread and butter pudding.

I've made it traditionally with dried fruit, flung in walnuts, added liquors, toyed with brioche but my latest attempt at a chic chip version was one of the best ever!

And as a recent convert to a2 milk, I was keen to confirm that it is fine to use for cooking as well as being lovely to drink straight or on cereal.

 Hang on - I can hear those of you that didn't read my a2 blog post wondering what a2 milk is. Let me quickly recap:

a2 Milk is 100% natural fresh cows’ milk which you may find easier to digest than regular cows’ milk, here’s why.
Cows’ milk contains different types of protein – including ones called A1 and A2. These two proteins digest quite differently from each other and, for some people, the presence of A1 protein can result in digestive discomfort after drinking milk. It was thanks to Dr Corran Mclachlan back in 1997 in New Zealand that the impact of this difference in proteins was discovered and the a2 Milk Company was born.

So, back to the recipe;

You need:
6 slices bread, buttered & cut into small triangles. I used salted butter. Recipes always state stale bread but with 7 children we rarely have stale bread. I used fresh bread and it was fine!
chocolate chips or buttonsA good handful or two. I used plain buttons designed for cooking with from Hadleigh Maid which I was given in a goody bag after the Tots100 #madblogawards.
625 ml milk - I used a2 semi-skimmed milk.
3 eggs.
2 tbsp demerara sugar (or granulated sugar if you don't have any demerara)
2 tbsp white granulated sugar.

Lay half of the buttered bread in a nice pattern in the bottom of a dish - kinda the size you use for a family lasagne.
Scatter some choc buttons over the layer. 
Lay the rest of the triangles of bread, making sure there are no big gaps. Sprinkle more choc buttons. Ponder it for a bit whilst shovelling a few chocolate buttons in your mouth for quality control. Add a few more buttons.
Mix together eggs, milk and demerara sugar.
Pour over bread and leave for 20 mins to soak in - or longer if like me you get distracted easily by shiny things.
Sprinkle with white sugar then use spoon to "baste" the dryer areas of bread before baking at 180 deg C for about 35-40 mins.
Serve with custard or ice-cream or cream. Serves 6 generously.
making choc chip bread and butter pudding

I actually made this in advance, let it cool then after taking our main course out of the oven, turned oven off and popped pud in. It warmed gently without drying out while I made custard. You can also gently microwave it - beware it reheats very quickly in microwave and can go tough. As well as burning your mouth obvs!

Anyone else got any new variations on bread and butter pudding? I'd love to hear them and increase my repetoire!
madmumof7's chic-chip bread and butter pudding

Disclaimer: I was sent vouchers for free a2 milk and received the Hadleigh Maid chocolate buttons free in a goody bag. I chose to use these specific ingredients for this recipe - you can of course substitute with your own preferred brands.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

U is for Unwell - The Alphabet Photography Project

Unwell. Only a virus but feeling proper poorly. Too young to be left at home while I do the school run with siblings, too old for a buggy but doesn't feel up to walking. Solution? My lovely wagon! Now temporarily renamed the ambulance or plague wagon!

Cheeky Chompers Comfort Chew giveaway

A couple of years ago I vividly remember hosting a coffee morning when a group of women (including me) facing freedom during school hours were desperately wracking our brains for an innovative idea which would make us a fortune.

We all wanted to avoid having to go back to our "old" jobs and wanted this new phase of our lives to start with a bang. We all wanted a child-friendly job, preferably self employed and definitely enjoyable.

We couldn't think of a new product which we could patent so turned our thoughts to what else would give us quality of life and a bit of cash too. Almost two years on one friend runs a successful beauty business from home, another makes beautiful (mostly wooden) crafts and another has a successful crochet and soft furnishings company. I, of course started this blog which has given me back my love of writing along with the ability to earn a bit of money whilst eating biscuits and wearing pyjamas.

Amy and Julie from Cheeky Chompers
Amy and Julie- founders of
Cheeky Chompers
Recently I met another two mums who had done the same thing as us but actually managed to come up with an idea for producing an innovative product which after trials and tribulations has allowed them to give up their old jobs and become co-owners of their own successful and rapidly growing company, Cheeky Chompers, which not only makes delightful baby products but also helps out parents of - and I hate to use this phrase but can't think of another - children with special needs.

Amy and Julie met in a doctors surgery waiting room whilst both pregnant and became firm friends. Over a glass or two of wine they invented their first product the "Neckerchew", a combination of dribble bib and teething chew in 2013 after identifying a gap in the market for a quality attached teething product.

Genius! I wish it had been around when mine were little as I remember that heart-sinking feeling when they drop their teether on the floor in the supermarket/street/friend's dog-hair infested carpet  and you have to accept that it's probably not a great idea to give it back to them!

Cheeky Chompers Neckerchew
The award-winning Neckerchew

Despite being pooh-poohed by the Dragon's Den "experts the reversible product which comes in 15 designs and is machine washable has been gratefully welcomed with open arms by parents and has won a variety of awards.

And now the mums have launched a new product - the totally adorable Comfort Chew which incorporates a soft chewable textured teether in the shape of a cute hippo, teddy-soft comfort blanket in two unisex designs, taggy bits to fiddle with AND like the Neckerchew, a clever loop to attach the Comfort Chew to wrist, buggy, cart seat etc.

win this Cheeky Chompers Comfort Chew
Win this gorgeous Cheeky Chompers ComfortChew

Both products are manufactured in the UK and have undergone rigorous testing.  I spoke to one blogger, a mum whose son has a medical condition which leads him to need to chew, and she told me that unlike many other products including some designed specifically for children with these needs the Neckerchew stood up amazingly well and had so far survived some really tough love from her little boy! A great endorsement.

Amy and Julie said they were hoping to increase their sales to older children who have conditions like this and were exploring making the Neckerchew  even more suitable for them. Brilliant businesswomen with a mum's heart - wonderful!

Today I am launching a give-away in which you can win a Comfort Chew (RRP £17.95)  in a beautiful soft grey colour with pattered soft jersey cotton on one size and cuddly soft fleece on the other.

You can enter as many times as you like and feel free to share this competition if you know someone who you think might like it.

a Rafflecopter giveaway