Are you a lemon and sugar kind of person or a full out nutella and banana lover? What’s your favourite pancake filling?

Shrove Tuesday the end of luxury and eating whatever you want and the beginning of Lent – Are you giving something up this year? I stopped doing that year’s ago as it never worked for me plus I seem to have slipped further and further away from any religious practise in my life but that is another post.

But religious or not Pancake Day is one to be celebrated in this house and having seen Daddy Pig’s efforts to flip his pancake which ended up stuck to the ceiling I might need a little practise before the big day arrives.

Thankfully Lakeland are on the case for helping the nation get their pancakes ‘just right’ and have sent me through two products to make my pancake experience more enjoyable.

Ceramica Crepe pan

ceramica crepe pan

The perfect flat pan with a lip which makes flipping and serving on the plate a doddle. It’s made from aluminium with a pancake proof non stick Ecolon ceramic coating meaning NOTHING sticks RRP £19.99

The second gadget they sent through was the

Lekue Citrus Spray

Lekue citrus spray

Well if at first glance you think it’s one of those plastic bottles found on supermarket shelves with ‘lemon juice’ in I’ll let you off because that’s what I thought on seeing the initial photo but it’s not. It’s an ingenious gadget which screws into your citrus fruit. A gentle squeeze of the fruit and then spray out the real lemon juice. Can be used on oranges, limes and so forth. For salmon, salads, fruit salads and who knows? What a fabulous idea RRP £9.99

How to make the perfect pancake batter?

…and then Lakeland had another thought, let’s really cross out ‘t’s and dot our ‘i’s and make sure she has the perfect recipe to follow and here it is below. Now last dilemma, the filling. Traditional lemon and sugar or something more fancy, nutella and bananas, ice cream and caramel sauce or even savoury pancakes now there’s a thought.

Happy Pancake Day everyone

Lakeland pancakes

Some other sweet fillings are

  • ice cream and caramel sauce
  • nutella spread across the pancake and bananas sliced on top
  • blueberries, strawberries, a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of sugar
  • fried apple slices in a little demerera sugar and caramel sauce

Peppered Steak PieA short while ago Lakeland sent me an electric pie maker to try out. I put it to one side and I read the instruction book because many readers will remember in the past my downfall has been not reading it.

Anyhoo, over the past couple of days I’ve been getting my act together, what with the weather changing and getting colder pies are on my mind. Nice hot meaty pies, so I thought I’d go for Peppered steak pie recipes to start with to warm the cockerels and I set too with some braising steak and lots of pepper which seemed the perfect way forward. (recipe below)

I cracked my own pepper in a jar with the kids rolling pin as I haven’t got a mortar and pestle – it worked but maybe I cracked a litttle too much.

You see the beauty of the Lakeland electrical pie maker is the pies are ready in 10 minutes, but this does mean if you’re making meat pies your filling needs to be cooked before hand.

I cooked my steak in a slow cooker as I chose a tougher cut and the slow cooking makes it really tender. Once that is done it’s a cinch to get your pies ready and the beauty is you can make a large batch of filling and freeze in portion size bags ready to go.

Lakeland Electrical Pie Maker

I used ready to roll shortcrust pastry with a scattering of flour on the surface and on my rolling pin. I cut the pastry block into two and rolled one to cut the larger bases and the other to cut the tops.

lakeland pie maker cutters

The cutter is provided with the electrical pie maker along with a ‘pusher’ to help push the base into the machine.

lakeland pie maker

Now whilst you roll your pastry you turn your pie maker on to heat up, then being careful you have to place your bases over the pie forms and use the ‘pusher’ to form the pastry base. Once ‘pushed’ I placed a spoon or two of meat and sauce in each pie and then placed my pre-cut tops on tops.

Pull the lid down to seal the tops to the bottoms and then reopen to quickly brush the tops with beaten egg for a lovely glaze. Re-seal and cook for 10 minutes. Your pies are ready to serve!

lakeland pie maker inside

Now this does mean a little forward thinking, what’re you going to serve with? Mash? Gravy? Veg? This all needs preparing beforehand to bring your meal on to the table all in one go.

Peppered Steak Pie

 Ingredients for 8 small pies
 
500g  cheap cut of stewing steak
Seasoned flour – plain flour with handful of cracked black pepper, salt and pepper
Olive oil
Brown onion
Garlic clove or two
1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
500 ml beef stock
 
For pepper mix (mine was hot)
1 tbsp cracked black pepper
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground white pepper
handful of  whole black peppercorns
 
Shortcrust pastry and flour to roll
1 egg beaten for glazing pies
  1. Cut the steak into cubes and coat in the seasoned flour
  2. Heat a little oil in a frying pan and brown the steak all over add to the slow cooker
  3. In the same pan add a little oil and fry the onion until soft and golden, add the garlic and sweat for a couple of mins, add the Worcestershire sauce and beef stock and stir well. Add the mixed pepper mix and stir well.
  4. Add to the slow cooker and cook on low for about 6 hours until the meat is tender.
  5. Keep half aside and freeze half for future pies once cool.
  6. Follow pie instructions above

Verdict– Delicious, a little heavy handed on the pepper but very very nice and I can’t wait to try my pork, leek and mustard mix that I was preparing earlier today

Disclosure: Lakeland sent me an electrical pie maker to review the RRP is £29.99, I’m preparing another filling for next week as I like it so much

zoku lollyWe’ve been making ice lollies!

After all it is the perfect weather to do so and there are plenty of recipes for fun lollies out there. About a month ago Lakeland sent me a Zoku to try and that’s precisely when Britain decided to start a summer of torrential rain, not quite ice lolly inducing in all honesty, so my Zoku remained in its box.

Then the jolly old sunshine decided to return to our British Isles and wow, the Zoku has really come into its own.

It really is simple to use and the variations of lollies are infinitive. We started with plain old apple juice to get the hang of it.

zoku testing

Your first step is to put your Zoku in the freezer for 24 hours for the first time and about 10 hours after that.

zoku in the freezer

Then standing it on the kitchen worktop – no electricity required – you place the lolly sticks in, which are held in place by an indentation around the lip.

Using a jug, fill the ice lolly container NO FURTHER THAN THE LIP – I did on my first trial and had to defrost the whole device to get my juice back out as it was impossible to pull the lolly out. Not good with inquisitive twins waiting for lollies I can tell you!

zoku sticks and juice in

You can watch the juice freeze and once you see it’s hardened, in about 7 minutes, get your Zoku screw top and unscrew the lolly out of the maker et voila’ your ice lolly is ready to go.

zoku

There is even a Zoku book with loads of fabulous recipes for you to make. Once you become a bit of a dab hand at them you can make rainbow stripes, or diagonals. You can coat in chocolate and then in nuts in fact there are endless variations. Wine lollies anyone?

Angle zoku lolly

The lollies are cheap and quick to make the Zoku is easy to use – just make sure you follow all the rules and you will always have ice lollies to hand.

zoku single pop makers

The single pop maker is £19.99 and available in beautiful rainbow colours from your local Lakeland or you can get the Quick pop maker that makes three at a time!

If you’re really into Zoku pop making there is a Zoku tool kit to really make your lolly pops come alive

zoku tool kit

Disclosure – Lakeland sent me this product to review, we did and we liked it