Chocolate Chip Muffins

When it comes to a good muffin, Give generously I say 😋

It’s been an interesting week to say the least, back at work and had my first Hypo that I’ve not had for quite some time so didn’t recognise the fact I was passing out all over the place… I ran out of food and sugary snacks, and my anxiety meant I couldn’t leave the house.  What am I to do, since the supermarket won’t deliver for two more days… I pulled myself together with some sugar (mental not to add full fat coke to the shopping list), looked in the cupboards and decided to bake!

Janice loved baking and seems a shame this stuff going unloved and unused… I thought hey why not give it a go how difficult can it be?  Since I was hungry, I quite fancied some chocolate chip muffins…

For this you’ll need the following :-

  • 250g Plain Flour (Though you can use self raising if you prefer)
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 175g Caster Sugar
  • 100g chocolate chips (though feel free to add more)
  • 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • 260ml milk
  • 1-2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1 Large egg
  • 72g melted butter (or margarine)

Baking time 20-25 minutes on gas mark 6/200℃ – 180℃ on a fan assisted oven, and should make 12 muffins give or take (depending on size of the cases used and how generous you are.

Get your favourite mixing bowl and spanking paddle…

IMG_0057.png

I hadn’t heard of Flour Weevils before and thought my friend over at https://widowskitchen.wordpress.com mentioned these to me, so I googled it thinking it was a wind up… geez that is stuff of nightmares huh? but then I figured that since weevils eat flour, they’ll poop flour too and give the muffin that additional nutty edge, delish 😋!

Slap 250g Plain Flour (though I should have used self-raising and forwent the bicarb and baking powder) into the bowl.

IMG_0059.png

Add two generous tablespoons of cocoa powder (add more or less to taste), get Bournville  not that Yankee Doodle stuff that masquerades as chocolate.  I pity our cousins across the pond who have yet to test real confectionary.

IMG_0061.png

Add 175g Caster Sugar

IMG_0062.png

Add the chocolate chips, now don’t be stingy!

IMG_0063.png

 

Mix the dry ingredients up and make a small indentation for the liquid stuff to go in.

IMG_0064.png

Add the Vanilla Extract

IMG_0065.png

Measure out about 72g of butter/margarine and melt (microwave oven is good for this), mind you, wear something to protect your hands as I burnt my fingers on this bit!

IMG_0067.png

IMG_0068.png

Measure out 250ml of milk or thereabouts

IMG_0070.png

Add all the wet ingredients to the centre of the mix

IMG_0071.png

And then mix the ingredient to Snap’s Rhythm is a Dancer to get a rough textured batter. (you can use other tracks, but muffin results will vary)…

IMG_0072.png

Finally, generously spoon in the mix in to cupcake cases and sprinkle with more chocolate chips to suit!

IMG_0080.png

Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 6/200℃ and put on the middle shelf for 20-25 minutes should do it.

Push a knife or knitting needle into the cake to ensure it comes out clean during the baking cycle.

Once done, remove from the oven, sit for 5 minutes before decanting these delicious bad boys ta wire rack for cooling, should be good to go in about 30-40 minutes.  These things are delicious served warm with custard or cream too 🙂

IMG_0086.png

IMG_0099.png

Advertisements
Posted in Baking, Personal | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Cinnamon, Raisin and Oatmeal Cookies

This gallery contains 8 photos.

Originally posted on The Widows Kitchen:
Helloooo bitches! Hows the weekend going? I was going to be all seasonal and shit and do a blog about Strawberry jam, but its raining, so fuck that. I hadn’t planned to do cookies,…

Gallery | Leave a comment

Adventures in GDPR Week 1…

Here we are, first full week since GDPR came into effect and what’s changed? Well frankly not a lot. All those emails we received in the final run up to the date, where apathy was meant to be rewarded… I’m still receiving the same volume of Spam as I did before! So much for explicit consent eh?

Any hoo… Today I had to get up Über Early to take the car back to VW.  One of its sensors was “impaired” according the error message it was spewing out (This is a different story though).  I was asked to get the car in for 7:30am!!! FFS… That’s inhumane… Surely that in itself is a violation of 1998 Human Right Act… Idi Amin as cruel and creative in his administration he may be, even he would let prisoners have a lay in… What is it with these really early starts fuelled by unusual and cruel insomniacs?

I’m sat in reception explaining the fault when I’m asked to complete their GDPR Compliance form on the garages iPad.  The first compliance statement is around permission to contact me via email, phone, text etc.  However, the statement was a dual statement which included permission to receive marketing from them and their selected partners.  I click NO on every statement, however… I am unable to proceed without selecting one form of contact permission.

The young girl behind the desk, then explains that due to “GDPR” if I don’t agree, they won’t be permitted to contact me to let me know my car is ready!

WTAF… Really? I said? I went on to explain that the company has my permission to call me to let me know my car is ready.  I feel the start of a Monty Python Sketch coming on.

They went on to assertively explain that “Due to GDPR…”

I really didn’t want to go into “Work Mode”but I haven’t had my first mug of coffee and there really needs to be a “Sensibility Check”with today’s youf…

I asked to speak to her GDPR Compliance Officer, I’m told that they don’t have one…

I explained what I do for a career, their non-compliance etc.  The story quickly changed to, they have one but they aren’t in today… hmmm… First week of GDPR and your compliance officer takes a well-earned nap… I think someone’s just Billy Bullshitting me and blagging their way through the day.

Eventually the manager comes out to discuss the matter.  I explain that their compliance statement needs separating from marketing where basic practical customer contact is clearly required, and recommend training for staff to not misrepresent GDPR, I’m happy to talk

  • Principle (a) – Lawfulness, fairness and transparency
  • Principle (b) – purpose limitation
  • Chapter III – Articles 12-23

Etc… All day… But I just want my car fixed…

Thankfully, he’s more pragmatic and I returned back to the miserable caffeine deprived loveable ogre I am…

Shrek.jpg

Posted in GDPR, Personal, Security | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Two Ingredient Choc Chip Cookies!

An unusual post for me, I was sorting out the kitchen this week and couldn’t identify half the utensils and tools my wife used for baking, cooking and stuff.  One item didn’t look out of place in Dr Evil’s lair for signalling satellites…

A friends blog https://widowskitchen.wordpress.com has given me some inspiration, you should check her out, her baking skills are legendary!  I thought I’d give this baking nonsense a go, last time I did this was in the 90’s possibly early 2000’s who knows, but how hard can it be right?

So in the style of my friends blog, here’s how I baked a small batch of cookies, it should be fool proof for all levels and especially good if you are looking for an activity to do with your kids!

Stage 1

Foraging for stuff.

  • Get in Car
  • Go to favourite supermarket
  • Buy at least One packet of Cookie Mix
  • Return home
  • Download Tea/Coffee/Beverage and relax watching funny cat clips on youTube.

Stage 2

Getting Started

Had enough of cat videos? You’ll need :-

  • 1 Mixing Bowl
  • 1 Packet of Cookie Mix (Ingredient 1)
  • 30ml water (Ingredient 2)
  • Your favourite Spanking paddle.

IMG_9959.jpg

Stage 3

Assembly

  • Open packet with your favourite Mr Slicey tool and spank the shit out the packets bottom to ensure full discharge to bowl!
  • Make a small indentation in the mix in preparation for waterboarding the m***af***a.
  • Slide the water into the centre hole and ensure your mix is moist before the next step.
  • Apply paddle, in slow gentle motion, increasing speed and firmness whilst you paddle/spank this into submission and you’re left with a ball of gooey mess.

IMG_9965.jpg

IMG_9966.jpg

IMG_9967.jpg

IMG_9968.jpg

Stage 4

Final Touches

Using your fingers or paddle, slip them gently into this mix and separate into gooey balls of pleasure that feel firm enough to play with before slapping them bad boys down on a non-stick pan.

Apply the heat (170 – 190 degrees) Gas Mask 5 for about 10-12 minutes or until you hear the “Safe Word” and pull out before things get too hot…

Move each cookie to a wire tray for cooling and then wait an hour before experiencing oral pleasure!

IMG_9969.jpg

IMG_9970.jpgIMG_9972.jpg

Verdict

Far too sugary

That Betty Crocker sure likes things sweet, in fact too sweet! I did a taste test with a Yankee Doodle friend and her son, and we know the Yanks pour sugar on everything, but these cookies were too sweet for them too!

Conclusion…

I shouldn’t be so feckin’ lazy and do this the way my wife would, which is to source the ingredients separately and organically…

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Wow you’re an amazing Master Chef can we book you for our Party/Gig/Venue.
    • Aww shucks, Flattery and all that, but … No!
  • Was this recipe hard to make?
    • Yes, the hardest part was navigating through the mindless knob heads who clog the isles in the supermarket nattering about the latest Y-Factor TV stuff whilst their feral children use the supermarket as a giant jungle gym and resisting the urge to slap the shit out them and extradite them to the Vegan produce isle…
  • Will you be doing more baking?
    • Probably with the right motivation! (kerching!)
  • You’re amazing will you endorse our product?
    • The official answer is No I don’t endorse or lend my name to products.
      • (Unoffically, call me!  With the right incentive I’m sure we can work it out)
  • Are you the Real Naked Chef?
    • Whoa! steady on there, we’ve only just met.
      • Any short curly hairs found in the finished product *ahem* is coincidental and must be a *cough* manufacturing fault.
  • Are you for real?
    • There has been much philosophical debate about this but if you’re looking for a debate on existentialism and the meaning of life I recommend watching
      “Mel Brooks, The Meaning of Life Part 1…”
Posted in Baking, Grief, Personal | 2 Comments

Strong enough to hold on, brave enough to let go…?

IMG_0590.jpg

Back in 2011 a colleague shown me this phrase she had tattooed, it immediately struck a chord.  The phrase takes many forms and many interpretations within any relationship…  I’ll come back to this later.

Today is Janice’s birthday, as with all milestone events I felt the anxiety build up over the last couple of weeks, it starts subtly and builds up to reduced sleep, irrational thoughts, panic & fear coupled with bouts of lucid thinking, smiles and what can only be described as the new normality.

IMG_5290

The last few days has been particularly stressful, whilst tidying up I stumbled across (What the widowed community call) a grief bomb 💣.  A bottle of Janice’s perfume was secreted in a drawer that I’d carefully put away during a particularly bad spell last year.  On finding it of course I had to have a sniff.  I knew I shouldn’t, I was unable to stop myself.  (If Janice was here now she’d say “Weirdo!” in her comical tone)…

💣Booom… Flashback to happy memories, happier times, travelling on a tram in Budapest.

💣Booom… Walking hand in hand around Rome.

💣Booom… Celebrating her significant birthday in Portugal.

💣Boooommm… Morning cuddles just after waking up.  Janice insisted on her cuddle, she said I’d regret it if anything happened to either of us that day.

I was reduced to a wreck again…

JaniceB - 139.jpg

The next day I was tidying up a hard drive and found an unnamed movie file (looks like it was in the to be processed folder) and out of curiosity loaded the movie up.

💣💣💣Boooom….. Booooom…. Boooommmm… It was footage from our wedding day.  Janice looking gorgeous in her wedding dress, her voice… hearing her voice again, the memories, the day, her voice, the large bottle of Vintage Moet she carried around after the wedding breakfast… her voice so calm and reassuring… So overwhelming it was game over… I curled up into a ball and just let time go by, several hours later I felt able to cope with the basics again.

DSCF0093.jpgI look back at what’s happened over the last year, stories and news missed out on, new friends made on this journey, significant events and just being able to tell you and listen to how each other’s days have been.  Here lies the problem, I realise more and more how much you did for me, how much support you gave me, it’s the little things that we take for granted that I miss the most, your smile, your humour, your ability to make me smile even on bad days.  Just so much you did.

Last year I destroyed your garden by the way… Didn’t know what I was doing, and it needs your green fingered skills and patience.

randomImage-6.jpgI miss you every day, in the early days I used to think of you as being in another room of the house, which then became you’re out shopping, to back from work later that day, to away on a business trip, each justification becoming further apart.

The thing is, I don’t want to accept I’ll never see you again, your smile, always looking out for other people and fixing broken things.  For the first time since you left this world, for just one fleeting moment the thought entered my head that you are gone forever (which is true, I know) that I don’t want to accept, it scared me, the thought of gone forever, maybe that’s why our home is filled with your picture on the walls so I “See you every day”, maybe that’s my coping mechanism, maybe I’m just plain weird…

randomImage-2.jpg

Have you ever found yourself thinking where you are in the world, and like a google map zoom up and out to the home, street, town, city, country, map of the world and go further to the moon, beyond to the planets and see how infinitesimally insignificant you are in relation to the universe, a spec of dust on a spec of dust on a….  you get my drift…

Janice Being Naughty.jpgI don’t want to let go, maybe I’m hanging on too tightly, every scrap of memory, every photograph, music you enjoyed, fulfilling your wishes, I miss you so much, the pain is great, the hole in my heart remains, and here lies the problem, I realise that with everything we went through, the pain, the trauma, how quickly cancer takes over.  It’s not like the Movies or TV with soft emotional music playing in the background, it’s brutal, it awful, it’s cruel, and no one prepares you for the end, I’m not brave, quite the opposite, I have no real choice, I love you, I always will, I’m just not yet brave enough to let go…

xxx

DSCF1917.jpg

Posted in Bereavement, Cancer, Personal | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Good Night Jade, You Are One of Life’s Angels.

Jade1.jpg

I was shocked and sad to learn late Saturday evening my friend and fellow widow passed away on Friday whilst out for a walk.  My thoughts are with her Mum (Debbie), Dad(Bill), Sister(Naomi) and Nephew(Mason) at what will be an extremely difficult time for all.

Jade was an awesome person, she’d gone through such a traumatic experience of losing her fiancé to an aggressive cancer whilst caring for him throughout his illness where lesser people may have just buried their heads in the sand.  Jade was a fighter, caring compassionate and great sense of humour. Jade was heartbroken and masked her grieving among the non-widow community.  She was also one of life’s beautiful souls, both inside and out with a great future ahead of her.

I will miss our conversations, meet ups and banter, though I’ve known you for a relatively short period of time and under awful circumstances.  I know you made a difference to everyone you met and had the ability to make people smile through their grey days.  Always looking out for others, caring, compassionate and genuine.

People always underestimate dealing 24×7 when the person you love the most are suffering from cancer.  It’s not like Hollywood or the TV programs, it’s an extremely cruel disease and yet Jade had strength to push through this. Jade started to blog her experience here https://thisismenow2017.wordpress.com but found writing a difficult experience.

Another Angel taken far too soon, Good Night Jade, I hope you find your peace with Colin.  RIP xxx

Posted in Bereavement, Personal | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Grief Never Forgets…

JaniceBrooks-410.pngI didn’t expect to be caught of by today’s anniversary, but I have, the build up has been bad and the day has knocked me for six…

I still love you, miss you, need you, the pain of losing you grows intensely, our future plans gone, stolen from me, we were meant to spend our lives together, instead you spent yours with me, the absurdity of life is so cruel and unfair.  Others won’t understand this kind of loss, and nor would I want them too, knowing the pain and anguish that awaits everyones future in a happy relationship.

I’ve had various comments from now ex-friends to every day people, who think grief has a time limit, grief can not be solved with some pills, it’s not a disease, but it is very real.  I was told I should be over it at 9 months, the reality is any one suffering will know we don’t get over it, we just try and absorb it, but the grief and loss will follow us until we meet again.

This time two years ago is when our lives would change forever. A week earlier I’d accompanied Janice to the hospital for an appointment to investigate a lump. This appointment was different to the others we’d previously attended over the years. Normally she would be at the breast clinic for an hour or so, and then sent on her way, eventually a letter would be received saying there’s nothing to worry about (Fibroids again)… But this was different… After the mammogram, she was sent for a needle biopsy, blood and other tests were thrown at her that day, waiting on professionals to look, and request other tests.

The needle biopsy clearly hurt her, it wasn’t often she complained of pain and discomfort. Poor girl was in tears. After several hours we were told that results would be available in about a week’s time and an appointment would be made, but don’t worry….

Janice received a phone call the next day, and a follow up date for a clinic appointment was made for a week later. I was worried, but Janice brushed it off and said there’s nothing to worry about it, the outcome will be no different than the times before. That week I was working in Slovakia (Bratislava) and wasn’t able to change the meeting dates with the client, (work wasn’t too happy about that).

I asked Janice to contact her sister or friend to accompany her to the hospital for the test results, but she was adamant she will be fine and nothing to worry about etc. etc. I knew when to stop pushing Janice a long time ago…

JaniceBrooks-412.pngWe’d facetime during the week I was away, but Thursday was different… No facetime, just an audio call… I wasn’t surprised as WiFi was pretty rubbish at the hotel I was staying in. She asked about my day, and carried on as usual, as though nothing happened, she let me prattle on (I assumed everythings ok because she didn’t say anything about her appointment), and … then she said those words that changed our worlds forever…

“I have Cancer” …

Possibly one of the most power statements anyone can make, and hearing those words, shocked me to the very core, my legs buckled beneath me, I fell to the bedroom floor unable to stand, dizzy, numb, shocked, disbelief. I felt cold, my eyes filled with tears, shaking and just wanted to be at home with her, to wrap my arms around her and just be there for her, but I was 1,000 miles away.

Janice was calm, I stuttered my words, my throat felt like it was being squeezed tightly, I was the opposite of calm asked how she felt and what did they say?

She explained, that entering the consultants room, there was a Macmillan nurse and other people present who explained their findings. Triple Negative Breast Cancer, Very Rare and quite large at 6.5cm and that they will be acting quickly on a treatment plan.

Janice talked about the experience, I was still on the floor sobbing, shaking and trying to take it in and shouting No, No, No…. Why Janice? Why her? She said “Why not me?”, My gorgeous wife was calm, I was a wreck, we spoke for another hour and when I calmed down enough I was looking for earlier flights home.

I asked her if she had anyone with her that evening, usually it was quiz night at the local pub, she said no. She’d gone to the appointment on her own.

I can’t imagine what went through her mind when she was given the news. I still feel guilty I wasn’t with her at that appointment, something hindsight will haunt me to the end of days. I felt guilty I wasn’t with her to receive such awful news, that’s what husbands do isn’t it?

I said call your sister, she said no, she had to tell her mum first but she was away on holiday. I said call your friend Theresa (Theresa was coming up to 5 years clear of her Breast Cancer), Janice said, she’s probably busy. I said explain I’m sure she will find time for you but take a taxi and I’ll pay.

Janice went over to Theresa’s that night so thankfully she wasn’t alone, the rest of the evening I remained in shock, tears, couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, wanted to scream and tell the whole world, but Janice was a private person. It was a bad night as I was worried, scared, feeling helpless, a thousand miles away and no earlier flight than my BA flight the next day at lunchtime.

In the morning, I showered, already packed, couldn’t face breakfast (not good for a diabetic), my driver picked me up from the hotel and talked as he had done all week, I tried holding back the tears since I didn’t want news to travel within the office. I arrive at Vienna airport, still shocked, spoke to Janice when WiFi was working, boarded my flight and was picked up by my driver at Heathrow and headed home.

JaniceBrooks-315.pngJanice always GPS tracked me on my phone and knew when I was arriving home, she was waiting at the doorstep as the car pulled up. She had a nervous sile on her face. I gathered my cases and walked up to the front door, waited until we were inside, dropped everything and gave a big long hug, whilst we were both in tears.

I made drinks, we sat on the sofa as she explained what happened in the last 24 hours. Janice is one of the bravest people I know, she’d gone through a lot, and processed a lot of information in that 24hours. I couldn’t say the ‘C’ word, but Janice made me, she insisted I called the illness by its name. I didn’t want to acknowledge it, I couldn’t believe this would happen to her, one of the kindest and considerate people I’ve known.

Janice said, you must promise me you won’t research this, google it or give me statistics or treatment information. She knew me well enough that I couldn’t keep such a promise, it’s my nature to research…. I’d already looked up breast cancer. For her age, statistically treatments were 92% effective and you’d have to be pretty unlucky to be in the 8%. So I was feeling optimistic for her future, knowing it was going to be tough (understatement) but they will treat her and she will be well.

I felt as optimistic as Janice was, and various appointments started that Monday morning to attend. I attended every appointment bar 3 with her, the first I missed being in Slovakia, the other two at her request.

We had to wait until the Sunday before travelling up north to her parents to break the news. Janice was so scared, she didn’t know how they would take the news, how they would react. I’ve never seen Janice scared of anything until this, the act of telling her family.

To be continued…

IMG_4004.png

Posted in Cancer, Grief, Personal | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment