How cool are these amazing cakes by local mum Nicola Garraway?
She has set up a bespoke fairy cake business delivering to families in Hillingdon the most stunning decorated themed cup cakes you will ever see. Usually home-made cakes disappear in a matter of minutes in the office but this stunning box of cakes lasted all day because no one wanted to ruin the hard work that had gone into these creations! It seemed a shame to eat them and ruin the lovely display. Each cake was a mini Christmas masterpiece, from a snowman made out of a marshmallow to Rudolph with his chocolate antlers and strawberry jelly nose. Priced from £1 a cake, they are excellent value and the perfect hostess gift that you can take with you when you descend on friends and family during the festive period.
Nicola has two children aged four and 10 and had always decorated fairy cakes for their birthdays. It was only when her children started school and she volunteered to make some treats for fundraising cake sales at school that she realised she had a real talent and the other mums told her they would pay for cakes like hers. (I wonder how many have since bought them and passed them off as their own creations!!)
Nicola needs two weeks' notice to make the cakes but will deliver anywhere in the local area. She can create fairy cakes for any themed party you are having, from High School Musical and football shirts and boots, to named fairy cakes. Birthday cake often gets thrown away in our house, but this would be eaten in the car on the way home - guaranteed. To contact Cakes By Nicola, call 01895 812 775 or 07817 228 205.
I bet Nicola's house smells amazing with scrummy fairy cakes constantly in the oven.
I returned home recently to the welcoming smell emanating from the kitchen of a delicious chicken casserole that had been cooking slowly all day.
My credit crunch purchase of an electric slow cooker had done its job and managed to turn a pack of uninspiring chicken thigh fillets, some raw vegetables and a liberal dose of white wine into a delicious and warming dinner.
It seems slow cookers, popular with our parents' generation, are becoming the must-have item for busy parents. They don't cost a bomb, you can cook a meal for less than running a light bulb and cheaper cuts of meat will be slowly transformed into gastronomic masterpieces. As well as casseroles, I've even found recipes online for lasagne, soups and steamed sponges that I'm going to try. For the latter, you fill the cooker with water, place your sponge mixture in a bowl inside and let it steam away. You can even cook your Christmas pudding this way apparently! The only down side is having to prepare the ingredients at breakfast time - but this far outweighs the pleasure of having a family meal on the table the minute you get home!
Cathy's recommended family event
Dogs Trust Christmas Fayre Sunday, November 30 11am to 4pm
YOU surely can't resist a family visit to Santa Paws and his Rein-Dogs in their Grotto;
I know my dog-mad son, Alex, is going to love it.
It's at the trust's West London Rehoming Centre at Highway Farm, Harvil Road, Harefield. There will be a choir and brass quintet, all the usual Christmas activities as well as a doggy deli and doggy games.
Entry is £1.50 for adults, 50p for children and OAPs.
For more information, call 01895 453 951.