The Student Cookbook: a.k.a. “How Do I Make This Mum?” : The Fishcake Edition

Offspring#2 heads off to Edinburgh University next weekend.

He’s going to be staying in a shared flat in the centre of town and is nervously looking forward to it.

Obviously, part of the planning; alongside getting a place (the hardest part of that was actually making a decision, as he received four unconditional offers!!), sorting funding, applying for accomodation, and buying duvets, dishes & desk cacti; is making sure he can feed himself!

Operation: Mum’s Student Cookbook is well underway (although, whilst #1’s recipes were all painstakingly handwritten in her book, he’s gone all high-tech with Google docs) and we’re working on a batch of multi-purpose or mix & match recipes.

Tonight’s experiment was fishcakes, they turned out well, and he has already added a list of possible variations.

We had a couple of tins of red salmon loitering in the cupboard so decided to use those up in these easy Salmon, Spring Onion, Chilli, and Coriander Fishcakes.


  • 2 large or four medium potatoes; peeled & diced (or 250g leftover mash)
  • 1 tin salmon; drained, flaked, & bones removed
  • 1 red chilli; de-seeded & finely chopped
  • 2-3 spring onions, chopped
  • Handful of coriander; roughly chopped
  • Salt & pepper
  • Flour
  • 1-2 eggs; beaten
  • 100g breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbspn butter
  • 2 tbspn olive oil


  1. Boil potatoes until soft, drain & mash.
  2. Combine mash, salmon, chilli, spring onion, & coriander; and season.
  3. Form into palm-sized patties.
  4. Coat in flour, dip in egg, & cover with breadcrumbs.
  5. Heat butter & oil in a frying pan, over a medium heat.
  6. Add fishcakes, and fry for a few minutes on each side, until golden brown.

Enjoy with salad & crusty bread, or your choice of vegetables.

Yeild & Storage

This recipe will give 4-6 decent sized fishcake, enough as a main meal for two; alternatively, save half for another day.

Uncooked fishcakes can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days or wrapped and frozen for 2-3 months.
Personally, I prefer to fry until golden then cool añd freeze. Cook from frozen in a preheated 180°C oven for 20-35 minutes depending on the size.


Tinned Tuna & Sweetcorn

Smoked Salmon, with Thai flavouring

Cod & Chorizo

Prawn with Chilli, Garlic, Ginger, and Spring Onion

Smoked Haddock and Mature Cheddar

Omit the fish altogether; and have Cheese, Leek, and Spring Onion Potato Cakes for a vegetarian-flatmate-friendly feed

Are you a fan of fishcakes? What’s your favourite flavour? If you try these, or have any student-friendly recipes, I (we!) would love to hear below!

As always,

Thanks for stopping by!


Crafty xxx


A Slice of Birthday Fun(fetti)

So, this week brought Offspring#2’s eighteenth birthday (how did that happen?!?!) and of course, that meant cake!

A lot of my cakes start with the same base recipe. It originally came from a 1963 edition of a Brownie Guide cookbook, and so far it has yet to fail me!

The Recipe

This is a ‘weight of an egg cake’, you use the same weight of all your ingredients, obviously starting with your eggs!

For this particular cake, I used half a dozen eggs, weighing a total of 365g (it is important that you weigh whole eggs! Offspring#1 once made the mistake of weighing the contents, making the mixture too runny, and ended up with more of a raspberry quiche than a sponge).

  • Cream together butter & caster sugar.
  • Add eggs, one at a time. Alternate with a spoonful of your flour between each egg.
  • Fold in a third of the remaining sieved self-raising flour, repeat with the last two thirds.
  • Stir in 80-100g brightly coloured hundreds & thousands.
  • Split the mixture equally between two greased & lined tins.
  • Bake at 180°C for approximately 25-35 minutes.
  • Remove from tins, and transfer to a cooling rack.
  • When completely cool, split each cake in half horizontally; giving you four layers.
  • Sandwich together with buttercream & jam.
  • Decorate top with piped rosettes of buttercream and sprinkle with hundreds & thousands.


          • Coffee & Walnut : whisk in a shot of coffee before folding in the flour and replace the hundreds & thousands with chopped walnuts. Decorate with coffee buttercream & walnut halves.
          • Lemon : add lemon essence & zest before folding in the flour, flavour buttercream with lemon, replace the jam with lemon curd and sprinkle top with lemon zest.
          • Chocolate & Raspberry : sieve 50g of cocoa along with flour, replace the hundreds & thousands with freeze-dried raspberries, or frozen raspberries; fill with chocolate buttercream & raspberry jam; decorate with fresh raspberries.

          Do you have a go-to recipe that never fails you? I’d love to hear about it!

          Thanks for stopping by; now, I’m off for a cuppa & the last slice of cake. 

          Crafty xx

          [Book Review] TREAT YOURSELF! by Jessica Siskin

          TITLE: Treat Yourself!

          AUTHOR: Jessica Siskin

          PUBLISHED BY: Workman Publishing Company

          PUBLICATION DATE: 27 June 2017

          EDITION: Paperback

          GENRE: Cookery, Crafts & Hobbies, Food & Wine

          ISBN: 9780761189800

          PRICE: $14.95 (USD)

          Jessica Siskin, AKA talented food artist; and Instagram sensation; @mister_krisp, invites you to ‘Treat Yourself!’ in this beautifully photographed & easy to follow book detailing 

          “How to make 93 ridiculously fun no-bake crispy rice treats”

          About The Book

          One of the first things I noticed was the copious amount of clear photographs spread through the book. The instructions themselves are detailed yet concise and each stage is accompanied by a corresponding photo. 

          The opening chapters include an introduction from the author, explaining a bit about how and why she got into Rice Krispie Treat modelling, and detailed descriptions of the equipment and ingredients necessary. Everything is well documented, with additional links, recommendations, and hints & tips where appropriate.

          Another genius idea is that every single treat uses the same basic recipe. In the introductory part of the book, Jessica supplies us with a helpful table listing how many cups, tablespoons & drops are required to make batches of set sizes (named A-H for ease)

          Each individual​ recipe then states which size batches you need and which colouring drops are required. 

          The writing style is friendly and easy to read, chatty and full of puns, it’s like reading a letter from a friend.

          The Recipes

          The recipes themselves are laid out alphabetically; starting with Apples and a ridiculously realistic looking 11 inch tall Avocado, includes Balloons, a BBQ complete with kebabs, a dinosaur, lollipops, a piñata, a star-spangled wizard’s hat, and of course finishing up with a Zebra. 

          There are even instructions for how to make Yourself  out of Rice Krispie Treats. I repeat, MAKE YOURSELF, OUT OF RICE KRISPIE TREATS. We’ve all seen those cakes with the photo of the birthday girl/boy/dog printed on top, but imagine the look on their face when they see themselves; in all their Krispie treats glory; taking centre stage at the party! (Coincidentally, this book is published the same day Offspring#2 turns 18. I’m already looking for a suitable snapshot to utilise this idea!)

          The individual recipes are easy to follow, each step is clearly explained and any additional equipment or decorating ingredients are detailed at the beginning, alongside the required number of differently sized & coloured batches. The top of each page is also clearly marked denoting how hard each particular build is; bearing Easy, Medium or Advanced coloured banners. 

          Also included are traceable (or downloadable) templates to make moulding your shapes easier. They are easily transferable to the reverse of baking parchment, then you can set to work moulding each batch of mixture.

          How Did I Get On?

          Of course, I had to give it a try, and since I was reading this book over National Doughnut Week (6-13 May), I just had to plump for misterkrisps Donuts recipe.

           I used chocolate crispies and didn’t add colour to the mix, if I was doing this again, I would probably add brown colouring or cocoa to my mallow mix.

          I had 6 mini donut silicone moulds, so I used those. A ‘G’ Batch of mix filled those, plus I had enough left to mould 2 more by hand.

          Half were iced with melted dark chocolate before being dusted with glitter sugar & coloured sprinkles, whilst I topped the remaining four with a coat of pink candy-melts and a drizzle of milk chocolate.

          Jessica’s instructions were simple to follow and the opening chapters even include photographs of what the contents of your saucepan should look like at each stage, along with appropriate timings for a midsized batch. Speaking of which, I cannot believe how easy the cleanup was at the end; I filled my saucepan with hot soapy water whilst I put away my extra marshmallows etc and when I came back to it 5 minutes later, the remaining butter/marshmallow/crispie mix just wiped off!! 

          What Did The Victims Think?

          The Other Half: “Yummy!” and “mmmm..marshmallow-y”

          Offspring#1: “I liked them, I guess!?!”

          Offspring#2: “They were some good doughnuts” whilst simultaneously reaching for a second

          & Me? I found it a bit on the sweet side but yummy, and I’m sure I’ll be making lots more Rice Krispie Treats in the coming months!


          I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars, as it is a real treat for the eyes as well as the taste buds! 

          Disclosure: A free ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

          As always, thanks for stopping by! Hope to see you here again soon, and in the meantime; have you tried anything from an interesting new recipe book lately, or have you got an old favourite to share? 


          Crafty xx

          Happy Easter (are you sick of chocolate egg yet?)

          You know how it is…

          The kids get eleventy-billion Easter eggs and whilst everyone likes a crème egg (or 10) there’s only so many you can eat before you are sick of the sight of them (or just plain sick!).

          So you end up looking for other ways to eat them.
          Drumroll please….
          I bring you….

          Super easy to make, you just melt some egg chocolate, spread it on a baking paper lined tray and sprinkle with your choice of toppings. Leave it to set before cutting or breaking into shards.

          Plus, it will keep in an airtight container for at least a week, or a month or so in the fridge.
          You can find (slightly) more indepth instructions in my Christmas Bark post.

          This batch used a base of regular egg chocolate and was topped with Smarties mini eggs plus a sprinkle of coloured sugar dots, edible glitter & some popping candy.

          I hope you give it a try, please let me know if you do!!


           Crafty xx 

          Last Minute Christmas

          So…it’s less than a week to go, and our preparations are waaayyyy behind. This is nothing new. Our tree has finally gone up on Christmas Eve on more than one occasion. We are often to be found still wrapping gifts at 4 am on Christmas morning.

          But… Ya know what? My kids have never not had a Christmas yet!!

          So in honour of any other procrastinators out there, I am bringing you a week’s worth of Last Minute Christmas ideas; that are quick, cheap, but nonetheless amazingly impressive, and will keep your domestic goddess status intact.
          Recent weeks have been a whirlwind of events, between kids exams, concerts, nights out etc and the odd evening in needs something chocolatey to veg out in front of the telly with. But, you have all these other things needing done so can’t really justify spending hours tempering chocolate, right!?

          Well, I have the answer: 

          5-10 minutes prep time, a few ££s of ingredients and you have enough sweet treats to put yourself into a coma on the sofa AND bag some up for some rather impressive looking gifts.


          So, just how easy is it?.. I hear you ask!?

          • Firstly, line a baking tray with paper.
          • Melt some chocolate & spread it across paper
          • Add some toppings

          SERIOUSLY!!! That’s it!!

          *For stuff like the peppermint one:

          Melt chocolate, pour onto sheet & spread out. If doing 2 layers, leave to set slightly (5 mins) before repeating with next choc.

          Immediately sprinkle with choice of topping, press in place. Allow to set, then cut or snap into shards.
          *For the cranberry & pistachio style: 

          melt choc, stir half the topping stuff through, & spread on paper, then sprinkle remaining stuff on top & press in.


          *Works with any type of chocolate.

          *Any toppings: dried fruits, nuts, crushed candy cane, space dust, mini marshmallows, m&ms, hundreds & thousands….
          *You can marble two chocs rather than setting in layers
          Will keep in an airtight container for a week or fridge for a month.
          What combination do you fancy? What flavour do you try? Let me know!! Comment below, or tag me on social media if you share pictures.

          See you tomorrow with another idea!

          Flippin’eck! It’s Pancake Day!!

          Pancake Day (also known as Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday; if you are so inclined) is traditionally celebrated on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday; which signals the beginning of Lent.

          Shrove, derived from the word shrive, meaning to confess; was traditionally a time for Christians to confess & serve penance (not being religious, I’m afraid we just serve pancakes!)

          Pancakes were traditionally eaten on Shrove Tuesday, as they used up a lot of eggs, milk & sugar; rich ingredients which were omitted from your menu for the duration of the 40-day long fast.


          Of course, like so many other events throughout the calendar, the Christians weren’t the first kids on the block to celebrate it.

          Pagan festivities included eating these delicious warm round sun-like cakes in the belief that it would invoke the gods of Spring and fertility, and banish the cold dark winter months. Which sounds pretty good to me!!

          Anyway, as I mentioned, we aren’t a religious family; we do however usually make pancakes on Pancake Day.
          We used to do it when the kiddos were…well…kiddos; in fact Teen2 was a bit miffed last year that we didn’t (the fact that this was probably due to the fact that it was one of those nights where he had three social engagements between school & bed was almost definitely lost on him!) and its a tradition that has carried on.

          Usually we make thinnish crepe-like pancakes, and everyone takes a turn of flipping or tossing theirs in the pan.

          When I was young, my parents told me it was good luck if you managed to get your pancake to somersault in the air and land back flat in the pan.
          I had no basis to believe or disprove this, so decided it was most definitely true.
          Teen2 may disagree after the year he grabbed the hot pan rather than the plastic insulated handle and ended up with a trip to A&E (I know, I’m a terrible mother!) but I still stand by my belief that it is most definitely lucky.

          TOP THAT!

          After the making and the tossing, the next step is the topping.

          Usually this starts rather sensibly, with a sprinkling of sugar and a dash of lemon juice; or perhaps a spread of jam, maybe even a drizzle of honey or syrup.
          But, before long, Someone instigates nonsense and they end up covered in all sorts of things…
          Generally there is a combination featuring some (or all!) of the following…

          Ice cream
          Cherry pie filling
          Lemon juice
          Whipped cream
          Marshmallow fluff
          Chopped nuts

          …and anything else He thinks he would get away with!!


          If I remember correctly; this monstrosity contained ice cream, hazelnut chocolate spread, sliced banana, chocolate syrup, whipped cream & chopped nuts; a few years back.


          This year, instead of our usual large thin pancakes; we had Scotch Pancakes.
          This was not a decision made through some patriotic fervour; in actual fact, I was running low on flour after making a couple of batches of pizza recently.


          TheTeens were suitably impressed that their mum actually knew how to make Scotch Pancakes, something normally just bought and eaten from supermarket packets and; after revering me as a living god; polished off *some*



          200g Self-raising Flour
          100g Caster Sugar
          Pinch Salt
          2 Eggs
          120ml Milk

          (If you don’t have SR flour, replace with 200g plain and add 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder)

          How To:

          Sieve flour, sugar, salt (& baking powder if using) into a bowl.
          Make a well in the middle, crack in the eggs, add the milk, and mix.

          The batter will be thicker than a regular pancake batter, but not as dense as a cake batter.


          Allow to stand for 20 minutes then heat a lightly greased frying pan over a medium heat.

          Drop a tablespoon of batter onto the pan for each pancake. You will fit 2-4 in a regular size pan.


          Once the top has evenly bubbled, flip them over


          Repeat until you have used all the batter.

          You can keep them warm on a tray in a low-heated oven, whilst you finish cooking the rest.

          Ready to eat? Time for TOPPINGS!!


          Jam & Cream


          Marshmallow fluff





          They made me do extras, so they could have some for breakfast tomorrow (totally against the rules of Lent)

          Do you have any Pancake Day traditions?
          Perhaps a favourite pancake recipe or topping?
          Please share! And, as always, thanks for stopping by!
          The Crafty Lass

          Carrot Cake

          Whilst tidying out the fridge prior to going shopping, I realized we had a surfeit of carrots (Like 2 kilo bags).

          I think the problem was heading to Tesco around 9pm one night and grabbing a bunch of reduced to clear veg….carrots were 5p, pairs of avocados 2p (we’ve been eating homemade guacamole by the bucketload).

          Anyway, as we also had a glut of walnuts (thanks to a previous haul of reductions!) I quickly concluded that a Carrot Cake was definitely the way to go.

          As it turned out there were still carrots left, so I popped the remainder through the food processor with the other veg that was lurking in the salad drawer, a few chillis, & a chunk of ginger and rustled up a pot of Asian-inspired soup.

          Now, usually I’m a weigher rather than a measurer. This may surprise you, given my proclivity for quick & easy shortcuts, but I just prefer scales to cups.
          My digital kitchen scales are ancient, I think I bought them the summer we moved in here (15 years ago) and I use them ALL the time; for cooking, baking, checking postage.
          The batteries have been a bit iffy recently and up until now I’ve got away with taking them out & giving them a quick rub (WHY does that work? Is there actual legitimate science behind it? Or is it just MAJYK?)

          Finally, today they just wouldnt start up; and unsurprisingly; the particular batteries it needed were the one type we didn’t have, so I found myself converting my metric amounts into cups – which felt pretty weird, as normally I’m doing it the other way round!



          • 2 cups Self-Raising Flour (250g)
          • 2 cups Caster Sugar (400g)
          • 1 tablespoon Ground Cinnamon
          • Vegetable Oil (350ml)
          • 4 eggs
          • 2 1/2 cups grated Carrots (350g)
          • 1 cup chopped Walnuts (120g)


          • 1 cup Cream Cheese (225g)
          • 1/2 cup Margarine (110g)
          • 4 cups Icing Sugar (450g)
          • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
          • 1 cup chopped Walnuts (120g) (optional)


          1. Preheat oven to 180C / 350F / Gas Mark 4
          2. Grease & line 2x 23cm cake tins
          3. In a bowl; combine flour, sugar & cinnamon IMG_20150822_144050694
          4. Add oil & eggs IMG_20150822_145148686
          5. Stir in carrots & walnuts IMG_20150822_145846043
          6. Distribute evenly between the tins IMG_20150822_150503327
          7. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a skewer; inserted in the centre; comes out clean
          8. Remove from oven & allow to cool
          9. To make the frosting; whisk together the cream cheese, marg, vanilla & icing sugar then incorporate the additional nuts if using IMG_20150822_214427247
          10. If your cakes are firm enough, split them both in half horizontally, giving you four layers of cake to build with (on this occasion, mine were too crumbly)
          11. Spread one cake with a generous layer of frosting before sandwiching another on top and adding another layer of frosting.
          12. Repeat, finishing with a final layer of frosting and adding your choice of decoration:
          • additional walnuts
          • Marzipan or fondant carrots
          • Grated orange zest

          Do you have a favourite recipe for using up leftover ingredients? Please share in the comments!

          Also, I’d love to hear if you try this one! 

          And perhaps yours won’t collapse like mine did…

          I wasn’t going to add this picture, but in the spirit of honesty and to show that we all have shameful disasters in the kitchen; THIS is what happened as I went to take a picture:



          It still tasted fantastic though!


          I think I might turn the rest into cake balls & coat them in melted white chocolate.