Jack’s 8th Birthday

On the 30th September, Jack turned 8, so we invited family over for tea & cake in his honour.
His cake of choice was a Chocolate Orange Biscuit cake, the recipe for which he discovered whilst himself & Caoimhe were devouring the Children’s Birthday Party section of award winning blogger, Nessa Robins, fabulous first book, ‘Apron Strings’ Upon discovering that Nessa’s own son Jack had this cake for his 8th, it was simply a no brainer for our Jack, this is the cake for 8 year old boys!
He also requested ‘Jack’s Party Popcorn’, which Nessa’s son created, features in the book and is very…very moreish!


Chocolate Orange Biscuit Cake


300g Marietta Biscuits (I used Rich Tea as I happened to have a few packets stashed away!)
250g Dark Chocolate (I used Milk Chocolate as Jack doesn’t like dark)
100g Butter melted
1tsp Drinking Chocolate
½ tsp Orange Extract*
1 Tin Condensed Milk


 100g Milk Chocolate, melted
½ an Orange, zest only




Roughly crush the biscuits in a bowl

Melt the chocolate, butter & drinking chocolate together in a large bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from the heat, and then stir in the orange extract and condensed milk.

Pour this chocolate mixture over the bowl of biscuits and stir well to combine all the ingredients

Line a 2lb loaf tin with cling film and spoon the mixture into it. Place the tin in the fridge to set for at least 2 hours

Place on a serving plate & drizzle with the melted chocolate and grate over the zest of half an orange.

The cake will keep in the fridge for three days……………..unless you live here in which case it was devoured quite quickly!

* I couldn’t get orange extract in my local supermarket so instead I went to where I got tangerine oil which worked beautifully.



Jack’s Party Popcorn

 No party would be complete without Nessa’s son Jack’s super popcorn.
50g Popcorn
Handful of M&M’s
Handful of Smarties
50g White Chocolate





Put the popcorn & sweets into a bowl

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of hot water

Pour the melted chocolate over the popcorn and sweets, stir well

Spoon the mixture into a large container & place in a fridge for an hour.

Remove from the fridge, break into chunks and enjoy.


A word about Apron Strings

Whilst looking through my copy of Apron Strings with Jack, Caoimhe declared, ‘You know Mam, this is more than just a cookbook’, and how right she is.
From the heartwarming title, little Millie lighting up the cover, the stunning photography, a wealth of information from home remedies to keeping hens, and the sincerity in the words within, Apron Strings is indeed more than just a cookbook, Nessa Robins welcomes the reader to share in her life right through from childhood to present day.
This book is a celebration of family life, with tales of recipes passed down from her mother to Nessa’s own recipes that she will pass onto her children; and then there is the Gingerbread, which for me, almost completes this book, it brings it all together and I don’t think it would be quite the same without it.
A superb debut cookbook and I along with many others look forward to seeing what wonderful recipes Nessa will bring together to adorn our bookshelves in the future.


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