ChillFactor Milkshake Maker {Review}

Milkshake Maker

We love kitchen gadgets around here, even if they are just for kids in the kitchen, so we were excited to try the ChillFactor Frozen Milkshake Maker – a cup with a handle and blades to turn any milky drink into a milkshake in just minutes.Milkshake MakerThe Milkshake Maker consists of five parts – the cup, the cooling pouch, the lid and blades and the washer (to prevent leaks). There’s also a spoon – slash – straw to drink or eat with.

Assembly is simple. Just pop the cooling bag inside, place the washer above and screw the lid with the blades in place.  Pop the Milkshake Maker in the freezer for 4 – 6 hours, or overnight, and you’re good to go.


When you’re ready to make your first milkshake, simply open it up, pour the milk in, and close it up again. Stir for about 30 seconds, then – making sure the straw lid is closed – shake it a little. Apparently, this makes it more bubbly. Then you can spin it around for another minute or so, and you’re ready to eat!

Our favourite “recipe” so far is, unsurprisingly, a chocolate milkshake:

Chocolate Milkshake Maker Recipe:

ChillFactor Milkshake Maker {Review}
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 1 cup
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon icing sugar
  1. Remove the ChillFactor Milkshake Maker from the freezer. Pour in a cup of milk, and quickly add the cocoa powder and icing sugar.
  2. Close the lid with the blades in place and rotate for 30 seconds.
  3. Make sure the straw hole is closed, and shake for 20 seconds.
  4. Rotate again for another 60 - 90 seconds (although I find that doing it for less makes more of an ice cream, which we like too.)
  5. Remove the blades, insert the straw, and enjoy!

I think this milkshake maker is a huge improvement on the slushie maker we already have – it’s easier to do and I like the end result better too – although I haven’t tried it with non-dairy products.

If I could have an improvement on it, I’d want to be able to just freeze the cooling pouch to save space in the freezer, but I’m not sure if that would work – there’s nothing on the packaging to say you can’t but I suspect it could damage it, so maybe we’ll not try it.

Overall, the ChillFactor Milkshake Maker is a fun bit of kit that the kids love to get involved with. It may be making it’s way to the cupboard now for the next few months, but will be pulled back into service as soon as spring arrives again.

The ChillFactor Milkshake Maker is available from Character-Online for £9.99.


Portuguese Rolls Recipe

If you want to truly torture a South African expat* ask them about Prego Rolls.

For a moment you’ll see a memory pass across their eyes. And if you were so inclined you could measure their spit production, because for most of us, there’ll be an immediate saliva release – drooling – in anticipation of something good. It’s practically Pavlovian .

The memory will most likely include Saturday mornings heading down to Pick n Pay to buy groceries, and stopping outside to pick up a Prego Roll from someone making them (and possibly pancakes) for a school, church or youth group fund raiser. Or just a family side business. Or if you weren’t a Saturday shopper, you’d find someone at the local fete selling them. Even our local Tuis Neiwerheid (popular home industries shops) used to  specially make them on a Saturday.

Portuguese Rolls

I’ve tried to make my own Prego Rolls over the many, many years I’ve been in the UK, but it’s never quite the same. I think you need that dry sand smell, baking sun on your back and maybe a Savannah to wash it all down with to completely complete the experience. Well. You do the best you can with what you have.

A lot of people don’t know this, but South Africa has quite a strong Portuguese influence. In school we were taught that Jan van Riebeeck ‘founded’ South Africa in 1652 – which I always took to mean he discovered it. It was only later that I realised that actually the first ‘discoverer’ of South Africa was Bartolomeu Dias – a Portuguese explorer, all the way back in 1488.

Remember this: “In 1652, het die wind gewaai, toe kom ek met my skippie in by Tafelbaai. Die wind het so gewaai, ons was almal op ‘n klomp. En so kry hy die naam die Kaap van Storms.”

So why the history lesson? Well, most people have eaten or at least seen a Nando’s restaurant at some point. Did you know that it was a chain started in South Africa? By a Portuguese South African. It is to South African food what curry is to British food! People should know this! **

Prego Rolls are Portuguese Rolls – Carcaças Rápidas – dusted in flour, filled with red wine and garlic marinated flash fried steaks, topped with piri piri sauce – or not, and aragula (rocket) – or not. It all depends on who is making and who is eating.  Hmmm.. drooling, yep, drooling here.

A few years ago I was living temporarily in Australia, and trying to convince a friend that she needed a Thermomix®. Her husband, Jimmy, was very against it, and highly disbelieving when I told him he could even make Portuguese Rolls in it. (Jimmy is from Mozambique. His mother lives with them, and speaks only Portuguese). Jimmy didn’t believe I could make the rolls in the Thermomix®, so when we had a New Year’s picnic a few weeks later, I took along a basket of fresh Portuguese Rolls (those in the picture). Jimmy couldn’t believe I’d made them in the Thermomix®. I did see him have two! (Jenny and Jimmy now own a Thermomix®!) JimmySo, how do you make these delicious, soft, crusty, light and fluffy Portuguese Rolls?

Here’s the recipe I use!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Portuguese Rolls
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: European, Portuguese, Bread
Serves: 12
  • 200g warm water
  • 120g milk
  • 20g butter (or vegetable oil)
  • 2 (5ml) teaspoons dried yeast
  • 5g sugar
  • 500g baker's flour (strong white bread flour)
  • 1.5 tsp salt (5ml teaspoon)
  1. Add the water, milk, butter (or oil), yeast and sugar to the Thermomix® bowl
  2. Bloom for 2 mins/37C/Speed 2. (NO MC)
  3. Add the flour and the salt.
  4. Mix for 3 mins on the dough setting.
  5. In the meantime prepare a glass bowl or Thermoserver by sprinkling flour into it and swirling it around. Add the kneaded dough and set aside until it doubles in size - around 30 - 40 mins.
  6. Divide the dough into 12 parts and form a ball from each. Place on a flour dusted oven tray and flour each breadroll too.
  7. Cut a slash into each breadroll from one side to the other, and leave it for another 30 minutes or until it's looking nice and puffy again. Heat the oven to 180C
  8. Bake for 10 mins until it looks lightly browned, and allow to cool slightly.
  9. Save for later, or eat straight away with melted butter.
Regular Instructions
  1. Add the water, milk, butter (or oil) and yeast and sugar to a bowl and set aside for up to 10 mins.
  2. Add the flour and salt and mix to combine.
  3. Knead on a floured surface for 10 minutes, until the dough is no longer sticky and pliable.
  4. Set aside for 30 minutes till doubled in size.
  5. Split the dough into 12, form balls and slice slashes into each ball. Place on a floured surface and sprinkle flour on top.
  6. Set aside for another 30 minutes.
  7. Pre-heat the oven to 180C and bake for 10 minutes
  8. Leave to cool slightly before serving


*most of us. obviously we’re not all exactly the same.

** I’m really touch on this point. I have no idea why.

Chocolate Cranberry Muffins (Egg-Free)

Chocolate Cranberry Muffins

I’ve been making muffins a lot lately, because they’re a really easy way to fill the kids up when they’re hungry thirty-seven million They are pretty quick to make while I’m making breakfast, and then they can snack for the rest of the morning. Of course these have too much sugar for that to be a sustainable idea, but we’re calling it a Christmas treat.

These are really only egg-free because I ran out, but the banana binds it together. If you want to use egg, substitute the banana for two eggs.

These have dried cranberries in, but you can substitute that as you wish – raisins or choc chips, both work well.

With the banana in these do have a little bit of a banana taste, but chocolate and banana work well anyway.Chocolate Cranberry Muffins

Chocolate Cranberry Muffins (Egg-Free)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: Breakfast, Snacks
Serves: 12
  • 280g self-raising flour
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 70g olive oil
  • 1 banana
  • 200g milk
  • handful of dried cranberries - more or less depending on taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C
  2. Add all the ingredients to the Thermomix® bowl, except the cranberries
  3. Mix speed 4/ 60 seconds
  4. Add the cranberries
  5. Scoop out into 12 large or 36 small muffin cases and bake for 10 - 20 minutes, depending on the size of the muffins.
  6. Find the largest muffin and stick a knife into it. If it comes out clean, it's ready.


Nutella Banana Muffin Recipe

Nutella Banana Cupcakes

It’s nutella and banana. Do you need any more convincing? I have a banana bread recipe that I love and use often, but sometime a little something different doesn’t hurt!

Nutella Banana Cupcakes

I would recommend using deeper muffin pans than the ones I used for these, as being able to cover the nutella completely is a bit more ideal, but it’s not the end of the world if you don’t.

Leaving the chocolate exposed will give it a crunch top layer, covering it will give you more oozy, yummy chocolatey goodness.

Nutella Banana MuffinsNow, I’m saying use Nutella here, because it’s a name most people recognise, but you can of course substitute for other chocolate spread, including a home made one. 

These are really delicious, moist and tasty. I hope you enjoy them too!

Nutella Banana Muffin
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Adjust the Nutella, or home made Nutella, for more or less chocolatey centres.
Recipe type: Treats, Snacks, Deserts
Serves: 12
  • 180g self raising flour
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 100g sugar
  • 80g oil (not olive)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 bananas
  • 100g milk
  • 120g Nutella
  1. Preheat oven to 180C
  2. Prepare your muffin pans
  3. Add all the ingredients except Nutella and mix at speed 5 for 10 - 15 seconds to make sure it's all blended.
  4. Spoon into muffin cases, and drop a little less than a full tablespoon of Nutella into each muffin case.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes to 45 mins, sticking a skewer in every 10 minutes after 20 minutes till it comes out clean.The size of your muffin tray is going to determine how long these takes, hence the variable time.
  6. Remove from muffin trays onto a wire rack, and leave to cool.


Pastel De Nata – Portuguese Custard Tarts Recipe

Our family had some pretty amazing travel plans for this year, and if things hadn’t gone as  they did, we’d be setting off from Sintra near Lisbon in Portugal roundabout now, for Spain. One of the things I remember from a previous visit to Portugal is Pastel de Nata – Custard Tarts – which are delicious sweet baked custard tarts in a puff pastry shell.Pastel de nata - Portuguese Custard Tarts If you’re a fan of the Nando’s restaurant chain, you may recognise these as one of the only desert options on the menu, but I’ve never been a fan of them! There’s nothing quite like fresh, home made tarts. It just wins out. No surprises there, I suppose.

Pastel de nata - Portuguese Custard Tarts

I’d like to be all holier-than-though, but I actually bought this puff pastry, because as Lorraine Pascale, James Martin and Jamie Oliver all say – there’s no reason not to! Especially if you buy the all butter pastry. It’s about £1 more than the ‘normal’ one, but it’s so much better, with a much nicer taste and no bitter aftertaste. It’s well worth paying that bit extra.

If you are going to make it, have a look at this easy puff pastry recipe from Jane at Why Is There Air?

Pastel de nata - Portuguese Custard Tarts

Sprinkle the icing sugar before you’re going to serve, as it will be absorbed and you won’t see it and if you keep adding sugar it becomes terribly sweet. My five year old was the icing sugar distributor in these photos and she was, shall we say, liberal in her application 😉

4.0 from 1 reviews
Portuguese Custard Tarts Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
The cooking time here does not include the cooling time once the custard is cooked before it is baked. Add at least another 30 - 50 minutes depending on your temperature. If you cover the custard with plastic while it's cooling it shouldn't form a skin, but if it does just mix it up - you won't notice it in the final product.
Recipe type: Desert
Cuisine: Portuguese, European
Serves: 12 pies
  • 115g White Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • 10g Cornflour
  • 400g Full Fat Milk
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 300g All Butter Puff Pastry
Thermomix® Recipe
  1. Weigh out the milk and set aside.
  2. Place the white sugar into the Thermomix® Bowl and mix at Speed 5 / 10 Seconds
  3. Add one egg and two yolks to the bowl. (don't bang against the Thermomix® bowl as that tends to upset the scales)
  4. Add 10g cornflour and mix it all together, Speed 5 / 2 Seconds
  5. Set the Thermomix® to 90C/Speed 5/ 7 minutes and start it running
  6. Add the milk slowly in a steady stream - it should take about 30 seconds to add.
  7. When it's finished, add the vanilla extract and do a quick speed 5/ 1 second to mix it in.
  8. Remove the lid and leave to cool.
  9. If you're making the pastry, now's a good time to do that. Role out the pastry and use a cutter to cut 12 circles big enough to cover your muffin pans.
  10. Spray the pans, add the pastry and press down to make the 'cases'.
  11. Once the custard is cooled all the way down, heat the oven to about 180C
  12. Add a tablespoon or two of the custard to each muffin case - don't fill it all the way to the top.
  13. Cook for 20 - 25 minutes. The custard will puff up and look pillowy and like it's going to overflow but when you take it out of the oven it'll collapse down again.
  14. Bake until the tops are brown - I don't like them blackened, but I'll leave it to your personal preferences on that.
  15. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool down thoroughly. They can be eaten warm, but are just as delicious cold.
  16. Sprinkle with icing sugar before serving.


Cacao Nib Latte

It’s a dull and dreary morning here on the Isle of Wight. It’s raining and I can barely make out the line between the sky and the ocean. Job prospects for my husband are still thin on the ground and I am feeling the pressure of being sole breadwinner for the family.

I need a pick me up, but a true pick me up, not something that’s going to spike my blood sugar and crash me down further.

cacao nib latte

Well, this recipe might be a false economy, since dairy blocks the absorption of flavenoids (or something like that) meaning the full effect of the cacao nibs won’t be felt, but it tastes good and after drinking this, the whole family managed to get out of bed and we’ll be off for a stroll on the beach as soon as the rain stops.

There’s a lot of room for movement on this recipe. I will try it with almond milk, or coconut milk next, and maybe with rapadura or honey for sweetening. But for today, this was perfect. Delicious, smooth, And a real lift to the mood. cacoa nib latte

If I didn’t have to share it with the kids, I’d probably add a pinch of cayenne pepper too, like a Mexican hot chocolate, with it’s aphrodisiac qualities… hmmm… save that for a rainy day when the children have left home 😉

Cacao Nib Latte

For these Cacao Nib Lattes, I use the Suma brand here, but obviously you can use whatever works best for you. These are unroasted, and I don’t roast them, but you can.

Cacao Nib Latte
Recipe type: Drink, TM31
  • 30g cacao nibs
  • ½ vanilla pod
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • seeds from 1 cardamom pod
  • cream to top (optional)
  • 500g milk
  • 5g sugar/rapadura
  1. Add the cacao nibs and vanilla pod, cinnamon and cardamom seeds into a blender bowl and chop to a powder (Thermomix®: speed 6 for 20 seconds.
  2. Add milk and sugar and mix on speed 4/7 mins/80C
  3. Pour through a nut milk bag, or into a cafetiere to strain, then pour into cups.
  4. Top with cream, or not. It's delicious either way.
Tip: Use the strained remains in baking, or rinse them to get the milk off, and put them in your garden