Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Did Anyone In Your Family Have A Movember?

When my son metioned he was having a Movember earlier this year I said 'a what!!' he said a Movember I said 'a what!!!' it took him a few times to explain to me ...

"Movember, the month formerly known as November, challenges men to change their appearance, and the face of men’s health, by growing a moustache for the 30 days of November".

Then the penny dropped,after this everywhere I look people were taking about it and I notice lots of people growing their moustash.My son has just turned 15 and has a moustash I said he would never stick to it but he did.My 17 year old grew his too....



 Movember have partnered up with HP sauce to create a very cool new limited edition bottle, in order to raise money and awareness for the cause.

Hp would be grateful to receive as many mentions as possible in order to raise awareness for the new bottle...

HP is giving Movember 2011 some of its famous ‘oomph.’ The nation’s favourite brown sauce is launching 1 million limited edition bottles to raise much needed awareness and funds for men’s health with Movember. The new label will be without Britain’s famous Houses of Parliament, making way instead for a top-hat clad British gent with an inspirational moustache.

In conjunction with the release of their new look bottle, HP is giving Mo Bros across the UK the chance to celebrate and share their top Mo-moments on Facebook www.facebook.com/hpsauceuk - the most enthusiastic Mo Bro stands the chance of becoming the Gentlemanly Face of HP Movember, claiming £5,000 towards their Movember fund and a VIP trip for themselves and three friends to London.

Throughout the month of Movember the HP Facebook page will also host a series of competitions and challenges aimed to Mo’tivate men and bring the Movember spirit to life. HP teams and individuals can have fun and embrace the experience, from bacon buttie adventures to celebrity inspired Mos, and then upload their most Mo-tastic photos to HP’s Facebook page – the best images will receive contributions towards their Mo funds.

Mo Sistas can also get involved and support their Mo Bros – The People’s Choice Award for the best HP Mo Bro will be presented to the Bro who has receives the most ‘likes’ over the course of the month’s challenges.

Registered Mo Bros & Sistas can get involved by visiting the HP Facebook page on www.facebook.com/hpsauceuk and find out more about Movember at www.movember.com

I got sent 2 bottles of HP sauce to try and as we are fans of this sauce I just need a bacon cob now!! I was not paid for this post...

Trifle...



Layers of Swiss roll soaked in kirsch, with berries, apricots and vanilla custard and a whipped cream and crunchy flaked almond topping, sweetened only with Sweet Freedom syrups (made 100% from fruit) in place of sugar

Serves 6-8


Vanilla Custard
  • 400ml Milk
  • 200ml Double Cream
  • 1 Vanilla Pod
  • 3 Medium Free Range Egg Yolks
  • 5g Cornflour
  • 45g Sweet Freedom Original
  • 2 Leaves of Gelatine


Swiss Roll
  • 2 Medium Free Range Eggs
  • 75g Sweet Freedom Original
  • 75g Self Raising Flour
  • 150g No Added Sugar Raspberry Jam
  • 275g Frozen Berries, thawed (raspberries, blackberries, cherries, blueberries etc.


Ingredients

  • 275g Tinned Apricots, in juice, sliced (drained weight)
  • 75ml Kirsch
  • 300ml Double Cream
  • 30g Flaked Almonds, lightly toasted

You will need a Swiss roll tin measuring 20cm x 30cm (8”x12”)
Method
  • First of all make the custard. 
  • Pour the milk and cream into a pan, split the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape the seeds out and add to the pan with the split pods. 
  • Whisk together the eggs yolks, cornflour and Sweet Freedom.
  • Cut the gelatine leaves into small pieces and leave to soak in cold water for 10 minutes. 
  • In the meantime, heat the milk and cream until boiling point then whisk into the egg mixture. 
  • Return the mixture to the pan, taking out the vanilla pod first, and place back on the heat. 
  • Cook over a moderate heat until the custard thickens, keep whisking as it cooks. 
  • Take off the heat then whisk in the drained gelatine until it has all dissolved. 
  • Leave to cool and then place in the fridge until it just starts to set.
  • Whilst the custard is cooling, prepare the Swiss roll. 
  • Line a Swiss roll tin with non stick baking parchment and preheat the oven to 200C/Fan 180C.
  • Whisk together the eggs and Sweet Freedom until they are pale, creamy and very thick. 
  • Then sieve the flour into the bowl and carefully fold into the egg mixture. 
  • Pour into the prepared tin and bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes or until the sponge is golden brown and springy to the touch. 
  • Warm the jam while the Swiss roll is in the oven. 
  • Take the Swiss roll out of the oven and turn it out onto a piece of non stick baking parchment. 
  • Spread with the warmed jam and roll up the sponge from the short side, using the baking parchment to guide the roll.

To assemble the trifle

  • Slice the Swiss roll and place the slices on the base of a trifle dish. 
  • Mix the kirsch with 25ml of juice from the berries and sprinkle over the Swiss roll slices. 
  • Drain the berries and apricots and place on top of the sponge layer. 
  • Spoon over the custard and then place in the fridge and leave to set. 
  • Finally, lightly whip the cream, spread over the custard and scatter with flaked almonds. 
  • Chill until required.

Gluten Free Version
  • Make a Swiss roll as above but using 25g of rice flour, 50g of ground almonds and ½ Tsp of gluten free baking powder instead of the self raising flour.


Recipe and photo credits- Sweet Freedom

Wordless Wednesday Linky...

 







Welcome To Wednesday blog hop...



Hello and welcome to Wednesdays blog hop.
Time to find some great new blogs to read and follow.

Please visit some blogs and follow ones you like.....
 
1.Follow me the host of the hop at clairejustineoxox on Google friends connect ...

2.Link up your blog to the linky below.Please leave a comment if you are a new follower so we can follow you back :)

3.Visit some other blogs and follow ones you like and make new friends.

4.Please only family friendly blogs only

Do you want to be next weeks co-host? leave me a comment if you are interested :)


Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Pick Up The Dog & Bone...

Have you spotted anyone with these super old-fashioned retro handsets?




The legendary Lenny Kravitz and Jamie Lee Curtis are using them, They prove it's the only way to take your calls.


Simply plug in to an existing mobile phone and speak! (£25)



Also just in are the Me & Zena's Dream Phone telephone rings (£29) inspired by those clunky handsets we all knew and loved. The cutest thing about these rings is that the handset actually detaches, talk about attention to detail.

All available online at www.adhoclondon.co.uk

Bananagrams...


Bananagrams Blogger Battle Challenge 3

This weeks challenge is all about fruit! We had start our crossword with the word BANANAGRAMS and see how many fruits we could think of. 

Don't forget still chance to win a Bananagrams game here ....

Strawberry Champagne Cocktails...



Serves 6

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Standing time: ½ -1 hour

Ingredients

  • 6 strawberries
  • Few drops angostura bitters
  • 6 teaspoons brandy
  • 75 cl bottle dry sparkling white wine or champagne, well chilled

Method

  • Divide the strawberries, bitters and brandy between the bottom of 6 champagne flutes. 
  • Leave to stand and for the flavours to mingle for ½ -1 hour.
  • Top up with chilled sparkling wine just before serving.


Recipe and photo credit by- Seasonal Berries


Christmas Pudding ....



Sweet Freedom syrup made 100% from fruit in place of sugar turns this traditional Christmas pudding into a healthier finale to your Christmas meal

Serves 8-10

Ingredients

  • 300g Raisins
  • 150g Currants
  • 150g Shredded Vegetable Suet
  • 150g Breadcrumbs
  • 150g Finely Grated Carrots
  • 75g Sweet Freedom Dark
  • 30ml Guinness
  • 30ml Brandy
  • 2 Medium Free Range Eggs
  • Butter or oil to grease the basin/mould

You will need 

  • 1 litre (approx 2lb) pudding basin or spherical pudding mould.

Method

  • In a large bowl mix together the raisins, currants, suet, breadcrumbs and grated carrots. 
  • Then mix together the Sweet Freedom, Guinness, Brandy and eggs and pour onto the fruit mixture.
  • Stir well until combined, cover and leave in a cool place overnight.

The next day

  • Grease the basin or mould with butter or oil and place a small circle of non stick baking parchment in the bottom of the basin or in the top and bottom halves of the spherical mould. 
  •  Stir the pudding (don’t forget to make a wish!) and press into the basin or mould. 
  •  If you are using a basin, cover with a piece of baking parchment followed by tin foil and tie with string.
  • Steam for 8 hours, keeping the water in the pan topped up with boiling water. 
  •  Leave to cool and if you've use a basin, remove the baking parchment and foil and re-cover with new paper and foil. 
  •  Keep the pudding in a cool place until Christmas day.
  • On Christmas morning, steam the pudding for at least an hour before serving.

 Gluten Free Version

  • Use 150g of ground almonds instead of the breadcrumbs and omit the Guinness and use 60ml of Brandy instead.


Recipe and photo credit by- Sweet Freedom

Lytess Anti-Cellulite Complex Pedal Pusher Review..


It's that time of year again when I start planning what things I will be eating and drinking over the festive period and how I'm going to try and lose the extra weight in January!!

As you get older its easier to put weight on and harder to lose it and as for cellulite this is something that seems to stay forever. When Lytess asked me to review their Anti-Cellulite Pedal Pushers I didn't need persuading!!

About Lytess Anti -Cellulite Pedal Pushers

Lytess is the world leader in ‘Cosmeto-textiles’, garments with micro capsules containing an exclusive cosmetic formula, which gets rid of cellulite. The Lytess Anti-Cellulite leggings contain a formula of Oleo resins and Mango Butter, which smooth dimpled skin around the waist, thigh and buttock. The patented formula stimulates blood circulation, which helps to flush out toxins and reduce the appearance of cellulite.


How to get rid of Cellulite with the Lytess Anti-Cellulite Pedal Pushers

Wearing the Anti-Cellulite range for 8 hours a day, for five days a week over a total period of 28 days, you could see up to a 46% reduction in cellulite . While you’re getting on with your life, the leggings are doing the hard work for you.

What I think of the Lytess Anti Cellulite Pedal Pushers

I got sent 2 pairs of the Anti Cellulite Pedal Pushers to try, having previously worn the Lytess Slimming Leggings  a few weeks ago. Which I was impressed with. (see review on link).

The first thing you notice is the quality of the material. Apparently they are made from a micro-massaging fabric with added cosmetics that soften the appearance of dimpled skin. The mixture of oleoresins and mango butter helps to smooth wrinkled skin and decrease the dimple that concentrates around the waist, hips, stomach, buttocks and thighs. Whether this means anything to my legs is another matter?!

The other thing you notice is that they looked really small and I wondered if  my big bum would fit in something that looked the size of my daughters shorts!

After a bit of  wriggling I got into them and was really surprised how strong the fabric was as I thought they might split ( but they didn't). Once on they did fit and everything was well tucked in. There was not as much give in them as the Lytess leggings.

I could only manage these for a few hours a day because these feel really tight (on my legs) the s/m is size 8-14 but I would say if you are going to try these and are a size 12 go for the next size up because I am a 10-12 and these were just too tight.

I like the idea of these Pedal Pushers and liked how the leggings left little dimples in your skin, giving you a real sense that they are working but until my fitness regime is back on track and I lose a bit of weight I can't say for sure if anything worked.

I would like to think they work and I'm looking forward to wearing them next year. They do hold everything in though (just a little too much for me) great for wearing under your clothes when going out and want to look slimmer.... However in January I may be running to put them on if over indulgence gets hold!

Take the Lytess challenge ?

New year, no cellulite. It’s January again. You’ve over-indulged during the festive season, your skin has the appearance of orange peel and you don’t like what you see when you look in the mirror! But what if you could reduce cellulite just by wearing a new item of clothing? Sound too good to be true? With Lytess it’s possible in just 28 days!

Available in black and white RRP £49-99.

I got sent  2 pairs of Lytess  Pedal Pushers to try for review and this is my honest opinion I was not paid for this post...

Strawberry And Parma Ham Crostinis...


  Makes 16 

Ingredients

  • 100g/4 oz strawberries
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • ground black pepper
  • 16 crostini toasts
  • 75g/3oz cream cheese
  • 75g/3oz Parma ham
  • few chives to garnish

Method

  • Wipe the strawberries, remove the hulls and thickly slice. 
  • Place them in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the balsamic vinegar and sugar. 
  • Allow to marinate for 1 hour at room temperature then season with black pepper.
  • Arrange the crostinis on a large serving plate. 
  • Top each with a little cream cheese, then a slice of parma ham.
  • Place a marinated strawberry half on top and garnish with chives.


Recipe and photo credits - Seasonal Berries


Welcome to the Flock Together Tuesday Blog Hop!

Flock Together

Thank you to Mikki for picking me to be -IThis week's "Fine Feathered Friend" and guest host:
About the hop...

Welcome to the Flock Together Tuesday Blog Hop!

No rules! Plus, this week we're going to list each blog as a button. Don't worry - you DON'T NEED to have a button to participate! Linky Tools will create one for you in a couple of easy steps. Simply...

Click on "Click here to enter" at the bottom of this post and follow the Linky Tools directions. In step 4, I recommend selecting "Auto Crop" and "From Web."
Click through the other blogs and follow of the ones you love in whatever manner you prefer (RSS, GFC, Twitter, Facebook, etc.). Kindly pass on the ones you don't.

If this is all new to you, click here. If your goal is to find friends and gain followers, may I recommend that you also:

Set a goal to find and follow a minimum number of blogs that interest you.

Check back throughout the day to visit late entries that just may be your cup of tea.

Leave a comment if you follow, and follow back those who follow you.


Monday, 28 November 2011

Cola Ice Cream Float with a Festive Twist...





With the help of a professional mixologist, RC Cola has developed a festive cocktail (both an alcoholic and non-alcoholic version) perfect for the holidays.

It’s a unique spin on the ice cream float which pays homage to RC Cola's American roots.

RC® (Royal Crown) cola unveils tasty treat in time for Christmas.


Ingredients

  • 12.5mls Kahlua
  • 37.5 mls cinnamon-infused vodka
  • 150 mls RC Cola
  • 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream
  • Ice- cubed
Garnish-
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 cherries
Method

  • Infused the vodka with cinnamon sticks by leaving the cinnamon in the vodka for 4 days.
  • Fill a tall glass with ice and add all the ingredients apart from the ice cream putting the RC Cola in last. Add the ice cream scoops at the top and garnish with the cinnamon sticks and cherries.
For those interested in a non-alcoholic version, simply follow the same method, with the below ingredients:


Virgin RC® Really Christmassy Cocktail

Ingredients

  • Pinch ground cinnamon
  • 150 mls RC Cola
  • 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream
  • Ice -cubed
Garnish

  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 cherries

Method

  • Fill the tall glass with ice and add all the ingredients apart from the ice cream putting the RC Cola in last. 
  • Add the ice cream scoops at the top and garnish with the cinnamon sticks and cherries.


Recipe and photo credit by- RC Cola


Cranberry Cheesecake....



       
This quick setting light textured cheesecake is the perfect answer to an alternative to the richness of Christmas pudding... the fruity cranberry coulis cuts through the soft and creamy filling and the buttery shortbread. Happy Christmas!

Serves 10

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Chilling time: 4 hours, preferably overnight

Ingredients

  • 200g (7oz) shortbread or digestive biscuits, crushed
  • 40g (1½oz) butter, melted
  • 405g can Carnation Condensed Milk Light
  • 300g tub full fat soft cheese
  • juice 2 large lemons
  • 300g pack frozen (and defrosted) or fresh cranberries
  • 100g (3½oz) caster sugar

You will also need

  • 20cm (8in) spring form tin, base lined with baking parchment

Method

  • Crush the biscuits in a blender or in a double lined bag with a rolling pin. 
  • Mix together the crushed biscuits and melted butter then lightly press into the tin. 
  • Chill while you make the filling.
  • Beat the condensed milk and cream cheese together until completely smooth. 
  • Add the lemon juice and combine thoroughly – the mixture should thicken. 
  • Spread the creamy filling over the base. 
  • Chill for 4 hours.
  • Tumble the berries into a small pan with the sugar and 100ml (3fl oz) water, cover and simmer for 5 minutes until the berries are soft and pulpy. 
  • Push the mixture through a sieve and chill the cranberry coulis until ready to serve.
  • Remove the cheesecake from the tin and place on a serving plate. 
  • Gently pour the cranberry coulis over the cheesecake, spreading out to the edges to serve.

Tip

  • Add a sprinkling of ground almonds to the biscuit base or use different biscuits for this recipe – try dark chocolate chip cookies or digestives.
  • This cheesecake sets perfectly without the need for gelatin thanks to the natural setting effect of lemon juice on condensed milk.


Recipe and photo credit by- Carnation


Chocolate Tahini Fudge...


Suitable for Vegetarians, Suitable for Vegans, Gluten Free, Wheat Free, Soy Free, Egg Free, Sugar Free...


Makes 20 pieces 

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Chilling Time: 3-4 hours

Storage

  • Keep in the fridge for up to 1 week. 
  • Freeze for up to 1 month.

Ingredients

  • 200g / 7oz Essential pecans
  • 200g / 7oz Essential walnuts
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 200g / 7oz Essential chocolate drops
  • 75g /3 oz Essential light tahini
  • 150g / 5oz pitted soft dates

Method

  • In a high speed blender or food processor, grind up the nuts until fine. 
  • Place in a bowl with the cinnamon.
  • Put the chocolate drops in a pan with the tahini and melt over a low heat.
  • Place the dates in a blender with the melted chocolate and process to form a stiff paste.
  • Add the paste to the ground nuts and combine thoroughly using your hands to make sure it is completely mixed. It should form a soft dough.
  • Place the mixture into a lined 20cm / 8 inch shallow square tin and press down firmly.
  • Chill for 3-4 hours until hard. 
  • Cut into chunks to serve.

Nutritional Information

Per square
Calories: 232kcal
Protein: 3.8g
Total Fat: 18.9g
of which saturates 3.3g
Carbohydrates 11.5g

Per 100g
Calories: 562kcal
Protein: 9.3g
Total Fat: 45.8g
of which saturates 8g
Carbohydrates 27.9g

Recipe and photo credit by-  Essential Trading Coop

Russian Chuk Chuk...



Ingredients

  • 4 Eggs
  • 2 tablespoons Sugar
  • 100g Icing Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Butter
  • 1/3 teaspoon Salt
  • 60ml Milk
  • 500g Plain Flour
  • Vegetable Oil, for frying

For the syrup:

  • 1 ½ cups Honey and 4 teaspoons Sugar
  • Fruit to decorate...


Method

  • Blend eggs, sugar and butter. 
  • Add salt, milk and flour and knead until the mixture forms a smooth dough. 
  • Leave the dough to rest for 40 minutes, and then roll out finely and cut strips 2cm in length.
  • Place the honey and sugar in a saucepan over a moderate heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Continue to cook until the mixture thickens and turns an amber caramel colour.
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the strips for about 5 minutes, until golden. 
  • Drain on kitchen paper.
  • Dip the strips into the syrup and arrange on a serving plate. 
  • Serve immediately.


About this post-

Recipe and photo credit by- Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa

Mincemeat and Mince Pies....


Home made mincemeat tastes worlds apart from shop bought, this recipe is naturally sweetened with Sweet Freedom syrup (made 100% from fruit) and has no other added sugar.


Mincemeat

Makes just over 1kg

  • 200g Sultanas
  • 175g Raisins
  • 150g Currants
  • 100g Shredded Vegetable Suet
  • Zest & Juice of 1 Orange
  • Zest & Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 2 Tsp Mixed Spice
  • ½ Tsp Ground Cloves
  • ½ Tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • ½ Tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 175g Sweet Freedom Dark
  • 300g Bramley Apples, peeled, cored and cut into small dice (prepared weight)
  • 50ml Brandy

Method

  • Mix together all the ingredients, apart from the brandy, in an oven-proof dish, cover with foil and leave overnight in a cool place.
  • Preheat the oven to 110C/Fan 90C.
  • The next day, place the dish in the preheated oven for 3 hours. 
  •  Remove from the oven, add the brandy and then leave to cool, stirring every now and again. 
  • When the mincemeat is cold pack into sterilised jars and store in a cool place until required.

Mince pies

Makes 24

Pastry

  • 225g Butter, at room temperature but not soft
  • 75g Sweet Freedom Original
  • 375g Plain Flour
  • 3 Medium Free Range Egg Yolks
  • 600g Mincemeat
  • You will need two 12 hole bun trays and two round fluted cutters measuring 8cm (3”) and 6.5cm (2½”)

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180C/Fan 160C.
  • Dice the butter and add to a mixing bowl with the Sweet Freedom. 
  • Beat together the butter and Sweet Freedom and then add the plain flour and egg yolks. 
  • Mix until a soft dough forms. 
  • Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead into a ball. 
  • Chill until firm enough to roll.
  • Take two thirds of the pastry and roll out thinly, cut out rounds with the larger cutter and use them to line the bun trays. 
  •  Fill the pies with mincemeat, then roll out the remaining pastry and cut out rounds with the smaller cutter. 
  •  Place the lids on each of the pies and lightly press down with the palm of your hand to seal them.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. 
  • Leave to cool slightly in the tin before transferring to a cooling rack.

Gluten Free Version

 Makes 20-22

Pastry

  • 150g Quinoa Flour
  • 150g Rice Flour
  • 130g Butter, diced
  • 70g Ground Almonds
  • ½ Tsp Gluten Free Baking Powder
  • 40g Sweet Freedom Original
  • 50ml Cold Water
  • 2 Medium Free Range Egg Yolks
  • 500g-550g Mincemeat

 Method

  • Preheat the oven to 170C/Fan 150C.
  • Place the flours into a bowl with the butter. 
  • Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. 
  • Mix in the ground almonds and baking powder. 
  • Next, add the remaining ingredients and cut them into the flour with a knife, then bring the pastry together into a ball with your hands.
  • Take two thirds of the pastry and roll out thinly between two sheets of cling film. 
  • Using the larger cutter, cut out rounds and use them to line the bun tray. 
  • Fill with mincemeat and then roll out the remaining pastry, again between cling film, and cut out rounds with the smaller cutter. 
  • Place the lids on the pies and lightly press down with the palm of your hand to seal them.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. 
  • Leave to cool slightly in the tin before transferring to a cooling rack


Recipe and photo credit by-  Sweet Freedom


Music Monday...

Welcome to #week 8 of Music Mondays where you can add your Music blog post to the hop.

Share a fun/favourite/happy/special/great/sad/horrible song of your choice.Just post your blog post with a song from you tube and why you've picked this song then join the blog hop.

Please hop around and see what songs others have picked. This is a no rules hop but please be family friendly.



This week I have picked Cher Lloyd this song is so catchy...




Sunday, 27 November 2011

Top Tips For The Perfect Christmas Dinner...



With so much to do, Christmas day can be a stressful occasion. To make cooking Christmas dinner as easy as possible, Bernard Matthews Farms has a delicious range of 100% British turkey options that are ready to pop in the oven with minimal fuss.

To help you prepare and cook the crowning glory of the festive dinner table this year, Bernard Matthews have teamed up with master chef, Marco Pierre White to share with you some of his top tips for cooking and carving this majestic bird on the big day.

Turkey should never be dry or tasteless. By breaking turkey down into individual joints you can retain more moisture in the meat

To make the bird extra succulent try adding a little ghee (an Indian clarified butter available in Indian supermarkets)

Keep cooking with turkey simple - breast cooked on the crown, thighs on the bone – you can keep it moist by taking care of it

When cooking the bird in sections, try stuffing the thighs. I use a sage and onion stuffing - half dried and prepared mix and half sausage meat along with fresh sage onion and parsley

I don't tend to cover the turkey in foil. Keep it simple, place the glazed turkey on the medium shelf of the oven to get it just right

Buy a meat probe to make sure your turkey is cooked properly. The turkey will be ready when the thighs are 72⁰C and the breast is 66⁰C

Let the turkey rest for 15-20 minutes before carving. To make sure it's just the right temperature to carve, hold your hand to the bird, if it's warm without burning it's ready

Make sure you always use the juices of the turkey for gravy

Tips from the kitchen of Bernard Matthews Farms

If you want to cook your turkey whole try placing a peeled onion inside of the body once it is defrosted and you have removed the giblets

You can also try adding whole garlic cloves and handfuls of herbs inside the body as this gives a lovely infusion of flavours and smells during cooking

Before cooking, if it is not pre-basted, spread the turkey skin generously with seasoned butter and then lay rashers of streaky bacon, particularly on the breast area to keep it moist

We recommend cooking your stuffing separately, but if you want to cook it inside the turkey, push the stuffing into the cavity at the neck end of the turkey then tuck the neck flap under the turkey and secure with cocktail sticks

When stuffing your turkey, increase the cooking times by 10 minutes for every 500g of stuffing used

For more useful hints, clever tips, turkey information and all the culinary help you require when cooking with turkey visit www.leanonturkey.co.uk


Guest Post Credits -  www.bernardmatthewsfarms.com


Alternative Christmas Cakes...



A tasty original alternative to Christmas cake...

Perfect for gifts for your guests.

Everything you could want in a cupcake, dried fruit, chocolate and booze!

Ingredients

  • Brandy soaked cranberries chocolate cupcake Makes 12 cupcakes
  • 130g plain flour
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 20g cocoa powder
  • 40g softened salted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 120ml whole milk
  • 10ml vanilla extract
  • 1 handful of dark choc chips (min 53% cocoa solids)
  • 100g (freshly bought) dried cranberries
  • 100ml cooking brandy

For the icing

  • 300g icing sugar
  • 100g salted butter
  • 45g cocoa powder
  • 30ml whole milk
  • 10ml vanilla extract
Decorations

  • Dark green fondant (m and b is best for this)
  • Poppy red fondant (regal ice)
  • White fondant

Equipment

  • Muffin tray
  • Brown muffin cases
  • Rolling Pin
  • Icing sugar dispenser
  • All fondant
  • Small holly leaf cutter
  • Thin paintbrush and glass of water for glue
  • Star nozzle 848 and piping bag
  • Sieve
  • Mixer
  • Mixing bowls
  • Hob
  • Saucepan
  • Measuring jug
  • Spoons and measuring spoons
  • Cooling rack
  • Oven 170 for 20 mins

Method 

  • Bring the brandy up to the boil on the hob then remove and add the cranberries. 
  • Cover with a lid and leave for one hour. 
  • Meanwhile, put the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl – flour, sugar, baking powder, cocoa  and butter (treat butter as ‘dry’ for our purposes). 
  • Mix until you have an even sandy consistency. 
  • Measure out the milk in a jug, add the egg and vanilla and whisk well. 
  • Drizzle into the flour whilst mixing, until you have a smooth batter/mixture.
  • Add the chocolate chips and drained cranberries and mix in briefly without bashing into pieces. 
  • Reserve your brandy. 
  • Spoon evenly into 12 cupcake cases and bake at 170 degrees for 20 minutes until bounce back to the touch. 
  • Cool on a wire rack and in the meantime make the icing by mixing all the ingredients together for several minutes until light and fluffy.
  • Pour in 10-20ml of your cooking brandy into the icing depending on the consistency – you should aim for something that holds its shape without being too stiff. 
  • Pipe the icing on top of the cakes using a reusable piping bag and large star nozzle.

To decorate

  • Roll out a small amount of white fondant and cut with a circular cutter about 2 inches in diameter. 
  • Place with on top of your icing allowing folds to appear like a table cloth around the sides.  
  • Roll out some dark green fondant and either cut out three holly leaves if you have a cutter or mould three leaves if you do not.  
  • Place these on your fondant with a dab of a damp paintbrush.  
  • Roll three red berries from your red fondant and stick on top with the damp paintbrush to finish.
  • For a basic cupcake recipe just use mine above and leave out the brandy soaked cranberries.



Recipe and photo credit by- - Food Network


Champagne Velvet...



Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 175g/6oz blackberries
  • 50g/2oz caster sugar, plus 1 tbsp
  • 6 tbsp brandy
  • 1 bottle chilled Champagne or sparkling wine

Method

  • Reserve 6 of the blackberries and put to one side for decoration. 
  • Place the remaining blackberries with 50g caster sugar in a saucepan. 
  • Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved then simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the sauce has thickened slightly and is syrupy.
  • Sieve the blackberry syrup over a bowl, gently pressing with the back of a spoon. 
  • Discard the fruit pulp. 
  • Chill the syrup.
  • Place a little of the syrup on a saucer and the remaining caster sugar on another saucer. 
  • Dip the rim of each of 6 champagne glasses first in the blackberry syrup, then in the caster sugar.
  • Blend the brandy with the remaining blackberry syrup and pour a couple of tablespoons of this into 6 Champagne flutes.
  • Top with the chilled Champagne or sparkling wine. 
  • Skewer a blackberry with a cocktail stick and place on top of each glass. 
  • Serve immediately.


Recipe and photo credit by- Seasonal Berries


Silent Sunday...


Silent Sunday

Step Into Style - Biba Footwear Launch SS12


This season, iconic fashion brand Biba adds to its ready to wear and accessories collections with the launch of Biba footwear. The range references original motifs, signature colours and all the glamour of Biba's bohemian heyday.



The collection has been designed with Biba's rich fashion heritage in mind. Taking inspiration from the archives of the Northampton Museum & Art Gallery, which hosts the world's largest anthology of collectible shoes, designer Katie-Jane MacConnachie said "I looked at stand-out 1970s shapes but also looked to the 1930- 40s era for the intricate details and the cuts of the uppers. Influences from each decade have helped us to produce modern, structural shapes with details that honour and move forward the original 'Biba look'".



The evocative black and gold combination synonymous with Biba runs through both the casual and formal elements of the collection. The addition of jewel colours in leather, suede and metallic finish, textured snakeskin and leopard prints and pony skin makes the collection relevant for AW11 and just right for the 21st century girl yearning for some decadence.




The collections will be available in sizes 36-41





Prices range from £120 - £300



Credits: www.houseoffraser.co.uk

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