Our Christmas Day..

Hoping you all have had a lovely Christmas day? We have been having a great time. Too much food, not much sleep, lots excitement and quality family time together. Even snow on Boxing day made it just that bit extra special!!

So many fun things have happen over the last few days which really do feel like weeks. Husband and children all home with time off work, school and university. Family visits, baking party cakes, Christmas day and opening presents. Christmas dinner, parents visiting for tea, more food, tasty cakes and drinks. Boxing day out for a party lunch at my mum and dads. More amazing food and cakes and home before the snow arrived. Snow came. Straight out at night to play in the snow in-case it disappeared by morning. More party food. Out to the park in the snow. Walking 3 miles to the shops for a spot of sale shopping. More snowy walks. 2 and a half miles walk around the woods to make the most of the snow. Sit down, heat on, feet up, nice cup of tea, more chocolate!!...

This is my catch up! What have you all been up to?

Sharing our Christmas eve through to Christmas day pictures today...


A present for Santa and Rudolph...



Now I really do need to get back to the gym, the weight is starting to creep on!! but it is still so cold, snowy and icy outside when it is lovely and warm inside..

Linking up with Jamie over at ~

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15 Trifle And Desserts In Glasses Ideas To Make At Christmas...


Just planning party food and treats as it is my sons 18th birthday this Friday. 

We are having a family party on Sunday and I am thinking of Christmas treats to make. 

I love to make trifle and creamy, fruity, nutty or any desserts in glasses.

 What's not to like?

Love the adult ones to with a little alcohol added ...


























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Gallo Family Vineyards Summer Rosé Canapé Cakes...


Gallo Family Vineyards Summer Rosé Canapé Cakes
  • Preparation time: 40 minutes
  • Cooking time: 25 minutes
  • Serves: 12

Cake Canapés: You’ll need…
  • 115g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 280g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tbsp red liquid food colouring
  • 325g plain flour, sifted
  • 30g cocoa powder, sifted
  • 250ml buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 7 raspberries
  • 150g double cream, whipped
  • pink rose petals (to decorate)
  • Strawberries (to decorate)
  • Toasted pecans, cooled & brushed with edible gold lustre dust (to decorate)
  • 10 inch round cake tin, greased and lined


Cake Canapés: How to…
  • Preheat the oven to 180˚C fan assisted/gas mark 6.
  • Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, starting on medium and increasing to high speed – the mixture should be pale and increased in volume, about 4 minutes. 
  • Add the eggs gradually, then the food colouring, and beat until just incorporated.
  • Sift together the flour and cocoa and add half to the batter, beating to incorporate evenly and ensuring you scrape down the sides. 
  • Then beat in the buttermilk & raspberries and finally the second half of the dry ingredients.
  • In a small bowl, using a clean spatula or teaspoon, mix together the bicarbonate of soda and cider vinegar (it will fizz up) and fold it immediately into the batter – do not use the mixer, just fold evenly with a spatula by hand.
  • Tip the mixture into your tin and level out to the edges. Bake for 20–25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. 
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before turning out on to a wire rack to cool completely.


Coulis: You’ll need…
  • 80g rhubarb, chopped into small pieces
  • 125ml Gallo Summer Rose
  • 30g light brown sugar

Coulis: How to…
  • Add all ingredients to a pan over medium/high heat and heat until rhubarb has softened.
  • Once soft use a hand blender to pulse until you have a thick, smooth coulis.

Whipped Cream: You’ll need…
  • A chilled bowl (large enough to hold at least double the volume of cream you are whipping)
  • An electric hand whisk
  • Very cold double cream
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar and 1/4 tbsp vanilla extract per 200ml of cream (optional)

Whipped Cream: How to
  • Pour the cream into the bowl and whip thoroughly and evenly, beginning on a medium speed.
  • Ensure that you run the beaters around the edge of the bowl to keep it all evenly mixed. 
  • When the cream starts to thicken and you see the first sign of soft peaks, add the sugar and the vanilla, if using.
  • Now reduce the speed to medium-low and watch carefully, it’s almost done.
  • Continue just until you have very soft peaks. Using an electric hand mixer this should take under 2 minutes.

To assemble...
  • Once cooled, use a small round cookie cutter to cut out your canapés. 
  • Transfer onto a plate or little cake cases.
  • Pipe or spoon some double cream onto each case, followed by some of the coulis, a rose petal and strawberry half.
About this post -

This is a guest post from Gallo Family Vineyards

No payment was received.


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Easy Pizza Muffins


My kids love having pizza muffins every Friday at school so I decided to surprise them and make lots of yummy pizza muffins at home to share. These pizza are great for party food too...


Makes 20

Ingredients
  • 10 Muffin (breakfast roll ones)
  • 180g Grated cheese
  • 20 tablespoons of tomatoes paste
  • 10 slices of chorizo
  • 3 large slices of ham
  • Few chopped mushrooms
  • Spray light cooking spray
Method
  • Pre heat oven to 180c.
  • Get a large cooking tray ready.
  • Cut the breakfast muffins in half and lay cut side upwards on the tray.
  • Place a spoon full of tomatoes paste on each muffin and spread all over the tops.
  • Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the muffins.
  • Chop the chorizo ham and mushrooms up in separate bowls.
  • Sprinkle different topping on each of the muffins and mix and match some so there is lot of variety.
  • Just ham? just mushroom? chorizo and mushroom ? or all 3?
  • A quick burst of cooking spray on top
  • Cooki for around 15-20 minutes until golden and cooked.
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Cauliflower Cheese And Ham Tart...


Serves 6 lunch portions

Prep Time 15 mins

Cooking time 45 mins

What you Need
  • 1 pack ready rolled shortcrust pastry 
  • 1 small cauliflower broken into small florets 
  • 1 onion diced 
  • knob of Yeo Valley Butter 
  • 150g Ham, chopped into chunks 
  • 3 eggs beaten 
  • 500ml Yeo Valley crème fraiche 
  • 100g grated strong cheddar 
  • Small bunch chives chopped

What to do 
  • Preheat to oven to 170C. 
  • On a floured surface unroll the pastry and roll out to fit a 23cm loose bottomed flan tin. 
  • Line the tin by gently pushing the pastry into the corners leaving the excess to hang over the edges. 
  • Line the pastry with greaseproof paper and weigh it down with dried beans or ceramic beans, cook for 15mins then remove the beans and greaseproof and cook for a further 8 mins or until the pastry is pale golden. 
  • In a pan of boiling water simmer the cauliflower for 5 mins until it starts to soften then drain and set aside. 
  • Gently frying the onion in Yeo Valley butter for 3-4 mins until soft. 
  • Using a knife trim the excess pastry from the edge of the case. 
  • Tip the cauliflower and ham into the pastry shell so they are fairly evenly distributed. 
  • In a bowl combine the eggs, yeo valley crème fraiche, chives and half the cheese and season to taste.
  • Pour the egg mixture into the pastry case and top with the remaining cheese. 
  • Cook in the oven for 30 mins until the top is golden brown with just a slight wobble in the centre. 
  • Serve warm or cold.

Notes 

* This can be a great way to use up leftover ham...


Recipe and photo credits - yeo valley

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Mince Pies...


Mince Pies with a crumbly twist! ...yum, yum...


Makes 20

Ingredients

For the pie 
  • 150g butter 
  • 250g plain flour 
  • 50g ground almonds 
  • 50g caster sugar 
  • 1 orange 
  • pinch of salt 
  • 1 happy egg 
  • 1-2 tsp cold water 
  • 280g/10oz good quality mincemeat 

For the topping
  • 100g butter 
  • 75g plain flour 
  • 100g caster sugar 
  • 1tsp cinnamon powder 
  • 1 nutmeg

Method
  • Place butter in freezer overnight. 
  • Preheat oven to 180°C. 
  • Put the flour into a mixing bowl. 
  • Using a cheese grater, grate the butter into the flour and add caster sugar, almonds, and salt; zest the orange and add, then gently stir with a wooden spoon to combine. 
  • In a food processor, add the mixture, happy egg yolks and 1-2 teaspoons of water. 
  • Use a pulse action until it forms a soft dough, then place it in the fridge for 30 minutes, to chill. 
  • Roll out the pastry to a thickness of a pound coin and with a round cookie cutter, cut out about 20 rounds. 
  • In a non-stick tartlet baking tray, press the rounds into the tray and spoon the mincemeat evenly into the pies. 
  • Make a crumble topping by quickly mixing the butter, flour, cinnamon and caster sugar in your food processor until it forms a crumble. 
  • Sprinkle the crumble over the pies, grate some nutmeg over the top and bake in the oven for 12 - 15 minutes until golden. 
  • Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

Recipe and photo credit by- Mat Follas and happy egg co


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Pumpkin Cookies And Toffee Apples...



Pumpkin Cookies

Time to make: 1 hour

Skill level: Beginner

We used

  • One batch cookies (see recipe below)
  • Pumpkin cookie cutter
  • Ready made sugarpaste, orange & black
  • White vegetable fat such as Trex
  • Small quantity of buttercream to act as 'glue'

How to make

  • Lightly grease your work surface with the fat and roll the kneaded orange sugarpaste to a thickness of approximately 3-4mm.
  • Using the same pumpkin-shaped cutter that cut the cookie shapes, cut a shape, lift carefully, moisten the back with buttercream and place on the cookie. 
  • Repeat with other cookies.
  • Use a finger moistened with water to smooth and round the edges.
  • Roll out the black sugarpaste in the same manner as step 1.
  • Use a craft knife or small kitchen knife to cut out pumpkin features and apply to half the cookies with a little buttercream.
TIP:

  • If desired, moisten the surface of the remaining iced cookies with water and sprinkle over orange edible glitter.

Vanilla cookies

  • 225g/8oz flour
  • 5ml/1tbsp baking powder
  • 100g/4oz butter
  • 175g/6oz caster sugar
  • 5ml/1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, beaten

Oven temp: 190C/Gas Mark 5

Makes 20-24

How to make

  • Rub butter into sifted flour and baking powder.
  • Add sugar then mix to a dough with vanilla and egg.
  • Roll out fairly thinly on a lightly floured surface.
  • Transfer to a lightly greased baking sheet allowing space for spreading.
  • Bake until golden brown and cool on a wire rack before decorating.

Toffee Apples

Time to make: 40 mins

Skill level: Beginner

We used

  • 6 x small apples (Russet apples are best but any will do)
  • 300g sugar and small saucepan
  • Lollipop sticks
  • Slips of kraft paper
  • Slips of white card and a hole punch
  • Jewellery cord, natural
  • Cellophane wrap in orange & clear
  • Assorted ribbons in shades of orange, brown and purple
  • Alphabet rubber stamps
  • Pigment ink pad, brown

How to make

  • Prepare a sheet of kitchen foil by oiling it lightly with vegetable oil. Push a lollipop stick into each apple.
  • Melt the sugar in the pan and allow to boil gently until it turns a caramel colour. 
  • Do not overcook as it will taste bitter. 
  • Remove from heat.
  • Take each apple in turn and holding it by the stick, dip each apple in the sugar until it is well coated.
  •  TAKE CARE AS THE MELTED SUGAR MIXTURE IS EXTREMELY HOT. 
  • You might need to spoon the mixture over the last apple as the level in the pan drops. 
  • Place each apple on the oiled foil sheet and allow to cool.
  • Place each cooled apple in the centre of a 30cm square ofcellophane sheet and draw up and around the apple securing where the apple and stick meet with a knot of ribbon.
  • Attach a stamped label to each stick with the cord if desired.
 Recipe and photo credit to Hobbycraft


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Halloween Chocolate Pots...


Kids will love these simple chocolate pots with spooky tombstone cookies for Halloween

Ingredients

  • 200ml double cream
  • 130g dark plain chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids)
  • 70g milk chocolate
  • 2 tbsp liquid glucose
  • 2 egg yolks 
  • 20g butter
  • 100g Rachel’s GREEK STYLE natural yogurt
To Decorate

  • 50g Oreo cookies crushed

Serves: 6 

Preparation time: 30 minutes 

 Cooking time: 10 - 15 minutes

Method for the Chocolate Pots

  • Heat the cream, do not allow it to boil.
  • Break the chocolate into a bowl and pour over the hot cream. 
  • Stir the chocolate until it melts and there is a smooth consistency.
  • Add the liquid glucose, egg yolks and butter, and beat lightly to combine the ingredients into the chocolate mixture.
  • Fold in the yogurt.
  • Pour the mixture into the glasses and refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving.
Biscuits

  • 50g Oreo cookies, crushed
  • 180g unsalted butter, softened
  • 112g caster sugar
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • Couple of drops vanilla extract
  • 200g plain flour, sifted
  • 1/2tsp baking powder
To Decorate

  • 100g dark chocolate, melted

Method for the Cookies

  • Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. 
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Begin by crushing the Oreo cookies and then put them to one side.
  • In a large bowl or using an electric mixer, beat the butter with the caster sugar until light and creamy.
  • Beat in the egg and the vanilla extract. 
  • Add the flour and baking powder and blend until a soft dough is formed.
  • Add the crushed Oreo cookies to the mixture and combine fully until you have a speckled looking dough.
  • Refrigerate the dough for at least one hour (this will make it easier to roll out).
  • On a floured surface roll out the dough to ½ cm thickness. 
  • With a sharp knife, cut out tombstone shapes and place the cookies apart on the tray.
  • Bake the cookies until the edges are slightly browned for approximately 10 minutes. 
  • Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely before handling.
  • Using a small piping bag with a small plain nozzle, fill with the melted chocolate and pipe the letters RIP.
  • Leave once again for the chocolate to set.
  • Place a RIP cookie in the centre of each glass and then sprinkle crushed Oreo cookie crumb around the biscuit to look like soil and stones.
  • Serve immediately.



Recipe and photo credit by Rachel’s the organic dairy


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Creepy Halloween Cupcakes...

Fancy making some fun Creepy Cupcakes with the children for Halloween?


(makes 12 fairy cake sized cakes)

Scale up to 3 eggs for a dozen larger cakes.

Cakes

  • 2 eggs
  • 125g softened butter or baking margarine
  • 125g self raising flour (or plain flour with 1 tsp of baking powder added)
  • 125g white or golden sugar
  • 1 heaped tbs cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • 1 – 2 tbs milk
Method

Add the eggs, butter, flour, sugar, cocoa & salt to a bowl and beat with a hand whisk until blended.
Add the milk and briefly mix again.
 The batter should be loose enough to dollop off a spoon.
Line a bun tin with fairy cake cases.
Fill each case 2/3 with batter and bake at 190C / GM 5 for about 12 minutes until risen and when a cocktail stick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Buttercream

  • 75g butter
  • 220g icing sugar
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 – 2 tbs milk

Method

  • The secret to fluffy butter cream is to beat the butter really well before you add any sugar.
  • Beat the butter until it is soft and fluffy, and then slowly add the icing sugar, cocoa, vanilla and milk.
  • You can make butter cream in advance and store in the fridge until needed.
  • (Remove from the fridge well before you need it)
  • I store mine in the piping bag, with a clip just behind the nozzle and the end of the bag twisted so it is airtight.
  • Decorate your cakes with the Halloween flavours of Jelly Belly of choice.
  • The oranges, blacks, purples and blood curdling red are the obvious ones but Halloween is about doing things YOUR way!


Recipe and photo credit-

Created for Jelly Belly UK by Helen Best-Shaw

Freelance Food & Recipe Writer

Fuss Free Flavours

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Cake Pops...

I thought you had to have a cake pop maker to make cake pops, not with this recipe!!

How sweet are these cake pops...



Time to prepare: 1 hour, plus cooling and chilling time

Cooking time: 25 minutes

Makes: 20

Ingredients

  • 115g slightly salted butter, softened
  • 115g Tate & Lyle Fairtrade Caster Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Lyle's Golden Syrup
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 115g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder

Frosting

  • 75g full-fat cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp Lyle's Golden Syrup
  • 125g Tate and Lyle Fairtrade Icing Sugar

Decoration

  • 200g plain chocolate, melted
  • 200g white chocolate, melted
  • Sprinkles as available





Method

  • For the cake pre-heat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/Gas Mark 4.
  • Grease and base line a 20cm round cake tin.
  • Put all of the ingredients for the cake into a large bowl and beat until smooth.
  • Transfer to the cake tin and level, then bake for 20-25 minutes until springy to touch and a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake.
  • Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes then turn out and cool completely.
  • Best left for a day before making the cake pops.
  • Mix the frosting ingredients together until smooth.
  • Crumble the cake into fine crumbs into a bowl, add the frosting and mix together to make a moist textured mixture that sticks together.
  • Cover with cling film and refrigerate until firm - for about 1 hour.
  • Take rounded teaspoons of mixture, and roll into firm balls with your hands.
  • Place on a sheet of greaseproof paper on a flat plate or tray.
  • Make about 20 balls.
  • Put into the freezer for about half an hour to firm.
  • Have ready a polystyrene block or a florist block.
  • Take a pop stick and dip into one of the cooled melted chocolates, about 2cm deep.
  • Insert immediately into a cake ball, about halfway through.
  • Now dip into the chocolate, making sure the cake ball is coated all over then gently tap the cake pop over the bowl to remove excess chocolate.
  • Place in the block and scatter sprinkles before the chocolate sets, which will be quite quick as the cake is cold from the freezer.
  • Repeat with the rest of the cake balls using both of the melted chocolates.
  • The pops will keep for a week in an airtight container in the refrigerator.




Recipe and photo credit by- This recipe was made using Tate & Lyle sugars and Lyle’s golden syrup, for more delicious recipes visit Taste And Smile or Lyles Golden Syrup



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