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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Apple and mincemeat galette

Mince pies have been filling up the supermarket shelves for the last few months and jars of ready-made mincemeat have sneakily taken their place amongst the baking ingredients ready to jump out and berate you for being completely unprepared for Christmas months in advance. If you’re one of those wonderfully organised souls you’ll have made your own batch of mincemeat several weeks ago. I, on the other hand, found myself baking with the tail-end of last year’s jars until my lovely mum kindly handed me a jar she’d made the other weekend. (more…)

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Hip hip hooray! Today is T and Cake’s 2nd birthday! Wow, where have the last two years gone? So much has happened over that time and hopefully there are many more adventures to come. My new kitchen units have arrived (all 120 boxes) and hopefully I’ll soon be busy experimenting with new toys and fancy settings on the oven. I’ve also had the good fortune to get an allotment which will require rather a lot of heavy duty digging over winter but should provide some beautiful fresh ingredients come next summer. But what is a blog without people to read it? Here’s to you, kind readers. Thank you for stopping by, leaving comments and making this blog what it is. I’m sorry not to be able to share this birthday cake with you in person but we can celebrate in spirit. Cheers!

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Have you decided what to have for breakfast on Christmas morning? (Or am I weird for planning this sort of thing in advance?) Let me make a suggestion; something special but not too heavy, freshly baked but easy and quick to make leaving you free to sip on Buck’s Fizz and open presents. This year we’ll be tucking into warm spiced scones, studded with juicy cranberries and orange zest spread with sweet cinnamon butter. Sounds like a lot of work? Not at all! Just sneak them out of the freezer into the oven and let them bake while you make coffee. (more…)

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I don’t often have prunes in the store cupboard (I’m not sure why, they’re really very nice) but at Christmas they always make a welcome return to my kitchen ready to be wrapped in bacon and offered up as canapés or soaked in booze for sticky, fruity puddings. They’re one of the few fruits that get my approval to be paired with chocolate because their rich flavour brings out the fruitiness of a good dark chocolate. Prunes and chocolate are best friends with armagnac (probably because they come from the same area of France and spend long nights in the cupboard chatting in French and shrugging their shoulders at the state of my kitchen) and combine to make an indulgent, gooey truffle that you’ll have a hard time sharing.

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One of my favourite seasonal treats is a slice of stollen. The German Christmas cake is made from bread dough enriched with sugar and eggs, dried fruit, spices and candied peel. At its core runs a thick seam of marzipan which any almond aficionado will revel in. A true stollen is also be finished off with a blizzard of icing sugar. This year, rather than make a full-sized loaf for slicing, I though it would be fun to make something a bit more portable, easier to share and a whole lot cuter to boot. Hello mini stollen buns! (more…)

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Party season is almost upon us and I’ve been busy trialling recipes for the Christmas crowds. My first party is this weekend but, I think fortunately, I’m not playing host just yet. It’s going to be one of those wonderfully out of character parties where you get to see a totally new side of your friends. On Saturday I’m going to feast on dustbin lid-sized pizza, garlic bread and chocolate fudge cake with my running group which mainly consists of a bunch of fairly health-conscious ladies. I think we’re going to give the restaurant a run for their money in terms of how much we can eat!

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Roasted chestnuts

Just a quick post to share a seasonal snack. I spent a lovely evening snuggled up with my husband watching a film, drinking scotch and munching on roasted chestnuts hot from the oven. I really wish I had an open fire…

Oven-roasted chestnuts are incredibly easy to make and taste wonderful; slightly sweet with a beautiful smell. Ideal witha  sprinkling of salt.

Roasted chestnuts

Make as many as you want plus some extra in case any are bad.

Try to choose firm, heavy chestnuts. Soft ones are likely to be off.

Heat your oven to 220°C.

Put the chestnuts flat side down on a tea cloth and cut a cross in the shell. Don’t worry if you cut into the nut, this will amke it wasier to peel.

Arrange the chestnuts on a baking sheet cut side up and roast for 20mins.

Peel while warm and spinkle over some sea salt.

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