Tuesday 31 December 2013

Cardamom thins recipe (biscuits to welcome in the New Year!)

Surely there cannot be a better way to usher in the New Year than to be stuffing your face with sweet sugary goodness. Yeah sure, you could spend this time with all your loved ones and friends, having fun and creating treasured memories, blah-de-blah, etc etc. But why not also start 2014 in the manner you intend to see it out...or with one last hurrah before the New Years resolutions kick in. So here is an easy recipe to help you to quickly whip up a batch of goodies in time for tonight's celebrations. You can find the full recipe at the bottom of this post.

I received a mortar and pestle for Christmas, something that has been on my wish list for quite some time, so I wanted to utilise this in my bake, and cardamom conjures up the scent of the season for me, I love the little pods full of seeds which burst in little pops of flavour as you bite them. 

As these biscuits are for New Years eve I wanted a little extra surprise, so I added a few pieces of popping candy to the center of the sandwich. If you can find chocolate covered popping candy use this, otherwise you need to create your own, or the pop will all be gone by the time you come to eating the cookie up.


Download the recipe by clicking on the arrow or click on the printer to print it out.

Happy New Year, thank you for all your support and encouragement this year, and here's to a fabulous 2014!

Sunday 22 December 2013

Gingerbread marshmallow recipe

For some unknown reason I have become obsessed with making marshmallows this year. Maybe it's because they are relatively easy to make, but people think you're amazing when you hand them a bag of the good stuff. Or it could be because they are sooo different to commercial marshmallows. But I think the real reason is that melted on top of a mug of steaming hot chocolate they dissolve into the nearest thing to ambrosia you can find!

So I thought I would share my gingerbread hot chocolate recipe with you, there is still plenty of time to whip up a batch in time for Christmas. This is based in a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe from his book The River Cottage Family Cookbook. It is the best one I have tried, as it doesn't contain any corn syrup (which is really hard to get hold off in the UK. I did try a non-egg white recipe using a mixture of glucose and golden syrup, but it turn into nougat, which while delicious was not marshmallow! So I have added some fragrant Christmassy spices to turn a lovely treat into a delicious seasonal necessity!

 I cut my marshmallows into hearty cubes, if you wanted to create shapes from them, I suspect you may find it easier to use a bigger tin, so that the marshmallows are thinner. 

I really can't get enough of these marshmallows melted onto hot chocolate, and I fear that I may be heading towards a diabetic coma, due to my over-consumption!

I packaged the marshmallow up with some chocolate spoons (see here for the 'recipe') and some chocolate pepper cookies. I would be delighted to find these in my stocking this Christmas..so I may have to add soem myself into my own!

You can download the recipe by clicking on the download button below, or use the printer symbol to print out.

Happy Christmas.

Friday 20 December 2013

Hot chocolate spoons

I can't really call this a recipe, it is really just heating and stirring, but it is a quick and easy make for any last minute Christmas gifts you need to give.

  • Heat 150g of good quality dark chocolate until melted
  • Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Stir in 75ml of boiling water, keep stirring until smooth
  • Spoon 3 small teaspoons onto an ice lolly mold (you should make about 8 from this amount)
  • Add a wooden spoon
  • Add some sprinkles and chill in the fridge until hard
  • Run the outside of the mold under hot water and gently release the chocolate, you may need to put the chocolate in the fridge for a few minutes to harden up again.
  • Package prettily and give as a gift to a very grateful recipient
  • Or add it to a mug of hot milk and drink yourself!

I shall be back soon with a fabulous marshmallow recipe which is amazing on top of a mug of this!
ps this recipe was originally made for Instagram you can follow me here.

Monday 16 December 2013

Geometric gingerbread house

After a ten year career in design I like to surf any new trends, so this year I embraced geometric and neon when creating my family gingerbread house. 

But of course it being Christmas there needed to be some gold incorporated.

I made these cookies as presents. I really like the mix of geo patterns and more traditional floral, I've a fancy to create a cake like this!

Tuesday 3 December 2013

Many cakes to bake

Last week I was very busy making lots of lovely cakes.
The first two were for a past student who came to my very first class when she was only sixteen, last week she turned eighteen.
Her Mum ordered her a special cake for the big day and then gave her an extra surprise with a second one for her party.

This one was based on pictures of my cakes I found on Ellen's Pinterest board.

And this one was based on her swimsuit fabric. I really love trying something different and these colours are not ones I would normally use. But I was really pleased with how they turned out.

This cake was for a lovely young man who wanted to celebrate his anniversary with his girlfriend, I thought that was very romantic!

This was made a few weeks ago for a special 21st.

I'm up to my eyes in gingerbread this week, so I will be sharing pictures soon.

Thursday 28 November 2013

Gingerdead house!

I made this gingerdead house to help promote the launch of a brand new zombie app made by some friends. The house is based on a house in the film, and I wanted the zombies to be reaching out to nibble on you!

Sweet dreams!

Parts 1 and 2 of UK horror app The Hunting - 'the world's scariest app' - are out now and they're scaring the competition off the charts.  Made for less than the cost of an iPhone, the "heart-pumping fright fest" (Daily Star) was made by a team of talented independent filmmakers, and is taking on the big-budget games in the charts, reaching the Top 3 in the UK Entertainment chart. 
The Hunting is the world's first fully interactive horror movie, shot on location in England with a talented British cast and crew, there is absolutely no CGI, everything is REAL, making the experience all the more terrifying!  An intense first-person movie with a bone-chilling soundtrack, YOU are the main character, YOU make the decisions, and YOU live or die based on your actions.  
Part 1 is free and features the first 13 minutes of the film you can find it here.  Part 2 has over 40 minutes of footage and you can find it here.
From award-winning director Allan Plenderleith and multi-million downloaded app developer Jason Stewart. Released on the iPhone app store by UK indie developer Wotsamaflip Studios Ltd.
For best results play alone, in the dark with headphones.  Oh, and try to remain calm.

Friday 22 November 2013

Microwave Christmas pudding

In a couple of days it will be Stir Up Sunday, the traditional day when bakers make their Christmas cakes, mincemeat and puddings. I always get very excited on this day as the aromas and fragrances of the coming season fill the house and we all take a turn to stir the bowl as we make a wish. However there is one big downside to the pudding making and that is the amount of steam generated when cooking them. All the widows are steamed over for the four hours it takes to cook the puddings and any fondant decorations I have out totally wilt.
So this year I decided to try an experiment. I normally reheat the puddings in the microwave, so why not cook them in there too, and it works, they cook in twelve minutes, so you don't have to hang around the kitchen for hours. Of course if you think what I am suggesting is sacrilege then please feel free to steam them in the traditional manner.
One of the best features with this type of pudding is that you can use any fruit you like as long as it comes to the same weight as the fruit in the recipe, and use any alcohol you wish as long as it has a good flavour.
The pureed prunes add a lovely caramel, toffee taste to the pud and creates a moister crumb too, and the melted chocolate increases the richness.

I cooked my pudding on full power for four lots of four minutes, leaving it to rest for a minute in between each blast. If you insert a cake tester or skewer into the center of the pudding it will come out clean once it is cooked. As soon as it has finished cooking pour over three tablespoons of the Armagnac. Cover the bowl in clingfilm and feed (pour over more Armagnac) every week.
To reheat cook for two minutes in the microwave, again on full power, let it rest for a minute and then cook for another two minutes.

You can print or download the recipe using the gizmo above.

You can find a recipe for mincemeat here.
And Christmas cake recipe and decoration here.