The Christmas Tag


IMG_5268Its about time I started to get a little festive here on the blog and there is nothing better than a good tag, Christmas edition! Its just over a week til my favourite day of the year so I threw some questions together, I hope you enjoy it and I would love to see y’all try it out yourself!

1. What is your favourite Christmas Movie?

Difficult question. I am not a big movie person but I do love a good Christmas one. Probably Elf or Love Actually, I can’t even decide.

2. Do you open any presents on Christmas Eve?

No I don’t. I don’t actually do anything special or have any traditions on Christmas Eve, it gets saved til Christmas Day itself!

3. What is the best Christmas gift you’ve ever received?

Probably my iPad I received a couple of years ago. I really don’t know what I would do without it and the best bit is that I never even asked for one or expected to get it, what a lovely surprise 🙂

4. What would be your dream place to visit for the holiday season?

I would love to go to New York at this time of year. It just seems so fab, the lights, the snow… I can’t think of anything better! I would also love to visit Prague and check out all the Christmas markets!

5. Have you ever had a White Christmas?

Yes. Quite a few times! Living in the UK means snow, rain, cold weather all the time really so its no surprise to have a white Christmas.

6. Favourite Christmas scent?

I love the smell of gingerbread cookies and to be honest any kind of cookies. I also love the scent of winter berries.

7. What is your favourite Christmas song?

I love a good Christmas song but my favourite has to be Feliz Navidad, Michael Buble edition oh yes! Unusual choice but such a cheery and not overplayed song! Also, just have to mention the fact the whole Michael Buble Christmas album is amazing and ooo I also love Fairytale of New York, sorry I am bad at choosing one.

8. Favourite festive food?

Controversially, I am not the biggest fan of Christmas dinner, I mean I like it but I don’t get crazy excited over it like most do. I prefer dessert…(no surprise). I love the treats you get at this time of the year, crepes and churros from the market yum! and of course gingerbread men mmm – check out my recipe here.

9. What’s your favourite holiday drink?

There is always the festive specials in Starbucks and Costa but to be honest as I am not the biggest fan of coffee I love to stick to my warm and cosy Hot Chocolate with cream and marshmallows (of course!).

10. What’s the best part about Christmas for you?

There is so many reasons to love Christmas, the decorations, the cookies, the shopping, the atmosphere, the music but I just love being able to take time off, forget about everything and spend time with your family. I really can’t wait to get the de-stress from the uni workload and just chill and relax with my favourite people 🙂

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Gingerbread Men


IMG_0025As the countdown to Christmas has begun I have a nice little festive recipe for you all today 🙂 I have never made Gingerbread cookies before and I really wanted to be all christmassy and try them out. These are the perfect treats for making with children, hanging on your tree, as gifts or just for eating! I picked this recipe up from the BBC here and its fab, my kitchen filled with the festive scent of gingerbread, so worth it!

Ingredients

350g (12oz) plain flour

1tsp bicarbonate of soda

2tsp ground ginger

1tsp ground cinnamon

125g (4 ½ oz) margarine

175g (6oz) light soft brown sugar

1 egg

4tbsp golden syrup

IMG_5191The first step is to make the dough. Using a food processor mix together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger, cinnamon and the butter and blend until it forms into breadcrumbs. Then Stir in the sugar. Then beat the egg and golden syrup together and add to the mixture. Then take the dough out and wrap in cling-film and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

IMG_5196Then roll out the dough and cut out the gingerbread men shapes using a cookie cutter.

IMG_5201Then place on a lined baking tray in place in a pre-heated oven at Gas mark 4/180C/350F. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

IMG_5203Then place them on a cooling rack for 10 minutes until they have cooled.

IMG_0035Then its time to be all creative and add some decorations. I went a little crazy and dripped icing and chocolate everywhere buy why not! I melted chocolate, made glacé icing and added sprinkles, but you can do whatever you fancy!

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Chocolate Pavlova


IMG_4935Hey there, so at the weekend I whipped up one of my favourite desserts ever .. Pavlova. If you aren’t familiar with the beauty of a Pavlova well basically its a huge meringue with cream on top and fruit, its amazinnngg. This was the first time however I decided to make a chocolate one rather than just an ordinary plain meringue and I used a slightly different recipe this time which is actually one of Nigella Lawson’s which you can find here, however I made a few odd changes. While they always appear to look a right mess (or is that just when I make them..) they taste incredible so do try this out if you haven’t made one 🙂

Ingredients

6 large egg whites

300g caster sugar

3 tablespoons cocoa powder (sieved)

50g dark chocolate (finely chopped)

IMG_4880Preheat over to Gas mark 4/180°C/350ºF. So first of all, beat the egg whites in a bowl until it begins to peak and then add in the sugar one spoonful at a time until its nice and glossy.

IMG_4885Then add in the cocoa powder and the chopped chocolate and mix.

IMG_4898Then place the mixture in a circle on baking paper on a baking tray. Place in the oven and reduce the temperature to Gas Mark 2/180°C/350ºF and cook for 1 hour and 15 mins or until crispy round the edges. Then allow to cool. Then whip up some cream (I used a 284ml tub) and place on top of the meringue and add some chopped strawberries (or fruit of your choice) and some sprinkled chocolate.

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And Voila!

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Raspberry Cream Cake


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So I was feeling quite peckish over the weekend and having nothing to do I thought I would take on a simple quick recipe. My first thoughts were to make a simple Victoria sponge however I made a few little changes adding a top cream layer and white chocolate/raspberry decoration. This is another easy recipe which involves adding all the ingredients into one bowl. Enjoy 🙂

Ingredients 

175g soft butter

157g caster sugar

3 medium eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

175g self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

IMG_4378Into a large bowl, I whisked up all the ingredients above.

IMG_4383Then I divided the mixture between two 8 inch tins and baked in the oven at Gas mark 4/180C/350F for 25-30 mins. Then I left the cakes to cool and prepared the filling. Spread a layer of raspberry jam on one side of one cake and whipped cream ( I whipped around 150ml of double cream up) and spread it on the other cake then sandwich together.

IMG_4389Then I added some cream to the top layer of the cake, grated over some white chocolate and finished with a few raspberries to decorate. Ta Da!

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Chocolate Loaf


P1040943So my dad is a huge chocolate lover and he practically begged me to bake him this. As a kind daughter I agreed and did so. The recipe was in a magazine he was reading and he pretty much stuffed it in my face. This is actually my first time using a loaf tin for a cake, not incredibly different just a different shaped tin but I like to mix things up a bit.

Ingredients

200g salted butter, soft

200g caster sugar

4 eggs

160g self-raising flour

40g cocoa powder

100g dark chocolate

P1040925So into a large bowl you whisk up the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Then add your eggs, one at a time, beating well each time. Finally, add the cocoa and flour and fold it into the mixture gently. It should look like this (picture above).

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Then place in a pre-heated oven at 160C/140C fan/ Gas mark 2 for 40-60 minutes until its cooked right through the middle. Also line your loaf tin with either paper loaf liner or just baking paper like I did.

P1040931Then break up the 100g of dark chocolate and melt in the microwave for 15 second bursts until its all melted.

P1040934Then drizzle the chocolate over the cake and let it harden.

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Voila!

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Lemon Drizzle Cake


IMG_3668I am a huge lover of anything sweet and bitter (I’m weird I know!) especially lemons, I could sit and happily eat on a lemon. So while I began to plan my next bake I realised I had never baked a lemon cake before despite loving them so I did quite that. I found a recipe online which is quite straightforward and uses ordinary ingredients that I already had.

Ingredients
175 g (6oz) self-raising flour
1 level tsp baking powder
175 g (6oz) margarine/butter
175 g (6oz) caster sugar
3 Medium eggs
2 tbsp semi-skimmed milk
finely grated rind of 2 lemons

IMG_3650As I said before this is very straightforward so all you do is add all the above ingredients into the one bowl like this (above).
IMG_3651And then whisk it all up!

IMG_3657Then put the mixture into an 8inch cake tin(like mine) or a loaf tin, your choice. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C, 160°C fan, gas mark 4 for 1 hour or until cooked.

IMG_3661Then leave to cool. Then you can prepare the lemon syrup for on top. Place 115g (4oz) of caster sugar and the juice of 2 lemons strained into a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved.

IMG_3662Then once the syrup is prepared, drizzle it over the cake while its warm so that it soaks into the cake and then finely grate some lemon to decorate and fini!

Carrot Cake


IMG_3398One of my favorite cakes is carrot cake and I (before this post) hadn’t actually ever made it so I thought I would give it a try. I thought it would be a good idea considering I had left over cream cheese icing from my Red Velvet cupcakes that I had to use up which goes perfectly with carrot cake! Again this is a pretty simple recipe as you simply gather all the ingredients in one bowl and then whisk it up and voila!

Ingredients

250ml sunflower oil

4 large eggs

225g demerara or muscovado sugar

200g carrots (peeled and grated)

300g self-raising flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground mixed spice

1tsp ground ginger

1 tsp cinnamon

Walnuts (to decorate)

As I say this recipe is incredibly easy, whisk up the above ingredients together then evenly divide amongst two 20cm/8inch greased round sandwich tins and place in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius/ Gas mark 4/ 350 Fahrenheit.

IMG_3344 The cake should be in the oven for about 35 minutes or until golden brown. Then I allowed my cake to cool down. (I should note here that I only used one cake tin simply because I couldn’t find my other one however I suggest using two tins as it will cook better)

IMG_3347I then sandwiched the cakes together with cream cheese icing in the middle and also spread it in a swirly fashion on top. You can find the recipe for the icing I used here in my cupcake post – I would half this recipe as I used left overs from the last time.

IMG_3358Then to finish I decorated my cake with some walnuts on top. Fini!

 

 

 

Red (or Pink) Velvet Cupcakes


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As usual I had no plans over the weekend *sad face* so I ended up doing a little baking to pass time. I have never tried to make Red Velvet Cupcakes before and as they say there is no better time than the present so I decided to give them a try. Now as you can tell from the title and the picture above my cupcakes did turn out more pink than red .. oops, but hey every mistake is a future lesson so next time I need to add more food coloring to my cake mix.

Ingredients (Makes 12 – muffin sized)

150g unsalted butter

150g caster sugar

150g self-raising flour

3 medium eggs

2.5ml vanilla extract

Red food coloring (enough until mixture is red ..not pink!)

This recipe is my favorite for cupcakes as its incredibly easy as all you need to do is add all the ingredients into the one bowl and whisk it up.

IMG_3308All my ingredients in the bowl (not very appetizing yet)

IMG_3314All whisked up! – Why I thought this was red .. I don’t even know!

IMG_3316Then I evenly distributed the mixture between 12 cake cases ready for the oven. These goes in the oven at Gas mark 4/180 Celsius/350 Fahrenheit for 20 mins.

IMG_3319Finally baked goods!

Then after allowing my cakes to cool down I made a lemon cream cheese frosting for on top. The recipe I used made well over the amount I needed so I would suggest to half this.

Frosting Ingredients

125g cream cheese

60g soft butter

150g icing sugar

2 tbsp lemon juice

350g icing sugar

Preparation

1. Beat the cream cheese and butter until combined. Then beat in 150g of icing sugar and the lemon juice.

2.Gradually beat in the remaining icing sugar until icing is of the right consistency. Using piping bag pipe on to cakes.

IMG_3332The end result!

 

Christmas Recipe: Gingerbread Men


We are in our final full week before Christmas and this is when serious planning needs to be considered. We all like a good treat during the holidays and there is nothing better and easier than gingerbread men. They are a perfect treat for all the family and could even be a great gift idea!

Gingerbread men

Ingredients

350g/12oz plain flour, plus extra for rolling out

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cinnamon

125g/4½oz butter

175g/6oz light soft brown sugar

1 free-range egg

4 tbsp golden syrup

writing icing

cake decorations

Instructions (45mins – 1 hour)

Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon and pour into the bowl of a food processor.

Add the butter and blend until the mix looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.

Lightly beat the egg and golden syrup together, add to the food processor and pulse until the mixture clumps together.

Tip the dough out, knead briefly until smooth, wrap in cling-film and leave to chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.

Roll the dough out to a 0.5cm/¼in thickness on a lightly floured surface.

Using cutters, cut out the gingerbread men shapes and place on the baking tray, leaving a gap between them.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden-brown.

Leave on the tray for 10 minutes and then move to a wire rack to finish cooling.

When cooled decorate with the writing icing and cake decorations.

Credit to BBC Good Food for recipe.