Baking · Chatter

Happy New Year!

When I re-started this blog I promised myself I wouldn’t put pressure on blogging or apologise for the length of time between each post, but really, I am sorry it’s been so long since my last post! Life with a 15 month old has been pretty hectic there is barely any time to sit down and do anything, let alone make things to blog about!  I really admire mum’s who can juggle both blogging and a toddler I don’t how you do it! Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and a happy new year! It seemed to go too quickly and it seems surreal that we are already in 2017. I am clinging on to Christmas by still having my decorations up. I’m going to wait until 12th night (6th Jan) to take them down. I just love the coziness of the Christmas lights.

In my last post I shared with you my plans for making a Christmas cake. The weeks leading up to Christmas I fed it with a little brandy, but was still unsure how I wanted to decorate it. I had elaborate plans but had to be more realistic with time being an issue. I didn’t decide until the day I iced it if I was going to use royal icing or fondant. I like the rustic, snowy look of royal icing, I had bought some reindeer and trees and wanted to create a forest scene, but at the last minute I decided to use fondant. I was a little nervous as I know it can be quite unforgiving and show off every little lump and bump.

 

 

christmas-cake-square christmas-cake-2

I haven’t iced a cake with fondant since school so I was fairly pleased, I feel it could have been more perfect but I think it passed. Maybe not to Mary Berry’s standards though!?

christmas-cake-close-up

A close up of the topper, it was really hard to pick up the sparkle on the Merry Christmas! It’s by Ginger Ray and can be bought on places like Amazon or EBay. So the cake is probably not what I had in mind, it’s certainly not a grand creation, but for a first year attempt and being a sleep deprived mum of a very clingy 15 month old I am pleased. I will definitely be making another for next Christmas. Unfortunately I couldn’t sample any, I’m on a dairy free diet as my daughter is intolerant and I’m still breastfeeding, but those who did sample it, phoned and asked for more so I must have got something right!

 

So what are your plans for this year? Anything exciting planned? I am hoping to get back in to the kitchen more, and definitely plan to sew more. I have a couple of makes that I did for Christmas that I would like to share with you and I hope to that soon.

Baking

Christmas Cake

For the last few years I always say I would bake a Christmas cake but for one reason or another I left it too late or never got round to making it. This year with Mabel being a bit older I really want to start some Christmas traditions with her, and not forgetting my husband loves Christmas cake! So this year I have made sure I made enough time for it!Christmas cake baking

I used a Mary Berry recipe from my old faithful book of hers, but after I found another recipe online that she claims is the one she uses every year and I wish I had used that! I can’t quite believe how much fruit is in it, I do have plenty left over and am debating making a Christmas pudding on Stir up Sunday (21st November), but my husband is the only one who would eat it so maybe not? As you can imagine the smell of the cake baking in the oven smelt amazing! I’m not normally a fan of Christmas cake but I think I may have to indulge this year!

Christmas Cake

The cake had an obligatory feed of brandy before being wrapped up and stored away. I will feed it every couple of weeks until it is ready to be decorated, the exciting bit! I’m off now to Pinterest to get some inspiration for my decoration!

Are you making a Christmas cake this year? What is your favourite recipe?

x

 

Baking · Chatter · Sewing

Hello 2015 {Updated}

I’m looking forward to a brand new start this year. 2014 was spent mainly being unwell. I tried to play it down on here but well its not been easy. It didn’t leave me much time for what I love doing dance, making and blogging. I received my annual report from WordPress a couple of days ago and was shocked to read I had only managed to publish 70 posts.

The great thing about the start of the year is all the plans and ideas you promise yourself you’ll do… the disappointing thing at the end of the year is when you realise you’ve not fulfilled them! The key is to not beat yourself up about it, last year taught me to be thankful for the little things and (try) not to worry about the big stuff. Take each day at a time and don’t put too much pressure on yourself.

The highlight of the year definitely had to be Louie!

LouieIts amazing what a difference to your life one little dog can make! He really did brighten up an otherwise miserable year.

EPP!

2014 was the year of the hexagon! I had a lot of fun with these, including two quilts! Which brought my completed quilt count up to 3! There will be plenty more hexagons in 2015 I’m sure!

baking2014

I almost forgot to include my bakes of 2014! It doesn’t look as many as I remember baking, so I’m pretty sure some didn’t get photographed! I know I made plenty of mince pies in December and a Christmas yule log.

2015-01-02 14.11.31 (2)

A major achievement for me over the year was to quit smoking. One year ago today, and I’m so pleased with myself. These figures are based on a 20 a day habit, so if you are trying to give up now these stats could be yours in a years time.

FabricThanks to the extra pennies here is just some of the lovely fabrics I was able to treat myself with. It is one addiction I don’t want to give up!

So what’s the plan for 2015? Well I can’t give it all away now but I hope to have some new things in the shop, I hope to get back to my ballet classes, do more photography and take more time to blog and maybe another quilt.. or 2.

Wishing you all a very happy and healthy new year! Thank you for all your support in 2014.

xx

P.s The shop will reopen on Monday 5th January

 

Baking

Mincemeat Crumble Squares

If you fancy something a little different to a mince pie but still want a little Christmassy treat, then these are perfect. I adapted the recipe from my raspberry crumble square recipe. This is such a super simple treat to make all the taste of a mince pie with no pastry making in sight!

mincemeat crumble squares 2

mincemeat crumble squares

You will need:

1 cup of plain flour

1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 cup of oats

1/2 cup of light brown soft sugar

1/2 cup of butter

1/4 tsp of cinnamon

1/4 cup chopped hazlenuts

1 jar of good quality mincemeat

1 8 inch square baking tin

Method:

* Preheat oven to 180C/ 350F/ Gas 4, grease and line your tin.

*  Place the flour, bicarb and cinnamon into a large bowl. Add the sugar, hazelnuts and oats, mix together with your fingers to break up an lumps of sugar.

* Add the butter and rub together until evenly combined.

* Place 2 cups of the oaty mix into the tin and press down firmly until it’s packed in and even.

* Spread a generous layer of mincemeat, you may find the mincemeat won’t spread so just dollop little spoonfuls until the base is covered.

* Press the remaining oats over the top

* Bake for 40- 45 minutes until golden brown

* Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares.

 

Baking

German Stollen Bread

stollen2

I love Stollen but have always bought it in the past, so this year I thought I would have a go at making my own! I do love making bread but it can be so time consuming to make and normally I decide too late in the day to make it and have to resolve to make it the next day which quite often doesn’t happen. So this time I made sure I put a day aside to make it and it was so worth it.

There is something so satisfying about eating bread that you have made, especially when its filled with fruit, almonds and marzipan!

stollen

The recipe I used left the dough very wet so I ended up adding some flour as it seemed too wet, the first prove didn’t really amount to much and I was worried but the second was better I ended up cutting the dough in half to make 2 loaves as it struggled to fit on the tray and would have taken forever to bake. I also wonder if my marzipan should have been rolled thinner? But the weight and dimensions were right so maybe it was ok?

 

Here is the recipe;

You will need:

2 tsp Dried yeast

230g Plain flour

100ml Warm milk

Pinch of salt

1 tsp Caster Sugar

1tsp Ground mixed spice

200g Dried mixed fruit

50g Glace cherries, chopped

25g Flaked almonds

50g butter

1 Egg

250g Marzipan

To finish:

25g Melted butter

50g Icing sugar

Method:

*Place the warm milk and yeast in a bowl and set aside for about 6-8 minutes. Meanwhile, sift together the flour, salt and mixed spice into a large bowl.

* Add the dried fruit, cherries, almonds and butter and mix well to combine. Add the yeast mixture together with the egg and mix well to combine all the ingredients to form a dough.

* Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 4-5 minutes, place the dough in a bowl, cover with cling film and set aside in a warm place to prove for 25 minutes.

* Uncover the dough and turn out onto a lightly dusted surface. Knock back to reduce the volume then once again knead the dough for a further 5 minutes.

* Push and roll out the dough by hand into a flat oval shape about 9x7inch. Roll out the marzipan into a piece about 7x2inch.

* Place the marzipan in the centre of the dough, then fold over the sides of the dough to seal in the marzipan. Place the dough seal side down onto a greased baking tray lined with parchment, cover and set aside somewhere warm to prove for an hour. Preheat the over to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

* Bake for 40-45 minutes or if you have split the dough into 2 like I did bake for about 25-30 minutes.

Remove from the oven, brush with the melted butter and dust liberally with the sifted icing sugar.

stollen3

 

Baking

Anzac Biscuits

Anzac Biscuits

I have very early memories of these biscuits, my Grandma used to make them for me as child and they were one of my favourites. Sadly I was never able to get a copy of the recipe before she passed, and I have spent many years trying to recreate them with not a lot of success. Until I came across blogger A Spoonful of Sugar’s recipe on her blog, and they looked so good I had to try.

Anzac Cookies

I won’t share the recipe here as you must check her blog out, but I will say this recipe was the best I’ve ever tried and the results were yummy, it took me straight back to my childhood in my Grandma’s kitchen.

Do you have any childhood favourites you wish you wish you had the recipe for now?

Anzac Biscuits

Baking

Malteser Custard Creams

Malteser Custard Creams

What’s better than a Custard Cream? A Custard Cream that tastes like Maltesers ! I came across a recipe for malted custard creams and knew I had to adapt it to make it chocolatey. And although biscuits can be a little bit faffy to make at times, its so worth it once your sat with a nice cup of tea and a homemade just out of the oven biscuit.

Malteser Custard CreamsMalteser Custard Creams

 

 

You will need:

200g Plain Flour

50g Custard Powder

50g Malteser Drinking Chocolate (or chocolate Horlicks)

25g Icing Sugar

175g Butter

For the filling:

50g Butter, softened

200g Icing Sugar

1tbsp Malteser drinking chocolate or a malted drink alternative

1tbsp Custard Powder

1tbsp full fat milk

 

Preheat oven to 180C/350F

* Put all the dry ingredients together in a bowl and stir to combine.

* Add the butter and rub together with the dry ingredients until it comes together to form a dough.

* Flatten the dough, wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for about 20 minutes

* In the meantime to make the filling beat the butter until soft, then sift in the icing sugar, custard powder and the malted drinking chocolate, add the milk and give it another beat.

* Take the chilled dough out of the fridge and cut in half. Roll one half of the dough out on a floured surface.

Malteser Custard Creams

* Using a cutter of your choice cut out the shapes and place on a lined baking tray. Place the tray/s back in the fridge for a t least 5 minutes while you roll out the other half of the dough.

* Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes, then allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

* Pop your icing in a piping bag and apply to one side of the biscuit before topping with the second biscuit. If you prefer you can spread it on but I did find it easier piping it.

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Enjoying them with a nice hot drink and some Christmas planning.