Tuesday, 29 December 2009

After Christmas Pudding

This recipe uses up those bits of ingredients that you often don't know what to do with.

After Christmas Pudding

200g plain flour
100g margarine
1/2 jar mincemeat
150g marziapn - grated
2-3 eating apples - cored and diced

1. Pre-heat the oven to Gas 6/200C
2. Sieve the flour into the mixing bowl and rub the margarine in until like
fine breadcrumbs
3. Take out 100g of the rubbed in mixture and set aside
4. Add enough cold water to the remaining crumbs and make your pastry.
5. Line a flan ring with the pastry
6. Place the mincement and diced apples into a small bowl and mix well.
7. Plce this mixture into the flan ring.
8. Add the grated marzipan to the crumb mixture and mix well with a teaspoon of
mixed spice.
9. Cover the mincemeat with this mixture and bake for 15-20 mins until golden brown

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Wirksworth Derbyshire

Using our new mini guide to the Peak District we set off to Wirksworth. Check out this

Wirksworth is located in the Southern Dales. The market place and car park is a good place to start exploring the town. Up Dale Lane there are wickedly sloping lanes with cobbled gutters, leading past the old smithy, opposite Green Hill, a 17th-century gabled house built of limestone with sandstone mullioned windows. Hidden away behind the fronts of tall houses is St Mary's Church. It is accessible along Church Street or through the old alley of the lychgate, of which only the tall stone pillars remain. The grasses churchyard is encircled by iron railings, which seperate it from a narrow lane called Church Walk and a jumble of back yards and sloping roofs.
I took several photographs on my tour of Wirksworth. The ginger cat was extremely friendly and was on guard beside the church railings. Another one of my photographs shows the preserved remains of a medival home. Take a trip and see this place for yourself, it really is a beautiful place. I will be going back again on a Tuesday when it is market day.

Friday, 25 December 2009



Thursday, 24 December 2009

Berry Trifle

A simple dessert that can be made in a flash and will be nice and light to eat after all that rich main course on Christmas Day.

Berry Trifle

1 maderia cake - cut into slices
250g raspberries
250g blueberries
150ml fresh orange juice
250ml mascarpone
500ml tub custard
2 tsp vanilla essence
300ml whipping cream

1. Slice the maderia cake and arrange in a glass bowl
2. Sprinkle over the mixed berries and cover with the fresh orange juice
3. Place the mascrpone into a mixing bowl and add the custard gradually unitl well
blended. Add the vanilla essence and mix in.
4. Spoon this mixture over the fruit.
5. Cover with whipped cream and sprinkle on any extra berries.

Note: Any mixture of berries can be used, use frozen ones mixed with some sugar and
Instead of orange juice use a liquer

However you make it - ENJOY!

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

A New Find

Just blogging around and catching up on old friends and came across this blog
What a find, just check it out for yourself.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Who could resist these reindeer cakes?

Came across a recipe the other day and have adapted it to make these little reindeer cakes to take to my great nephew and neice. Who could resist eating these?

Reindeer Cup-cakes

150g margarine
150g caster sugar
150g SR flouor
1 tabsp. cocoa powder
3 eggs
To decorate
100g margarine
200g icing sugar
1tabsp. cocoa
glace cherries
marzipan - for eyes
pretzels - for antlers

1. Pre-heat oven to Gas 5/190C
2. Place 12 large cupcake cases into tray
3. Place all cake ingredients into a large mixing bowl and use an
electric mixer to cream all ingredients together until soft
and fluffy
4. Divide the mixture between the paper cases
5. Bake for 15 - 20 mins until soft and springy to touch
6. Cool on a wire rack whilst you make the butter-cream
7. Place margarine, icing sugar and cocoa into a bowl and use electric mixer to
cream together until well mixed
8. Place a heaped teaspoon of mixture onto the top of each cup-cake, spread around
and shape a face.
9. Add a glace cherry for the nose, 2 marzipan balls for the eyes and cut a pretzel
in half for the antlers.

So cute, can you possibly eat them.

Gingerbread Hearts - Just for Christmas

Another little baking session so I can take extra gifts with me on my Christmas travels to see friends.
Gingerbread Hearts

140g margarine
100g dark muscovado sugar
3tabsp golden syrup
350g plain flour
1ts bicarbonate of soda
2tsp ground ginger
1tsp cinnamon
pinch cayenne pepper
2 balls stem ginger from a jar - chopped
To Decorate
100g icing sugar
glace cherries - sliced

1. Pre-heat oven to Gas 6/200C
2. Place margarine, sugar and syrup in a saucepan and melt over a low heat
3. Place flour, bicarb, spices into a large mixing bowl.
4. Pour melted mixture into flour and add chopped ginger
5. Mix well to a stiff dough - leave to cool before handling
6. Roll out the mixture on a floured table
7. Use a heart shape to cut out as many as you can
8. Place on a greased baking tray - place small hole at the top of each one
9. Bake for 10-12 mins
10. Cool on a wire rack
11. Make glace icing by adding a drop of water to the icing sugar until you have a
failry stiff paste - not too runny
12 Thread ribbons through the hoel before decorating
13 Spread the icing over the biscuit and decorate with slices of cherries.
14. Leave to harden before either hanging on the tree or placing into decorated bags
to give as gifts.

A Magical Interlude

Whilst having my morning coffee I thought I would just check my emails.
a friend had sent me this:

Click on it, sit back and enjoy. I had a few minutes of bliss whilst I drank my coffee.
Some thoughtful people around.
Merry Christmas

Monday, 21 December 2009

Sweet Potato and Red Lentil Soup

What a cold day. Hard frost on the ground with a sprinkle of snow calls for a warming soup.

Sweet Potato and Red Lentil Soup

2tsp curry powder
3 tabsp olive oil
1 onion - finely chopoped
1 eating apple - cored and chopped
thumb size piece of fresh ginger - finely chopped
2 large sweet potatoes - peeled and cubed
1 litre vegetable stock
50g red lentils
150ml milk

1. Fry the onions lightly in the oil until soft.
2. Add the curry powder and stir for 1m minute
3. Add the apple and ginger and stir for another minute
4. Add the sweet potatoes, lentils and stock
5. Simmer for 15 - 20 mins until the potato is soft.
6. Blend and add the milk
7. Continue to simmer for a couple of minutes
8. Serve with Naan Breads

This is a real warming soup. Enjoy!

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Christmas Market

We set off early by train from Derby to Birmingham to visit the German Christmas Market. The weather was -5 with a crisp frost underfoot and snow in the air. The train was freezing and we learnt from the ticket collector that our carriage had a faulty heating system - thank goodness we were only going a short journey. Other passengers were travelling from Leeds to Plymouth (Devon).
As we stepped out of the station in Birmingham we were there, right amongst the German Market. The lights, the colours, the smells, all there for us to delight in. As it was so cold our first stop was the mulled wine stall. We cuped it our hands and drank slowly to warm our bodies - such a flavour - I love it.
We were not disappointed and spend several hours just wandering about, as you can see from the photographs it was a wonderful event.
WE arrived home to the warm smell of cooking. I had in my wisdom prepared our evening meal of Chicken and Red wine Casserole.
All I have to do now is make some herby dumplings.
This should warm us u before we go the Carol Service in Little Eaton.
I hope your Sunday was as enjoyable as mine.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

The end of the Tulips

Ten days ago I was given a bunch of tulips. They were red a wrapped in gold paper all tied up with a red ribbon. I put them in water and left in them in my kitchen so I could keep looking them whilst I worked. I took a photograph of them today - not quite done yet, perhaps another couple of days before I say goodbye beautiful flowers.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Boxing Day Chutney

Wow! Kirstie Allsop's Home made Christmas. I was left with my jaw on the floor with so many beautiful ideas. I have watched trhe programme several times now and I hope she brings out a book. Anyway I am going to make the Boxing Day Chutney this weekend to give as last minute gifts.


Boxing Day Chutney
Fresh ingredients

2lbs onions, sliced
2lb cooking aples peeled and chopped
1 pkt fresh cranberries (12oz)
2 pints cider vinegar
Zest of 2 oranges
1oz fresh ginger chopped finely
1 tabsp coarse sea salt
1/2tsp mixed spice
Dried Ingredients
2lb dried apricots choped
1pkt dates choped
1lb raisins
Juice of 8 oranges or 1pt orange juice
2lb sugar
Put dried fruit into a bowl and pour over the orange juice - leave to soak
Place all fresh ingredients into a large pan and cook until the onion is ale and the cranberries have turned everything pink
Add the dried fruit with the sugar
Bring to the boil and simmer until thick
Place into warm, clean jars, label

Give as gifts and a very Merry Chritmas to you all.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Christmas Wreath

I was so inspired by all your Christmas Wreaths, that I decided I just had to get on and make one myself. Kirstie Allsopp's Homemade Christmas also was a WOW factor and should be checked out immediately for inspiration. Anyway I wandered along the hedgerows and gathered together a few bits and bobs and visited the local garden centre for the essentials and I got busy.
Here is my result.
I think it needs a bit more colour, like a big gold bow, but for now it will do until I finish school next week.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

The Twelve Days of Christmas

I have just finished laying out the mincepies ready for our school Carol Concert this evening and I turned round and there on the wall was the Twelve Days of Christmas. I just had to take a photograph and share it with you all. I think they were made by the Junior groups.
I think I will make a Mosaic and post it on Mosaic Monday.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Mulled Wine and Mince Pies

I am going to busy over the next few days. It is our school ' Christmas Concert'. I am catering for 150 people and the mene is Mulled Wine and Mince Pies.

Mince Pies
225 cold butter, diced
350g plain flour
100g caster sugar
280g mincemeat
icing sugar to dust

1. To make the pastry runb the butter into the flour, then mix in the sugar.
2. Combine the pastry into a ball and knead it briefly - no need to add any liquid
3. Pre-heat the oven to Gas 6/200C
4. Cut the pastry in half and work each seperately to avoid rolling and re rolling
5. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured table.
6. Cut out larger circles and smaller circles for the tops.
7. Place the larger circles into a bun tray, fill with a teaspoon of mincemeat and
cover witht the smaller circle - press down and snip the top with scissors or a
couple of fork pricks.
8. Bake for 20 minutes until golden and crisp.
9. Leave 5 mins in the tray to cool and then transfer to a rack for cooling
10. Dust with icing sugar

Some people don't like a full topped mincepie and so I use the pastry trims to make holly leaves or stars for the top - just bake in the same way.

Well I can't sit here all day, ingredients to buy and get to making mince pies.

Mulled Wine
I just cheat and buy bottles of Mulled Wine from the supermarket and add some extra spices and slices of oranges.
Just heat - not boil - and pour into large glass jugs.
Serve with a mince pie.

What could be better than listening to Christmas music with a glass in one hand and a mince pie in the other.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Just missed it

What a day. I received an email from Susannah Conway re her new course registration starting in January. Oh! my you have to be really quick. All 160 places were sold out in 82 minutes. I missed out this time, but will be on the look out for her next registration. The course just sounds so amazing