Yesterday was a very sad day for us. My husband’s lovely Mum passed away after a very long illness. I am feeling very heavy hearted. She was a very kind and generous person and we are all going to miss her so much.
I’m posting this recipe alongside my tribute to her because I made these last year and gave her some to try, as I often did. She said they were lovely, even with cranberries which she wasn’t normally fond of. My mum-in-law and I would quite often have a gossip over coffee and whatever biscuit or cake I brought over. I’ll always cherish the time we spent together <3
White chocolate, pecan & cranberry cookies
150g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
75g rolled oats
125g soft butter
75g light or dark brown sugar
100g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
75g dried cranberries
50g pecans, chopped
150g bar white chocolate chopped into chunks, or chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4.
Line a baking sheet with baking paper.
Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and oats in a bowl.
Beat the butter and sugars together until creamy. Beat in the egg. Add the flour mixture, then fold in the cranberries, pecans and chocolate chunks.
Roll tablespoons of cookie dough with your hands. They do spread out so don’t make them too big. Place on the baking sheet and bake for 12-15 mins – the cookies will be pale golden around the centre and still quite soft in the middle. Leave on the baking sheet for about 5 mins, then transfer to a wire rack.
Here is my take on Nigella’s Cranberry studded mincemeat. I find the original version a little tart for my taste so I add a little extra sugar and a slug of Amaretto because it’s my favourite
If you give this a try let me know what you think. Of course everyone has different tastes but I’m pretty happy with how this has turned out. It tastes quite fresh and fruity, a little on the tart side but nicely balanced by the extra sugar and cherry brandy.
Cranberry Studded Mincemeat Adapted from Nigella Christmas
You will need two sterilized glass jars. You can sterilize them by either putting them in the dishwasher or letting the jars and lids soak in boiling water in the sink for 5-10 mins. Dry the jars and lids in a very low oven (100C) for 10 minutes.
60ml cherry brandy
75g Soft light brown sugar
75g caster sugar
250g fresh Cranberries
40g dried cranberries
Zest and juice of one Clementine
1\2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp mixed spice
25g flaked almonds
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
A few drops almond extract
2 tablespoons runny honey
Dissolve the sugars with the cherry brandy in a large pan over a low heat. Then add the cranberries, dried fruit, spices and zest and juice of the Clementine. Simmer for 20 minutes until thickened. While the mincemeat is simmering away you’ll hear a cranberry pop now and again – I love that! When the mixture looks pulpy and has absorbed most of the liquid, take off the heat and add the flaked almonds, almond extract, vanilla extract, Amaretto and honey. Give the mincemeat a really good stir – you’ll probably find a few cranberries are still whole – squish them with the side of your spoon! Take no prisoners!
Spoon into your sterilized jars. Seal with jam pot covers or a lid. You now have beautiful, ruby red cranberry mincemeat to make mince pies! I like to bake mini mince pies and I freeze them, a good time saving tip for this time of year. The mincemeat will keep for up to one month.
I love this simple recipe from the lovely Mary Berry. It really couldn’t be easier to make, a quick mix of ingredients and it’s ready for the oven! It’s a very handy recipe to have up your sleeve because it makes two loaf cakes. You could either freeze one or give one to a friend (or in my case, Mum!) One of these cakes would also make a lovely addition to a Christmas gift hamper
Mincemeat Loaf Cake
Grease and line two 1lb loaf tins (or use cake release spray)
150g soft butter
150g soft light brown sugar
225g self raising flour
50g blanched almonds
Preheat oven to 160C.
Simply mix all the ingredients except for the blanched almonds together until they are well incorporated. Spoon the mixture into your loaf tins. Stud with the blanched almonds. Bake for 1 hour or until well risen and golden and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
The cakes will keep for up to one week, but to be honest I can’t see them lasting longer than a couple of days…not in my house anyway!
Well here we are folks, it’s that time of year again already. I love the run up to Christmas, even though it seems to start earlier every year. I’m loving all the Christmas displays in the shops, the decorations, the Christmas adverts, bring it on! I’m resisting the urge to pull my Christmas jumper out of the wardrobe..for now!
One thing I love to make some time for around this time of year is settling down on the sofa with a gingerbread latte and my Christmas food magazines and books. I have a read through the recipes and decide what I’m going to make over the festive season. I always make a few goodies for family and friends, they seem to be very well received and it’s a good thing to do if like me you are on a tight budget. I always stock up on ingredients when they are on offer in the supermarket, I keep an eye out for special deals coming up. Last year I was teased mercilessly because I bought a ton of lurpack butter in Tesco 2 for £2!
Here is a lovely recipe for shortbread, it’s lovely with the orange zest and cinnamon but you can always make it plain if you prefer.
Orange & Cinnamon Shortbread
200g soft butter
100g icing sugar
250g Plain flour
Zest of one orange
1 tsp cinnamon
Beat the butter until very light and creamy. Add the orange zest. Slowly add the icing sugar, cornflour, plain flour and cinnamon. Bring together to male a dough. Try not to handle the dough too much – it will affect the texture of the shortbread. Roll out and cut out desired shapes. Bake at 180C for 12-15 minutes or until pale golden around the edges.
I came across the idea for pigs in mud cupcakes in “Baking Heaven” magazine. I couldn’t resist having a go!
I used my go to vanilla cupcake recipe from Nigella Lawson and made up some chocolate buttercream icing. I had some pink sugarpaste leftover from a cake I made a few weeks ago (sugarpaste lasts for ages if you wrap it well in clingfilm) so I started on the fun part, making the cute little pigs!
All you need to do is make a ball of sugarpaste for the body. Then roll a slightly smaller ball for the head. For the forefeet, roll a small sausage and cut in half. Mark an ident in each one and attach each piece on either side of the body with a little water. For the snout, roll a small ball of sugarpaste and slightly flatten it. Make two little marks with a knife or sugarpaste tool. Attach to the head with a little water. For the ears, make two little triangles of sugarpaste. Slightly flatten them and make an indentation with a knife all the way around. Stick to the sides of the head with a little water. For the eyes, take two tiny black pieces of sugarpaste and roll them into balls. Carefully attach. And there you have it! Pigs in mud cupcakes
I linked this post up to Recipe of the week over at AMummytoo.
Why not make yourself a cuppa and check out some of the other recipes/photos there!
Lotus spread is a new obsession of mine. The Lotus biscuits have been a favourite of mine for many years, don’t put a packet in front of me I will eat the lot! After much searching I finally got my hands on the spread in Sainsbury. It was on special offer so I ended up buying eight jars. Yes, I am quite mental! (I used my nectar points to pay for it!)
Turns out it was a good thing I stocked up. This stuff is d-e-l-i-s-h. It’s wonderful spread on toast, rolls, pancakes, but to honest I love eating it straight from the jar with a spoon. Just leave me alone with my Lotus spread.
I pinned this banana bread from the lovely Heather over at SugarDishme months ago. Now I can finally make it! This is my version of the recipe.
The end result is a really lovely banana loaf. The lotus flavour didn’t come through as much as I’d like but you definitely get a hint of it coming through. I think next time I would add a tsp of cinnamon as well, if you give it a try let me know what you think!
Lotus Banana Bread
70g lotus spread
150g caster sugar
50g light muscavado sugar
3 bananas, mashed
1tsp vanilla extract
250g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 bicarbonate of soda
Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin (or two small tins)
Beat together the butter and lotus spread. Add the sugars and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time then stir in the vanilla and mashed banana. Sift in the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and stir gently to make a smooth batter. Bake for 60-75 mins or until well risen and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
Hello! Last week was very busy. My sister-in-law got married and I got to make her cake! I was thrilled to be bestowed with such an important job.
I forgot to take a pic of the cake before it was cut! I nearly died for a split second before I realised they had cut it for the pictures! Silly me!
The bottom tier was a rich boozy fruit cake – the fruit was soaked in brandy overnight to plump it up. This was a huge fruit cake so I needed a vast amount of fruit – almost 3kg!! The recipe came from Juliet Sear’s new book The cake decorating bible. I had a slice of the cake at the wedding and it lived up to its name – it was indeed very rich, boozy and fruity! I had a lot of people asking me for the recipe, always a good sign!
The middle tier was my go to vanilla cake recipe from the BBC Good Food website. I’ve used this recipe several times in the past few months – it holds up very well to sugarpasting/carving and is very moist. The top tier was a special treat especially for the bride and groom – raspberry ripple cake. It’s a fluffy vanilla sponge sandwiched together with Italian meringue buttercream swirled with raspberry jam. I’ve blogged about this recipe before, it’s a very special cake that everyone seems to love! It’s a bit of a labour of love making it but it’s so worth it! I just made the cake exactly the same way I usually do – using three 20cm round cake tins – then just cut the square I needed for the top tier. So there a few offcuts going spare, much to the delight of my boys
I had quite a bit of the Italian meringue buttercream leftover so I took the opportunity to make some raspberry ripple cupcakes
I just used my normal vanilla cupcake recipe here. The middle has a hidden raspberry jam centre, yum!
I haven’t had such a fabulous weekend in a very long time – the wedding was a real family affair and it all went so smoothly. I wish the new Mr & Mrs Murphy a lifetime of love and happiness <3