Monday, 22 December 2014

Happy Christmas!

With just three days to go until the Big Ho Ho Ho, we're heading off to a little cottage, aptly called "Christmas Cottage" (no, really) for a few days of festive fun.

Which just leaves me to wish you all a very, very Happy Christmas with my Christmas Cake offering, based, as always, on Delia's classic recipe.

A very Merry Christmas to you all!

Kate x

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Christmas Baking: Gingerbread Latte Cupcakes

There are approximately eleven days, fifteen hours, nine minutes and twenty eight seconds until Christmas Day.

That sentence will either fill you with a cold-sweated, panicked dread or result in a excitable yelp of 'Ding Dong!' followed by 'Merrily on High' possibly accompanied by a dance of pure, unadulterated child-like joy.

I'm firmly in the latter camp- as evidenced by my rather festive-fueled next seven days. This week I'm attending two work Christmas 'dos', two Carol services, one Christmas market, one Christmas lunch, one showing of 'It's a Wonderful Life', buying the very last of the presents, eating approximately twelve Mince Pies and fourteen satsumas, finishing off another seven days worth of advent calendar without sharing any with my husband and decorating one Christmas Cake (design yet to be confirmed; please suggest any answers on the back of a postcard Christmas Card).

And definitely tucking into one or two of these festive little cupcakes, inspired by a favourite warming drink available in most high street coffee shops this time of year:

Gingerbread Latte Cupcakes

For the Cupcakes:
175g unsalted butter
175g soft brown sugar
3 large eggs
175g self-raising flour
2 tsps ground ginger
0.5tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp of milk, if needed

For the frosting:

150g icing sugar
75g softened butter
2 tsp instant coffee granules mixed with 1 tbsp boiling water
Edible glitter and crystallised ginger to decorate

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas Mark 4. Prepare the baking tray with twelve cupcake cases
2. To make the cupcakes: cream together the butter and sugar for several minutes until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs, adding a tbsp of flour if the mixture begins to curdle.
3. Sift in the flour and spices and fold together. Add the milk if needed to ensure a 'dropping' consistency'
4. Spoon into the cupcake cases and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden and risen. Set aside on a cooling rack to cool
5. To make the icing: Sift the icing sugar into a large bowl and beat in the butter and coffee. Pipe over the cooled cupcakes and decorate with a little golden shimmer and crystallised ginger

Baker's notes...

  • I added a little extra Christmasssy sparkle to the top of the cupcakes with some gold shimmer from Waitrose
  • Yep, you read it right, there is 2 tsps of ground ginger in the recipe- to ensure the flavour is really enjoyed
  • The BBC have a lovely recipe for a salted caramel icing to add to their gingerbread cupcake recipe

    Tuesday, 9 December 2014

    Save The Children Christmas Jumper Day: Gingerbread Jumper Biscuits

    At this time of year, 95% of the time you'll find me (greedily) indulging in my eighth mince pie of the day, warming up another (enormous) vat of mulled wine and singing along (badly) to 'Good King Wencesles'. All the while dressed in a Christmas jumper, my uniform every December.

    And this year there's an even better excuse to wear your favourite Christmas Jumper: Save the Children are calling on everyone to 'Make the World Better With a Sweater'. This Friday, 12th December 2014, don your snazziest,  festive jumper and spread the jumper joy. 

    Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day is now in its third year and, thanks to fantastic supporters popping on their pullovers up and down the nation, they've raised more than £1.6 million to date. They're asking grown-ups for a suggested donation of £2 and schools and children for £1. The money raised will help save lives; just £2 could pay for potentially life-saving antibiotics to treat three babies with infections.

    Jumper in the wash? Get creative: Save The Children asked if I'd donate a jumper recipe and you'll find the Gingerbread Biscuit Jumper recipe right here. Other great ideas include knitting mini Christmas jumper bunting and crafting Christmas jumper cards


    Please do wear a woolly or bake a jumper biscuit and spread the jumper joy this December, all the while raising vital funds for a very important charity. Happy baking!

    Many thanks,

    Kate x

    Thursday, 4 December 2014

    Christmas Baking: Festive Almond, Orange and Pistachio Biscotti

    A couple of weeks back I was invited by Argos to film a few fun, family friendly and fabulously tasty Christmas recipes. 

    The third and final in the series are these Festive Almond, Orange and Pistachio Biscotti. The perfect festive foodie gift for all those who share my sweet tooth!

    Festive Almond, Orange and Pistachio Biscotti

    200g plain flour
    50g ground almonds
    2 level tsp baking powder
    2 tsp mixed spice
    150g caster sugar 
    Zest of 1 orange
    2 eggs, beaten
    50g flaked almonds
    50g shelled pistachios
    50g candied orange peel

    1. Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas Mark 4. Grease and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 
    2. Put the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, spice and sugar in a large bowl and mix together. Stir in the zest and beaten eggs and, using your hands, bring the dough together. Knead the dough until well combined- it will initially appear very dry but will soon combine together. Work in the almonds, pistachios and peel.
    3. Divide the dough into two and roll each ball into a long sausage shape. Place on the baking sheets and bake for 25-30 minutes until risen and firm to touch. Remove from the oven and, after a few minutes, once cool enough to handle, cut the dough into 1 cm biscuits, on the diagonal. 
    4. Turn the oven down to 140C/120Cfan/Gas Mark 1. Lay the biscuits flat and bake for a further fifteen minutes. Remove from the oven and turn the biscuits over and bake for another 15 minutes. The biscuits will be golden and dry. 
    5. Once cooled completely, store in an airtight box for up to a month

    These videos were produced in association with Argos. Many of the equipment used on-set can be found at Argos, including a range of electric cookers, including integrated appliances, the Dualit toaster and even the cheery apron.

    This post is in collaboration with Argos. 

    Tuesday, 2 December 2014

    Christmas Baking: Christmas Tree Chocolate Brownies

    A couple of weeks back I was invited by Argos to film a few fun, family friendly and fabulously tasty Christmas recipes. 

    The second in the series are these Christmas Tree Chocolate Brownies

    Chocolate Brownie Christmas Trees

    For the Brownie Trees:
    100g unsalted butter
    150g dark chocolate
    100g caster sugar
    150g dark muscovado sugar
    2 large eggs
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    100g plain flour
    30g cocoa powder
    0.5tsp baking powder

    To decorate:
    100g icing sugar, sifted
    Few drops of green food colouring
    Selection of candy decorations
    12 Candy canes

    1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas Mark 4. Line a 20cm round tin with baking parchment
    2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, stirring regularly
    3. Whisk the eggs until pale and fluffy. Add the sugars and whisk until the mixture thickens and the sugars have dissolved. Fold in the melted chocolate and vanilla extract
    4. Sift in the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder and fold until the mixture is smooth
    5. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 35 minutes. There should be a light, springy crust on top but avoid overcooking; the centre should remain gooey. Once cooled, cut into eight slices/ triangles to form the Christmas Trees
    6. Sift the icing sugar with enough water and a few drops of food colouring to create a thin paste. Pipe or spoon across the cakes. Sprinkle with the candy decorations and insert a candy cane into each ‘tree’ to form a trunk

    Happy festive baking!

    The videos were produced in association with Argos. The equipment used on-set can be found at Argos: Dualit toasters, spacious larder fridgesbuilt-in integrated appliances like these practical and easy-to-access ovens.

    This post was produced in association with Argos