Saturday, 26 December 2015

Christmas Pudding Sundae

Well, hellooooo, did you all have a good Christmas Day?

As you read this post, I'm sure the detritus of Christmas is all around; scrumpled, hurriedly unwrapped paper decorating the living room like confetti, only half of the sparkly lights on the tree still flashing as its quite frankly too much effort to replace the batteries, a discarded tin of Roses, the unwanted coffee creams forlornly piled at the bottom and, no doubt, rather a lot of leftovers.

Here's where I can help. Especially if you have any leftover Christmas Pudding.

Christmas Pudding Sundae

200g leftover Christmas Pud
100g cranberry sauce
2 tbsp mulled wine
2 tsp caster sugar
2 tbsps. toasted flaked almonds
8 scoops ice cream (I used Carte D'Or Vanilla)

1. Warm through the Christmas Pudding as per the original pudding instructions and spoon between four sundae glasses or pudding bowls
2. Mix the cranberry sauce with the mulled wine and sugar in a small pan and bring to the boil. Simmer for a couple of minutes, stirring to combine
3. Drizzle the cranberry sauce over the Christmas puddings, add a scoop of ice cream and sprinkle with the almonds
4. Serve immediately

With thanks to Carte D'Or

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Festive Foodie Wish-List: The Best Christmas Presents for the Foodie in Your Life

With just nine days left until Christmas (approximately 104 shopping hours*) I've taken all the joy/despair out of that last minute 'what on earth am I going to get the foodie in my life?!' 

You are very welcome. 

* Totally random, made up figure.

I don't think anyone will ask for the receipt if they were to open this beautiful recipe tin on Christmas morning (dotcomgiftshop £9.99)

Keith Brymer Jones Bah Humbug Medium Mug - White

Fans of the Great British Pottery Throw Down will be 'pot-ty' about this festive mug from judge Keith Brymer Jones (£10)

Chocolate obvs isn't just for Christmas, but this scrumptious seasonal offering from Lindt certainly is; I can't imagine it lasting past Boxing Day (£8.99)

Of all the trillion* cookbooks out this year, I reckon this one is the best. Read my review here (Homemade Memories, Kate Doran £18.99)

*Another random, made up figure.

Image result for chocolate guess who

Games and Christmas go together like January and gym membership. Here's a chocolate version of the classic Guess Who? (Selfridges, £12.99)

Image result for waitrose hampers

Tick all the boxes with a Christmas Hamper from Waitrose (£24-400)

Christmas Toast Tea Towel

Someone will have drawn the short straw and have to do the washing up on Christmas day. A festive tea towel will surely help with such matters (Emma Bridgewater £10)

Image result for carluccio's panettone

Pannettone makes a great gift and this enormous, award winning offering from Carluccios is 5kg of pure candied fruit and peel (£65)

Three-month gin journey - gift certificate

In the market to get your recipient absolutely trollyed by 3pm this Christmas? This Three Month Gin Journey Subscription should do the trick (Shaken, £72)

Nordic Ware Chiffon Bundt® Cake Pan

For the baker in your family a Nordic Bake Ware Bundt Tin is always going to garner 'brownie' points (Divertimenti, from £30)

How To Cook Everything A2 Kitchen Print

Want to whip up a curry in a hurry? Can't recall how many eggs matter in a batter? This print will give you the answers to pretty much every cooking query (Paperplane Designs, £18)

Image result for bucks fizz marmalade

Bucks Fizz Marmalade. Festive toast sorted. (Fortnum and Mason, £7.95)

Buy Kikkerland Bear Hug Bottle Opener Online at

And finally who doesn't need a bear hugging bottle opener in their lives? Exactly. (£9 John Lewis)

PS: I have sent this post to my husband about 34 times.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Piparkakut- Finnish Christmas Gingerbread Biscuits

Its a cliche, I know, but this really is the most wonderful time of the year. No other season can possibly compare to Christmas for the sheer indulgence, tradition and glory of festive food. In which other month does your daily fluid intake consist mostly of fizz and cocktails? Your breakfast involve advent chocolates? Turkey seem quite such a triumphant dinner?

Well, Expedia got in touch recently to ask if I'd take part in their Christmas on A Plate Challenge. This has been running throughout 2015 and challenges bloggers to create a meal or recipe based on an Expedia holiday destination. With Christmas but a length of tinsel away, I've chosen to bake a Finnish recipe. Now if you google 'Finland', 'Christmas' and 'recipes', you'll soon discover the Fins traditionally enjoy fish roe, liver and an awful lot of beetroot. Not necessarily on one plate, and all delightful I'm sure, but not for this sweet-toothed baking blogger. Then I read about these glorious Piparkakut biscuits. Crunchy, warmly spiced with ginger, clove and cinnamon, with a touch of orange zest, these make perfect presents at this time of year. These first appear around Finnish Independence Day on 6th December, giving plenty of time to perfect the biscuits before The Big Day itself.

I've been munching on these as we begin to wrap our presents, warbling along to classic Christmas tunes; all I need is an an extra large glass of glogg to truly enter the Finnish Cheistmas spirit!

Piparkakut- Finnish Christmas Gingerbread Biscuits

Makes 10-12 biscuits

75g unsalted butter
50g dark muscovado sugar
50g golden syrup
160g plain flour
0.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground ginger
0.5 tsp ground cinnamon
0.5 tsp ground clove

50g icing sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 170C/150C fan/Gas Mark 3. Grease and line 2-3 baking trays with baking parchment.
2. Over a gentle heat, melt the butter, sugar and syrup, stirring occasionally until completely melted
3. Remove from the heat and mix in the flour, bicarb and spices to form a stiff dough. Wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes
4. Turn out onto a floured surface and roll to a thickness of around 5mm. Use a selection of festive biscuit cutters to cut out your biscuit shapes and transfer to the prepared baking sheets. Bake in batched for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown
5. When completely cool decorate with the icing: sift the icing sugar into a bowl and gradually add a little water to form a thick paste. Pipe or spoon the icing over the biscuits

Baker's notes...

  • If you wish to hand these on your Christmas Tree, use a skewer to insert a hole into each biscuit while they are still warm. 
  • These make a great Christmas present and can be stored in an airtight tin for up to two weeks
With thanks to Expedia who gifted a voucher and hamper for writing this post.

Clementine and Cranberry Christmas Morning Muffins with Waitrose #MakesChristmas

Ding Dong Merrily On High! The festive season is so close now you can almost smell the turkey roasting, taste the Christmas pud, feel the pinch from errant Christmas tree pine needles underfoot and hear the choirs of angels (that'll be the local primary school nativity in full, warbling voice then).  

But what makes Christmas for you? Is it one of the ten million turkeys we eat on December 25th? One of the cheesy jokes in the 300 million crackers we'll collectively pull? Searching the attic for the box of dog-eared Christmas baubles to decorate one of the six million Christmas trees sold in Britain each year? What exactly might it be for you? Well, that's exactly what Waitrose are asking in their Waitrose #MakesChristmas campaign. Join in to win personalised festive gifts plus one lucky winner will receive the grand prize of the ultimate Christmas dinner for twelve people

This year Waitrose have also launched a Christmas Signature Spice Mix, used in products across the store from their fruitcake, hot chocolate and even their festive candles. And of course its the perfect sweet spice to add to your Christmas baking. Meanwhile, I've added a festive twist to bake these scrumptious Clementine and Cranberry Christmas Morning Muffins with the Signature Spice Mix.

Muffins make a tasty Christmas morning snack and shouldn't fill you up before the main turkey-filled event. Plus, for supreme ease, you can make the batter the evening before, pop it in the fridge overnight and bake in the morning.

Clementine and Cranberry Christmas Morning Muffins

100g softened butter
100g demerara sugar, plus 2 tsp for sprinkling
2 eggs
250g plain flour
2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsps Waitrose Christmas Signature Spice Mix
100g dried cranberries
Zest of 2 clementines
150ml natural yogurt
2-3 tbsps milk

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Line a 12-hole deep muffin tin with muffin cases.
2. Beat the butter in a food mixer until it is very soft. Add the sugar and beat well, followed by the eggs
3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, spice and mix well. Stir in the cranberries and clementine zest

4. Fold half the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, followed by the yogurt and milk. Fold in the remaining dry ingredients, being careful not to overwork the mixture
5. Divide between the muffin cases and sprinkle over a little extra sugar before baking for 20 minutes or until risen and golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before serving

Baker's notes...

  • Key to light, fluffy muffins is creaming the butter until it becomes the consistency of mayonnaise
  • Muffins don't generally keep very well and are best eaten soon after baking

Please note Waitrose kindly sent me their spice to develop this recipe, alongside a voucher to cover ingredient costs and one of their festive hampers to enjoy