Friday, 15 December 2017

Christmas Spiced Chocolate Cake

My enormous apologies for the terrible photo; rather a lot of prosecco was consumed before any photos were taken!

There are just a million opportunities for satisfying a sweet tooth this time of year.

Advent calendar chocolates for breakfast? Tick. Free sample of stollen in the local supermarket? Sure. Mince pie for elevenses? Of course. Leftover coffee creams that no one wants in the office Roses tin? Gimmee. Mini chocolate logs for afternoon tea? Yes please.

So a fruit salad for dessert at this time of year simply won't do. Nope. Nada. No chance. When I offered to make a pudding for a big Christmas weekend away with friends Nigella came to the rescue. Well, not literally. Although it was the big snow weekend when all of society stopped so if Nigella had popped by with a 4x4 and a tow bar, she would have been most welcome.

This glorious Chocolate Spiced Christmas cake was a huge hit and a lovely straightforward recipe. The only change I made to the original recipe was to add plenty of sparkly gold stars (as I'm pretty sure the song went 'may your cakes be merry and bright').

Merry Christmas! x

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Christmas Dinner with Hello Fresh

I am quite convinced that there are two types of people who cook Christmas dinner:

Type 1:

- You'll have been one of the first to book your supermarket Christmas home delivery slot back in September
- You have every Christmas cookery book ever published (although the well-thumbed, gravy-splattered 'Delia's Christmas' remains, in your opinion, the one and only festive cookbook worth opening on the Big Day) and you'll have written a menu by October
- You will have made and frozen the cranberry sauce by November and begun clearing the fridge of much-needed, valuable space by the 1st December
- Your mastermind specialist subject is the art and science of the perfect roast potato
- Come Christmas, you occasionally experiment with goose but by popular demand, your turkey recipe is still voted your family's favourite. And that of all your neighbours who come to you each year, as your prowess in the kitchen on the 25th is known far and wide

In other words, you are THE master of cooking the Christmas dinner.

Type 2

- EH?! Who put you in charge of Christmas dinner?
- The dog has a better idea of how to cook brussel sprouts than you so
- There's a reason you always offer to do the washing up
- The closest you've come to making Christmas dinner is wearing this novelty hat to your Christmas work do

In other words, you haven't a jingle-belling clue.

But, fear not, Santa Hello Fresh has come to your aid with this marvellous recipe and timings guide for the biggest and best meal of the year (no pressure, none at all). Yep, this year, they've got your back, from cooking the perfect turkey to how not to overcook the sprouts, plus all the timings to ensure you're sat down in time for the Queen's Speech.

Merry Christmas!

Disclaimer: Hello Fresh sent me the Christmas timings guide and a classic box of meals as a thank you for publishing this post. Any opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

A Baker's Christmas Wish-List

The perfect presents, from £1 to £100, for the baker in your life...

The Christmas Chronicles

No wish-list is complete without a festive recipe book and Nigel's Slater's brand spanking new Christmas Chronicles is top of mine. Currently half price at £13.99, Waterstones

The Christmas Chronicles: Notes, Stories & 100 Essential Recipes for Midwinter (Hardback)

Nordic Ware Pretty Presents Baking Tins

Every cake wants to be the best of the bundt and with these cute little bundt tin presents you'll be giving a present within a present. Nice. £35.99, Harts of Stur

                                       Nordic Ware Pretty Presents Duet Pan

Nut Pastes

The almond paste can be added to fragipane, the hazelnut into bread dough to enrich the flavour and the pistachio paste can provide a taste-tastic base for ice cream. £18.95, Sous Chef


Biscuit Tree Decorations

So a bourbon biscuit hanging from your Christmas tree may not be as festive as say, a traditional snowman or robin, but for the biscuit lover, these quirky decorations are sure to be a hit. Just make sure you don't dip them into your tea after too many glasses of mulled wine, obvs. £15, Trouva


Star Rolling Pin

For star bakers, this embossed star rolling pin will add a certain star quality to your biscuits, pies and pastries. £15, John Lewis
Buy John Lewis Acacia Wood Star Rolling Pin Online at
Gingerbread House Kit

For the budding baker in your life, this sweet little Gingerbread House Kit requires not a single battery and is therefore a great stocking filler. £6.25, Waitrose 

Waitrose Gingerbread House Kit
Brownie Subscription

Fancy giving the gift of the best brownies ever without switching the oven on? How about a six month subscription box of Gower Cottage Brownies, declared by BBC Good Food Magazine to be the 'best brownies we have ever tasted'. It's the gift that keeps giving... well, until June that is. £97.99, Gower Cottage Brownies

Gower Cottage Brownies (6 Month Subscription) + Free Gift

Superhero cake toppers

.... and KABOOM, to finish off this Dear Santa list are these POW-fect superhero cake toppers. WHAM-derful as they sang Last Christmas. £1.29, Lakeland

                                       Cake Star Superhero Sugar Pipings alt image 1
Happy Christmas xx