I drink a cup of Earl Grey tea EVERY morning, my favourite hands down is the Clipper Tea blend. I’ve fallen in love with a book I received this Christmas on marshmallows so as my new baking inspiration I have created these delicious biscuits combining the two.
They are bright, fragrant and gooey! Just perfect to cheer up a gloomy wintery afternoon.
For me Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without a Chocolate Yule Log, this year I have come up with a modern twist on an old classic, filled to the brim with chocolate. Inside is a milk chocolate buttercream, wrapped in a dark chocolate sponge then finally smothered in a white chocolate mousse. Defiantly an eye catching alternative!
All the chocolate that was used in this recipe was from Weiss.
I’ll admit that I’m slightly obsessed with hot chocolate, once you learn to make your own, there will be no powdered version for you! It’s so simple all you need is milk and chocolate… and sprinkles.
Chocolate dark or milk chocolate best quality buttons or broken ( I’ve used Weiss Chocolate), 35g per 3/4 pint of milk
Ground cinnamon, pinch of
Ground ginger, pinch of
Fill your glass full of milk, then pour that milk into a saucepan.
Bring to the boil, sprinkle over the cinnamon and ginger. Remove from the hob add the broken up chocolate, stir vigorously until dissolved.
Pour the hot chocolate into the glass or mug.
Add the sqirty cream to the top and decorate with sprinkles and Oreo biscuit
This wonderful dessert is perfect for a dinner party, soaked in festive spices the flavour literally sums up Christmas. It’s best to soak them for 1-2 days before serving which makes them utterly delicious. When it comes to choosing a pear, a Conference pear is a classic with its long thin shape but I have used French Mouneyrac which are shorter and fatter with more of a perfume-y flavour. Make sure to use a really good quality dark chocolate ( or milk if you don’t like dark) I have used Weiss Chocolate Galaxie Noir
Makes 6 pears
for the pears
1kg golden caster sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
4 strips of lemon zest
2 star anise
1 vanilla pod
1 2inch length of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
6 almost ripe pears, peeled with bottoms sliced a little so they can stand
for the chocolate ganache
500ml double cream
350g dark chocolate
Using a saucepan big enough to hold all the pears, fill half way with water and bring to the boil.
Add all the dry ingredients ( except for the pears) and simmer for 15 minutes giving the syrup a stir every so often.
Drop in the pears and simmer on low for 45 minutes – 1 hour or until they feel soft.
Turn off heat and set aside until cool.
Place in large tupperware container and cover fully with syrup. Leave in the fridge until you are ready to serve. Keep for up to 4 days.
To make chocolate ganache, simply bring the cream to a boil in a saucepan. Remove from heat and vigorously stir in chocolate chips or broken up pieces until fully melted.
Serve with chopped nuts and vanilla ice cream.
This is the third year in a row we have hosted a baby & toddler halloween get together, so I conclude this may be becoming a tradition! As a kid I do remember going trick or treating, but costumes were most defiantly hand made and not readily available in supermarkets. Sweets were most defiantly not Halloween branded, you’d be lucky to get a Quality Street. One of our neighbours used to actually give away his 1p & 2p collection in little brown bags! But this year the shops have grown their ranges massively and there are some fantastic things you can get. Needless to say, I do love Halloween and luckily so does my son!
I have a bag of props in the attic that are mainly bought from the pound shops. Much like Christmas, I buy a few new bits every year and chuck out the ones that are a bit passed it. This year I bought a giant glitter skull from Sainsbury’s and my Fred and Friends cookie cutters, which I am obsessed with ( see above and below). You can see them here on Amazon, they are amazing!
Being at the cottage in Dorset, it’s fun to get to grips with baking in the Aga, here’s a simple show stopping pudding that is great for the family to share.
These beautiful cupcakes pack a punch with the most wonderful floral flavour. Why not try making your very own cordial to go into them, heavenly.
180g unsalted butter, softened
180g caster sugar, sieved
3 large free range eggs
5 tbsp elderflower cordial see recipe here
180g self-raising flour, sieved
110g unsalted butter,softened
300g icing sugar
3 tbsp elderflower cordial
50g cream cheese
Pre heat the oven to 180° gas mark 4.
Line a 12 hole muffin tin with matching paper cases.
Using a kitchen aid or electric whisk cream together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. This can take a good 5 mins to do, the colour should be almost white.
Next add the cordial to the mixture and blend well.
Then add the three eggs one at a time.
Finally add the flour and fold in until the mixture is evenly combined.
Place heaped tablespoons of the batter into the cases and bake for around 20mins until cakes are golden and a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool fully on a wire rack.
4For the icing, cream the butter, icing sugar and cordial together for 3 – 4 minutes until light and fluffy. Beat in the cream cheese until you have a thick, creamy icing. Spread or pipe over the cupcakes and decorate.
*Adapted from Waitrose.com recepie
I have very vivid memories as a kid of our annual elderflower picking trip, it always felt very exciting and a little bit naughty as we would literally jump out of my mums cream 2CV somewhere along the railway lines near our house and grab as many of the flower heads as we could before speeding off ( I say speeding, not sure a 2CV can do that!). We would get the lot home and my mother would boil down the sugary mixture on the hob, the smell was evocative. We would drink most of it before it even got cool, but that was part of the fun. To be honest as I grew up, I forgot the joys of elderflower. It wasn’t until about 6 years a go I noticed a resurgence on the supermarket shelves when Belvoir released the very prettily bottled elderflower cordial and I began to get a taste of it again. This time of year, the flowers grow everywhere, in parks, by railway lines and in unkept front gardens! As I live in an urban part of London you wouldn’t necessarily think there would be lots of green space, but there is so much to be foraged, even in the city, so get hunting.
This recipe includes citric acid, which may be trickier to purchase than simply going into a local chemist ( as apparently addicts use it to shoot up, eek!). So I would suggest make things simple and buy it on amazon click here !
N.B. this recipe makes 8 ltrs of the cordial, thats around 6-8 bottles. If this is too much for your requirements you can half the ingredients required.
40 heads of elderflowers
4 unwaxed lemons
5kgs white sugar ( granulated or caster)
160g citric acid
extra large saucepan
muslin or thin tea towel
Sterilised bottles for the syrup
To clean your elderflowers, firstly give them a good shake outside, as there may be a few little insects hiding. Next wash them with cold water in the sink. Trim the stems right up to the base of the flowers.
Place the flowers into an extra large saucepan, then grate the zest of the 4 lemons on top. Slice the lemons into rounds and add to the pot.
Add the citric acid.
Next add the 3ltrs of water and put on the hob to boil. Once it has reached boiling point turn off hob and leave to one side. I would suggest leaving mixture to stew for 24 -48 hours.
To strain away the flowers and lemons, line a colander with the muslin ( I used one of my sons old ones!) then in batches ladle liquid through into a saucepan.
Pour the sugar on top of the liquid and place on the hob to boil for 5 minutes.
Allow to cool fully before dispensing into the serialised bottles.
Check out Pintrest for a list of inspiring elderflower drinks ideas
I’ll be honest, if this is on the menu at a pub meal I will 9 times out of 10 order it, and half that time I am disappointed. Sometimes the cake can be dry or the toffee too sweet. Well look no further for the most perfect recipe of delicious gooey yumminess! The added sea salt flakes soak into the toffee and almost become candy like after a few hours.