Monday 28 December 2015

Cranberry & Clementine Quinoa Salad

Christmas is over and I feel like I was so busy this year I didn’t have time to enjoy it. Mental note for next year: be more organised! Maybe I should start making Christmas cards now, that’s something I always run out of time to do; I’m sure that’s very idealistic thinking I can’t imagine I’ll actually start doing that. So after 24 days straight I took three whole days off and in those three days I spent entirely too much time thinking about this blog, whoops, there goes my "time off"! It took me a long time to get round to making this, I’m pretty sure I’ve had this idea stacked away in the back of my brain for about 3 months and I think the only reason it took me so long is because I wasn’t sure I was going to like it. I know that sounds crazy, why come up with the idea if you don’t think you’ll like it (I seem to be good at that) but for some reason I always think I don’t like Clementine’s but whenever I eat them I really enjoy them. As a kid I wasn’t a fan of the texture so the idea puts me off, my sister and I used to suck the juice out and leave the rest. I also really dislike going about my daily life and someone peeling a Clementine in the near vicinity of me, the smell really bothers me, not that I don’t like the smell it just bothers me a little. Is this making any sense? Anyway Clementine’s in salads are my new favourite thing, just staring at these pictures makes me want to go make a quinoa salad with Clementine’s in. I'm glad a friend told me that it sounds good because I found this ridiculously delicious, way more than I could have ever expected. This wasn’t actually the plan when I came up with this but after eating this I realised it’s the perfect salad for leftover meat, the mix of the cranberry and clementine would go to well with turkey or ham. It would also be a good serving salad for a party, cranberry sauce on the side. If you don't want to add meat and you want a little protein sunflower seeds are tasty with this (I forgot to photograph that bit I was too busy eating).

Thursday 24 December 2015

Spiced Almond Hot Chocolate - Bakemas Day 24

The 24th recipe, I made it! It really doesn’t feel like Christmas eve my panic still hasn’t set in and this is not good news. I have two presents left to finish and gift tags to make and its nearly 11pm I honestly think I don’t believe it’s Christmas tomorrow even though there’s presents sitting under my tree.

Christmas eve is about curling up on the sofa with a hot chocolate and a Christmas film, although I think that about everyday of winter it’s especially important tonight, not that I ever actually do that on Christmas eve because I’m always finishing presents off. This is a quick and easy hot chocolate recipe to accompany your Christmas film of choice that takes no more effort than making normal hot chocolate and is really yummy.

Anyway, no time to stay and chat, I’m off to drink this hot chocolate finish my presents and watch all three Santa clause films on repeat until I’m finished. Have a lovely Christmas.

Wednesday 23 December 2015

Gingerbread Mince Pies - Bakemas Day 23

I feel like the last minute “I haven’t finished peoples presents” panic hasn’t set in yet even though it’s the 23rd and three peoples presents aren’t finished yet and Santa sets off in 13 hours! These may not be the prettiest mince pies you’ve ever seen but they definitely outdo themselves in taste. I’ve made so many batches of these and the gingerbread on top just won’t stay the shape it’s supposed to, would you believe that the tops of these started off as stars? Aesthetics aside these are amazing so I had to put the recipe up and I think I might like these more than regular mince pies.

Tuesday 22 December 2015

No Bake Chestnut Cheesecakes with Chocolate & Cherries - Bakemas Day 22

How it’s day 22 I have no idea, I’ve only just started sorting out presents so everything is going to be a mad rush for the next two days. Every year I say I’m going to be on top of things and honestly I do try I’m just terrible at it, and considering I decided to do bakemas that just threw a lot of work into the mix. I’m already starting to get a little down about Christmas nearly being over though, and the fact that I can't spend hours wrapping these presents because I do love a good ol' bit of wrapping; can we do Christmas the week after? I feel like this dessert oozes “I’ve got my life together” which it so far from the truth but I’m sure we all feel that way. Side note: not sure I want to use the word oozes on here again, although I feel like Nigella Lawson uses that word quite a lot, maybe I’m imagining things. This is one of those recipe I thought up and even though I can’t eat it decided to make it anyway because I’m over the “BOO I can’t eat it” stage in the dairy grieving process and cheesecake makes me happy even if I can only stare at it... I did eat that fork full though, and maybe a couple more and I would devour the whole thing if I could because it’s seriously yummy! This cheesecake started out as a test, I was testing out the recipe in ramekins for what originally was supposed to be a big cheesecake to make sure it would set okay but they look so good mini style I just had to photograph them like this. You can make this either way though, there’s instructions under the recipe for how to make a 7-8 inch, but this is perfect if there’s just two of you so you won’t have to eat cheesecake all week, I know, such a chore!

Monday 21 December 2015

Garlic, Cheese, Roasted Vegetable & Chickpea Crumble - Bakemas Day 21

I was already a little obsessed with putting every fruit and all the flavours in a crumble topping, now that I’ve made my first savoury crumble I might just have to put everything in a crumble, and I mean everything! Parsnips in a crumble? Roasted parsnips with cheese and garlic in a crumble add in carrots and did I mention roasted garlic? Seriously it’s like all my dreams coming true.

I love roasted vegetables, I would eat a plate straight out the oven and this crumble was me wanting roasted vegetables with crumble on top and cheese, who wouldn’t add cheese if they could. I didn’t want this to be remotely like a casserole because I am not a fan; I think I’ll have to tackle those in the New Year because I mostly remember them being overcooked and full of beef and I’m sure there must be light at the end of the beef stock soaked tunnel. What I’m trying to say is if you’re looking for a recipe for a saucy gravy filled vegetable crumble you’re looking in the wrong place but whatever you’re looking for make this because you won’t regret it. This is a perfect vegetarian main for Christmas or any day in the colder months, as I’m sure my family will find out next year, or as a vegetable side to your turkey, ham or whatever it is you like to eat on Christmas day.

Sunday 20 December 2015

Mulled Apple - Bakemas Day 20

This is the first time I've made this alone; Sophie decided to desert me and move half way round the world for a year so it's nearly Christmas and I'm sipping mulled apple alone!

Normally around this time of year we'd be drinking a lot of hot chocolate with whipped cream and cinnamon specifically for the new season of once upon a time, but last year she came over raving about mulled cider so we set out making a non alcoholic version with apple juice and it quickly replaced the hot chocolate as the pre-Christmas OUAT marathon beverage.

We spent quite a while perfecting this and definitely had that moment of "it's missing something" and tried adding pretty much everything but we eventually got there. Every ingredient is important but I would say the secret is fresh ginger and the right flavoured herbal tea which is spiced apple.

This is great for the kids, it's a little healthier than mulled cider and you don't have to worry about drinking too much.

Saturday 19 December 2015

Brandy Cream - Bakemas Day 19

This is definitely a “mum knows best” recipe!

Brandy cream is a must this time of year, mince pies, Christmas pudding, pancakes, chocolate mousse! You can put it with anything, well within reason, but it’s not Christmas without brandy cream!

Homemade is always best and this recipe is, dare I say it, healthier? I’m sure the words healthy and cream aren’t usually something you hear in the same sentence and although this is called brandy cream it’s more like half cream half Greek yogurt. The yogurt gives it a fresher less fatty taste without losing the creaminess when pairing it with rich desserts and when you realise how easy and delicious this is you'll never need to buy it again.

Friday 18 December 2015

Fruit & Yogurt Layered Desserts - Rhubarb & Ginger, Blackberry & Coconut and Raspberry & Almond - Bakemas Day 18

I’m being completely honest here, today has been one of those days where I just can’t bring myself to get stuff done. Every time I decided what to do I was missing an ingredient and then it got really late so this post is actually something I made a couple of weeks ago and never ended up putting up.
I made an apple, yogurt & breadcrumb layered dessert about a month ago which is something we always had as kids but it gave me the idea to try different flavours and use biscuits, nuts etc.

This is kind of a “world is your jellyfish” dessert! (psst, I do know its oyster!) You can add any fruit compote with biscuits, nuts, cereal, oats, breadcrumbs, chocolate, wafers I mean you can pretty much put anything in here and layer up with yogurt. I will say that the rhubarb is by far my favourite which I wasn't expecting.

Thursday 17 December 2015

Garlic Breaded Chicken with Tomato Dip - Bakemas Day 17

So I kind of overestimated how many breadcrumbs I would need for the brussel sprout sausage balls, which I seem to be very good at when it comes to breadcrumbs. Obviously there must be no food wasted because it makes me extremely sad wasting food, so here we are making breaded chicken. Garlic breaded chicken with homemade tomato dip, yum!
This is such a simple thing to do but I’ve never breaded chicken before. I will say one of the biggest pros of this is you know the quality of the meat you’re breading because you never really know what you're getting in a supermarket and it definitely tastes better than shop bought breaded chicken. Although we ate this for dinner it would be a great party food with dip you can serve hot or cold.

Wednesday 16 December 2015

Gingerbread Latte Layer Cake with Gingerbread Men - Bakemas Day 16

I think I’m pretty much on the way to being better and it’s all thanks to this cake! Okay, maybe not but I mean cake usually makes most things better especially if it involves a triple whammy of flavours and gingerbread men.
Side note: One little snag, you will need a big ol’ tin! This is by no means a big cake but we have an old, and I mean old, quality street tin that looks like it would feed a chocolate hungry village and I still had to kick the gingerbread men over so it would fit in.
Making cakes like this is relaxing to me, I know you probably wouldn’t think it but this is based on the basic cake recipe I know off the top of my head. When I’m in need of any cake this is my go to and I can honestly say it’s the best. I didn’t use a typical ginger cake recipe in this because I wanted the textures to all be the same a little tweak here and there and I’d say it’s pretty close to the flavour of a traditional ginger cake but without the more dense texture.
This would be perfect for a Christmas party; it’s pretty quick to make, serves a lot of people and you can’t really go wrong if there’s gingerbread men on top of your cake!

Tuesday 15 December 2015

Wensleydale & Cranberry Turkey Burgers with Tangy Sautéed Slaw - Bakemas Day 15

Can we take a second to talk about how flippin’ cute these cocktail sticks are? I’ve been seriously lacking in the “Christmasy looking shots” department and while these burgers were under the grill I found a bunch of those, what are they called, table confetti? As you can see these are highly sophisticated confetti trees stuck on cocktail sticks, did I just shatter the illusion that I came prepared? I’m back to burgers, and in the Christmas spirit they’re turkey burgers with Wensleydale and cranberry cheese. Can you buy Wensleydale anywhere else other than the UK? I only thought about it after I finished making these. Anyway Wensleydale is definitely one of my favourite cheeses, but what’s really nice about it when you use it on burgers is it doesn’t run off, it melts but stays pretty much in shape which means if you’re grilling your burgers half of it doesn’t end up in the bottom of the pan. Weirdly one of my favourite parts of this is the slaw; I would eat a plate of it just on its own but the tangy sweet vegetables go so well with the rest of the flavours. If there’s some left after burger assembling you can have it on the side or just stuff more in your burger which is what I ended up doing, and if you’re a big cranberry fan eating this with cranberry sauce makes it even yummier according to my mum.

Monday 14 December 2015

Cinnamon Candied Nuts - Bakemas Day 14

One of my favourite things about this time of the year is candied nuts, okay, one of my favourite things about food markets is candied nuts, my favourite thing about this time of year is roasted nut street vendors. The smell, the taste, every time I go to London around this time I will go out of my way specifically to buy a cup of these nuts and although I don’t think I’ll ever be able to replicate that because it's probably more about the feeling these taste bloomin’ amazing and are so quick and simple.
Most of the recipes I’ve seen online for candied nuts involve roasting them for about an hour on a low heat in the oven the words “ain’t nobody got time for that” are ringing in my head! So ever the impatient one when it comes to stuff like this I thought cooking them in a frying pan was a way better idea, I was right, these take about 10 minutes? to cook and then they’re there staring you in the face, daring you to try one when they’re piping hot, not a good idea!

You can use any nuts you like, you might be an only almond fan, or you might like an exotic mix, this recipe suits any and all nuts, I pretty much threw in every type of nut we had when I was testing this out. I’ve actually never found candied pistachios anywhere but going through the nut cupboard while making these I found some and figured I’d throw them in, they’re not quite beating my ultimate favourite pecans but I’d say they’re in a solid second place, if you have some knocking about you should definitely add them in.
There is now a jar of sugary cinnamony nuts sitting in the kitchen ready to be nibbled on every time I walk in there, maybe slightly dangerous but exactly what the season calls for!

Sunday 13 December 2015

Brie, Cranberry & Caramelised Onion Toasted Sandwich - Bakemas Day 13

It’s sandwich Sunday! Actually I think this is only the second sandwich I’ve posted on here and the likelihood I posted that on a Sunday is slim but it sounds like it would be a great segment. I think I can finally take a bit of a break tomorrow, although I say break, that break includes tidying, sewing, present related things and a blog post that still needs to be put up. What I really mean is I can spend all day in pyjamas and not in the kitchen which would be a nice change of scenery.

I made this seasonal delight for my mum, I only made myself a half sandwich which looked pretty sorry for itself but it blew my expectations to smithereens! I wasn’t expecting it to be quite as moorish, is that a bad thing to say about your own food ideas? Well it’s pretty quick to whip together and would actually taste really good with turkey leftovers in as well, someone try that out, turkey leftovers aren’t much of a thing in my house.

Saturday 12 December 2015

Bailey's Hot Chocolate & Brigadeiro - Bakemas Day 12

Are you ready for chocolate overload? because I have chocolate on chocolate in store for you.
It’s the season for hot chocolate, actually any time once upon a time is on it’s the season for hot chocolate but now its officially hot chocolate season. I’d say I have some bailey’s left over from the chocolate mousse but what I actually have is a whole bottle of baileys with just a little missing so what better time to make baileys hot chocolate.
And what goes well with chocolate? Yep, more chocolate! The first time I made brigadeiro was in August for a friend’s birthday; I was trying to up my present giving game and wanted a quick easy truffle recipe as I was a little pushed for time because typical me leaves everything till the last minute. These only have 3 ingredients, take 10 minutes to cook, a little time for cooling and the rolling takes the longest and really that depends how pedantic you’re being. I was sitting in the kitchen rolling these leisurely with a Christmas film on in the background. They’re really simple, taste great and would be a nice little homemade gift or stocking stuffer.

Friday 11 December 2015

Brussel Sprout Sausage Balls with Garlic Breadcrumbs - Bakemas Day 11

I realise yesterdays recipe had sausages in but I’m just too excited about these to wait.
I’m not sure how or why but I got a little bit fixated on the idea of having brussel sprouts with garlic bread crumbs and what started out as that, went on to me having a sausage epiphany and turned into these. I’ve been so excited about making these for the past week, I was delayed a day by sausage problems but they’re finally here. They actually ended up looking a lot more like scotch eggs than I thought they would, scotch brussels? It’s not got quite the same ring to it huh!
I will warn you now, these are a get your hands stuck in kind of food. They don’t take that long to make but there is quite a few steps, but they’re fun steps! I don’t know about you but I think breading food is highly enjoyable and that’s not sarcasm, plus my mum gave me a helping hand so we had a breading production line. You don’t need a production line, or 4 hands, 2 is enough, it just halves the work load so if it’s Christmas morning put the kids to work. I can't really explain how good these taste, you'll just have to take my word for it and make them yourself. The secret ingredient is broad oak farm sausages, although they're local(ish), so not the easiest for you to find but I'd urge you to use your favourite sausages not sausage meat.

These would be perfect with Christmas dinner, especially if the little ones don’t like brussel sprouts they might just be open to trying them because really this is 50% sausage. Alternatively you could just eat a plate of them, that would be my preference.

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