Monday, 29 December 2014

Monday Bake - Christmas Pudding

Here we are at the end of another year and another speedy one at that.  I think I just need to accept that time goes quicker the older you get!!

We had a lovely christmas. To cater for all tastes I did three puddings on Christmas day. Trifle, which Hubby and I had. A chocolate fondant for Minibakebakegirl and a 'make on the day' Christmas pudding for the other men folk, Hubby's Dad and Uncle.

This recipe by Ruby from The Great British Bake Off was in the Christmas Asda magazine.

Zest of 2 lemons
40g raisins
40g dried cranberries
40g prunes
100ml sweet white wine
40g stem ginger from a jar plus 2tbsp of the syrup
40g mixed peel
125g unsalted butter softened
50g soft light brown sugar
75g caster sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
135g plain flour
1.5tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt

The day before mix the zest, fruit and wine in a bowl. Cover with clingfilm and leave overnight at room temperature.
Lightly butter a 0.8-1.2L pudding basin.  Cut out a circle of baking paper and place in the bottom. Also cut out 2 large circles to cover the top of the basin and set aside.
Add the stem ginger, syrup and mixed peel to the fruit.  In a large bowl cream the butter and sugars until pale and fluffy, then add the eggs and vanilla and mix again.  Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix to combine.
Spoon into the pudding basin and cover with one sheet of the greaseproof paper with a large pleat in the middle, tie securely with string then do the same with the second sheet.
Put a saucer upside down in a large pan. Place the pudding on top. Add boiling water to come up 3/4 of the way up the basin put on the lid and steam for 2 hours. Keep an eye on the water level so it doesn't boil dry.
When cooked run a knife around the pudding and turn out on a large plate.
Serve with custard, cream or ice-cream.

This is a lovely steamed pudding, much lighter than a usual Christmas pudding.  It also lasts well as Hubby and I finished off the remains of it today!

Here is Minibakebakegirl's pudding, I have loved those wee chocolate stars this Christmas!

Hope you have a good new year, see you in 2015!

Today's top three Spotify songs:

1. Boogie Nights - Heatwave
2. Dancing Queen - Abba
3. Everybody Dance - Chic

Monday, 22 December 2014

Monday Bake - White Chocolate and Cranberry Blondies

I finished work and Minibakebakegirl finished school on Friday, we had a lovely chilled weekend.  I watched the Strictly final and was so pleased Caroline and Pasha won.  There have been several bits about this series I haven't enjoyed, I cringe each time the judges dance on at the start, the extra dancers that aren't needed and some of the theme weeks, however I do love Halloween week!  I have loved Claudia being a main presenter - she seems to have had a positive effect on Tess' dress choices this series!  It always seems strange the Sunday after the series finishes as with It Takes Two as well, I practically watch Strictly everyday for 3 months! However it does mean I can catch up on all the programmes I have recorded.

Today Minibakebakegirl and I made Blondies.   It was lovely being together in the kitchen with the twinkly fairy lights.

200g unsalted butter
100g white chocolate - chopped
300g soft brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g plain flour
a pinch of salt
100g dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 180c/ GM4.  Grease and line a 23cm square brownie tin.
Melt the butter in a pan and add 50g of the white chocolate and stir until combined, set aside to cool.
Whisk together the sugar, eggs and vanilla until pale and frothy.  Add the flour, salt and the chocolate butter mixture.  Fold with a metal spoon until combined, then fold in the remaining white chocolate and 75g of the cranberries.  Pour into the prepared tin, scatter the remaining cranberries on top.   Minibakebakegirl also scattered the top with white chocolate stars this time.
Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes until a golden crust has formed.   Cool in the tin and then cut into squares.

Think all the excitement of Christmas has caught up with CatK :o)  The second picture is a position of pure relaxation.  This will be his first Christmas with us as last Christmas he was staying with the Cats Protection.    I think he is happy living with us and we are very happy to have him.

Merry Christmas, hope you have a lovely time, see you next Monday,

Today's top three Spotify Songs:

1. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town - Jackson 5
2. Thank God It's Christmas - Queen
3. When A Child Is Born - Johnny Mathis

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Monday Bake - Butterscotch Date Cake

We visited the Christmas Tree Festival on Saturday, here are past years, here and here. Like past years the knitted one is one of my favourites.   I also liked the Strictly themed one, one covered in home made owls , one with real china cups and the poppy one. Everyone who visits gets a voting slip and this years winner was the knitted one!  it really must take all year to do.

Yesterday I made a Butterscotch date cake.  This is another not too christmassy cake but looks quite impressive with its little chocolate stars. 

Last christmas I got this really cute plate from SisterinLaw - almost too pretty to cover up - I can fully appreciate it when I had eaten my slice of cake!

The loaf cake without the icing would be great served warm with vanilla ice cream and toffee sauce - yum!

Next Monday will be my last blog post before christmas!  Hope to see you then.


Todays top three Christmas songs:

1. Little Saint Nick - The Beach Boys
2. Lonely This Christmas - Mud
3. The Christmas Song - Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Thursday Makes - Innocent Smoothie Hats

The past two years I have knitted some hats for the Innocent Smoothie Big Knit.  This year I decided to use up some wool I had left over from another project.   I love the way this knits up.

I used my pom pom maker again - it's so fast and easy to use, much less hassle than two bits of cardboard.

I was cutting it a bit fine this year and posted them on Monday - the deadline is tomorrow!  Think I will start my knitting a bit earlier next year and try out some of their free patterns on their website.

The wee hats will be available on the smoothie bottles in February all for a very good cause.


Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Monday Review - London Curators Coffee

Today Hubby and I went into London to do some Christmas shopping.  Before we tackled our list we went for coffee at Curators Coffee in Margaret Street, near Oxford Circus.   Their coffee concept reminds me of Brew Lab in Edinburgh.  This is my kind of London coffee place, slightly away from the hustle and bustle, and not a mass chain.   I had a slice of date and fig loaf cake, which was toasted and served with butter.  Hubby had a piece of peanut salted caramel millionaire rice crispy slice.  Both were delicious. We both had cappuccinos - which were very good, could have been a wee bit hotter and they would have been perfect.

Shopping was a success and we managed a bit of a wander before getting the train home.

Selfridges windows were very gold!  And on one side were all Paddington themed.   We also saw one of the Paddington Bears from the trail inside Selfridges.

Thanks for visiting,

Today's top three Spotify songs:

1. Walking in the Air - Aled Jones
2. A Winters Tale - David Essex
3. Merry Christmas Everybody - Slade

Monday, 1 December 2014

Monday Bake - Coconut and Jam Puddings

I had such a busy end to November, with nights out, working in Telford two days last week and just living life, December has creeped up on me.  In previous years I have given some thought to the December christmas posts I will do on here and looked for some recipes.  So over a bowl of homemade pumpkin soup at lunchtime, I was looking through magazines and books for some bakes for the next three weeks.  

Yesterday I made individual coconut and jam puddings - the recipe was in the November issue of the Asda magazine and you can find it here.  At first I thought these were not really christmassy and a bit of a cheat putting them in my December bakes, but with their red tops, sitting on a christmas plate I think they are!  Also not everybody likes christmas pudding or trifle - so perhaps this could be an alternative pudding on Christmas day.  The coconut sponge is very light and I served them with vanilla icecream.  I didn't bother with the extra jam sauce.

In other news I have been joining my granny square blanket, it is so cosy snuggled under it while I crochet away. I hope to do a Thursday Makes post before the end of the year - which will be my first one this year.....oh actually I might manage two Thursday Makes posts as I have knitted little hats for the Innocent Smoothies Big Knit - go me!

Thanks for visiting,

Today's top three Christmas songs (Smooth Xmas is back! I couldn't find it last year on my kitchen radio but I found it today!):  

1. Jingle Bell Rock - Bobby Helms
2. Christmas in Hollis - Run DMC
3. Happy Xmas (War is Over) - John Lennon