Tag Archives: christmas

~scottish trifle~

After the traditional Burn’s Night meal of Haggis, neeps and tatties, this Scottish trifle always goes down well!

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There are many different trifle recipes but this is the easiest and one of my favourites. It uses freshly made custard and if possible, homemade raspberry jam. It doesn’t include jelly or chocolate as others do.

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Ingredients – serves 6-8

8 egg yolks

110g caster sugar

35g plain flour

450ml milk

1 vanilla pod, split lengthways and seeds scraped.

about 9 sponge fingers (depending on the size of your bowl)

about 3tbsp raspberry jam

4tbsps liquid – orange juice or sherry

285ml thick cream

toasted almonds to decorate

optional – 1 or 2 bananas or some apricots

How to: For a simpler recipe use ready prepared custard and skip this first step! Otherwise first make the custard – whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until thick and pale. Stir in the flour. Boil the milk, remove from the heat and add the vanilla seeds. Leave for about 15 mins. Remove the seeds and add the milk to the egg mixture stirring as you pour. Return the egg/milk mixture to a clean pan and whisk over a gentle heat until boiling. Keep whisking to get rid of any lumps. Once smooth, keep whisking for a minute or 2 until the custard thickens. Remove from the heat, cover with cling film (to stop a skin forming) and leave to cool.

Cut the sponge fingers in half and spread one side of each half with jam – be generous! Place the sponges on the base and round the outside of your serving bowl. Pour over the liquid and tilt the bowl so all the sponges get thoroughly soaked. If using banana, slice as much banana as you like into small rounds, then place on top of the sponges. (Likewise if using apricots, place the apricot halves on the sponges). Pour the cooled custard on top. Then whip the cream (and sweeten if necessary) until thick. Spoon the cream onto the custard in a thick layer. Finally decorate with a sprinkling of almonds which have been toasted in a frying pan until golden brown. Chill until ready to eat.

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Trifle is great the following day too when the sponge is deliciously soft and juicy!

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Filed under Christmas, creams and sauces, Dessert, fruity, Scotland, Uncategorized, vegetarian

~easy chocolate fudge~

This is a very easy and quick chocolate fudge recipe!

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It makes delicious firm fudge in next to no time with very little effort required!

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15 Comments

Filed under chocolate, Christmas, no-bake, sweets/candy

~soft butter mints~

OOh these tiny soft mints are just perfect after a rich meal – these tiny minty pebbles just melt in your mouth!

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I found this recipe on Sweet 16’s country kitchen and made just one quarter of their recipe. I have recently discovered Sweet 16’s country kitchen blog and I have the feeling I’ll be visiting over and over again. Take a look for yourself, there are plenty of do-able recipes with lovely photos. Thanks Cookin’ Cow girl (wanna’be)!

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No baking, just mixing and resting!

Ingredients: makes about 40 mints, each about 1cm in diameter

20g soft butter

1/2 tbsp heavy cream or crème fraîche

1/4 tsp peppermint essence

tiny pinch of salt

110g icing sugar

How to : Beat the butter until pale then add the cream, peppermint and salt and beat again until everything is well mixed. Add the icing sugar bit by bit and continue beating until everything holds together – maybe several minutes in the processor. If the flavour isn’t strong enough add a bit more and beat until well incorporated.  Using your hands, take tiny amounts of the paste and roll into balls, place on grease proof paper and leave 12 hours to dry. Store the mints in an air-tight container in the fridge and try not to eat too many at once!

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This recipe is easily doubled or quadrupled.

They are very moreish and I think I’ll keep the larger quantities until I have guests for dinner!

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Filed under Christmas, sweets/candy

~galette des rois 2013~

This year I made a galette filled with a mixture of frangipane and soft apple pieces.

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Pretty similar to the traditional galette des rois but with less almond paste and lots of apple!

Ingredients (for 6 big people):

2 rounds of puff pastry or about 500g of puff pastry

80 g ground almonds

80 g sugar

1 large egg

80 g of butter

2 tablespoonfuls of créme fraîche or natural yoghurt

3 apples, peeled, cored and cubed

1 egg yolk to brush onto pastry before baking

A lucky charm (a figurine, a fève) to hide inside the cake

How to : Place 1 pastry round on the baking sheet and prick all over with a fork. Sauté the apples in a little butter and a tbsp of brown sugar until softish. Leave to cool. Meanwhile mix all the other ingredients (almond powder, sugar, egg, butter, créme) together in the processor or in a bowl until you’ve got a thick paste. Mix the apples into the paste then spread the mixture over the pastry circle, leaving about a 2cm gap between the mixture and the edge of the pastry. Position the charm somewhere in the mixture – preferably towards the edge of the circle to minimize the chances of finding it when cutting the cake later.

Paint round the pastry edge with warm water, lay the second pastry circle on top and press the edges together well. Use a knife to gently score the pastry which will leave a nice pattern when baked. Paint the top pastry with beaten egg to ensure the cake is glossy when it comes out of the oven.  Finally, to avoid the cake swelling up or drying out, pierce a small hole in the center to allow air to escape. I read somewhere that the galette should then be chilled for 20 mins or so before being put in the hot oven as the sudden temperature change makes the puff pastry rise more evenly, so I put mine in the fridge and then baked it at 210 ° C for approximately 25 minutes (check the cake after 20 mins, but don’t hesitate to leave it for up to 35 mins if necessary). It can be eaten warm or cold, on its own or with ice-cream, with a cup of tea or a glass of wine…

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17 Comments

Filed under Alsace, cakes, Dessert, France

~operation manala 2012~

If it’s December 5th or 6th then it’s time for manela!

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Here are this years’ wee men, I used the same recipe as always

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All delicious and just waiting to be dunked in hot chocolate!

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Filed under Alsace, bread/brioche, chocolate, Christmas

~chocolate swiss roll~

Swiss roll, roulade, bûche de noël, chocolate log … whatever its called, it’s deliciously light and airy and it doesn’t contain any flour! A gluten free delight!

It is an impressive dessert and isn’t really difficult. I filled mine with crème fraîche and mango but there are  100’s of variations for fillings!

Ingredients for sponge

4 eggs (separated)

100g icing sugar

2tbsp cocoa powder

How to: Beat the egg whites until stiff, then slowly add the sifted sugar and cocoa to the whites, beating after each addition. In a different bowl beat the yolks until a pale yellow colour. Finally, using a spoon, fold the yolks gently into the whites/sugar. Spoon the mixture onto a swiss roll tin (mine is about 23cm x 23cm) which has been lined with grease proof paper. Smooth with a spatula and bake at 180°C for 20 mins until springy to the touch.

Remove the tin from the oven and sprinkle some caster sugar over the surface. Cover the sugary sponge with a tea-towel and then cover the tea-towel with another swiss roll tin. Turn the whole lot over so you have the hot swiss roll tin facing upwards. Lift the tin off and then using a spatula, peel the grease proof paper away from the sponge. Sprinkle this side of the cake with caster sugar. Roll the sponge up inside the tea-towel starting with a long side. Leave to cool while preparing the filling.

Filling  – mix 100g crème fraîche with 100g fromage frais and just enough sugar to sweeten (about 1 tbsp). Unroll the sponge carefully and spread with the filling before re-rolling. Don’t worry if it cracks a bit. Dust with cocoa or icing sugar.

Other ideas for filling

-beat 200g mascarpone, 100g melted chocolate and enough icing sugar together.

chocolate mousse

-mix a tbsp of sugar into 200g greek yoghurt and stir in the pulp of a couple of passion fruit, some mango (apricot or peach are good too) and raspberries.

-spread a mixture of 200g marscapone, 1tbsp maple syrup and 3tbsp double cream onto the sponge then scatter sliced banana over before rolling up.

Use Google to find your favourite filling!

In all cases, it’s best to put the filling on shortly before serving otherwise the sponge can get a bit soggy.

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Filed under cakes, chocolate, Christmas, Dessert

~new year biscuits~

These simple biscuits were always made on new year’s eve at about 9 pm when it was boring to stay awake waiting for the midnight bells.

They can of course be made anytime and upon demand I baked a batch last week!

They are very easy and quick to make!

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Filed under biscuits/cookies, Christmas