Tag Archive | #fiestafriday

Advent Calendar Day 11: A lighter Christmas Cake

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The countdown is on…. Two weeks until Christmas, three weeks until I land in Goa- what that actual all means is a little time off…. I can’t wait! It’s hard to believe that I only have one day off between now and Christmas. Ugh!

With the little time I have at the moment, I’ve realised just how useful my blog is! I’d completely forgotten about the next recipe until I was going through last years advent posts…. It’s just what I need to bring to Fiesta Friday ! I haven’t been to the virtual party for months, so hopefully this will make up for lost time. This week it’s hosted by Sadhna from herbs, spices and traditional and Natalie from kitchen, uncorked.

This recipe is for a lighter fruit cake, with less eggs, no raising agent and a smaller tin with all the same yummy ginger, spices and loads of fruit.

Ingredients :
zest and juice 1 orange
zest and juice 1 lemon
140g unsalted butter, softened
140g golden caster sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
175g plain flour
100g raisins
100g dried apricots, roughly chopped
100g cranberries
100g golden sultanas
100g brazil nuts, roughly chopped
50g crystalised ginger
150ml rum
1 tsp mixed spiced
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon

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Soak all the dried fruit in the rum (or tea or apple juice) over night.

The next day add the brazil nuts and ginger.

Grease and double-line the base and sides of a deep, 15cm cake tin. Wrap a double layer of greaseproof or brown paper around the outside of the tin, too, then secure with string (with a pretty bow).

Heat oven to 160C

Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy and light. Beat in the eggs gradually. In a small bowl mix the zest and juice of the orange and lemon.

Fold the flour and spices, then dried fruit, nuts and ginger into the creamed mix, followed by the juice and zest mix.

Spoon the mix into the prepared tin and bake for 30 mins, then turn oven down to 150C and bake for another 1 hr 45 mins until risen, golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Leave to cool for 15 mins before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

The cake will keep well wrapped in a cool place for up to 1 month.

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Melissa xx

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Tribute to Selma-Ambassador Cupcakes

This is the post from December last year that was inspired by Selma. She inspired and helped me a lot. When I first joined Twitter she gave me LOADS of advice with what to do and how to get notice. She was like a blogging Mummy. I’m going to miss her. I’m posting this, along with lots of others at the special addition of this weeks Fiesta Friday and to Selma’s blog .

Back in October, Selma made ambassador cupcakes using Ferrero Rocher chocolates for her son’s birthday. They looked so luxurious and elegant, that I tucked the idea away for Christmas….

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So fast forward two months and armed with Selma’s idea, two boxes of chocolates, some gold cupcake cases and some shimmer spray, I’m ready! I’m using my trusty chocolate cake mix instead of Selma’s, but I’ll use hers next time.

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Chocolate cupcake Ingredients:
100g butter
150g brown sugar
2 eggs
200g plain flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoon cocoa powder
180ml milk
1 box of Forrero Rocher

Topping:
1 can of chocolate icing
1 can gold shimmer spray
Toasted Hazelnuts
1 box of Forrero Rocher

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Line a cupcake tin with foil cases. Preheat the oven to 190°/ gas mark 5 or turn your Rayburn off! Cream the butter and sugar, then add in the eggs. Sift in all the dry ingredients and then add the milk.

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Spoon the mixture into the cases until half full. Pop a chocolate in the middle and spoon a small amount of mixture on top. Pop into the oven for 15 minutes.

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Once cooled, pipe chocolate icing on top of the cake. Then, depending on how high your icing is, place a whole chocolate on top (or a half like I did). Sprinkle with hazelnuts and spray with shimmer!!!!

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I’m bringing these delights to Angie’s for a festive fiesta friday!

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Melissa xx

Apple pastries

I wasn’t going to share this recipe because it’s embarrassingly easy, but I’ve been asked to…. I don’t have any photographs of the process so you’ll have to use your imagination!

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I had been given a bag of home grown bramley apples by a dear friend and have had great fun making pies, turnovers and chutnies. These apple turnover pastries can be made and in the oven in minutes.

Ingredients:
1.3kg/3lb Bramley apples, peeled, core removed and quartered
75g/2½oz soft light brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 lemon, zest only

For the pastry:
Plain flour, for dusting
500g/1lb 2oz puff pastry
1 egg

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Roughly chop the apples into bite-sized pieces. Put them in a large saucepan with the sugar, cinnamon, ginger and three tablespoons of water. Stir together well, cover with a lid and put on a low heat to cook for about eight minutes. Then give it a stir and cook for another 8-10 minutes, or until the apples are soft but not too mushy.

Remove the apples from the heat. Finely grate the zest from the lemon over to taste, and leave to cool completely.

I used ready roll pastry and manged to get four oblongs out of each sheet; cut down the middle of both sides and arrange them on the lined baking sheet.

Crack the egg into a mug, whisk it lightly and then using a pastry brush, brush around the edge of each pastry rectangle. Then put a couple of chunks of the apple on one half of each rectangle. Then fold the other half of the pastry over the apple and use your fingers to press the edges down to seal. Press in nice and tight to the apple so everything is snug and cosy. I used a fork to crimp the edges.

Brush the pies liberally with the remaining egg and sprinkle with caster sugar and mark a hole in the top of the pastries with a sharp knife. Put them in the oven for about 25 minutes until crisp and golden brown.

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It might be Saturday, but the party will still be in full swing over at Angie’s place for Fiesta Friday!

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Melissa xx

Lemon and Raspberry Muffins

A few weeks ago the lovely people at Donegal Rapeseed oil tweeted that they were looking for recipes using their oil. I cheekily tweeted back that I’d be happy to come up with a recipe if they sent me a bottle, so they sent me four!!! I was utterly shocked to receive a beautiful gift box containing lemon, chilli, garlic and a honey and mustard dressing.

It is multi-award winning oil; the garlic infused oil has a wonderful ‘just pressed’ garlic flavour ideal to cook fish and seafood, or simply used to roast potatoes or drizzle onto pizza. The chilli flavoured oil is perfect for adding spice to your cooking. It is great for stir-fries or use to inject some spice to any casserole, soup or pasta dish. The lemon infused oil is zesty, refreshing oil that will ignite your taste buds. It is fantastic for cooking fish and chicken, and delightfully refreshing drizzled on a summer salad.

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gift box

Donegal Rapeseed Oil website explains that it has less than half the saturated fat of olive oil, resulting in it being one of the healthiest culinary Oils in the market.

It says it contains no artificial colours, flavours, or preservatives, and is a natural source of healthy fats known as omega 3, 6, and 9. Omega 3 and 6 are essential in the diet and are well known for their health benefits. They help to maintain normal cholesterol levels in the body, which is important for a healthy heart and cardiovascular system. It is a rich source of vitamin E, a natural antioxidant which helps to protect the body’s cells from damage.

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beautiful colour

Sticking to what I know best, I thought that I would bake something sweet. I decided to go for some classic, easy to make, fruity muffins and use the lemon oil, which smelt incredible and had a wonderful fresh zesty flavour!

Lemon and Raspberry Muffins

250g plain flour

150g caster sugar

2.5 teaspoon baking powder

0.25 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

240ml milk

115ml Donegal Lemon Rapeseed Oil

2 eggs

190g fresh raspberries

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muffin mix

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line a muffin tray. In one bowl whisk together the oil, milk and eggs and in a second bowl combine the dry ingredients.

Stir half on the dry ingredients to the oil, milk and egg mixture, ensuring that it is mixed thoroughly. Then fold in the second half of the dry ingredients.

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mix

Finally, fold the raspberries into the mix. Using a teaspoon carefully place the mix into the muffin cases and pop into the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, until slightly golden.

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muffin cases

Leave to cool on a wire rack.

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lemon and raspberry muffins

The smell and the taste of these muffins are incredible! The Donegal Lemon Rapeseed Oil works brilliantly to give these muffins a wonderful light texture and fantastic taste.

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Lemon and Raspberry Muffins

I’m bringing these beauties to Angie’s party over at Fiesta Friday!

Melissa xx

Welcome to the party Winter Warmer

Happy 1st birthday Fiesta Friday! I received this invite to the Fiesta Friday block party, a two week blogger party hosted by Angie at The Novice Gardener. I’m delighted to be attending….

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I’m bringing this delicious winter warmer to welcome guests as they arrive at the party. It’s fruity, spicey and can be made with or without alcohol.

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I made the cocktail in one of my Christmas presents, a beautiful cast iron milk pan.

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I gathered together some star anaise, cloves and cinnamon.

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I popped them in the pot with some apple juice.

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I brought the juice to the boil slowly to infuse the juice.

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Finally, I popped in a shot of the honey vodka that I brought home from India.

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Other cocktails that I’ve brought to previous Fiesta Friday partys include
Elderflower Fizz

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And a Sparkly Cosmo

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I’m bringing a tray of ‘welcome to the party’ winter warmers to the party… Happy Fiesta Friday!

Melissa xx

Advent Calendar Day 12: Shimmery Cupcakes

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It’s 12th December and I’m half way through my Advent calendar…. I hope you are all enjoying it?

So it’s Fiesta Friday once again and I’m bringing another shimmery explosion to Angie’s place!

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I made some wonderfully colourful cupcakes for my Godson and his family. I knew he’d be excited about Christmas when I visited, so I wanted to bring him something special.

The shimmery cupcake recipe is a perfect one to do with children, it’s very simple to do. It uses my fail safe chocolate muffin recipe with shop bought icing.

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Chocolate cupcake Ingredients:
100g butter
150g brown sugar
2 eggs
200g plain flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoon cocoa powder
180ml milk

Topping:
1 can of chocolate icing
1 can gold shimmer spray
1 can silver shimmer spray

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Line a cupcake tin with foil cases. Preheat the oven to 190°/ gas mark 5 or turn your Rayburn off! Cream the butter and sugar, then add in the eggs. Sift in all the dry ingredients and then add the milk. Spoon the mixture into the cases.

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Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes, then leave to cool completely.

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I used the cupcake icing to top each cake and left them to set.

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I covered the table with newspaper and starting spraying! It was great fun building up the shimmery layers.

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My Godson thanked me for the cupcakes by drawing me a beautiful picture. I hope Santa can bring me a tiara like the one in the drawing!

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Melissa xx

Lemon Meringue Pie

Dr Doolittle has been ‘collecting’ lemons! There must be over a dozen sitting in the fruit bowl this morning, he says he’s going to be preserving them…. I was very tempted to remake the recipe I’m sharing with you today, just to take some more photographs- but I thought better of it!

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Yesterday was Thanksgiving and although I’m not American, I love the idea of giving thanks. I also love the idea of a gathering of people celebrating life with food. I must admit when I think of American desserts, I think of pies; pumpkin pie, apple pie, mississippi mud pie and the one I’m bring to Fiesta Friday, lemon meringue pie.

The base of the pie is ‘pate sucree’, a sweet pastry.

Ingredients:
110g plain flour
Pinch of salt
55g softened unsalted butter, diced
2 egg yolks
55g caster sugar
1 drop fesh vanilla

Sift the flour and salt into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Place the butter into the centre and work into the flour until it forms breadcrumbs and add in the sugar. Add the egg bit by bit and stir in the vanilla. Work the mixture until the pastry comes together. Pop the pastry into the fridge until ready to use.

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Lemon Curd:
50g butter
110g caster sugar
100ml lemon juice and zest of 3 lemons
5 egg yolks

Meringue
3 egg whites
Pinch of salt
225g caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and lightly grease a 20cm flan tin.

Roll out the pate sucree and use to line the tin. Prick the base well with a fork, then cover with parchment paper and place baking beans on top. ‘Blind bake’ in the oven for 20 minutes, then remove paper and beans and pop back in for a further 5 minutes.

To make the curd, melt the butter in a heavy based pan on a low heat. Add in the lemon juice and zest and blend well. On a low heat, slowly add the eggs and sugar and stir until a custard is formed. Remove from the heat and allow to cool, this will thicken as it cools. Spoon into the flan case and spread out.

Beat the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl for a minute, then add the sugar and salt bit by bit. Place the meringue onto top of the pie and place in an oven at 160 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

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Next time, i’ll make sure that the meringue is whipped until it’d fluffier and that the top is slightly burnished…

Melissa xx