Saturday, 18 December 2010

Extended Christmas Break…

This year I’d planned to bring you all sorts of festive treats. Unfortunately life has gotten in the way, and my health took an unexpected nosedive last week. Everything’s a bit up in the air until it gets sorted out. My inner foodie is sad but will be hoping to be back in the kitchen soon!!

Wishing all my followers and anyone passing by a wonderful Christmas and New Year, and I hope to be back soon!

I will leave you with some foodie pictures taken the past few weeks:

Loaded Salmon & cheese potato skins:
(Aka how to finally use that tin of pink salmon)

Gorgeous ricotta and roasted tomato bruschetta, at Jamie's Italian:

 Sell-your-soul-they-were-so-good Mushroom Fritti, also at Jamie's Italian:

How to scare your friends: Nigella's 40 Cloves of Garlic Roast Chicken:

Monday, 6 December 2010

Mini Blackberry and Coconut sponges

In need of a quick pudding the other night, with not much in the fridge and with no intentions of leaving the house in the snow, I came up with these great mini sponges, using blackberries from the freezer, which I picked a few months back and dessicated coconut, mainly as I had picked up a new bag recently. As I joked to a colleague the next day, it was sort of hedgerow meets Hawaii?! Though it was a very successful meet, and definitely a combination I will use again. To save time I used the Kenwood Chef, though they could easily be made by hand too. Though my life would be incomplete without the mixer and I am thankful every time I bake with it!

I loved the shape of these little sponges, and my guests seemed to like them too! There's just something about foods in miniature which appeals to the senses I think!

Makes 6, easy


2 eggs
18 blackberries, frozen is fine
120g self raising flour
120g butter/ stork margarine
120g caster sugar (fairtrade, mine was from silverspoon, who were kind enough to send me a box recently)
1 Tsp Baking powder
2 heaped tbsp desiccated coconut
Drop of vanilla extract

I used dariole molds from Tesco Cookshop, no idea if they differ in size? Also a kettle full of boiling water and tray deep enough to hold the molds.

Pre-heat oven to Fan 160o/ 180o

If using a mixer, place the flour, butter, sugar and baking powder in the mixing bowl, beat together, adding the eggs one by one, until creamy and thoroughly mixed, stir in coconut. If by hand, cream the butter and sugar together first, then beat in the flour, eggs, then coconut until mixed together.

Half fill the molds with the mixture, place 3 blackberries in each, cover with the remaining mixture.

Place the molds in baking tray and fill halfway with boiling water, bake for 25-30 minutes or until cooked though, risen and golden brown. If they are browning too much, reduce temperature slightly.

Cool slightly, and remove from the molds using a tea spoon or similar device!

Serve with hot custard or cream

Friday, 3 December 2010

A Perfect Christmas from Sainsburys

On Monday night, I braved the cold weather and the nightmare tube strike and eventually made my way into central London to Sainsburys HQ, alongside other bloggers to sample some delicious new party food products, mainly from the re-jazzed 'Taste The Difference' range. Did you know there are over 1000 items under the Taste The Difference logo? This past year, Sainsburys have been working hard to ensure all the products are at their best and all of the nibbles I tried were delicious!

I must admit that when it comes to entertaining large groups, catering for them can be a bit daunting and I have felt in the past a little bad inside for when resorting to serving up ready made party food, often as the quality has been so hit and miss. However there are only so many hours in the day and whilst I love being busy in the kitchen, am sure my guests would rather see me! (I hope so anyway!) Some of the products I liked in particular from Sainsburys were the mini fish n chips, which came served in these cute little newspaper holders:

(all images courtesy of Sainsburys)
Delicious chocolate truffles:

And believe it or not, mince pie ice-cream! Deliciously creamy ice cream, with chunks of TTD mince pies in! 

Along with the new products, this year Sainsburys are holding an exciting competition for you and your neighbours to win a Perfect Christmas, including A male voice choir, a massive snowfall to create a magical mood, a huge tree all decked out with lights, a dazzling firework display and delicious festive
food and drink! All you need to do is enter here and get your neighbours to enter too! Good Luck!  Incase you have missed the advert, you can watch it here
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