Friday, 30 December 2011

Amaretto Butterfly cakes and Goodbye 2011!

I spent a long time deliberating over my final post for 2011. Its been a rollercoaster of a year to say the least, what with illness casting a shadow on most of the year, moving house, a relationship break up, and more; I am honestly quite glad to see the back of it! I also learnt never to cook mushrooms, and then stir in polenta. Cement springs to mind both in texture and colour!

Whilst there were a lot of low points, there were also highs and new beginnings. I made beautiful macarons for the first time. Did battle with cake pops. I learned to love wholemeal pasta. My dearest friends celebrated the birth of their lovely little son. Plus I finally went back to college, something that had been on the back burner for a long time! And my recent visit to the oncologist was all good! What a year!!

So a big hello to 2012, may you be more joyful!

And so for my final post of 2011, something sweet was in order, and what could be more fitting than if I do say so myself, these rather gorgeous butterfly cakes! Move over cupcakes - butterfly cakes rock! These cakes also had two special purposes - firstly as mentionned above, to celebrate the birth of my friends little boy, and secondly I was taking them to meet a very dear friend, who I shall name as M on here, whom I first got talking to many years back via a food forum, and finally that day we were meeting face to face! Needless to say we talked about food mostly and put the world to rights. She is a special lady, and I hope 2012 is amazing for both her and her lovely husband!

When I was growing up my mum was a child-minder, and she ran a playgroup at the local church hall. To raise funds (I presume slightly here!) there was frequent bake sales and I have fond memories of the kitchen being filled with all sorts of cakes but my favourite were the butterfly cakes! How pretty they were to eat and most importantly, how good they tasted! Nothing beats a home made cake, and whilst my icing skills are erm rustic, to put it politely I think that’s half the charm of them!

Whilst the ones my mum made were definitely aimed at children, these ones are all grown-up with a naughty spike of Disaronno liqueur, and a heavenly mascarpone frosting on top! I also got to play with some new delicious 100% fruity jam’s sent very kindly to me by Nell from Superjam, who I got into correspondence with recently over a fantastic scheme they are running to host tea-parties for the elderly. You can find out more on their website! Their jam is delicious by the way, a nice balance of fruit and nothing dodgy inside!

At the time of making these for some unknown reason I really wanted to add some ground almonds but couldn’t find any in the cupboard, I think I must of used them all when making my Christmas swirls the other week… However these cakes were rather glorious and whilst I am still curious to how they would alter the taste, as these stand they are pretty darn perfect!

The mascarpone frosting is amazing, if I do say so myself. If you find yourself eating it with a spoon I shall not be held responsible. Its easy to work with, deliciously creamy and very slightly boozy and well, need I say more really?

Makes 12

Pre-heat oven to 160o fan/ 180o regular oven

125g soft butter/ stork margarine
125g self-raising flour
125g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 heaped tbsp good quality cocoa powder (Mix the cocoa powder with 2-3 tbsp of water to make a thickish paste)
2 eggs
40g broken up milk chocolate or chocolate chips
1 tbsp disaronno / amaretto liqueur

Start by beating together the sugar and butter, until pale and fluffy.

Beat in the first egg, then half the flour, repeat with second egg and flour, plus the baking powder.

Fold in the cocoa mix and liqueur. Stir in the chocolate bits. A hand mixer is advisable but do by hand if you like manual labour! I love my new allure mixer toy in particular! My Kenwood Chef is in storage, due to its size so this little hand whisk is an excellent substitute.

Fill the bun cases and bake for 20 minutes, or until risen and cooked through, allow to cool thoroughly before icing them. I used some pretty Christmassy cases from Sainsburys’.

Mascarpone frosting:

Fills 12 butterfly cakes, plus a little leftover for chefs’ perk.

250g mascarpone
125g icing sugar
1 tbsp disaronno / amaretto liqueur

Beat all the ingredients together, fill a piping bag with a large star nozzle.


I used Superjam’s strawberry spread. This or a similar good quality jam would be ideal.

To assemble:
Once the buns are cool, take a small paring knife and carefully cut the top off, if they are not very risen just aim the knife slightly inwards, cut the removed piece in half to form two ‘wings’ and trim lightly if necessary. Repeat with the remaining buns.

Pipe a circle on the cut bun, leaving a slight indent in the middle, fill this gap with a good teaspoon of jam,

Gently place the wings carefully on and voila! You have pretty butterfly cakes!

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Stilton and Port Pastries..

This post is another relating back to the giant hamper Knorr sent me! And there's still a little more to come!

Within the depths of my hamper, was a gorgeous chunk of Colston Bassett Stilton from Forman and Fields. Ten years ago this would of filled me with dread, infact I remember trying a piece of Stilton as a child and immediately spat it out and wondered why anyone on earth would want to eat something so mouldy but nowadays I can't get enough of the stuff! My conversion to blue cheese was thanks to an Italian restaurant surprisingly - I was told the soup of the day was Broccoli and Sweetcorn, though it actually turned out to be Broccoli and Stilton! I was hooked at first slurp!

Blue cheese is really the way forward I think, and this Colston Bassett Stilton was a real treat! It was gorgeously creamy, yet sufficiently 'stinky' and vanished at an alarming speed! It was definitely the highlight of the whole hamper for me!

Gaze at its beauty:

Whilst on its own, its perfect in every way and I ate *a lot* of cheese and crackers that week; I still did have quite a lot to get through I decided to play around in the kitchen a little, just for a change! Amongst these little savouries, I also made a delicious mushroom and Stilton pasta dish - a match made in heaven!

The pastries were not quite perfect in the looks department, a little tweaking is needed but ohhhh boy did they taste good! As a result I'm reluctant to give any real recipes for now but to give you a taster, I roughly mixed a few chunks with some sultanas that I had soaked in port, plus a handful of chopped pecans. This then got lightly mashed to a rather hmmm looking purple/grey concoction but at the same time was an amazing tasting mixture! I stuffed the mix into both little pasties and on to mini pastry squares and baked them until golden. 

Whilst delicious the slight downside was my poor pastry sealing and over generous topping as it leaked EVERYWHERE. Rather unashamedly I admittedly ate the scrapings. Waste not, want not!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Spiced root Vegetable and Lentil soup

This year I seem to be on a roll with soups! Sometimes in the past they have been a bit hit and miss at times but so far the one thing that I've managed to do successfully is to make some gorgeous tasting soups! If only life was that easy too..!

Out of all my soups, this Spiced root Vegetable and Lentil one was really delicious and my favourite! Its very easy to make, low in fat and full of flavour! A real winter warmer! All you need is a nice hunk of bread and a spoon, then tuck in! You'll be warm in no time at all! The hint of coconut just adds a little something and I am sure you will love it too!

The ingredients for this one came out of my it seems never ending Knorr hamper sent from Forman and Fields. I really rated the curry powder they sent me, though despite my best efforts I've not managed to get my hands on their recipe for it! I guess to try substituting it for a standard spice mix, and tweak as necessary.

Whilst I have used a Knorr chicken stock pot, if you are veggie simply substitute accordingly.

Serves 2-3

25 minutes Easy
Re-heats well

½ white onion, finely chopped
250g carrot, peeled and diced
125g parsnip, peeled and diced  
1 chicken knorr stock pot into 750ml hot water
40g moong dal chilka lentils (or similar lentil)
2 tbsp unsweetened dessicated coconut
1 heaped tsp medium curry powder 
Spray oil

Spray some oil into a saucepan and heat, gently fry the onion for a couple of minutes to soften but not colour. 

Stir in the carrot, parsnip, lentils and curry powder. Fry for a couple of minutes then add the stock. Cover and bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes, adding the coconut after 10 minutes. 

Transfer to a liquidizer and blitz until all smooth and lovely!

Some fresh coriander would be gorgeous here but alas I had none. Next time!

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Best of British Sausage and Apple Tart and Stuffing Meatballs

Following on to some of my earlier posts, I am now excited to bring you a couple of Christmas inspired recipes made using some lovely festive ingredients sent to me by Forman and Field’s, on behalf of knorr.   

Sometime back in November I was very lucky to receive a whole hamper full of goodies including everything to make a big Christmas dinner, including a giant Kelly Bronze Turkey, carrots, parsnips, chestnuts and more! With the various goodies I made a variety of dishes including this winter warming Turkey and Barley stew (which was so good I am making it again tomorrow for dinner!) 

One of the ingredients in my hamper was a container of 'Cranberry, walnut & smoked bacon stuffing'. Therein came my first challenge!

Hmm what to do with stuffing, other than well basically putting it up mr turkeys bottom? Whilst the  stuffing was good, it was also very different to others I've had. In fact it was a more like a very coarsely minced meat mixture, compared to the rather smooth sausagemeat I normally buy from the butchers. It was also nothing like the paxo type. Before playing with it, I decided to quickly cook a weeny bit of it to test the flavouring. However I then also burnt my tongue in the process which once again taught me the hard way to have some patience and let things cool first! It needed a little more seasoning but provided a good base, with lots of texture.

I decided some kind of tart was in order and decided to play around with the pastry and came with this rather cute looking gb flag:

As I had best of british ingredients, so I thought a Union Jack flag was quite fitting! However I am so used to cooking previously for two, the results were rather large but it did result in me having a lunch that had admirers the next day at work! I am very lucky working with people from all over the world; we have some very interesting food chats and smells in our staffroom! 

Best of British Sausage and Apple Tart

Makes two large tarts - serves 4

300g good quality sausagemeat stuffing
300g fresh puff pastry (roughly 2/3 of a block)
1 cox apple, thinly sliced
1 tsp English mustard powder, made up with 1 tsp water
Beaten egg to glaze (or egg spray)

Pre-heat oven to 180 fan/ 200 regular

Roll out the puff pastry until its the thickness of a pound coin, cut into half lengthways. Then cut a 4cm strip off each rectangle. Cut this bit into four thin strips lenghthways

Score a line about 1cm from the edge of each big rectangle, then fill this gap with the stuffing, to form a thin layer. Covered with the apple slices, and glaze with mustard mixture. 

Now take two of the reserved strips and carefully stretch them and place over the two longest areas of your flag, lightly egg glaze the overlapping parts to stick. Use the two shorter strips to complete the flag. Glaze all over with the beaten and, place on a lined baking tray. Repeat for the other block of pastry to give you two tarts, then bake for 40 minutes or until its cooked through. 

When cooked through, cut into half and serve with seasonal vegetables - I went with my favourite Brussels sprouts:

Whilst the recipe was very successful, I think next time will make four smaller flags as you lose some of the flag effect by cutting in half.


Stuffing Meatballs:
Whilst with the remaining stuffing, I made a tray of little meatballs. These would be ideal as a canapé as part of a festive buffet, however I must point out that they also do very well as an emergency breakfast when you’ve slept through your alarm and grabbed the first thing that looks edible from the fridge!

I made them by mixing 200g of the stuffing, with a couple of tbsp of apple sauce (shh from a jar!), rolled it into small walnut sized balls, rolled them in fairly coarse dried breadcrumbs and then baked them for around 25 minutes.

 They had both a good meaty flavour and texture, a dish I will definitely make again.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Food Bloggers Unplugged

I've been tagged by both Suelle and Kim to take part in Food Bloggers Unplugged, a little exercise started by Susan at A Little Bit of Heaven on a Plate as a way of getting to know fellow food bloggers. The idea is that we answer 10 questions about ourselves, then tag five other food bloggers to take part, if they want to.

So, here are my answers:

What, or who, inspired you to start a blog? 

I’m a bit of a veteran…I joined as was trying to organise my recipes at home, my excel sheet wasn’t working on a practical level and then found I got asked by random people for my recipes, realised a website was a bit hmm scary and somehow stumbled upon blogger, mainly as was free and looked simple!

Who is your foodie inspiration? 

My dearest nanny Jean, who sadly left this world in August. She cooked simply but with good basic ingredients and always produced something wonderful. She made fantastic jams, marmalades and made sure no one ever went hungry. Her bread and butter pudding was the best I’ve ever eaten.

Your greasiest, batter - splattered food/drink book is? 
Despite being relatively new my Nigella Lawson’s Kitchen has quite a few splashes! Saying that I love my ‘Baking’ book, picked up cheaply years back from the dangerous shop for my purse that is ‘The Works’. Every recipe has worked a treat and I wouldn’t swap it for the world.

Tell us all about the best thing you have ever eaten in another country, where was it, what was it? 

I have two – sweet first was an amaretto & pistachio crème brulee in Brussels about 6 years ago. Was a basic looking local restaurant, in the (possibly!) Turkish quarter and it was perfect. Simple and delicious. Creamy, boozy, nutty. Heaven in itself! Savoury was an amazing gravy I had in Lille, I was eating with my dad in a fairly relaxed restaurant around ten years ago, we'd ordered roast chicken and it was soo soo good, it was served up on a wooden board which had this weeny pot of gravy and it was quite simply the best I have ever eaten! Perfectly savoury and unctuous.

Another food bloggers table you'd like to eat at is? 

I can never choose just one thing, I much prefer to pick on lots of little dishes so would have to just go to everyone on my blogroll I think!

What is the one kitchen gadget you would ask Santa for this year (money no object of course)? 

Erm it’s a bit far fetched but a magic clean up robot!
Who taught you how to cook? 

I taught myself using books and a very basic founding from GCSE Food Technology. Also learned to bake with mum growing up. That and greed!

I'm coming to you for dinner what's your signature dish? 

I always struggle with this as depends on my mood and who is my guest but my aubergine bhajis are my most requested dish! I’ve never had any leftovers!

What is your guilty food pleasure?

I have a weakness for mcflurry’s. I love them. Especially the new mint one *drool*

Reveal something about yourself that others would be surprised to learn? 

I prefer to drink bitter and ale, rather than the more ladylike drink of wine!

In turn, I would like to tag these 5 bloggers, although I hope they won't feel obliged to join in if they would rather not!

Monday, 12 December 2011

Wholemeal Penne, Pancetta and Cauliflower bake

This post probably should be titled as 'How to make a healthy-ish pasta bake!'

For the record I love pasta bake. Whilst there are admittedly a lot of things I love, pasta bake is definitely very high on that list! Though a little devil on my shoulder often whispers nooo however you can silence him with some little tweakings and this is my recent take on attempting a healthy and yet still satisfying pasta bake! Nowadays as I only cook for one, I was not initially wanting to cook for hours - this pasta bake was ready in around 30 minutes and was perfect for dinner the following night too.

I didn't measure anything, just for a change ha-ha but went by eye - was around 150g wholemeal penne, plus around 1/3 a head of cauliflower, plus about 6 strips of the smoked pancetta.

First up is the pasta – despite telling myself no more buying random dried carbs until I’ve used up the other 15 odd pasta and noodle variations, I couldn’t resist a bag of wholemeal penne on sale at 22p. *This was despite not actually liking wholemeal pasta*. I was determined however I would find a way of making it edible and this dish certainly does achieve that! Wholemeal pasta just sounds healthier so you can collect your first virtuous point. It has also been successful in converting me to its wholemealy goodness!

Next up is the sauce. Oh I do do do love a proper cheese sauce, in fact a white sauce was one of the first techniques I taught myself from a book many moons ago. However all that lovely butter and milk are not exactly skinny jeans friendly. As a result this was made using mostly vegetable stock, semi skimmed milk, a brief dusting of grated cheddar, and a heaped tsp of wholegrain mustard to boost its flavour. Collect shiny point number two!

Number three is the smoked pancetta = skinnier than bacon, dry fried, and as its full of flavour you don’t actually need very much of it – I merely broke it up and then dotted it amongst the cooked pasta. Hello there shiny point three!

And now to make it also contribute to your five a day without having to wash up more pans…whilst the pasta is boiling, add a good handful of cauliflower florets. These blend perfectly in with the pasta, both bulking it out and being good for you. In fact I think its the way forward.

Then to add a little eye candy with some red streaks to break up the pale but interesting look, I had half a red pepper lurking in the fridge, quickly he got sliced and thrown in at the end.

And so finally to assemble your healthy but delicious pasta bake; tip the drained pasta into a grill-proof dish, scatter with the crispy bits of pancetta, top with the sauce, poking it into the pasta, give it a little shake whilst you're there. Top with a brief handful of grated mature cheddar and a good sprinkle of dried breadcrumbs. Grill until its all golden and bubbling nicely.

And the result?

Not too shabby at all hey! It has all the good elements of a pasta bake but you can have seconds and still feel less gannet-esque. Re-heats very well. Enjoy!

My pasta bake is also an entry into this weeks Presto Pasta Nights, this week hosted by Rachel

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Joseph Joseph Baking Set Giveaway

Christmas is coming around very soon it appears! Time has just flown by this year! I’ve somehow managed to do nearly all of my Christmas shopping; however if you are still struggling for ideas on what to buy people then look no further than the website. 

Find me a Gift have a really great range of gifts for every budget and for everyone in your life! You can use this link to go directly to their Christmas Gift section, which is conveniently split by mens, womens, couples, baby and more!

I particularly like their ‘bargain’ section, especially if you are looking for a few stocking fillers. Though are not for the serious minded person but will cause a few giggles I am sure!

Obviously, I tend to frequent the kitchen section, and if you are looking to buy for a  foodie minded friend this Christmas, here are a couple of my favourite ideas to get you started:

Giant Jelly Baby Mould

My mum adores jelly babies and this is an ideal gift for her! He is so cute and would make a fun jelly!

Russian Doll cups

I am a real magpie for anything cute looking for the kitchen and just adore these glasses, they are just so pretty and would make water so much more interesting! 

And last but not least this rather gorgeous yet practical baking set! I love pastry, despite it being quite a fragile beast to work with, at the same time its so worth it! I am occasionally lazy and buy it ready made but I normally do try to make my own!
Rolling out the pastry to the right height can be a bit of a challenge, however with the Joseph Joseph rolling pin, it has these clever little bits that stick on the end to make this stage a doddle! To make your pastry that bit more special, the kit also comes with a silicon spatula for mixing up your filling, and a silicon pastry brush – perfect for lovingly glazing your finished product and both have a great little feature with a built in ledge to stop your mixture touching the work surfaces, a genius idea I think! Additionally the kit also contains a rather cute little pie timer to make sure your baked delights are cooked to perfection! A great little kit for any keen pastry maker! 

If you like the pastry set…the great news is that you could also win one! I am using a new toy called Rafflecopter to help collate entries, please e-mail me if any problems!

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Turkey, Root Vegetable & Barley Stew

When I originally made this stew I was full of cold and at the time all I weirdly wanted was to eat cheese. Blue cheese to precise (damn you heavenly Colston Basset Stilton that calls me from the fridge!). However I persevered and the stew was actually rather delicious, in that winter warming one pot way. 

The merest hint of lemon in it lifts it nicely without being at all lemony, in fact you would be hard pressed to know its in there. I really wanted fresh rosemary but had to make do with dried; however in a slow cook like this I think it has a nice flavour of all its own, especially as its fresh counterpart can be a little over powering in a medicinal sort of way I’ve found at times..

A few moons back I spotted ‘oatmeal’ in one of those weigh what you want places and purchased some on a whim, and this stew was it first outing. It did thicken the dish slightly and certainly added a little something I can’t place my finger on.. I think the idea of adding it stemmed back to when I was in hospital earlier this year, amongst some er interesting dishes I sort of ate was a surprisingly edible chicken and oatmeal casserole. Needless to say my turkey stew though is a little nicer on the palette ;-)

Despite only ‘cooking for one’ nowadays, I really can’t. It’s impossible. At the same time I think its more economical anyway to cook for the upcoming days (or for the freezer) plus I love leftovers so making extra is never a bad thing! It does freeze relatively well, just thaw gently and add a splash of water to loosen if needed. It doesn't look as pretty when its re-heated but it still tastes great!

This recipe was made using some of the lovely things that Knorr sent me recently from Forman and Fields, I really do rate their stock pots. The stew was full of flavour and I can't wait to make another batch! Perfect for these chilly winter nights! It also smells gorgeous when cooking which is never a bad thing!

Makes 3 portions.

1 knorr chicken stock pot dissolved in 750ml hot water
1 medium carrot, diced
1 large parsnip, diced
4 tbsp oatmeal
75g pearl barley, soaked in cold water (you may need extra stock if you skip this stage)
½ white onion finely chopped
½ lemon zested
Lots of black pepper, pinch of salt
1 heaped tsp dried rosemary
400g turkey thigh meat, diced small

Takes 1 hour

Fry the onion until slightly colouring, add a little drizzle of olive oil and the turkey, brown all over. Add the vegetables and barley, stir in the rosemary, oatmeal and stock. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the lemon zest, season well and simmer for a further 15-20 minutes or until the barley is tender.

Easy as that!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Banana, Caramel pecan and Date Ice cream

Winter doesn't usually conjour up dreams of ice cream but strangely this winter I've already got through two tubs, hmmm must be comfort eating!

I don’t often make icecream, infact I will admit now that I’ve never made ‘real’ icecream using eggs etc, preferring to use condensed milk and cream. Health conscious you see ;-) As it uses fresh banana you could even trick yourself into believing its one of your 5 day! And nuts are good for you to, full of essential stuff!

This recipe came about firstly after buying far too many bananas in the market some weeks back (I only managed to look at banana's again this week!), secondly being slightly addicted right now to dates and thirdly, the caramel pecans, well, erm not sure how they came about but I love them and thought that it would work well with the banana flavour! Oh and fourthly (is that a real word, looks wrong?!) I had bought some double cream that needed using up that day, so had whipped it up to go into the freezer but reserved some for this icecream, to make it extra indulgent!

You don’t (probably shouldn’t) eat this in huge quantities. Personally I would rather have a small amount of something indulgent rather than a large portion of something low fat anyway!

Oh and the recipes is in ounces as accidentally pressed the wrong button on the scales, sorry!

Makes 1 medium sized tub - about the size of a margarine container

3 bananas mashed
7 oz sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp ground cinnamon
4 dates, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes, then roughly shredded
4oz whipped double cream
1 heaped tbsp. margarine
1 heaped tbsp. dark muscovado sugar

Firstly, make the Caramel pecans: 
Melt together the sugar and margarine. Butter would have been excellent here, however I forgot to buy any and improvised with the Stork I use for baking with! Once its bubbling and looking a caramel colour, stir in the chopped pecans to coat, transfer to a sheet of non stick baking paper and try to separate them. Once cooled down and set, roughly chop.

banana and date icecream 3

Using a hand mixer, lightly whip the condensed milk with the cinnamon and mashed bananas with the cream for a couple of minutes to combine thoroughly. Fold in the double cream, caramel pecans and dates.

banana and date icecream 1

Transfer to a suitable container and place in freezer. After an hour or so, gently fork through to break up any ice crystals and then repeat this stage a couple of times for a couple of hours until its frozen.

Grab a spoon and dive in!
banana and date icecream 4
Sorry about horrific pictures! Oh and the chipped dish oops!

Friday, 2 December 2011

Christmas made easy with Knorr and Marco Pierre White

Christmas can be one of many things, from a relaxed affair with perhaps a glass or two of your favourite bubbly, to a frenzied mad rush! Following on from my recent post about cooking with Knorr, here are some exclusive tips I've hand picked for you from Marco Pierre White on how to make your Christmas cooking more enjoyable this year, along with my notes!

Shopping list
Organisation is the key to a stress-free Christmas. If you want to enjoy a bird or a large joint, make sure you order it in advance; don’t, whatever you do, leave it until the last minute. (been there, done that, have the turkey crown to feed an army t-shirt!)

Make a list of what you need to buy and be sure you get the shopping done in plenty of time. This is the time of year when supermarkets will run out of ingredients like brussel sprouts, fresh cranberries, chestnuts and double cream, so thinking ahead will really pay off. (I started my planning in early November and have already made my stuffing, Christmas pastries and par-boiled my sprouts!)

Kitchen kit
Being organised also pays off when it comes to the kitchen. Check you have a roasting tin large enough for your turkey or goose; this is the same for serving dishes and the cheese board. Don’t forget to stock up with plenty of kitchen foil and cling film. (This year I am cooking in my brother’s kitchen I.e. a small cupboard. I have invested in disposable foil dishes for ease!)

Christmas canapés
Get the meal off to a great start by serving a glass of fizz with a pre-dinner nibble. Smoked Salmon Pate and Stilton Pate are perfect this time of year and can be made in advance; serve them on crackers, mini oatcakes or home-made crostini. (I have been experimenting with Stilton – check out my next post for the results!)

Bread sauce
Home-made bread sauce really is the best; try Marco’s recipe and see for yourself. The trick to making bread sauce is the 3:1 ratio; three times the amount of milk to breadcrumbs. Simple to remember and you can make as much as you like.(I am going to try this one out this year, Christmas wouldn’t be the same without bread sauce!)

Above all, try to relax! Christmas should be enjoyable for everyone – delegate tasks to ease the burden and don’t try to over complicate your meal.

This year see's a big change for me as I have previously spent Christmases with my ex-partners family, being cooked for, but this year me and my brother are sharing the cooking - its going to prove interesting! My brother is very laid back, whereas I prefer military precision in planning...! 

We are also going for a slightly alternative Christmas dinner too, on the big day we are actually having a full mixed grill, however on Boxing day is going to be the full kit-n-kaboodle with the turkey and all the trimmings! I love turkey but didn't wanted to do two days exactly the same, also fitting things around work shifts means in theory this should all work perfectly...! What is everyone else planning this year?

With my Forman and Field/ Knorr goodies I have been working on some great Christmas recipes, which will coming up on the blog soon!

Winner of my Hotel Chocolat Giveaway..

Well the wait is over...and after a staggering 162 entries to sift through, and the help of number generator I am very pleased to announce that the winner of my Christmas Hotel Chocolat Giveaway is...lucky number 157 - 'Kev'

Kev - congratulations, I have dropped you an email!

Many thanks for all your entries!

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