Category Archives: Recipes

Christmas Ginger Muffins


I’ve been making these muffins for the last two years at Christmas. I don’t like other Christmas spices but I loooove ginger. I’ve had a few requests for the recipe so here it is. It’s adapted from one by the Pink Whisk

Dry ingredients 

250g self-raising flour

4tsp ground ginger
120g soft light brown sugar (or half and half dark brown sugar and white caster sugar)

2-3 tbsp of stem ginger in syrup chopped into very small pieces (buy it in a jar or make your own). Reserve the syrup for later.

Wet Ingredients 

100g butter, melted 

2 eggs, beaten

180ml milk 

2 tbsp golden syrup or black treacle (or 1 tbsp of each) 

1 tbsp syrup from the jar of stem ginger

To Finish

Syrup from the jar of stem ginger (optional) 

150g icing sugar, sifted

Juice of half a lemon 
Note

You don’t need to be terribly precise about the measurements. 

Method 

Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 6 / 200 C.

Melt the butter and leave to cool. 

Sift the flour and ground ginger together, then mix in the rest of the dry ingredients and the stem ginger.

Mix the melted butter together with the other wet ingredients. 

Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix by hand, or slowly with an electric mixer. The ingredients should be only just combined. 

Scrape the mixture evenly into 12 muffin cases. 

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the tops are risen, golden and springy to the touch. The colour will vary depending on the ingredients used.

If you can spare any ginger syrup, inject a small amount into the centre of each muffin. (Children’s medicine syringes are great for this).

Sift the icing sugar, and gradually add and mix in a teaspoon of lemon juice at a time until you get a spreadable consistency. Spoon some icing on top each muffin and spread with the back of the spoon. 

Enjoy these with a cup of tea for ‘second breakfast’ (a favourite Christmas holidays tradition).

Cookies n’ Cream Crispies

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Very more-ish white chocolate and Oreo Rice Krispie squares. No-bake and simple to make. You don’t need to be very exact with the measurements.

Ingredients

  • 400g Marshmallows
  • 50g Butter
  • 200g White Chocolate
  • 250g Rice Krispies
  • 20 Oreos (approx 1.5 packs)

Method

  • Break the Oreos into small pieces.

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  • Melt the marshmallows and butter in a bowl set over hot water or at intervals in the microwave.
  • IMG_2054Stir until smooth (tip – grease your spoon with butter to help).

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  • Stir in the Rice Krispies and 2/3 of the Oreos (keep the rest for the topping).

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  • Spread the mixture into a greased rectangular dish (mine is 21cmx28cm) using a large spoon or spatula. (another tip – let it cool for a minute to make it easier to spread around)
  • Melt the white chocolate in a bowl set over hot water or at intervals in the microwave.
  • Pour 3/4 of the white chocolate on top of the Rice Krispie mixture and spread it using the back of a spoon or a spatula.
  • IMG_2058Sprinkle the remaining Oreos on top.
  • Lastly, drizzle the rest of the white chocolate over the oreos. You can put it in a sandwich bag with the corner cut off; or you can be a bit lazy like me and just use a spoon. ūüôā

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  • Chill in the fridge, then slice and enjoy!

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Jen’s Buns

This is a simple recipe for all-in-one buns that I got from my friend Jen. She got it from her Mam, (who does not like buns being called cupcakes!) and the recipe has changed a few times along the way!

Ingredients
150g butter (softened)
3/4 cup caster sugar (170g)
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1.5 cups flour (210g)
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/4 cup milk (60ml)

Method
Cream the butter and sugar together.
Add in the eggs and vanilla and beat well.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into another bowl. Add half of this into the first bowl and gently combine. Add half the milk and gently combine. Repeat with the rest of the flour mix & milk.

You can also take the lazy route and bung all the ingredients into a food processor or blender and whizz until combined.

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Fill bun cases to 3/4 full (12 large muffin-sized ones or 18 fairy cake size).
Bake for 5 mins at Gas mark 7 / 220 Deg C. then reduce the temperature to Gas mark 5 / 190 Deg C and bake until golden on top and spongy to the touch (another 15 mins for large buns, 10 mins for small).

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The last time I made these I made a hole in each (cooled) bun with a cupcake plunger and filled the hole with raspberry jam before topping with buttercream. Delicious! ¬†(If you don’t have a cupcake plunger, you can use an apple corer or a teaspoon).

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Do give these a try, and leave a comment below when you do!

Dee x

Chocolate Biscuit Christmas Pudding

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I don’t like dried fruit, or Christmas spices, therefore I don’t like Christmas pudding. My husband makes it every year and the smell of it makes me gag! Well if you’re anything like me, you’ll like this alternative Christmas Pudding, made from Chocolate Biscuit Cake. This has proven very popular this year! Here’s a rough guide on how to make one.

 

You will need:

Mixing Bowl

  • Spoon
  • 2 pint pudding bowl
  • Rolling Pin
  • Sharp Knife
  • Holly cutters (optional)
  • small paintbrush

Ingredients – Pudding

  • 375g biscuits, all digestive or a mixture of a few types
  • 225g milk chocolate 
  • 225g dark chocolate (break the chocolate into squares) 
  • 150g butter (chopped into small cubes)
  • 225g golden syrup
  • 100g marshmallows/rolos/malteasers or whatever

 

Ingredients – Decoration

  • Ready-to-roll icing in white (250g), green and red.
  • Icing sugar or cornflour to dust
  • Edible glue, water or clear alcohol (vodka)

 

Method

  1. Grease the pudding bowl well with butter. (This really helps the pudding to come out of the bowl easily when set).
  2. Break half the biscuits into small pieces. Make the other half into fine crumbs using a blender or put them in a sandwich bag and bash with a rolling pin.
  3. Melt the chocolate, butter and golden syrup together.  Do this slowly over a saucepan of hot water, or at intervals in the microwave. Stir it lots and remove it from the heat before it’s fully melted and keep stirring until it’s smooth. 
  4. If you want your pudding to have a nice shiny appearance, spread a little of this mixture around the inside of the pudding bowl. You can also reserve a little of it to make the top of the pudding smooth (which will be the bottom!)
  5. Mix the melted mixture with all the bicsuits. Don’t add your chosen extra ingredient yet.
  6. Pour 1/3 of the mixture into the greased pudding bowl and push down well with a spoon or potato masher. Bang the bowl on the counter to ensure there are no holes in the sides of the pudding. 
  7. Place half of your malteasers etc on top of this mixture, evenly spaced. 
  8. Repeat Steps 6 &7 until the bowl is almost full. 
  9.  If you reserved any of the chocolate/butter/syrup mix, pour it on the top now.
  10. Put it in the fridge to set overnight. If the pudding will not come out easily, pour some warm water over the outside of the bowl.

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Decoration

  1. Dust your worksurface with icing sugar or cornflour and roll out the white icing to your desired thickness.
  2. There are two ways to do the white icing; flat, or on the bowl.
  • For the flat method, you can make a template from a piece of card to help. Put the template on top of the icing and cut around it using a roller cutter or sharp knife. Lay the cut icing on top of your pudding and smooth it down using your hands.

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  • For the bowl method, dust the outside of your pudding bowl with icing sugar or cornflour. Lay the uncut icing on top of the bowl, and smooth it down using your hands. Using a roller cutter or sharp knife, cut out your desired design. Lay the cut icing on top of your pudding and smooth it down using your hands.

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3. For the Holly, you also have options. You can use plunger cutters (pictured below), which are handy because they are easy to use and do the veining on the leaves for you. I found them a little too small for a 2 pint pudding, so I used a holly cookie cutter instead. I did the veining on each leaf with a vening tool, but you can use a sharp knife either. The third option is to cut it by hand. I would advise making a template from card first, so that all your leaves are the same size.

 

 

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Roll out your green icing and cut your holly leaves using your preferred method. Attach them to the pudding with some edible glue, a tiny bit of water or clear alcohol.

This photo shows leaves made with a cookie cutter and a veining tool.20121222-215125.jpg

 

 

This photo shows holly leaves cut with a plunger. I put them on a smaller pudding.20121222-215131.jpg

 

4. Roll some holly berry balls using the red icing. Attach them to the holly leaves as before. Et voila! Chocolate Biscuit Christmas Pudding! Slice and enjoy!

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PS. This will keep for a few weeks (if it lasts that long).

PPS. Individual puddings make great gifts. I used yogurt cartons and baby food bowls instead of pudding bowls. Wrap them up with some cellophane and Christmas ribbon.

PPPS. I also make a mint version of this. Use some mint flavored dark chocolate and some mint aero bubbles, after eights (frozen), mint matchsticks and/or viscount biscuits in place of the malteasers. 

 

– Dee x

 

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Versatile Lemon Cake

This recipe is from Nigella Lawson’s book, ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’. She calls it ‘Lemon Loaf’, and combines it with a sweet, sticky lemon syrup. I have also used it for cupcakes and as a sandwich sponge.

Ingredients
125g softened butter
175g caster sugar (3/4 cup)
2 large eggs
zest of 1 lemon
175g self raising flour (1.5 cups)
pinch salt
60ml milk (4 tblsp)

Preheat oven to 180degC / Gas mark 4.

Method
Cream the butter and sugar together.
Beat in the eggs and lemon zest.
Fold in the flour and salt, and then the milk.
Bake until risen and golden. (Or for the time specified below, depending on what size tins you are using.)

Lemon Loaf
Bake for 45 minutes (a cocktail stick inserted in the centre should come out clean).
While its baking, make a syrup by heating the juice of 1 lemon and 100g icing sugar until the sugar dissolves.
As soon as it’s out of the oven, prick holes all over the top using a skewer. Pour over the syrup. Allow to cool completely before removing from the tin.

Lemon Cupcakes
Divide the mixture between 12 cupcake cases and bake for 20 minutes (they should be risen and golden). You can put lemon curd in the middle if you want; make a hole in the centre of the cupcake using an apple corer or cupcake plunger and fill with curd.
Top with piped buttercream and some white chocolate buttons or cigarillos or candied peel.

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Sandwich Sponge
Divide the mixture between 2x 6inch sandwich tins and bake for 25 minutes. If you want to make an 8inch sandwich, use 1.5 times the recipe.
When cooled, sandwich with lemon curd and top with buttercream.

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This slice of lemon sandwich has been topped with some white chocolate shavings.

Decorating with jellytots makes this into an easy birthday cake!

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Enjoy!

Nappy Cake Tutorial!

Nappy cakes are a great gift for a baby shower or new baby. ¬†They’re both novelty and useful. ¬†Inexpensive to make aswell; they just take a little time.

Ingredients

  • Approximately 48 nappies
  • 2.5 metres of wide ribbon (5cm) in blue, pink or yellow.
  • 2.5 metres of wool or string
  • Card toppers or embellishments (I used a decoupage kit from Cardznscrapz)
  • Double sided tape and Sticky foam pads (you can get them from cardznscrapz aswell)
  • Bamboo kebab sticks or knitting needles.
  • Cake board or thick card and pretty paper to cover it.

Method

Start with the bottom tier.  For the bottom tier I used 22 size 2 nappies for the middle tier I used 16 size 1 nappies, and for the top tier I used 8 size  nappies.

It’s hard to explain how to ‘mould’ them into the cake shape but I took some photos at different stages to show how I did it.

Imagine a clock face and put a quarter of your nappies (for that tier) pointing at 12, 3, 6 and 9.  The open part of the nappy should be at the centre, and the folded part on the outside.

Carefully move the nappies into a fuller circle, keeping it as tight as you can.

Wrap some string or wool around the nappies, pull it tight and tie a knot. ¬†Don’t worry if it doesn’t look perfect you can adjust the nappies afterwards.

Wrap some ribbon around the nappies, making sure to cover the string.  Secure with a piece of double-sided tape.  Fold over the end to give a neat edge.

Repeat for the other two tiers.  Stack the tiers on top of each other and use some knitting needles or bamboo kebab sticks to secure them.

I used a piece from a cardboard cupcake stand to put the nappy cake on.  You could use a cake board or cover a piece of cardboard with some wrapping paper either.

Cut out your embellishments and attach them using sticky foam pads.  Et voila!  A great gift at a great price!

This nappy cake has some ‘Boofle’ embellishments from Do Crafts.

Big Chewy Cookies

I love the big chewy chocolate chip cookies from Marks & Spencer, and I tried many recipes until I found one that produced the right results. ¬†These cookies, as the name suggests, are big, and have a lovely soft, chewy centre. ¬†It’s all in the timing; when you take them out of the oven they should look like they’re not ready yet. ¬†They continue to harden as they cool. (They’re even more delicious straight out of the oven though, especially with a scoop of icecream.)

These are definitely a favourite in my house; my husband often asks me to make them so he can bring them to work to have with his morning coffee. ūüôā


Recipe

Makes 16 large cookies

Ingredients

  • 250g plain flour (2 cups)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 170g melted butter (3/4 cup)
  • 100g white sugar (1/2 cup)
  • 220g packed brown sugar (1 cup)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 egg & 1 egg yolk
  • 335g chocolate chips (2 cups) (white chocolate buttons are nice in these.)

Method

  • Preheat oven to 165 deg C / Gas mark 3
  • Sift together the flour, soda & salt.
  • Cream the melted butter together with the white & brown sugars. ¬†Beat in the vanilla and eggs until light and creamy.
  • Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended.
  • Stir in the chocolate chips by hand.
  • Flour your hands and baking trays.
  • Make balls using the dough and place on the baking tray. ¬†Make sure to leave plenty of space between balls as they will spread during cooking.
  • Bake for 15-18 minutes; until the EDGES are lightly toasted. ¬†The centre will still be soft.
  • Boil the kettle and enjoy a cookie with a cuppa.