Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Holiday Memories



Looking back over the Christmas season, it was definitely one of the best this ye.

It's the first year that G and have I spent together in our house on our own and the first time I've cooked a Christmas dinner.

Last year was a bit of a right off as G was so ill (he was signed off work for 2 months with whooping cough) and it meant that we couldn't really enjoy the season. This year, although G had to be on call so couldn't drink, we have really embraced the holidays.

We spent Christmas day on our own and then headed over to our friends for drinks, nibbles and games in the evening.  On Boxing day I headed over to my parents and G joined us on Friday night after work.

It was so fantastic to spend an extended time with my family and spend quality (shopping!) time with my mum!

I hope you all had the most fantastic holidays.








2013 Favourites


2013 has seen its fair share of ups and downs but some of my highlights of this year have been:

  • Appreciating the love from the women in my life at my HenDo
  • Marrying my gorgeous Fiance G on May 4th
  • Honeymooning in Florida
  • Gaining some fantastic friends, Harriet and Ellis
  • Learning how to make jam
  • Improving my pie making ability
  • Discovering nail transfers
  • Learning how to make paper pompoms
  • Discovering 'The Simple Things' Magazine
  • Learning to love red wine
  • Visiting Scotland for the first time
  • New borns and being asked to be God Parents
Stunning Wedding photography by Sara Reeve

Honeymooning on the Disney Boardwalk, Florida

Sunset nails for they fantastic sunny days this Summer

Tootsy - the new addition to Mum and Dads -
inherited from my fantastic uncle who we lost this year

Homemade Guacamole - How tasty you are!

Late Summer days hanging with Bean at the parents farm

Appreciating the taste of Scottish whiskey in Edinburgh in August

Favourite dress from Jojo Maman Bebe


Borough Market - Treating Bean to a weekend in London to Celebrate her 30th


Long days out with new friends


The new cafe that has opened around the corner from home - Marmalade










Sunday, 29 December 2013

Homemade Gifts


I am delighted that G and I have spent a lot of time in the kitchen this year honing our skills. 

This meant that we could make something homemade and special for our friends and family this year, while keeping cost down, but putting a lot of time into each and every one.

We have homemade jam, chutney and fudge this year.  We hope all out friends and family enjoyed their tasty treats.




Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Recipe: Christmas Cake - Stages 2 and 3



Stage 2 - Feeding the cake:

This stage of my Christmas cake making was pretty simple - feed your cake.  I made an alcohol free cake, not for any reason apart from the fact that I didn't have any brandy in the house and also loooove the flavour of earl grey.  

I dribbled a tablespoon of earl grey over the cake once a week for the 3 weeks prior to Christmas. 

Stage 2 done.

Stage 3 - Decorating the cake (the fun bit!):






I cheated with decorating the cake and have to admit that I made neither the Marzipan nor the Royal Icing.  I bought both from ASDA and am hoping (having never made a Christmas cake before)that these are as tasty as if I had made them. 

To get the marzipan to stick to the cake, and add an extra bit of Christmas flavour, heat a bit of marmalade mixed with water and brush this all over the cake.

I love the marzipan layer on an Xmas cake and have heard a good way to add a bit more is to cover the cake in a thin layer, but then add another disc of marzipan just to the top of the cake.

Once the marzipan is on it's time for the icing and making things look pretty.  I'm not a fan of royal icing so I rolled mine as thin as possible. 

A tip for the marzipan and Icing - once you have rolled it out, fold it over your rolling pin to lift it over the cake as this will prevent it from stretching too much as you lift it.

You can make your decorations as simple or extravagant as you want.  I went simple this year for my first year, with just thin icing snowflakes, glued into place with marmalade.

Christmas cake - Done!

Recipe: Christmas Cake - Stage 1





I followed this tasty looking recipe for my gorgeously tasty Christmas cake- the first I've ever made.

There are several stages to making the perfect Christmas Cake the cake, the feeding and the decorating.

I have never attempted a Christmas cake before but I thought if G and I were spending Christmas day at home together then, as my first year as a wife, I should make the effort this year.

Stage 1 - How I baked the cake:






Ingredients:



    • 150 grams currants
    • 350 grams raisins
    • 50 grams glace cherries
    • 200ml cold earl grey tea
    • 75 grams chopped pecans
    • 150 grams butter
    • 90 grams soft brown sugar
    • 1 orange grated
    • 150 grams plain flour
    • 75 grams ground almonds
    • 1/2tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/4tsp ground cloves
    • 1/4tsp ground ginger
    • eggs
    • tablespoon black treacle

    18cm round tin
    Temp 150C
    yield approx 12 slices


Method:

1. Place all of the dried fruit in the earl grey tea, stir and place  in the fridge over night.
2.Preheat oven to 150C and prepare tin.
3. Cream butter and sugar together then add orange zest.
4.Add eggs one at a time (adding tbsp if mixture starts to curdle) Beat in treacle.
5.Sift in dry ingredients, then mix this alternatively with the soaked fruit, into the creamed mixture. Fold in pecans.
6.Pour into prepared tin and bake in the oven, until a screwer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
7.Brush with more earl grey and wait until completely cold before turning out.


Monday, 23 December 2013

Santa Claus is coming to town


I'm a bit of a fan of Father Christmas decorations. I like the fact that there are so many interpretations of Santa, St Nicholas and papa noël and I love the ways that he can be portrayed.

As mentioned before I really like to stick to traditional decorations and not so much of the cartoon Santa fan really.  I am so in love with our new hanging Santa from cath kidston which we bought this year and my favorite decorations are the Father Christmas on top of our tree (no angels or stars here) and the standing Father Christmas that I bought G last year as one of his Xmas prezzies.

This year on our annual shopping trip for new decs we fell in love with the snowy, rustic Santa with the shovel.  We had to take him home so I decided to give him to G as an early Xmas prezzie this year.

They now sit either side of the tele and are treasured Christmas additions to the family.