Sunday, 22 November 2015

December 2014 & and a recipe not just for Chritsmas

The Christmas Wreath... very popular here in the UK. Walking around a neighbouring village, they where everywhere. I rather like this tradition, it is not something I know from back home. And I, usually, really go for it. There have been years when I had 3..... plus the obligatory Advent wreath indoors...

This year however I made so many (we sell at Christmas Fairs and do 'made to order') I never got round to doing one for us...

At work we ran Christmas Wreath Workshops and I was totally out of my compfort zone. You see, I am not very good at talking and standing in front of people. But sometimes coming out of your zone is not a bad thing... and in the end, I really really enjoyed doing them! It did help that we had lovely ladies and seeing them walk away with a beautiful wreath was just so much fun!

A little break before Christmas...

...took us up to North Norfolk again. Escaping the pre-Christmas stress was such a brilliant idea that this might become a yearly thing. First stop, as always, the beach.

We stayed at a little barn conversion in Langham.

Cannot do Norfolk without visiting Holkam Beach...

...or stopping for coffee at Stiffky

 As lovely as it is to be is even lovelier to come home....


...always find their way into my shopping basket in December. When I buy them I usually have no plans for them at all, just love having them. This year some went into our red cabbage and most into a delicious chocolate cake. And as I always buy too many, there are still some in the deep freeze... so I will make this again soon. We actually had it instead of Christmas Pudding (not  a fan) and then for the next few days too....soooo good!! Its like a giant chocolate brownie with a boozy cranberry filling.... Try it!!! (Recipe from the Waitrose Kitchen Magazine, December 2013)

  1. Preparation time:
    30 minutes plus cooling
  2. Cooking time:
    40 minutes
  1. Total time:
    1 hour 10 minutes 
Serves: 12
375g plain chocolate, (70% cocoa solids)
150g unsalted butter, softened
150g golden caster sugar
200g ground almonds
50g plain flour
3 tbsp cocoa powder
4 eggs, lightly beaten
170g low fat greek yogurt
2 tbsp of icing sugar, for dusting
Cranberry filling
300g cranberries
4 ½ tbsp caster sugar
5 tbsp crème de cassis
1 x ½ tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Start by making the cranberry filling. Stir the cranberries, caster sugar and crème de cassis over a medium heat until thick and jam-like. Add the vanilla extract and set aside to cool.
2. Meanwhile, break the chocolate into pieces and melt gently in a large bowl over a pan of simmering water. Set aside to cool.
3. Line the base of a 25cm loose-bottomed cake tin with greaseproof paper. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy, then beat in the remaining ingredients. Fold in the cooled melted chocolate. Tip half the batter into the tin, then top with the cranberry mixture, spreading it evenly and leaving a 3cm border. Top with the remaining batter and bake for 35-40 minutes until set. Leave to cool in the tin.
4. Serve warm or at room temperature. Remove the cake from the tin, dust with icing sugar and serve with double cream or vanilla ice cream, if liked.

And that was Deember...


Nicola x

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