Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas recipes: Eggnog latté cupcakes

I don't know about you, but every year by around the tenth of December I've had enough of mince pies. I'm not a great fan of them in general, and since we're going to spend Christmas with family, I thought it would be nice to try and find a recipe for an alternative treat to take along with me for the celebrations.
After spending a blissfully happy afternoon browsing recipes online, I came across the following one on the Good Food website.
Anything that claims to taste like my favourite winter drink from Starbucks has to be worth a shot!

 These are incredibly simple to bake, make the entire house smell absolutely delicious (No need for any Yankee Christmas candles!), and if you've been doing any festive baking at all I'm sure you will have the majority of the ingredients already lurking in your kitchen cupboard.

I made two batches (we will not speak of the first, suffice to say I immediately left the house to buy a new baking tray) and after making the frosting, put them in the fridge for an hour to set before adding the finishing touch- a sprinkling of Dairy Milk with Oreo!

They do indeed taste just like eggnog lattés (and probably have just as many calories but who's counting eh?) and if you're looking for a last minute treat to bake that's a bit different to the norm, definitely give them a go!
Here's the recipe:

For the cupcakes

100 g unsalted butter, softened
240 g caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 medium eggs
100 ml milk
220 g plain flour, sifted, plus extra
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp ground cinnamon
60 g white chocolate, grated

For the frosting

100 g white chocolate
125 g unsalted butter
250 g icing sugar, sifted
2 tbsp double cream
1 tsp ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 180C/160C Fan/gas 4. Prepare a cupcake tray with 12 cupcake cases.

2. Cream the softened butter and caster sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the vanilla extract, then beat in the eggs one by one, adding a little flour at any sign of curdling. Pour in the milk and mix well.

3. Add the flour, baking powder, nutmeg and cinnamon. Mix until thoroughly combined.

4. Finally, add the chocolate to the batter and fold it through to distribute evenly. Fill prepared cupcake cases 2/3rds full with the batter.

5. Bake in the oven for 20-22 minutes until well risen and golden brown on top. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

6.Melt the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of hot water.

7. Cream together the butter, icing sugar and double cream.  Add the melted chocolate and mix well to combine.

8. Once completely cool, frost the top of the cupcakes using a small angled spatula or pipe if you prefer. Sprinkle the tops with whatever you have chosen for decoration!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Home for the Holidays

Jacket- Topshop
Martha jumper- Joules
Tartan mini Kilt- eBay
Boots- Topshop (old season)

Finally landed from my last flight of 2012 yesterday afternoon, and now I can start to really relax and get into the spirit of things. I don't own a Christmas jumper as such, so when I spotted the beautiful Martha jumper from Joules on a few blogs recently, I thought it was the ideal excuse to treat myself! The only trouble came when trying to decide which of the massively cute designs to pick- stag, fox, Daschund or Dalmatian?
As you can see I plumped for the dalmatian in the end, although I love this one so much I may well buy another in the sales..
I paired it with my new mini kilt which I picked up for a song on eBay (link above)- I think the two together have a festive spirit about them without being too cliched!

I spent a lovely afternoon with my husband and our flatmate going for our Christmas meal at our fabulous local, The Roe Deer pub.
 We're so lucky to have such a great place just down the road from us, the space has been so beautifully designed, the staff are amazingly friendly and the food they serve is simply delicious...
 We ordered one of their specialities- the Mega Platter, and gorged ourselves on wine, cheese, meats and bread until we could eat no more!
 They also have what any great pub does- a pub dog, Hendricks! (I think his official title should be Head of Customer Relations, as you can see he spent a good amount of time "checking everything was OK" with our meal..)
If you're ever in the Surrey area, I absolutely insist you pop in to sample a platter and give Hendricks the dog a chooch!

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Joules Hummingbird Dress

Dress, Joules
Scarf, Zara
Jacket, Primark

Every now and then, I see a dress I just HAVE to have. Normally this ends in tears when said dress is featured on one of the blogs I read, and is several seasons old (cue frantic eBay stalking for weeks on end) but on very rare occasions, such as this, the dress I covet is easily within my grasp.

I first saw it whilst perusing the Joules site after having seen a very cute animal intarsia jumper featured on a few blogs recently.
I'd never really heard of Joules before and didn't know much about the brand at all, so my eyes were on stalks when I saw this lovely dress.

Only thing is, it turns out you need to size down when ordering. This dress pretty much swamps me in my normal size, but as I couldn't wait to wear it and so gleefully ripped the tags off as soon as it arrived, I'm going to add some ribbon to the sides in a contrasting colour to cinch it in at he waist- I quite like things a bit baggy anyway.

I wore my new find on a date day to London at the weekend with my Husband, and felt nicely dressed up but still casual enough to not feel daft going for dinner at Byron!

Has anyone else recently discovered Joules?

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Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas recipes: Rice Crispy Wreaths

There's something about Christmas that makes me want to drag out all my recipe books and get creating, yet sometimes you just want to make something really simple, that requires absolutely no cooking and minimal effort.
I found the recipe for these festive wreaths over at Baking Mad and immediately knew they fit the bill.
They look so pretty, and you can basically bung whatever decorations you have lying around both in your kitchen cupboards and even left over in your Christmas decorations box to top them off with!
I must admit, I did buy the gold glitter spray especially for them though, I couldn't resist!


25 grams butter
2 tbsp Golden Syrup
150 grams chocolate of your choice, chopped
100 grams Rice Crispies

To make:

  • Place butter and syrup in a pan on a low heat and melt
  • Add the chocolate and stir together
  • Add the crispies and stir until completely coated
  • On a sheet of baking paper, arrange the mixture into circles
  • Leave to cool in the fridge for half an hour until hardened
  • Decorate as you fancy!

Have you been baking up a storm in preparation for Christmas? hat are some of your tried and tested recipes?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Feeling Festive

I'm not usually one to put the Christmas tree up so early on in December, but something about the freezing cold nip in the air, visiting German markets and winter wonderlands and the promise of the first mulled wine of the season, has really got me in the festive spirit this week!
When decorating your home for Christmas, I find it's all in the little traditions and rituals you have for yourselves- some of mine include burning appropriately scented Bath & Body Works candles (Spiced Apple Toddy being my favourite), listening to carols, and having lots of drinks and nibbles, in other words, making a real occasion of things!

Has anyone else got their tree up yet? What are some of your own Christmas traditions?