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Showing posts from 2012

Cranberry, Pistachio and White Chocolate Cookies

What with the 'Merry Christmas' ribbon, I'm a little late with these, I know. I made them on Christmas Eve as a last minute bake. I thought they would be perfect as a little home-made gift for some friends. And as it happens, they taste really good. So ignore the ribbon. They are perfect at any time of year. The cranberries meld beautifully with the pistachios and white chocolate. I suppose, with their red, white and green vibe, they could be the perfect Welsh cookie for St David's Day. So maybe I'm in fact early? Cranberry, Pistachio and White Chocolate Cookies Ingredients (makes 16) 75g softened unsalted butter 75g golden caster sugar 75g soft light brown sugar 1 medium egg 1 tspn vanilla extract 175g plain flour 1/2 tspn baking powder 60g dried cranberries 60g pistachios, chopped 60g white chocolate chips Preheat the oven to 160 Fan / 180 Conventional / 350 F / Gas 4. Line a couple of baking trays with baking parchment (or ju

Blueberry Upside Down Cake

As much as I love typical Christmas fayre such as Turkey, Pudding and Mince Pies, pretty soon I reach saturation point. The richness of the usual festive treats seems to take its toll, and I feel sluggish. But there is still entertaining of family and friends to do. That won't really be over until after New Year's Eve. So there is still food to prepare and meals to organise. Although pudding wise, I may still want something warm and comforting, I feel the need for something simple. The sharpness of blueberries in this cake, combined with a simple, not too sweet cake batter, is just what I'm after. Warm from the oven, it's moist and soothing. With the barest drizzle of cream it's a perfect pudding. If you have last minute guests, it's also quick and easy to put together. If you have a bag of frozen blueberries stashed in the freezer, it's a no fuss dessert. With 40 minutes baking time, and a little prep time, it was on the table in less than

Merry Christmas 2012

Everything is prepared. The turkey is in the oven. The veg is bubbling away. The presents are wrapped and under the tree. It's time to take a little breather from all the hustle and bustle. All that remains is for me to wish you all a very Merry Christmas. I hope that wherever you are, whatever you are doing, you have a fantastic time. And thank you for your lovely support during the last 12 months. Best wishes, Susie x

Cranberry Meringue Pie

I absolutely love cranberries. I can guzzle dried ones by the handful as a snack. But you know what? They're a bit two-faced. The vibrant rosy cheeriness that hides that sharp pucker. I guess that's why they can work so well in baked goods. They can help to balance out all that sweetness. I've used dried cranberries in a number of recipes such as Cranberry and Pistachio Biscotti , Cranberry Shortbreads and Cranberry and White Chocolate Cookies. I've even been known to chuck a few handfuls into Chocolate Brownies. But I have never actually cooked fresh ones. So, I was looking forward to seeing the first of the season's fresh cranberries appearing in the shops, as I had bookmarked this recipe a while back and wanted to give it a go. This is a real knock-your-socks-off holiday treat. It's a brilliant alternative to the stodginess of Christmas pudding, and even the usual variation of lemon meringue pie. The cranberry curd filling is so light and

My First Birthday - and a Giveaway

Wow, it seems amazing to think that I hit 'publish' on my first blog post a year ago today! The year - and the baking that has accompanied it - has been incredible.   So many things I thought I would never get around to trying, but the blog has helped me to focus. I started the blog by making my first fruit cake  for Christmas, even if it was from one of those festive, Christmas Cake mixes. Many, many cupcakes, have been made, including these Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes which were my first experiment with fillings. I've baked my first batch of macarons , and made different kinds since, experimenting with different nuts. Pistachio Macaron with Dark Chocolate Ganache I've made a chocolate roulade . I've made  Red Velvet Cupcakes ,  Blue Velvet Cupcakes and a Red, White and Blue Cake for the Jubilee. I've made Sourdough Bread , with a little help from Dan Lepard. I've got my pastry mojo back, and even tried choux . Chocolat

Chocolate-glazed Gingercakes

It's Random Recipes time again, and for this month, Dom asked us to pull out any cookbooks we received for Christmas last year, and to randomly select a book, then a recipe. My little pile of books from last year were all baking related ... (I was deep in the throws of my US baking frenzy, too) ...   Mike randomly chose number 4, which was Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook , and the pages fell open at these Chocolate-glazed Gingercakes.     I wasn't sure what to make of this. The boys already felt a little overwhelmed by ginger recently, what with Gingerbread Cupcakes and my Gingerbread Cottage . And as much as I love the stuff, I was thinking that it wouldn't provide much variety for the blog. But, then again, there was the chocolate!   So in honour of one of the tenets of Random Recipes (ie no cheating), I pushed on. These little cakes are the result.     I did have a bit of trouble with the recipe. First as it's in US cups, and on

Manchego and Fig Jam Tostados

I'm a sucker for easy recipes - particularly when the finished product, sounds, looks and (more importantly perhaps) tastes impressive. So a few weeks back, when I was unexpectedly off work with a poorly Sam, and the TV had found it's usual home on Food Network, something called 'fig jam' caught my attention. Giada de Laurentis was making this concoction by simple simmering some figs - dried ones  - with some water, sugar and brandy. The mix was then pulverised in a processor with some toasted hazelnuts. I guess it's an Italian recipe, which Giada demonstrated by serving it as crostini, with a slice of Pecorino and a slice of apple. It's available from Food Network on line here . But when I made it, I used Calvados rather than ordinary brandy. I was also in a tapas frame of mind, so gave it a Spanish twist and served it with thin slices of Manchego. Although I also served thin slices of a Granny Smith's apple, I must admit I preferred it with