Archive of ‘Seasonal’ category

Cranberry Curd

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This curd has turned out to be one of the most delicious things I’ve ever made.  I keep trying to dream up what I can put it in to next.  It was originally born from having left over cranberries and SO MANY left over egg yolks from macaron making last week.  To me, all curds are delicious, particularly when they have a tart edge to them, so using cranberries seemed to be a perfect idea.  

This cranberry curd would make a delicious sponge cake filling, would work wonderfully paired with super sweet and crunchy meringue or even on a simple slice of toast.  This batch was made to be used as a filling for macarons at my next food fair but I will have lots more egg yolks coming my way so I foresee many more batches in my future.  It may even end up as Christmas presents!

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I suggested using it in our Christmas trifle, in place of raspberry jam between the trifle sponges….didn’t go down well!  A recipe tweak too far I believe!  Don’t mess with greatness.

The curd is sweet but has the tartness that you associate with cranberries.  My mum said the curd reminded her of rhubarb, which I agree with, it’s the acidity that does it.  You could definitely experiment with this curd too.  Add some zest or cook the cranberries with Christmas spices (such as cinnamon sticks and cloves)…experiment!  Let me know how you get on.

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Pumpkin Spice Latte Loaf

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Happy pumpkin week!  Or happy countdown to Hallowe’en week.  I hope everyone has plans to carve a pumpkin before Friday night.  I’m going round to a friends house for the festivities and have been instructed to bring a pre-carved pumpkin to go on display so I better get planning!  Not that I’m making it competitive or anything…

The theme for our Hallowe’en get together is witches so I’m going as Sabrina the Teenage Witch!  Cop out?  Maybe, but I just want to break out my 90’s choker and find a stuffed, talking cat.  There will also have to be some creepy baking on.  I had a lot of fun making edible blood for a Game of Thrones cake a couple of weeks go so I’ll need to work that in somehow.

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Anyway, back to todays offering.  Last week I showed you how to make your own pumpkin puree, well this week I’m going to show you what to do with it!  First up is a loaf cake which celebrates my absolute favourite (overpriced) caffinated beverage, the Starbucks PSL (pumpkin spice latte for those not in the know).

The loaf batter is lightly spiced and the pumpkin puree adds a subtle flavour and keeps the cake moist, much like banana in a banana loaf.  I wanted the coffee flavour to pack a solid punch so I mixed up a streusel mix with sugar spices and ground coffee which is layered throughout the loaf.  This looks pretty but also means you get a strong hit of spiced coffee flavour. (more…)

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Easter Egg Macarons

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Happy Sunday!  I hope everyone has had a lovely relaxing weekend so far.  My Saturday was unexpectedly full of my favourite things – family, friends and baking.  After an abrupt end to my working day I found myself at home with a free afternoon which was quickly filled with a family gathering, baking for the gathering and then dinner with friends.  So what started off a very bad day turned out to be pretty good.

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I’d been desperate to try out the speckled egg technique for ages, so when I found myself at a bit of a loose end yesterday it was the perfect opportunity, and now I can’t wait to speckle everything! (Some pastel coloured Easter cookies will be make this week, I think.)  Also I feel like I’m on a bit of a roll with macarons after last weeks success, and luckily my new found recipe didn’t let me down. (more…)

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12 Days of Christmas – Mince Pies

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Bringing you a quick and easy recipe today, because sometimes you need mince pies NOW!  I’m sure that’s not just me.

I had bought a jar or mincemeat to make an apple and mincemeat crumble, after one of my friends had it for dessert when we were out to dinner the other day, and I had some left over.  Also, whilst in the supermarket earlier in the day I was compelled to buy two packets of ready rolled puff pastry which was on special offer.  So it seems I was destined to make these mince pies.

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12 Days of Christmas – Homemade Vanilla Extract

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So Christmas is here in a big way.  I’ve spent the weekend doing some of my favourite thing about the festive period – spending time with friends, decorating trees, visiting a Christmas fair, making presents and, of course, baking.  I spent this weekend with a couple of friends and we had a wonderfully festive time buying and decorating a tree.  Despite my controlling ways threatening to dampen spirits (sometimes I just can’t help myself)  we were all pleased with the end result.

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Over the next few weeks I have a collection of twelve seasonal recipes and gift ideas for you to try out, hence the ever so clever title of this series ’12 Days of Christmas’.  These are mostly homemade foodie gifts but I’m also going to attempt my own cards this year.

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First up is DIY Vanilla Extract, a very simple but practical gift for any of your baker friends.  The most difficult part for me was purchasing the alcohol as a non-drinker – there is A LOT of choice out there when you don’t really know what you’re looking for!

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I got these cute little bottles and the vanilla pods on Amazon.  The alcohol is up to you, vodka, rum or bourbon would all work here, I chose dark rum because I wasn’t really sure what Bourbon was and the rum, which I know my family enjoy, was on offer! (more…)

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