Terry’s Chocolate Orange brownies

SONY DSC

Happy Christmas Eve to one and all! The Christmas holidays are now in full swing – hurray! To say ‘Happy Christmas’ and thank you to our neighbours for being what feels like our own parcel receiving service, myself and Mr Birdie decided some brownies would be a thoughtful gift. Mr Birdie suggested making some brownies with Roses or Quality Street however I decided to veto this in favour of these chocolate orange brownies as to me a Terry’s Chocolate Orange is also very Christmassy. They were well received and will hopefully be enjoyed over the next few days. This is a Jane’s Patisserie recipe. I’ve been following her for quite a while on Twitter and Instagram and would highly recommend checking out her recipes as they look delicious!
Continue Reading…

Terry’s Chocolate Orange Cheesecake

IMG_20151225_140306

First of all apologies for the photos in this post. They were taken with my mobile phone as I was at home in North Devon without Mr Birdie’s DSLR and they’ve not turned out the best. Anyway, on with the recipe! To me a Terry’s chocolate orange says Christmas. The smell, the taste, the packaging make me think of this time of year. I made this as a dessert for Christmas day lunch. It’s a recipe from a blog called What Jessica Baked Next that I follow that you can find here. I saw it back it in November and mentally filed it away as a possible Christmas day dessert.
Continue Reading…

Christmas Yule Log

DSC_0479

This recipe was inspired by my dad who spotted a photo of a rather impressive yule log on Twitter and sent me the link to it. I’ve never made a yule log before so decided this was the year to give it a go. There are a whole host of recipes on the Internet but I decided to go for this Nigella recipe as it had good reviews.
Continue Reading…

Christmas shortbread

SONY DSC

Last weekend I had a bit of a Christmas baking bonanza making this Christmas shortbread and John Whaite’s Vienesse mince pies. The mince pies were a bit of a disaster as although they looked good before they went in the oven they certainly didn’t afterwards! They did taste good though. This shortbread however was much more of a success both in appearance and taste. It was very popular in the staffroom at work, and combines the Christmas flavours of mincemeat and cranberries as well as shortbread. This is a Jo Wheatley recipe that you can find on her blog Jo’s Blue Aga. I used the mincemeat I made on Stir-up Sunday.
Continue Reading…

Mulled red wine and chocolate cake

SONY DSC

This really is Christmas in a cake. Mulled wine, chocolate and a hint of spice combine together to make a delicious combination that is really lovely. It was my headteacher’s last week at school this week as she leaves us for pastures new. To help send her off we had an American supper on Wednesday evening and this was my contribution. This cake was very popular, even with people who weren’t big chocolate cake fans. The mascarpone topping combines perfectly with it and visually helps to create a snowy scene which you can decorate with some festive sprinkles. If like me you’re not a fan of traditional Christmas cake, this would make a great alternative and would be a good addition to any Christmas day tea. An added bonus is that if you’re short of time as Christmas approaches and want to get ahead it can be baked up to 2 days in advance and then stored in an airtight container and can also be iced the day before. The undecorated sponge can also be frozen. This is a Sainsbury’s magazine recipe which you can find online.
Continue Reading…

Chocolate gingerbread

SONY DSC

A couple of weeks ago I was in Sainsbury’s when I spotted a giant snowflake cookie cutter. It was only £4 and with Christmas fast approaching I thought it would be perfect for trying out some Christmas biscuits. If you’re looking to purchase one they are available via eBay and other cake related online shops. £4 is a bargain as they can sell for as much as £16! Gingerbread has become very popular at Christmas with gingerbread houses, men and various other Christmas related shapes gracing magazines and shops. I’ll be honest and say I’m not overly keen on ginger. I knew I needed a biscuit dough that I could roll out and cut to use my cookie cutter so had been investigating different spiced Christmas biscuits. I came across this BBC Good Food recipe for chocolate gingerbread and thought that the chocolate might help distract me from the taste of the ginger! The recipe is originally intended to make an advent calendar so makes a good quantity. I made 3 large snowflakes and also made some reindeer (also using a Sainsbury’s cookie cutter).
Continue Reading…

Mincemeat

SONY DSC

Yesterday was ‘Stir-up Sunday’. The last Sunday before Advent where traditionally, families gather together in the kitchen of their homes to mix and steam Christmas pudding. It’s also the day lots of people choose to make their Christmas cake. I’m not a fan of dark, fruit cakes so don’t make one however I have been investigating the possibility of making a ‘White’ Christmas cake this year although this will be nearer to Christmas. We spend Christmas day with our combined families at Mr Birdie’s family home so I’m lucky not to have to worry too much about catering for Christmas day which also means I don’t need to worry about making Christmas pudding. I didn’t want to miss out on ‘Stir-up’ Sunday so decided to have a go at making my own mincemeat. I decided to use Jo Wheatley’s recipe which you can find on her blog here. I used slightly different quantities which I found on another blog.
Continue Reading…

Christmas Is Coming Part 3 – Lemon and Cranberry Cookies

DSC09237


These were a BIG hit at work today. I have made them once before this time last year when they were very popular so I decided it was time to try them again. Although they are called cookies they are a cross between a cookie, a cake, a scone and a rock cake. They taste fresh , melt in your mouth and are perfect for this time of year. This is an American recipe from one of my favourite blogs ‘What’s Megan Making’. You can find the recipe here. As it’s an American recipe you will need some cups (or use a conversion website – I used one from the Delia Online website that you can find here). I made 15 cookies although I could have made them slightly smaller.
Continue Reading…

Toffee Pecan Roulade

DSC09216


Christmas is a time for catching up with your favourite people which is just what we did yesterday afternoon. We went for a pre-Christmas lunch at our friends Simon and Louisa’s yesterday and I offered to make dessert. After much trawling the Internet I decided upon a toffee pecan roulade. It’s a popular dessert at this time of year – if you Google it you will find all the major supermarkets offer their own version.This is a recipe by Ruth Clemens that you can find on her Pink Whisk website here.

I’ve only ever made a roulade once before (this chocolate and cranberry one) so I’m not really an expert. I was in a bit of a rush yesterday and didn’t have a big enough tin so it ended up as more of a flat rather than circular roulade. The meringue was also quite chewy – I don’t think I cooked it for long enough. It did taste good though – you can’t really go wrong with toffee and cream can you? I would definitely make this again and would highly recommend it for your Christmas festivities. A bonus is that it is also suitable for freezing.
Continue Reading…

Christmas Is Coming Part 2 – Triple Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

DSC09167


As promised another cranberry based cookie recipe. These cookies are packed full of Christmas flavour. Cinnamon – check. Cranberries – check. Chocolate – check. I made these last year and they were well received so decided to give them another go. The recipe is from the blog ‘What Megan’s Making’ which I am a fan of. You can find the recipe here. It is an American recipe so you will need some cups for measuring out the ingredients. It also gave me an opportunity to try out my new cookbook stand that I picked up in TK Maxx this week.
Continue Reading…