a baked snowman… a different kind!

HAPPY CHRISTMAS and BEST WISHES!

My daughter and a friend decided to do something therapeutic (de-stress from work) and fun for a change, and ended up going to Cafe Ceramique in Bahrain to do a bit of painting. Mr snowman was painted , glazed and then baked. They really enjoyed the whole experience while managing to de-stress and I ended up with this very happy looking snowman!

This very festive looking plate will come in handy for serving different kinds of olives or chocolates to nibble on!

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christmas pudding… last minute!

Christmas pudding is a must have on Christmas Day… even if it’s only a spoonful. Making  Christmas pudding is also part of the ritual of Christmas baking and one of my favourites. Some years ago I fell in love with round spherical moulds and now use them every year when making my Christmas puddings.  I’m not always on top of my Christmas baking and sometimes end up making the pudding a week or so before the big day, so this pudding recipe comes in handy.  I much prefer using butter instead of suet with my recipes as it produces a lighter pudding. Boiling the fruit beforehand means you don’t  have to leave the pudding mixture to sit overnight before steaming. So no worries if you haven’t made your pudding yet… !

christmas pudding

Last Minute Christmas Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 25g glace cherries, quartered
  • 75g pitted prunes, chopped
  • 50g dried  soft apricots, chopped
  • 75g raisins
  • 25g sultanas
  • 2 tablespoons brandy or port
  • zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • zest and juice of 1/2 orange
  • 50g butter
  • 50g light muscovado sugar
  • 15g blanched almonds, chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 small granny smith apple, peeled cored and grated
  • 45g self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 2 pinches of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 50g fresh white breadcrumbs

How to make:

Add the first 10 ingredients into a saucepan and  place over a gentle heat, stirring to melt the butter and dissolve the sugar. Bring the contents of the saucepan to a gentle simmer and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and leave to cool for about 15 minutes.

Stir in the almonds, egg and apple. Sift in the flour and spices. Add the nutmeg and breadcrumbs and thoroughly mix all the ingredients together.

Spoon the mixture into a buttered heatproof pudding bowl (600ml) and smooth the top. Cover with a large round circle of double thickness greaseproof paper with a pleat in the center and tie down with a string. Over wrap the top with some foil.

If you have a spherical pudding mould, follow the included instructions for preparation as there are different sizes, otherwise use the normal pudding bowl.

My favourite pudding mould for Christmas pudding.

Lower the pudding into  a large deep saucepan and pour in some boiling water from the kettle,  about 5cm up the side of the pudding bowl. Cover the saucepan with a tight-fitting lid and steam for three hours, make sure the water does not boil off during this time and top up with boiling water when necessary.

Note: This pudding can be served straight away after steaming or cooled and re-heated by steaming for an hour when needed. Double this recipe if you need a larger pudding.

Warm Christmas Pudding served with a dollop of fresh whipped cream and some Brandy Butter…roll on the 25th! 

This post is part of the Austrailan Festive Favourite blog hop!

Winter Spiced Latte

winter spiced latte

Now that the days have turned somewhat colder, warm comforting drinks like this winter spiced latte are on the menu. Make it a tall, grande or supremo. You can make a healthier version and use soya milk, also leave out the whipped cream topping… however when it comes to comforting drinks… the full monty please!

Winter Spiced Latte

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of milk or soya milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin spice (refer to previous post for recipe)
  • 1 teaspoon soft brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup espresso or strong coffee
  • whipped cream (optional)
  • pure maple syrup (optional)

How to make:

Pour the milk into a saucepan and heat to almost boiling, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract, pumpkin spice and soft brown sugar.

If you do not have an espresso machine make up some strong coffee instead.

Pour the espresso or strong coffee into a large mug and fill with the hot spiced milk. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and drizzle over some maple syrup.

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