I thought I’d share round-up of my favourite festive recipes this Pieday Friday. The idea was to get you in the mood for all the Christmas baking to come but, in fact, I’ve actually started craving most of these recipes now, so I’m sure I’ll be whipping up some tasty this weekend! Below you’ll find links to my top twelve “12 days of Christmas” recipe blog posts, starting with these snowy dark chocolate cookies and cream-filled snowball meringues – enjoy! It wouldn’t be Christmas without gingerbread. Last year I made a gingerbread sleigh but the recipe can be used to make traditional gingerbread men or decorations to hang on your tree. You can find the classic gingerbread recipe in this blog post plus there’s a festive spiced banana muffin recipe in the gingerbread blog post too, bonus!Even though I first made this chocolate gingerbread recipe for halloween, it’s definitely going to be baked again in December. The chocolate makes a nice change to the traditional gingerbread biscuit recipe, and you could make a batch of both types for Christmas, mmm.
Summer is in full swing AND it’s the weekend, double wooo! To celebrate, I’m sharing a summery cocktail and spirit infusion and a quick DIY cocktail glass project. These have all been extracted from Mason Jar Nation by JoAnn Moser. This recipe wold be great for fruity summer cocktails or even for a birthday party so read on to find out how to make it…In honour of moonshiners of old and new, here’s a less volatile preparation that doesn’t require a still: pineapple-infused vodka. Complete the concoction with a Mason jar cocktail glass and a summery drink recipe using your homemade hooch, and you’ll be good to go.
Today’s recipe is a great one for adding a little bit of excitement to your party. If you’re planning a wedding, hen party, birthday or are even gathering together to celebrate the Queen’s 90th at a street party, this little fruity recipe would be a great addition to a glass of something bubbly. Whether you’re drinking soda, lemonade or a sparkling wine, these little cubes of fresh fruit add a little kick to any glass of fizz, turning it from a basic drink into something special for your big occasion. Read on find out how to make fruity cubes for your very own party and how you can WIN a case of sparkling wine from Premier Estates for yourself! Freezing pureed fruit into ice cubes is a simple enough idea, but it’s the fruity combinations that add the wow factor. Popping a couple of cubes into a champagne flute before topping up with fizz creates a cocktail-in-a-glass. The cubes bubble and roll around in the glass before gradually dissolving to turn your glass of wine into a bellini. It’s a no-fuss drink, with no need to pour measures of puree, so guests can easily add their own fruit flavouring to whatever they are drinking. Recipe 1 – Peach & apple. I used tinned peaches for this recipe because they are easy to blend but you can use very ripe fresh peaches if you prefer. I used half a tin, which made enough puree for at least 24 cubes, which is enough for 12 drinks, so you can adjust the quantities if needed. I drained away most of the syrup and added 100ml of apple juice instead. Blend into a pulp and then pour into an ice cube tray and freeze. Recipe 2 – Mixed berries & cranberry. For this recipe I defrosted a bowlful of frozen mixed berries but you can use fresh strawberries, blackberries, cranberries and raspberries for this recipe if you like. I added a sprinkling of sugar to sweeten slightly and then poured over 100m cranberry juice. Blitz the fruit and juice together before pouring into the ice cube tray and freezing. You can sieve the seeds out of the puree if you like, but I wanted to keep them in, so that the floating ice cubes would resemble berries themselves. Again, this made 24 ice cubes, enough for 12 drinks. Recipe 3 – Lime & mint. This is a flavour combination that would work best in a soda or lemonade (you can add vodka or whisky if you like) rather than a sparkling wine. In this instance, mix the juice of a whole lime into 100ml lemonade, and add a big handful of fresh mint leaves. Give it a quick blend to mash in the mint and then pour into the ice cube trays and freeze.
With Easter coming this weekend you may, like me, be planning a gathering of festive proportions. Yes, Easter is often the first opportunity that the family has of all getting together post-Christmas so I like to make a big deal out of the 4-day holiday and make something special to eat and drink. As you can probably guess from the title of the blog post, today’s I’ve mixed up a fruity (non-alcoholic, good for all the family) cocktail that’s just right for a enjoying with a Springtime gathering. Plus, I’m hosting a massive giveaway to win over £100 worth of crystal from Dartington Crystal (the lovely people that I got my jug and tumblers from) so that you can recreate this recipe at home. Read on to enter..!But first up, is my spring punch recipe. At this time of year I want something fresh, fruity, sparkling and a little bit chilled. Yes, I’m hoping for sunny days and hot weather over Easter weekend (however unlikely that may be) so I’ve stocked up with ice and frozen fruit for my fizzy fruity spring cocktail. Here’s what you’ll need to mix up the same recipe at home:
Ingredients: 1 carton of low sugar raspberry and cranberry juice, 1 litre of sugar free lemonade, a punnet of frozen mixed berries (the type you’d use in a smoothie or crumble filling), a squeeze of fresh lemon and lots of ice.
Get out your biggest jug – mine is from Dartington Crystal – and pack it full of ice and frozen fruit. Pour over the fruit juice and top up with as much lemonade as needed. Add a squeeze of lemon and stir the ingredients together. As the fruit defrosts into the drink it will release even more fruity flavours. Pour over ice in tumblers and add a cute paper straw, and perhaps some more fresh fruit.
My jug has one of those pinched lips so that the ice in the jug can’t plop into the glasses so it keeps splashes to a minimum. This is a bit of a godsend because I always spill. Whether I’m dealing with ice or tea, you can guarantee it’s going to end up all over the table. But not anymore with my new jug! By the way, if you’ve ended up with too much leftover punch, you can decant it into a bottle and drink another day.
Now here’s your chance to win a set of 4 Shine On Tumbler Glasses (worth £15) and a fantastic Large Cooler Ice Lip Jug (worth £89) from Dartington Crystal so that you too can enjoy a rather posh glass of punch this Spring. There are plenty of ways to enter the competition via the Rafflecopter widget below – simply share on social media and leave me some comments to earn as entries as you like. The winner will be picked at random once the giveaway closes and you’ll be sent your very set of crystal tumblers and stunning serving jug straight from the Dartington Crystal glass blowing works.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Competition open to UK residents only.
What better time to celebrate your best friends than on Galentine’s Day? Yes, that’s right, I said GALentine’s Day. If you’ve not heard of it yet, it’s simply putting a name to what we’ve all being doing for years; celebrating our friends. I’ve seen so many more Galentine’s-related treats being shared on Pinterest this year; in fact, I’ve hardly paid any attention to Valentine’s Day at all. Whether or not your pal is loved-up or single, I’m sure you have a wonderful friend who deserves a bit of extra love this February. I certainly welcome the chance to celebrate my girl friends and thank them for all the support they give me throughout the year. And what better way to show them you care, than by throwing a cute Galentine’s party? Today I wanted to share my ideas for a cosy hot chocolate party; a night in with your pals, scoffing all the naughty treats you usually resist during the rest of the year. I know I waffle on about eating healthily, but enjoying a little of what you fancy every now and again is just as important as eating the good-for-you things. Your Galentine’s Day get-together is the ideal time to indulge and provide some tasty treats for your favourite peeps. So here’s a couple of new hot chocolate flavours that I’m adding to my Galentine’s menu:
Salted caramel: Make up a steaming mug of hot chocolate and add a splash of caramel syrup. I had a set of 5 small syrups that I was given as a birthday gift a while ago, but you can buy a similar set at Amazon (such as these Monin Syrups for Coffee). Add one crunch of sea salt (don’t go crazy with the salt otherwise you’ll end up with a savoury hot chocolate). Next is the fun part; stir in chunks of caramel chocolate bar and let them melt for a really indulgent treat. Top with whipped cream, marshmallows and crumbled up flake. Mmm.
Cherry bakewell: There are two options for this hot chocolate flavour – saintly or boozy! Add a splash of vanilla syrup to a mug of hot chocolate and then decide whether you add a splash of amaretto-flavoured syrup or a shot of Disaronno! Stir it into the hot chocolate to get that really cherry-marzipan flavour before topping with cream, chocolate and cherries. If you have a bakewell tart hanging around you could crumble some of the cake onto the cream too. Yum!
How cute are these smiley mugs? I got them from Continue reading “Galentine’s Day party & flavoured hot chocolate recipes” »
Have you still got a cake tin full of Christmas cake or an uncooked Christmas pudding in your cupboard? I always end up eating leftovers well into January and can be pretty fed up with eating them by now! If you too have odds and ends of Christmas cake, mince pies or xmas pud lying around don’t just chuck them out because I’ve got something you can use them for: create a spirit infusion! Our local pub runs an infusion competition just before Christmas every year, where customers can submit their own alcohol infusions for tasting and judging at a fun event. The rules are simple; use an unadulterated shop-bought spirit as a base and infuse it with any flavours you like. A lot of fruit is used, some adventurous people add chocolate or nuts and this year my husband and I entered a Christmas cake infusion. Here’s how we did it: Continue reading “Pieday Friday Recipe: Christmas cake rum infusion” »
I know it’s pretty much the end of January already but I wanted to share the delicious smoothie recipes that I’ve been enjoying this month. These recipes have kick-started my healthier living plan and I will definitely be continuing to blitz up smoothies throughout the year – they are really filling and packed full of delicious fresh ingredients – so they are ideal for a healthy lifestyle. Today I’m sharing a couple of my favourites and I’ve linked to many more below, so please check them out for more smoothie inspiration too.So I’m starting off with my absolute favourite smoothie of all time – a Cherry Good Banana Smoothie. I got this delicious recipe card from Cherry good and I’m sharing it below, along with a recipe for a Triple-Berry Cherry Good Smoothie.Download the recipe PDF by following this link – Cherry Good Recipe Card – and keep it stored in your iBooks app ready for the next time you want to make a smoothie. My favourite recipe is as simple as pouring Cherry Good juice over a banana and blitzing up with milk and ice cubes. It makes the coolest, thickest smoothie ever and it is delicious! Continue reading “Smoothie recipes for a healthy start to the year” »
Over the past week I’ve been blogging about staying active during the winter months and I’ve shared healthy (ish) cocktail recipes using cherry juice. In contrast, I’ve also shared a recipe for a cinder toffee coffee cheesecake so for the purpose of this article we’ll just ignore that one..! Actually, I think I’ve got the balance right in terms of ‘good for you’ versus ‘a little of what you fancy’ and I’ve been thinking about how to keep this going throughout autumn/winter.
I find it easier to be healthy in the summer when the idea of salad for every meal IS enjoyable and there’s plenty of fresh veg growing in my garden. But when the nights get colder and darker, it’s easy to comfort eat on the sofa and load up on stodgy meals. It doesn’t have to be a cycle of unhealthy dinners and no-exercise – how about making a big batch of stew with fresh root vegetables instead? Just remember that portion sizes are key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle over Winter so try not to eat too many second helpings, no matter how delicious it is!
All these vegetables are great for a healthy lifestyle and I’m SO pleased to be able to harvest a courgette and be eating it as part of a healthy pasta meal only 30 minutes later. But what I’m worried about is the lack of protein in my diet, especially when I’m forgoing meat in favour of vegetables a lot of the time. I’ve been reading up on the benefits of protein and although I eat some chicken for lunch I’m certainly not eating enough protein for it to be beneficial. It is essential for making hormones, enzymes, and immune cells, so I want to be getting my fair share of protein in order to ward off illness during the Winter. The recommendation is that we have a steady intake of protein throughout the day because our bodies cannot store protein like we do carbohydrate and fat, but I can’t be eating chicken for every meal, can I?!
This is a round-about way of telling you that I’ve just tried out a new product that has recently appeared in the chiller section of my local supermarket. I’ve tried Upbeat, which is a sort of fruity milkshake yoghurt drink and it is delicious. It contains 20g of protein which is a decent amount to consume in a portion and I’ve been enjoying it at breakfast time in order to get some of these essential nutrients into my body first thing in the morning. This is a time of day that I know I won’t be getting much protein otherwise – I don’t really have time to cook eggs for breakfast and I prefer a low fat option – so it’s good to have that boost from a product that isn’t a challenge to drink. I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of those little probiotic drinks, so I was really pleased to find out that this product isn’t at all like that!
I’ve chatted to the people at Upbeat to tell them how pleased I was with their product and they have been kind enough to offer a prize bundle for one lucky Cassiefairy.com reader to win. This healthy-living kit includes a filter water bottle, insulated lunchbox, tote bag and plenty more vouchers and Upbeat goodies. If you fancy winning all of these treats, including vouchers for bottles of Upbeat to try for yourself, please enter by following @Cassiefairy on Twitter and retweeting this competition tweet.
The competition closes at midnight on Wednesday 22nd October and the winner will be contacted via Twitter.
At this time of year I really enjoy having nights in with my friends, watching cheesy Saturday-night TV and enjoying a good home-cooked meal. We also like to mix up the occasional cocktail and this week I tried out a new ingredient for our evening cocktails: cherry juice. When I picked up some cocktail ingredients at the supermarket, I came across Cherry Good and my mouth started watering! I was sure it would go nicely with the limes, lemons, juices and mixers in my trolley so when I got home I looked up drink recipes on their website and tried out a few.
The first recipe I tried was a cherry sour, because whisky sours is one of my favourite drinks ever and I wanted to know how it would compare if mixed up with cherry juice. Thankfully it was delicious and I tried a couple more of these cheeky cocktail recipes over the course of the weekend. Here they are, and I hope that you’ll enjoy them too:
Cherry Sour: 2 measures vodka, 6 measures cherry juice drink, 1 measure freshly squeezed lemon juice, 2 measures lemonade, garnish with a fresh cherry on a stick or a slice of lemon. Half fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour over vodka, Cherry Good and lemon juice. Shake to mix and chill. Pour into a tall glass with ice and top up with the lemonade.
Michigan Impossible 2 measures whisky, 4 measures Cherry Good juice, 1 measure freshly squeezed lime juice, 1 measure sugar syrup and optional 2 measures of lemonade to make a taller drink with ice. Half fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour over whisky, cherry juice, lime juice and sugar syrup. Shake to mix and chill. The lemonade is optional, to make a longer drink in a taller glass with ice. Sugar syrup is easy to make, by dissolving sugar into water (50/50) and heating it. Even simpler is pouring boiling water onto sugar and stirring, but make sure it’s cool before you use it!
Non-alcoholic cherry and honey: 200ml Cherry Good cherry juice drink, 100ml water, juice of half a lemon, 2 tablespoons honey, a pinch of salt (preferably unprocessed sea salt) Mix all the ingredients together, until the honey is dissolved. Add the salt last and adjust the amount to suit your own taste – not too salty.
These recipes are fast becoming my firm favourites and I will definitely be adding these to my Christmas party cocktail list too. Let me know if you give them a try and remember to drink responsibly! I also tried mixing up my own cocktail using the juice and here’s what I came up with:
Cherry Apple 1 measure apple schnapps, 2 measures Cherry Good, 2 measures apple juice. Fill a tall cocktail glass with crushed ice and pour in the ingredients and stir to mix.
Of course there are many more cocktails and mocktail recipes that you can find online and mix up so let me know if you find any other interesting recipes containing cherry juice. And if you’re interested in learning cocktail-making skills for yourself why not consider taking a course to develop your knowledge? Search for bartending courses from training providers such as CHT Melbourne and take the first step towards learning new skills and possibly creating a new career for yourself. Studying on a course is a great way to learn more about mixology and bar skills – plus you can meet new friends at the same time. Best of luck!