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.
Around here the blackberries seem to have ripened earlier than they have in previous years. I’ve been picking on-and-off for the past couple of weeks while hubby and I go on our evening walks so I already have quite a lot of blackberries ready to use up in my autumn cooking. The theme for this week’s GBBO and The Great Blogger Bake Off if pastries so I decided that a blackberry tart would be a fun recipe to try out.
Rather than making a pie filling with the blackberries and loading it into a rough puff pastry case, I thought I would make a jam, which would then be spread onto the pastry like a big jam tart. Blackberries can release a lot of juice while cooking so I thought that this extra process was better than ending up with a soggy bottom! So here’s the recipe for the jam which I found on the BBC Good Food website:
Ingredients: 900g blackberries, 900g sugar, 1 and a half tablespoons of lemon juice, 50ml water
Bring the washed blackberries , lemon juice and water to the boil in a large pan and then simmer for 15 minutes. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved then bring back to the boil for around 10 minutes. Test with a jam thermometer that 105C has been reached, or to check whether your jam is done without a thermometer, drop a blog of jam onto a chilled saucer and wait for a minute before pushing your finger through it (be careful not to rush into this, it’s soooo hot!) . If the jam wrinkles, it’s ready! Allow to cool for 15 minutes before pouring into sterilised jars and sealing. It should make about 4 jam jars.
I used this jam to spread onto the rough puff pastry and here’s the recipe that I followed from Bero:
Ingredients: 225g plain flour, 150g lard and margarine diced and mixed, pinch of salt
Mix the flour and salt and stir in diced fat with a knife before mixing into a stiff dough with water. Roll out into a thin strip then fold into three. Turn it one quarter of the way round and roll out again before repeating the folding and rolling three times. Chill for 15 minutes then use to line a pastry case, like this tin that I got from Wholeport with a loose base to make it easier to get the pastry out. Spread I the jam onto the base and use leftover pastry to make a lattice over the top. Brush with egg yolk and bake in the oven at 180 degrees for around 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and crisp.
Serve with fresh blackberries and vanilla ice cream!
Loads more lovely bloggers are taking part in #TheGreatBloggerBakeOff so check out the hashtag via twitter and instagram to find more delicious recipes!
Now that Summer is here and the days are warm, sometimes you just don’t really fancy eating hot meals. I’ve certainly been eating a lot more salads over the past month and our meals are getting lighter as the summer progresses. One delicious dinner that we’ve already cooked up a handful of times this summer is the pasta tortilla. I love this meal because it includes my favourite ingredients (pasta and cheese, yum!) and is a little more substantial than an omelette (which doesn’t really go well with salad anyway) and can be cooked in advance and sliced up cold. This make it’s the perfect picnic snack as well as a yummy cook-ahead dinner when you’ve got guests visiting. In Spain it is cubed as served as tapas on cocktail sticks so it’s ideal for every occasion and certainly compliments a well-dressed salad for an al fresco meal in the sun. You can throw in any ingredients that you have to hand (maybe bacon and mushroom for a breakfast version?!) and can replace the pasta with sliced boiled potatoes. Here’s how I made my broccoli and cheese tortilla:
Ingredients: 6 medium eggs, 250g pasta, 1 onion, 1 leek, broccoli florets, mature cheddar, 100g cream cheese, 50ml milk, salt and pepper
First slice and sautee the onions, leeks and broccoli in a little Fry Light. Meanwhile cook the pasta according to instructions on the packet. Whisk together the eggs, milk, cream cheese and season the egg mixture with salt and pepper. Add all the ingredients into a large frying pan and pour the egg mixture over the pasta and veg. Cook on the hob for 5 minutes before grating the cheese over the top and placing under the grill to cook the top of the tortilla and melt the cheese. Remove from the frying pan and enjoy a big slice with salad or chill in the fridge and wrap up for a yummy packed lunch.
Let me know if you have a go at making this recipe and I hope you’ll share your photos of your tortilla with me on twitter @Cassiefairy.
Ever thought of putting your favourite recipes into a beautiful book you can give as a gift or pass down the generations? Blurb is a company that lets anyone create beautiful books from their favourite content, and get those books shipped in any quantity (even just one copy). I had a go at making my very own Pieday Friday cookbook last year and I was so pleased with the result. It only took me a few hours to design and edit (using recipes from the blog, of course!) and pretty soon I had an actual physical cookbook that I’ve written in my hands. I was very impressed with the quality of the printing considering it was a printing run of ONE, and I even purchased a PDF version to share with my blog readers. So if you’d like a free e-copy of my Pieday Friday recipe book please email me email@example.com and I will send you the PDF asap 🙂
The best way to get started? Holding off a bit. It’s tempting to want to dive right in, but thinking a bit and getting organized is worth it in the end. Make the most of your time by dividing each step into chunks so you can tackle them at different points in your book-making process. Not a designer? That’s ok, Blurb’s free BookSmart software is an easy route to great cookbook.
And here we go:
1. Organize: Gather your recipes and do a process of elimination. Once you’ve narrowed your favorites down, you can gather accompanying images—just make sure you’re giving the recipe and image files the same name to make it easier when it’s time to upload. Keep everything in one folder on your computer.
- Flow it: Next, determine how you want your cookbook story to flow. Do you want to sort your recipes by age, popularity, or even something else? Once you’ve determined the order, you’ll have done the bulk of your creative decision-making.
Get the tool: Download the free book-making tool, BookSmart, choose your book size (Standard Portrait and Standard Landscape are the most popular for cookbooks) and input your title and author name. Then choose “Cookbook” as your starting point—this will give you the best layouts for the job. Then pick a source for your images—from iPhoto, your computer, even Flickr or Picasa. Last, choose a theme. Now you’re ready to put together your cookbook.
- Lay it out: This is where the real book-making comes in. BookSmart will provide you with 20 pages in our standard recipe layout, but you’ll find plenty of alternate layouts in the “Choose page layout” panel on the upper left. You can also add additional pages—including photo pages—by clicking “Add Pages” in the top toolbar.
Just add copy: Our layouts provide space for stories, introductions, and those all-important ingredients and directions. Paste in your copy and you’re golden. Then garnish with photos. Remember to run BookSmart’s spell check feature.
- Preview and review: Click “Review book” and go through page by page. If you’re not a natural-born proofreader, ask a friend to take a second look.
Order: Make any last minute edits, click “Order,” and follow the prompts to checkout. Remember to order extra copies for friends and family—or sell it online to anyone through the Blurb Bookstore.
That’s it, you’re done. Give yourself a toast, a pat on the back, and a moment in the sun. Congratulations, you’re a published cookbook author! Here’s a sneaky peek inside my Pieday Friday cookbook and please let me know if you’d like a free e-book version of my recipes by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or leave me a comment below 🙂
Last week I shared my inspiration for creating a pink and red themed birthday party. I usually forget all about my birthday in the excitement of the run-up to Christmas, so this year I’ve made an effort to mark the occasion with a little party in my little vintage caravan. I’ve already shared my inspiration “moodboard” and now I’ve gathered together some party food ideas that go well with the colour theme. Please check out my “Parties” board on Pinterest for all the image credits and let me know if you have any other ideas for creating yummy party food for a pink and red themed party:
So I’m off to the shops to buy cherries, jam, cream and sprinkles! Next up is sorting out the decorations and having a go at creating them myself, I will share my DIY attempts with you soon 🙂
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