Thursday, 22 December 2016

Festive wishes from me

Pics from Creative Commons...

No snow, so these pics are not recent. Happy Xmas!

Monday, 19 December 2016

Merry Xmas PLUS two festive recipes, 1 sweet, 1 savoury!

Ready, steady, bake!

This elf was helpful as I had to roast and shell
 lots of hazelnuts for this recipe. I paid him in kind
and the recipe's credit of course!
Hello, Thank you for sticking around as I have not posted
much this year. Lately I have been working four days a week and volunteering in the community on the 5th so it has been busy. My volunteering commitments included manning the blog for a community garden ( and its members' list, doing careers fairs for kids and teens (media and marketing), looking after Spanish and Italian newcomers for a University organisation ( and other bits and pieces (daughter's school, community talks, storytelling, etc). So my blogs have suffered. But I am off work now until January so here are two festive recipes to cheer us all up!

This is a festive treat for Santa and friends... the brownish top
 is not cinnamon but a dusting of mild chilly powder...

Festive bites & Elf on the Shelf's hazelnut brownies  

(Yes, he also wanted the recipe's credit, the little bugger)

Chocolatey & Nutty
O Come All Ye Faithful!

Festive Bites
I used the transparent cup from my breadmaker (see pic above, it's behind the blue bowl), a cup is about 4oz. Here we go...

2 cups of plain flour
1tbsp baking powder
2tsp mild child powder (extra for dusting if you wish)
2tsp mixed herbs
2tsp poppy seeds
1/2tsp salt
50g of butter
2tbsp olive oil
1 cup of grated cheddar (or more if you like)
1/4 cup of grated Parmesan (optional)
3/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to gas mark 6 (200 degrees). In a bowl mix flour, baking powder, chilli powder, herbs, seeds and salt. Add butter and oil. Mix with your fingers until you get the consistency of bread crumbs. Stir in cheese and milk.

Turn dough on floured surface (I use a big IKEA plastic tray as I dislike messy surfaces). Roll or pat your dough then use cookie cutters to make shapes. If the dough dries when you re-roll it, sprinkle a bit of water and knead it a bit. Or you can add a bit of oil if not sticky enough.

Place your shapes on a tray (I use baking paper on the tray). Bake until golden (about 13-15 minutes). Serve warm. Using a tea colander, dust your bites with mild chilli powder as it looks very festive... (bright red not brown as in my pic).

Hazelnut Brownies à la Elf
Still using the breadmaker's cup (washed of course) for measurements...

11/4 cups of plain flour (you can also use self-raising if you like)
1/2tsp salt
45g of butter (it won't hurt if it's 50g)
50g of good quality dark chocolate (more if you want it very chocolatey)
100g of marshmallows
3tbsp of good quality cocoa powder
2 cups of white sugar (or brown if you are pernicky)
1tbsp of vanilla extract
100g of hazelnuts (roasted, shelled and chopped - more if you want it very nutty!)
5 eggs

Preheat oven at gas 4 or 180 degrees. In a big bowl, mix flour and salt. In a decent pan (not the ones where stuff sticks) melt butter, chocolate and marshmallows, stirring so it's smooth. Remove pan from heat, stir in cocoa powder, sugar and vanilla. 

Beat the eggs well in a separate bowl. Add the chocolate and butter mixture to the flour mixture. Add the nuts. Stir in beaten eggs and combine. Spread the mixture in the baking tin (you can line it with baking paper if you like). Bake for 30 minutes and check with a toothpick. If you do not want any gooey inside, bake for further 10 minutes.

Happy Xmas everybody!