5 Recipes for Bonfire Night

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I love Bonfire Night!  Not just for the fireworks and sparklers, but for the food.  It’s THE night of the year for wrapping up warm, swigging a hot chocolate and stuffing your face with something sweet and fattening.  It’s my kind of night out.  So without further ado, here are five recipes that are perfect for cold and smoky November nights out (…or in!). 🙂

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1. Apple Pie Cake

I can’t stop raving about this apple cake – honestly, it’s just perfect!  Cinnamon-spiced apples and soft sponge due to the buttermilk.  Perfect warmed up with a bit of custard, or ice cream.  Yum!

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2. Gingerbread Hot Choc-tail

If you haven’t got a hot chocolate in your hand while you’re watching the fireworks, then you’re doing something wrong!  But this ain’t no ordinary hot chocolate – it’s hot choctail.  Definitely one just for the grownups with a pinch of ground ginger and a slug of amaretto.  Slurrrrrrrp, hic!  😉

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3. Leftover Pumpkin Traybake

Halloween is over!  But what did you do with all the leftover guts after carving your pumpkin?  Don’t throw them away, bake them into something sweet that’s worth scoffing while you watch those fireworks.  This easy tray bake made from spiced pumpkin goop is topped with a cream cheese frosting and sprinkled with toasted pumpkin seeds – absolutely nothing goes to waste with this recipe! 🙂

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4. Bonfire Night Doughnut Balls

Doughnuts are so easy to make!  (Almost too easy…)  And this bag of bombs rolled in cinnamon sugar are the perfect snack for scoffing outside in the cold – especially if you warm them up.  You can also roll your dough around a chocolate truffle if you fancy taking things to the next level and giving your doughnuts a molten chocolaty centre. 😉

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5. Mars Bar Brownies

This time of year all I want to do is curl up in a baggy hoodie and pjs and eat things that are warm and gooey and ideally full of chocolate and these brownies tick all those boxes.  No regrets!

Happy Bonfire Night everyone!  Stay warm and look after your pets 🙂

 

Cream Egg filled Donuts

I’ve had the idea of wrapping a ball of chocolate inside a donut for a while now.  I mean what could be better?  You wrap it inside the dough and then while you’re cooking the donut, the ball of chocolate inside slowly melts and… *sigh*  Anyway, the plan was originally to use a chocolate truffle, but then I had this bag of mini cream eggs bashing around the cupboard and had a brainwave.  I mean, I love cream eggs, but am I the only one who thinks the mini ones are a bit pointless?  Well, no more!  I’ve found the perfect use for them!

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Cream Egg filled Donuts (makes eight)

Ingredients

  • 75 ml of warm milk
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar (plus a couple more mixed with cinnamon for coating)
  • pinch of salt
  • 25 g melted butter
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 sachet of instant yeast
  • 150 g plain flour (plus a little extra for kneading)
  • 300 ml oil for frying
  • 1 pack of mini cream eggs
  1. If you’ve got a bread maker then throw all the ingredients in (flour on top, liquid on the bottom) and set to program 6 (or whatever the dough program is on your machine).  If not then you’ll have to mix the yeast with the milk and sugar and wait for it to form bubbles, then mix and knead in a bowl with the other ingredients.
  2. The dough will be sticky and hard to work with – but persevere!  Turn it out onto a surface with plenty of flour and knead until it’s more manageable.  Then separate into balls.  Unwrap your cream eggs and wrap each one inside each dough ball, making sure they’re sealed up.
  3. Pour the oil into a pan and heat it up (be careful!).  You’ll know it’s ready when you can drop a little bit of bread into it and it sizzles and crisps.  Turn down the heat – if it’s too hot then the balls will cook on the outside but not on the inside – and one by one drop the balls into the oil.
  4. Once golden, take them out, dry the oil off with a paper towel and then roll them in  plenty of cinnamon sugar.  Yum!  They’re best eaten while they’re still fresh and warm so you can bite in and enjoy the cream egg at its most gooey 😉

Happy Easter everyone! 🐰

10 DIY Foodie Gifts for Valentines Day

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“If music be the food of love, play on”, so famously wrote a certain Mr Shakespeare, and while music definitely has the power to shuffle my mood, food is capable of doing just as good a job.  So what better way of treating your favourite someone this Valentines Day (or Galentines Day!) than to cook up something sweet (or spicy!) for them?  So, if you’re like me and feel that food is the uh, food of love… then scroll on 😉

1. Chilli and Red Pepper Jam

Simple to make, these jars of spicy jam make great DIY presents all year round and are perfect with cheese, or even drizzled on sausages, burgers and even homemade chips.

2. Blood Orange Glazed Doughnuts

Blood Oranges are in season right now, and are perfect for making a very Valentines appropriate pink glaze for these mini ring doughnuts.

3. Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

You can’t go wrong with a fresh batch of cookies, especially when they’re crisp on the edge and gooey in the middle like these ones.  They’re flavoured with mint and chocolate, but the recipe is easily adapted for any filling you fancy!

4. Orange and Almond Loaf Cake

A perfect bring-along treat for Galentines Day, this simple almond loaf cake has a bright pink, blood orange glaze.

5. Marshmallow Teacake Cupcakes

Remember those chocolate and marshmallow tea cakes from when you were a kid?  Well here they are in cupcake form – only with the boring biscuit bit ditched in favour of cake!  What’s not to like?


6. Chocolate Orange Flavoured Welsh Cakes

If you’ve got any chocolate oranges hanging about in your cupboard (…is that even possible?), then why not chop up a few segments and put them in these heart shaped Welsh Cakes?

7. Praline and Chocolate Dipped Madeleines

Madeleines are normally flavoured with lemon, but these are a little bit fancier dipped in chocolate and hazelnut praline.  Easier than they look, they’re a great little treat to box up and gift to your favourite people.


8. Bakewell Tarts

Everyone loves a good tart (…steady now…) and Bakewell Tarts are one of my absolute faves.  This recipe makes two individual tarts that would be perfect as a dessert if you’re planning on cooking a special dinner on Valentines Day.

9. Brigadeiros (Easy Chocolate Truffles)

These are dangerously easy to make, and easily adapted too!  Just combine condensed milk, chocolate and butter in a pan and heat to combine.  Leave to cool then roll into these bite-sized balls.

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10. Lemon and Gin Blondies

I’m not sure whether it’s true that Blondes have more fun, but these bite sized lemon and gin-flavoured Blondies are a zesty alternative to Brownies. 🙂

Happy Valentines Day everyone! ♡

Dooooooooonuts

The toughest thing about making these ghoulish donuts was coming up with a name for them.  There are so many great spooky names for food this time of year (I still maintain that Cadburry’s Scream Eggs are even better than normal Cream Eggs), but when Sunny asked what the hell these were and I replied excitedly “Ghost-nuts!” (easy now…) I realised that it just wasn’t going to cut it.  I came up short and just settled on Doooooooooonuts instead.

Anyway, as I was saying, these mini donuts are easy peasy to make  – especially if you’ve got a bread maker at home – and would make a great little Halloween Party treat!  🙂


Dooooooooonuts (makes 9 mini donuts)

Ingredients

  • 125g strong white flour (and a little extra for dusting)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 20g caster sugar
  • 75ml of lukewarm water
  • 1 tsp of softened butter
  • Half a sachet of instant dried yeast
  • vegetable oil for frying (use a small, deep saucepan to save wasting too much!)
  • Black food colouring (I used one Dr Oetker gel tube)
  • Ready to roll white Royal Icing (you could probably make your own, but I wanted that smooth white finish for my ghosts)
  • Piped chocolate for the “eyes”
  1. If you’ve got a bread maker then you’re all sorted; put the water in first, then the dried ingredients and hit the dough program.  Easy!  If you’re a hand baker, then you’ll need to sift the dry ingredients into a bowl and then add the water, butter and yeast – gradually bringing the dough together.  Knead for 5 minutes, then cover with cling film and leave to prove somewhere warm.  Within about an hour the dough should have doubled in size.
  2. Knock back the dough and roll it out on a floured surface.  Use a cookie cutter to cut out your doughnut shape, and a smaller one to cut out the hole in the middle.
  3. Heat the oil in a deep pan on a medium-low heat.  You can use one of the doughnut holes to test whether it’s hot enough; if it puffs up quickly then you’re good to go.  Watch out though, due to the black food colouring it’ll be harder to tell whether your donuts are cooked so you’ll have to be extra vigilant when cooking them.
  4. With a spoon, dip each doughnut into the oil for about five minutes each – tipping  them over half way.  Dry them off on a plate with a paper towel and leave to cool.
  5. Use a large cutter to cut out the rolled icing, then place over each donut like a table cloth.  I used a piping nozzle to poke through each hole to create the “mouth”.
  6. Pipe on the eyes and then try not to laugh every time you offer someone a *spooky voice* doooooooooooonut.

Happy Halloween everyone!  (Calan Gaeaf Hapus!) 🎃

Ring Doughnuts with Blood Orange Glaze

In case you didn’t know, next week it’s St Dwynwen’s Day (25th of January) – our very own Welsh version of Valentines Day, where we exchange cards, flowers and love spoons – if we remember to!  And if we do, it’s kind of nice to quietly celebrate Valentines Day before everyone else jumps on the band wagon in February.

The story goes that Princess Dwynwen – the fairest of King Brychan Brycheiniog’s twenty four daughters – went and did what all fairytale princesses do best; she fell in love with a boy that her father didn’t approve of.  For whatever reason, Maelon Dafodrill just wasn’t marriage material.  Tamping to tears, Dwynwen ran off into the woods and begged God to make her forget he ever existed.  An angel appeared, turned Maelon into a block of ice, and offered to grant Dwynwen three wishes.  First, she wished that Maelon be thawed; second, she wished never to marry; and third, she asked God to grant the wishes of all true lovers.  So the story goes.

Anyway, Sunny (my bearded beloved, in case you didn’t know) knows all too well that my heart mostly wishes for doughnuts.  And luckily for me (but not so much for my waistline…) they’re so easy to make!  Once you’ve cracked the dough, anything’s possible, not to mention the fact that you’re suddenly everyone’s best friend.  🙂  Back in November I made a bag of doughnut holes for bonfire night, and – this time around – I made these miniature ring doughnuts.  Blood oranges are in season at the moment and the juice makes the perfect pink glaze – no food colouring necessary!

Ring Doughnuts with Blood Orange Glaze

Ingredients

  • 250g strong white flour (and a little extra for dusting)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 150ml of lukewarm water
  • 1 tsp of softened butter
  • 1 sachet of instant dried yeast
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 or 2 blood oranges (depending on the size and juicyness!)
  • powdered sugar (again, use your noddle and add whatever you need to make a thick glaze)
  1. If you’ve got a bread maker then you’re all sorted; put the water in first, then the dried ingredients and hit the dough program.  Easy!  If you’re a hand baker, then you’ll need to sift the dry ingredients into a bowl and then add the water, butter and yeast – gradually bringing the dough together.  Knead for 5 minutes, then cover with cling film and leave to prove somewhere warm.  Within about an hour the dough should have doubled in size.
  2. Knock back the dough and roll it out on a floured surface.  Use a cookie cutter to cut out your doughnut shape, and a smaller one to cut out the hole in the middle.
  3. Heat the oil in a deep pan.  You can use one of the doughnut holes to test whether it’s hot enough; if it goes golden brown (“texture like sun… la la”) in under two minutes then you’re good to go.
  4. With a spoon, dip each doughnut into the oil for about five minutes each – tipping  them over half way.  Dry them off on a plate with a paper towel and leave to cool.
  5. Make the glaze by mixing the blood orange juice and powdered sugar.  Drizzle over the cooled doughnuts.
  6. Diet?  What diet?  🙂

Happy St Dwynwen’s Day!