Best of the Decade: Beauty and Skincare

…and all the products I’m taking into the next
Best of the Decade: Beauty and Skincare - The Cardiff Cwtch

Tell you what, I couldn’t quite get my head around how long a decade is or what that the passage of that chunk of time actually feels like until I sat down to write this post. Just looking at the contents of my makeup bag now compared to what they looked like ten years ago really drummed home just how much time has passed, and how much my habits have changed during it. How much I’ve changed! Or haven’t, in some case. You know me, I rarely dish out blog posts about beauty and skincare for the very simple reason that I don’t really shake up my stash all that often; I’d make for a very boring beauty blogger because I stick with the same tried and true products year in, year out – which may be the case now, but it definitely wasn’t ten years ago.

At the start of the decade I was 24 and had just moved to London with my then boyfriend, now husband. I was still clinging desperately on to my long (very split-ended) hair, had finally surfaced out of those horrendous teen acne years, and – seeing as I was finally in a steady job – found that I had a little bit more money to finally dip my toes into high end beauty rather than just cheap out down the Number 17 aisle (sorry Boots!). The problem was, I had absolutely no clue what was right for my skin or my hair – and as for makeup? Well, let’s just say that my forays into that were experimental at best. When I think about how much I spent on poorly-thought out beauty purchases during those ten years, I honestly want to weep. I crammed the tiny bathroom cupboard in my tiny London flat full of products that I very rarely repurchased or even finished. Yeesh.

So, heading into the next decade the biggest lesson I’m taking with me is that I really don’t need a lot of products. I have my favourites that work, and I’ll stick with them until they don’t work. Some of those favourites are high end, and some are drug store and that’s absolutely fine with me – the truth is that there are some products I feel that I need to or am willing to spend a little bit more on, and then there are some that I can totally cheap out on and then enjoy more takeaways as a result. πŸ™‚

…Oh, and I need to drink more water. Lots of water.

Best Makeup Products of the decade - The Cardiff Cwtch

Makeup

The biggest change when it comes to slap over the past ten years is that I’ve gone from a massive tub of makeup, to one tiny makeup bag. It’s brilliant! Streamlining my kit means no more rummaging first thing in the morning, and less waste. It does also mean that I’m incredibly selective now about which products make it into that kit – and I’m willing to spend a little bit more on the ones I can’t live without like foundation, eyeliner, lipstick and eye shadow. I don’t tend to do a lot with my face these days – I go with pretty much the same look every day (dewy base and contour, eye shadow, winged liner, mascara, eyebrows, done!) and so I’ve managed to really streamline my makeup bag – especially over the past couple of years.

IT Cosmetics CC Cream

I could never seem to make up my mind when it came to foundations. In 2010 I’d just stepped into my twenties and out of my late teen acne phase and was very nervous about picking the right foundation for my skin. I tried so many – Benefit’s You Rebel (sadly, no longer with us – RIP) was my go-to for a while (I LOVED the scent of it, but its coverage was weak sauce), as was Bobbi Brown’s BB Cream – until Bourjois introduced their Healthy Mix Foundation. It was cheap, it smelled great and worked like magic on my sensitive, slightly red skin. I still love it, and still tend to use it on days where I don’t feel like I need a full face of makeup. But there’s a tragic end to this tale because in case you haven’t heard, Bourjois are actually pulling out of the UK market which seems absolutely crazy; it’s been my and many others’ favourite drugstore brand for a long, long time (I remember saving up to buy one their mascaras when I was 13!). Luckily for me, earlier this year I finally got my hands on the IT Cosmetics CC Cream and it’s a winner; the fair shade is a brilliant colour match to my skin, it evens out any redness, and the included Factor 50 SPF is definitely not to be sniffed at. Good shiz.

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Eyeliner

If there’s one thing that hasn’t changed about my face in the past ten years (other than the hairline wrinkles) it’s my winged liner – but it’s absolutely mad to think that I started the decade in a totally monogamous relationship with Bourjois’ Ultra Black Clubbing Liner. I’m amazed, they actually still make it! It was cheap, it survived a day of work with only minor fading (and plenty a night out) and even though you needed a very steady hand to apply it using that ultra fine, tiny brush, as far as I was concerned, there was no other liner in my life.

Then one day the romance just dried up, for no other reason than I had little bit more money in my pocket and fancied a change. I think it may have ultimately been something to do with the brush; I realised that it was taking too long to layer up in the morning before work, which meant that it could take a bit longer to dry (if I had a quid for all the mornings that poorly-timed sneeze ruined the whole job…). So I decided to give felt liners a go and – after hearing good things about Stila’s Stay All Day Liner– I haven’t used anything else since. It’s the one (for now, at least) – the formula’s great; it’s ultra black, sticks all day (it can even hold up through a Marley and Me tear test finale) and dries quickly. The fine felt tip not only minimizes the amount of product being used (every pen I’ve had seems to last forever), but it also holds its shape for months (no limp tips here πŸ˜‰ ) – which is so important when it comes to getting a good, clean flick.

Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base

No surprises here; I started off the decade utterly clueless when it came to primers. I was also very skeptical of layering up products under my makeup having spent most of the previous decade suffering from severe acne. But, I did dabble and try a few when my skin stopped being a nightmare. I was a big fan of Benefit’s Dr Feelgood for a while (and it’s still bashing around, blimey!) – but I really didn’t enjoy the pad applicator. Then – tipped off by a friend with beautiful skin – I moved on to Clarins’ Beauty Flash Balm for a few years… until I decided – sadly – that it was far too small a tube, for far too much hard-earned cash.

I quit primers for a while after that, and then earlier this year I went to a Beauty Masterclass with Bobbi Brown and tried their Vitamin Enriched Face Base. Oh boy, this stuff’s good. A very pricey pot of perfection, but perfection none the less – and a small pea sized blob goes a very long way. It’s got a light, grapefruit scent and a moose-like texture that smooths onto the skin like a dream. Packed with Vitamin C and Shea Butter, it’s moisturizing but soaks in quickly and creates the perfect, smooth and healthy base. I absolutely love it, and my skin seems to love it too – it always seems to be better behaved when I treat it to a splodge of the stuff.

Best skincare products of the decade - The Cardiff Cwtch

Skincare

My current skincare list is a total mash-up of the best of both high-end and drug-store beauty – a mash-up of my former and current self. As I’ve already mentioned I suffered terribly with acne during my teens (so much so that I was put on the pill to sort it), and even though I started off the last decade with clear skin, I was definitely still stuck in a “I’m scared to put too much on my face and clog my pores!” mindset. Now firmly into my thirties, I think I’ve got a pretty good arsenal of products that my skin seems to love – some old favourites, some new discoveries – and the next challenge going forward for the new decade for me is to get my head around anti-aging products and successfully slip a few hard-hitters into my routine (I wrote a whole post about My Anti-Aging Starter Kit if you’re interested).

Kiehls Midnight Recovery Concentrate

Oh, my beloved. I can’t imagine the day that this miracle bottle doesn’t hold pride of place on my nightstand. I don’t feel the need to use it every night, but on bad skin days and late nights it’s my go to for a little bit of midnight magic – and I wake up with practically a new face!

Nivea Daily Rich Moisturising Cream

I’ve tried plenty of expensive moisturizers – I was a huge fan of the Kiehls Ultra Facial Cream for a while, as well as the Clarins Hydra Essential (until it caused a cataclysmic breakout) but, d’you what? None of them do the job that my cheap as chips Nivea Daily Essentials Rich Moisturising Cream does. I can slap the stuff on like butter without worrying about breaking the bank and my thrifty skin drinks it up like a Friday night G&T.

Elemis Gentle Rose Exfoliator

What a shift on this one. I started the decade using the Simple Exfoliating Scrub, then moved on to the Kiehls Epidermal Re-Texturising Micro-Dermabrasion Cream – but recently moved away from it because I was worried it was a little too harsh on my skin for weekly use during winter. These days I’m reaching for the Elemis Gentle Rose Exfoliator – it’s kinder to my skin, still does the job I need it to do (even in winter) and it smells divine. I’ve only dipped my toes into Elemis’ products over the past year or so, but so far everything I’ve tried, I’ve absolutely loved (particularly their Peptide4 Thousand Flower Mask).

The Body Shop’s Chamomile Balm

I’ve come along way in terms of makeup removal solutions – especially considering I started the decade using just soap and water. Oh the shame! My poor skin! And my poor towels! Nowadays I don’t have quite as much to scrub away, but taking off my makeup has gone from a chore to – let’s face it – one of my favourite bits of the day… along with removing my bra. The turning point came a few years ago when I tried the Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm. I loved how it just seemed to melt the makeup off my skin without any major scrubbing or faffing around with makeup pads. Along with the hot muslin cloths I had with the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Pack that really open up my pores, I felt like I found a routine I could really get on board with. However, these days I much prefer the Body Shop Chamomile Balm – it’s much cheaper and does exactly the same job as the Clinique one.

Origins Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask

Another one for my breakout kit. I went through an Origins phase about five years ago, and this is the only product that’s stuck around. It’s the only face mask I use to really get in and clean out my pores. Dries up existing spots and prevents future ones. Banging.

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Multi Purpose Oil

Back in the day I was all about the Body Shop Body Butter range, but now I’ve moved on to oils. I’m down to the last couple of drops of my Nuxe Body Oil and I will absolutely be picking up another. I know the scent isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I love the ease of this stuff – you just spritz, swipe and go, and it leave the skin with a fine gloss. You can also pour a little into your both water, spritz it onto your hair brush… it’s a swiss army oil. (?!) Decadent stuff.

Chloe Eau d’Roses

I’m not a big perfume wearer – as you’ll see, because I started the decade out wearing a combination of JLo’s Glow (…ah, the smell of that stuff takes me back to some places, man!) and SJP’s Lovely. Oh wow. But then, I caught a whiff of Chloe Eau de Roses and never went back. It’s shriekingly expensive stuff, but if I had to pick just one scent to wear for the rest of my life, this would be it.

Best haircare products of the decade - The Cardiff Cwtch

Hair

Just as with skincare, I’ve learned that when it comes to my hair – it’s best to keep things as simple as possible and not to keep trying new (and expensive) products in the hope of some miracle cure. At the start of the last decade my hair was in terrible shape. Years of heat styling, over washing and a move to London (and it’s horrendous hard water) really took its toll, and it took a long, hard slog to get it back into shape. Now, it’s as good as it’s ever going to get – and I mean that in the best possible way. I’ve learned that my thin and fragile hair and scalp just can’t take an overload of product (it just makes it look flat, and makes it break) – so I keep things simple. If you’re interested in reading about my hair journey then I wrote a post all about How I Got My Hair Back.

Garnier Ultimate Blends Oat Shampoo and Conditioner

So, I started the decade out a loud and proud Herbal Essences fan… and then my hair had a meltdown. Hoping for a quick fix, I threw a lot of cash at expensive hair care products and shampoos (I was using the Rahua Range at one point – pricey stuff – and it was bloody useless!). Nowadays, I know what my hair can and can’t handle, and that less is definitely more. I’ve been using the Garnier Ultimate Blends Oat Combo for sensitive scalp for a few years now and my hair seems to be happy with it. It’s gentle and… yup, cheap. (…It’s so gentle that my husband sometimes steals the conditioner for his beard.)

Toni & Guy Heat Protection Mist

After my hair meltdown days, I never go without a heat protector before using my curlers, and this Tony & Guy one is my favourite. It smells gorgeous (as does the whole Tony & Guy range of products) and works a treat. It also comes in a travel sized version – helpful!

L’Oriel Conditioning Mousse

My hair is limp, it needs lift – but it’s a bit of a Catch 22 because if I use too much mousse, then it falls flat under the weight and can also dry out my hair. Luckily, L’Oreal brought out a conditioning mousse that isn’t too heavy, and it works really well for me – especially given the added moisture boost.

So, what beauty products stuck with you through past decade? Which ones are you happy to leave behind? Let me know your favourites in the comments – especially your mascara recommendations! I’m still on the hunt!

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Almond and Raspberry Cake

Long live The Crimbo Limbo…
Almond and Raspberry Cake - The Cardiff Cwtch

The Crimbo Limbo, Twixtmas… whatever you call it, the gap between Christmas and New Year’s a bit of a weird one, isn’t it? I used to hate it as a kid; even though there’s still the New Year celebrations to come, Christmas is officially over. All the presents around the tree are gone, the family and friends who’ve come to stay are gone too and there’s about half the Sainsbury’s Cheese Counter and a Turkey carcass shoved into the fridge. It always felt a little sad to me as a kid, but now? I LOVE IT. Fridge full of cheese? Um, yes please. Enough leftovers to save me cooking for a week? Banging. A Bond film on the TV every night? Don’t mind if I do. Cake for breakfast? Why the hell not.

It’s the one time of year where adulting officially goes out the window and – even better – nobody’s going to think any less of you for it or worry that you’ve gone a bit mad. Brilliant! I was tempted to just whack my coat on over my Christmas PJs to take Bungle for his walk this morning, but changed my mind at the last minute. You’ve got to draw the line somewhere, I guess, and for me that line falls somewhere between the neighbours seeing me in my jammies and scoffing cake for breakfast. Specifically, this Almond and Raspberry Cake – which I whipped up last minute on Christmas Eve and was pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be a total winner. It’s pretty enough to decorate a festive table, moist enough to last through the limbo, and slightly sour enough to be a fresh change when you’ve dipped into the tub of chocolates a few too many times. Eat it warm with fresh cream or cold for breakfast, that’s totally up to you – I won’t tell! πŸ˜‰

Christmas Golden Retriever - Raspberry and Almond Cake - The Cardiff Cwtch

Almond and Raspberry Cake

Ingredients
  • 250g Raspberries
  • 125g Butter
  • 175g Caster Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 100g Self Raising Flour
  • 50g Ground Almonds
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 100ml Milk
  • 25g Flaked Almonds
Method
  1. Set your oven to 170Β° and grease a 20cm open bottom cake tin.Β  Sprinkle with a little flour and then set aside.
  2. In your mixing bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar.Β  Stir in the egg.
  3. In a separate bowl sift together most of the dry ingredients; that’s the flour, ground almonds and salt.Β  Combine with the wet ingredients to make a very dry batter (don’t worry, it’ll come together during the next step!).
  4. Stir in the milk.
  5. Pour the batter into your cake tin and smooth over the surface.Β  Arrange the raspberries (hole down) on top, staring in the middle and working your way out to the edge.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes, scatter with flaked almonds and powdered sugar and then serve up with cream. πŸ™‚

Hope you’re having a lovely Crimbo Limbo/Twixtmas!

5 Quick and Easy Breakfast Ideas for Christmas Day

Fast and filling recipes to get you through ’til Turkey Time!

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Christmas morning’s a bit of a pickle breakfast-wise innit?Β  I mean, even if you find the time to squeeze it in and shovel down a couple of slices of toast in between unwrapping stockings and opening presents – there’s a whole turkey, trimmings and puddings (as well as a whole tub of Roses…) to save some stomach real estate for later.Β  I can count plenty of Christmases where I’ve either skipped breakfast or made do with the satsuma rolling around at the bottom of my stocking… or indulged in an orange of the Terry’s variety in front of a film (oops!).Β  It’s so unlike me, because I love breakfast! It’s my favourite meal of the day – every day! – and – of all the days in the year – Christmas is big one to skip, especially if you’re hosting; you need the fuel!

The trick, I’ve found – and this is true of most things – is to do the grunt work the day before.Β  That way, breakfast is sorted and you can relax knowing you can go and get it whenever you want.Β  Recipes that can be prepared ahead of time with minimal fuss and then popped in the fridge or covered with cling film are a winner (and pretty useful to have tucked up your sleeve for whenever the occasion calls for a short cut). Minimal effort, maximum impact. πŸ˜‰

5 Quick and Easy Breakfast Ideas for Christmas Day - The Cardiff Cwtch - Parfait Pots and Porridge Pots

Parfait and Porridge Pots

If you’re looking for individual breakfast helpings that you can whip up the night before that saves guests scrambling around in cupboards and jamming up your sink with dirty plates – then you can’t go wrong with Parfait Pots and Porridge Pots.Β  Grab yourself some jam jars and then layer them up with fresh yoghurt, sliced or tinned fruit, nuts, honey and granola to make an easy, fridge-friendly parfait pot.Β  Porridge pots are just as easy – just fill your jam jars with porridge oats and water – as well as whatever toppings, flavours and fillings you fancy – and then leave them to soak and puff up overnight in the fridge. The next morning, all you’ll need to do is stir in a little milk and let the microwave do its magic! πŸ™‚

Recommended Recipes:

Cherry & Almond Parfait Pots
Perfect Porridge

5 Quick and Easy Breakfast Ideas for Christmas Day - The Cardiff Cwtch - Breakfast Burritos and Wraps

Breakfast Burritos and Wraps

I am a BIG fan of the breakfast burrito in all forms and all its glory.Β  Not only can they be made months in advance, wrapped and then stored in the freezer, but they’re filling and can be stuffed with any number of ingredients – meat or vegetable – and whatever you’ve got bashing around in your fridge and cupboards.Β  They’re perfect for Christmas morning because – joy to the world – NO DIRTY DISHES.Β  Fish one out of the freezer or fridge and then either warm it up in the microwave (remove the foil first!) or in the oven. Simples!

Recommended Recipes:

“I Haven’t Got Time for Breakfast” Breakfast BurritosΒ 
“On The Go” Huevos Rancheros Wraps

5 Quick and Easy Breakfast Ideas for Christmas Day - The Cardiff Cwtch - Pancakes and Dutch Babies

Pancakes and Dutch Babies

If you’ve got a little bit of extra time in between unwrapping presents and getting dressed, then you can’t go wrong with a good stack of pancakes, or some crispy, fluffy dutch babies – ripe to be filled or topped with whatever you fancy.Β  Whip up the batter the night before and leave it in the fridge overnight (pancake batter is always better if it’s been left overnight) and voila, breakfast sorted! You can even go festive with your fillings and toppings – you can’t beat apple and cinnamon, or why not try using some mince pie filling and brandy cream? Yum!

Recommended Recipes:

Pancake Party
Banana and Custard-filled PancakesΒ 
Easy Dutch Baby

5 Quick and Easy Breakfast Ideas for Christmas Day - The Cardiff Cwtch - French Toast

French Toast

Just like pancakes, good French Toast can easily be made up the night before and then left in the fridge until you’re ready to cook it.Β  And there are so many different and fun ways to make it (Have you ever tried making it using Croissants?) and flavours to try – from fillings to toppings (Have you ever battered it with Frosties? SO WRONG, SO RIGHT).

Recommended Recipes:

“Extra” French ToastΒ 
French Toast Four Ways (including battered French Toast)

5 Quick and Easy Breakfast Ideas for Christmas Day - The Cardiff Cwtch - Battered French Toast5 Quick and Easy Breakfast Ideas for Christmas Day - The Cardiff Cwtch - Filled Halloumi Loaf

Filled Breads

If you just don’t have the time or the desire to faff around in the kitchen on Christmas morning and are quite happy with a slice of toast – then why not try making a filled loaf a couple of days before?Β  Not only will it sort you out for breakfast on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, but you’ll also have a great twist on those all important Turkey Leftover Sandwiches! Savoury or Sweet is totally up to you. πŸ™‚

Recommended Recipes:

Halloumi Bread (great with fig jam!)
Indian Potato and Cauliflower Fried Flatbreads (Aloo Parantha)
Sunny’s Orange and Cinnamon Swirl BreadΒ 
Bara Brith

Nadolig Llawen (Merry Christmas!) pawb! Have a good one! πŸŽ„

 

Sunny’s Orange and Cinnamon Swirl Bread

What do you get when you cross a Toasted Tea Cake with a Cinnamon Bun?

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So, my husband has decided to get into baking – more specifically, baking bread – which I am absolutely over the moon about because I love scoffing bread. Soft and doughy homemade bread? Even better. The trouble is, I’ve never been very good at baking it myself; I’m too experimental and slapdash when it comes to measurements and ingredients, and I just don’t have the patience or the muscle for kneading into being the perfect, pillowy soft dough that makes a good loaf. I feel like there’s an exact science and math to bread making that just doesn’t suit my free and flippant style in the kitchen (Maths, ew!). Sunny, though? He’s exactly the opposite; baking bread suits him perfectly. He’s logical and precise to the ounce, patient enough to follow a recipe to the letter, and he’s got the knuckles and gun-show necessary for flinging dough around.

…Enough gushing about my husband’s arms.

A couple of weekends ago he tore my kitchen apart making his first ever, sweet loaf – this Orange and Cinnamon Swirl Bread, which would make the perfect addition to any Christmas breakfast table. It’s a soft dough, but slices well – and the flavours kind of remind me of toasted tea cakes and cinnamon buns (both bread items that I absolutely love!). It’s definitely a keeper… along with the hubs. πŸ˜‰

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Sunny’s Orange and Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Ingredients
  • 30g dried active yeast
  • 200ml lukewarm milk
  • 85ml smooth orange juice
  • 50g sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 30g soft butter
  • 550g strong white flour
  • pinch of salt
  • zest from one orange
For the filling:
  • 85g demerara sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 30g melted butter
Orange and Cinnamon Swirl Bread - The Cardiff Cwtch
Method
  1. Set up two mixing bowls. Into the first, activate the yeast with a little of the warm milk – and into the second, pour in the orange juice, butter and beaten egg with the rest of the milk. Stir the yeast gently until it’s dissolved (you should start to see a few bubbles).
  2. Into a third bowl, sift the flour with the sugar, orange zest and salt. Make a little well in the middle, then pour in the contents of the other two bowls. Stir together to make a soft, sticky dough – then turn it out onto a clean surface and knead for at least 10 minutes. (A lot people like to flour their work surface – but I don’t like adding more flour to my dough, so I just oil my hands and prepare to get a little sticky! Perseverance is key; the dough will come together!)
  3. Pop the dough into a greased bowl, cover with clingfilm or a damp (but clean!) tea towel and then leave somewhere warm to double in size for at least an hour.
  4. To make the filling, mix together the demerara sugar, cinnamon, mixed spice and melted butter.
  5. Knock back the dough and – using a little flour this time – roll it out into a rectangle. Spread the filling right to the corners, then roll tight like a swiss roll. Pop it onto a lined baking tray – seam side down, with the ends tucked under. Leave it somewhere warm to rise again for another 20 minutes or so.
  6. Bake for 35 minutes at 190Β°C. πŸ™‚

Have a great week!

Saffron and Cinnamon Knots

So good they’re knot just for Christmas…

I finally got around to “Decking the Halls” over the weekend although – I’m not going to lie – I could have happily gone another couple of weeks. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas; I love buying presents, I love wrapping presents and I’ll scream along to Mariah’s “All I Want for Christmas” when it comes on the radio just like everyone else (although, when it comes to Christmas tunes, I’m all about Mele Kalikimaka)… But the decorations? Ugh, they bust my baubles. I get excited to dig the boxes out of the garage, sure, and I love putting the tree up and seeing all the new tree decorations Sunny and I have collected over the past year from our adventures away (this year we added a Puffin and a Manatee)… but then I get annoyed that there’s suddenly more clutter to contend with and to clean (needles, grrrrr), and I’m definitely one of those people who can’t wait to sweep it all away and box it up come January. I just can’t wait to reclaim my space, y’know?

God, what a Grinch!

But, Christmas Food? Oh, that is one tradition I’m happy to clutter my kitchen with, my friend. And if there’s one thing I do like about Christmas Decorations is that they do get me in the Christmas Food Mood. It took us a good couple of hours to get the decorations up on Saturday (which was two hours too long, in my opinion) – but on Sunday, I spent at least double that time happily baking away in the kitchen and whipping up these Saffron and Cinnamon Knots. They’re kind of a mix between traditional Swedish Kanelbullar and the St Lucia Saffron Buns that are traditionally eaten on the 13th of December (this Friday!). An enriched, sweet dough in a lovely shade of gold, with a sweet cinnamon filling twisted through the middle. So delicious, so moreish and perfect for scoffing in front of the tree. πŸ™‚

Saffron and Cinnamon Knots

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 420g strong white flour
  • 25g dried active yeast
  • 0.25g saffron (half a tube)
  • pinch of salt
  • 250ml milk
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 75g soft butter

For the filling:

  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 90g soft butter
  • 50g caster sugar

Topping:

  • 1 beaten egg
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp hot water
  • flaked almonds
Method
  1. First things first, wake up your yeast. Gently heat the milk until it’s lukewarm, then stir in the yeast until it dissolves. The milk should turn a slightly off shade of beige and you might see some bubbles form. Next stir in the threads of saffron, watching the milk change from beige to gold.
  2. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugar, and then pour in your yeast mix. Gradually sift in the flour, until you’re left with a slightly wet dough.
  3. Lightly grease your hands, then turn the dough out onto a clean work surface. I don’t like to add flour (it can change the consistency of the dough) so it’ll be a sticky couple of minutes of kneading, but stick with it (ha ha) and soon the dough will come together. After about 10 minutes of tough kneading your should have a soft, elastic dough.
  4. Pop the dough in a lightly greased bowl, then leave it somewhere warm for about 45 minutes. While you’re waiting, mix together the filling.
  5. After 45 minutes, the dough should have doubled in size. Knock it back and then roll it out into a rectangle roughly 1cm thick. Spread the filling, and then fold both long sides into the middle – one on top of the other. Gently roll the dough back into a rectangle shape, and then – using a pizza cutter – slice it in half, and then into long strips.
  6. To make the knot shape, twist each strip into a spiral, wrap it once around your fingers and then pull one end through. Place each knot onto a lined baking tray and leave to rise a little for 20 minutes. Wash each one with the beaten egg.
  7. Crank your oven up to 250Β°C and bake the knots for 8 minutes. Once they’re cooked, transfer them onto a wire rack, glaze them with the sugar gaze (caster sugar and hot water) and sprinkle with flaked almonds. πŸ™‚

Have a lovely week! β™₯