It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!!!

Hi, thank you for stopping by to take a peek at my blog, especially as it is The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!

Sorry I haven’t posted for a while but life has been running at 200mph this past week!!!

It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year my parents-in-law's Christmas Cake. They were thrilled with it! www.feastingisfun.com
It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year my parents-in-law’s Christmas Cake. They were thrilled with it! www.feastingisfun.com

Christmas prep, birthdays, practise Christmas (I’ll explain later in another post !!!!) and general life!

Now I love Christmas, seriously, I mean it!  I really love Christmas Day itself, but I also love the build up.  It really is, for me, the most wonderful time of the year.

It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year decorating the tree helps get me in the festive mood! www.feastingisfun.com
It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year decorating the tree helps get me in the festive mood! www.feastingisfun.com

Yes it’s busy, add in a couple of birthdays in the first half of December and we are talking super busy.  But it’s also really,  really good fun.

I would happily give up my birthday every year for Christmas.  That’s how much I love and enjoy it!!!  In fact I very happily spent my birthday putting extra decorations (mainly of the chocolate kind!!) on our Christmas tree!!

Some may say that Christmas has become over commercialised, they may have a point.  Others still insist on nit picking that they day itself – 25th December – was not the day that Christ Himself was indeed born,  indeed dates varying from September through to March are mooted by ‘Intellectuals’ who have studied etc!!!!  Others still insisting that Christmas itself was hijacked, by the church, from Pagans celebrating the Winter Solstice and many more theories besides!

DOES IT MATTER????

I mean honestly, fairy lights certainly wouldn’t look quite as nice, bedecked during the lighter months……..

Seriously, Christmas is about remembering and celebrating the greatest gift ever given to mankind.  JESUS.  The Son of God.  God incarnate. Born of a virgin, to live upon this earth and show ALL that we have the most Merciful, Gracious, Loving, Living, Wonderful, Awesome Heavenly Father.

Our Lord JESUS Christ.  Hope to the hopeless.  Light to a world in darkness.  Peace in times of turmoil.  Life to certain death. Healing to the broken. LOVE to hatred.  God Himself living amongst us.

Yeah I think that’s worth celebrating!

Christmas is a time, like no other, when, even the hardest of hearts are reminded of this most precious of gifts, Jesus was born.

Amongst all the lights, present shopping, wrapping, delivering. Food to be bought and cooked. Decorations decanted from the attic and dutifully put up. Cards written to people we love and remember.  Yes it is a very busy time.

But in amongst all of the mentioned and more a little baby is remembered. Born in the lowliest of settings (not a 5 star hotel!) a King.  He had no pomp or ceremony – or did He?

An Angel announced His arrival to nearby Shepherds, reassuring them to not be alarmed. I’m not sure there are too many people who make their entrance into this world with that?

My favourite Christmas tree decoration xx
My favourite Christmas tree decoration xx

So I celebrate Christmas with all of my heart. I love that ‘The Light of the World’ is represented in every single, sparkling fairy light. That villages, towns and cities across our beautiful Nation are adorned with Christmas lights and look so different from any other time of the year.

Homes are opened more freely to neighbours, friends and loved ones more than at any other time of the year.

Families gather, across our Nation to feast on Christmas Day, even if it doesn’t fall on a Sunday!!

It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year chocolate christmas pudding cookies www.feastingisfun.vom
It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year chocolate christmas pudding cookies www.feastingisfun.com

Homeless people are offered warmth, love, friendship and food, especially because it is Christmas.

Some people may disagree with me and that’s fine. We are allowed freedom of opinion.

I would urge those of you who are stressed or anxious, especially at this time of year to seek Peace and Rest in Him who is Peace. For those who believe Christ has been eradicated from Christmas Day, to remember His name starts the day. To those who believe the Nativity story, is, just that, a story, to ask themselves how many other stories have endured for more than 2000 years?

At this time I would ask you, the reader to remember why we celebrate CHRISTmas? And to remember others, the cold, lonely, those who feel unloved and show them love.

It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year or how about sharing a slice of Christmas cake? www.feastingisfun.com
It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

Instead of popping a card through the door of an elderly neighbour, knock and spend a few minutes talking to them. We cannot, each of us make a difference in every persons life. That’s why JESUS came! But if each one of us can impart warmth, time, a meal to just one other person and make them smile, then surely Christ will become, again the very HEART OF CHRISTMAS.

Enjoy Christmas for It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year.

Sammie x

 

 

 

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Double Chocolate Brazil Nut Cookies

Ooh Delicious Double Chocolate Brazil Nut Cookies, sound scrummy, taste amazing!!
Double Chocolate Brazil Nut Cookies a perfect way to use up nuts after Christmas and totally delicious to boot!! www.feastingisfun.com
Double Chocolate Brazil Nut Cookies a perfect way to use up nuts after Christmas and totally delicious to boot!! www.feastingisfun.com
Today’s activities have been dictated by the weather!!!  Actually not such a bad thing.  I decided originally to make jam today, however it’s not raining and will be later on today, tomorrow, the next day, so on and so forth.  Jam is most definitely a wet weather activity at this time of year – especially as I hadn’t yet put my Daffodil bulbs and Viola plants into the front garden flower bed.

I had actually resigned myself (given the very sorry state the Viola plants were in) to not being able to get this last bit of gardening done this year.  My back has been playing up and as long as I’m  up and about my priority for any given day is to try and get dinner sorted – in the morning, if possible, as my pain levels increase during the day.  Also if I can get a wash load on that’s a bonus.

I know it sounds pathetic, but that simply is how it is.  I always try and focus on the positive aspects of the day.  If I started to look too closely as what I’ve not achieved I think that could lead me into a downward spiral – and that’s not the person I chose to be. Don’t get me wrong, there are days (weeks) that are harder than others and it does occasionally get me down, but I’m an optimistic person by nature, so I chose to look at the good things in my life.

 

I’m loved, more than I could ever imagine by The Most Amazing God, I have a wonderful family who also love and accept me.  Friends that love and accept me despite my inability to be reliable or commit properly to something.  I have a lot to be thankful for.

So today was the day for jam making,  Except the weather’s good and jam  can be made on rainy days!!  I didn’t abort all cooking attempts though and decided to see whether some ‘left over’ chocolate covered Brazil nuts would make nice cookies? Oh yeah they do!!

Double Chocolate Brazil Nut Cookies

Recipe:

5oz  Dark Brown Muscavado Sugar

8oz  Unsalted Butter – room temp

1  Egg yolk – pref free range

1tsp  Vanilla Extract

1/4tsp  Salt

6oz  Plain White Flour

2oz  Cocoa Powder

2oz  Shelled Brazil Nuts – chopped finely, to the same consistency of ground almonds

6oz  Chocolate Covered Brazil Nuts

(or 3oz  Shelled Brazil Nuts and 3oz  Milk Chocolate Chunks)

Method:

Preheat the oven to 175C (160C fan)

Place the sugar and butter into a large bowl (I’ve used a clear glass jug as it’s easy to check that all the dry ingredient have been mixed in, later on).

The dark muscavado sugar gives the cookies a lovely depth of flavour, without tasting too sweet!
The dark muscavado sugar gives the cookies a lovely depth of flavour, without tasting too sweet!

Whisk (or beat vigorously) the butter and sugar together until completely combined and paler in colour.  Whisk in the egg yolk, salt and vanilla extract.

The whisked mixture will be darker than when using white sugar.
The whisked mixture will be darker than when using white sugar.

Now take the 2oz of shelled Brazil nuts and  either using a mini-chopper or food processor, chop finely until it has the same texture of ground almonds.  Add these finely chopped nuts, the cocoa and the flour to the bowl.

In this recipe I've substituted 4oz of flour with 2oz of both Cocoa powder and finely chopped Brazil nuts.
In this recipe I’ve substituted 4oz of flour with 2oz of both Cocoa powder and finely chopped Brazil nuts.

Now chop the chocolate covered Brazil nuts roughly (do the same for plain Brazils if using).

Don't chop too finely as you want some nice, nutty crunch to your finished cookie!!
Don’t chop too finely as you want some nice, nutty crunch to your finished cookie!!

Add the roughly chopped Brazils and gently mix all the dry ingredients into the sugar/butter mix.  Make sure you combine all the dry ingredients that have dropped to the bottom of the bowl.  Once everything is combined STOP!! If you overwork the mixture the dough will become tough and will affect the finished cookie.

Next, using a desert spoon and eating knife, drop golf ball sized dollops of the cookie dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Aim for a roughly circular dollop of cookie dough!!
Aim for a roughly circular dollop of cookie dough!!

Dampen your hand and gently press down on the cookie dough to slightly flatten it.  This mixture is very sticky so you may need to rinse your hands, in cold water, in between squishing the cookie dough.

Place in the preheated oven and cook for 20-25 minutes.  Keep a close eye on your cookies whilst cooking, it’s much harder to tell if chocolate cookies are burnt by sight!!  the cookies are ready when the tops have a sugary, slightly shiny surface.  When cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely and firm up on the baking sheet.

Double Chocolate Brazil Nut Cookies- the perfect way to use up leftover Christmas nuts www.feastingisfun.com
Double Chocolate Brazil Nut Cookies- the perfect way to use up leftover Christmas nuts www.feastingisfun.com

It’s time to pop the kettle on!!!  Place the cold cookies in an airtight container, or pop a few into cellophane bags tied with pretty ribbon and give as gifts

I’m sharing mine with my official ‘Taste Tester’ the Green Goddess, whose honest feedback and encouragement is invaluable.

It really is so much more fun sharing what you’ve baked with others – and they enjoy it too!!

Sammie x

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Bacon Cheese Pasta Bake

Hello there, thank you for stopping by to read my blog.  I hope it inspires you to make this delicious, very economical, Bacon Cheese Pasta Bake – covered in a scrummy Cheese Sauce!

I’m sorry that I haven’t posted anything for a few days, unfortunately my body has been very uncooperative and I’ve been struggling with a lot of pain.  Not looking for sympathy, just explaining.

Anyhow this morning, once I was up and dressed I was determined to make the Christmas cakes ( I know this blog is about the Bacon Cheese Pasta Bake – but I have to tell you the whole story, so bare with please??!!).  One cake for us and a smaller cake for my lovely hubby’s Ma and Pa.  They love Christmas cake like no other people I have ever met and since I love them and making cakes I thought I’d bake them a cake as well!

Once the cakes were happily baking away in the oven I turned my attention to dinner.  I happened to have 8 rashers of streaky bacon in the fridge and thought ‘You know what, I’ll make Bacon Cheese Pasta Bake’.  Not only that, but as I have tended to be a bit lazy with my savoury recipes, I also made a note of exactly what I used and took some photos to show you how to make it yourself!!

This recipe is for 6 people!

Recipe:  Bacon Cheese Pasta Bake

For the bacon and tomato sauce you will need –

1tbsp  Olive oil

1tbsp  Butter

8 x rashers streaky bacon (smoked or not the choice is yours) – any rind removed

1  Large White Onion

2  Sticks of Celery

1  Green Pepper

6 – 8  Chestnut or Button Mushrooms

3  Bulbs of Garlic

2  Tins Chopped Tomatoes and their juice

1tbsp  Tomato puree

1tsp  Mixed Dry Herbs

1/2tsp  Sea Salt (1/4tsp free flowing salt)

1/4  tsp Nutmeg – freshly grated

1/2tsp  Black Pepper – freshly ground

1/2tsp  Sugar

For the Cheese Sauce :

2tbsp Unsalted Butter

2tbsp Plain White Flour

500ml/1.25 pints Whole Milk

175g/6oz Strong Cheddar

1/4tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg

Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Method

In a large saute pan (or shallow casserole dish) melt the Olive oil and Butter together over a medium heat.  Add the finely chopped Onion and Saute until translucent (approx 5-8 mins).  Add in the Bacon – I usually snip this into approx 1/2″ pieces, directly into the pan, however you can chip up the Bacon with a knife and then add it.

Let the bacon sizzle until it had rendered out some of it’s fat, but not so much that it goes crispy.  Add in the Celery and Carrot ( which have both been finely chopped and cook for another 5 mins.

Sautéing the bacon, onions, carrots and celery.
Sautéing the bacon, onions, carrots and celery.

After 5 mins add in the finely chopped Green Pepper and the Mushroom ( I slice the mushrooms fairly thinly, then cut the slices in half – it just looks nice in the dish!).  Add the crushed (or finely chopped) garlic and continue cooking for another 5-10 mins, until all the vegetables are slightly softened.

Green Pepper and Sliced Mushrooms added. How chunky or fine you chop your veg is entirely up to you!!!).
Green Pepper and Sliced Mushrooms added. How chunky or fine you chop your veg is entirely up to you!!

 

Once the vegetables have started to soften add the tinned, chopped tomatoes.  Rinse each tin out with cold water (fill the tin to just over half with water and swish the tin to dilute any tomato juice left, into the water) and add the tomato purée.  Add the seasonings next: salt, pepper, sugar, nutmeg and mixed herbs.  The sugar balances out the tartness of tinned tomatoes and makes a very real difference to the finished dish.

Allow the bacon, vegetables and tomatoes to bubble away, uncovered, on a low-medium heat for at least an hour.
Allow the bacon, vegetables and tomatoes to bubble away, uncovered, on a low-medium heat for at least an hour.

The Cheese Sauce:

Melt 2tbsp butter on a medium heat in a saucepan.  Once melted add 2tbsp of plain white flour and mix thoroughly, lowering the heat very slightly.

Cook the flour and butter together for a couple of minutes to get rid of the 'raw flour' taste.
Cook the flour and butter together for a couple of minutes to get rid of the ‘raw flour’ taste.

This flour/butter mixture is now called a roux.  Now gradually add (50ml at a time at the beginning) whole milk to the flour/butter mixture, stirring constantly.  As the milk warms it will gradually become incorporated into the flour/butter. In the beginning, for the first few milk additions, the mixture will be very thick and stiff to stir.  If you find the milk is not incorporating into the mixture, or it is very lumpy, it’s fine to switch to a whisk, this will ensure a beautiful, lump free, smooth sauce. Add 450-500ml of milk until your sauce has the consistency similar to custard.

Lump free, smooth white sauce!! Easy!!
Lump free, smooth white sauce!! Easy!!

Add a pinch of salt, a good grinding of black pepper, 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg and mix thoroughly.  Off of the heat add a good 2 handfuls (4-6oz) of grated mature cheddar cheese.  Mix thoroughly until the cheese has melted into the sauce.

The Pasta

I have used penne rigate pasta for this dish.  Basically pasta tubes, cut on a slant with ridges in the outside!  I like penne rigate as it holds firm, the sauce not only goes into the pasta tubes, but also the sauce clings to the outside ridges of the pasta.  I cooked about 3/4 of a 500g packet (350g if my maths is correct??).

I said earlier, this is such an economical dish – 8 bacon rashers, bits of veg you have in the fridge, a couple of handfuls of mature cheddar and not even a whole packet of pasta!!  Not only that but it tastes fab and is easily transportable, so ideal to give individual  portions to friends/family or pop in the freezer!!

Once the pasta is almost cooked (not quite al dente) drain and add to the bacon sauce.

The pasta dumped on top of the bacon sauce.
The pasta dumped on top of the bacon sauce.

Mix the sauce and pasta together.  If serving a separate portion to give away, remove a generous portion of the pasta/bacon mix, ensuring you get a good mix of the sauce, bacon, veg and of course pasta.

Not the most elegant container, but foil containers make transporting, or freezing the individual portions sooooo easy!!
Not the most elegant container, but foil containers make transporting, or freezing the individual portions sooooo easy!!

Spread the rest of the bacon pasta evenly into an ovenproof container.  Tap the individual portions to settle the pasta and remove any air bubbles.

Cover your pasta dishes with a good dollop of the cheese sauce.  For added prettiness (and because the cheese sauce didn’t reach the edges!!) I sliced ripe, ruby red tomatoes and placed them around the outside edge of the pasta.

Beautifully decorated - and no one knew my secret!!!!
Beautifully decorated Bacon Cheese Pasta Bake
Slightly overstuffed, once the cheese sauce was added, so just wrapped in foil. One individual portion ready to go!!!
Slightly overstuffed, once the cheese sauce was added, so just wrapped in foil. One individual portion ready to go!!!
So a super tasty, super economical meal to eat and share!

For a bubbly,scrumptious meal, ready for the table:  Cook the large Bacon Cheese Pasta Bake at 180C for an hour until thoroughly heated through, 1/2 hour at the same temp for the individual portion.

An amazingly tasty, versatile dish that’s easy on your wallet and tasty on your tongue.

Have fun, feasting and enjoy sharing your meal!!

Sammie x

 

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Leek and Potato Soup

Hi, thanks for stopping bytoday.  I hope you are well?  I on the other hand have a rotten sore throat (plus the high temperature etc that go with these horrid virus’).

I need soup! Not any old soup – Super Easy Leek and Potato Soup!  I love this soup, it’s the one thing I can eat when I am feeling unwell and haven’t got an appetite.  When I’m unwell this is what I feast on.

Ooh it's like a hug in a bowl. Yummy x
Ooh it’s like a hug in a bowl. Yummy x Leek and Potato Soup

So I make a big batch of this soup when I’m well, then I freeze it in single portions.  That way if I’m not feeling bril, like today, all I have to do is grab a portion out of the freezer, reheat and eat!

Recipe: Leek and Potato Soup

0.5Kg  Leeks

0.5kg  Potatoes – I’ve used King Edwards, floury potatoes work best in this recipe.

1tsp  Nutmeg – freshly grated

1/2tsp  Sea Salt – I use Maldon

1/2tsp  Black Pepper – freshly ground

1  Vegetable Stock Cube

1  Tbs  Butter – for sautéing leeks

50mls plus a little extra Double Cream

Method :

Place a large, heavy based saucepan on the hob, add the butter and melt on a slow heat.

Trim the top and bottom of the leeks.  Make a slit down the entire length of each leek.  Wash each leek thoroughly under cold water, making sure that any dirt, trapped between the layers, is washed out. (This is best done under a tap of cold running water – or you can chop the leeks, place in a bowl filled with cold water, swish about to dislodge any dirt and drain.)

Chop the leeks into roughly 1/2″ dice.

Add the chopped leeks to the melted butter in the pan.  Then add half of the salt and stir ( the salt will stop the leeks burning).  Sauté the leeks for 5-10 minutes on a medium/low heat until translucent (the dark green parts of the leek won’t change, don’t worry that’s ok!).

Sautéing the green and white parts of the leeks together, gives the finished soup a beautiful, finished colour.
Sautéing the green and white parts of the leeks together, gives the finished soup a beautiful, finished colour.

Whilst the leeks are sautéing peel and chop the potatoes (1″ dice for the potatoes).  Place the prepared potatoes into a bowl and cover with cold water.

Once the leeks are translucent add the potatoes and the water they have been stored in.  Pour over enough recently boiled water, from a kettle, until the potatoes and leeks are completely covered in liquid.

The potatoes added.
The potatoes added.

Turn the heat up and bring to a boil, immediately reduce the heat to a simmer.

Add the stock cube, pepper and freshly grated nutmeg. Hold back on adding the rest of the salt, stock cubes vary in their saltiness.  Better to add a the salt later, than have an over salted ruined soup!!!

Adding freshly grated nutmeg really enhances the flavour of the soup.
Adding freshly grated nutmeg really enhances the flavour of the soup.

Cook the soup on a gentle simmer for at least an hour.  This slow cooking breaks down the tough fibres found in the dark green tops of the leeks, enhancing not only the colour, but, importantly the flavour of the soup.  I’ve made this soup before leaving it to simmer happily, on a low heat, all morning.  Not only did it taste delicious, the house had a wonderful, welcoming, warm aroma!

When the soup is fully cooked it’s time to blend! There are various ways to do this:  A potato masher can be used to simply ‘mash’ the potatoes and leeks into the liquid.  This will not give the smoothness achieved by using a blender, but creates a wonderful textured soup.

 

An immersion blender is quick and allows you to control the texture of the soup.
An immersion blender is quick and allows you to control the texture of the soup.

I’ve used an immersion blender for my soup.  As can be seen from the photo, make sure you move your pan away from direct heat whilst blending.  The soup is completely blended until super smooth.

Other ways of blending including using a liquidiser or food processor.  I personally would not liquidise the soup until it has cooled.  Whatever you decide, ensure you follow the manufacturers instructions for your appliance.  Just looking out for your safety xx.

When you have your soup at the desired texture, stir in 50mls of double cream.  This makes such a difference.  If you are seriously counting the calories (or are allergic to milk products), check the soup for seasoning and eat as is.  However, I don’t skip the cream stage!!! Once this relatively small amount of cream has been added it enriches the soup, rounds out all of the flavours and takes the soup to a whole other taste experience – basically it’s worth adding the cream!!!!!

It's only 50mls of Double Cream! Go on, you're worth it!!!
It’s only 50mls of Double Cream! Go on, you’re worth it!!!

Then serve yourself up a big bowl, with a little extra swirl of cream, should you desire and enjoy.

Yummy, soothing, smooth, velvety Leek and Potato Soup.
Yummy, soothing, smooth, velvety Leek and Potato Soup.

A warming feast to enjoy in the colder months.  Excellent for soothing sore throats.

This soup freezes very well for up to 3 months.  Pour into single serving, freezer proof plastic containers.  Perfect for sharing if one of your friends or family members fall ill.  Once frozen it is very portable, so a bowlful of homemade soup is just a quick drive away!

See even simple easy soup can be shared.

Sammie x

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Christmas cake sneak peek!

Ooh I’m getting very Christmassy.  I love the fairy lights, candy canes, christmas cake and present giving.  I love the way our home is transformed for the month of December into a magical wonderland.  Our Christmas tree adorned with tinsel, baubles, chocolate and memories.

Last year I attempted to make a garland to drape over over Dining room mirror.

My homemade garland with twinkly fairy lights.
My homemade garland with twinkly fairy lights.

It was added to over the Christmas period with bows, pine cones and anything sparkly that I thought would enhance it!  More is more at Christmas.

The fruit is soaking for our Christmas cake and an extra cake for Ma and Pa – in – law,  who I’m sure would eat a slice everyday of the year, such is their love of it!  In fact the recipe originates from the very first cook book they bought me over 20 years ago.  I say originates, as, with all good recipes and inquisitive cooks, bits have been altered here and there to adapt to our own tastes.

Our fruit is in the bottom jug, Ma and Pa-in-laws sits on top.  Merrily marinating!
Our fruit is in the bottom jug, Ma and Pa-in-laws sits on top. Merrily marinating!

Here’s a look at last years cake:

Slathered in Snowy White Royal Icing with all our traditional decorations added!
Slathered in Snowy White Royal Icing with all our traditional decorations added!

This year I’m opting for Fondant icing.  As a family we thought we would have fun creating a little ice rink on top of the Christmas Cake, complete with skating penguins, THE Snowman and silver stars – we shall all see how it turns out!

The children are always amazed that the cake mixture fits perfectly into the cake tin – I said it was magical!!!!

Each year my mummy, sister and I take it in turns to buy 3 decorations – 1 for each of our trees.  This year it’s my turn!!! It is so much fun looking for the best decoration.  We are all quite girly girls who love a bit of bling – so sparkly, shimmering and gorgeous were an absolute must.  I love my mummy and sister soo much and so I wanted the pressie to be special.  That doesn’t mean it has to cost loads.  In fact I think it’s how much thought you put into a gift that makes it special.  This is what I found!!!!!!

Soo special, but not as precious as my mummy and sis. XXXX
Soo special, but not as precious as my mummy and sis. XXXX

Im hoping to make some truffles, fudge and spicey, soft and chewy ginger biscuits to give as gifts.  What do you plan to attempt this Christmas?  I’d love to hear you ideas.

After all Christmas is the perfect time of year for Feasting, Having Fun and Sharing.

 

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Walnut and Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Hi there, thank you for stopping by to read my blog.  I hope it inspires you to try this recipe for Walnut and Chocolate Chunk Cookies, have fun and share your feasting with others!

These smell, look and taste delicious. The ground Walnuts give the cookies a real Walnut flavour.
These smell, look and taste delicious. The ground Walnuts give the cookies a real Walnut flavour.

Sooooo….. Walnuts!!  Just done a lil bit of research and it seems they are very good for you.  The BBC report I read claimed that, out of the most commonly eaten nuts, Walnuts had twice the number of antioxidants in them compared to the other nuts tested!!

Well I’m not going to argue with the Beeb! I also don’t really know what antioxidants are, or what they do, but it seems they are good to have in your body.

Now some, could say these Cookies are a ‘health food’ based on this evidence.  I couldn’t possibly make such a claim!!!!! What I do believe and feel quite strongly about is this: As part of a healthy balanced diet, a couple of homemade cookies are better for you than eating lots of processed (especially  low fat, low calorie, so called diet food) products that contain a myriad of stabilisers, hidden sugars, mould growth inhibitors etc, so they can have a longer shelf life in the shops.

Anyhow enough of my opinions on food!  What really counts and makes it worthwhile baking something is TASTE! These cookies taste Delish!  The recipe came about as I had run out of normal plain white flour, so I had to improvise!  Fortunately they turned out fab. So if you want to try them, here’s the recipe:

8oz  Unsalted Butter – room temp

5oz  Caster Sugar

1/4tsp  Salt (I use Kosher)

1  Large Egg Yolk – room temp and pref free range.

1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

6oz  Walnuts

6oz  00 White Flour (8oz Plain White Flour works fine, I’d just run out!!!!)

2oz  Corn Flour (omit if using Plain White Flor)

6oz  Milk Chocolate Chunks (or chips)

Method:

Using an electric whisk, or wooden spoon, cream the butter, sugar and salt together until pale and fluffy.  The usual check can be applied, which is to rub a small amount of the creamed mixture between your forefinger and thumb, if no grittiness is felt the sugar is completely combined with the butter.

TIP:  This is an important part of creating a Cookie with fab texture. When I first started baking, I would mix the butter and sugar together until combined.  My cookies were Ok!  Then one day when following a Nigella recipe, that I’d made before I actually whisked the butter and sugar (as stated in the recipe – sorry Nigella for neglecting that bit before) and not only did the Cookies turn out much better, but the mixture made any extra 4 Cookies!

Next whisk/beat in the egg yolk and Vanilla Extract until fully incorporated.

Take 2oz of your Walnuts and process in a food processor (or mini chopper)to a similar consistency as ground Almonds,  so they are fine like flour.

Add the processed Walnuts, Corn flour and 00 White flour to the creamed mixture.  Now add you Chocolate Chunks and the rest of the Walnuts (roughly chopped).  Using a spoon gently mix until all the ingredients are combined.

Lay some cling film on top of a damp work top (see Mars bar Cookies/Easy Shortbread Cookies for detailed photos), place half the Cookie mixture onto it and form a log shape.  Wrap in the cling film and refrigerate.  Repeat with the other half of the dough.

Allow to chill in the fridge for at least an hour ( but the unwrapped dough log can be kept, refrigerated for up to 5 days).

When ready to bake remove 1 dough log from the fridge and leave at room temp for 10-15mins to warm up slightly.

During this time Preheat the oven to 175C (160C fan).  Line 2 baking trays with baking parchment.

Using a sharp knife slice the dough log into 3/4cm discs – each log should yield 10-14 Cookies. Place the discs on the baking sheet spaced evenly apart.

These cookies have been cut thicker as they contain chunks of Walnut and Chocolate.  Scrummy!!!
These cookies have been cut thicker as they contain chunks of Walnut and Chocolate. Scrummy!!!

 

Place the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until Golden brown.  The house should be filled with the nutty smell of toasted Walnuts – breathe deeply and enjoy.

Allow to cool on the baking trays until they hold together when handled (20-30mins). Then you can transfer them to a cooling rack – or you can cool them completely on the baking trays.

These smell, look and taste delicious. The ground Walnuts give the cookies a real Walnut flavour.
These smell, look and taste delicious. The ground Walnuts give the cookies a real Walnut flavour.

If you know someone who’s nuts about nuts, especially Walnuts, now is the time to share!  Stack a few cookies in cellophane bags,  tie with a pretty ribbon or some raffia and give as a gift!

Remember you still have a dough log in the fridge, so there’s plenty to go around.

Feasting is fun and food always tastes better when it’s shared.

 

 

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Almond and Morello Cherry Bundt Cake

Hello there, thank you to everyone who has been reading and leaving comments on my blogs. I’m hoping you love this Almond and MoreIlo Cherry Bundt Cake Recipe?

A moist, cooked cake, with a scrumptious Morello Cherry centre!!!!
A moist, cooked cake, with a scrumptious Morello Cherry centre!!!!

I hope, to all those of you who have been leaving helpful comments, especially regarding targeting more people to read my blog, thank you.  However I will only approve and reply to one of each blog.  I get a lot of identical blog comments!

I’m very happy to steadily build my site, confidence and readership numbers. I know SEO (site exposure optimisation!) is important to a lot of people and I respect that.

My website and blog is a creative outlet for me (especially as I am bed-bound for days on end – not asking for sympathy).  I enjoy life and as part of that cooking, baking and most importantly having fun and sharing.  So the very act of
sharing my recipes, ideas, thoughts, beliefs through my website and blog, is, I suppose, practising what I’m preaching (without the preaching, more chatting really!).

Talking of sharing, my lovely mummy recently bought me a small Bundt pan from Aldi.  I hadn’t used it until today and although there were a few things I learnt from my first go, it wasn’t half bad!  The cake turned out (literally) extremely well – was a bit worried bout that bit and it tasted good.  So all in all a success.  Thanks mummy xx.

Just in case you’ve not seen one before, I took a couple of pics to show you what my Bundt tin looks like!

The inside of my Bundt tin!
The inside of my Bundt tin!
The outside of the Bundt tin - showing the moulded shape the cake will have once cooked.
The outside of the Bundt tin – showing the moulded shape the cake will have once cooked.

My Bundt tin is quite small, but perfect for the recipe I used.  It’s dimensions are approx  6.5″ wide x 3.5″ deep.  You can buy all different sizes of pan: the common theme is that the pan has a moulded shape, to give a decorative finish to the cake and a central tube, allowing the inside of the cake to be cooked thoroughly (& allowing the finished cake to be filled with cream, fruit, patisserie creme or any number of delicious fillings).

A straight sided, round, flat bottomed tin, is an Angel Cake Tin.  These are for making an entirely different type of cake (Angel cake!), where, when cooling, the tin is inverted (turned upside down) until the cake is completely cool.  Don’t worry it’s on my birthday/Christmas/I must have this else my life will not be incomplete list!!!!!!

So my first attempt making an Almond and Morello Cherry Bundt Cake (as seen in the following photos) went something like this:

Firstly in the excitement – bare with, it’s the lil things in life that I enjoy – of taking all the wrapping/instructions etc off, I didn’t read them, so I could wash my new tin ready for use, I realised  I had no idea if the tin is non-stick!  It looked non-stick (please don’t ask me to describe?).  But I thought I’d play it safe and butter it.  Straightforward yes?  Nope!!

The beautiful shaped cakes mean the Bundt tin has lots of dents, curves, nooks & crannies.  Buttering a loaf tin with 5 straight sides is a breeze, how do I butter this gazillion sided round tin (being round does that mean it can’t have gazillions of sides?  Answers on a postcard……

Aha, a moment of pure inspiration, I’d melt the butter & brush it on with a pastry brush.  Genius!!!!

Me buttering the gazillion sided Bundt tin with melted butter.  Seriously you'd have thought I'd invented the wheel.......
Me buttering the gazillion sided Bundt tin with melted butter. Seriously you’d have thought I’d invented the wheel…….

Feeling very smug and having an excess of melted butter, I also buttered my loaf tin this way today!  Very satisfying to see a smooth(ish) layer of butter cooling in both tins!

Next it was time to decide what cake to bake?  I’ve seen some beautiful chocolate marble cakes made in Bundt tins, on Google images, but to be honest after all the chocolatey cakes made for birthdays recently, I wanted to think outside the box, or Bundt tin in this case!

So I thought I’d ‘try’ an Almond flavoured sponge.  A flavour that goes down well with all the family & crucially my official taste tester ‘the Green goddess’!

Good start but bit boring, so I had a peek in my cupboards & plucked out (the cupboards aren’t chickens in case you wondered!!) Almond flakes & Morello Cherry Jam – super.

Recipe : Almond and Morello Cherry Bundt Cake:

6oz  Unsalted Butter – room temp

6oz  Caster Sugar

Pinch of Salt (I use Kosher- no extra additives,  but  ground sea-salt is fine)

3  Large Eggs – room temp (pref free range)

1/4  teaspoon Almond Extract

1  teaspoon Vanilla Extract

6oz  Self Raising White Flour

2oz  Flaked Almonds (lightly toasted)

4  tablespoons Morello Cherry Jam

Method:

Preheat the oven to 175C (160C fan gas mark 3).

Cream the sugar & butter together using a wooden spoon or electric whisk until pale and creamy.

Add the salt, vanilla & Almond extract.  Mix well.

Crack the eggs into a separate bowl. Add one half  of the flour and 2 eggs, gently mix until almost combined.  Add the remaining egg & flour.  Gently mix until the mixture is completely combined.

Using a desert spoon place spoonfuls of the cake batter into the bottom of the Bundt tin.  Using the spoon spread the mixture so that it covers the bottom of the Bundt tin.  Building the batter up slightly towards the centre and outside edge.  This creates a dip where the filling will go.

Making the dip in the batter should stop the jam from reaching the tin sides, causing the cake to stick.
Making the dip in the batter should stop the jam from reaching the tin sides, causing the cake to stick.

Sprinkle half the toasted Almond flakes on top of the batter.

I didn't toast my Almonds - but I will next time!
I didn’t toast my Almonds – but I will next time!

Next using a small teaspoon, carefully spoon the jam into the centre dip of the cake batter, taking care not to touch the sides.  Smooth the jam out carefully.

I'm pretty sure if the jam spreads to the edges, no amount if ingeniously buttered tin will stop the cake from sticking!!!!
I’m pretty sure if the jam spreads to the edges, no amount if ingeniously buttered tin will stop the cake from sticking!!!!

Sprinkle the last of the flake almonds over the jam, then dollop the remaining cake batter over the top, ensuring as you smooth it out you don’t press the jam toward the sides of the tin.

The cake batter completely encases the jam.
The cake batter completely encases the jam.

Place the Bundt tin in the preheated oven for an hour.  The cake will look cooked approximately 15 minutes before it is, however the centre will not be cooked through.  Continue cooking until the cake has cooked for 1hr 5 mins.

Remove the Bundt tin from the oven and place on a cooling rack.  It is important to let the cake cool completely in the tin.

Looks like I guessed the right quantities for this Bundt tin!!
Looks like I guessed the right quantities for this Bundt tin!!

When the cake feels completely cool, including the centre,  turn the cake out onto a pretty plate.

Or baking rack, will explain later!!!!
Or baking rack, will explain later!!!!

Now you can pop the kettle on (obviously I don’t mean you wear it just, fill & switch on!!!!!), then slice into this beautiful cake.

The jam is contained within the cake and it looks scrummy!
The jam is contained within the cake and it looks scrummy!

I popped the slice above round to my Green goddess friend who wasn’t feeling quite the ticket.  It was received with thanks and thoroughly enjoyed.

See, I had fun making this and sharing with a wonderful friend, who sat with a cuppa, feasted and enjoyed (before my children & hubby came home & almost demolished the rest!).

Now what really happened:

The cake  was removed from the oven after 45 mins.  It was left until slightly warm & turned out onto a cooling rack (don’t ask me why? It seemed like a good idea at the time!!!!).

I then took the photo of the turned out cake, thankfully!!  When I looked closely I realise the centre of the cake wasn’t completely cooked – whoops!

I turned the oven back on, tried to place the Bundt cake on a baking sheet, in doing so part of the cake collapsed – about a portion.  So I attempted to squish the cake together, popped back in the oven & cooked for a further 15-20 mins until the centre was just cooked.

I removed the cake from the oven, allowed to cool until barely warm, cut the slightly collapsed portion out (which I feasted on with a cup of tea!). Then I sliced my friends portion and popped it round to her (2 doors down).

So I’ve adjusted adjusted the cooking time to 1hr-1hr10 mins.  If the top of the cake – which will become the bottom when turned out – is browning too quickly just cover with aluminium foil, removing 5 mins before the cake is completely cooked, so that your cake does not have a soggy bottom!

The cake was rescued, tasted yummy and was feasted on & shared with family & friends.

Until next time keep sharing, you will be  surprised how much it makes YOU smile and it’s FUN!

Sammie x

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Autumn The Most Beautiful Season

Now there’s a question. Is Autumn The Most Beautiful Season?  The landscape becomes swathed in golds, red, crimson, every shade of yellow under the sun, which back lights the scene with its low, but still bright and warm presence in a pale blue sky.

Unexpected light, filtering through, defining the boughs and branches of trees previously concealed by their heavy adornment of late summer, deep green leaves.  Dappling light where shade had prevailed through the long summer months.

The vibrant green grass contrasts with tired, rusty oak leaves.
The vibrant green grass contrasts with tired, rusty oak leaves. Autumn has arrived.

I truly love Autumn.  The wind, the rain, the unexpected warm sunny day.  No longer Summer, but not the bleak or dark of winter.  The light plays reflective, hypnotic tricks on a pond, where ducks can still splish, splash and swim before Jack Frost freezes their playground and slipping and sliding prevail.

Can you spot the three white ducks?
Can you spot the three white ducks?

I love all seasons but Autumn colours draw me to them.  They are the natural palette of my wardrobe and suit my skin tone.  Earthy rusts, just the right side of shocking orange,  khaki greens call out to me from the countryside as well as the clothes rail.

Stunning.
Stunning. Autumn The Most Beautiful Season.

Warm soups, hearty casseroles, proper puddings.  My body naturally craves comforting food as the sun dips in the skies and the night time temperature falls away.  In the same way Summer demands cool, crisp salads, ice creams and long drinks packed with ice.  Autumn asks, gently at first, for an extra layer of clothing – removed during the midday warmth, but much needed come dusk – family feasting around a large table, torn bread, ready for dunking into thick, hearty soup.  Everyone chatting with ruddy cheeks aglow from the warmth of their surroundings.

Yes, I love Autumn.  Slow cooked Pot Roasts, simmering away, filling our home with inviting aromas. Apple and Blackberry Pie with ice cream AND custard! Big Sunday (sometimes Monday & Tuesday!) roasts walked off on a crisp afternoon, followed by a Baileys Coffee, snuggling on the sofa and watching a family film.

The tantalising hint of Christmas near, but far enough away not to worry.  Autumn feels very relaxed.  Even after a hefty storm, where trees are left bare and the landscape changed, overnight, still calm returns.

Jack Frost makes an appearance, but it’s beauty outweighs it’s inconvenience.  Spiders webs outlined in crisp white detail, look like still life.  Crisp, sharp outlines on the tips of leaves, portraying their beauty by the definition given.

Feathery fronds of ice crystals on the top of my car - breath taking.
Feathery fronds of ice crystals on the top of my car – breath taking.

We all seem to live such busy, hectic lives.  A week is now 24/7.  Even our language is shortened to describe the frenetic pace of life.  Autumn is no less busy, the squirrels are busy stashing and hoarding acorns and nuts to see them through the Winter.  Hedgehogs prepare to hibernate.  Some people celebrate the years harvest, giving thanks to God for His provision.

Me?  Well I look at the beauty of the ice crystal formation on my car roof and cannot begin to imagine that it evolved!  I see the beauty in a yellowing sky, heavy Cumulus clouds slowly drifting, dropping  their load as the rain lashes down.  The joy a small child (or even a grown adult) experiences crunching, welly boot clad, through piles of crisp fallen leaves, or splashing in puddles after the rain has subsided.  Watching for rainbows, will there be a pot of gold at the end?  Where is the end??

I give thanks to God the Creator, for the beauty of His Creation. For Autumn The Most Beautiful Season.

Until next time, take time to stop and admire the natural beauty around you.  It will inspire, relax, rejuvenate and calm you if you spare the time to really look.

Life is too beautiful to be lived in a rush.

Sammie x

 

 

 

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Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova

Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova chewy, brownie inner to a crisp chocolate meringue, topped with softly whipped Cream and ruby red raspberries.

 

Hello, I’m writing this blog with fond memories of our week spent in the heart of Devon during half term – this Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova was made, at the barn, with minimal equipment and only my memory for the recipe! I’d call that a challenge!!

FF Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova
Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova made again at home.

Physically it was a bit of a struggle for me, but that was more than compensated by the time we spent as a family: hanging out together, all 5 of us on a trampoline ( trust me I wasn’t jumping !!!!) that I thought was going to collapse at any second, being rowed around the pond, discovering semi-wild farm cats and their kittens in the hay barn – sooo cute, spending time with our Devon Families, both in church and on the farm.  But most of all being together Feasting and Having Fun!!!!!

FF Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova
Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova perfect for dessert or afternoon tea.

Firstly I have to give complete credit to Nigella for inspiring this scrumptious Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova.

Whilst staying in our gorgeous Barn in the middle of nowhere Pip had invited us to share a meal with her and her wonderful hubby Sailor Man and their daughter Leggy Lou!

Pip would be cooking Lasagne and I offered to do pudding!!

We’ve been staying on the same farm, in the same barn at least 10 years, I was pretty confident, given the restricted equipment available in the barn, that  I could ‘easily’ whip up a Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova!!

This is one of those puds that not only has the WOW factor visually but tastes even better than it looks. So simple to do then??

FF Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova
Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova a delicious combination of flavours.

Whilst out shopping I remembered ALL the ingredients (I may have made this a few dozen times before!!!) but couldn’t remember the quantities!!

Back at the farm, in a rare moment of actually being able to get a signal, I successfully popped onto Nigella’s website  and got the recipe.  Fortunately I had not forgotten anything – boy was I relieved!!

Recipe:  Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova,

You will need a good sized baking sheet that can take a 30cm diameter circle of meringue, lined with parchment paper.

Recipe: Rapsberry Chocolate Pavlova

6  Egg whites. (Pref free range) at room temp

300g  Caster Sugar

3 tbsp Cocoa Powder (not drinking chocolate!!)

1 tsp Balsamic vinegar (your just gonna have to trust me on this one???!!)

50g  Chopped Dark (70%) Chocolate + an extra 25g Dark (70%) Chocolate chopped very fine, for sprinkling over before serving

450ml Double Cream

300g – 500g Raspberries – Fresh if poss, but I’ve used decent thawed frozen ones in the midst of winter and it worked!

Method:  Preheat the your oven to 200C/180C fan (350F, gas mark 4).

Firstly if you have any kind of electric whisk PLEASE use it!! You can see from the photo below that I did not have one and it was VERY HARD WORK!!!

Oh yes - I whisked 6 egg whites using a rotary whisk!!! Gone are the bingo wings!!!!
Oh yes – I whisked 6 egg whites using a rotary whisk!!! Gone are the bingo wings!!!

Once the egg whites form satin peaks slowly add the  caster sugar and keep whisking (oh the joy, what was already a hard job became much more difficult as the sugar mixed into the whites) the mixture will become much thicker.

Once all the sugar is fully incorporated whisk until the meringue mixture is glossy, satiny and holds a stiff peak!

Next add the sieved cocoa, chopped chocolate and balsamic vinegar (stay with my guys it’s really worth it in the end!!!)

I'm not a big sifter?(I am a big sister!!!!!), but cocoa really does need a god old sift to remove any lumps!!
I’m not a big sifter?(I am a big sister!!!!!), but cocoa really does need a god old sift to remove any lumps!!

Using a metal spoon gently fold in the chocolate, cocoa and balsamic vinegar until the ingredients are fully combined. This was challenging for me, as you can see from the photos I’d used a straight sided, flat bottomed casserole dish as a mixing bowl!!!!

Still I’m nothing if not adaptable!

When at home I draw round a 12″ (30cm) round cake tin, with pencil, onto parchment paper. On holiday I had to ‘guesstimate’!

Flip the paper over, so that the pencil marking is on the underside. At this point, you can attach the parchment to the baking sheet with little dobs of meringue mixture. This acts like glue and stops the paper moving around.

Using the drawn circle as a guide, gently pile on the meringue mixture into the centre using a metal spoon. Then using a palette knife (or butter knife if on hols!!!) gently spread the mixture into an even circle shape approx 30cm across.

I’ve found it helps the cooked Pavlova not to crack if you build the sides up slightly so the centre is approx 1-2cm lower than the edge. It doesn’t matter if it does crack as later on you will be smothering it in whipped cream and raspberries! Using your knife smooth out the centre and create swirls around the outside of the Pavlova – let your creative, fun side run free!! It’s soo much fun and you can swirl to your hearts content!

The lighting was beautiful in the barn and it makes the Pavlova look sooo pretty x
The lighting was beautiful in the barn and it makes the Pavlova look sooo pretty x

Place the beautiful Pavlova on the middle shelf of the preheated oven (180C – 350F or gas mark 4), immediately turn the oven temperature down to 150C (300F gas mark  2) and bake for  1, 1/4 – 1, 1/2 hours.

If you are confident about the eggs you have used, gather the children around the bowl and let them lick the bowl clean – making sure you’ve had a little taste first. It’s GORGEOUS!!  I think it tastes like the lightest chocolate mousse.  You are eating raw egg so please do not taste if you are pregnant, unwell or elderly – I also wouldn’t  have let my children taste it when they were very young.  Our youngest is 12 now so he was allowed to try some!

The Pavlova is cooked when the outside looks lovely and crisp and you can see the dark, fudgey inside through the natural small cracks in the surface.

Turn the oven off and leave to cool completely in the oven.

Once the Pavlova is completely cool remove from the oven and peel off the Parchment paper (I’ve never yet had one stick using Parchment, if you use greaseproof paper I can’t guarantee it will peel off as easily).

Place the Pavlova on a flat cake stand, cake board or metal tray if that’s all you have to hand!!

Whip the cream until thickened but still floppy (adding a teaspoon of caster sugar if you prefer to sweeten the cream) and smother the top of the Pavlova with it leaving a cream free edge.

Just waiting to be adorned.
Just waiting to be adorned.

Tumble (or carefully place it’s your choice!) the raspberries over the cream topped Pavlova.

Now finally sprinkle over the remaining 25g (about a tablespoon) of finely chopped dark chocolate.

 

Soo beautiful, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating!!!
Soo beautiful,Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova. the proof of the pudding is in the eating!!!

We shared this with our dinner hosts who were extremely complimentary about the combination of flavours, but mostly the hidden, almost brownie like middle of the Pavlova. The contrast between the crunchy outer layer, the sublime tartness of raspberry enveloped in velvety whipped cream and then the surprise, almost fudgey centre with nubs of chocolate work to create a TASTE SENSATION! Thank you Nigella for inspiring this recipe.

FF Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova
Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova the perfect sweet treat to take to take to someone’s house.

 

The perfect dessert for Sharing, Feasting and Having Fun!

Sammie x

 

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Victoria Sponge Cake

Hi there. Today I thought I would post a very easy, simple to follow recipe, with only a handful of ingredients.
Even though it is so simple Victoria Sponge Cake is one of the most delicious cakes & can literally be made & on the table in an hour.
So it is ideal for when unexpected guests turn up, but it is also beautiful enough in its simplicity to be served for a special occasion.

It is just the cake for sharing!!!!

Recipe : Victoria Sponge Cake 

2 x 9″ greased loose bottom cake tins

10 oz Caster Sugar

10  oz Unsalted Butter – room temp

5  Large Eggs (pref free range) – room temp

10 oz   Self raising White Flour – sifted

2 tsp  Vanilla Extract

Pinch of salt (I use Kosher, or try to find additive free – it does make a difference)

Method :

Preheat the oven to 180C (165C fan oven).

In a large bowl place the sugar and butter, using an electric whisk (or beat well with a wooden spoon), mix until pale and fluffy (if using a stand mixer use the paddle attachment and follow method as normal).

A good check to ensure your butter and sugar are creamed (combined) is to rub a little of the mixture between your fore finger and thumb.  If no grittiness is felt the sugar is well mixed into the butter!

Next add the vanilla extract, salt and whisk in for 30 seconds.

I now switch to a wooden spoon, instead of an electric whisk for the addition of the eggs and flour.  If using a stand mixer be careful not to over beat the mixture – same if continuing to use the electric whisk.

I also ALWAYS crack my eggs into a separate bowl, to ensure that no shell gets into the cake mixture and also saves you from adding a dodgy egg and ruining the batter!!

Now starting with the flour add one third to the mixture and 2 eggs.  Mix until just combined.  Repeat twice more adding the last egg before the final third of flour.  Mix well until combined.

ME BEING BORING & BOSSYBUT YOU WILL THANK ME!!!!

Please don’t overheat your cake batter. The more you work the flour the more you develop the Gluten in the flour.  Great for bread – not good for a light fluffy Victoria Sandwich Cake ( or any cake!!!!!).

Back to the cake now!!!

Ensure each cake tin is greased with butter and line the bottom of the tin with Parchment paper.

Divide the cake batter evenly between the 2 cake tins (if you have flat electric scales feel free to be exact, by weighing the tins) – I just measure by sight!!

Pop the cake tins in the oven for approx 30 mins – the cakes are cooked when they are a lovely golden colour, spring back when lightly pressed in the centre and are slightly coming away from the sides of the tin.

The timing is approximate as all ovens vary.

Place the cake tins on a cooling rack until cooled enough to handle, then run a palette knife between the sides of the cake and tin and release the cake.

Turn the cake out onto the cooling rack and carefully remove the parchment paper.  Leave to cool completely.

Now the fun starts!!!!! To decorate or not to decorate????

This Victoria Sponge Cake below was sandwiched together with strawberry jam, sprinkled with castor sugar and edible holographic glitter and given to my mummy for her birthday.

Sparkly Victoria Sponge Cake - for my lovely mummy x
Sparkly Victoria Sponge Cake – for my lovely mummy x

This cake below was filled with both buttercream and raspberry jam and the covered in white fondant icing (first attempt at using fondant – so please be kind?!), topped with a beautiful decoration to mark my parents – in – law Golden Wedding Anniversary.

50 years of marriage and still in love. Definitely worth celebrating xx
50 years of marriage and still in love. Definitely worth celebrating xx
Both cakes were made and given in love.  Both cakes were eaten and enjoyed whilst  Feasting and Having Fun!

Sammie x

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