Category Archives: Happy Christmas

Festive Baking

It is the season for excess especially in terms of eating lots of sweet things and this year for me as been no exception. I have made two Christmas Cakes. One for myself and my family and one for some friends. I made my first Christmas Cake last year but did not blog about it as I used Delia’s kit from Waitrose. This year I have made and decorated both cakes completely all by myself.  I used Delia’s recipe which is here and used the techniques I learnt at the cake course I went to at the start of the year to cover the cake. The decorations for both cakes and some of the icing/marzipan was kindly supplied by Dr Oetker.

This Christmas, I have also been busy making cupcakes. I made some vanilla and mince pie cupcakes for a family gathering we had this week. To make the mince pie cupcakes, I added some mincemeat and extra spices to the usual cupcake mix and added some brandy into the buttercream. The idea was inspired by my friend and Cupcake Queen of the Cotswold’s, Louise of Cirencester Cupcakes. My family loved them and I will be making them again soon.

That’s it for my Christmas baking. Please let me know in the comments what you have been making and add links if you have done a post about it. I am always looking to try something new for next Christmas.

I will be back soon with my New Year resolutions post, a cookbook review of the year and a new monthly blogging challenge for everyone. Hope you have a great party tonight, whatever you are doing.

Happy New Year! :-)

Happy Christmas Everyone!

A festive message from Brian Turner

Happy Christmas

From Jo, Stuart and Thomas x

Review Of The Year 2010

2010 was my first full year of blogging so its seems right that I should look back and reflect on what an amazing year it has been.

In January, I did my first Fresh From The Oven Challenge, making Chocolate Buns. This formed part of my New Year’s resolution’s to be more adventurous in baking and make more bread. I also made cottage pie and did my first ever guest post on Nora’s blog.

In February, I made Valentine’s Cupcakes (that looked like boobies!) for English Mum’s Best Valentine Cupcake competition.  I reviewed my first cookbook, Skye Gyngell’s My Favourite Ingredients and Nora did a guest post on the blog.

Image by Wendy from Peters Yard

In March, I celebrated completing my first year of blogging. The first meeting of the Midlands Food Bloggers was held at Loaf’s HQ in Birmingham, where we cooked pizza’s and tasted Peters Yard’s Crispbreads and Brock Hall Farm’s Goats Cheese for the first time. I went to my first Cupcake workshop at Kiss Me Cupcakes and I hosted my first Fresh From The Oven challenge, Kringel

.

In April, I entered and won the Easter Cake Bake and made cupcakes for the Mad Hatter’s Shropshire Tweet Up. Helen did a guest post on the blog and I made croissants for the first and last time!

May started by making the ultimate spring time brunch and a crumble. Pizza Napoletana was the Fresh From The Oven challenge.

In June, Jo’s Kitchen was invited by Miele to do the Masterchef Invention Test at the BBC Summer Good Food Show. Marie and I took on a Giant Cupcake Challenge and I went on an archaeological dig and left my blog in the care of Gary, Linda, Louise and Charlene.

In July, I made my favourite childhood dinner of Fish Fingers, Mashed Potatoes, Peas and Parsley Sauce. I entered my second English Mum’s Big Bake Off and held a competition to win a Masterchef Apron.

In August, I made a sweet version of Fish Fingers, Mash and Ketchup with Mat Follas’s help and went on a foodie trip to Ludlow visiting the Ludlow Food Centre and Ludlow itself. Brioche was this month’s Fresh From The Oven Challenge.

September was a busy month so I only made some cupcakes and garlic and basil focaccia.

In October, I made some spooky Halloween cakes for English Mum’s Autumn Bake Off, went to my first 24 Carrots Farmers Market and attended the second Midlands Food Bloggers Meet Up.

In November, I made Coca-Cola Marinated Steak, with Wedges and Cool Beans, and I went to Jamie’s Italian in Covent Garden, London. I also reviewed the Findus Fresher Taste range of ready meals.

In December, I was invited back to the BBC Good Food Show Winter by Miele. I took part in two cookalongs and met lots of fantastic producers. I went to the new Jamie’s Italian in the Bullring, Birmingham. I learnt how to make pasta for the first time at Loaf and shared my Christmas wishlist with you. Finally, for a late seasonal treat, I shared my Mincemeat Flapjacks recipe.

Overall, 2010 was an amazing year. I met so many fantastic people, ate lovely meals, made lots of new recipes and I was lucky enough to review some great products. I cannot wait to see what 2011 will bring. Thank you to all my readers for being along with me for the ride. I hope you will stay with me for 2011. I hope you all have a great night tonight, whatever you are doing. I will see you early in 2011 with my New Year’s resolutions.

Happy New Year! :-)

Happy Christmas!

Happy Christmas everyone. Sorry for the delay in between posts. Things have been a bit crazy round here with the snow, awful roads and Christmas preparation.  I am cooking Christmas dinner for six tomorrow and am off to start preparing as soon as I have written this post. For those of you who may be interested, I am cooking:

  • A Turkey from Goodman’s Farm in Worcestershire
  • Roast potatoes, carrots and parsnips
  • Steamed Brussels spouts and cabbage
  • Cauliflower Cheese
  • Yorkshire Puddings
  • Sage and onion stuffing
  • My nan is bringing sausagemeat stuffing
  • Proper giblet gravy

I know it is probably a bit late to give you a Christmas recipe now but here is my new recipe find of this Christmas: Mincemeat Flapjacks. They are really easy and quick to make and I am sure you have all the ingredients in the store cupboard.

Mincemeat ‘Christmas’ Flapjacks

(Inspired by Food Network UK and Waitrose)

Ingredients

  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons of golden syrup
  • 1 410g jar of mincemeat or your own, if you have made some
  • 500g porridge oats
  • 200g Glacé Cherries, chopped (optional) 

Method

  1. In a saucepan, melt the butter, golden syrup and mincemeat until thick and runny.
  2. Turn off the heat, and stir in the porridge oats and coat every bit with golden syrup, butter and mincemeat mixture. Add in the glacé cherries if using and stir again.
  3. Pour the mixture into a lined big lasagne dish and cook in a 180 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until cooked through. It will still be soft when you take it out of the oven.
  4. Allow to cool, cut into squares (it will be very crumbly) and serve. Enjoy!

Many thanks to Hayley at Sainsbury’s for sending me the most amazing mincemeat to make this recipe with. It is much appreciated. Happy Christmas!

Well this is it from me until after the big day tomorrow. Happy Christmas to everyone! I hope you have a fantastic day, whatever you are doing. Eat, drink and be merry!

Happy Christmas!

Lots of love

Jo :-)

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