Sloe Time

A refreshing sloe gin based cocktail, flavoured with rhubarb and ginger.

thumb_DSC06166_1024

I didn’t think sloe gin could be made any more delicious than when served on its own over ice, but I have now¬†completely changed my mind!

This recipe was made using leftover rhubarb and ginger compote from making my rhubarb and ginger syrup. This cocktail recipe also came from Wild Cocktails by Lottie Muir, and it was worth ming the syrup, just so that I could use the compote in this recipe.

This was also a great new way to drink all the sloe gin this year, so if your in a similar situation with a surplus of gin, then I recommend giving this a go!

thumb_DSC06165_1024

Ingredients: Serves one

  • 60ml sloe gin
  • 2 tsp rhubarb and ginger compote
  • 30ml apple and rhubarb juice
  • slice of ginger for the garnish

 

thumb_DSC06170_1024

To Make:

Place all the cocktail ingredients in a cocktail shaker, with a few ice cubes, and shake vigorously for 20 seconds.

Strain into a sherry glass, and garnish with a slice of fresh ginger and some ice.

Serve and enjoy!

thumb_DSC06168_1024

 

Brazil Nut & Toffee Stars

Crisp buttery biscuits studded with chunks of brazil nut and sticky toffee, dipped in bittersweet dark chocolate. 

thumb_DSC06117_1024

Brazil nuts are one of the foods that only seem to come out at Christmas, even though they are an absolutely delicious nut!

I wanted to make some Christmas biscuits, so I thought Brazil nuts would be a great festive flavour to include, and I decided they would go really well with toffee and dark chocolate!

These biscuits turned out really well, and they made an excellent festive treat, to get you in the mood for Christmas!

thumb_DSC06114_1024

Variations: You could leave out the toffee and add dark chocolate chunks to the biscuits instead.

Ingredients: Makes 24 biscuits

The Toffee:

  • 75g butter
  • 75g granulated sugar

The Biscuits:

  • 100g butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 200g flour
  • 1/2 tsp butter cream
  • 75g brazil nuts, coarsely chopped.

 

thumb_DSC06121_1024

 

To Make:

The Toffee:

Line a baking tray with greased greaseproof paper.

Combine the butter and sugar in a small pan, and cook over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes, until the mixture is bubbling away and has turned a deep golden brown colour.

pour out onto the lined baking tray and smooth out into a thin layer. Leave to cool completely before smashing into tiny pieces with a toffee hammer.

thumb_IMAG0224_1024

The Biscuits:

Grease a few baking trays and preheat the oven to 180C.

Combine the butter and sugar in a large bowl and whisk together for a few minutes until smooth and creamy.

Slowly mix in the flour, brazil nut pieces and toffee until the mixture forms a stiff dough, and the pieces and evenly distributed.

Turn out onto a clean work surface and roll out to a thickness of about 1cm. Then use a star shaped cutter, to cut out the biscuits.

 

thumb_IMAG0225_1024

thumb_IMAG0226_1024

Transfer to the prepared baking trays, spaced out by a few cm to give them room to grow in the oven.

Place in the centre of the preheated oven and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

Leave to cool completely on a wire rack, then dip the biscuits in some melted dark chocolate if desired. Serve and enjoy!

thumb_DSC06113_1024

 

 

Cranberry and Chestnut Sausage Rolls

Crisp puff pastry rolls, filled with sweet cranberry sauce, chestnuts and juicy sausage. 

 

thumb_DSC06133_1024

 

Its always good to have some quick and easy recipes for christmassy party food at this time of year! I got this recipe from a recipe card in Waitrose, and it looked to good I just had to try it out.

This recipe is super easy, and hardly involves any preparation, its just an assembling job really!

thumb_DSC06132_1024

These sausage rolls tasted absolutely delicious, the chestnuts and cranberry give them a lovely unique flavour, and I think they would go wonderfully on a Christmas buffet table!

Variations: You could use some different flavouring in the rolls, chilli and cheddar cheese would go well. You could also use turkey mince to make a sausage meat instead, for an even more christmassy taste.

 

thumb_DSC06137_1024

 

Ingredients: Makes 16-20 Sausage Rolls

  • Ready rolled puff pastry
  • 500g good quality sausages
  • 2tbsp cranberry sauce
  • 100g ready cooked chestnuts

 

thumb_DSC06134_1024

To Make:

grease two baking trays and preheat the oven to 180C

Get the sausage meat out of the sausages by slicing through the skin, lengthways, and peeling it off. Place the sausage meat in a large bowl.

Chop the chestnuts into small bite-sized chunks and mix into the sausage meat.

Lay out the ready rolled puff pastry and cut into two long and thin rectangles.

thumb_IMAG0241_1024

Spread 1tbsp of cranberry sauce over each puff pastry sheet.

thumb_IMAG0243 (1)_1024

Form handfuls of of the sausage meat and chestnut mixture into cylindrical sections with your hands and lay on top of the puff pastry sheets. Continue until the sausage meat is completely reaching both ends.

thumb_IMAG0246 (1)_1024

Fold over the puff pasty, so the sausage meat in encased, and crimp the edges together.

thumb_IMAG0247 (1)_1024

Cut each sheet of puff pastry into 8-10 sausage rolls.

thumb_IMAG0248 (1)_1024

Lay on the prepared baking tray and brush with egg wash.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and crispy.

Serve immediately.

thumb_DSC06136_1024

 

 

 

 

Christmas Swirls

Sweet bread rolls swirls, with a festive apple and mincemeat filling.

thumb_DSC06103_1024

It’s nearly Christmas! I can’t believe it has come round so fast!

I love Christmas, as there are so many parties and get togethers, which present the perfect excuse to bake some delicious treats, so I will be posting a LOT of christmassy recipes ūüôā

thumb_DSC06097_1024

Mince pies are the ultimate Christmas treat, but I wanted to see if I could come up with any alternatives, so I had a think and came up with mince-pie cinnamon rolls!

They make a delicious breakfast or afternoon treat, and they are a fun change from mince pies!

thumb_DSC06094_1024

Variations:¬†You could try alternative Christmas’s fillings if you don’t like mincemeat. I think a marzipan and apple filling would be delicious, or white chocolate and cranberry!

thumb_DSC06100_1024

Ingredients: Makes 12 Rolls

The Dough:

  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 10g salt
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 10g yeast
  • 250ml milk
  • 100g butter, melted.

The Filling:

  • 500g mincemeat
  • 1 green apple
  • 50g chopped almonds
  • 1 tbsp stem ginger

thumb_DSC06098_1024

To Make:

Warm up the milk in a small pan until it has just reached body temperature. Stir in the sugar butter and yeast.

Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl, making a well in the centre. Pour the milk mixture into the well and mix the dough until it begins to come together.

Turn out onto a floured work surface and knead for 5-10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Return to the bowl, cover and leave to prove for 1 hour.

Meanwhile make the filling. Grate the apple into a large bowl and mix in the rest of the filling ingredients to form a homogeneous mixture, set aside.

Once the dough has doubled in size, turn out into a clean, floured work surface. Use a rolling pin to roll to stretch out into a large rectangle, about 2cm thick.

thumb_DSC06085_1024

Spoon the filling onto the rolled out dough and spread out evenly, making sure to each righto to the edges.

thumb_DSC06086_1024

thumb_DSC06087_1024

Roll the dough into a long sausage shape, then cut into twelve 5cm thick rolls.

thumb_DSC06088_1024

thumb_DSC06089_1024

Place on an oiled baking tray and cover. Leave to prove for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Once the rolls have proved, bake them in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and cooked though.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Serve while still warm for a delicious Christmas treat!

thumb_DSC06092_1024

 

Lemon, Mascarpone and Almond Cheesecake Crumble

Crisp pastry case, filled with a creamy mascarpone and lemon cheesecake, topped with a sweet crunchy almond brittle.

 

thumb_IMAG0191_1024

 

For the month of November Krista & Nicole of ‚ÄúTwo Cups of Sugar.‚ÄĚchallenged us to make our own version of cheesecake crumble pie.

I was really intrigued by this daring bakers challenge, as I have never had cheesecake in a pie before, but it sounded delicious!

 

thumb_IMAG0199 (1)_1024

 

The original recipe used a crumble topping, but I decided that I would prefer a crunchy almond topping to keep it light.

I’ve never actually made a baked cheesecake before, so I was a bit worried, but this was surprisingly easy, so I will certainly be making cheesecake again!

 

thumb_IMAG0184_1024

 

I had a lot of fun with this challenge, so I’m looking forward the next one!

Variations: You could easily change the flavour of the cheesecake to orange or lime. Another option would be to make a chocolate baked cheesecake and top it with peanut brittle!

 

thumb_IMAG0200 (1)_1024

 

Ingredients: Serves 10

The Pastry:

  • 250g plain flour
  • 120g butter
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • 3-4 tbsp water

The Cheesecake:

  • 500g mascarpone
  • 250g cream cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • zest and juice of three lemons
  • 4tbsp ground almonds
  • 200g caster sugar

The Almond Brittle

  • 250g granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 150g flaked almonds

 

thumb_IMAG0181_1024

 

To Make:

The Pastry:

Preheat the oven to 180C, and grease a loose bottomed tart tin.

Rub the butter into the flour and icing sugar, until it forms a fine bread crumb-like consistency. Then stir in the water 1 tbsp at a time until the mixture comes together into a ball of dough.

Turn out onto a floured work surface, and roll out until half a centimeter thick. Place into the tart tin, and press into the edges. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork, and bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until just beginning to turn golden brown, then remove from the oven and set aside.

Cut 12 small hearts out of the leftover pastry and stick to the edges  of the pre-baked tart case with egg wash.

The Cheesecake Filling:

Whisk together all the cheesecake ingredients in a large bowl until smooth and creamy. Pour into the tart tin and bake for 35-40 minutes until just set, there should still be a wobble in the centre when you shake the tin.

Leave to chill in the fridge for a few hours.

 

thumb_IMAG0178_1024

 

The Almond Brittle:

Line a baking tray with oiled grease-proof paper.

Place the sugar and water in a small plan and cook over a medium heat, until the mixture forms a caramel.

Turn off the heat and stir in the almonds.

Pour onto the prepared baking tray and spread into a thin layer. leave to cool completely.

thumb_IMAG0179_1024

 

Once cool, blitz in a small blender to a breadcrumb like consistency.

Pour over the top of the cheesecake.

Serve and enjoy!

thumb_IMAG0198 (1)_1024

 

 

 

 

Red Currant Liquor

A deliciously refreshing liquor flavoured with tart and fruity red currants.

thumb_DSC05963_1024 

Back in July I started to make some summer fruit liquors, among them was a red currant liquor, which has been developing for the last 12 weeks, and which I finally got to bottle and taste this week!

The flavour of this liquor is absolutely delicious, and dare I say it, better than the sloe and elderberry liquor I made last year! The red currants have given the liquor a really juicy, summery taste which I love, I’m sad that I only made one batch as I’m sure I will have finished it in no time.

thumb_DSC05965_1024

This is not a liquor to be mixed, as it is perfect served neat over ice.

I will include the beginning stages of the recipe again in this post. If you can get your hands on some red currants then I can really recommend that you try this recipe!

Variations: I think adding some other flavours to this liquor could work nicely, I would like to try adding some lemon or orange peel to the berries.

thumb_DSC05966_1024

Ingredients: Makes around 900ml:

  • 700g red currants
  • 750ml vodka
  • 200g sugar

To Make:

Weigh out 700g of red currants, wash and transfer to a large kilner jar.

thumb_DSC05590_1024

Muddle the red currants in the jar, to release their juices, then add the sugar.

thumb_DSC05591_1024

thumb_DSC05592_1024

Pour over the vodka and shake to infuse. Leave in a cool dark place for 3 months, shaking every few days.

thumb_DSC05593_1024 thumb_DSC05596_1024

Three months later…..

Sieve the redcurrant flavoured vodka into a clean pan, and discard the red currants.

Use a funnel to pour the liquor into a sterilised glass bottle. Seal, label and store in a cool dark place.

thumb_DSC05953_1024

thumb_DSC05954_1024

You can use the liquor immediately, but it will only improve with age.

thumb_DSC05962_1024

Chai Spiced Creme Brulee

Thick creamy egg custard flavoured with chai spiced tea, and dark chocolate, topped with a crunchy layer of caramel. 

thumb_DSC05805_1024

This is my Fourth (belated) Bake-Off post! In the 4th bake-off episode the bakers made desserts and one of the challenges was creme brulee. I absolutely LOVE creme brulee but I’ve never been brave enough to try making it myself, so I thought it would be a good excuse to be brave and give it a go!

I made these for my family when I was at home for the weekend, and they just wanted an original creme brulee, so that’s what I did for most of mine. But I wanted to try a different flavour, so I made a dark chocolate chai creme brulee as well, which was really delicious, so I definitely recommend it!

thumb_DSC05801_1024

I think these were actually ¬†quite easy to make! Mine took a long time in the oven, but I think that is because I filled the tray with cold water rather than hot. My first attempt at the caramel topping didn’t go to well either, as I just tried sprinkling caster sugar over and doing all the caramelisation under the grill, but the finish was very uneven.

On the bake off, one of the contestants caramelised the sugar first, then blended it back into a sugar like consistency and only then sprinkled it over the creme brulee and cooked it under the grill, I tried this and it worked SO much better, so I recommend you do the same if you try these out!

thumb_DSC05798_1024

I will be bringing these along to Fiesta Friday#84 this week hosted by Angie and co-hosted by Effie @ Food Daydreaming and Steffi @ Ginger & Bread. Happy Friday everyone!

Variations: There are so many different flavor combinations you could do with a creme brulee, I would like to try a fruit version, like a passion fruit curd at the bottom.

thumb_DSC05799_1024

Ingredients: Makes Eight 150ml Pots

  • 500ml double cream
  • 150ml full fat milk
  • 7 large eggs
  • vanilla¬†essence
  • chai tea bags (optional)
  • 150g dark chocolate
  • 175g caster sugar

thumb_DSC05803_1024

To Make:

Preheat the oven to fan 160C. Sit eight 150ml ramekins in a deep roasting tin and pour in hot water, until it reaches halfway up the ramekins.

Combine the milk and cream in a large pan, and heat gently until bubbles just begin to appear at the side. Meanwhile whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy.

Very slowly, pour the yolk mixture into the hot cream, mixing continuously, stir in the vanilla essence.

Pour the custard into the ramekins, and bake in the preheated oven for 30-45 minutes. The creme brulees will be ready when there is a very slight wobble in the middle. Remove from the oven and chill down in the fridge.

Chai: Make a dark chocolate ganache by meting the dark chocolate in 100ml of double cream. Pour this into the bottom of the ramekins. While the milk is heating up, infuse with one teabag/pot.

The Topping:

Weigh out 100g caster sugar in a small pan, and heat until it forms a caramel. pour onto a baking sheet lined with grease-proof paper and leave to cool.

Break up the cooled caramel and place in a small blender and blitz to a fine powder.

Pour 1tsp of the blended caramel on top of each creme brulee and smooth out, covering the entire surface. Cook under the grill until the caramel has turned dark brown and bubbly. Remove from the grill and chill in the fridge before serving.

thumb_DSC05806_1024