Saturday, 20 December 2014

Shabby Chic Hampton 7 piece Cake Set Review and a Giveaway

5 more sleeps to Christmas! I can't believe that it's the last weekend before Christmas, where has the time gone? Luckily there's always time for cake and tea in my house and it's a real welcome for this busy weekend. I've made a classic Victoria sponge as it's J's favourite cake and we do love a good Victoria Sponge. Fortunately I have a beautiful Shabby Chic Hampton 7 Piece Cake Set to help me serve the cake. It's a traditional design cutlery gift set from House of Fraser. It's beautifully packaged in a gift box and the set includes 1 cake slice and 6 cake forks. It's made of stainless steel and it's also dishwasher safe. I really like the presentation of this set and it would make a great engagement or wedding gift. It's also perfect for tea parties at home or just a treat for yourself :) 

If you like the look of this set then here's your chance to win one for yourself. House of Fraser have kindly sponsored 1 Shabby Chic Hampton 7 Piece Cake Set for one of my lucky readers.

Terms and Conditions

Entry is via the rafflecopter widget below.
You have to answer the question which is a mandatory option to unlock further entries to the giveway.
This giveaway is open to all readers over 18 with a postal address in the UK.
Closing date is 1st January 2015 at 12 midnight GMT.
The winner will be chosen at random via Rafflecopter and will be contacted by email. If no response is received within 48 hours, another winner will be selected at random.
I am running this competition on behalf of House of Fraser who will be sending out the prize directly. By entering you are giving me permission to pass your email address on to them so they can contact you for delivery of the prize.
All entries will be checked and verified.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I was sent a Shabby Chic Hampton 7 Piece Cake set by House of Fraser for review purposes. A positive review was not required and all opinions expressed are my own. This is not a sponsored post. 

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Fig, Lardon and Dolcelatte Tart

I watched Eric Lanlard demonstrate this recipe at the BBC Good Food Show and J has been asking me to bake this ever since. My Christmas party seemed like a good time to try it out. I made a vegetarian broccoli and red pepper quiche and I thought that this might appeal to the carnivores. I don't have a rectangular tart tin which is what Eric used so I used my normal round pie dish. I definitely need to buy a rectangular tart tin as it looks more impressive with the figs sticking out. Unfortunately the fresh figs I found were quite small and they got lost in the pie. However, the flavour was absolutely delicious. The combination of the lardon, blue cheese and mascarpone cheese with the figs was heavenly. The thyme complemented the tart and rounded out the flavours nicely and the walnut crust was tasty and smelt amazing whilst baking. It's no surprise then that this is one of Eric's favourite recipes and he describes it as his dream light lunch or starter. 

 making the walnut pastry 

 layer the figs and bake for 10-12 minutes 

 adding the dolcelatte cheese and cooked lardons 


Recipe availabe from the baking mad website

I used 4 figs instead of 8 as that was all I had but otherwise I followed the recipe exactly and it worked perfectly. I can't wait to try it again using a rectangular tart tin.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Broccoli and Red Pepper Quiche

As mentioned I had a Christmas party last weekend and made lots of festive food. This is one of the savoury vegetarian options along with a pesto, cherry tomato & pine nut pasta salad. I chose broccoli and red pepper mainly for the festive colours and it worked beautifully. I also made a fig, lardon and dolcelatte tart (recipe coming up soon) but quite a few preferred this vegetarian quiche. I'm not a huge fan of peppers but I have to say that this was delicious. I loved having the cheese at the bottom as it melts into the pastry and adds to the flavour. Instead of using double cream, I used Carnation's Cook With It which I received in my Degustabox. It made the quiche healthier than using double cream but it did not detract from the taste. 

I'm sending this to the Vegetable Palette hosted by Shaheen from A2K - A Seasonal Veg Table. The theme this month is Festive and Christmas Vegetables and I think this red and green quiche looks very festive indeed! 

I'm also sending it to Eat Your Greens hosted again by Shaheen from A2K - A Seasonal Veg Table. The idea behind it is to encourage you to use a green vegetable in your cooking. I rarely get a chance to enter as I mostly bake sweet stuff so I'm really pleased to join in this month. 

 My Barber's cheese is still going! 

 cook the broccoli and red pepper first 

 add a layer of grated cheese on the cooked pastry  

 add the sauteed vegetables and cover with the egg/cream mixture 

 It disappeared quite quickly at the party! 

For the pastry 
280g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
140g cold butter, cut into pieces
8 tablespoons cold water

For the filling
100g grated Cheddar cheese 
1 large broccoli with stems removed
1 red pepper, de-seeded and sliced 
4 eggs
300mls Carnation Cook with it or double cream
4 eggs
seasoning - salt, pepper and garlic or onion powder if you have them 

  • To make the pastry using a food processor - place the flour and butter and blitz until it resembles breadcrumbs. Slowly add the water one tablespoon at a time until a dough forms. 
  • Alternatively, rub the butter and flour together until it resembles breadcrumbs. Slowly add water one tablespoon at a time until a dough forms. 
  • Roll into a ball, wrap with clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before baking. 
  • Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and line your tart tin. 
  • Use a small ball of pastry scrap to press the pastry into the corners of the tin. 
  • Chill in the fridge for 15-20 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 200C.
  • Line the tart case with kitchen foil or baking paper and fill with baking beans. 
  • Blind bake for 20 minutes, then remove the beans and foil/paper and continue baking for 5 - 10 minutes until the pastry is light brown. 
  • In the meantime, heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a frying pan. 
  • Add the broccoli and red pepper and cook until just soft.
  • In a large bowl, beat the eggs and add in the Carnation cook with it and seasoning. 
  • Once the pastry is ready and slightly cooled, pour the grated cheese on to the pastry and level it. 
  • Add the cooked vegetables.
  • Finally add the cream mixture
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown and set. 

Monday, 15 December 2014

SRC Cookie Carnival: Savoury Cheese and Paprika Biscuits

December is a holiday month for me for Secret Recipe Club. Luckily Sarah from Fantastical Sharing of Recipes ...and More who is the owner, writer and Group D hostess of the Secret Recipe Club has created a Secret Recipe Club Cookie Carnival. It's similar to our usual Secret Recipe Club assignments where we each get assigned a blog in secret. The only difference is that we have to choose a cookie recipe to post today. 

My assignment is Searching for Spice which is written by Corina who loves cooking, reading and writing about food. She loves using spices which is how her blog name came about. She has a wide range of recipes on her blog from sweet to savoury and most of them include spices. Luckily she has quite a few cookies recipes on her blog to choose from including Nut and Cranberry Biscuits, chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter cookies.

As I usually make sweet cookies, I decided to opt for something a little different and chose a savoury recipe. I was also intrigued by the flavour of her savoury cheese and paprika biscuits. I'm so glad I decided to make these as they were absolutely delicious and everyone kept asking for more. The cookies really puffed up and tasted very cheesy. The paprika was mild and I would suggest adding more if you prefer although it may detract from the cheese taste. As it's close to Christmas, I decided to use my festive cookie cutters and they turned out beautifully.

 paprika, cheddar cheese, flour, butter and egg 

 lots of grated cheese 

 add egg yolk and paprika 

 the dough is quite crumbly to start with - don't worry just roll it into a ball and refrigerate for at least 60 minutes

 festive savoury cookies

 The penguin is my faovurite 

100g plain flour
50g unsalted butter
150g Cheddar cheese, grated
1 tsp paprika
1 egg yolk

  • Blitz the flour and butter in a food processor until it resembles breadcrumbs. 
  • Add in the grated cheese, egg yolk and paprika.
  • Mix until it comes together and forms a dough - it's quite crumbly at this stage.
  • Roll into a ball and wrap in clingfilm. 
  • Refrigerate for at least an hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C. 
  • Sprinkle flour on a suitable surface and roll out the dough.
  • Cut out shapes using a pastry cutter and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
  • Bake for 10 minutes then turn the cookies over and bake for another 5 minutes.
  • Allow to cool on a wire rack. 

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Tiramisu Trifle

I had a Christmas party yesterday and made a lot of festive food for the table which I will be blogging about throughout the week. Every party needs a dessert centrepiece and this year I decided to make a trifle. It was mainly inspired by the Waitrose Christmas Dessert Campaign. Their research shows that the top 5 desserts that people enjoy as a tradition in households at Christmas are the following:
  • Christmas Pudding
  • Christmas Cake
  • Mince Pie
  • Chocolate Yule Log
  • Trifle

Which one is your favourite and what are you making this year? Personally I'm not a fan of the first 3 so my plan was to make either a chocolate yule log or a trifle. I'm planning to make a yule log for Christmas day so I started thinking about how to put a twist on the traditional trifle. Italian cuisine is ony of my favourite cuisines and if I eat at an Italian restaurant I will almost certainly order tiramisu for dessert. Hence my tiramisu trifle. Waitrose kindly sent me a gift box which included a gift voucher to purchase the ingredients for this recipe. 

This trifle is made with pears poached in marsala wine and mulled wine spices, chocolate panettone soaked in marsala wine, traditional custard and Baileys infused cream. This is topped with Christmas sprinkles from Waitrose. I debated about making a coffee jelly but sadly ran out of time. The trifle was absolutely delicious and really was the star of the day. It's quite boozy but not overly so and anyway it just isn't Christmas with a tipple of alcohol in your dessert! 

I'm sending this to Baking With Spirit hosted by Janine from Cake of the Week. The theme this month is Christmas and this trifle definitely says Christmas!

 Baileys, Marsala wine, Chocolate panettone, double cream, custard, pears, mulled wine spices 

 I've never tried a chocolate panettone - I have some leftover to make panettone bread and butter pudding - look out for the recipe 

 waitrose sells mulled wine wpice packs which contains everything you need to make your own mulled wine

 pour about 3/4 bottle of marsala wine and 100g caster sugar into a pan. Add the mulled wine spices.

 Peel the pears and cut the bottom of so that it can stand upright.  Place the pears in the mixture on a low to medium heat. Cover and allow to cook, turning the pears ocassionally.  Finally stand them up so that the whole pear is infused with the wine and spices. 

 Slice each pear in half and layer the pears on the outside of the dish

 they look really pretty from the outside

 add chocolate panetoone and fill the gaps with more panettone

 pour the rest of the marsala wine on top of the panettone and leave to soak 

 add a layer of vanilla custard - I love how it fills the gaps between the pears 

finish with a layer of Baileys infused cream just because it's not Christmas without Baileys! 

 with Christmas sprinkles. Looks good on the festive food table

 Here's what the rest of the table looks like. The Christmas banner is from Waitrose

Disclaimer: I was sent a gift voucher from Waitrose to buy ingredients for this recipe along with the Christmas decoration and Christmas sprinkles. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Stained Glass Cookies for your Christmas Tree

It's been a busy year and I can't believe that it's almost Christmas! It's the first Christmas in our new house so it's very exciting and we decided to get a real Christmas tree which I've not had before.  We bought a smallish one as we don't have much space and bought a few decorations to go on the tree. I thought the tree looked a little bare so I decided to make my own decorations. I remember making stained glass cookies a few years ago and decided to give it another go. The recipe is one of Mary Berry's which I found online. I had a selection of Christmas cookie cutters and I used a sharp knife to cut out the middle bits. The final result is amazing and it looks really good on our tree especially when it catches the light. You can easily make these in one evening and it will be a great project for the kids. I'm going to try some dried orange slices next to go on the tree. Any other suggestions for homemade Christmas tree decorations? 

I'm sending this to AlphaBakes hosted by Caroline from Caroline Makes and myself on alternate months. The letter this  month is 'X' and Caroline is accepting everything Christmas related. 

These little tree decorations are perfect for Treat Petite hosted by Kat from the Baking Explorer and Stuart from Cakeyboi. The theme this month is Christmas.

They are also perfect for Festive Family Foodies hosted by Vanesther from Bangers & Mash and Louisa from Eat Your Veg.

 I bought a pack of fruit boiled sweets to make the stained glass effect 

 fill the middle with crushed sweets 


 Our Christmas tree :) 

Recipe from Mary Berry which I found online