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Monday, 28 December 2015

Treat Petite Round Up and Farewell (for a while...)


One of my favourite Christmas songs is 'Christmas Wrapping' by The Waitresses. One of the lines is ‘But all this year's been a busy blur’ and that is how 2015 seems to have gone!

Treat Petite for December garnered lovely festive entries and thanks to those of you who took the time to enter.


Caroline at Caroline Makes made festive lollipops in the shape of Santa, coloured red and white with some candy melts.


Claire from Foodie Quine made candy cane rocky road which looks very tasty indeed. And she brought an interesting insight into the origins of the not so humble candy cane too!


Next up it was my turn and I made festive pretzels covered in candy melts. They really seem very popular right now those candy melts!


Kate, The Gluten-Free Alchemist, made gorgeous wee individual Christmas Cakes, made with the help of a gluten free cake mix. The red and green fondant parcel icing really topped them off!


Ros, The More Than Occasional Baker, brought us a savoury twist with spinach, tomato and mushroom frittatas. The colour of red and green come bursting through and I love to see savoury entries here on Treat Petite.


Kat, my Treat Petite co-host made Stollen muffins. These were bursting with true festive flavours and I really wish I could have tried one! Must try the recipe next year…


Caroline at Caroline Makes also brought us Chocolate Christmas Tree Cakes with a Mincemeat centre. Need I say more? These were made in a brilliant Christmas shaped silicone mould and just look so Christmassy!!


Angela over at Only Crumbs Remain made rugelach with a sweet mincemeat filling. The tender pastry made with cream cheese certainly would make these a tempting Christmas treat!


Shaheen over at Allotment 2 Kitchen had lots of festive treats to choose from and she went with these great Vegan Oreo Wreaths. They look brilliant!


Claire, the Foodie Quine, also entered these Party Ring Christmas Wreath Iced Biscuits. Taking that classic biccy, she added some icing and sprinkles to make them all festive like. Such a simple, effective idea!


Lastly, Caroline at Caroline Makes had some leftover gingerbread cookie dough left over and made these cute edible tree decorations. They probably wouldn’t have gotten as far as my tree and ended up in my mouth instead!

A huge thanks to everyone who took part this month and keep an eye out for Kat’s January Treat Petite theme.

And from me I’d like to say farewell for a while. You may have noticed my posts have been getting more sporadic of late. There is good reason!

We are moving house in a couple of weeks and I won’t have time to carry on with the blog for the time being. So, I have decided to take a short hiatus whilst we move and settle into our new home. I will be back, just not sure when. So thanks for being part of the Cakeyboi adventure for the past few years and I hope you will come back to see me when I re-join the crazy world of blogging!


Monday, 21 December 2015

Festive Drinks with Schwartz

schwartz eggnog recipe

Today I’m bringing you a couple of festive drinks to try, courtesy of the famous spice company Schwartz. Who doesn’t know Schwartz, who have been a staple in British supermarkets since 1959?
I grew up in an Italian family where their oregano and garlic salt were always in my grandparents spice rack, along with lots of other jars of intense flavour.

This time of year, of course, belongs to cinnamon and nutmeg, plus all the other flavours that conjure up the scent of Christmas to so many of us.

schwartz eggnog recipe

When Schwartz asked if I’d like to make one of the recipes featured on their website, I took a look and decided straight away that I wanted to give their cinnamon eggnog a go. It’s such a great indulgence during the festive season, with it’s creamy, sweet, spicy, and if you like, boozy flavours.

To make Schwartz cinnamon eggnog I bought their ground cinnamon, gound nutmeg and one of their vanilla pods.

schwartz eggnog recipe

In a large saucepan you infuse milk and double cream with the spices and the vanilla seeds scraped from the pod, plus the pod itself. You bring this mix to a boil and then let it steep before pouring it into a mix of egg yolks, sugar (and booze which is optional). I actually use a rum flavour extract so I can get that familiar kick without worrying about drinking too much (drink drive limits in Scotland are very strict!). You let this sit overnight to let the flavours all come together, then whip egg whites to soft peaks folding this in the eggnog mixture. You can pour this into little punch glasses and enjoy it cool.

Another way to enjoy it, especially if you like eggnog lattes from certain coffee chains, is to heat up the eggnog and add this to freshly brewed coffee. This has to be my favourite way to enjoy the drink!
The full recipe for the cinnamon eggnog is below, or you can also find it along with other fantastic festive treats at the Schwartz website.

Schwartz also sent me some of their mulling cider spices bags. These are like little tea bags which you add to cider, along with a drop of brown sugar, and bring to the boil. Again, I go for an alcohol free version (not usually like me!) by substituting apple juice. This makes it suitable for kids too.

schwartz mulled cider drink

This is like a warm spicy cup of fruit juice, which really keeps your cockles warm! I always make it on Christmas mornings, whilst preparing the Christmas dinner. I make it in my slow cooker and let it stay warm, so I can go back for more anytime I like. Plus as I have to do a lot of driving on the big day, I can have the booze free version without worry!

Below is the eggnog recipe and as this is my last post before 25th December, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very merry Christmas. I hope Santa is good to you all!



print recipe

Schwartz Cinnamon eggnog
Classic Christmas drink
Ingredients
  • 550 ml whole milk
  • 400 ml double cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon Schwartz ground cinnamon
  • 1 Schwartz vanilla pod
  • 1 teaspoon Schwartz ground nutmeg
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 100 grams caster sugar
  • 150 ml brandy or rum (optional)(or half tsp of rum extract)
  • 5 egg whites
Instructions
Place the milk, cream, cinnamon, vanilla seeds, the pod and the nutmeg in a large saucepan and bring to the boil over a medium heat. As soon as it comes to the boil, remove from the heat and allow this to steep and cool.In a large bowl, place the egg yolks and sugar and beat together with a whisk until the mix gets lighter in colour and thicker in texture. Slowly stir in the milk mixture and add the alcohol or extract at this point if using.Place in a bowl and cover with clingfilm. Pop the bowl in the fridge overnight or for up to three days.Once ready to serve, beat 5 egg whites to soft peak stage and carefully fold these through the eggnog mix. Pour the eggnog into glasses and garnish with some ground cinnamon or Schwartz cinnamon sticks.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 1 litre

Disclosure Statement: This post has been written in partnership with Schwartz. I have been paid for recreating the eggnog recipe and was sent the mulling spices to try. Any opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Mini Chocolate Orange Meringue Pies

mini chocolate orange meringue pies

Hello, I’m bringing you another speedy festive treat today – one that is ‘no-bake’ other than a quick flash under the grill.

It’s based on a chocolate orange, aside from Terry and Dawn French (that is going back a bit now), who else loves smacking a choccy orange on the fireplace hearth at the this time of year, revealing the tempting segments inside? It’s such a tradition nowadays, Christmas really isn’t Christmas without a chocolate orange.
mini chocolate orange meringue pies

And with that in mind, plus I had some fancy new tins that I had been sent to try from a company called Yatta Box, I decided to make mini chocolate orange meringue pies.


This incorporated a simple biscuit base made with digestives and butter, and the filling which may surprise you is a combination of chocolate pudding mix (I used Angel Delight) mixed with milk and orange juice to incorporate that orangey flavour.


Lastly I beat up some egg whites and sugar, plus a dash of vanilla to get a thick glossy meringue which I popped under the grill to brown up.


I garnished mine with a mini chocolate orange segment which is, of course, optional. The flavours were great, the buttery biscuit base, the creamy chocolate orange filling and the chewy meringue topping made this a festive treat which can be enjoyed anytime!

mini chocolate orange meringue pies

I made mine in the fabulous bake tins which I received a stash of. They come in all different shapes, sizes and colours with lids too.


 As you can see above I popped lids on my mini meringue pies. The tins are disposable and versatile. You can bake in them, or mould cold desserts in them for example.


Check out their website for full information.



Here’s how I made the mini chocolate orange meringue pies;



print recipe

Mini Chocolate Orange Meringue Pies
Little pots of deliciousness!
Ingredients
  • 125 grams digestive biscuits (or graham crackers)
  • 85 grams unsalted butter melted
  • 2 packets chocolate pudding mix (such as Angel Delight)
  • Half pint semi-skimmed milk
  • Quarter pint Smooth orange juice
  • 2 egg whites
  • 4 tablespoons caster sugar
  • Half teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
Crush the digestives until they are fine crumbs. Add the butter and stir to combine fully. Divide the biscuit base mix equally between 6 tins and press down firmly. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.In the bowl of a food mixer, add the pudding mix, milk and juice. Beat on high until the mix is smooth, glossy and thicker in texture. Divide equally between the tins and shake to smooth out a little. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.Beat the egg whites in the bowl of a mixer until soft peaks form, slowly add the sugar until the mix is thick and glossy.Transfer to a piping bag and pipe onto the top of each tin.Pop under a hot grill until the meringue has browned slightly.Allow to cool slightly and garnish with a dusting of icing sugar and a chocolate orange segment (optional)
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 6 mini pies

Disclosure Statement: I was sent the bake tins free to try out. Any opinions expressed are my own.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Saturday Swally - Are You a Bud Wise Man?


Who doesn’t know (and love) Budweiser? One of the world’s best known beers I’m sure there will be a lot supped over the next few festive weeks ahead.


This year, Budweiser have a launched its ‘Bud Wise Men’ campaign. This is to celebrate the guys who have Christmas nailed – they have the art of last-minute shopping down to a tee. They don’t mind being Des (AKA Designated Driver) when everyone goes out to celebrate and most importantly they know where to get their bottles of Bud, when enjoying a good night in!

Bud Wise Men are the sociable face of Christmas, who know how to have a good time and celebrate sensibly!


Budweiser have even launched a very festive Christmas jumper which can be picked up at Tesco when buying the beer, or you could also win online whilst buying beers at Budweiser.co.uk.

Budweiser wants us all to be Bud Wise Men this holiday season and enjoy our beer whilst drinking responsibly. Sounds like a plan, right?

For more information about Budweiser and to see some other work they’ve been doing throughout the year, including Dream Goals, please visit www.budweiser.co.uk.

Please also visit drinkaware.co.uk for the facts on drinking sensibly.


Disclosure Statement: I was sent beer, glasses and a jumper to promote the Bud Wise Men campaign.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Festive Pretzel Melts

festive pretzel melts

Here’s another quick recipe idea for you. As you may know I am really short on time at the moment, so quick and easy snacks are the name of the game!

A while back the lovely people at Renshaw, purveyors of icings, frostings, coatings and so on, sent me some of their coloured melts to try out. You have probably seen something similar to these on US sites, if you watch tutorials on how to make cake pops.

These are the buttons that you melt down to then coat whatever you are making. Renshaw’s range come in red, white, blue, pink, green, yellow and black. I was sent one of each to give a whirl and for this project, I chose the red, white and green. You can probably guess the theme!


Well, it is Christmas after all, and I wanted to coat some salty pretzels in the sweet melts, for that salty and sweet hit that is oh so nice! I popped to the supermarket to get some regular salty pretzel and ended up coming out with star shaped one – even more festive!

I popped the melts in the microwave for the time indicated on the tub and in no time, I had molten candy coating to dunk my pretzels in. Yes, it is a bit time consuming coating each one (and here’s me trying to save time) but the result was well worth it. I drizzled contrasting colours over each finished pretzel for a final touch and went to photograph them, before popping them in gift bags to hand out at work.

festive pretzel melts

The pretzels lend themselves to being laid out in a circle for a very effective edible wreath too, which would be lovely on a plate for a Christmas shindig.

I won’t insult you by giving you a proper recipe – basically melt the melts as instructed and dunk each one in the coating, shaking off any excess, placing on some greaseproof paper. They dry very quickly and you can re-melt the leftovers to drizzle on top of the rest and it’s as easy as that.

festive pretzel melts

The flavour is not out of this world, but they are not designed to be a culinary delight. They are more an edible craft, which folk and especially kids will love!

The melts retail at around £1.99 for a 200 gram tub.

I am entering these pretzel melts into this month's Treat Petite hosted by me and Kat, The Baking Explorer. The theme is Red and Green AKA Christmas!


I am also entering these into this month's Alphabakes hosted by Ros, The More Than Occasional Baker and this month Caroline at Caroline Makes. The letter is 'N' and you are probably wondering where N fits in with this recipe, but they are allowing any Christmas themed recipe as Noel - thanks ladies and Merry Christmas!



Disclosure Statement: I was sent the melts to try out. I was not expected to write a positive piece and any opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, 7 December 2015

5 'How to Cook Everything' Prints To Be Won!


Paper Plane is an on-line shop which sells cool gifts, prints, mugs and cards.  They stock quirky and cool items, with catchy slogans, funky designs and have something for everyone.

All the designs, made in the UK, are like nothing you’ll find in Clinton’s or The Card Factory, so you can be sure of an original design. And all items are produced by FSC-certified printers.


I love the colour in this carrot print above.


How about this inspirational mug, perfect for a friend who works in an office!


I particularly loved their print ‘How to Cook Everything’ print which you can see below. It features tips on how to cook just about anything in the kitchen – including pancakes, different meats, tempura and special fried rice – a very eclectic mix! There are also handy conversion charts too, Celsius to Fahrenheit and  cups to millilitres for example.


However, the print itself, aside from being extremely handy in the kitchen, is very aesthetically pleasing I’m sure you will agree! For sale at £18 on the website, I have 5 of these cool A2 sized prints to giveaway, to 5 lucky visitors.

All you need to do is enter via the Rafflecopter thingamajig below, a blog comment being required minimum. The giveaway is open until the 21 December and the winners will be randomly selected and announced on the Rafflecopter box on this page.


UK residents only – good luck everyone!


Disclosure Statement: I received a copy of the print free. I have not been paid to run this giveaway and any opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Mincemeat and Custard Croissants

mincemeat and custard croissants

It’s December and that usually means I am all festived up to the nines. I love Christmas and everything associated with it.

However this year, whilst still enjoying the season, I am mega busy. We are packing up and moving home in January and I won’t have as much time to invest in celebrations this year. I have to carry on with my full-time work and pack boxes in the evenings and weekends.

This is going to seriously curtail my baking activities, so I’ve decided to try some easy, quick fix recipes that we can all enjoy whilst not slaving too hard in the kitchen.

This recipe only has three proper ingredients (5 if you include water and a wee dash of milk). Last year my mince pie and custard bars went down a storm and I thought I would try another recipe incorporating these flavours.

mincemeat and custard croissants

That’s when I came up with the idea of a mincemeat and custard croissant. Flaky buttery pastry, rich mincemeat and creamy custard, sounds good and fiddly too, right?

Well, you could make all the ingredients from scratch if you so wished, but I used a can of ready to bake croissants, a jar of mincemeat and some instant custard powder. Obviously, go for the best quality ones of each, if you can, to maximise the flavour.

Firstly, I made the custard, as instructed on the pack, except I used one quarter less water than suggested. This gives a thicker custard which is perfect for spreading on the croissant dough, once cooled.

I opened the can of croissants and spread the cooled custard on top, followed by spooning on dollops of mincemeat, spreading this out also.


I rolled the croissants up into crescents (my croissant forming skills, leave something to be desired) and placed them on a tray lined with greaseproof paper. I then popped them in the oven for the allotted time, removed them and allowed them to cool a little.


These were so easy, yet so indulgent. The buttery flakiness of the croissant, matched with the creaminess of the custard and subtle spiciness of the mincemeat, amazing!

These would make a great treat on Christmas morning. Here’s how I made them.




print recipe

Mincemeat and Custard Croissants
Easy to make croissants filled with mincemeat and custard
Ingredients
  • 2 tins ready made croissant dough
  • 1 package (76 gram pack) instant custard powder
  • 1 jar (approx 400 grams) mincemeat
  • Splash of milk
Instructions
1. Make the custard as instructed less one quarter of the water suggested. Allow this to cool.2. Preheat the oven to the 180C. Line a couple of baking sheets with greaseproof paper.3. Open the cans of croissants and unfurl the dough.4. Divide the cooled custard evenly between the 12 croissants and spread to cover the triangle.5. Open the jar of mincemeat and divide this between the 12 croissant, spreading a little but, keeping away from the edges.6. Roll the croissants into crescents shapes and give each one a wash with some milk.7. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and mincemeat is bubbling out slightly8. Allow to cool slightly before tucking in.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 12 croissants


mincemeat and custard croissants