Christmas Traditions

Everyone loves a good tradition, and in our household we are no different. This tradition came about from our strange food competitiveness, originating with a ‘carbonara-off’ during one of our first few months of dating (I won), to our Christmas Eve tradition of cooking the Christmas ham. 

My stepdad lives in the roll countryside and loves nothing better than visiting his local butchers, so in the run up to Christmas we place our order and look forward to the delights of smelling that sweet ham cooking away, layered with Gordon’s delicious glaze. 

Over the years we have had some delicious hams which have kept our overloaded bellies filled up between Christmas and New Year. What better tasty snack than fresh bread, glazed ham and Auntie Janet’s homemade chutney!! Bliss! 

   

 

Baking Disasters

At present the most traditional and favored cake has defeated me; Victoria Sandwich. I absolutely love this cake, if I meet friends for coffee this is always my cake of choice. If I ever get something else, I am always left disappointed. So over the last couple of months, when I’ve fancied making a cake, I have always made that.

Unfortunately, they have always been a disaster. Ranging in scale of disappointment, from flat as a pancake, to crumbly and stuck to the tin! I don’t know what’s going wrong. I am following the baking guru’s, Mary Berry’s, recipe but it just isn’t right. I’ve even tried: using new self-raising flour; using fresher eggs; adding the eggs in quickly or slowly and doubling the mixture. I will continue to try to perfect my baking skills and am going to investigate new recipes which will hopefully give me better results.

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Paul Hollywood Eat Your Heart Out…

After five very enjoyable series of Great British Bake Off, I finally got round to making bread! On a quiet afternoon, with nothing better to do, I experimented by making a white loaf from the GBBO recipe book. This poor recipe book has sat in my cupboard, looking pretty for years but not being used, so I felt great using it.

After a quick walk to the local shop, I was ready to get started. I followed the simple recipe, preferring to knead the dough myself. I tried to find the inner Hollywood with my knead technique however  I’m sure I looked like a complete idiot! I left it to rise and it actually got bigger! Eventually I put it in the oven and ta-dah… here is the end result. I’m pretty impressed actually, and we enjoyed sandwiches for the next couple of days with homemade bread!

 

Bread

Getting My Bake On

Today, during a leisurely afternoon I decided to bake a cake.This was mainly due to the fact I had some left over banana’s to use, that had gone a bit black. So what better cake to make than a banana cake! I found this recipe on the BBC food website and it’s delicious and REALLY easy. Nom, Nom, Nom!

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Here is the recipe just incase you’re tempted to give it a go too:

Preparation method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3. Line the base and sides of a 20cm x 12cm/8in x 5in loaf tin with baking parchment.

  2. Beat the butter and sugars until light and coffee-coloured. This is best achieved in a food mixer.

  3. Toast the hazelnuts, rub them in a tea towel to remove their skins, then grind quite finely.

  4. Slowly add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture, then mix in the toasted ground hazelnuts and self-raising flour.

  5. Peel the bananas and chop them the small pieces. Gently fold the vanilla extract, the bananas and the chocolate chips into the cake mixture, turning gently and taking care not to overmix.

  6. Scoop the cake batter into the prepared loaf tin. Dust with a little demerara sugar. Bake for between 1 hour and 1 hour 10 minutes, covering the cake with foil if the top starts to darken too quickly.

Tea and Cake

Is there any better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than eating delicious cake, drinking tea and gossiping with a friend?! I don’t think so, and that is exactly what I did yesterday and it was bliss! 

What was even better, was the quirky tea shop we ventured into. It was full to the brim with mis-match tea cups, pretty hand cut flowers and beautiful lace tablecloths.

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Snow Day

Today we had snow! A pretty pathetic amount on snow, but snow nonetheless. My friend took this photo of our view at work. Image

 

As soon as I saw this photo I started reminiscing about our previous snow day last year, and was willing the snow to continue. Unfortunately my snow dance didn’t work. 

Last year I spent a fabulous, relaxed snow day baking my own scones! Here is what I made…..I could just eat one now! Image