Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Warm Glow

It's the shortest day of the year
the winter solstice
some say it is also the start of winter season
from now on, the weather could only go from bad to worse
happy days!

More time would be spent indoors
sitting by the fire under piles of blankets
watching telly

 It's time for those artificial lights to come out from their boxes....





Monday, 19 December 2016

My Handmade Wreath

I always fancy making my own super-size wreath
to put above the front door
And guess what....
they are so easy to make and cost almost nothing!
All you need is some chicken wire
evergreen from the garden
dried seed heads (I'm using Syringa emodi)
holly berries
lastly, and most importantly...
a strong man, preferably with no qualms about height,
to hang the finished artwork ♡

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Lemon and Oranges Almond Cake

A cake for the birthday boy

 Okay, so it was MrD's birthday last Sunday
and I know this is a late entry
What can I say, the weather has been good lately
and I wanted to do some last minute sprucing up in the garden
Can't wait for Spring to come
My head is already buzzing with ideas!

Anyways, back to the little birthday do over the weekend...
I'm so glad Elsa was back in time for her Dad's birthday
It's always nice to have the family back as a whole.
But it was a rushed event as MrD had to take a flight later in the day
for an out of town business trip
No matter, we'll have a proper birthday bash once he's home...

 Lemon and Oranges Almond Cake

4 clementine
1 small lemon
6 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 1/3 cups ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder

Put the clementines and lemon in a pot with cold water to cover, bring to the boil.
Cook for 2 hours. 
Drain and, when cool, cut each fruit in half and remove the seeds. 
Then finely chop the skins, pith, and fruit in the processor.

Preheat the oven to 170C.

Butter and line an 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper.

Beat the eggs. Add the sugar, almonds, and baking powder. 
Mix well, adding the processed fruit. 

Pour the cake mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, when a skewer will come out clean.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool, in the pan on a rack. 
When the cake is cold, you can take it out of the pan. 
Cover the cake with chocolate ganache.
Decorate with some homemade chopped candied orange peel and sliced persimmons

Happy Birthday MrD
May you have many more cakes to come

Friday, 9 December 2016

Fudgy Snowflake Biscuits

Can't believe we're nearly ten days into December
How time flies
not at supersonic speed,
but fast enough....

I do dread the coming of winter
not my favourite time of year.
But, as the days get shorter and colder,
I find myself spending more and more time in my warm kitchen.
It would be silly not to!

Anyways, on a more festive note
 I made these biscuits for MrD to bring over to the office.
They're easy enough to make; only 7 ingredients,
but incredibly moreish
A taste I could only describe as brownies impersonating biscuits
vice versa

Fudgy Snowflake Biscuits

8 oz butter, room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
2 cups self-raising flour
(or plain flour, if you don't want your biscuits to spread too much)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 180C
Cream the butter and sugar together in the bowl.
Add in the egg. Beat well into the creamy mixture,

 Sift the flour, cocoa and salt into the bowl, then mix together to make a soft dough. 
Shape the dough into a disc, wrap and chill for 1 hour.

 Dust the dough all over with a little flour, 
then roll it between two large sheets of baking parchment, to 1/4 inch thickness. 
Remove the top layer of the paper, stamp shapes with a snowflake cutter, 
and carefully lift to the lined sheets using a palette knife.

Bake for 7 minutes. 
Cool on the sheets for 5 minutes, then lift the cookies onto a wire rack and cool completely. 

To decorate:
Pipe snowflake patterns using royal icing, then leave to dry. 
Keep in an airtight container for up to a week.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Pineapple Fried Rice

Pineapple Fried Rice

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 red pepper, diced
3 Asian shallots, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 red chili, finely chopped
2 cups cooked long-grain white rice, cooled
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce 
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tsp sugar
1tsp turmeric powder
1 12 cups chopped fresh pineapple 
For garnishing:
12 cup dry-roasted cashews
fresh coriander leaves, chopped
2 large eggs, beaten
Crumble the cold rice between your fingers to separate the grains, 
and set aside.

Heat the oil in a wok. 
Add the onion and stir-fry until fragrant. 
Add garlic, pepper and chili and fry for about 1 - 2 minutes.
Then add the rice and toss for 2 to 3 minutes over high heat, 
then add the pineapple and turmeric powder, and fry 2 to 3 minutes more. 
Add the fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice and sugar, and toss 
until ingredients are well combined and rice is heated thoroughly. 
 Remove from the heat and transfer onto a serving platter, 
or if using fresh pineapple, fill each half of prepared pineapple with warm rice 
and garnish with thinly sliced omelette, cashews and coriander leaves


Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Thai Green Curry Paste

Thai Green Curry Paste

6 bird's eye chillies (remove seeds for a milder taste)
10 green chillies
1 small knob of galangal
1 small knob of fresh turmeric
4 lemongrass, chopped
kaffir lime zest from 1 lime 
a handful fresh coriander (preferably with roots intact)
1 bunch spring onions
2 tbsp chopped garlic
1 tsp shrimp paste
nam pla and lime juice, to taste

Pound the paste ingredients one by one in a pestle and mortar, 
making sure each is well incorporated before adding the next. 
You can use a food processor, but you won't get quite such good results.  
Spoon into a jar and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

To make the curry, simply stir in paste into simmering coconut milk.
Add your favourite meat and vegetables.
Adjust the seasonings by adding more nam pla, lime juice and palm sugar.
Simmer until cooked through, then lastly, stir in the Thai sweet basil leaves.