Christmas · festive treats · pudding · quick and easy · recipes

Chocolate Fluff

200g marscapone
100g full fat cream cheese
2 large eggs
5 tbsp splenda
75g dark chocolate 85%
1 tbsp coco powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp double cream

Oven gas 2/150c/300f
Ovenproof dish 6 inch x 2 inch

Using a large bowl, melt the chocolate, around 1 minute in the microwave should be enough and then place all the ingredients in with it and mix together thoroughly with an electric hand mixer.
Pour into the ovenproof dish and cook for around 40 minutes.
The pudding should have risen and be slightly firm on the outside and fluffy and slightly runny on the inside. Serve alone or with raspberries and a little double cream.
If you can resist eating it all in one go, store covered in the fridge for up to three days.

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Bits and Bobs

Variations

Like everyone else I very often have bits of stuff left over, and I hate wasting food, so this week I have been using up things by making variations and by experimenting.

So, instead of Quiche Lorraine I made a ham and pepper quiche, exactly the same recipe (click on the menu button above for the Quiche Lorraine recipe),except I used ham instead of bacon, peppers instead of tomatoes and omitted the herbs. Easy peasy.

My pudding experiment this evening turned out rather well! Chocolate Fluff is definitely going to be one of my favourites.

I had left over cream cheese and marscapone and a craving for chocolate so with a few other ingredients from the cupboard a moreish and easy pud has come together. Enjoy!

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Christmas · festive treats · pudding · quick and easy · recipes

Banana (or Apple) Cream Pie

Use sweet pastry for the pie case, click on the menu button above for the recipe.

Serves 8 to 10.

Cream Filling

300g full fat cream cheese
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons of splenda
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum (a little goes a long way!).

Banana and coconut or apple frangipan

100g ground almonds
100g unsalted butter, softened
3tbsp splenda
1 large egg
1/4 tsp Foodie Flavours banana or apple flavouring
Unsweetened shredded coconut to taste, I use a small handful.

Start by making your pie case, blind bake for 10 minutes then set aside.

Gas mark 4/350f/180c

Place all the cream filling ingredients in a large bowl and combine well so it is smooth and creamy. Add to the pie case and spread gently.
Next make the frangipan.
Beat together the butter, egg and flavouring (for traditional frangipan use 1 tbsp almond extract), when they are well combined add the ground almonds.
Gently spread over the cream filling and decorate with either a sprinkle of shredded coconut or a few slices of apple.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Can also can be frozen.

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Apple Cream Pie.

Christmas · festive treats · pudding · quick and easy · recipes

Mince Pies

Makes 24

Use the sweetened pastry, double quantity. Click on the menu button above for the recipe.

Mincemeat :

100g barberries
60g butter
50ml brandy
3 tbsp splenda
1tsp of each of the following:
all spice
cinnamon
ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp ground almonds
Chopped peel of a medium sized orange
100g chopped mixed nuts
100g full fat cream cheese

Pre bake the pastry cases for 10 minutes. Use a 12 hole tart tin.

In a medium sized saucepan, add the butter and brandy to the barberries and stir gently over a low heat.
Mix in all the other ingredients, except for the cream cheese. Continue to heat gently for 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat and then mix in the cream cheese.
Fill the prebaked cases with the mincemeat, pressing down firmly with the back of the spoon and then bake for 10 minutes on gas mark 4/350f/180c

Serve warm or at room temperature with extra thick double cream.

Store in a airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Can also be frozen.

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Bits and Bobs

December

I took this picture a couple of December’s ago. It’s one of my favourite photographs, it was a Monday morning and bitterly cold, but the beauty of it made it worthwhile.

I have been working outdoors for years and in mild, dry weather it’s fantastic, but bad weather is a different story. Even with good clothes it’s hard going.

We have had masses of rain here lately but at the moment there is a dry spell. So I’m going to make the most of it this week, there’s lots I need to do in the garden. But I’m not going to tidy it too much. The seedheads are good for the birds and a few corners left alone will provide shelter for insects, and hopefully a hedgehog or two.

With sunlight in short supply this time of year just taking a few minutes to feel it on your face is lovely. So if you get chance, pause for 10 minutes and soak it up, it’ll do you good, I promise.

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Bits and Bobs · Christmas · drinks · festive treats · quick and easy · recipes

Cutting Down on Caffeine

My tea habit has got a little bit out of control. I worked it out and it turns out I’m drinking 8 to 10 mugs of tea a day!

This is way to much caffeine for me. So last Friday at lunch time, I decided to go cold turkey with the tea.

It was fine until I woke up Saturday morning with the mother of all headaches which persisted all day. I also felt nauseous and extremely tired. I didn’t realise how big an effect caffeine was having on my body until this point.

Luckily for me, the effects were gone by Sunday, though when I had a look online, apparently the symptoms can last for two weeks, what a nightmare!

I don’t want to go completely caffeine free, I enjoy tea and chocolate too much. But I do want to minimize how much I’m consuming.

So, I had a look through my cupboards for an alternative hot drink that would be quick and convenient. I had a jar of instant decaff coffee but I’m not a great coffee-lover. I find the taste a little bitter. The solution though is Jordan’s Skinny Syrups.

I had picked up two bottles a little while back, Salted Caramel and White Chocolate. I don’t drink milk but instead have 2 dessert spoons of double cream (about 20ml), so I have that with a large teaspoon of the syrup and it makes a delicious coffee.

I also have Creamycinos!

Basically it’s hot water, 2 dessert spoons of cream and a large teaspoon of White Chocolate syrup, thats it, but it tastes amazing! The double cream stops it tasting ‘thin’ and the syrup is just right for making it taste like white hot chocolate.

I have a whole load of the syrups I want to try, there are lots of flavours to choose from and all sugar free.

Its lovely to have a choice of hot drinks, though tea will probaly always be my favourite, I just have to find a decaff brand I like, but until then it’s Creamycinos for me!

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Christmas · festive treats · pudding · quick and easy · recipes

Irish Cream Tiramisu

You will need the vanilla version of the Butter Cake for this. Click on the menu button above for the recipe.

600ml double cream

250g marscapone

75ml Irish whiskey

5 tbsp splenda

100ml strong coffee (use 1 &1/2 tbsp of instant coffee)

25g 85% dark chocolate

Using a hand whisk, beat together the cream, marscapone, whiskey and splenda until they are completely combined and is thick as whipped cream.

Next slice the cake and layer it over the bottom of the dish, a 7 inch by 7 inch dish is ideal. Then spoon over the coffee, a small amount at a time so that the cake can absorb it fully.

Then grate almost half of the chocolate over the top.

Next add half of the cream mixture and smooth over. Then put a layer of cake on top of the cream and add the coffee and grated chocolate as before.

Finish with the remaining cream and grated chocolate.

Refrigerate for around an hour before serving.

Store covered in the fridge for up to 3 days or can be frozen.

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