Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Spiced Chocolate Christmas Cake

I own only one, yes one Christmas cookbook. For me, no Christmas cooking or baking is complete without a visit to Nigella Lawson's Christmas cookery book. Bursting with recipes, I'm always inspired to try a new festive recipe. Whilst many may enjoy the traditional Christmas cake with marzipan and lots of fruit, I've been brought up on the rum laced Jamaican fruit cake which is what I always prefer. I do however have a soft spot for chocolate and when I rediscovered this spiced chocolate Christmas cake, I just had to bake it. With all the lovely Christmas spices cinnamon, cloves and zest of clementine complimented with chocolate, this cake is a perfect alternative to a rich fruit cake. What I found surprising is how gooey the chocolate was when cooked, almost similar to a brownie in texture, but with a warm hint of Christmas with every bite. It's surprisingly quick to make and can be made from start to eating within 1.5 hours. 





The recipe for Spiced Chocolate Christmas Cake can be found here. I added a sprinkling of icing sugar over the cake.
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Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Poached Pears in Mulled Wine

A really simple and delicious Christmas inspired dish, which fills your home with warm spices and fragrant smells. I can be hit and miss with pears, but I love how juicy and succulent the pears are soaked in the mulled wine. What's more, they make a great low fat dessert and are incredibly easier to make. My photos do not do this dish justice, but go beyond that and you will discover a wonderful Winter delight.



Makes 2 jars
Ingredients
1 lemon, halved
4 pears

For the mulled wine
grated zest and juice of 1 orange
grated zest and juice of 1 lime
225g caster sugar
6 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
3 bay leaves
1 whole nutmeg, grated
1 vanilla pod
1 bottle red wine

You will need
2 sterilised Kiner jars

Method
Put all the mulled wine ingredients into a pan, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes until the sugar has dissolved.
Meanwhile, squeeze the halved lemons into a bowl of cold water. Peel the pears and, as you peel each one, place in straight into the bowl of lemon water.
Add the pears to the simmering wine and then remove the pan from the heat. Take a large sheet of greaseproof paper, scrunch it up and press on to the pears to keep them submerged. Cover the pan with a lid and leave for 1 - 1/2 hours until tender.
Remove the pears from the liquid and set aside. Bring the wine to the boil and then boil vigorously for 10-12 minutes until the liquid reduced by one-third and is syrupy. Strain the liquid. Place the pear into sterilised jars, pour over the liquid and seal.

xxx
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Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Redder Than Red Cranberry Sauce.

It's that time of year again whereby blogs are flooded with mouth-watering Christmas recipes and ideas. Although I am inspired by the abundant of recipes, the likelihood is that I will only try one or two new recipes or ideas this Christmas. Of course, in an ideal world, I would try all the salivating Christmas recipes and feed my family this on Christmas day - although we would have enough food to last us until the New Year. The new recipes that I do tend to try, all hail from the queen of cookery, Nigella and her cookery book which is a must have to the season: Nigella Christmas. In Nigella Christmas there is a comprehensive guide to a stress-free and culinary guide to Christmas; there are recipes to inspire even the most radical Scrooges. The recipe that I decided to try this year, is the Redder than Red Cranberry Sauce. To be honest, Christmas isn't really Christmas without cranberry sauce. And to add to that, you haven't really tried proper cranberry sauce until you have tried the homemade cranberry sauce. Nigella has a cracking recipe and once you've got your hands on fresh cranberries- which are currently in season, you can't go wrong with this plump, rich and luxurious cranberry sauce.










The recipe for Redder Than Red Cranberry can be found by clicking on the link

xxx
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Friday, 27 November 2015

Caribbean Christmas Black Cake

What do you eat for dessert on Christmas Day? In fact what food dish commonly features during the run up to Christmas at your kitchen table. For me, and for many individuals of Caribbean origin (whether in the Caribbean or the diaspora a la moi in the UK) during the festive period there will be eating the traditional Caribbean Christmas Black Cake on their kitchen table. Depending upon the island where your heritage (or family) there will be slight variations in the Caribbean Christmas Black Cake. In fact, every island have their own spin, Puerto Rico has a sponge cake base, Guyana uses apricot jam and St Vincent use black wine. Where my family originate from, Jamaica, Black Cake is made with the following dried fruits: prunes, sultanas, raisins and cherries. This is seen as a celebration cake, in part because of dried fruits are expensive in the Caribbean, so this was seen as a real treat, only to be eaten as special occasions (Christmas, Birthdays, Weddings and Funerals)
When comparing Caribbean Christmas Black Cake to the traditional British cake, there are noticeable differences, Black cake is laced with rum, it's strong, but lighter than the European style fruit cakes. I find it to be incredibly moreish and as a person who do not ordinarily enjoy fruit cake I love Black Cake. This is the only cake that I have eaten year in, year out every Christmas and it's a tradition which I will hope to continue if I have children of my own.
Waitrose have compiled a cracking web page of recipes from around the world celebrating  Christmas Traditions from other cultures. Take a look and sample Christmas from around the world. If you fancy a different type of Christmas cake, give this a try. Trust me, you will not regret it. My Black Cake tastes divine just as it is, but also goes well when served with ice-cream, rum custard, brandy custard (do not drive lol).

















Recipe for Caribbean Christmas Black Cake
You will need a 10 inch cake tin and freestanding cake mixer. 

For the Fruit
500g mixed dried fruit
170g pitted prunes, sliced in half
200g glace cherries, sliced in half
100g mixed peel
250ml QC Sherry
100ml dark rum

For the Cake
500g butter
250g dark muscavodo sugar
100ml hot water
1 tbsp mixed spice
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp all spice
100ml black treacle
7 eggs
500g self-raising flour

Method
Start with the fruit, this will need soaking at least 3 days prior. In a mixing bowl, add the dried fruit, prunes, cherries and mix peel and pour the QC Sherry and dark rum.

Preheat the oven to gas mark 3, line the cake tin. In a free standing kitchen mixer, cream the butter, dark muscavodo sugar and hot water – the hot water should loosen any clumps in the sugar. Next add the spices, followed by the treacle. Alternate adding the eggs (i.e 2 eggs, then the self-raising flour) and the flour, this is to ensure the egg mixture does not curdle. Finally add in the dried fruits, reserving the juices. Bake in the preheated oven on the top shelf for around 1 hour and 45 minutes, check whether the cake is baked by inserting a skewer in, if there is no mixture on the skewer the cake is baked.
Leave the cake to cool. Once cooled, remove the cake from the tin, the way I do this is placing a large plate on top of the cake and flipping over. Peel back the baking parchment and using a pastry brush, brush the reserved juices liberally over the tops and sides of the cake. 

Enjoy

Thank you Waitrose for asking me to participate. 
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Monday, 16 November 2015

Hotel Chocolat Advent Calendar Christmas Giveaway #1

It's that time of the year, Christmas is almost upon us. There really is no better time to eat chocolate almost guilty free, certainly that's a tradition which I have developed over the years. As with tradition, it really wouldn't be Christmas without the tradition of an advent calendar, children love opening their advent calendar, excitingly anticipating which chocolate treat will they get today. 
But why let the children have all the fun. There are now a range of advent calendars specially for us grown ups and leading the way are my favourite chocolatiers, Hotel Chocolat. I love how luxurious their chocolats are and having sampled their advent calendar, I am pleased to be able to offer one lucky reader the chance to win their The Advent Calendar Truffles for Two - how decadent. You and a loved one could enjoy a range of divine chocolates such as Pecan Gingerbread, Salted Caramel Cream, Mulled Wine, Pecan Gingerbread, Cinnamon Praline and others. Worth £26, this is a great way to start the Christmas season. There is also a fabulous range of chocolates on the Hotel Chocolat website, from stocking fillers to gourmet hampers, there's something for everyone and certainly worth checking out. 






To be in with a chance of winning this fabulous prize, follow the instructions below.
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  • The competition will run from 16.11.15 - 27.11.15
  • Winners will need to respond within 7 days. 
  • The competition is open to UK residents only.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

xxx
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Saturday, 13 December 2014

Boxing Day Egg and Bacon Pie and Mulled Wine plus a Giveaway.

What do you eat on Boxing Day? Turkey sandwiches, turkey curry, turkey fajitas are the many dishes that  people are likely to eat on Boxing Day, which completely makes sense, why waste good, juicy and succulent turkey? In Nigella Lawson's baking masterpiece: How to Be A Domestic Goddess, Nigella states that this is the dish she enjoys on Boxing Day: Egg and Bacon Pie. I'm unsure whether I would eat this on Boxing Day itself, perhaps a few days later, those awkward days between Boxing Day and New Years Eve when turkey can get a bit tiresome and a hearty, comforting meal is required.
I found the Boxing Day Egg and Bacon pie rather easy to make, the most complicated part is making the pastry and I would certainly recommend buying ready-made shortcrust pastry if you are pressed for time. Once the pastry is sorted, the remainder of the making of the pie is relatively simple. Please ensure that you create a small hole in the middle of the pie to let the steam out as you don't want to the pastry to become soggy from the liquids.  I decided to serve this pie with a seasonal favourite, roasted goose fat potatoes and the essential Brussel Sprouts. Would I make this pie again ? I certainly would, I found it not only to be delicious, warming and comforting, in my opinion it so versatile and is suitable to be eaten all year round.
As we are in the full swing of the Christmas season, I served my Boxing Day Egg and Bacon Pie with  mulled wine. I've never made my own mulled wine before, I certainly have drank many mulled wine drinks when I have visited restaurants but one of the positives of being a food blogger is that I am always willing to try new dishes and drinks. With mulled wine, it's all about the spices, which gives the aromatic distinctive flavour in this warming drink. I'm such a big fan of Spice Kitchen, I reviewed their aromatic intense spices earlier this year and they were generous enough  to send me a lovely pouch of their premium mulled wine spices. The mulled wine spices  were very intense in smell and absolutely delicious in my mulled wine, the perfect winter drink.
Here is my Boxing Day Egg and Bacon Pie:
Boxing Day Egg and Bacon Pie:


Boxing Day Egg and Bacon Pie.


Dry ingredients.

Wet ingredients added.

Pastry rolled out

Filling for the pie.

Pie pre-bake.

Boxing Day pie baked

Inside my pie. 
Recipe for Boxing Day Egg and Bacon Pie can be found here 
Mulled wine spices

Ingredients in pan for mulled wine

Mulled wine heated 

Mulled wine laddled

Mulled wine
Mulled Wine, Recipe from How to Be A Domestic Goddess.
1 bottle of red wine
60 ml 4 tbsp dark rum
125ml Earl Grey tea
1 Orange, quartered, each quarter stuck with 1 clove
2 cinnamon sticks
1 star anise
1 tbsp dark muscavodo sugar
1 tbsp honey

Method
Put all the ingredients in a saucepan, bring almost to the boil, but before the aromatic wine actually boils, turn down to the lowest possible heat and keep it warm as you paddle it into any nearby glass.

The lovely people at Spice Kitchen are offering one lucky reader a pouch of luxurious mulled wine
spices. Please follow the instructions on the rafflecopter to be in with a chance.
  • Follow the instructions on the rafflecopter
  • Leave a comment on my blog THIS IS AN ESSENTIAL REQUIREMENT.
  • For additional entries, like my Facebook Page, follow foodgloriousfoodx on Twitter, Add me in Google + and follow Spice Kitchen on Facebook.
  • The competition will run from 13.12.14 - 11.01.15
  • All entries will be checked and verified.
  • Rafflecopter will pick a winner at random,
  • Winners will need to respond within 7 days of being contacted.
  • Spice Kitchen will dispatch the spices.
  • a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Chocolate mince tart

I've never thought of ever deviating from making the traditional mince pie, I remember I a couple of years ago I made Nigella's star topped mince pie. My star topped mince pie looked nowhere as delicate as hers and looked quite sloppy presentation,  perhaps because I am quite heavy handed and have a lack of patience. I really wanted to make aversion of the classic mince pie and after some umming and ahhing between making mincemeat cupcake, mincemeat twists, I decided on making chocolate mince tart.
It was a winner, in my eyes, I love pastry and I love chocolate so why not in-cooperate the to-gether to make a crisp chocolate tart base? Now, for the mincemeat, apparently this is easy to make and like granola once you make your own, you will not go back. Unfortunately, I will never know, well not for this year anyway as the mincemeat, well in fact luxury mince meat was shop brought from Aldi.  I absolutely adored the luxury mincemeat, it was so rich, so moerish, so decadent, it was hard to spread all over iron the tart. After you make the chocolate pastry and blind bake, it is a simple case of spreading on-top of the case. Easy, simple and is sure to go down well with munchkins and grownups alike.
Chocolate mince tart, plus mini tarts 

Chocolate mince tart.

Chocolate pastry rolled out

Chocolate pastry in tin.

Luxury mincemeat
Recipe for Chocolate Mince Tart.

For the pastry
Makes 450g. Preparation time: 10 minutes, plus chilling

200g plain flour
30g coco powder
40g icing sugar
150g butter
2 egg yolks

For the mincemeat
1 jar of luxury mincemeat (I used a jar from Aldi)

Method
Sift the flour, cocoa and icing sugar together into a large mixing bowl. Using your fingertips, rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre and add the egg yolks. Using your fingertips, mix the ingredients together to make a smooth dough.
Turn the pastry out onto a lightly floured surface and form the mixture into a ball. Cover with cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes. Roll the pastry out on a light floured surface or piece of cling film.
Grease your tin, then lift the pastry over rolling pin and lightly drape over the tin. Ease the pastry into position. Trim of any excess pastry outwards over the tin.
Blind bake the pastry for 15 minutes, place a piece of non stick baking paper over the base and sides of the pastry. Bake in a preheated oven 180C/Gas mark 4 for 10-15 minutes, unit the case is just set.
Spread the mince meat over the pastry tart, smooth over the top. Bake in the oven, on the top shelf for around 20 minutes on gas mark 4. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
Here is my chocolate mince tart:

I am sharing my chocolate mince tart into a number of giveaways this month. Treat Petite  hosted by the lovely Kat from The Baking Explorer  and Cakey Boi, this month's theme is anything Christmas related. As you can see, you can also make this dish into mini star shaped tarts.

I am also adding this to Credit Crunch Munch, as I used this jar from last year and instead of throwing out I decided to combine it into this fabulous dish. Also the cost of the jar was around £1 which is super cheap and economical, which helped make this ssh a budget friendly one. Credit Crunch Munch is hosted by the lovely Helen from Fuss Free Flavours and Camilla from Fab Food For All.




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