Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe

Surely I’m not the only one who loves this time of year.  It’s cold outside and Christmas is on its way.  On Saturday afternoons in December, when all the cake orders have been collected or delivered, it’s nice to curl up on the sofa and either watch a Christmas movie, or read a book.  This year, I have visions of myself reading Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe by Carole Matthews. 

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So, here’s the story…Fay and Danny are madly in love and it’s all Fay’s ever dreamed of. But she left everything – including the delightful cake shop she used to run – to be with Danny on his cosy canal boat The Dreamcatcher. As she soon finds out, making delicious cakes on the water isn’t always smooth sailing! Then Fay gets a call from her friends, a call that sends her back to where it all began, back to where she first met Danny, back to her friends and the Cake Shop in the Garden. And she soon she begins to wonder if she ever should have left.

With Christmas around the corner, she is determined that her friends will have a very merry time, but can Fay really get everything she ever wanted in … Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Night

Christmas…

A cake shop…

A little romance…

Surely, what’s not to like? A cup of hot chocolate in one hand, the book in the other and a cupcake on a side plate, I’m ready and set for this festive page-turner.

 

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Baking again?

During these lockdown days, we flit from the laptop to the hand mixer with relative ease, baking sweet treats and comfort food.  My WhatsApp messages are filled with images of home baked goods, recommended recipes, along with random messages with the latest COVID-19 conspiracy.

Our shopping lists are filled with items such as:

Chocolate chips

Bicarbonate of soda

Chopped walnuts

Sultanas

Yeast

If we can find them in the stores, we are delighted beyond measure (or was that just me, when I managed to find some organic vanilla extract…I was struggling to find this even before the lockdown).

This morning, I set out the vanilla extract, mixed spice and caster sugar on the worktop, I’m not sure what I’ll come up with today, but the family are eager to know what I’ll be making.

Are you baking today? I’d love to hear what you will be baking, or what you have been baking.

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Are you bored of banana cake?

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During these strange times of Lockdown due to COVID-19, we’ve been making do with what we have in our store cupboards, fridges and pantries.  I usually bake banana cake with overripe bananas. Over past two weeks, I have not been able to scroll down my phone or laptop without a proud display of banana cakes, banana muffins or banana bread made by celebrities, friends, family, esteemed chefs and novice bakers.

Let’s face it, I think we’ve all mastered the beloved banana cake. We’ve put our spin on the recipe, so it is now part of our family repertoire, ready to passed on the generations after us. But it’s time to things up a notch.  The days are getting brighter and warmer, so how about making some banana ice-cream?  Here’s my recipe which I have adapted for this lockdown period (please read as: we couldn’t get all the original ingredients from our local stores).  I hope you enjoy making it.  Send me a photo, or add some comments below, once you’ve made it.  Eat and enjoy!

Most importantly, stay home, stay safe and stay well!

Lockdown Banana Ice-Cream

 

 

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Hot Cross buns, anyone?

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Hot cross buns, hot cross buns,

One a penny, two a penny, hot cross buns…

There are many new variations of hot cross buns such as apple, chocolate or salted caramel. But I’m a bit old school, I like the traditional variety with mixed fruit and spices.  Slice them in two, spread them with butter and enjoy with a cup of English Breakfast Tea.  I know that they are available throughout the year, but there’s something very special about eating a hot cross bun on the day that they were made and intended for, Good Friday.

Have you had a hot cross bun today?

Are you making a dessert or pudding with hot cross buns?

Do you remember singing this nursery rhyme?

Happy Easter to you all.

 

 

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It’s what’s inside that counts

Fridays are usually super-busy for me; I’m either baking or decorating cakes, ready for celebrations over the weekend.

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But nothing was going to stop me attending the Krispy Kreme, Magic in the Middle Pop-Up event showcasing the new Original Filled range of delicious doughnuts.

Do you love doughnuts and in need for a sugar rush? Then I know you’ll enjoy this event. As you step in the doughnut domain, you’ll be guided through the history of Krispy Kreme doughnuts, taste the flavour fillings for the Original Filled Doughnuts (I won’t spoil the surprise, but you’ll love it).

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Hang out in the playrooms decorated with a doughnut wall, chocolate drip wall and doughnut decor.

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Check out the chocolate drip walls.

there’s even a doughnut trampoline (I was very tempted to try this), all of which provide plenty of selfie opportunities.

Krispy Kreme selfie

#FridaySelfie

The pop-up is only up and running for two days – Friday 8 March (10am  8pm)  and Saturday 9 March (11am – 6pm) at 5 Great Newport Street. London WC2H 7JB. Nearest tube is Leicester Square and admission is FREE.

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Secret Sip

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To mark FairTrade fortnight, the FairTrade Foundation unveils its first secret hot chocolate salon from 25 February – 3 March.

Inside an east London newsagent, tucked away behind the magazines and snacks, Chocolate lovers are invited to press a secret button that will show a hidden door, that will open and transport them to a West-African themed speakeasy-style cafe.

There are three delicious hot chocolates to try:

  • The Rosine– a delicious hot chocolate recipe with maple syrup
  • The Leocadie– a decadent, salted, vegan hot chocolate recipe
  • The Genevieve – a dairy-free coconut and baobab hot chocolate recipe

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Each creation is named after a real cocoa farmer from West Africa and will be priced at £1.86 – the cost of a day’s living income for a cocoa farmer.

All money raised from the pop-up will go towards funding programmes such as the Women’s School of Leadership in Côte d’Ivoire. The project aims to empower women cocoa farmers in West Africa to become business owners, members of farming groups and leaders in their communities.

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As you sip your hot chocolate, you’ll be treated to some West African jazz, surprise appearances from celebrity ambassadors and the chance to hear the compelling stories behind the cocoa farmers.

The Hidden Hot Chocolate Pop-Up Salon is at 66 Kingsland Road, London E2 8DP.

Take a stroll down the east end, for a secret sip. I should cocoa.

 

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Chin-chin with chocolates

 

ChocktailCocktails anyone? At last, London finally has its own chocolate cocktail bar, in Brick Lane, with every cocktail on the menu based and laced with the good stuff. It’s a wonder we’ve managed so long without one.  The concept of The Chocolate Cocktail Club was created by Holly Brooks and Rachel Wisson; a dynamic duo who have more than a passion for chocolate.

Book a ticket that’ll last you an hour and a half and you’ll receive a classic Chocolate Chocotini on arrival, or just walk in and take your pick from the 12 choctastic menu marvels. The bar is open from the afternoon, but I reckon the real fun takes place after eight (d’you see what I did there?). There’s even chocolate beers and wine on the menu.

Sugar rush or chocolate hangover? This is definitely one for the 2019 bucket list.  The Chocolate Cocktail Club is a pop-up and open until 28 May 2019.

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The joy of sprinkles

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I’m not sure why, but all that pop and colour, just bring out the joy! Nothing beats sprinkles, they have the power to take you back to your childhood, to that happy place.

Happy Friday!

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