25 December 2014

Happy Christmas!

Yes, I did play with my food a bit to get this but what fun! I got this box of Alpha Bites on offer but had them this morning and thought could I find enough letters to say Happy Christmas - I did and more as you can see!

Well it is Christmas and I just wanted to show you a bit of what I've been up to lately.  I've been busy the past two weekends baking my socks off as all my presents this year were home-made in some way or other.  I bought only one present that at least was made here in the UK and the rest made by my hands.  I did a vaiation on hot chocolate mix, vanilla shortbread, butter mahagony toffee crunch, and yes, double-chocolate flapjacks (I'll do a posting later on these).  All have passed muster with J (they cannot make it out of hte house until they've passed this tough critic!) and hopefully are being enjoyed with their recipients.

We also took the time to reflect on how lucky we are to have each other and to have what we do that we decided to give locally to the chairty that works around here to provide food and help to families who cannot afford to have a Christmas or life as they should.  We took what we didn't spend on presents and gave them the money to hopefully make it a better time for them.  We also donated to our usual charities that I do each year instead of sending out cards to colleagues. 

I took this picture as J usually makes us porridge at the weekends when it's cold.  It sure does get you going and keeps you going the whole day.  Anyway, a while back I found some flavoured porridge reduced - it was organic and one was chocolate and the other was vanilla/banana flavoured.  I got it like for £0.50p a box so bought a number of them as it was going into winter.  Anyway, we tried them and while they were OK I thought I can do this.  So below is the result of porridge which has 2 cups of oats with 2 heaping tablespoons of cocoa added (this is enough for two - scale up for your needs).  I soak the oats overnight or at leat 15 minutes before cooking - it does make a difference - it comes out so creamy.  I have to say next to cinnamon and rasin this is my next favourite.  Please do try - it really is lovely!
This is a cake by Mary Berry called Cherry Cake.  I made for one of the people leaving work earlier this month.  I had seen it in The Great British Bake Off and looked and sounded so good that I thought I've got to try that recipe. I had to improvise with the self-raising flour as I don't normally buy that kind - but in the end I found a conversion so did that and it came out really lovely - or so everyone told me.

This is a small tree I made out of buttons I had around the house.  I did another one the same in white buttons with green pins - came out cute but forgot to take a picture of it before I wrapped it up as a gift. I thought it came out really cute - and it was so easy to make and put together.  I did a paperback book which I decorated with glitter and pearls.  I've got a picture somewhere - just have to find it and when I do I'll post it.
And this finally is my reduced haul although not all of it as the cheese (fresh mozzerella) and a few other bits were in the fridge by the time I got around to taking the snap.  The lamb roast is Christmas Day dinner (along with reduce parsnips, roasted potatos), the fish and lamb mince are in the freeze for dinner on other days, the eggs - well they always come in handy with a mad baking woman in the house, and the bagels and blueberrys will be breakfast during the days I'm off.  The blueberrys will go into making some corn / blueberry / almond muffins one morning - I'll have to devise a way for the recipe as I tend to just mix it in my own way - measuring is sometimes the last thing I do.  What a way to warm the house.  
Well that's all for the day - enjoy your special day with family and loved ones.  It is after all what the time is about.  Enjoy!


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