Cornish Sea Salted Caramels

I can’t remember where I found this Donal Skehan recipe for sea salted caramels but glad I took a screen shot of it on my phone as I can’t find it online now. Donal being Irish, the original recipe calls for Irish sea salt but I love the Cornish sea salt so I used that instead. These caramels are soft and chewy so don’t need a warning for those with fillings and make an ideal christmas gifts. The salt balances the sweetness of the caramels and makes them pretty easy to eat.

IMG_0928Cornish Sea Salted Caramels_Small

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Sugar & Spice Candied Nuts

I saw this Sugar & Spice Candied Nuts recipe on the Smitten Kitchen site last Christmas but I had already made all my gifts/run out of time so I made sure to fit these in this year. They are very quick and easy to make but are very difficult not to keep snacking on. I made up jars for friends and kept the left overs for myself for Christmas time but unfortunately polished them off today on the first day of my 2 week holiday. Oops!

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Tuna Cat Treats

I’m still alive! Sorry I’ve been so rubbish on the blogging front, I’ve been quite stressed recently with work and that and the never ending list of jobs to do on the house seems to have stolen my mojo and got me quite down. I also had a few baking disasters that didn’t turn out quite as planned so haven’t made it here yet (curses gas oven).

I’m trying to get into the Christmas swing and planning my edible gifts. Strictly these aren’t Christmas cat treats and to be honest I made them to try and bribe the two cats I rescued last month into being more friendly but I’m sure a jar under the tree wouldn’t go a miss with the felines in your life! The recipe comes from the marvellous Joy the Baker.

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Mini Egg Chocolate Slab

Post move my mac has decided it’s full. Despite having no photos on the HD it seems to think it has over 3GB of the swines. I have had to sacrifice a whole series of New Girl just to open Photoshop and everything is painfully slow. It took me less time to make this mini egg chocolate slab than it did to edit the shots! It makes a great alternative to Easter eggs. I love Hotel Chocolat’s slabs so thought I would have a go at making my own in the run up to Easter. Super easy to do and a fraction of the cost of shop bought eggs.

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Baileys Irish Cream Marshmallows

They say ‘when life gives you lemons, make lemonade’, I say when your landlord serves notice on New Years Day, make Baileys Marshmallows!

I had intended this to be a post aimed at those wishing to thank Christmas or NYE party hosts for a wonderful gathering in an alternative and ‘light to post’ manner but discovered these are so quick and easy to make (I managed it on 2 hrs sleep…. I was lying awake worrying where I will put all my board backgrounds and props come Spring) and are also great when you are feeling a bit sorry for yourself. I saw this recipe for Eggnog marshmallows over the holidays and tweaked it for Baileys as thats what I had left after Christmas but you could also use bourbon, rum, kahlua, advocaat etc depending what dregs you have left!

You will require a sugar or responsive digital thermometer to make these and preferably a stand mixer unless you have great arm strength for 10 mins using a hand held!

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Parmesan, Chilli and Rosemary Biscuits

Due to poor planning on my part these Parmesan, chilli and rosemary biscuits from Jo Wheatley’s fabulous book Home Baking don’t look like a show stopping Christmas post to end 2014 on but they are certainly very moorish and would make an excellent addition to the Christmas buffet table or as part of a hamper. They are supremely cheesey and almost like a savoury shortbread in texture. All that’s left for me to say is eat, drink and be merry this festive season and I will see you in 2015 with more recipes and photos.

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Whisky & Ginger Truffles

These whisky and ginger truffles make an excellent homemade Christmas gift and are pretty easy to make, save from covering yourself in melted chocolate as you roll them into balls! I sadly also found out last week that they are extremely comforting after I had to say goodbye to my faithful feline friend Erin. Her final vets bill will no doubt result in everyone getting homemade gifts for Christmas this year and possibly 2015……..

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Apple & Walnut Chutney

This apple & walnut chutney was a hit last Christmas and I am very behind with the edible gift preperations this year so it’s making its second appearance in the hampers! I’m not really getting into my usual Christmas spirit but had to get a wriggle on with chutney making so that it had time to mature before the festive season hits. This one is great with cheeses and cold meats too. I will bring you the recipe for the savoury biscuits shortly.

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Chocolate Macarons

My workmate Selwyn recently wowed everyone in the office with her amazing chocolate macarons; a surprise raspberry hidden in the centre amongst the chocolate ganache. I immediately demanded her recipe and have spent a good few weeks tearing my hair out every time I removed batch upon batch of wrinkly chocolate biscuits from the oven but finally my tenacity paid off and I seem to have cracked it! I’m not entirely sure what ‘it’ is in the mastering of macarons but it seems my oven is uneven in its distribution of heat and so a few crinkles are still evident on the biscuits at far flung corners of the baking trays but they all taste the same.

In my research I found some very useful templates courtesy of http://www.puregourmandise.com to place under your baking parchment to get uniform piped circles. Click here for small 3.5cm templates and here for medium 5cm templates. I discovered these saved time drawing round a shot glass and you can just slip the template out after piping and reuse.

Chocolate Macarons

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