Monday, 31 December 2012

On the seventh day of Chistmas...

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me... seven swans a swimming.
Six geese a laying, five gold rings, four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree!

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Silent Sunday 30th December 2012

Thai Spiced Pork Stir Fry - Gourmet Garden's Blog Off Cook Off

Gourmet Garden are the the producer of fresh herbs and spices easy for weekday cooking.  Their passion is organically-grown herbs and spices packaged in a convenient squeezable tube that lasts for up to 3 months in your fridge.  They are currently running a Blog Off Cook Off competition where one lucky blogger can win a trip to Australia and a whopping £3000!
Using some of their great range of fresh herbs and spices, I have to develop and make a recipe to be judged by the great Rosemary Shrager.

So here we go - here's one of my entries to the fantastic Gourmet Garden's Blog Off Cook Off competition.

Thai Spiced Pork Stir Fry - serves 2

2 lean pork fillets, finely sliced
1 tsp Gourmet Garden garlic
1 tbsp Gourmet Garden Thai Spices
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp olive oil
Fresh egg noodles
Thinly sliced spring onions to garnish, if required
  1. Place the sliced pork into a large bowl; add the garlic, Thai spices, oyster sauce and brown sugar.  Cover and marinate in the fridge overnight, if possible, or for at least 1 hour.
  2. Remove the marinated pork from the fridge.  Heat the olive oil in a wok or frying pan and add the pork and marinade juices.  Stir fry over a medium high heat for 4-5 minutes until the pork is cooked through and piping hot.
  3. Heat the fresh egg noodles.
  4. Serve the pork over a bed of noodles.  Garnish with the sliced spring onions, to taste.

Chilli Meatballs with a Tomato & Basil Sauce - Gourmet Garden's Blog Off Cook Off

Gourmet Garden are the the producer of fresh herbs and spices easy for weekday cooking.  Their passion is organically-grown herbs and spices packaged in a convenient squeezable tube that lasts for up to 3 months in your fridge.  They are currently running a Blog Off Cook Off competition where one lucky blogger can win a trip to Australia and a whopping £3000!
Using some of their great range of fresh herbs and spices, I have to develop and make a recipe to be judged by the great Rosemary Shrager.

So here we go - here's one of my entries to the fantastic Gourmet Garden's Blog Off Cook Off competition.
Chilli Meatballs with a Basil & Tomato Sauce - serves 1-2
For the meatballs
150g minced beef or lamb
1 tbsp Gourmet Garden garlic
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp Gourmet Garden chilli
2 tbsp olive oil

For the tomato and basil sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 small carton of passata (250g)
1/2 onion, very finely chopped
1 tbsp Gourmet Garden basil
1 tsp Gourmet Garden garlic
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve
Freshly cooked spaghetti
Green side salad
  1. Add all the meatball ingredients (except the olive oil) to a large bowl, mix with your hands and shape into small meatballs (about 6-8).
  2. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the meatballs for 5-6 minutes.  Remove from the pan, set aside and keep warm.
  3. Whilst the meatballs are cooking, fry the onion in a little oil in a small saucepan until soft.  Add the passata, basil and garlic and heat through gently.
  4. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  5. Serve the meatballs on top of the tomato and basil sauce on a bed of freshly cooked spaghetti, with a fresh green side salad.

Chilli Chocolate Ginger Cupcakes - Gourmet Garden's Blog Off Cook Off

Gourmet Garden are the the producer of fresh herbs and spices easy for weekday cooking.  Their passion is organically-grown herbs and spices packaged in a convenient squeezable tube that lasts for up to 3 months in your fridge.  They are currently running a Blog Off Cook Off competition where one lucky blogger can win a trip to Australia and a whopping £3000!
Using some of their great range of fresh herbs and spices, I have to develop and make a recipe to be judged by the great Rosemary Shrager.

So here we go - here's one of my entries to the fantastic Gourmet Garden's Blog Off Cook Off competition.

Chilli Chocolate Ginger Cupcakes  - makes 12

140g self raising flour
115g unsalted butter (softened) or liquid Stork margarine
115g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
2 medium eggs
1 tbsp Gourmet Garden ginger

200g icing sugar, sifted
100g unsalted butter, softened
1 tbsp cocoa powder mixed with 1 tbsp hot water (cooled)
1 tsp Gourmet Garden chilli
12 strawberries, washed and wiped
  1. Add all of the cupcake ingredients to a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer for 3-5 minutes until all the ingredients are well combined.
  2. Divide between 12 large cupcake/muffin cases and bake in a preheated oven (Gas 4) for 12-15 minutes.
  3. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire cooling rack.
  4. For the buttercream; beat the icing sugar and butter for 5-6 minutes until pale, light and fluffy.  Add the cooled cocoa powder/water and the chilli - mix until well combined.
  5. Pipe swirls of the buttercream on top of the cooled cupcakes and top with a fan-cut strawberry.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

On the sixth day of Christmas...

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me... six geese a laying.
Five gold rings, four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree!

Saturday, 29 December 2012

On the fifth day of Christmas...

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, five gold rings!
Four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree!

An Olympic special five gold rings for our successes this summer!

Friday, 28 December 2012

On the fourth day of Christmas...

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me... four calling birds.
Three French hens, two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree!

Thursday, 27 December 2012

On the third day of Christmas...

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me... three French hens.
Two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree.

As a side note, the three French hens symbolise hope, love and faith - three things that a stable family should be built on.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

On the second day of Christmas...

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me... 2 turtle doves!
And a partridge in a pear tree!

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

On the first day of Christmas....

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me... a partridge in a pear tree!

Hope you all had a fantastic Christmas Day - we had a lovely Christmas dinner for a reasonably sized table of 8 (unlike the 15 a couple of weeks ago!).

Best wishes to you on this special day and hope your day has been filled with happiness!

Monday, 24 December 2012

'Twas the Night Before Christmas!

Twas the Night before Christmas Poem

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

Clement Clarke Moore (1779 - 1863) wrote the poem "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" also called “A Visit from St. Nicholas" in 1822. It is now the tradition in many families to read the poem every Christmas Eve. The poem "'Twas the night before Christmas" has redefined our image of Christmas and Santa Claus. Prior to the creation of the poem, St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children, had never been associated with a sleigh or reindeer!

Clement Moore, the author of the poem "'Twas the Night Before Christmas", was a reticent man and it is believed that a family friend, Miss H. Butler, sent a copy of the poem to the New York Sentinel who published the poem. The condition of publication was that the author was to remain anonymous.

The first publication date was 23rd December 1823 and it was an immediate success. It was not until 1844 that Clement Clarke Moore claimed ownership when the work was included in a book of his poetry.

Source -

Christmas Spiced Cupcakes

Here's a recipe for a delicious Christmas-tasting cupcake but without the dried fruit (for those currant/sultana/raisin haters out there!).

Spiced Christmas cake
Serves 12

225g salted butter, plus more for the tin
4 large eggs
225g dark muscovado sugar
330g plain flour, sifted
2tsp baking powder
1tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp ground ginger
100ml whole milk
finely grated zest of 1 organic orange
200g good quality white chocolate, plus more to adhere (optional)
Icing sugar, to serve (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 175C and butter a 22cm round cake tin (or use a heart-shaped tin, 22cm at its widest point, if you prefer). Melt the butter and let it cool. Whisk the eggs and sugar in a big bowl until the mixture holds a ribbon trail for 8-10 sec after the whisk has been lifted. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger. Alternately stir the flour mixture and milk into the egg mixture, until just combined. Add the orange zest. Fold together as lightly as possible. Finally, stir the melted butter into the mixture.
  2. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 50-55min. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
  3. Melt the white chocolate and place into a small piping bag. Snip off the end and pipe hearts on a piece of baking parchment. Leave the chocolate hearts to one side to set, then peel them off the parchment and arrange on the cake, sticking them on with a little more melted white chocolate. Sprinkle icing sugar across the top and serve.
The recipe is for a large cake but I bake it as cupcakes (makes 24) - just reduce the cooking time to about 20 minutes,  Carefully check the cupcakes after about 15 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack and either dust with icing sugar or decorate with marzipan and royal/fondant icing.

These have been baking in my oven all morning for various edible gifts and goodies for my family and neighbours.  They fill the house with a lovely smell - just right for Christmas Eve!

Here's the link to the original article where you can find other traditional Scandinavian recipes.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Cake Crafting Stencil Competition!

Thanks to the guys and gals at Cake Crafting, one of you lucky readers can win a a stencil of your choice from the range available on their website.

Choose from Vibrant Vines, Floral Vines, Trellis, Quilting, Medieval Mosaic, Vintage Flock, Little Tweet, Football, Autumn Leaves, Festive Holly, Merry Christmas, Sensational Snowflakes, Happy Birthday & Faulous Flourishes; all available to view here.  I think the winner will be spoilt for choice!

Don't forget to buy your edible glitter here too!  There's a fabulous range of colours available - something for any cupcake you would ever want to decorate!

Silver Edible Glitter

Have a look at my review here for tips on how to use these great stencils.

Enter via Rafflecopter for chances to win this great prize to compliment your cake crafting kit!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

My word cloud by Wordle!

Just about sums me up really!

Try one yourself at

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Beetroot & Chilli Brownies - Gourmet Garden's Blog Off Cook Off

Gourmet Garden are the the producer of fresh herbs and spices easy for weekday cooking.  Their passion is organically-grown herbs and spices packaged in a convenient squeezable tube that lasts for up to 3 months in your fridge.  They are currently running a Blog Off Cook Off competition where one lucky blogger can win a trip to Australia and a whopping £3000!
Using some of their great range of fresh herbs and spices, I have to develop and make a recipe to be judged by the great Rosemary Shrager.

So here we go - here's one of my entries to the fantastic Gourmet Garden's Blog Off Cook Off competition.

Beetroot & Chilli Chocolate Brownies

Makes 16 brownies, preparation time 15 minutes, cooking time 30-40 minutes.

250g milk or dark chocolate - preferably dark 70% cocoa solids
100g butter
250g cooked beetroot, drained and cooled
3 eggs
250g light brown soft sugar
150g flaked almonds
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1-2 tsp Gourmet Garden fresh chilli
Icing sugar to dust, optional
Freshly whipped cream, to serve, optional
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.  Prepare a 23cm square baking tin by greasing with butter and lining with a wide strip of baking paper - leave two "tails" at each side to help you to lift the brownie out of the tin.
  2. Break the chocolate into squares and put into a heatproof bowl along with the butter.  Place over a pan of simmering water and allow to gently melt, stirring to mix.
  3. Tip the beetroot into a food processor and blend to a coarse puree.  Add the melted chocolate and butter and eggs and mix again to incorporate the ingredients together.  Add the sugar, almonds, cocoa, baking powder and chilli and process until you have a smooth(ish) batter.
  4. Pour into the prepared baking tin and bake for about 40 mintues, checking after 30 minutes, until the top is set and the edge is starting to pull away from the tin slightly.  A skewer inserted into the centre will come out fairly clean but still a bit sticky.
  5. Remove from the oven, leave in the tin, place on a cooling rack and cool completely in the tin.
  6. When cold, remove from the tin using the "tails" and cut into 16 squares.  Dust with icing sugar and serve with whipped cream.

This brownie has a definite warm kick and so the cream serves as a coolant if required!  You can adjust the amount of chilli to taste - 2 tsp was just right for my tastebuds, I wouldn't go much higher though, unless you want a large kick of heat!

I also used home grown beetroot... one of the few sucesses that I had this year with my "home grown trials"!  So, if I can manage to grow a good crop of beetroot from scratch, I'm sure you can give it a go too!

Cake Crafting Cupcake Stencils Review

At the Good Food Show Winter, I had the opportunity to chat to the lovely people from Cake Crafting.  They are a great company who supply all the lovely bits and bobs to make your cakes, cupcakes & cake pops extra special.  From edible decorations and colouring to bakeware and packaging - if you want something slightly different or special, this is definitely the place to look!

I was able to review two different types of stencils - I've been making cupcakes and some larger cakes for years for family and friends, but have never been brave enough to use the stencils which I've seen on the market before.

I've always admired the effect but thought it must be riduclously difficult to do.... well, here's my first attempts at using the stencils and I'm happy to say I was really pleased with the result!

You simply roll the ready-roll icing to your required thickness (about 5mm for the cakes I made) and place the stencil on top, give the icing another couple of firm rolls and dust with edible lustre or shimmer sparkle.  Carefully remove the stencil and voila!  You have a beautifully elegant cake topper!  Cut to size with a round cutter (or heart-shaped cutter would work equally well) position on top of your cupcake and there you have it - a cupcake fit for a queen (or princess, prince or who ever you wish to treat!)

You could also dust a dark chocolate brownie with icing sugar using the same technique.. or just use without an additional colour or glitter to produce and embossed 3D effect to add a stylish touch to a plain cupcake.

The only tip I would give you is to make sure you use plenty of icing sugar on the rolling surface so that your icing does not stick... I found the last couple of rolls made the icing stick slightly to the table top surface and was a bit diifcult to remove.

I only ever really make cakes for school fundraisers and family/friends but these stencils are definitely a worthy addition to my cake-making basket of goodies!  And if I were a professional cake maker - especially wedding cupcakes/favours/etc... these would be an essential part of my kit.

Priced at just £5 per stencil and able to be used time and time again, they are the best value specialist and essential item I would buy.

Have a look at their Facebook page here for regular updates with products and new ideas - your cakes will look better than ever and you will the envy of everyone! 

So there you go, a simple way to make your cupcakes stand out from the crowd - in a good way!

Thursday, 6 December 2012

BBC Good Food Show Winter

Last Friday, a good friend and I ventured out of Wales to The Good Food Show Winter at the NEC Birmingham.  I have been to the Good Food Show Summer during June before and so was excited to see if the Winter event was comparable or not.
Well, I'm pleased to say it was fantastic!  The number of exhibitors was overwhelming!  We entered the exhibition halls and it was definitely bustling!    After a good look around what we thought was about 2/3 of the stands, we turned a corner and found even more foodie stands around said magical corner!

There was lots of different produce on offer... from alcoholic tipples to cheese and nibbles there was something for everyone.  Also, there were kitchen equipment stands, gifts and homewares - you would definitely find something for that hard to buy for family member!  And as a bonus, most exhibitors have special show prices, so it's kind to your pocket too!
And of course, don't forget the many free tasters on offer!
I quickly fell in love with Rubis Chocolate Wine and just had to buy a bottle to bring home!
I was pleased to see lots of Welsh companies and food producers at the show... to name just a few of my favourites - Snowdonia Cheese Company, Toffoc, 9Bar, Brecon Carreg, Celtic Spirit Co, Condessa Welsh Liquers, Gower Cottage Brownies, Rachel's Dairy Ltd and Scarlet Angel Ltd.  
Oooohhhh, so many glittery colours!
 And, there were plenty of cake decoration suppliers, for example Cake Crafting, Cupcake World, Frost and Snow Cupcake Bakery, Renshaw and The Happy Cupcake Company

A quick glance at Gino D'Acampo was an extra bonus too!

So, all in all a great day - but I would recommend flat shoes and make use of the "Shop & Drop" supported by Guide Dogs for the Blind!

Keep the dates in your diary for next year - BBC Good Food Show Summer 12th-16th June 2012 and BBC Good Food Show 27th November - 1st December 2013.

Kwan's Kitchen Chinese Condiment Review

You know the time when you find a perfect dish from a Chinese (or other) restaurant or take-away, then move house to over 100 miles away and really miss those times when you really, really want to eat that perfect dish?

Yes, well so do we!  Moving from a large city with the perfect Salt & Pepper Chicken Wings to my little seaside town is exactly that!  But now, I've discovered Kwan's Kitchen!

The Salt & Pepper spice mix is fantastic!  It is defintely worthy of it's Great Taste Gold 2012 award!  Following the Good Food Show Winter, armed with my small but mighty jar of spice, I made Salt & Pepper Chicken Wings for my husband.  To be honest, he was quite non-commital at first, keen to try it but not overly enthusiastic as "it could never be the same as the one we used to eat"... one bite of the chicken and all was changed...!  He (and I) was very impressed and *did* believe that it is as good as a top Chinese restaurant.... and all cooked in my own kitchen with my own fair hands!

I can highly recommend the condiments from Kwan's Kitchen... here's the recipe for the Salt & Pepper Chicken Wings so treat yourself to a restaurant quality dish made at home for at least half the price!

Salt & Pepper Chicken Wings
Serves 2

8 chicken wings
1 tsp Kwan's Kitchen Salt & Pepper Spice Mix
1 small onion, finely sliced
1 green pepper, deseeded and finely sliced
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 green chilli, finely sliced (optional)

Place all ingredients except the spice mix on a baking sheet with sides.  Sprinkle over the spice mix and bake in a preheated oven (Gas 5) for about 30 minutes, checking the chicken is cooked through.  Serve hot with a side salad and boiled rice.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Warburtons Winter Fruit Loaf Review

Especially for the festive season, Warburtons have produced the loveliest fruit loaf that is "Warburtons Winter Loaf".  It is delicately spiced and smells fantastic!  Traditional seasonal spicy nutmeg combined with cinnamon and a burst of rich fruit pieces is sure to bring some seasonal cheer to your bread bin! 

This delicious loaf is a tasty addition to the family baker's existing Fruit Loaf range, which includes Warburtons Raisin Loaf with Cinnamon and Warburtons Fruit Loaf with Orange. 

This loaf is definitely a festive family favourite in our house - a little bit of everything Christmassy to get you in the mood!

Although it was lovely just simply toasted with a lovely cup of tea, we also used it in an adaptation of a summer pudding recipe.  The recipe is really simple to make- mine didn't quite look like the photograph in the recipe but tasted good enough to pass the taste-test in our house!

Warburtons Chilled Winter Fruit Loaf Pudding with Cranberries
Serves 4, 200 kcal and 1g fat per person.

2 slices of Warburtons Winter Fruit Loaf
1 tbsp dried cranberries
1 cup of fresh cranberry juice
Brandy (optional)
  1. Sprinkle the cranberries in the base of a ramekin dish.
  2. Roughly tear the slices of bread and place over the cranberries.
  3. Mix a little brandy with some cranberry juice and pour over the bread, ensure the bread is fully soaked but not soggy (for a deeper coloured pudding, mix the cranberry juice with a little blackcurrant juice).
  4. Press the bread firmly down into the ramekin.
  5. Chill for 1-2 hours in the fridge before turning the pudding out onto a serving plate.
  6. For that extra Christmas touch, flambe with brandy and serve with brandy butter.
I made the puddings without brandy so that the children could enjoy them too... I also didn't add any blackcurrant juice, although next time I make these I think that I will to enhance the colour a bit better - they were a bit pale without the blackcurrant juice, but still tasted scrumptious!

Hubby's next request is bread and butter pudding made with Warburtons Winter Fruit Loaf (instead of boring bread, he added!).  So watch this space for the next recipe using this lovely Winter Loaf!

For more information on Warburtons products, click here.  Warburtons Winter Fruit Loaf is a limited edition loaf and is available in all major supermarkets for the 2012 winter period.

Spin Mania Review & Giveaway - Drumond Park

Last week we were sent a great new game from Drumond Park - Spin Mania! The aim of the game is to spin three plates on top of three stands against the clock!
Using the motorised "Spinning Machine", you spin-up the three plates one at a time and then using your spin spike, transfer them, still spinning to the three separate stands.

Easy?  Well, it all depends on how tricky you want to make it! For the trial run (not against the clock in our case!) we practised just spinning and transferring the plates to the spin-spikes on a table top. My youngest is aged 5 (just below the recommended age of 6 years old) and he managed fine.

Then, to play the game properly, we had another go! Before the spinning starts, agree where the area of play should be, for example, just in the lounge, dining room or garden (if you're feeling brave in the cold weather). Before each player takes their turn, the other players secretly place the plate stands around the designated area. Try not to make it too difficult though! You can't actually hide a stand, but could place them in tricky places such as under a table or chair.

Then start the timer and go for it! Spin, transfer, find and place the plate on the stand - after the third and final plate, stop the timer and mark the score. The player with the shortest time wins! 

Play can be adapted for different age groups or even team play, involving a short obstacle course if you have the skill! You can even play on your own - perfecting your technique to increase your chances of winning next time!

We all had great fun playing this game - the difficult part for me was keeping a steady hand whilst giggling!  I'm sure the children were causing me a considerable disadvantage by pulling funny faces - no tickling allowed though!

In our opinion, this would make a great family Christmas gift - just make sure you have 2 C batteries in your cupboard... we always have loads of AA and AAA stocked up for Christmas but had to pop out and get some C batteries!  Spin Mania retails at around £22.99 and is available at all good toy and game retailers.  For stockists visit or call 01506 855577.

The great guys and gals at Drumond Park have a copy of the game for you to win, so enter the Rafflecopter below and good luck!!! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Fudgeridoo Christmas Giveaway!

To celebrate the fantastic Fudgeridoo website going live this weekend, I've got a great competition to tantalise your tastebuds!  A quick and easy one this time, not too brain taxing for this busy time of year!

Have a look at my review from earlier this year here... the staff are great and so passionate about their fudge!  They came to our local school Christmas Fair last week selling some fabulous flavours of fudge and gifts.  My sister has actually asked Santa for "just fudge please" for Christmas!

Simply enter the Rafflecopter below and win a "Can't Decide" box of fudge from Fudgeridoo!  A mixed box of 4 different flavours will be sledging it's way to you in time for Christmas... you could gift it it your loved one or (as it's too good to share!) eat it yourself!

Have a look at the other goodies and gifts available on their website - you'll be spoilt for choice!

Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mushroom Risotto - Recommended Recipe!

Mushroom Risotto - serves 4, preparation 15 minutes, cooking 30 minutes

25g dried mixed mushrooms or dried porcini
1.3 litres boiling water
1 tbsp olive oil
10g butter
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely crushed
250g mushrooms of your choice, finely chopped
350g risotto rice
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
30g Parmesan or Grana Padano, finely grated
Handful finely chopped parsley and about 5g butter (optional)

  1. Put the dried mushrooms into a jug, add the water, cover and stand for 15 minutes.  Pour through a sieve into a jug, saving the liquid.  Chop the mushrooms.
  2. Heat the oil and butter in a pan and soften the onion for 10 minutes.  Add the garlic, soaked mushrooms and fresh mushrooms and fry for a few minutes.  Add the riceand balsamic vinegar and stir to coat.
  3. Add a little of the dried mushroom stock and gently stir.  Once the liquid has been absorbed, add some more.  Keep adding the stock gradually until the rice is just cooked.
  4. Take off the heat.  Sprinkle over the cheese and stir through the parsley and extra butter, if using.  Serve straight away.
Per serving - 430 kcal, 10.1g fat, 4.2g saturated fat, 2.7g sugar, 0.2g salt.

Source - The Co-operative instore magazine.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

My Favourite Christmas Songs Of All Time...

Following a tweet earlier on from @crazywithtwins talking about her lastest post "24 Family Advent Activities", I thought... what can I write about that's Christmassy, festive and fun?!

After an opticians appointment and shopping trip this afternoon, we were *supposed* to be coming home to decorate the tree, put up the decorations and make some Christmas cupcakes & cookies...  Well, "fate" had other ideas!  We had finished the shopping, left the supermarket with a HUGE trolley of goodies, got to the car and the key fob decided not to work to open the car. No problem, you would think, just open the car door with the key!  Great.... until the key snaps in the lock!!!!  (Also, did I mention it's raining and there's me, hubby, eldest aged 8, youngest aged 5 and things in the trolley which really shouldn't be getting wet!!!)

To cut a long and soggy story short, clever hubby breaks into the car, manages to retrieve the piece of key from the lock and start the car using the broken bit (pushed into the ignition with the bit it should be attached to!)  So at least we got home, although now the broken bit is stuck in the ignition!!!

Oh well!  We'll worry about that tomorrow!  After I've decorated the tree with the children, that is!  Well, put the decorations on the tree - not the children!

But here's something that has cheered me up.... my top 24 Christmas songs!
  1. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer  
  2. All I Want For Christmas Is You - Mariah Carey  
  3. Little Donkey 
  4. Fairytale of New York - The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl 
  5. Away in a Manger 
  6. Sleigh Ride 
  7. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Frank Sinatra 
  8. Driving Home For Christmas - Chris Rea
  9. Last Christmas - Wham! 
  10. When Santa Got Stuck Up The Chimney 
  11. Do They Know It's Christmas - Band Aid 
  12. I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday - Wizzard
  13. Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree
  14. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! - Dean Martin
  15. Stay Another Day - East 17
  16. Stop The Cavalry - Jona Lewis 
  17. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) - John Lennon 
  18. Walking In A Winter Wonderland - Dean Martin
  19. Frosty The Snowman
  20. Walking In The Air - The Snowman
  21. Wonderful Christmas Time - Paul McCartney & Wings
  22. Step Into Christmas - Elton John
  23. Christmas Time (Don't Let The Bells End) - The Darkness
  24. Jingle Bell Rock - Bobby Helms
And an extra one from my children...
Dymunwn Nadolig Llawen
Dymunwn Nadolig Llawen
Dymunwn Nadolig Llawen
a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda

Llawenydd i chi
a phawb yn y tŷ
Dymunwn Nadolig Llawen
a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda.