Christmas Chocolate

This is one of those recipes I end up making most years around this time, it usually starts out as a chocolate fondue with the left overs turned into chocolate truffles.  We’ve never managed to eat all of the fondue as it’s just so rich so I don’t even both making extra unless I want a lot of truffles.


Muti purpose chocolate ganache recipe

250g dark chocolate
125ml double cream
Slug of brandy/rum/whisky or other spirit

In a saucepan, gently heat the chocolate and cream together until the chocolate has just melted – do not boil. Add the booze and stir thoroughly.

You can use it still warm as a chocolate fondue or sauce, cool for a while and use as cake filling or covering or cool thoroughly and shape into truffles. A little goes a long way.

For the truffles you need to keep the mixture cold and work quickly, I use a melon baller but you can roll it with spoons if you’re less clumsy than I am.  Roll the finished balls in cocoa powder, chopped nuts or sprinkles and plonk into petit four cases so they look fancy.  Or just scoff them as you make them and then buy a box of chocs for whoever you were making them for 🙂

Oh dear

i thought I’d try a recipe I saw on Facebook. Cinnamon and sugar coated sweet potato chips. It didn’t go so well. I was trying to work at the same time as cooking and left them in the oven too long. Even the tasty coating couldn’t save them.

At least I was able to eat enough to realise that the idea is worth trying again sometime.

Pico de gallo

I’m having a treat today, loads of pico de gallo to nom on with tortilla chips

It’s a bit on the chunky side, but I like it that way.  If I was making it to share I’d probably make it finer just to be posh.

It’s the easiest thing in the world to make and so flavoursome, it’s even healthy! I don’t know why I don’t have it every day.

All you need is tomatoes, onions, a couple of chillis, a clove of garlic, some fresh coriander and lime juice.  The exact proportions don’t matter, it’s just a case of mixing until you get the balance that works for you. Everyone makes it slightly differently and they all taste great.

Mine has – 12 smallish tomatoes, one small onion, one clove garlic, 2 green chillis, a handful of coriander leaf and the juice of one lime.

Cheeseburger bread

Cut almost all the way through a loaf to make squares about an inch across, stuff cooked seasoned minced beef and grated cheese into the gaps and put in a warm oven until the cheese melts. Yum!  You’d be amazed how quickly a loaf can disappear.
Next time I’m going to use chilli instead of hamburger and top with jalapeños and guacamole.

Cranberry bread

Since I had the oven on for the beer bread anyway I decided to make another favourite – cranberry bread.  This is so sweet it’s more like a cake than a bread but it makes an amazing cheese sandwich

  • Half a cup of sugar
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 and a half cups of self raising flour
  • 1 small jar of cranberry sauce (about 1 cup)

Mix everything together in a bowl. Pour into a buttered loaf pan.  Cook at  175/350 for about an hour.  Remove from the tin to cool – although I’m not very good at that part and end up eating it still warm from the oven.

I’m sure you could swap the cranberry for redcurrant or apple sauce and it would still work.  I’m also planning on trying this with elderberry once I’ve picked some later in the year.

Beer bread

Taking a short break from the essay writing today I decided to have a go at making beer bread.  The result looks rather yummy

It’s so much easier than ordinary bread, only takes a few minutes to mix.


3 cups flour (I used a mix of wholemeal with seeds and self raising)

2 tablespoons sugar

12oz beer

You can also add any flavourings you fancy so mine has some Italian herbs and crushed garlic.  This is completely optional though.

Just stir together – you can even mix in the cooking tin for minimal washing up.   It’s designed to be baked in a regular loaf tin but I wanted mine round so used a cake tin.

Some recipes say to pour over some melted butter, I was running a bit low on butter so used a tablespoon of garlic infused olive oil instead.

Cook for about an hour at 190/375

I’m planning to turn my loaf into a tear apart cheeseburger bread but that won’t be until tomorrow.  It was very hard to resist just tucking in while it was still warm though – I hope it was worth it 🙂


Tomorrow is Gary’s birthday, and since he is a wonderful husband I figured it only fair that he should get cake.  So when he went out to work this evening I got busy and made a gin and lemon cake.  (Just a basic sponge but using gin and lemon juice in place of water).

Then I decided it needed a lemony filling so I had my first ever attempt at making lemon curd.  I didn’t have a recipe so had to improvise based on what I’d seen on TV programmes like masterchef.

I had half a bottle of lemon juice to which I added 2 eggs, a cup of caster sugar and about a third a block of butter.  All very approximate as I didn’t have a recipe.

I whisked everything other than the butter together first then cooked it until it had thickened and then melted in the butter before whisking again.


It looks ok, but I guess I’ll find out for sure whether it’s worked when it’s cooled down enough to taste 🙂