Tuesday, 13 December 2011


Sorry in advance to any male readers or those with severe aversion to pink, I just couldn't help but do another pink Christmas post...it's as involuntary as wanting to smack Lee Evans in the face. So sit back and feast your eyes on this little lot (including the gorgeous Skye's beautifully made knitted headbands from her shop 'i am hand-made').

From left-right: Via weheartit.com , i am hand-made , John Lewis, Paperchase, Paperchase, Via weheartit.com , Sainsburys, Via  weheartit.com , John Lewis.

From left-right Sainsburys, Via weheartit.com , Via Etsy, Via weheartit.com , Via weheartit.com , Accessorize , Paperchase, Paperchase, Via weheartit.com

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Ever-so Nice Eggnog Creams

I've got to be honest and say I'm not keen on traditional X-mas desserts like Figgy Pudding, and since I became chef de jour at casa de Jeffs the responsibility has fallen to me to do the pud for Christmas day, and the past few years it has gone well (although we shan't mention the disaster with a Jamie yule log recipe...I'm still bitter).
Last year I made these Eggnog creams and they were yummy and not massively heavy either which you don't want when your so full to bursting with turkey and 'tatoes that you couldn't even wedge a sprout in. So if you fancy something different from the run of the mill Fig-Pud or X-mas cake give these creams a go, you won't regret it.

  • 300ml Double Cream
  • 500ml Milk
  • 60ml Brandy (if you want to make the pud alcohol free skip the brandy)
  • 1/2 Vanilla extract
  • 1 Vanilla Pod
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • 1 Tsp of nutmeg
  • 4 Large egg yolks
  • 110g Caster sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 Sheets of gelatin
  • Electric whisk
  • Around 8 glasses or bowls that will hold around 150ml worth of the creams.
  • Split your vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds. Throw the pod and seeds in a nice big saucepan with the milk and the cinnamon stick and simmer over a medium heat until just below boiling point (Don't boil it!). Take it off the heat and let it all stew away and infuse for about an hour.
  • In a bowl beat together the egg yolks, brandy, sugar, the salt and vanilla extract with your electric whisk (unless your a glutton for punishment and want to do it by hand). Keep whisking until the mixture is pale, stiff and thick. 
  • Next reheat the milk mixture that's been infusing for an hour over a the lowest heat and then sieve it over the egg/brandy mix. Give it a ruddy good stir.
  • Get yourself a clean pan and pour in the milk and egg mix and cook over an uber low hear for about 4 minutes to make your custard which should be smooth and lump free (don't overcook).
  • In a bowl soak your gelatin leaves until they're soft. Ring them out to remove the excess water. Throw in with your custard and give it all a good stir until the gelatin dissolves.
  • Get yourself a big bowl or fill the sink with iced water and pour your custard into another bowl and then place it into the iced water, giving it a stir every now and then until its cooled down and has thickened up, (you don't want it to set).
  • Whisk your double cream until its thickened and peaking. Fold it gently into the cooled custard until well mixed and spoon into your serving glasses or bowls.
  • After around 4hours the mixture will have set and will be ready for the eating...dust them with an arty farty grating of nutmeg and after a couple of glasses of mulled wine try not to let it end up in your lap.
Adapted from Delicious Magazine 2010

Friday, 9 December 2011

Majestic Mulling Syrup

Can you tell I'm starting to run out of adjectives for my recipe posts? The recipe can be used to make mulled wine or cider, although please forgive me for having not tried it with cider since even mentioning the word cider brings back haunting memories of my first ever escapade into alcohol at 13 which resulted in much barfing and eventually being picked up by my dad after my friends exhausted their combined powers of patience and nursing care as as I lay gagging in a bush.

  • 2 Fresh Oranges
  • 2 Cinnamon sticks (I get mine from Holland&Barrett)
  • Small cube of ginger
  • 1/2 Whole nutmeg (You can get packs of whole nutmeg in Holland&Barrett for cheap)
  • 9oz Caster sugar (granulated will do)
  • 6 Whole allspice berries
  • 4 Whole cloves
  • Bottles that can hold around 800ml of the mulling syrup (sterilised, see how here)
  • Very fine sieve
  • Pop a litre of water in a heavy bottomed saucepan (you'll need a fairly big pan). Slice your oranges in half and throw them in with the rest of the ingredients and the nutmeg which you need to grate before adding. 
  • Over a low heat bring the whole lot to a simmer. Make sure all the sugar has dissolved before turning down the heat and simmering for  another 20 minutes. 
  • Leave it to cool down and then strain it.
  • If your not using your syrup right away you need to reheat it all until its hot, then pour into your bottles and seal them shut while its hot.
  • If you want to use the syrup then and there (and why the hell wouldn't you eh?) heat 400mls of syrup with around 750ml of cider or red wine. Perhaps save getting sozzled until after you've put up the tree or risk being fished out of your spruce by a family member.
  • PS. Keep the syrup dark and cool and it should keep for up to 3 months. 
Adapted from BBC Good Food