The Crazy Kitchen: November 2016

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Monday, 28 November 2016

Have Yourself a Very Merry Copper Christmas

It's December this week, and if you haven't started your Christmas shopping yet it's time to get a move on. I'm feeling pretty smug as I've already bought and wrapped presents for the family, which is a bit of a miracle for me. My aim is to enjoy December as much as possible and really get into the spirit of Christmas, rather than stressing over presents for other people.

Whilst doing my Christmas shopping online I've discovered a new love for all things copper. I've never really been into anything metallic, but this year I am loving anything copper or rose gold. 

I've put together a small collection of ten items that would be perfect if you're looking for a few Christmas gift ideas for yourself or someone else. I've already picked up the star shaped tea light holder for myself, and have my eye on the wall clock and plant pots too.




 photo copper christmas_zpszvthbltt.jpg



  1. Copper stag £5.00 - Primark
  2. Star tealight holder £5 - Wilko
  3. Wall clock £40 - John Lewis
  4. 2 plant pots £8 - Wilko
  5. Cocktail shaker £20 - John Lewis
  6. Helsinki stars bauble £3 - John Lewis
  7. Fruit basket £10 - John Lewis
  8. Copper bauble wreath £8 - Primark
  9. Alarm clock £25 - John Lewis
  10. Glitter candle £15 - John Lewis



Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Cranberry, Clementine & Cointreau Trifle


Christmas is a time for eating and drinking and getting together with family, for more eating and drinking and lots of game playing. Last year the fun family must have game was Pie Face, but I never managed to get my hands on one in time, so this year I've already got my hands on the game that every family will be playing this Christmas - Speak Out. If you haven't seen it you really must watch some videos on You Tube, it's hilarious! 


Back to the food and drink. Every Christmas, for as long as I can remember, my mum has made a trifle. It's nothing posh and it's nothing glamorous, but she whips it up in no time and it tastes great, and there's no jelly or sherry (haven't touched that stuff since I was 14, but that's another story) in sight. 



When I was challenged by Bonne Maman to make a festive dessert that makes use of their Madeleines I immediately thought of a trifle. A boozy trifle. A boozy trifle that doesn't contain either sherry or jelly. There are certain ingredients, flavours and smells that we associate with Christmas, and two of those are cranberry and clementine, and I've included both of those in this trifle, as they go really well together.

Cranberry, Clementine & Cointreau Trifle

You can make the cranberry jam in advance, or if you don't want to go to that trouble it can be replaced by one of the many delicious conserves that Bonne Maman make - Berries & Cherries Conserve would make a great alternative. If you're not using the home made cranberry jam then you may need to add some additional liquid to the Madeleines, as they really do hold the liquid well. There are a few steps to this recipe but as I said, the jam can be made in advance, as can the sugared cranberries. It's then a case of layering the trifle up. If you want to prepare it earlier in the day and refrigerate then I would recommend adding the cream on just before serving.

Cranberry, Clementine & Cointreau TrifleCranberry, Clementine & Cointreau Trifle - makes a 17cm trifle

for the cranberry jam
150g fresh cranberries
300g granulated sugar
cinnamon stick
zest & juice of 2 clementines (you can replace some or all of this with Cointreau)

  • place all the ingredients into a saucepan
  • bring to a slow boil, making sure that the sugar dissolves
  • turn down the heat to a simmer, and simmer for 10 minutes
  • leave to cool fully before removing the cinnamon stick & using in the trifle
Cranberry, Clementine & Cointreau Trifle
for the sugared cranberries
handful of fresh cranberries
equal parts granulated sugar & water (I use 1/2 measuring cup of each)
extra sugar for rolling in
  • place the sugar and water in a pan and stir to dissolve the sugar
  • bring to the boil and simmer for 4 minutes
  • drop the cranberries into the syrup and remove with a slotted spoon onto a cake rack
  • leave for approx 30 mins 
  • after 30 mins drop the cranberries into the syrup again & remove (dripping excess syrup into the pan) with a slotted spoon into the sugar
  • roll in the sugar to coat with crystals
  • allow to dry for at least 30 mins before using
for the trifle
4-5 Bonne Maman Madeleines, cut into cubes
3 tbsp Cointreau (or replace with orange juice)
cooled Cranberry jam
500g fresh custard (either home made or store bought would work)
250g mascarpone
grated zest of 1 clementine
250ml double cream
1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • place the Madeleine cubes into your trifle dish 
  • spoon 2tbsp of Cointreau or orange juice over the sponge 
  • spoon your cooled jam into the trifle dish - you may not need all of it
  • place in the fridge for an hour before adding the rest of the ingredients
  • whisk the custard together with the mascarpone, clementine zest & 1tbsp Cointreau (or orange juice) until smooth
  • spoon into the trifle dish and smooth the top over
  • whisk the cream with the cinnamon until soft peaks form (you could add some Cointreau here too for an extra boozy trifle)
  • pipe or spoon on top of the custard layer
  • top with sugared cranberries and clementine zest before serving
Cranberry, Clementine & Cointreau Trifle Cranberry, Clementine & Cointreau Trifle Cranberry, Clementine & Cointreau Trifle

Alternative ways to use Bonne Maman Madeleines :

Cute Madeleine Reindeer by Here Come the Girls
Alternative Christmas Pudding by Mummy Mishaps



recipe commissioned for Bonne Maman

Saturday, 19 November 2016

WIN a Decorated Biscuit Advent Calendar from The Biscuit Jar

November is almost over and December is hot on its heels, which means it's almost time to open that first door on the advent calendar and stare wistfully at the picture of the robin behind. Thankfully for the kids of today advent calendars have evolved somewhat from those of the 1970's, and they don't know how lucky they are to open the doors of their calendar and find a piece of Lego, Playmobil or chocolate behind! For the adults you can even get calendars filled with makeup, gin or candles too these days - but have you seen the prices of some of those!

I've had a go at making advent calendars myself in recent years and have made a pegboard advent calendar out of twine and pegs for hanging sweets, a fun gingerbread house advent calendar which was a little rough around the edges and even a very cute mini stocking advent calendar, which was a bit more faff than I expected it to be.

This year the kids are in for a real surprise though, as I haven't made one at all (not yet anyway) and instead, as I'm a generous sort, I've splashed out on some £1 chocolate filled calendars for them.

For me though, I have this little beauty from The Biscuit Jar..

Decorated Biscuit Advent Calendar from The Biscuit Jar Decorated Biscuit Advent Calendar from The Biscuit Jar

A decorated biscuit filled advent calendar from The Biscuit Jar, which comes beautifully presented in a tin. 

Decorated Biscuit Advent Calendar from The Biscuit Jar
Decorated Biscuit Advent Calendar from The Biscuit Jar


I can only dream of icing biscuits as well as these.
Decorated Biscuit Advent Calendar from The Biscuit Jar Decorated Biscuit Advent Calendar from The Biscuit Jar

The package comes complete with a length of twine from which to hang your biscuits, with the cute white pegs included. I decided to hang mine across the fireplace (the fire is electric before you start to worry), and needed to overlap them due to the available space, but there is more than enough twine to hang the biscuits straight - on a wall, or around the Christmas tree for example.

Decorated Biscuit Advent Calendar from The Biscuit Jar

Not only do the Biscuit Jar make these, but they also make decorated biscuits throughout the year as well as a selection at Christmas that would be great as gifts and stocking fillers.
The Biscuit Jar The Biscuit Jar The Biscuit Jar The Biscuit Jar
photo credit : FORK & DRAM

prices
Lollipops - £2.50
Small boxes - £8
Standard tins - £15
Large tins - £25
Advent Calendar - £35

contact Rachel via her Facebook page for more details or to place an order

Rachel is kindly keeping one of her popular advent calendars aside for a lucky reader of this blog to receive in time for 1st December. All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning is to complete the instructions in the Rafflecopter form below.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Christmas Recipes with Mincemeat

The Christmas hype is setting in here. Already there has been a letter sent to Santa, and we're in countdown mode, so I thought it was about time that I started to think about Christmas recipes. What better way to get me in the spirit of things than to look through some of my old recipes, as well as finding some new ones on Pinterest.

I've got a couple of jars of mincemeat in the cupboard that I made last year, using my mincemeat recipe so I thought I would put together a list of my recipes that use mincemeat, as well as sharing a few others that I've come across on my Pinterest travels.

Recipeswithmincemeat.jpg

Iced Mince Wreath - Delicious Magazine


If you want to have a go at making Chocolate Mincemeat I also have a recipe for that.

There are many, many more recipes on my 'ways with mincemeat' Pinterest board, so pop the kettle on, put your feet up and prepare to get hungry!


Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Midweek #Miniroast Beef with Mango Chutney

I admit to being one of those people that doesn't crave a Sunday roast (yes I'm weird), although it is rather comforting on a hangover, but only if someone else has cooked it. If I cook a joint of meat it's not always accompanied by the usual trimmings of a roast dinner, and instead I like to serve it up a little differently, and usually in a way that takes less effort and makes less washing up.

Large joints of meat may seem like a great idea, but have you ever been that person that starts preparing the Sunday dinner at 4pm, forgetting that the meat is going to take 4 hours to cook? I have. Regularly.

Mini roasts are ideal for those of us that like to enjoy our day, and not have to think about cooking dinner until the evening. They are also perfectly sized for a couple, or small family, although if you find a larger mini roast (approx 600g) and bulk the rest of the meal out you can make it stretch to a family of five!
Midweek #Miniroast Beef with Mango Chutney

I bought my 30 day dry aged Hereford Beef miniroast from Waitrose, but they can also be found in M&S and other butchers listed in the Simply Beef & Lamb 'Find a Butcher' search.


Midweek #Miniroast Beef with Mango Chutney

This dish is based on a lamb recipe, but worked great with the beef. It's a great family dish and can be served on a platter, Jamie Oliver style, and everyone can tuck in!

Midweek #Miniroast Beef with Mango Chutney

Midweek #Miniroast Beef with Mango Chutney - serves 4/5

600g Beef miniroast
olive oil
salt & pepper 
3 tbsp good quality mango chutney

to serve
pilau rice
carrot salad
mini poppadoms
  • allow the beef to come up to room temperature for an hour or so before cooking
  • rub the beef with a little olive oil, salt & pepper & place into a small roasting dish
  • cook in a preheated 190C oven for approx 30 (for a 600g joint cooked med/rare)
  • remove from the oven and spoon the mango chutney over before returning to the oven for an additional 10 minutes, or until a thermometer reads 56 degrees C
  • allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving 
  • mix a little boiling water into the juices in your roasting dish & drizzle over the beef when serving
Spiced Carrot Salad - serves 4/5

handful of sultanas
3-4 large carrots, grated
tsp cumin seeds, ground
tbsp white wine vinegar
tbsp olive oil
fresh coriander, chopped
2 tbsp flaked almonds
  • add the sultanas to a a small bowl & cover with boiling water
  • soak for 10 minutes and then drain
  • add to a bowl with the freshly ground cumin, grated carrots, vinegar, olive oil, coriander & almonds, and mix well
Midweek #Miniroast Beef with Mango Chutney
Look how moist and tender that beef looks. If you're going to buy a good joint of meat, whether large or small, you really don't want to ruin it by overcooking it, and the best way to avoid that is by using an accurate and quick reading thermometer, like the Thermapen. This reading was taken just before the end of cooking time and I knew that it only needed a few more minutes before the beef reached the perfect temperature for us.
 photo thermapen_zpsymjlqsyn.jpg
Midweek #Miniroast Beef with Mango Chutney

Why wait until Sunday to have a roast! Make sure you look out for the Red Tractor quality mark when shopping for your Mini Roasts, which means it's traceable from the farm.

For more recipes visit Simply Beef & Lamb.

 photo red tractor_zpsflmdnkpo.jpg



post commissioned for Simply Beef & Lamb







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