Festive Food Delights 1

I haven’t forgotten about you oh little blog! The pace and pressure of fourth year is well and truly under way, but I’ll always have time to squeeze in a post. 
If mentioning the C-word [Christmas] was frowned upon in previous weeks, I feel I can freely shout it from the rooftops now, as advent begins next Tuesday! My Christmas playlist is currently playing, I’ve just had a nosy at Paperchase’s divine decorations collection, and the temperature outside is plummeting, pronto.

All in all then, I feel my first festive themed post is due; a neat round-up of the recipes I’m wishing I was making, and dreaming I was eating. This week’s recipes have gone all out, rum-lit blazing, and are stupendously gluttonous. Put away the spiraliser til at least January 2nd, pop the chia seeds in the pantry, and treat yourself to some of these delights I’ve handily collated for you:

Breakfast


Maple Pecan Cinnamon Rolls – Bakingdom.com

Christmas Dinner

Stuffing

Christmas Pudding

  • Classic Christmas Pudding Only in the last two or three years have I truly enjoyed Christmas pudding. If you use a great recipe and good quality fruits, the dry mouth and overwhelming richness will be a thing of the past.
  • Celebrity Chefs’ Recipes Check out Eliza Acton’s and Nigel Slater’s for the 5/5 rated recipes.
pssst. Next week’s post includes healthier + vegetarian alternative pudding recipes

Classic Christmas Pudding – BBCGoodFood.com

Alternative Desserts


Mincemeat 


Soups

Leftovers


..And if in doubt, shovel everything into a large bap and have pop the dishes in the sink for soaking.

Roast Chicken With Maple Syrup, Figs and Farro – Telegraph.co.uk

Round-Up Lists:

Keep your eyes peeled for posts on healthy alternatives and beverages guaranteed to warm the cockles of your heart..

TTFN, P x

An Ode To The Carrot Cake

Ohhh carrot cake. Creamy, chunky, crumbly, captivating creation. A perfect blend of spices, fruit (vegetable) ‘n’ nut, and when the amount of buttercream (NOT marshmallow frosting) is just right, oh you are a thing of such beauty.

Are you my most favourite type of cake? I do love cake. But possibly, probably… I adore the variations of chocolate cake and Victoria sponges but the buttercream just gets to me. And I’m pretty sure my body is 90% cinnamon due to hasty porridge toppings in the mornings.

Growing up, my mum always used one recipe, and one only. Good ole Delia Smith from the pages of a well used and well loved, super thick recipe book. Carried out correctly, the cake will blow your mind.

When it comes to the public domain and coffee-shops/cafés/shop-bought offerings, who tips the top?

John Lewis, without a doubt. To be honest if Delia’s was plated up next to JL’s I honestly don’t know who would win.

The thing about the John Lewis coffee-shop’s cake is that it really does look, feel, smell and taste properly homemade and handmade. There are copious amounts of icing – on top and sandwiched (the two is an absolute must), and the nut to sultana to sponge ratio is just divine. As a membership card owner every so often I’m entitled to a FREE cake and hot drink, and there is a chance that nothing else can rival the kind of happiness this gives me. Each time I visit I choose the carrot cake. Except once I tried the chocolate, and although it was good it wasn’t phenom. I’m sorry I ever left you CC.
This is what it looks like:

My first experience. Forever in my heart. With a latte on de side
My most recent experience with an artery-clogging hot chocolate. (But worth it)


As for Delia; since the book’s publication she has continued to amend the recipe to create the most majestic it can become. Her most recent adaptation and something that “has reached its all-time peak – this one has been unanimously voted the best ever,” can be found here: 

Print version here.

And these lil beauties are mine and mum’s attempts:

Mum’s offerings last Easter of Carrot Cake AND Vicky Sponge. What a treat.
 A lil somethin’ I made for the cook who works in the community centre I volunteered at in the summer. (Thank goodness) she loved it!
I could swim in buttercream.

So how about you? Do you think you have any recipes that could possibly rival Delia’s? I don’t eat out all that much, so haven’t tried every single carrot cake in the major coffee-shops, so maybe you could nudge me in the direction of somewhere in the market that just whips JL’s tush? 

TTFN P x
I now need a slab of carrot cake pronto. Hm, maybe make that the whole thing.

Beat the Winter Blues

Despite all of the brilliant and beautiful things winter can bring, sometimes the dark mornings, even darker evenings and general chill and lacklustre of the season can all get a little bit too much.

Here’s a checklist to keep you on tip top form:

  1. Make a hot drink – whether it’s as simple as a cup of tea, the treat of a teaspoon or two of sugar, or something all the more glamorous of a coffee-shop cappuccino or hot chocolate with all the trimmings; physical warmth can make such a difference.
  2. Go on a walk – even if it’s a walk to the bottom of the street and back again, or with a rucksack filled with picnic treats ready for a good hike; breathing some fresh air into those lungs and soaking up some vitamin D will do you the world of good. Getting out of the house, seeing other people going about their lives, and observing nature around you can take your mind off any worries or concerns, even for just a few minutes.
  3. Read a book – not just any old book, if you’re at school or uni and life is constantly consumed by required reading and scouring references for essays, take time to find a “pleasure” book, something you want to read and will transport you to a place so far from your current situation. Instead of spending the last 20 minutes before bed scrolling through social media, read a few pages of your favourite novel – there! No excuse 😉
  4. Make contact – with the ones you love. Sometimes it’s so easy to get holed up in your personal problems and feeling alone that you forget you can get help. It’s as simple as Skyping your mum, texting your best friend, or just knocking on the door of your flatmate for a little venting session and getting it all off your chest. You’re not alone, and a chat with your nearest and dearest can mean the world – to both of you!
  5. Take an excursion – maybe that meander around your local park left you yearning for more? Go on a day trip and explore somewhere new. If you don’t live near the coast, catch a train to the seaside and inhale the salty, fresh air. Collect your favourite pebbles, shells and postcards. Maybe exploring another city is more your thing where you can lose yourself in a new and exciting metropolis. Treat yourself to lunch out at the no.1 spot on TripAdvisor, get lost in the maze of a museum or wander around the various sight-seeing hotspots.
  6. Bake a cake – a lemon drizzle cake, 12 cupcakes with the thickest buttercream, carrot cake, death-by-chocolate cake, flapjacks to nibble, shortbread to dunk. The smell of homebaking is one like no other. Create something from scratch, try a new recipe, and put all of your focus and mind into making something truly scrumptious.
  7. Do all of the above whilst blasting the most feel-good, endorphins-endorsing, grin-inducing, loudest soundtrack you can curate. Think grrrl power: Queen B – Crazy In Love, CRJ – Call Me Maybe, La Roux – Bulletproof, Natasha Bedingfield – Happy, Gabrielle – Sunshine, TLC – Pure Shores. And one for the guys: Rick Astley – Never Gonna Give You Up


What are your quick pick-me-ups after a rubbish day or when you’re feeling the gloom of winter? What about ideas on a grander scale? 


TTFN P x

ps. If you’re feeling the winter blues extra hard this year, and seek medical advice, these Seasonal Affective Disorder websites may provide some help : ) http://www.sad.org.uk/  http://www.sada.org.uk/