Fruit bruschetta and Christmas recipes

platesI love Christmas. I can’t even wait until December to start posting recipes, I cannot contain myself!! A few weeks ago I was sent some bunting by Louise at Illume Designs, and I have been wriggling with excitement about Christmas ever since! I’ll use anything as an excuse to put up bunting, but metallic chevron bunting just seems so festive and Christmas appropriate!

So I’ve spent the past few weeks brainstorming Christmas recipes. And Pinterest has not been short of inspiration.

Blueberry baked oat bowls and breakfast obsession

aboveI ADORE BREAKFAST.

It’s no secret. On days where I’m at work, it pains me slightly to have a measly slice of toast, or a pathetic bowl of rice bubbles. I start work at 7, and I’m not that much of a morning person, so I literally don’t have the time to make myself something epic for brekkie every morning. It’s not that I don’t appreciate toast and rice bubbles…they just don’t knock my socks off.

So on days where I’m not working, I prioritise breakfast. I debate whether I want to make baked eggs or chocolate pear bread.

Or if I want to go to a café and get poached eggs (a personal favourite.) Or grilled peaches on muesli. Or scrambled eggs. Or avocado on on toast…. you get the point.

Chocolate chai cupcakes and a subtle Christmas

sceneI’m ready for Christmas right now. Mother cooked a Christmas pudding last week and filled the house with delicious Christmassy smells. As Christmas draws close, I find it impossible to walk past a bowl full of alcohol soaked sultanas without sneaking a few into my mouth. Sultanas are usually such sad, puckered little things that I’m not too fussed about. Come Christmas, though, I can’t resist their alcohol-bloated siren song.

Sultanas have nothing to do with this post, I just really enjoyed sneaking them out of the mixture! I’m not ready to make full-blown Christmas related recipes thought, it’s still too early, so I’ve made these delightful little cupcakes, which are perfectly festive, but a little understated as well.

Doughnut cakes and delicious sprinkles

side viewI’ve got a thing for doughnuts at the moment. It’s coming into Summer here, and I think I just love the idea of a cinnamon doughnut on hot days. I’m always disappointed with the quality of bakery doughnuts – why don’t they ever taste like they did when I was younger?

I’ve started to wonder whether my standards were lower on my childhood, or whether doughnuts actually did just taste better. I made mini jam doughnut cupcakes recently, which satisfied my desire for crunchy, cinnamon sweetness, but Sunday afternoon calls for something a little bit special. This cake is moist and cinnamony and really sticky! I recommend cutting it with a sharp, thin knife so that your icing doesn’t cling to the knife too much!

Jam doughnut cupcakes and more giveaways

biteThis week I received a little parcel from Bonne Maman. Not only did I get a few jars of jam to play with, they were lovely enough to include some mini jam jars for my readers! The FIVE raspberry jams that I have to give away are in 30g jars, and they’re so cute I actually want to just frame them. To win, all I ask is that you share this post on Facebook to go in the running*. Unfortunately for my overseas readers, I’ll only be able to post Australia-wide…I think customs would wonder why I was trying to send teensy jam jars out of the country.

Simple Sunday cinnamon scrolls

Ever wake up on a Sunday morning craving something super delicious, but can’t be bothered to put loads of effort into whipping up bacon and eggs or pancakes? This is your solution! It’s a little bit hard to resist eating the raw dough when it’s filled with cinnamon butter, but I promise you it is worth the wait. The whole process will take about 50 minutes to an hour to make it from hunger to plate.

I don’t even usually like cinnamon scrolls, I often think they’re too doughy or bland. These little beauties are soft and cinnamon-packed, with the perfect balance of dough and filling. Yum!

Chocolate custard tart and winter weather

It is heater weather at the moment, which is a perfect excuse for me to bake; I love filling the house with warm, delicious smells! This custard tart is delicious served warm or cold, and tastes just as delicious one or two days later…if it lasts that long.

The cinnamon in the chocolate custard gives it a little kick of warmth, which is delightful as the need for electric blankets and heaters increases. Norman is relishing the new heater in our house – he stands so close to it that I worry about him singeing his fur! If Norman was allowed chocolate I’m sure he would demolish this custard tart!

eyesyawn

Chocolate custard tart:

  • 2 sheets ready-made shortcrust pastry (even though I used puff)slice
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • 3 free-range egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 250ml/9fl oz whole milk
  • 100g/3½oz dark chocolate
  • 1 tbsp cocoa
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 250g strawberries

Preheat your oven to 200°C and grease a shallow 26 cm pie dish.

pastryDrape your sheets of pastry over your pie dish so that they cover as much of it as possible. This recipe is probably more suited to shortcrust pastry, but I was craving puff pastry! Trim the edges so and use the excess to fill in any gaps that may remain. Press together the pastry at any point where there is a join. Cover the pie with baking paper and pop it into the oven with either baking weights or rice to weight it down for 15 minutes.

I love my baking weights, I think they’re beautiful!baking weights

While the pastry is baking, whisk the sugar, eggs and cornflour together in a bowl and set them to one side.

Put the milk in a small pan along with the chocolate, cocoa and cinnamon over a medium heat. Once the ingredients have combined turn the heat up and bring chocolate mix to boil. Allow to boil for about two minutes, stirring it regularly so it doesn’t burn, then remove from heat.

Take your pastry out the oven and set it to one side to cool.

Allow the chocolate mixture to cool for five minutes before adding the egg mixture to the pan and returning it to the heat. Whisk the chocolate mixture to remove any lumps and allow it to thicken. Remove the custard from the heat and allow it to cool slightly.

chocolatePour the warm custard into your base, (spreading it out as evenly as possible) and return it to the oven for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop the tops off the strawberries and slice them thinly in preparation for when the tart comes out of the oven. When you do remove the tart from the oven, work quickly, fanning the strawberries out around the tart, making sure each slice overlaps the last one slightly.

strawbs

As you’re doing this, press them into the custard lightly so that they stay in place.

overlaptart

To serve you can glaze with a syrup made from 1 tbsp strawberry jam and ¼ cup water heated over the stove and brushed onto the strawberries, or simply sprinkle with icing sugar.

wholeflowers