How to make Marzipan

Well who'd have thought me of all people, has actually managed to made a Christmas cake. Now for the cake itself I used a recipe off the net which worked and I had a rich dark, moist fruit cake.

As I understand it it's important to 'feed' the cake every few days by making small holes in with a cocktail stick and adding brandy. Well due to one thing or another happening round here I didn't get round to icing it for a good few weeks so for fear of it drying out my cake was fed possibly a little too much; yep a lot of brandy went into this cake 😊 I think if I had a shop I'd need an alcohol licence to sell a slice!

Christmas Cake

So anyway the cake was made and with thanks to the lovely people over at Dr. Oetker the icing was taken care of by way of a ready to roll pack. Well I got so into this cake making lark I even bought me a fondant icing smoother which is necessary for a lovely smooth finish - see I know all the techie bits lol 😉 A cake smoother not only give a nice smooth finish but it ensures the marzipan and icing are nicely sealed with no airspace in between; you may remember I had lessons at the Langham Hotel in London with Cherish Finden no less so I know these things!

Stilton and Pecan - Bread Recipe

Well amazingly for me, I'm still into baking; I seem to have got the bug since the Kenwood Chef Elite arrived. Of course the Kenwood Chef does far more than mix, knead and whisk - so far I've made Banana Bread and a Berry and Chocolate Meringue Wreath. I've also made a birthday cake and a Christmas cake for which I made my own marzipan - check me out. Baker Jan lol

Stilton and Pecan Twist

I'm loving Paul Hollywood book 'How to Bake' and had a go at his Stilton and Pecan Twist. I have slightly altered it though - just don't tell him 😆I decided it would be even better with a mix of white and wholemeal flour.

I must say I know very little about baking but when I read the water had to be cold I thought it was a bit odd. But if you take time to read the beginning of the book (page 13) as I did, there's a very interesting bit about water temperature.

Berry and Chocolate Meringue Wreath

Okay so after my Banana Bread made with the help of my Kenwood Chef, I've since got all tricky and made this Meringue Wreath. Now I understand that for most this probably isn't tricky at all but I don't do baking; simply because I'm no good at it. However, since the Kenwood Chef Elite arrived it's made such a difference as I not only love using it but it makes life so much easier.

Berry and Chocolate Meringue Christmas Wreath

I really couldn't have been bothered with all the whisking needed to produce meringue (too much like hard work and I am lazy) but now I can just put the egg whites in and let it get on before adding the sugar a little at a time and let the Kenwood Chef Elite KVC5100S do all the hard work.

How to Help People in Need this Christmas

For most of us Christmas Turkey dinner is something we look forward to and Christmas is a lovely time to spend with friends and families and eat, drink and be merry as they say.

But unfortunately for a lot of people they simply have very little money and just can't afford to eat properly all year never mind afford a full on Christmas dinner. Then there elderly people that maybe living on their own and don't have any family to help them or perhaps they simply aren't well enough to cook for themselves. Sadly there are also many homeless people having to live on the streets. Thankfully myself and most people reading this won't ever know what that's like; it must be unbearable. But here's how we can all help.

Tesco Christmas Turkey

This year Tesco have pledged to donate £1 for every fresh turkey sold, either instore or online, to help people in need this Christmas. Money raised through the purchasing of turkeys at Tesco will be shared between Tesco’s food charity partners FareShare and The Trussell Trust to help people in need over the festive period.

The initiative builds on the continued support offered by the retailer to local communities through its annual Food Collection (now in it's 10th year), and its food surplus redistribution scheme, Community Food Connection.

Last year, Tesco became the first retailer to pledge that no food that is safe for human consumption will go to waste from its UK operations, and since 2012, Tesco customers and colleagues have donated the equivalent of over 60 million meals to people in need which I think is absolutely fantastic - Go Tesco!

Tesco Charity Partners

How can we all help?
  • By ordering your turkey from Tesco's Christmas turkeys and Tesco will donate £1 to their food charity partners for every fresh turkey sold.
  • By simply arranging to cook one extra Christmas dinner for a neighbour in need.
  • Donating to a food bank - you can find your local food bank here.
  • Many town centres are places that homeless people tend to go to to try and get some money; so how about taking a thick pair of socks to give to them. I'm sure they'll appreciate it with the weather getting so cold and apparently socks are one of the least donated items.  
  • Buy a hot pasty or sausage roll and give it to a person you see is clearly living on the streets. 

You can find Tesco on Twitter @Tesco #EveryonesWelcome

For more information on FareShare and The Trussell Trust click on the links to take you to their sites.


Disclosure:  I received a Tesco gift card to cover my time writing this post and promoting Tesco's campaign on social media. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

New York Skyscraper Burger

New York; the city that never sleeps. I've been to New York a good few times, although not recently, this was a while back in the 90's. It's an amazing place, there's so much to see and do there.

If you've never been I really recommend it and one things for sure you'll be amazed at the skyscrapers; yes obviously they're tall, but they are also interesting as each one is different. I love the Art-Deco style of the Chrysler building, Empire State and the Rockefeller. I've never seen the One World Trade Center which opened in 2014 as the last time I went to New York it was at the end of August 2001.

New York Skyscraper Burger

Having been asked to come up with a BBQ or grill recipe inspired by Thomas Cook Airlines for their 'Where is Hot in' page, I chose New York as I truly love that place and really must go back soon. New York is at it's hottest in June, July and August and with an average flight time from the UK of 7 hours 20 minutes it's not too long to travel to.

Aside from the famous buildings I've already mentioned (and of course there's many more) with Times Square, The MET and of course the Statue of Liberty there's a lot to see and do. From music festivals to outdoor movie screenings in Central Park, the summer months are a great time to experience the huge, diverse personality of this metropolis.

As for the food, oh my goodness there are so many places to eat in New York! Everything from fast food to really fancy restaurants and if you do go don't forget to visit a New York Deli; amazing places full of all things yummy 😋 

Kenwood Chef Elite KVC5100S - Banana Bread Recipe

As you all know by now I do love a good kitchen gadget, so when Kenwood asked if I'd like the Kenwood Chef Elite to review of course the answer was 'Oooh yes please'!

Now I'm not really into baking but of course the Kenwood Chef Elite can be used for so much more than making cakes and bread. But with that said, since this amazing piece of kit arrived I've become all converted and have made a Christmas cake, a Chocolate cake and two lots of Brownies. I'm feeling quite pleased with myself; in fact I'm becoming quite a little baker! 😊

Banana Bread and the Kenwood Chef Elite

There's no doubt about it the Kenwood Chef KVC5100S is a powerful 1200w, variable speed mixer which comes with a beater, whisk and dough hook and it certainly make makes a lot of things so much easier.

Pear Chocolate Cocoa and Coconut Superflake Crumble

Everyone loves a good crumble but if you haven't tried my Pear, Chocolate, Cocoa and Coconut Superflake Crumble you're missing out! 😋 Pears are just coming into season now and are one of the least allergenic of all fruits and so can be enjoyed but most people and they're so versatile too; perfect in a crumble and they go so well with chocolate.

I was recently asked to make a recipe using Cocoa and Coconut Superflakes by Nature's Path. To be honest until then I hadn't tried Superflakes before but I say they make the perfect easy and healthy breakfast and are also healthy and nice and filling too.

Pear Chocolate Cocoa and Coconut Superflake Crumble

Superflakes are made using sorghum flour, black bean flour and brown rice flour which are all made from nutrient-rich sprouted grains. Coated in a little honey and Fairtrade cocoa Superflakes are not only nice and crunchy but are also Gluten free and Organic as are the rest of Nature's Path products.

Stokes Real Mayonnaise - Win a Foodie Trip to Greece for Two

I'll be honest I'd never tried Stokes Real Mayonnaise until the other day when I was sent some to try. In the past I've had a go at making my own mayonnaise but it didn't turn out too good and I've never bothered again.

Although the ingredients of mayonnaise are simple; just a beaten egg, add a small amount of Dijon mustard and a pinch of salt and then there's the oil. The oil has to be very slowly added whilst constantly stirring to avoid it splitting and that's where I went wrong I just don't have patience! If I want mayonnaise I want it like now, so I just buy a jar and be done with the hassle 😉

Stokes Real Mayonnaise

Up until now I always used to buy the same top brand of Real Mayonnaise and didn't think I'd ever be convinced to change but since trying Stokes Real Mayonnaise it has to be said we (me and the husband) both think it is by far the best.

So What Makes Stokes Mayonnaise Taste So Good?
Starting with the eggs, Stokes found a producer farming high Welfare Standard British Free Range hens whose eggs are perfect and can be delivered to meet their strict regime of hygiene and quality. Stokes use the whole egg in their real mayonnaise as the white contains so many essential nutrients and trace elements they decided to use it.

*Read More* for details of the Stokes Real Mayonnaise competition and how to enter!

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How to make Marzipan

Well who'd have thought me of all people, has actually managed to made a Christmas cake. Now for the cake itself I used a recipe off the...

A GLUG OF OIL