CherrapenoBannerJPEG 750

Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Goodbye 2008!

Just a few hours to go until we ring in the New Year!
I have really enjoyed blogging this year and have chosen a favourite recipe from each month to look back on.

January - Christmas isn't Christmas without a squidgy chocolate log.
Squidgy Chocolate Log 2314

February - I discovered these cranberry and white chocolate cookies.
cranberry white chocolate cookie 2388

March - I made my first macarons!
Coffee Macarons with Nutella Cream 2725

April - my all time favourite muffin!
Oaty Bran Muffin 3389 R

May - one of my husband's favourites, malt loaf.
Malt loaf 3569

June - I can't forget that these little beauties won me a signed book. It's my kids favourite cappuccino cupcakes.
Cappuccino Cakes 3471

July - this is summer on a plate, summer berry mille feuille.
Summer berry mille-feuille 3862 b

August - we had so much rain this month, but still managed to feel summery with easy, delicious frozen meringue creams.
Frozen Meringue Creams 4445 R

September - a delightful bruschetta, fit for any party.
Balsamic tomato bruschetta with grilled blue cheese 3728 R

October - I was so glad to find this recipe for chocolate and pistachio wedges!
chocolate and pistachio wedges  4724 R

November - if I had to choose my favourite recipe of the year, it would be these Toblerone chocolate pots.
Toblerone Chocolate Pot 5260b R

December - you're probably sick of this photo by now, it went all round the blogosphere and got the most hits that this blog has ever seen (almost 5,000 in one day). Yep, it's those pesky melted snowman cupcakes!!
snowman cupcake 5342 R

I wish you all a Happy & Peaceful New Year!


This content belongs to Nicisme at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2008 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.

Friday, 26 December 2008

Merry Christmas 2008!

IMG_0041 c

Hope you all had a lovely day! Ours was brilliant, and the best thing? Everyone was well, not a cough or sniffle to be seen!

For the mince pies, I used a jar of the mincemeat that I had left over from last Christmas.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

This content belongs to Nicisme at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2008 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Triple Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies

My list of recipes to make from food bloggers is multiplying quite happily. I know I keep saying "I must try this" or "I'm definitely making that", and I have the feeling that I'm not the only one!
Sometimes you see a recipe that you have to make immediately. If not, you go to bed only to wake up at 4.00am to go through the cupboards one more time just to double check that you really haven't got that one particular ingredient required.
There are some recipes that you can take your time with and make a few changes to suit your own tastes.
Then we have the ones that you have to save for just the right moment, a special occasion or for the holidays.

chocolate christmas pudding cookies 5678 R

I have waited patiently for a year to make Rosie's adorable Christmas pudding cookies, and then I made them twice! I made a few small changes to her recipe. The main part of the cookie is almost the same, only much smaller - 2" instead of 4". The white icing was replaced by white chocolate, and I really wanted to use some red mini M&M's for the berries, but couldn't find any. I've renamed them and I hope Rosie won't mind!

chocolate christmas pudding cookies 5655 R
Ready to be adorned with holly

Triple Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies, Inspired By Rosie
Recipe adapted from Rosie Bakes a 'Peace' of Cake

150g (5 oz) self-raising flour & a little for dusting
25g (1 oz) cocoa powder
100g (4 oz) butter, cut into small cubes
75g (3 oz) soft brown sugar
Few drops of vanilla extract
1 egg, beaten
75g (3 oz) Mayan Gold Green & Black chocolate, or any dark chocolate
75g (3 oz) Cadbury’s chocolate mini buttons, from the baking section in a supermarket, or any chocolate chips

Using a food processor, chop the Mayan Gold chocolate (or dark chocolate) into small pieces, remove from processor and put to one side.

Into the same processor, add the flour, cocoa powder, cubes of butter, sugar and vanilla extract. Pulse until you have a fine mixture. Add the chopped Mayan chocolate and the egg, then pulse until the dough comes together. Remove the dough. wrap in cling film and place in the fridge, for at least an hour to firm up until you are ready to roll it out.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.

Lightly dust a work surface with a little flour, unwrap your dough and roll out to about 5mm (¼ in) thickness. Cut out rounds with your cookie cutter and place on a baking tray that has been lined with baking parchment. You can use up all the scraps by re-rolling them. Push the mini buttons or chocolate chips into the dough to resemble currants, I only put them onto the bottom half of the cookies.

Place into the oven and cook for between 10-15 minutes, you want them just browning. Leave to cool for about 5 minutes on the baking tray before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

For The Christmas Decoration
Roughly 4-6 oz good white chocolate
Some ready-to-roll icing or fondant, coloured green
A tube of red icing for the berries, or use red mini M&M's if you can find them
A tube of white icing to stick the leaves onto the cookies

Melt the white chocolate and carefully spoon it over the cookies. You want the chocolate on just one side and it should only cover the top half, above the chocolate drops/chips. Place onto a wire rack to harden.

Roll out the green icing/fondant and cut out holly leaves with a cutter. Leave to harden.

To Assemble
Using a tiny drop of the white icing from the tube, stick the holly leaves onto the white chocolate.
Place 3 small drops of red icing near the leaves, to resemble the holly berries.

(Printable Recipe)

Eat chistmas cookies logo

These are headed over to the brilliant Food Blogga's Eat Christmas Cookies, being hosted by Susan. Don't forget that the page is being updated as the entries come in, so check them out!

chocolate christmas pudding cookies 5275 R
Waiting for white chocolate

Some other Christmassy cookies on this blog:
Cranberry and Pistachio Biscotti
Pecan Pie Cookies
Chocolate and Pistacho Wedges
Cranberry and White Chocolate Cookies
Chocolate Caramel Nuggets
Macademia and Ginger Fingers


This content belongs to Nicisme at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2008 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Winter Cranberry Cupcakes

snowman cupcake 5342 R

My mum must get so fed up with me. Whenever I pop over to see her, I always take a peek through her cookery books. She has quite a few that I don't have, and some are very old. Just after Christmas last year, I noticed that she had an old Sainsbury's magazine on the coffee table. It had some really good ideas in it and I thought these little snowmen cupcakes were quite cute.

snowman cupcakes 5317 R

The cupcake mixture was not from the magazine. Instead I used a standard Victoria sponge recipe and added dried cranberries and Clementine zest to the mixture. You can substitute your favourite cupcake. These make great Christmas cupcakes and have been nicknamed 'melting snowman' cupcakes.

Cranberry CupcakesMakes approx 7-8 medium sized cupcakes

100g/4oz unsalted butter, softened
100g/ 4oz vanilla caster sugar (or use ordinary granulated sugar)
2 large eggs
100g/4oz self raising flour
100g dried sweetened cranberries
Finely grated zest of 1 Clementine

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy - I use an electric hand whisk.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding a little flour with each egg.

Gently fold in the rest of the flour, followed by the dried cranberries and the Clementine zest. Spoon into well greased muffin cups or paper cupcake cases.

Bake for 18-20 minutes until springy to the touch. Remove from tins and cool on a wire rack.

When cool, top with white icing and decorate.

Snowman Decoration
There have been a lot of questions about the icings I used for the snowmen.
I used two different types, a ready made one (fondant in the US)
and some runny icing that was made with icing sugar (powdered sugar in the US) and water.

You will need:
Some ready-to-roll icing or fondant - I used Regalice
Orange food colouring paste to colour some of the ready-to-roll icing orange for the noses
A tube of black icing for the eyes and buttons
Some red Smarties or M&M's for the hat
A couple of cups of icing sugar (powdered sugar) for the bit directly on top of the cupcake

For the head, roll bits of ready-to-roll icing/fondant (I used Regalice) into small balls which are roughly the size of a cherry tomato. Make some smaller balls for the hats.

Using orange food colouring paste, colour some ready-to-roll icing for the carrot noses and score them with a sharp knife to make them look like carrots. You also want a tube of black icing for the eyes/buttons, and some red Smarties or M & M's for the hat.

Pour a couple of cups of icing sugar (powdered sugar) into a bowl and stir in some cold water, a little at a time until you have a spreadable icing - don't make it too runny.
Spread or spoon this onto the cupcake.

Pop on the head and use a little of the icing (the one you made up) to glue on the Smartie, hat and nose. Use the black icing tube for the eyes and buttons.

(Printable Recipe)

snowman cupcakes 5622 R


This content belongs to Nicisme at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2008 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.

Monday, 1 December 2008

BBC Good Food Show - part 2

For all of you who didn't get to go to the BBC Good Food Show this year, here are a few of the stands to tempt you for next year!

Good Food Show Miele Vaccum
Not food, but I wouldn't have been there myself if I hadn't been invited by Miele, the kitchen appliance specialists. This photo is from Forever Better, as mine was a bit blurry.

Good Food Show 5436
Look at these beautiful olives, makes me wish for summer!

Good Food Show 5563
All the spices you could want

Good Food Show 5551
Gourmet cooking sauces and seasonings

Good Food Show 5549
Fabulous sea salt

Good Food Show 5548
One of my favourites, ginger

Good Food Show 5487
Anyone for pink bubbly?

Good Food Show 5439
A range of spirits, oils and vinegars

Good Food Show 5413
Different flavours of liquorice

Good Food Show 5406
Very popular - Munchy Seeds

Good Food Show 5422
From the Smokehouse

Good Food Show 5425
You don't need to go to France anymore to buy smoked garlic

gfs 5428
Great selection of sauces, jams and chutneys

Good Food Show 5498
Watch young chefs in action as they compete for The Gordon Ramsay Scholar Award 2008

Good Food Show 5501
What are the young chefs cooking?

Good Food Show 5510
A cooking demonstration by Sophie Mitchell

BBC Good Food Show 5528
I meant to put this photo into part 1, it's the food bloggers on the stage of the Supertheatre. We are checking out the latest kitchen appliances from Miele

Saturday, 29 November 2008

An Invitation to the BBC Good Food Show - part 1

Food blogging does have its occasional perks, the odd product to sample, a cookbook to review, or (and this is the foodie's dream) a day out at the Birmingham BBC Good Food Show courtesy of one of their sponsors, kitchen appliance specialists, Miele.

GFS 5580

I was up at 5.30 in the morning to meet other food bloggers that had been invited by Miele. We were met by Colin and Molly from Forever Better, Juliet from 1000heads and Kaz from Miele, for a VIP day at the show.

GFS 5456
Molly, Colin and Kaz

We had plenty of time to wander around the stands, checking out the latest cookware, new food/drink ideas and kitchen inventions.

It was wonderful to meet up with other British food bloggers. We laughed and, (unsurprisingly) ate and drank our way through the day. These were the other food blogging guests:
Becky - Girl Interrupted Eating
But, onto the highlights! A fabulous VIP lunch behind the scenes with the top brass from Miele, which included top chef James Martin doing a private book signing. It was followed by superb seating in the Supertheatre to watch James cooking a 3 course dinner.

While we were having our lunch, there was a plasma screen in the room showing the happenings from the Supertheatre, and guess what? He was actually cooking something from MY blog!!! No, really!
Well, ok, it was one of his own recipes, but you can see my version here, Strawberry Cream Cake, minus the spun sugar which is the thing that James is famous for! (I am going to give the sugar another go James, I promise! ;-)

strawberry cream cake 1
What are those dollops on top?

Afterwards, there was plenty more time to see the rest of the stands and buy foodie goodies to take home. A few of us even managed to squeeze into the Gordon Ramsay show, comprising of great cooking and very little swearing.

I must have been the last one to leave, security had to drag me out of there. It was raining and dark, it took me nearly 4 hours to get home, but was I bothered? Nah! I'll go to bed dreaming of James for many a night to come.

Thank you Miele, Forever Better and 1000heads!

GFS 5430 b
Sam and Katie, doing what food bloggers do best - eating chocolate ice cream for breakfast of course!!

GFS 5481 b
Where the heck are we?

GFS 5460
Got to have some food in this post, so here's my starter

GFS 5464
Katie's starter

Ooops, SORRY! Too busy chatting and forgot to take photos of the rest of the meal!

GFS 5475
Busy, busy, busy - James doesn't come up for air...

GFS 5470
Yep, that's me, the photogenic one, lol! (And um, what's his name again?)

GFS 5478
Me, Katie and Molly, proudly showing our off our books

GFS 5479
If you are going to the show, you don't get to see this - the room directly behind the stage where the prep goes on - I'm gonna be in trouble for taking this one.....

GFS 5480
Side view of the stage. I've really done it this time, I was told "photos not allowed, no, no, no!"

GFS 5536
We weren't even allowed to take photos inside the Supertheatre, but Gordon said it was OK with him, so one last sneaky one.

GFS 5566
It's to me, it's to me!!!

GFS 5578
Thank you Miele!

Coming shortly, part 2 - a tour of some of the stands.