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Monday, 23 November 2009

Snowflake Cutters Winner

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Thank you to everyone who entered the snowflake cutters giveaway.

The winner of the random drawing is No 28 - The Cooking Ninja
Send me an email with your address on and I'll get the cutters in the post to you!



Quite a few people asked where they could buy the cutters, if you are in the UK you can buy them from cake decorating shops or Hobbycraft. You can also order them from http://www.cakedecoration.co.uk/

For those in the USA and Canada, you can order from here: https://www.ckproducts.com/home.asp


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This content belongs to Nicisme at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2009 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

A Christmas Pudding Challenge

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If you read any of the UK food blogs, you might have seen a few posts popping up featuring Matthew Walker Christmas Puddings, who kindly sent out their puddings in the hope that we would come up with some new ways to serve it.

I've never bought a Christmas pudding before as I really don't like all that dried fruit business going on in them (and anyway my mum has made my husband one for the last few years) but, I have to say, I've been converted!!! These puddings were soft, moist and quite delicious - and I can think of loads of ways to use them up, my brain is whirring with recipes which I'll gladly trade for Christmas puddings any time of the year!

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I discovered that one of the best things you can do with a Christmas pudding is to turn it into decadent chocolate truffles - after all, who doesn't like a little sweet treat after their Christmas lunch? You can either use some leftover pudding, or use it straight from the container as it's already cooked. My truffles were laced with brandy and coated with cocoa powder or melted chocolate.
I also made some Christmas waffles with the pudding, which would be perfect for a Boxing Day breakfast.

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Matthew Walker is the world’s oldest Christmas pudding maker, creating puddings in the heart of Derbyshire. The puddings contain the 13 core ingredients that were used to represent Jesus and his 12 Apostles, these being: raisins, demerara sugar, currants, glace cherries, stout, breadcrumbs, sherry, vegetarian suet, almonds, orange & lemon peel, cognac and mixed spices. The puddings come in two sizes, 454g - perfect for a family, and 100g individual size.

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I like my truffles dusted with cocoa powder

Chocolate Christmas Pudding Truffles

114g/4oz good dark chocolate
60ml/2fl oz double cream
1 x 100g/3.5oz Matthew Walker Christmas Pudding
1/2 tablespoon brandy, optional
Extra chocolate for dipping (approx 50g/2oz) or good cocoa powder

Break the chocolate into squares and place into a glass bowl along with the double cream. Put into the microwave and heat gently for 1 minute. Stir and continue heating for 10 seconds at a time, stirring after each burst in the microwave until the chocolate and cream has come together. You can also melt the chocolate and cream in a bowl over a saucepan of hot water.

Crumble in the Christmas pudding, add the brandy and stir until everything is combined, leave to cool. When cold, put into the fridge for a couple of hours until the truffle mixture has firmed up.

Remove from the fridge and scoop small amounts out with a teaspoon, shape into balls and put on a plate in the fridge.

Melt the chocolate in a small bowl over a pan of heated water, or melt in the microwave stirring every 15 seconds or so. Leave to cool slightly before dipping the truffles into the chocolate to coat. Just coat 1 or 2 truffles at a time, removing from the chocolate with a fork and place on baking parchment or a silicone sheet to harden.

If you are using cocoa powder to dust them, put a couple of tablespoons of cocoa powder into a bowl and gently swirl the truffles in the powder until coated.

Keep the truffles in the fridge until ready to serve as they contain fresh cream and are best served cold. They will keep for 3-4 days. Makes about 20, depending on the size.

(Printable Recipe)


Christmas Waffles

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I also made some delicious waffles - just add some of the pudding to the waffle batter and stir thoroughly before cooking in the waffle maker according to your maker's instructions.


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This content belongs to Nicisme at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2009 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Snowflake Cutters Giveaway!

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Pop them on cupcakes, large cakes & cookies etc

Recently I made a chocolate Christmas fruit cake, decorated with some cute fondant snowflakes. They were made from snowflake cutters and I've got one pack (containing 3 different sized cutters) to give away. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post, by midnight Saturday 21st November 2009, to be entered into the random drawing, and you could be decorating your holiday cake with snowflakes!

Open to everyone, near and far.

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There are 3 sizes of cutter in the pack

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A bit fiddly, but the plunger pushes them out

Giveaway ends: Now closed
Open to all readers, just leave a comment on this post
Winner will be chosen by random drawing

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This content belongs to Nicisme at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2009 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

My Life in France, by Julia Child with Alex Prud'homme



A while back, Duckworth Publishers, an independent publisher, kindly sent me a review copy of 'My Life in France', by Julia Child with Alex Prud'homme. With Christmas coming, it's just the sort of reading book that would be ideal for a foodie. I had been going to put it on my own Christmas list as an idea for one of my kids to buy for me.

Most of us know Julia Child as the author of the book, 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking', but know very little of her difficult years to get that book published. 'My Life in France' takes us on a culinary journey, from Julia's arrival in Paris in 1948, where she could only muster up a few words of French and had no clue about cooking, to her last days where she recounted her life to her grandnephew, Alex Prud'homme in 2004.

The book is bursting with Julia's adventures and her quest for culinary perfection. She shows unending determination to get her cookery book published in her homeland of America, while capturing the charm of post-war Paris long the way. We learn about her first meal in France, a sole meunière, to her gastronomic obsessions; we see her take her Cordon Bleu diploma and, with the aid of two friends, write her first cookery book.

Julia's life was certainly an adventure, with ups and downs, frustration and stubbornness. She was one of those people that you either loved or loathed, and either way, 'My Life in France' is a compelling read. Throughout the book there are plenty of black and white photographs documenting her life from family snaps to pictures of her on the sets of her TV series. If you are looking for a stocking filler for Christmas, this book has it all!


My Life in France, by Julia Child and Alex Prud’homme
£7.99 / Paperback, 368 pages
Publisher: Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd
September 2009
ISBN 9780715639009

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Parkin for Bonfire Night!

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Happy Bonfire Night!
Hope everyone in the UK enjoyes the fireworks tonight or at the weekend, and stay safe if you are having your own fireworks party!

Parkin is a soft cake that is traditionally made using oats and treacle and is eaten on Bonfire Night. It originates from the north of England and can vary from being soft and sticky, to a drier type in texture. If you can't get black treacle, you can substitute molasses. I perked mine up with some crystallized ginger. You need to make the cake at least 5 days in advance, so that the flavours can develop.

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Parkin
Recipe adapted from The Foody, this cake was the drier type of parkin.

110g (4oz) black treacle
110g (4oz) golden syrup
110g (4oz) unsalted butter
225g (8oz) plain flour
225g (8oz) medium porridge oats
110g 4oz sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons crystallized ginger, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Pinch Salt
1 egg, beaten

Pre-heat oven to 170°C/325°F/Gas 3. Line a 20cm/8" square baking tin with baking parchment.

Measure the black treacle, golden syrup and the unsalted butter into a large saucepan and heat gently until the butter has melted, or you can do this in the microwave if you prefer.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, oats, sugar, ground ginger, crystallized ginger, cinnamon (if using), the bicarbonate of soda and a pinch of salt. Make a well in the centre and pour in the warm treacle mixture. Mix together using a spoon, add the beaten egg and mix thoroughly again.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for between 45-60 minutes, or until a cake tester or knife comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for 15 minutes before removing and placing on a wire rack.

When the cake is cold, wrap in baking parchment and keep in an airtight container for at least 5 days before serving.

(Printable Recipe)

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This content belongs to Nicisme at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2009 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.