Oh my goodness, we’ve made it. It’s Christmas Eve and Blogmas is nearly over! I don’t know how to feel about that, but I’m not giving myself any time to think about it yet because last minute Christmas preparations are well and truly underway and I feel like I’m already about 6 hours behind on what I’d planned to do!
Fuelled by almond croissants and homemade sausage rolls, I have been essay writing, preparing vegetables for tomorrow, and I need to do some tidying as well. I’m hoping to get a few more Christmas films in this evening, and of course, start eating my body weight in chocolate! That’s what Christmas is for, right?
But the highlight of my day so far has been these homemade sausage rolls. My grandma definitely makes the best sausage rolls, but hopefully mine come up as a close (ish) second. They were so easy to make, particularly because the pastry and sausagemeat came ready made. I just rolled out the puff pastry, spread some onion chutney on the bottom, put the sausagemeat (which came with almonds and apricots in) on one half of the pastry and used the other half to seal it all up. I brushed it with some beaten egg, and put it in the oven for 20 minutes. Ta da! The perfect Christmas treat.
It feels strange to say, but that’s it for today and for my Blogmas- I hope you’re having a wonderful Christmas Eve and I hope you have the most amazing Christmas Day and New Year- I can’t wait to see you again in 2019!
In my quest to do as many Christmassy things as possible within the next 3 days, today I thought I could try and make a new tradition. I’ve seen these delicious looking Chocolate Torrones all over my Pinterest feed; it looks like a block of chocolate with whole hazelnuts in, what’s not to love?!
So I thought I would try and make one of these this afternoon. In my head, I thought this might be something I could incorporate into my yearly festive traditions, I could make one of these every year and it could be a centrepiece on our Christmas table.
To cut a long story short, it didn’t quite turn out like that. I started off well, I had all my ingredients ready and things were going smoothly- I was melting chocolate, using it to line a loaf tin to get the signature Torrone shape, and everything was going well. But whilst I was melting my chocolate, with my festive music on in the background, I completely forgot the tray of hazelnuts I was roasting. As soon as I opened the oven, a smell that reminded me of burning popcorn filled the kitchen, as well as a thick cloud of smoke.
So that was the first mishap. The second one came soon after, when I’d put the tray of half burnt hazelnuts on top of the stove whilst I was trying to work out how to salvage the situation. I was still melting some chocolate using the hob very close to the burnt hazelnuts, and you can probably guess what happened next… the baking paper I’d put the hazelnuts on caught fire! Thankfully it was only the corner of the paper which had caught fire, so it didn’t touch the hazelnuts, although it probably wouldn’t have made much difference to them!
This may all sound rather dramatic for a bit of baking, but this was not the perfect new tradition I was planning on making! I did manage to salvage a few hazelnuts from the wreckage and add them into my Torrone, which is more like a big block of chocolate (which will still definitely get eaten within a matter of moments), but I think I’m going to take it as a sign that I should stick to gin cocktails and chutney!
Whilst buying ingredients to do some other festive baking, this box of DIY brownies caught my eye– they are chocolate brownies with a mint icing, and the green icing made me think of The Grinch! I haven’t made brownies from a box in so long, and I love how easy and quick it is to throw everything together and pop it in the oven, but you still feel like you’ve done some baking!
In the box, there was the brownie mix, the mint icing and some chocolate sprinkles:
All I had to do was add an egg, oil and water to the brownie mix, put the batter into a pan, bake it, then add the icing and sprinkles on top. I also saw these really cute snowflake decorations in ASDA, so I thought I’d adorn my brownies with them as well.
My kitchen smelt amazing even whilst I was mixing all the ingredients together, and it made me remember how much I used to love these boxed cake mixes when I was younger!
Now, of course, you don’t need an occasion to eat brownies, but I thought it would be nice to have one (or more) of these brownies whilst watching a Christmas film, to get into the festive spirit and all that. I mean, this pack says that it serves 16 but I’ve probably already eaten about 3 servings in 5 bites.
So, as the perfect accompaniment to these brownies, today’s Christmas Film of the Day is Elf. This feels like one of those Christmas films you can only watch when it starts getting into proper Christmas, and it’s already the 14th December, so I’m calling it! There are 11 days to go until Christmas, so we need to keep up the festive vibes as we get into the 10 day countdown!
This is my first bake of Blogmas… what a momentous occasion! I’m really surprised that this is the first bit of proper baking I’ve put up on here, particularly during Blogmas. If you read my Blogmas Day 3, where I rambled about running out of time to do all the baking that I wanted to a few days ago, you’ll know that I was planning to do loads of baking, all in one day. It’s taken a lot of motivation to get up off the sofa, but I’ve finally gotten around to doing it.
*In my best Masterchef contestant voice* So today, I have made an iced gingerbread loaf, complete with some little gingerbread people around it.
I found the recipe for this gingerbread loaf online, I think it was on the BBC Good Food website, and then I freestyled with the icing. It was a risky move, I know, because I really wanted to make a salted caramel icing, but I couldn’t find any salted caramel in the supermarket and was so distracted with the idea of where I was going to place my gingerbread people on top of the loaf that I couldn’t be bothered to make my own salted caramel. Instead, I made a golden syrup frosting and sprinkled in some sea salt, which I thought was a close second to my original plan.
I really love this gingerbread loaf, because it’s packed with ginger and allspice, which are two of the most important aspects of any good Christmas bake. When the loaf was cooking, my kitchen smelled like a Christmas grotto!
This loaf also makes me imagine a Hansel and Gretel style world, where the loaf is a little village, and the icing is like mini mountain peaks. All the gingerbread people are gossiping and chatting whilst the snow (icing sugar) starts falling around them…I’m probably a little overtired if you can’t already tell, but this is what came to my mind as I was decorating it earlier!
For today’s festive offering, I wanted to show you some of the things I’ve been excitedly throwing into my basket whilst I’ve been going grocery shopping:
Cracker crisps- I’ll cut to the chase with these ones, you know they’re good. I love the sour cream and chive ones, and although in the picture this tub looks full, it’s completely empty. That’s how good they are. Perfect for nibbling at over the festive period, but definitely dangerous!
White chocolate covered Oreos- I saw these on Amazon last year and was intrigued, but never ended up buying them- but I found these in Lidl last week and actually bought them this time. I love white chocolate, so these are right up my street!
Waitrose Black Forest Fudge- usually I don’t like black forest flavoured things, but this fudge tastes like a soft, gooey brownie and we are currently on our third pack of these. On a side note, I also think these would make a really good stocking filler!
Prosecco and Pink Peppercorn Pringles- I know what you’re thinking, these sound a bit weird. I totally thought that too, but they’re actually pretty good. They taste mostly like peppercorns, so don’t worry, they’re not sweet pringles, and it may just be me imagining things, but they taste fizzy?! It’s a bit like a savoury sherbet taste on top. So I would say if you’re willing to branch out with your crisp choices, then go for these, they’re a bit different.
Quorn Mini Savoury Eggs and Burger Sauce- okay, so this isn’t strictly a Christmas choice, and I know it sounds like a strange combination, but this is really good. I am obsessed! I love a good veggie snack, particularly if it’s in mini scotch egg form, and this ticks all of the right boxes.
So if you’re watching Elf, Love Actually or Home Alone and need some snack suggestions, then why not try all of these? You can never have too many snacks!
I like to think of myself as an organised person, because if I don’t stay organised, I get flustered. So you can only imagine the length of my December To Do list- so far it’s two pages long, and it’s growing every day! I do love a list, particularly if I can draw some holly and ivy in the corner of the page to make it less intimidating.
One of the things I want to try this year is cooking Christmas dinner, so near the top of my To Do list is to research Christmassy recipes on Pinterest, so that I can then plan my grocery shopping list way in advance.
Luckily, I have already squirrelled away some festive provisions which have been made and packaged up for me by my grandparents, as well as my jars of homemade chutney (scroll down to see Blogmas Day 7!) which makes the organised part of me very happy!
So, today I thought I’d take you through my box of festive food preparations so far:
Homemade Christmas puddings- every year we make proper, traditional Christmas puddings- the boozier, the better. This year they were generously fed with brandy, and you also have to make a wish when you stir the batter for good luck, which is my main job in the process every year!
Homemade chutney- this is the latest addition to the box, and my contribution!
Pickled eggs & onions- I have to admit, I’ve always been unsure about pickled things, but I’m intrigued to try these properly. They always look really good on a cheeseboard, and I think it will be lovely to have these with cheese, my chutney and some flavoured crackers on Boxing Day.
Blackberry jam- this is my Grandma’s homemade jam. It’s really lovely because it’s not too sweet, and I think it would go perfectly in a wintery Victoria Sponge- that’s what I’m planning on using some of it for. Of course, that and just having it on a hot piece of toast in the morning, or straight out the jar with a spoon…
It will be a miracle if all of these jars remain untouched before Christmas, but at least this post is proof that at one point in time, they were all pristine and unopened!
I’d love to know if you’ve started pre-making anything in advance for Christmas, so let me know in the comments if you’ve got anything stored away!