A new toy…

A friend upgraded his camera at Christmas, and very kindly passed his old one on to me.  It’s the first time I’ve had a half decent camera and I’ve had fun experimenting with it over the last couple of days.  Here are a few of my favourite snaps. 

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We had a walk along a local canal yesterday.

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Hubby and daughter through a metal loop on one of the locks.

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Under a railway bridge as the sun was getting lower.

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Dessert time after our walk. Yum.

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My other favourite girls this morning. Vanessa, Jemimah and Sarah (Pepper pig fans will understand the names!).

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What a pretty chook.

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Sarah was very intrigued by the camera.

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Here I am. Very happy with my new gift.
Happy New Year readers. Thanks for all your support over the last year. Here’s to more yummy recipes in 2015.

Cinnamon Rolls

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I love cinnamon rolls! Absolutely love them. Warming, gooey, sweet, perfect with a steaming mug of coffee for elevenses on a frosty morning. That said, until yesterday I only ever attempted to make my Cinnamon Swirl Scones, the simple, quick and easy cousin of this yeast infused doughy delight. However, I bit the bullet and decided to have a go. After checking out a few different recipes, I did the following:

In a saucepan lightly heat:
1.5 cups semi skimmed milk
0.5 cup double cream
0.5 cup sugar
0.5 cup vegetable oil

In a mixer bowl measure out 4 cups plain flour and two and a quarter tsps of quick yeast, 1 tsp baking powder and a 1/4 tsp bicarb.

When the milk mixture is luke warm set the dough hook going on your mixer and drizzle in the milk. You should end up a wet dough like this:

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Cover with clingfilm and leave somewhere warm to rise for an hour or so. You should end up with this:

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Now mix in an extra 0.5 cup of flour before turning out onto a floured surface.

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Roll out into a rough oblong shape about half an inch thick.

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Brush with approximately 75g melted butter, before sprinkling generously with ground cinnamon, dark brown sugar and light brown sugar.

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Roll up before slicing into half inch thick slices.

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Grease a few round tins. How many you need obviously depends on the size of them. I bought some disposable foil containers with lids and needed five of them for this amount of dough. I could fit five rolls in each.

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Leave them to prove for another half an hour somewhere warm.

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Bake for 15 minutes at 160oC.

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Now, ordinarily at this point I’d ice them. However these are going to be frozen for Christmas, so I’ll ice them in due course.  However, here’s my Cinnamon icing recipe for you. To a kilo of icing sugar add a tablespoon of ground cinnamon, a tablespoon of vanilla syrup and a tablespoon of camp coffee syrup. Set the mixer going on low and drizzle in a bit if milk until you have a very thick but pourable icing. Divide between the five trays of rolls while they are still hot, and serve. Delicious! Enjoy!

Coconut Oil and Manuka Honey Chocolate

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Inspired by a friend who made this for her son’s advent calendar, I decided to have a go at making this uber simple, natural chocolate. I seriously cannot believe how tasty it is. Granted, it is different to regular chocolate, and lacks the traditional tempered chocolate ‘snap’, but it really is delicious. Think the inside of a Lindor chocolate ball… Smooth, melting and rich.

You’ll need:
1/2 cup organic unrefined coconut oil (use refined if you don’t want the choc to taste of coconut)
1/2 cup good quality cocoa powder
1/4 cup Manuka honey
2 top vanilla bean paste or extract

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Melt all the ingredients together on a medium/low heat (it’s really important it doesn’t reach boiling point) and pour into moulds. I used petit four cases. Leave to set in the fridge and enjoy!

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Christmas swirl scones

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Last year I shared my Cinnamon Swirl Scone recipe with you and was blown away by the positive feedback. This is an even more Christmassy version of it, using good old Christmas mincemeat. Like most of my recipes, it’s quick and easy, and can also be made ahead of time and chilled or frozen raw ready to be baked when impromptu, but welcome, Christmas guests turn up.

Make a basic scone dough like the one in the Cinnamon Swirl Scone recipe (I doubled it for this recipe as I was feeding a crowd), and roll out to a rough rectangular shape.

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Spread roughly 450g mincemeat over the dough leaving about an inch gap at one side.

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Roll up, wrap in greaseproof paper and chill for an hour, or freeze for use at a later date.

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Slice and bake at 180oC for approximately 20 minutes, or until golden.

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Slather in icing, or if you’re feeling very indulgent, icing sugar mixed with Baileys for a proper taste of Christmas.

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