Monday, 9 January 2017

Hot Chocolate

I'm into hot chocolate and cocoa at the moment! It's especially good to have during winter evenings. My favourite at the moment is Bournville cocoa but I also recently got some Cadbury's drinking chocolate. The other night I made crock pot hot chocolate, using a recipe from the blog Nashville Wife: http://www.nashvillewife.com/2017/01/crock-pot-hot-chocolate-recipe.html

I don't have a crock pot or a slow cooker but my mum suggested I use a Pyrex dish on top of a saucepan of water (I put the chocolate mix in the dish and covered it with foil, then put it on top of the pan) and it worked. A couple years or so ago I made white hot chocolate which was meant to be done in a slow cooker but I just did it in the pan with no covering and I think it could have come our better. Maybe I should try it again using the method I used for this hot chocolate.

This one came out nice. It uses whipping cream and condensed milk, so had a rich, creamier taste and was thicker than ordinary hot chocolate. Here's a pic:



It takes a couple of hours but it's worth it. :)

If you're into a hot chocolate here's a post I did in 2014 about Sam's Stern's hot chocolate (I also made his chocolate milkshake but that didn't come out so well!): http://livingseasonal.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/chocolate-drinks.html



Hope you're keeping warm if it's cold where you are! :)

Monday, 2 January 2017

Christmas and New Year 2016/2017

For Christmas this year I made a frosted vanilla cookie cake. It was adapted from this recipe: http://www.lifeloveandsugar.com/2015/11/19/baileys-frosted-vanilla-cookie-layer-cake/

The original recipe uses Bailey's coffee creamer (Frosted Vanilla Cookie flavour). While I do like Bailey's (although I haven't had it for ages) I wasn't keen on having it in a cake and I'm also not sure if we can get that flavour coffee creamer in the UK. In the end I used some creamer from Sainsbury's. I don't have creamer often but I used it the other year when I made an iced coffee. I realised afterwards that the Bailey's creamer seems to be a powder whereas the one I got was liquid, but it worked out ok. :)

The original cake has 3 layers but I cut it down to 2 so it was less complicated! lol. The recipe uses shortening which is vegetable fat, I think. My mum suggested I use lard but the only one we had was pork fat and we decided I shouldn't use it because she made a birthday cake for my 7th birthday with lard in the icing which was horrible! lol. In the end I used Stork which I had already in the house and that worked. Shortening is sold under Trex, Flora White and Cooken here, so maybe another time I'll try one of those. Probably Flora White.

The filling is made of sugar cookie crumbs.  For Oestara 2015 made my own sugar cookie bars but I couldn't be bothered to make them on top of the cake! lol. The nearest I could find in the shops were Sainsbury's shortbread rounds (I wanted something soft and sweet). The creamer goes in the filling as well as the cake and it's also in the frosting.

I wasn't sure how the cake would come out because I substituted ingredients but it was nice. Because it only used egg whites (I think this type of cake is called a "white cake" in America, although maybe not exactly because it had all purpose flour aka plain flour, not cake flour in), it made a fluffier, lighter sponge. I cut up some biscuits and put them on top of the cake with sprinkles.


Here are a couple of pictures:

Outside of the cake

Friday, 23 December 2016

Yule 2016 + Origins of Father Christmas

I normally post on Sundays or Mondays, but since it's Christmas Day on Sunday this year I decided to do a post today and then maybe write one about Christmas on Boxing Day (Monday).

It was Yule on Wednesday (21st December). I usually buy a chocolate Yule log although two years ago I made one. This year I bought one again, this time from Asda. I've had Sainsbury's most often but more recently it hasn't been as nice. Last year I had a Tesco one. Asda's was quite nice, it was Belgian chocolate. Here's a picture:





Sunday, 4 December 2016

Quick Dinner Bread (+ Soup)

Last week I made 1 hour dinner bread. I've made bread a couple of times before in 2010, the first time it was a Bread Spell from the book Spells for the Witch in You by Marina Baker and the second time I used a recipe from a flour packet, lol. (I think we also made rolls at first school!). The first time it didn't rise but when I did it again the next day it worked. It was 31st July and I'm not sure if I had properly started celebrating Lammas then (2010 was the first time I celebrated Madron) but it was that time of year, so baking bread fit the season!

Bread making can be quite a difficult process to get the hang of but I  expect once you've done it a few times it's much easier. What I liked about the dinner bread was that it only takes about an hour to make. It's quicker because it doesn't have any yeast in it, one of the main ingredients is Greek yoghurt. I'd had the recipe on my Pinterest Recipes To Make board for 2 years, so I'm glad I finally got round to making it! lol. The recipe is from a trEAT's affair (formely Roxanna's Home Baking). Here's the link: http://atreatsaffair.com/1-hour-dinner-bread-recipe/

It's a good site; I also made her Christmas Vanilla roll cake for Christmas 2013.

I was pleased with the bread. I didn't have quite enough Greek yoghurt (I realised later that I'd got a smaller tub than the recipe said) so I wasn't sure how it would come out but it was nice. I used Clover instead of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! because that's the spread we have in my house. And I used white bread flour instead of wholewheat/wholemeal because that's the one I had in. So it came out slightly different to Roxana's. I also dind't use sesame seeds because I wasn't bothered about having them in it. It took me longer for the prepratation part because I don't have an electric mixer, so I did it by hand and I'm a slow mixer! lol. But the baking time was 50 mintues or just under.

Here's a picture:



Sunday, 6 November 2016

Hallowe'en/Samhain 2016

For Hallowe'en/Samhain last Monday I made my usual Demon's Blood drink. I also made some potato salad like I did last year (the recipe is from The Kitchen Witch book by Soraya) and had it with some buffet type food such as hummus, breadsticks and chicken bites.

As I wrote in my Celebration Ideas post, I wanted to bake gingerbread but wasn't sure which type. In the end I went with the recipe for gingerbread skeletons from last year and put some icing on them but I also added some chocolate like I did with the bats I made in 2013.

I had a pumpkin and also put tealights in the pumpkin jar like last year. Here's a pic:



Sunday, 30 October 2016

Hallowe'en/Samhain Celebration Ideas



It's Hallowe'en/Samhain tomorrow, so I thought I'd do a quick post on ideas for celebrating it. I used to like Hallowe'en when I was younger and when I started celebrating the sabbats in 2010, Samhain became my favourite. :)

I did a post yesterday on my other blog Star Sparkle Blog about Hallowe'en, which includes some of my fave Hallowe'en/and or horror themed books, films and TV shows (plus a couple of songs). You can check it out here: http://starsparklex.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/halloween-faves-round-up.html

Michaela at Penniless Pagan has some good tips for celebrating Samhain without spending anything: http://www.pennilesspagan.com/2016/10/5-ways-to-celebrate-samhain-without.html

I also like her post on honouring loves ones who have passed away (Samhain is a good festival to do this since it's a time when the veils between the worlds are thinner and the dead are thought to come back to visit their family/people who were important to them in life): http://www.pennilesspagan.com/2016/10/honor-your-transcended-loved-ones.html

I found it was nice to think about my grandparents, what they taught me and things I used to do with them. :)

Also Althea at Modern Witch's Guide to Life has some history on Hallowe'en and ideas for celebrating:  http://modern-witch.es/enchanted-living/13-witchy-ideas-to-celebrate-halloween

And finally here's a Samhain post on Tess Whitehurst's site:  http://tesswhitehurst.com/10-ways-to-celebrate-the-ancient-holiday-of-samhain-aka-halloween/



Hope you enjoy the links and have a great Hallowe'en and/or Samhain (depending on how you celebrate. :) I just did my pumpkin a bit earlier and tomorrow I'm going to make the Demon's Blood drink I usually make and have some food. I'll probably make some gingerbread skeletons or bats as well. I made gingerbread bats with chocolate on in 2013 and skeletons with icing last year, so I might combine the recipes this year and put chocolate on the skeletons, lol. I'll do a post about it soon.

Happy Hallowe'en/Samhain! :) How do you celebrate?


Photo: Tesco Holmbush's Hallowe'en display. Copyright Moonsparkle 2016.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Cornflake Choc Chip Cookies

Yesterday I made some cornflake choc chip cookies. It's a recipe from vlogger/blogger Tanya Burr's cookbook Tanya Bakes, which was featured in New magazine.You can find the recipe here: http://www.instyle.co.uk/fitness-wellbeing/tanya-burr-recipes

I've made crispy and cornflakes cakes (with chocolate and Rice Krispies or cornflakes) before but I've never put cornflakes in cookies, so I thought it would be good to try the recipe. I used two baking trays because I couldn't fit them all on the same one and good job I did because I burnt the first lot! lol. I kept watching the second lot but they still got a bit burnt.  :( (I'm not completely used to the new oven/cooker yet). I had enough dough left to make two smaller cookies so I had one more go. I kept watching them and kept the oven lower and this time they came out golden, lol.

They did taste quite nice in the end. I didn't have sea salt so used a pinch of table salt and I didn't have golden caster sugar either, so mixed ordinary caster sugar and light brown sugar. I also didn't have a lot of chocolate chips left (I bought them recently to use for No-bake energy balls) so I just used what I had. Not all of the cookies got chocolate chips in but they taste fine without, lol. Sometimes you feel like making something but can't afford to buy all the extra ingredients right now, so it was good that I had most of the ingredients on hand and that this recipe is adaptable.

Here is a picture of the last two cookies which came out the best:



 I'd like to bake some more cookies in the future (I don't make them that often). I might have a go at Tanya's chocolate cookies sometime.


 Hope you enjoy these ones if you make them. :)