This week has been another busy week, but I have really enjoyed it.
Mr Thrift was having a ‘get together lunch’ at work and everyone needed to take something for a buffet. A couple of people had asked him to take in another pumpkin and orange cake, so on Tuesday I made one:
I was very pleased to say it all went very quickly.
The recipe is here if anyone is interested.
They also judged the Christmas jumper competition (the proceeds were going to the Rainbows charity) and the jumper I made my husband last week won, which made me chuckle.
Apparently they all enjoyed the Christmas chocolates that I had sewn on the back.
I also started to make up my hampers for my family too. I had bought little bits and bobs for them over the year, tailoring the gifts to each family. I also added some homemade jams and chutneys (though not as many as last year due to the builders being here).
I used tissue paper circles (cut out using a saucer) and raffier ribbon to tie the tissue paper over the jars. I think it always looks nice this way.
I have a big roll of cellophane that I bought last year on the internet for a bargain price and I’m sure it will last me years. I use this to wrap the hampers, tying it with Christmas ribbons:
Last year my sister gave me her basket back as she didn’t have room for it in the house, so this year I thought it would be a good idea to add a little note in each basket that said:
“I would really like you to find a use for this basket, however if you can’t please return it to me and I’ll refill it with goodies for you next Christmas”
I thought that this way the baskets won’t end up in the rubbish bin or charity shop if they don’t want them and it will save me money next year, as I won’t have to buy them again (which certainly helps me) and it’s better for the environment to recycle them too.
Remember the oranges that I left on my radiator to dry for a week or two?…I’m pleased to say that the oranges dried really well on the radiator, without the need to put them in the oven. I put a little hole in each one when they were nearly dry so I could thread some wire or ribbon through it.
I sprayed some twigs with a cheap gold spray that I bought last year from Wilkinsons and then decorated them with holly, cones and the dried oranges and finished it with the battery lights from my husbands ‘Christmas Jumper’ and some ribbons.
I was very pleased with how it turned out (though for some reason it doesn’t look so good in the photo’s below):
I put it in our old dinning room which we will decorate after Christmas now the old fireplace has been fitted. It makes the room look really Christmassy.
I also made some individual cakes for Mr Thift’s work colleagues as a gift for Christmas. I used my muffin recipe here and piped icing on the top using this recipe.
I managed to get some single cake cases to put them in and I was very pleased with the overall result:
Another job I did was to make some White Chocolate, Apricot and Brandy Truffles for my dad as a surprise (he really loves them). The recipe is here. I can’t wait to give them to him at the weekend.
A Christmas Chocolate Yule Log
We love a Yule Log for Christmas in our family and it’s now a family tradition to argue over the end piece. I used to buy them until my daughter became dairy intolerant. It was then I realised how easy and cheap they are to make if you just know how.
I have searched the internet and found a couple of shop bought Yule Logs to compare the prices to mine. The first I found was a kit to ‘make your own’ Yule Log and it costs £1.50 to buy. To make it you need to add: 1 medium egg, 80ml cold water, 80g softened unsalted butter, 100ml double cream and some greaseproof paper. After reading the instructions, I felt you may as well make it from scratch but I suppose that is just my opinion.
I also found a Finest Chocolate log for £3.00:
I have worked out how much the ingredients cost me for my Chocolate Yule Log and it totalled £1.45 for the ingredients plus the grease proof paper that I used. I used ‘Pure’ margarine to make the butter icing dairy free for my daughter, but normally I would use butter or soft margarine to do this. I think for £1.45 it is definately worth making. This is how I make it:
A Christmas Chocolate Yule Log Recipe:
Olive oil or marg for greasing
75g caster sugar
75g self-raising flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
Icing sugar for dusting
For the icing you will need:
300g icing sugar
150g butter or margarine
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
Preheat your oven Gas 4 / 180C /350F.
Lightly grease a baking tray 9inch x 12 inch
Line it with greaseproof paper, snipping the corners so the papers lies properly without creasing and then grease the paper
Put the caster sugar and eggs into a bowl and whisk for a few minutes
Keep whisking until the mixture turns from a yellow colour to a soft creamy white colour and if you make a figure of eight on the top of your mixture, it will stay visable for a second or two (you can just see this on the right hand picture below)
Sieve the flour and cocoa into the bowl
and fold them into the egg and sugar mixture until it’s all combined
(to ‘fold in’ just keep turning the mixture over without mixing it so the air stays in)
Pour it into your greased baking sheet and spread the mixture to the edges
Bake for 8 minutes only
(if you over bake the sponge will crack when you try to roll it).
While it is baking, spread out a piece of greasproof paper and dust with icing sugar
Take the sponge out of the oven and immeadiately turn it out onto the greaseproof paper and peel off the old greaseproof paper
Sprinkle some more icing sugar over the sponge and quickly lay some more greaseproof paper over the top of the sponge.
Using the bottom piece of paper, roll up the sponge with the top piece of paper inside the sponge:
Leave it to cool still rolled up.
When it is cool, you can freeze it at this stage and defrost and ice it later
To Ice It:
Mix the icing sugar, marg and cocoa in a bowl until it is fully combined (this can be hard work at first)
Fill a jug with piping hot water and add a few knifes, as this helps the butter icing spread if you keep swapping the knifes.
Unroll your sponge and spread a thin layer of icing over it
Roll the sponge up again using the greaseproof paper to help
Spread the butter icing all over the rolled up sponge. Leave it as it is or make log patterns with a fork or use a knife to make ‘spiky’ patterns by lifting the knife up quickly from the icing
Decorate with whatever you have
Sprinkle with icing sugar for ‘snow’
Thank you for reading my blog today.
I will be back on Monday at my usual time.