Christmas Greetings and New Year thoughts….

It’s been a little while since my last post – I am not catholic but that sounded quite like a confession to me! Between recovering from my operation, hubby having an operation and Christmas looming fast there just didn’t seem to be enough time to think let alone bake! I can finally reveal my Christmas cake decorations. I have never made decorations like these before and they are a bit lumpy but for my first exploration into the world of sugar craft figures I was fairly pleased with them.

Kim s Christmas Cake 1

I made four cakes from Mary Berry‘s fast mincemeat recipe. One cake for hubby and I, one for his mum and dad, one for my mum and one for good friends Bet & Ian who also bred  our two beautiful dogs. I decorated 2 with an eskimo sitting up fishing and 2 with an eskimo laying in his igloo fishing. I then put them in cake boxes and made big labels with a picture of Father Christmas and words to the effect of made by L&K Bakery at Santa’s Workshop…a bit of fun.

Kim's Christmas Cake 2

It’s this time of year when everything and everyone seem to go mad and rush out spending. This year, I didn’t do that, I just watched those around me dashing back and forth. The only rush I had was to get presents wrapped for family in Somerset and do the present run down there in the middle of that dreadful weather. Whether you get lots of presents or none, whether you feast on turkey and all the trimmings or have a sandwich, I think that Christmas feeling begins and ends within you and you do not need to spend a lot of money or stress out cooking loads of stuff to enjoy this time of year. My favourite times are just curling up on the sofa with hubby and the dogs watching a Christmas feel good movie such as Miracle of 34th Street- either version , or The Santa Clause, or a variety of other old favourites.

New year is looming and people always ask what you are doing to mark this. I personally think that you are made to feel like a no body or a kill joy if you are not invited to a party or a celebration. The best new year‘s Eve’s I have had have been with either my other half or just a few friends or family.

I hope that 2014 brings you peace and happiness. I hope for hubby and I that it will bring a more settled year……and that I get to finish this challenge before the year is out!

P.S. Hubby here :0)

Well it’s certainly been another interesting year and have to admit at times, incredibly stressful… Sadly some of that stress will continue at least into the beginning of 2014, but by always supporting each other, we both hope that a whole heap of sh*te can be put behind us.

As for me, well by the middle of the year I find that my shoulder isn’t sorted and that further surgery would result in a 50% chance of losing the use of my arm!!! Let’s just say any further arm surgery is, funnily enough, on hold LOL. If it’s not one joint, then it’s another; Suppose that’s the joy of having a bone disease, but further hip surgery just before Christmas appears to have been a great success thank god.

I can’t say I’ve done much photography at all this year, for some reason time just seemed to run away from us, although I have spent a lot of time this year enhancing my PhotoShop skills, especially in areas of HDR (High Dynamic Range).

So what does 2014 hold in store for the two of us? God only knows, but as long as we have the two hairy hooligans with us, we’ll be fine and face it head on. I just pray that 2014 is far less stressful than the past 12 months and that Kim and I can focus more on the things that we both love doing.

Well that’s all from me for now, at least until 12 months time. I too would just like to wish you all a very happy New Year and a peaceful and fulfilling 2014.

We would both like to thank you for reading and following our blog, mainly Kim’s baking challenge of course, and we hope that you enjoy the future posts to come :0)

Week Sixty One – Mary Berry’s Fast Mincemeat Christmas Cake & Carrot Cake

Week sixty one and my bakes this week helped take my mind off what I am facing tomorrow…but more of that later. This week’s bakes were also disappointing in some ways too….

I delved into Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible and wanted to make a start on my Christmas cakes so I chose her fast mincemeat Christmas cake recipe and dug out my trusty Lakeland cake tin that can be divided into smaller cake sizes so I had four square cake tins.

Mary Berry's Fast Mincemeat Christmas Cake

Mary’s recipe is the strangest Christmas cake recipe I have ever made, and I make Christmas cakes for friends and family most years. usually I am up to my armpits in various dried fruits, candied peel, brandy etc. but nope, not this year. Mary’s recipe uses mincemeat in a jar along with some sugar, currants, flour, butter and some eggs. That was pretty much the recipe. I made four batches and poured them into my tins which were greased and lined. I popped them into the pre warmed oven for the hour and three quarters that Mary states. After the timer pinged, I got my trusty skewer and checked the cakes. Imagine my disappointment when I saw that all four cakes had sunk. I hadn’t opened the oven at all during the bake and had pre warmed the oven so I don’t know why they did. I was very disappointed but took heart that the bottoms of them were flat so that will effectively become the top but I will know that they weren’t right. I will now wrap them in foil, feed them a little alcohol- Mary doesn’t add any to this cake and I think a little gives it some flavour. I will also then decorate them and fancy trying some sugar craft modelling…..

Kim's fast micemeat christmas cake

The second recipe was Mary’s carrot cake. I had a major problem with Mary’s recipe because it has banana  (in a carrot cake?!) and I can’t use banana in anything at home because of hubby’s allergy. So I looked on Mary Berry’s website and found that she does a lovely carrot cake recipe without banana here . I also decided to make it as a tray bake rather than the usual cake.

Mary Berry's Carrot Cake

I mixed all the ingredients together and popped the tray bake into the oven. After the allotted time, the cake was done and a lovely golden brown. I left it to cool in it’s Lakeland tray bake tin and set about making the creamy topping. I spread the topping over the tray bake and put pecan nuts on it rather than walnuts and popped it into the fridge. I can’t wait to try a slice of this….

Kim's carrot cake traybake

For those of you who drop by this blog occasionally you will know that at New Year last year, I had to go into hospital for some surgery. Well tomorrow I have to go in again for another small procedure- small in time spent in theatre but a reasonable time recovering. Hence the blog actually being on time today and I am not yet sure if I will feel up to baking at all next week yet. I am having this procedure done.

Finally, I got to see the Day of the Doctor last night. In case you hadn’t guessed, I am quite the Dr Who fan and thoroughly enjoyed the 50th anniversary program last night. Well worth the wait and way beyond any hype. I pressed the red button after the program and also enjoyed the Five doctors (almost) which had Peter Davidson, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy in a spoof drama trying their hardest to get cast into the program. It was hilarious!