Friday, 30 December 2011

New Year, New Resolutions And Nutella Cupcakes

The new year is about hope and taking the opportunity to evaluate and plan. I've been overwhelming myself with all the things I want to change & do but mainly I'm excited about what 2012 will bring. To some, 2012 just another year but for others it is the dawn of a new physical and spiritual transformation for the world. I'm in need of some transformation for sure so I am definitely claiming that for myself!

As a general rule, I believe that if you want to change something there's no time like today, but I do think a new year is a pretty perfect time to set goals. So in no particular order here are a few of the tangible things that I'd like to tick off this year;

- Consistent exercise (3 times per week)
- Learn a new skill every month (contenders include web page building & sewing)
- Go to Europe once a quarter and France at least twice
- Get a bike
- Improve my photography
- Play my piano
- Blog, blog and more blogging :)

I actually have a kazillion things I'd like to do, some deep and meaningful (like find inner peace) & others less so (do more piping icing), but I don't want to bore you. Instead I will talk a bit about the tasty cupcakes on display here. They are Chocolate and Nutella flavoured, (click here for a link to the recipe) and being that I love all things chocolate, these cuties are no exception. They are tasty and perfect for bringing to New Years Eve parties to wow your host!

Have fun, however you choose to bring in the New Year, and let me know what your resolutions are. Also don't forget to enter the giveaway for a chance to win some cake pops! Click here for more details.

Peace & Love

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Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas Everybody And A Giveaway!

Thank you so much for journeying with me this month and enjoying the Advent Blogendar (Calendar). I will be taking a much needed rest over the Christmas week and will be back with a bang in the New Year. To celebrate the festive season and 100 blog posts, I will be giving away 6 cake pops in either vanilla, red velvet or chocolate flavour. 

To enter the draw all you need to do is;

- become a follower on the blog, Twitter or Facebook.


- leave a comment saying which of the Advent Calendar posts is your favourite and share this on Facebook or Twitter with the hash tag #baileyanacakes.

To help you choose below is a collage of all of the posts :)

The competition closes midnight 14th January 2012 and I will announce the winner in the last week of January 2012.

Good Luck & Happy Holidays

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Saturday, 24 December 2011

Day 24 Christmas Mix

We are actually here, it's Christmas Eve!!! I cannot believe how quickly time has flown by this month. I've been wondering how I was going to do to round up this Advent Calendar & had grand ideas of amazing cakes. Then the reality of the fact that I still have Christmas to prepare for kicked in, coupled with some last minute Christmas Eve present shopping. In a word, time just ran out - I just about managed to catch the light to take these pictures :)

I'm taking care of desserts this year and the only request I had was for Apple Crumble - tasty but not particularly seasonal. So instead of showing my actual Christmas dessert, I whipped up three tasty snacks that can be enjoyed on the day (or any other time for that matter). All of these take less than half an hour to prepare at least and are sure fire favourites...

Check out the recipe here. This is an old classic and takes about 10 minutes max - love it. 

The recipe and lots of cool variations can be found here. I added marshmallows to mine and didn't quite manage the clean cut finish that they have but it tastes just fine :).

And finally for awesome simplicity check out the recipe here. The link for is a recipe for plain and toffee popcorn, I didn't bother making any plain popcorn so I doubled the toffee mix to make sure it covered all of the popcorn. The plan was to save it till tomorrow but it's all gone already!

Merry Christmas & I hope you have a beautiful day tomorrow!

Peace & Love

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Friday, 23 December 2011

Day 23 - Strawberry & Chocolate Tartelettes

Things are getting more and more hectic in the run up to Christmas, so quick sugary pick-me-ups are the order of the day! 

If you've been reading my blog you will know that I am a fan of strawberry tarts & tartelettes. Add some warm chocolate ganache et voilĂ , you have an awesome dessert. Go one step further & dollop on some extra thick double cream and you are in a chocolatey heaven! The tartelettes were gone in seconds, I could barely wait to take pictures!

The chocolate ganache I used is a mix of single cream and dark chocolate, as it was used as a base to ice a cake but the traditional recipe is made with equal quantities of double cream and dark chocolate. Click here for an example recipe. The key to a good ganache is to use good quality chocolate, don't bother with the value brands!

Well I'm off to get back to preparing, I hope you guys are more organised than me!

Peace & Love

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Thursday, 22 December 2011

Day 22 - Christmas Cornflake Wreaths

This is yet another offering from the mighty Nigella Lawson's Christmas book - Christmas Cornflake Wreaths. They are basically made from marshmallows, cornflakes and sprinkles and as I love Chocolate Cornflake Cakes it seemed like a nice one to try.

Nigella says in her recipe book that the wreaths are very sweet and that children adore them. I'll be testing the children theory this Christmas but I would agree that they are very sweet. That said I did nibble quite a bit while I was making the wreaths so it can't have been that bad!

The wreaths can be made up to a week ahead and are really simple, here is the recipe if you want to try. 

Recipe (makes 12)
100g butter

200g mini marshmallows

1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
250g cornflakes

1. Melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat then add the marshmallows, stirring until all melted and smooth. 
2. Take off the heat and stir in vanilla and almond extracts followed by the cornflakes.
3. Take some mixture about the size of a small satsuma and roll into a ball. Then flatten using the palm of your hand and mould into the shape of a wreath, making a hole in the middle. The mixture is sticky but is slightly easier to work with if you lightly grease your fingers.
4. Decorate with sprinkles.

Leave to set for at least 2 hours and then store in an airtight container between sheets of greaseproof paper.

Wow, only two days left of the Advent Calendar and two days left until Christmas, I can't believe how quickly time is flying by, this time next week it will be all over!

Happy Cooking :)
Peace & Love

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Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Day 21 - How To Make Cake Pops - Photo Recipe

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Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Day 20 - Prosecco & Pomegranate Jelly

Today is my first drink type post & I have been dying to try the Prosecco and Pomegranate Jelly from Nigella Lawson's Christmas Book that I stole from my sister!

There's something so regal and enchanting about pomegranates, I can sit there for ages picking the seeds one by one and as Prosecco is one of my favourite alcoholic beverages, this dessert is a match made in heaven.

To get the recipe click on this link which has taken the recipe from the book verbatim. I halved it and used 5 gelatin leaves as I wanted it to be set a bit firmer. I also used glasses rather than a jelly mould, mainly because I don't have a mould but also these glasses are way cuter. They were an early Christmas gift from my sister & I love them!

Another variation is to use shot glasses and top with Maraschino Cherries, I thought they looked pretty nice too. 

As an update, most Christmas presents have been purchased, all that's left are the homemade ones which need to be done as close as possible to the time... Such joy!


Peace & Love

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Monday, 19 December 2011

Day 19 - Doughnuts and Sprinkles

Another day another birthday! Today it's my wonderful mum who is celebrating her birthday in the sunshine :)

I decided to celebrate with some ring doughnuts, another Bailey Ana first as doughnuts are a big favourite in the house. I looked around to try and find a recipe and although there are tons out there, it was a tough one to choose as most of them had pretty mixed reviews.

In the end I settled on a recipe from the BBC Food website (not BBC Good Food) and used a simple icing on top (icing sugar & water). Here are the results;

Have a lovely day Mum & can't wait to see you soon!

Peace & Love

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Sunday, 18 December 2011

Day 18 - Chocolate Blossom Cake & Fancy Dress Parties!

Yesterday was my beautiful sister Rashida's 30th birthday and we had a fancy dress party to celebrate. The cake was made up of two-tiers covered with dark chocolate ganache and decorated with blossoms cascading down the sides. All of the blossoms were handmade from flower paste (icing) and brushed with gold lustre dust. It took a while but you'll agree it was worth it!

This was my first ever fancy dress party & me and my sister were both really excited about changing our hair for the day! The guests made a real effort, here are just a few of the costumes on the night starting with the birthday girl herself;

Thanks to everyone for coming & making it special day for the girls & a big Happy Birthday to Rashida and Tor.

Peace & Love

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