Organisation is my middle name - actually it's Kate - but it should be! I love it!!
I honestly don't know how people get by without several lists on the go (stored in the super Dairy Diary pocket of course) and a diary full of plans and notes!
So, this month is dedicated to planning for Christmas - squeezed around editing the next cookbook, proof reading the 2016 Dairy Diary and juggling a family of course, but that is now life is for most parents (mums!!) I think.
This year, I plan to create lots of homemade gifts. Many of the adults I buy for have no need for 'stuff' and something that has been lovingly created for them is extra special.
- You can't go wrong with some beautifully
wrapped bakes, they are perfect to take
to house parties as a thank you for the host.
Our first gathering, is a mixture of adults and children and so I plan to make and wrap some Rocky Road Cookies for the little ones and Brown Sugar Meringues for the adults.
Both recipes have been tried and tested many times this year and got rave reviews from the recipe testers as well as from my family. They are both from Fantastic Food for Less, our latest cookbook, which went down with a storm with all the testers last year. They absolutely adored all the recipes and clamoured for a copy when it was printed.
Brown Sugar Meringues with Cinnamon Cream
Makes 10 pairs
Time 1½ hours.
Per portion: 121 Kcal, 8g fat (4.5g saturated)
Suitable for vegetarians
Egg whites 2
Light muscovado sugar 65g (2½oz)
Caster sugar 50g (2oz)
Double cream 150ml pot
Ground cinnamon ¼ tsp
Dark chocolate 50g (2oz), chopped (optional)
1 Preheat the oven to 110°C/225°F/Gas ¼. Line a large baking sheet with a sheet of non-stick baking paper. Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl with a hand-held electric mixer until they are stiff and the bowl can be turned upside down without the meringue moving.
2 Mix 50g (2oz) of the muscovado sugar with the caster sugar in a bowl then gradually whisk into the egg whites, a teaspoonful at a time and continue to whisk for 1–2 minutes until it is very thick and glossy.
3 Using a dessertspoon, take a scoop of meringue, slide the bowl of a second dessertspoon into the first spoon to shape the meringue into a neat oval. Slide it off the second spoon with the help of the first spoon on to the paper. Continue until all the meringue has been shaped and you have about 20 meringues.
4 Bake the meringues for 1–1¼ hours or until they can be lifted off the paper easily. Leave to cool.
5 To serve, pour the cream into a bowl, add the remaining sugar and cinnamon and whisk until it forms soft swirls, then use it to sandwich the meringues together. Place them in paper cases.
6 If using the chocolate, place in a heatproof bowl over a barely simmering saucepan of water and stir until it has melted. Drizzle over the meringues.
The cooled, unfilled meringues can be packed into a biscuit tin lined with non-stick baking paper and will keep for up to 1 week.
Rocky Road Cookies
Time 25 minutes.
Per cookie: 221 Kcal, 10g fat (6g saturated)
Suitable for vegetarians
Suitable for freezing
Butter 110g (4oz), softened
Light muscovado sugar 110g (4oz)
Egg 1, beaten
Plain flour 150g (5oz)
Baking powder ½ tsp
Oats 75g (3oz)
Mini marshmallows 50g (2oz)
Plain chocolate 75g (3oz), chopped
1 Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
2 In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Gradually beat in the egg.
3 Sift in the flour and baking powder and add the oats. Stir well. Add half the mini marshmallows and half the chopped chocolate.
4 Drop heaped tablespoonfuls of the mixture onto the prepared baking tray and bake for 10-15 minutes, until just turning golden. Sprinkle over the remaining marshmallows and chocolate chunks as soon as the cookies are removed from the oven. Leave to cool slightly, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Swap marshmallows for dried fruit if you like. Sprinkle any leftover marshmallows over ice cream with a drizzle of golden syrup for a naughty dessert.
Both recipes taken from Fantastic Food For Less cookbook.