These are mini-christmas trees.
Lynda Gray’s Cupcake Recipe – quick delicious and easy
Since lots of people have been asking for my cupcake recipe I thought I would share it.
Lynda Gray’s Cupcake Recipe
Cupcake Recipe easy and delicious
Simple Cupcake Recipe
100 grams caster sugar (or to make them without a sweetener instead use stevia powder 10 – 15 grams)
125 grams self-raising flour
70 grams unsalted butter
50 grams nuttelex or soft quality spread
2 room temperature eggs/2-3 dessertspoons of milk (rice or almond orcow’s milk or soya)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (preferably the natural concentrated extract)
6 muffin cases
Preheat the oven to 180C or 356F.
First step take all ingredients out of the fridge
Make sure they are more to room temperature when using
You need muffin cases not those little patty cases
Muffin trays and spray them with some cooking spray
I use olive oil cooking spray. Then place the muffin cases in them.
Pour all ingredients into a cooking bowl and mix until smooth
you may want to add a little milk at this stage just (1-3 dessertspoons)
I use rice milk (any milk is fine). Once mixed use a dessertspoon
and place the mixture into the muffin cases around 2/3rds full.
Place in the oven for approximately 20 minutes or until cooked.
You can smell that sweet aroma of the cupcakes cascading from the oven
when they are ready.
Place them on a cooling tray. Once cooled there are many ways to ice them.
Royal icing looks and tastes great. 1 egg white mixed with pure icing sugar
– the harder icing sugar). Mix the egg white with the icing sugar until
it is firm. Then spoon the icing on top. The smaller the spoon the easier.
I sprinkle with dark chocolate. Buy a bar of dark chocolate and grate it
over the top of icing or an easier way is to buy a chocolate bar and grate it
or chop it into small chunks and place on top.
Cooking that Christmas Turkey. Some little tips for cooking your turkey.
I always cook my turkey on Christmas Eve as it makes my Christmas Day so much more relaxing. I just reheat it on Christmas Day in the oven with some juices. I leave it overnight in the fridge until Christmas morning when I reheat it. I think of cooking a turkey like nurturing or caring for someone. I check on it while cooking and have a timer by the oven set for 30 minutes so every thirty minutes I check on how it is cooking. Once I have worked out the time it will take I write it down. Then I easily remember when I put it in the oven and when I need to take it out.
1/ The average weight of a Christmas Turkey is 5.5 kilograms after stuffing equivalent to 12lbs. This means you cook this Turkey for 200 minutes = 3 hours and 10 minutes. (1 kilogram = 20 minutes cooking time plus you add a further 90 minutes)
2/ Before you place it in the oven wrap it in aluminium or tin foil (see number 6 you can layer the turkey with bacon or pancetta slices before wrapping in the foil).
3/ Put 2 litres of chicken stock in the pan and 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Check the turkey every 30 minutes and pour the juices over the top. Keeps it moist it is going to be cooking for along time.
3/ Cook it at 175 degrees – 180 degrees celsius or 360 degrees fahrenheit.
4/ To see if the turkey is ready – pierce the thickest part of the thigh with a small fork or baking skewer. If the juice runs out clear the turkey is ready, if it is slightly pink keep cooking it.
5/ You can stuff the turkey in various ways – turkey mince mixed with 2-3 tablespoons thyme and/or sage, 2 egg yolks, some cut up french stick, 30 grams or 1 ounce of breadcrumbs, 1 onion, himalayan crystal salt and cracked pepper is always nice. Use a sewing needle and strong cotton and sew the opening up after you have stuffed it if you want to.
6/ You can layer the turkey with organic bacon or pancetta before baking. This draws more flavour into the turkey.
Vegetarian Christmas Turkey Fruit Platter and Thanksgiving Vegetarian Turkey
This is a quick easy platter to make to keep Christmas festive and healthy. Mandarins, Kiwi Fruit, Strawberries, Boysenberries, Cheddar Cheese or Hard cheese and Black Grapes.
For the turkey itself: Cut a pear in half, take the seeds out and a little of the core, use currants or raisins for the eyes, cut the nose and feet out with a hard cheese. Cut little bits out of the pear to place the eyes, nose and feet in.
Tip: you can use a little bit of dip or cream cheese to place in the holes to secure the raisins and cheese in place.
Chocolate Cake – Super divine, wicked and delicious.
When I first made this Chocolate Cake after eating one piece. I kept thinking about it all day. It is so divine. It is to me the chocolate cake to end all chocolate cakes. It takes a while to mix the ingredients as it is a delicate blend and you need to mix it together slowly.
200 grams of high quality cooking chocolate (70%) cocoa
150 grams of unsalted butter
5 free range or organic eggs (separated)
110 grams of vanilla sugar or caster sugar
2 tablespoons of high quality (dutch process if possible) cocoa
1/2 cup very fine almond meal
Icing: Double Cream
Preheat oven once half the ingredients are sorted to 180 degrees celsius or 350 degrees fahrenheit. Break up the cooking chocolate and the butter into small pieces for melting. The best way to melt them is in a heat proof bowl that fits into one of your saucepans. Fill half the saucepan with water. Place the bowl with the chocolate inside and simmer it on low heat until it melts. Stir with a metal spoon use a cooking glove while stirring. Add the butter and combine well.
Take out two bowls – Separate the eggs – use the yolks first (the yellow). Slightly cool the chocolate once it has melted and then add it into the egg yolks and whisk until well combined. Then slowly whisk in the sugar and the cocoa and the almond meal. Beat the egg whites until they form a soft peak and then fold them gently into the chocolate mix very delicately and slowly. Put mixture into a greased proof paper lined cake tin and bake at 180 degrees celsius or 350 degrees fahrenheit (in the bottom shelf of the oven) for approximately 25-30 minutes. (In a fan forced it may be ready in 20 minutes). (The cake needs to be firm and a little puffed when ready). To cool place a piece of greased proof paper over the top. Then place on top some sort of spring form or cake tin. (I have double tins of all my cake tins. I just use the same tin to press it down with). Press down lightly and weigh down the tin with something you can find in the cupboard. Ice with double cream and dust with icing sugar if you like.
Baker’s tip: Make sure the eggs are at room temperature before beginning.
“so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white
William Carlos Williams.
“Time is a storm in which we are all lost.” – William Carlos Williams.
Love is Not All – Edna St. Vincent Millay
Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink
Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain;
Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink
And rise and sink and rise and sink again;
Love can not fill the thickened lung with breath,
Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone;
Yet many a man is making friends with death
Even as I speak, for lack of love alone.
It well may be that in a difficult hour,
Pinned down by pain and moaning for release,
Or nagged by want past resolution’s power,
I might be driven to sell your love for peace,
Or trade the memory of this night for food.
It well may be. I do not think I would.
Bright Star – John Keats
Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art —
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like Nature’s patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priest like task
Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors —
No — yet still steadfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow’d upon my fair love’s ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft swell and fall,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever — or else swoon to death.
Spellbound by Emily Bronte
Spellbound – Emily Bronte
The night is darkening round me,
The wild winds coldly blow;
But a tyrant spell has bound me
And I cannot, cannot go.
The giant trees are bending
Their bare boughs weighed with snow.
And the storm is fast descending,
And yet I cannot go.
Clouds beyond clouds above me;
Wastes beyond wastes below;
But nothing drear can move me;
I will not, cannot go.
“A Dream within a Dream” Edgar Allan Poe
Take this kiss upon the brow! And, in parting from you now, Thus much let me avow– You are not wrong, who deem That my days have been a dream; Yet if hope has flown away In a night, or in a day, In a vision, or in none, Is it therefore the less gone? All that we see or seem Is but a dream within a dream.
I stand amid the roar Of a surf-tormented shore, And I hold within my hand Grains of the golden sand– How few! yet how they creep Through my fingers to the deep, While I weep–while I weep! O God! can I not grasp Them with a tighter clasp? O God! can I not save One from the pitiless wave? Is all that we see or seem But a dream within a dream?