How To… make some quick Christmas treats.

I think it’s safe to say that everyone is a bit pressed for time this season. So what’s worse than remembering you have no goodies to give guests or passersby? Of course, we can always buy a few, but if you want to stand out and cut costs in a relatively stress-free manner, here are some super quick treats to make.

1: Shaped Flapjacks.

Simple, quick, can add as much or as little as you like.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 banana
  • 1 egg
  • an equal balance of wet and dry fillers

Recipe:

  1. Mash all the wet ingredients together.
  2. Fold in the dry and stir until smooth.
  3. Pour out into a flat baking tray.
  4. Bake until firm but springy.

Then, just use a cookie cutter to cut them into adorable shapes!

2: Cocoa Dusted Meringues.

Meringues are actually really easy to make and the cocoa dusting makes them extra luxurious.

Ingredients:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 175 caster sugar
  • 2tsp sweetened or unsweetened cocoa powder

Recipe:

  1. Heat the oven to 140C.
  2. Whisk the egg whites until peaks form, but its still smooth.
  3. Slowly whisk in the sugar.
  4. Place dollops on baking paper on a baking tray. Put in the until pale and dry.
  5. Air cool. Lightly sieve cocoa over the top.

To mix and match, try making cocoa or caramel meringues and dusting with white chocolate.

3: Woven Biscuit Baskets.

More of an arts and crafts than a culinary crafts person? Make some simple sugar cookies and cutesy them up by handing them out in these adorable baskets!

Link.

4: Cute Biscuit Jar.

Or you could also look up some cute ways of decorating mason jars and candle jars to become snack-containers to give to friends and family.

5: Snowman Ice-Cream.

An adorable pudding you don’t need to make on the day!

Instructions:

  1. Roll out two or three differently sized ice cream balls per snowman. Pick a pale ice cream!
  2. Stack them up.
  3. Use raisins or chocolate chips for the eyes and buttons, maybe the mouth.
  4. Use strips of candy and fruit for a scarf and the mouth if you didn’t do it in raisins or chocolate chips.
  5. Use a round slice of chocolate wafer and a round chocolate (like a peanut butter cup) for a hat.
  6. Use thin slices of wafer for arms.
  7. Put back in the freezer until needed!

6: Festive Fruit And Cheese.

For something simple and adorable, make a festive cheese board.

Instructions:

  1. Lay out crackers and sliced hard cheeses in triangles until you’ve formed a tree.
  2. Sprinkle crumbly cheese for snow on the ground.
  3. Make a snowy log of goat’s cheese.
  4. Decorate your tree with half grapes (baubles) and ribbons of apple and pear (streamers).

And those are a few quick snacks to hand guests at parties and passing friends these holidays! Cute, cheap, festive, simple.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

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Happy Birthday Jon!

As you probably already know, Jon and I signed the wedding papers a month and a half ago, having been a couple for four and a half years and having lived together for almost two years. And as you may already know, despite my lifestyle I am practically the poster child for a Strong And Independent Woman™.

How so? Well, coming from an unusual and tough childhood and being already predisposed to not particularly caring for social mores, I have always sought to better myself. I prize independence because independence is safety and safety is happiness. I have seen some of the world, lived wholly on my own and done just fine.

I have learned various skills and can run a home entirely on my own if I chose to. I can fix taps and replace seals, unblock drains and fix ubends. I can weed the garden, mow the lawn and light a fire just fine on my own. I can do all the cooking and cleaning and have some knowledge of most of the feminine arts, such as sewing and crochet.

I have credits stored for when I want to finish my degree and a place almost guaranteed in a decent course for when the time comes, be it in a year or forty years.

I have my own business as a private tutor, writer and translator and bring home around £600 a month steadily, ignoring my dollars on the side or cash-in-hand payments. If I chose to I could probably boost this quite significantly as the demand is there.

I have also developed an amount of self-sufficiency. I don’t need to rely on anything or anyone if I don’t want to. I can grow, forage or snare my own food.

So I don’t really need any specific person. Do I need society? Of course I do. Everyone does. And, as Janet Bloomfield has already mentioned, men are kind of the absolute pillar of society. But I don’t need a butcher, a guardian, any single person I know could, theoretically, have never existed and I would have been dandy.

But despite how easy it would be for me to claim my absolute independence and be cheered on by every back-patting feels-troll feminist I’m not a Strong And Independent Woman Who Don’t Need No Man™. Because not only do I need, as we all need, the social support of men, I also need one specific man.

Again, theoretically, he doesn’t need any specific person.

He has always been independent and has never needed much in the way of human company. He sees his best and longest standing friends once every 3-6 months and that is the way it always has been for him. He has seen enough and heard enough to know that not all people want to care for him and to prepare himself accordingly.

Even before meeting me, whatever I may say of his diet when we joke around, he was feeding himself just fine. He was strong and fairly healthy. He knew how to make a healthy meal when he has to. He also knew how to budget and clean and tidy and live on his own.

He has his degree, several qualifications and many skills. He has work all but guaranteed in the most advanced to most degraded of societies. He understands where he can go for resources if he needs them and he can do most things on his own when he must, such as minor car repairs and growing his own food.

And in that, he enriches my life as I enrich his. We’re both strong and independent. We don’t really need any random person off the street. But he isn’t a random person off the street. He’s a massive addition to my life. He takes the burden off my shoulders when I’m carrying too much. He exchanges work when we could each do the other’s work better. He provides for me and I support him. Everything is better for having him here. And life would be possible without him, but it would, quite frankly, suck.

I’m a Strong And Independent Woman™ and I do need my man. Thank goodness I have him.

TTFN, I’m off to bake a cake.

WWW. Lamb MeatFeast and what to do with the leftovers.

This week’s meatfeast was a touch more modest than they’ve been before. It did, however make a perfect lamb roast and the recipe is simple and just in time for Easter. Still, it was awesome and we ate well. So well I forgot to take photographs, so just trust me when I say it was quick, easy and delicious!

The lamb roast.

To make this dinner edible to our guests and usable in future cooking, we needed to avoid alliums, mint and bell peppers, as well as anything strong and distinct, like cloves or cardamom. A bit of a challenge, but here’s what we did.

Ingredients:

-1 whole leg of lamb

-800g/1lb beetroot and pumpkin, any combination

-2 small sweet potatoes

-1 large parsnip

-3tbsp salt

-3tbsp smoked paprika

Utensils:

-chopping board and knife

-large, deep baking pan

Recipe:

1: Lay the lamb horizontally across the pan.

2: Wash, peel and chop the beet, parsnip and pumpkin. Roughly even sizes.

3: Place the sweet potatoes around the lamb. Pack in with the other vegetables.

4: Dust everything with salt and paprika.

5: Roast at a medium temperature (around 160C) for an hour and a half.

6: Finish at 200C for 20 minutes.

7: Serve in the tray.

The crumble of rhubarb, apple and pear.

Funny and crude acronym intentional.

Wanted to make another apple and rhubarb crumble. Had some frozen pears to use up. It sounded funny so we went with it. Turned out delicious. Jon only regrets the lack of my raw custard on it!

Ingredients:

-2 pink lady apples

-2 small pears

-200g/7oz rhubarb

-300g/10.5oz flour

-200g/7oz unsalted butter

-100g/3.5oz lard

-50g/1.7oz soft sugar such as palm sugar/coconut sugar/brown cane sugar/molasses

-5tbsp granulated sugar

Utensils:

-chopping board and knife

-mixing bowl

-baking tray

Recipe:

1: Chop the apple, pear and rhubarb into roughly even sizes. Place in the tray.

2: In the bowl, combine the soft sugar, butter, lard and flour. Mix until crumbed.

3: Pour the crumbs on top. Spread out. Sprinkle granulated sugar on top.

4: Bake at 160C for 1 and a half to 2 hours.

The leftovers.

There were obviously no pudding leftovers. But there was quite a lot of lamb on the bone and some vegetables left, so I made it into a rough dahl-stew mix. Jon loves it and wants the recipe on here. 🙂

Ingredients:

-bone of lamb with plenty of meat

-some roast vegetables

-a head of broccoli

-600g soaked lentils (around 150g dry, but soak first!)

-1 green pepper

-salt, pepper, onion powder

Utensils:

-chopping board and knife

-large pot

Recipe:

1: Chop the lamb off the bone. Place the lamb and lentils, including the lamb bone, in the pot with some very hot water.

2: Add the vegetables on top so the water doesn’t cover them.

3: Boil until the lamb and lentils are combined. Stir in the now steamed vegetables.

4: Stir in the seasonings and serve.

And that was what we had for MeatFeast!

What was the best thing you had this week? What if your plan for Easter Sunday dinner? Would love to hear about it!

TTFN and Happy Hunting!