Tag Archives: make

Drink: Amaretto Hot Chocolate

amaretto hot chocolate

Despite the unseasonably warm weather and a distinct lack of festive knitwear, the last few weeks have been all about getting into the festive spirit. From homemade Christmas decorations to festive baking, with a generous amount of seasonal celebrations and family gatherings thrown in. It’s been an incredibly busy few weeks.

So it was a surprise to find the final weekend before Christmas has bought with it some welcome down time. Rather than the last minute present wrapping, card writing and Secret Santa shopping that usually precedes Christmas day, this weekend’s change in pace has allowed time for wholesome activities such as wreath making and mince pie baking, and of course the opportunity for an extremely overdue blog post!

gingerbread mince pies

wreath making

I’m enjoying the calm. My job is changing/evolving in the new year so this Christmas feels different, full of new opportunities and possibilities, i’m excited to see what the new year will bring.

This recipe has become something of a tradition over the past few years, somehow it’s not really Christmas until the first Amaretto hot Chocolate of the season has been sampled! This one is definitely for the chocolate connoisseur as it’s intensely chocolatey and the amaretto adds just a little sweetness. I recommend using the best chocolate you can find, with at least 70% cocoa solids for a seriously bitter sweet drinking experience.

This is my idea of the perfect hot chocolate, Amaretto being one of my favourite liqueurs, but if it isn’t for you feel free to experiment with the flavours here. For a vegan option why not try Almond milk instead of milk and cream, for a no alcohol version try adding a cardamom pod when heating the milk and whisk in a couple of tablespoons of maple syrup for sweetness.

The recipe makes two mugs of hot chocolate.

finely chop chocolate

You will need:

  • 400ml milk
  • 50ml cream
  • 100g Dark Chocolate
  • 4 tablespoons Amaretto

Warm the milk and cream together in a saucepan until almost boiling. Whilst this is heating up, finely chop/grate the chocolate. Once the milk and cream mix starts to simmer remove from the heat and whisk in the chocolate until melted and well combined, by whisking you should get a lovely light, frothy mixture. Finally stir through the amaretto. Pour into mugs and serve with toppings of your choice, I opted for cocoa nibs, meringues and just a sprinkling of cocoa powder. Marshmallows and whipped cream are always a winning combination too!

hot chocolate for two

grown up hot chocolate

Wishing all our Make, Do and Spend friends a very merry Christmas, and a happy 2016!

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day 14: Workspace

E's workspaceA little peek inside my kitchen

This picture was taken in the summer on an extremely warm day. I was making Swiss Meringue buttercream for a cupcake topping and some shortbread biscuits on sticks, all in a bit of a rush as they were both prepared for a friend’s baby shower later that day whilst I was feeling a little tired and emotional after a night at the pub the evening before!

ingredients

My kitchen is my favourite space to relax and be creative in. My boyfriend C is a chef and shares my passion for cooking so the kitchen really is the centre of our home. When we come home from work we take it in turns to cook for each other and on weekends, if we have a little time, we like to bake.

All the recipes I post here are created in my kitchen and taste tested by friends and family. I have my fair share of disasters but thats all part of the creative process, when things go wrong I learn from them and start again!

washing up

 

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Make: Fig and Fennel Jam

ingredients

Back in September when we visited Leicester botanical gardens hidden amongst the grounds and sculptures we spotted a fig tree, bursting with almost ripe figs. The smell was amazing, it took me straight back to childhood holidays spent in Spain and really got me thinking about how to make the most of them when, a few weeks later they would appear in the shops ripe and ready for eating.

Figs are one of my favourite autumn fruits. They are so versatile; great for baking, preserving, eating just as they are with a good cheese or for breakfast with honey, yoghurt and maybe a little granola. Their season here in the UK is short, just from September to October, so this year I thought i’d try preserving them to make them last a little longer. I’ve never tried making fig jam before but I have to say this is now my favourite fig recipe, i’d hoped to make enough to last through the winter but we’ve already worked our way through a couple of jars and the remaining few set aside for Christmas presents may not make it through to December!

Here’s how you make it……

figs

Figs can be expensive so do hunt around for the cheapest. I bought mine from Aldi for a very reasonable price, B also spotted some at Leicester market, 10 for £1 so it’s definitely worth shopping around. Look for figs that are plump, soft and rich purple in colour with unbroken skins.  If you can’t get hold of  a kilo of figs substitute some for cooking apples to bulk up the fruit.

To prepare the figs cut off and discard the tough stalk and cut into halves, then cut each half into quarters. Place the figs, sugar, thyme and lemon zest into the pan with a little water. Gentry heat the fruit so the sugar melts then bring the mix up to the boil. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally until the temperature reaches 104°C on a jam thermometer. whilst the jam comes up to temperature prepare the spices by toasting them over a gentle heat for a couple of minutes to release the flavour. Grind the pieces in a pestle and mortar then set aside to cool. Once the jam has reached the correct temperature add the ground spices and lemon juice and stir through.

Pour the hot mixture into sterilised jars, place silicone paper onto the top of the jam to seal then screw the lids tightly onto the jars. Set aside to cool. The jam will last 6-8 months if stored in a cool dry place.bubbling

The fig jam is delicious spread onto warm toast for breakfast, but our favourite way to eat it is spread on warm sourdough with plenty of Cropwell Bishop stilton

fig jam, stilton and sourdoughfig jam, stilton and sourdough

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Do:Kaleidoscope

gooseberriesyoung salad leavesthistledoorspeoniesseedlingsroseselderflowermake, do and spend

Just playing.

Click on the pic and it will take you to the post that features the image, see if you can spot the original!

In Other News, Team MDAS are off to a wedding today……..so excited!

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Our week: 15th-21st June

IMG_0165

The week B had…

Made: A tasty lasagna for Fathers Day (vaguely using this Hairy Bikers recipe – but we kept the pasta!) It was only afterwards dad told me he doesn’t usually like lasagna…

Did: Showed lots of potential buyers around the house I’m renting… I’ll be very sad to move out

Spent: Magazines are a guilty pleasure of mine – but I can never justify the cost…! Handily there’s a stall on Leicester Market which sells out-of-date issues – and three mags for £3 doesn’t seem quite such a bad deal

If you click on one link this weekend: I found this post on Yes and Yes – and the comments it generated – about donating to charity an interesting read

victoria sponge layer cake

The week E had…

Made: A Victoria sponge layer cake, with vanilla swiss meringue buttercream to celebrate one of my best friend’s birthdays

Did: C and I have spent a huge amount of time playing with Truffle the kitten, she’s very demanding and very very cute!

Spent: Yet more Glastonbury preparation, only a few days to go now………andI managed to find a very sensible pair of walking trainers just in time!

If you click on one link this weekend: I am dying to have a go at making my own photographic fabric after reading a tutorial over at how about orange

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