Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Christmas Craftalong #4 ~ Festive Faux Fudge

It's Craftalong time again, and I figured it must be about time for another recipe! Sweets are always a welcome gift, and this Faux Fudge is no exception.

Ordinarily fudge is made by boiling milk and sugar, and while this is of course a fabulous treat, it can be a little daunting to make. Not so this recipe! No boiling is required, just some gentle microwaving and a lot of stirring!

You will need:

200g Plain Chocolate
100g Butter
400g Icing Sugar
1 tbsp. Vanilla
2 tbsp. Golden Syrup
Festive Sprinkles

Begin by lining a tin (approx. 17cm / 7" square) with greaseproof paper.
Break the chocolate into pieces and put in a microwavable bowl with the butter. Heat gently (I never go above 50% power when melting chocolate) in bursts of about 30 seconds, stirring in between, until the chocolate is all melted and mixed with the butter. Stir in the vanilla and syrup, then add the icing sugar about a third at a time, mixing thoroughly. The mixture gets real thick real quick, and you may need to zap it in the microwave for another 10 or 15 seconds to show it who's boss.
When the icing sugar is completely incorporated, turn the mixture into the tin and press out into the corners. Put another piece of greaseproof paper or a sheet of kitchen paper on top, then using a potato masher or similar press down firmly on the mixture to bind it all together and flatten the top. Peel back the paper, sprinkle on your sprinkles, replace the paper and gently press the sprinkles into the fudge.
Allow to cool in the fridge for a couple of hours then lift out and cut into squares.

 For a simple effective gift place several chunks of fudge in a cellophane bag and tie with a ribbon. Or to make it a little more special, try filling a beautiful glass tumbler, or a vintage bonbon dish.

This fudge will allegedly keep for a couple of weeks. . .

 . . . if you have the willpower . . .


Friday, 15 November 2013

Christmas Craftalong #3 ~ Tinsel Wreath

Tinsel wreaths are all the rage at the moment, and they are incredibly easy to make using decorations you already have.

Compass and pencil (or plates to use as a template)
approx. 4 metres of tinsel
approx. 25cm / 10" ribbon
little baubles or other festive bits
staple gun
sticky tape

Start by drawing your wreath shape onto a sturdy piece of cardboard. I used a compass to make a 4.5" circle inside a 9" circle, but you can use a large plate and a saucer or similar to create your template if you don't have a compass. Once you have cut out your shape, staple or stick your piece of ribbon to form a hanging loop.

Next, tape the end of your tinsel to the back of the wreath and start winding it around your cardboard hoop. 

When you get to the end, tuck the tail well under the wrapped tinsel, at the back of the wreath if possible, but tinsel is very forgiving so if it ends at the front don't worry too much!

To hang the baubles you can use the little hooks that you use to put them on christmas trees, but I found that made mine too dangly. So I took some unused staples, threaded them through the holes on the baubles, and bent them into tiny hooks which snagged into the tinsel.

They were a little fiddly to hang, but did the job just fine!

These wreaths are so simple and versatile, you can make any colour combination you like.

And because they are so light you don't have to worry about banging a nail in, as a piece of Blu Tack is man enough for the job.
If you don't have 4 metres of the same colour tinsel, try winding a couple of different colours around to create a stripy effect.
I hope you have fun making some of your own wreaths. What will you use to decorate yours?

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Use your rolling pin - discreetly

I am a sucker for old cookery books. In theory I buy them for my friend's husband, an excellent chef at a rather nice restaurant in deepest Worcestershire, who collects old cookery books. However I have to admit I do find it hard to part with them, and one or two have accidentally stayed on my shelves rather longer than anticipated. In one recent purchase I discovered this little gem tucked jokingly beside the index and decided I just had to share:

Sounds like a very complicated recipe to me, think I'd rather get a take away ;)

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Christmas Snowfall

Now November is here I don't feel too premature in listing festive stock in my Etsy shop. I've been busy crocheting lots of sparkly snowflakes

I love snowflakes, and these look so sparkly I can't wait to cover my tree in them!

If you would like some for your tree, or to hang in your window, or in front of a mirror (or anywhere else you fancy!) you can find them in my Etsy shop