Christmas Cake – preparing for festivity!

With the addition of Sailor Jerry to this fruit cake you’ll have a spicy soaked fruit sensation for this year’s festivities

This year I am making my first Christmas Cake!  Exciting times I know…although a little white lie as I made one when I was in high school as a surprise for my Mum and Grandma, that was entertaining trying to buy miniatures without them knowing!  The one problem with Christmas Cake and the reason we have not united in Baking-Matrimony in so long is down to the devil’s MARZIPAN!  My mate Nic loves the stuff and yet I can’t think of anything worse…Christmas is full of the stuff…on Christmas Cake, in Stollen and even those damned marzipan fruits.  Anyhoo, I decided not to let this little hurdle prevent me from making a delectable delight which to be honest I could simply NOT marzipan.

So here is a nifty Zobird’s-Twist recipe inspired heavily by the wonderful Jamie Oliver, who I am loving with all his indulgent delights in his Comfort Food series and equally by leafing through his Save with Jamie book – in Costco for a bargainous £4.99!  His recipe you can find here or you can take a risk by trialling my interpretation below:

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Rhubarb Chutney & Rhubarb Crumble – How to deal with a Rhubarb-Glut!!!

Sticky Rhubarb chutney goodness…sultanas, dates, ginger and onion…perfect for cheese and crackers at Crimbo!

Crumblicious!!!

 

Anybody who knows me, knows that Christmas = ZoBird Hampers.  My Dad in particular is very hard to provide gifts for, bar novelty fishing t shirts and humorous mugs, so a hamper is the best opportunity for me to create tasty goodies, using up the glut of home-grown veg/fruit, whilst adding the extra loving touch of something home-made and tasty!  My Mum is also always asking for the next jam or chutney…she loves my home-made jam slavered over ice cream or crackers…as you can tell i’m in high demand!  Unfortunately the poor likes of my work-mates, get fobbed off with jars of tasty delights each year, whether they like it or not.  So here is an opportunity to start your Christmas shopping early.

Today has been rather eventful as last year I froze some blackberries that I’d picked with my bestie Ollie, whilst also bagging up the leftover garden apples and some cheap blueberries from the supermarket.  As a result these created a multi-fruit ominous jam!  Om nom!  On top of this the rhubarb in the garden was getting C-R-A-Z-Y!  Last year my fiancé Grant brought me a baby rhubarb…he was so cute in his little tub, one crown and petite…this year this happened:

It’s the size of ma HEED!!!

Time to top and tail…leaves are poisonous peeps!

And so the next 2 recipes were born, medley’s from other recipes and a usual ZoBord twist: Rhubarb Chutney & Rhubarb Crumble:

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Sticky Cinnamon and Maple Syrup Buns

Sticky Cinnamon and Maple Syrup Buns

 

This delicious Sticky Cinnamon and Maple Syrup Buns are a direct rip from the GoodFood Website and can be found here.  I have made a few tweaks but otherwise they are based on this recipe solely.  A delicious indulgent treat with a hearty American twist of sweet maple syrup, these are definitely a one-off when you see the calorie content!  However I am a firm believer in making the most of the good things in life…and that usually focuses around the topic of food but everything in moderation and one of these little beauties will keep your sweet tooth and tummies happy for a fair while! Continue reading »

Lemon & Lime Cake – Happy New Year!

A refreshingly double layered cake with zesty tones and delicious creamy frosting

Happy New Year to everyone out there…this cake is the start of 2014 and even though I don’t make resolutions, I decided that when it came to my blog I needed to make an exception…I need to blog more.  The thing is i’m baking at least once or twice a week but i’m not making the time to get it down on here…So 2014 is the year for more blogging and getting my delectable delights up on here for you all to see, try and share.

This recipe is a take on the Hummingbird Lemon Cake but with lots of changes and additions.  I love lime, as does Tiki G, so it was inevitable that a recipe which states lemon in it, would end up with lime additions or replacements.  I also wanted to make something light and refreshing after we devoured our New Year’s Eve Brisket and Broche buns courtesy of Tiki G’s BBQ-ing skills.  So feel free to alter and amend this recipe at will and to make it with or without the candied limes and lemons. Continue reading »

Banana, Pecan & Maple Syrup Cake

A cake for banana fans…and blooming lovely with a cuppa coffee!

I’ve made lots of other banana related recipes and this is largely due to the fact that Grant pretty much only likes bananas and in turn we end up with a glut of them by the time the week is out.  I’ve trialled many recipes, but this little beauty is adapted from a gluten-free recipe in the ASDA catalogue.  I know I go on and on about the catalogues I pick up for free but seriously, give them the time of day, the recipes are quick, simple and fail-safe! Continue reading »

Spiced Pear & Ginger Cake

Spiced Pear and Ginger Cake – Moist, light and gingery!

I have been raving about wanting to make this cake for AGES! At the start of the summer Cathy, Nic and I went to The Wild Trapeze in Heaton, Newcastle.  It’s a fab, quirky little joint and does some amazing cakes.  I spotted this cake and knew I had to try it…a beautiful mix of spices, moist cake and tangy cream cheese with the amazing kick of fiery ginger.  Even though the chef was very cagey about his recipe I was determined to try and replicate this.  It is a work in progress and the pear flavour; being quite a mild fruit, is hard to get through, so I have plans to remake this with a middle sliced tinned pear layer…Mmmmm!  Despite that this works really well and if you fancy something to couple with a coffee, this is the cake to make…it also lasts a couple of days and reaps many slices…you will need a fork to eat it with though :) Continue reading »

Banana & Chocolate Loaf Cake

A mouthwatering, moist and filling cake…plus it’s got banana in so surely this is 1 of your 5 a day :)

This is a staple recipe of mine which I tend to make when we have loads of bananas left over.  Grant loves bananas but we frequently over-buy them and I end up going in to mass-banana-bake-off!  This recipe is good because it is versatile and you could replace the chocolate with something else or maybe mix things up a bit…peanut butter, banana and jam maybe?! Continue reading »

Caramel Choux Buns

Delicious choux pastry filled with whipped double cream and topped with a caramel icing!! Mmmmmmm!!!

So the reason for these beauties stems from the inconsistent stock of our local supermarkets!  We’ve been shopping at Morrisons recently thanks to a discount card and due to my sure-fire stubborness I refuse to go elsewhere whilst the card is still in use.  The only trouble is they don’t stock one of our fave Friday night treats – Caramel Choux Buns…which for reference are amazing from ASDA and so calorific they can mostly only be deemed a weekend treat to reward you for a week of stress, chaos and general work related mayhem.  Long story cut short, after Morrisons causing Grant severe trauma and an overwhelming sense of loss, I agreed to make choux’s at home; having made profiteroles on a frequent basis.  Grant’s only stipulation ‘they MUST have caramel on top like ASDA do!’…YES BOSS! So here’s a simple recipe for choux’s which I hope you enjoy as much as I do…the final product is amazingly delicious and well worth the effort of baking fresh. Continue reading »

Perfectly crumblicious!

A deliciously simple pudding to make when it’s cold outside and to be honest it’s not like we’re reaching warm temperatures these days!  This is super quick and can be served with ice cream or custard.  Give it a whirl and add your own twists.  This can be full of many flavour combos; seasonal fruit like blackberries, blackcurrants, rhubarb or gooseberries! Yummytastic!  Also replace the wholemeal flour to white if you’d prefer, and light brown to white sugar.  Just taste as you go, seen as the more bitter fruits will need extra sugar! (more…)

Caramel & Chocolate Ben & Jerry’s style Ice Cream…Ooooh served with caramelised bananas!

Ice cream a la ZoBird!

I LOVE ice cream…anybody who knows me, knows that besides cake, chocolate and various other sins ice cream is my ultimate indulgence.  Much to Di Meos delight in Whitley Bay; especially during the summer months, I frequent their establishment consuming all double creamy, frozen goodness until I feel sick with my bestie Ollie…Believe me it’s embarrassing when the whole Di Meo family know you!!!  Anyhoo…I went to Urban Outfitters and found the Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book.  Originally published in 1987 (so we’re talking pre-Caramel Chew Chew and pre-Phish food) this book is like every ice cream makers dream.  I will hasten to add that I would never refer to myself as an ice cream ‘maker’ passe, but now that I have made my first batch I believe that I should at least continue to produce such delicious delights and in turn be able to coin the term – ZoBird’s Ices…now that does have a ring to it, doesn’t it?!

So read on if you are brave and would like to trial out some Ben & Jerry action…IMPORTANT NOTE…this is a very easy recipe, you DO NOT need an ice cream maker and consequently may end up with an ice cream addiction paired with an ever-increasing waistband….Don’t say I didn’t warn you!  Continue reading »