A chocolate mince pie is a brand new idea for me but I tried it and even the children who normally hate mince pies were begging for me to make another batch.

Chocolate mince pie muffins

This delicious twist on the classic mince pie will have your guests reaching for more

 

Chocolate Mince Pie

 

Makes 10

Prepare 10 minutes

Cook 15 minutes

 

Ingredients:

  • 225g plain flour
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 80g Tate & Lyle caster sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 130ml whole milk
  • 50g Rachel’s Organic Greek Style Natural Yogurt
  • 30g Country Life Unsalted Butter, melted
  • ½ lemon, zest
  • ½ orange, zest
  • 125g mincemeat
  • 75g dark chocolate, roughly chopped

 

Method:

1 Preheat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6; line a muffin tray with 10 cases. In a bowl, combine the flour, raising agents, salt and sugar. Add the egg, milk, yogurt, melted butter and citrus zests. Gently combine the mixture, taking care not to overmix or the muffins will be tough (a few lumps are fine).

 

2 Add in dollops of the mincemeat, about ½ tsp at a time, so it is broken up into little clumps. Stir in most of the chopped chocolate and gently fold everything together.

 

3 Divide between the muffin cases and top with the remaining chocolate. Bake for 15 minutes, until golden and firm to the touch. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Chocolate Mince Pie Muffins

 

 

 

Christmas goodwill is my favourite part of the festive season outside my own family celebrations. I love how everyone gives their time and attention in a more generous-spirited way. I see people reaching out to help others and more forgiveness too. I love how  charities benefit from unexpected donations at this time of year. I asked bloggers to share times when such goodwill made a big difference to their lives.

“My friends doing the pick up and the drop of the my kids when I am in need. They are such stars. I will never forget” www.ethannevelyn.com

 

Whisky Cocktail Recipe

“I worked in America doing door to door sales one summer when I was at Uni. I hated it. One day it was wet and I was so miserable. Some people found me, took me to a local church for a coffee, to warm up and gave me some money too” Counting to Ten
Campari And Gin Cocktail

“My friend travelled down from North London (about 1,5-2 hour journey) to help me just after I miscarried. She knew I had no family nearby, so she took time out on her only day off to come and help out. She brought healthy food, treats, some pampering products and took my toddler to the playground for an hour. It meant a lot and helped me tremendously.” https://www.scandimummy.com

 

 

Mulled Cider


“When my husband was in hospital post heart transplant, a gentleman in the next ward was due to go home. He left £150 by my husband’s bedside whilst he slept with a little note that read – Hopefully you will be out in time for Christmas” Sticky Mud and Belly Laughs – A Family Lifestyle Blog
Christmas Pudding Spiced
“A couple of blogger friends sent me a parcel filled with chocolate to cheer me up through a hard time recently. It really did mean the world to me that I was in their thoughts despite us living so far apart” www.fivelittledoves.com
Mulled Apple
“I had breast surgery in January to remove a Cancerous lump, 2 days after my youngest son had surgery to widen his wind pipe & remove tonsils.
It was a super difficult time for us & I cannot tell you how incredible my friends were”
Our Mummy Life Homepage
Christmas DoughNuts Recipe

A friend gave me some direct and solid advice about knowing my worth and as a result, I put up my rates which has enabled me to work a little less. By sharing what they knew and being honest they have made a huge difference to my workload and wellbeing” https://www.babybudgeting.co.uk

 

 

Gin Fizz Cocktail

“My aunt has always been there for me especially at times when I need her most. She didn’t get tired of helping me even if everyone else thinks that I am the one to blame for all the bad things in my life. She never quit on me. Since then I valued the bond and relationships to family members more than any material thing in the world” http://myparentingjourney.com/
Non-Acoholic Drink
These are lovely examples and the giver probably did not quite realise what a big difference they were making. Do you have your own examples of Christmas goodwill?
 

Today I am sharing a Campari and gin cocktail with the rather intriguing name of Winter Aviation. It includes gin which I know so many of my readers have as a tipple combined with Campari which my brother-in-law adores and lovely cassis.

Campari and gin cocktail

 

Campari And Gin Cocktail

 

Serves one.

Ingredients

 

  • 40ml Bombay Sapphire Gin
  • Juice of 1 clementine
  • 10ml British Cassis
  • 5ml Campari
  • Cherry to garnish

Method

Shake the ingredients well over ice. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a cherry.

Do you have an unusual recipe for a Campari and gin cocktail?

 

Are you dreaming of a white Christmas?

Now the first thing to say is that for most of us the next line in that famous festive song “Just like the ones we used to know” does not make any sense.

Was every Christmas of our childhood a white one or is that a myth?

You now enter the tricky world of how different people define a White  Christmas differently some saying one snowflake is enough, some saying the Met Office is relevant and some wanting a proper covering on the ground.

I remember a lovely White Christmas in London with my brother walking in the parks on a crisp and sunny Christmas Day. Apparently, snow is far more common in January and February than December.

Do we like a White Christmas because we think Santa Claus comes from a snowy place such as Lapland?

Just like many aspects of Christmas, it is wise not to look for perfection or expect too much. Great Christmases can be had whatever the weather.

If you really want to guarantee a White Christmas, it may be a question of how deep your pockets are as the better-off can pay for a White Christmas by paying to go on holidays to Lapland or perhaps skiing.

I don’t like the cold so have not done either yet but as with many things in life, perhaps I should try something new to add some sparkle to middle-age.

I might be convinced by a friend who told me today that she is not particularly sporty but enjoys skiing holidays all the same largely for the après-ski, the great views and mulled win in plentiful supply.

I think I might be like her when I take skiing lessons and not entirely a natural. However, the idea of being surrounded by eager and attractive instructors keen to move me on from beginner status just might appeal after all.

So what are our chances of snow this year and are you dreaming of a White Christmas?

 

Scotch cakes with hot-smoked salmon, crispy sprouts, avocado and egg makes an amazing festive indulgence.

Scotch  Cakes

Cooking shredded brussels until they’re crispy will convert even the wariest of sprout-eaters

Scotch cakes

•Preparation time:10 minutes
•Cooking time:15 minutes
•Total time:25 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients

100g self-raising flour
25g caster sugar
½ tsp fine sea salt
40ml whole milk
6 eggs, 2 beaten
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus a little extra for drizzling
200g Brussels sprouts, outer leaves discarded and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp unsalted butter
1 avocado, halved and sliced
160g hot-smoked salmon, flaked
4 tbsp Greek yogurt
Small handful flat leaf parsley leaves

Method

1. Put the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Whisk in the milk and 2 beaten eggs to make a smooth batter; set aside. Place a large non-stick pan over a high heat and add 2 tbsp olive oil. Once hot, add the sliced sprouts and stir-fry for 4 minutes, until golden and crispy. Add the garlic and fry for a further 30 seconds, stirring all the time. Remove from the heat, transfer to on a warm plate, season and set aside.

2. Wipe out the pan with kitchen paper and add 1 tsp butter. When it sizzles, add 1 heaped tbsp batter for each scotch cake, making sure you don’t overcrowd the pan. Cook for about 2 minutes until bubbles appear on the surface and the base is golden, then flip over and fry for another minute until cooked through. Remove and keep warm in a low oven while you cook the rest of the scotch cakes in the remaining butter. You should end up with about 16.

3 Wipe out the pan again, heat the remaining 1 tbsp oil and fry the eggs to your liking. Divide the scotch cakes between 4 warmed plates, top with the eggs, sprouts, avocado, salmon and a spoonful of yogurt. Scatter over the parsley leaves and drizzle with a little more extra virgin olive oil. Serve immediately with a dash of chilli sauce, if liked.

Scotch Cakes With Hot Smoked Salmon