Thursday, 27 December 2012

The last post of 2012 and Chocolate Mincemeat Brownies

So this is my last post of 2012 and I thought I would share a Christmas recipe with you - I think I've made approx 6 trays of these on the run up to Christmas: as I chose to give these instead of cards to quite a few of my friends.  I've put a montage of little pics together but some big snaps of the finished outcome.  Don't think too much about the calories of these as they taste divine and Christmas is a time of indulgence.....

Ingredients: 300gms (10 oz) dark chocolate - I do 150gms Scotbloc, 150gms good dark chocolate
250gms (8 oz)- unsalted butter: not the end of the world if you use salted
5 eggs
400gms (13oz) - caster sugar
1 tspn vanilla extract
150gms (5 oz) Plain Flour
50gms (1 3/4 oz) Cocoa
1/2 tspn baking powder
3 tbspn Mincemeat
Icing Sugar to serve 
Put oven on at 180c or gas mark 4.  Line a shallow 8" x 12" baking tin - leaving an overhang to lift it out.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl suspended over a pan of boiling water - dont let bowl touch the water -  and then allow to cool slightly.
Now in a seperate bowl whisk the eggs, caster sugar  and vanilla together till pale and fluffy - about 4 minutes.

Beat in the cooled chocolate mixture into the egg mixture.  Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder together and fold in gently with a large metal spoon.   Repeat with the mincemeat - but gently to keep all that trapped air in.

Spoon the mixture into the tin and smooth the surface.  Bake for 35 - 40 minutes - now a word of CAUTION!  This is the most important stage as Brownies tend to be overbaked....I leave mine in for 30 mins then check them out.  The top should have a crust but I pierce the centre of the tray to see at what stage the mixture is at - if the mixture is still liquidy put it back in the oven for another 5 mins, if the mixture is dry : get them out of the oven....if the mixture is not liquid but looking more solid then take them out.  Your Brownie wants to be undercooked and squidgy!  Leave to cool in the tray.

Now to finish off - I love this bit!  This idea was picked up from the blog Two Butterflies and I thought it was a fab should really be using a doily but I chose to use a piece of antique lace that I already had.  I placed the lace on the cake twice and then dusted icing sugar over it.  I think its really effective and sort of festive.

When your cake is completely cold - brownies need to be cooled so they cut easily - cut it into squares.


I then wrapped the brownies in clear collophane and tied it with a bow.

I hope you get the chance to make these: Chocolate never fails to disappoint.
Thank you for supporting me with my blog, I know I'm not always 'on the case' blogging but life gets in the way and I've had a good enough response with it to want to continue in the New Year.  I've a busy few days ahead of me preparing for a New Year dinner party - but watch out for my latest blogs as I has done so much cooking this past week and trying out new 'stuff' that I will share it with you.... .

 So here's wishing everybody a very Happy, Healthy 2013 and hope to see you in the 
New Year!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

A cosy Winter cowl

I kind of made the decision a month ago that I was not going to make any Christmas presents - but it must be some kind of disease as no matter how I try not to: I always end up doing something! I produced the Christmas deco's but having visited the Knitting and Stitching Show @ Harrogate - which I thought was pretty fab this year - I came back desperate to knit something in gorgeous Alpaca and I just had to feed my addiction!
So, no time to develop something new, no time to do crochet - but enough time to modify a pattern, use big needles, thick yarn and hey presto a pressie for Christmas produced in 2 evenings!  Instant gratification!!!!

Rowan Alpaca Chunky - 100gm balls x 2 for the cowl, if you add the cuff you will need a 3rd ball.
10 mm circular needle - 80cm long
8mm needles - for the cuff
3 matching buttons

Cast on 140sts using the 10mm circular needle.
Working in the round, Knit 2 rounds
Purl 4 rounds
Knit 4 rounds - repeat last 8 rounds once more 
Purl 4 rounds
Knit 2 rounds
Cast off.
Tidy up ends.

So you now have the cowl:

To add the 'cuff' - 

Using 8mm needles cast on 44 sts.
Knit 1 row,
Purl 1 row,
*Purl 1 row,
Knit to last 6sts, cast off 2 sts, knit 4sts
Purl 4, cast on 2, Purl to end
Knit 1 row.
Knit 1 row, 
Purl 1 row
Repeat from * twice more.
Cast off.

Tidy ends and sew 3 buttons into place on cuff to match button holes.


It takes time and effort to produce these 'free' patterns - so why not do something for me?  If you liked this pattern why not become a follower on my blogspot or 'like' me on my facebook/fairislerona page? I produce patterns, run 'giveaways' and have various bits of news for crafters to dip in to. Hope to see you...


Sunday, 9 December 2012

Sock Knitting workshop

Hand knitted socks are very fashionable at the moment - so why not come along to my workshop and learn how to knit them?  The class is on Saturday January 12th, commences at 10 and costs £25.  Tuition, coffee, tea and yummy cake all provided in the warm atmosphere of 'Up Country.  
Hope to see you there! 


A big thank you to everybody who took part in my 2 'giveaways', as much as I would like to give everyone a prize I had to narrow it down to 2 people: check out my facebook fairislerona page to find out who they are ...and watch out for my next giveaway.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Christmas decoration

Well I said snowflakes were addictive - so I've now created a Christmas decoration: snowflakes with colour!  

So to make this little beauty I used Double knitting wool, Double knitting Mercerised Cotton, a 4 ply Lures yarn and a 3mm Crochet Hook. 

Crochet Christmas Decoration

Ch - chain, dc - double crochet, tr-treble, sl st- slip stitch

Ch4, slip st to form a ring

Round 1.  Ch1, 6dc in ring, join with sl st to first dc.
Round 2.  Ch3 (counts as tr), tr in same st, ch3, * 2tr in next dc, ch3; repeat from * four times, join with slip st to third ch of ch3, slip st to next tr.
Round 3.  Ch1, *5dc in next ch3 space, skip 2tr; repeat from* around, join to first dc. Fasten off.
Round 4.  Join yarn in space between any two 5 dc groups, ch1, dc in same space, *ch2, skip 2dc, (3tr, ch3, 3tr) in next dc, ch2, skip 2dc, dc between last skipped dc and next dc; repeat from * around, omitting last dc, join to first dc. Fasten off.
Round 5 - Gold - Start at centred dc between petals, ch1,
*1dc, 1dc in next 2ch space, 1dc in each tr, 3dc in ch3, 1dc in each tr, 1dc in 2ch space; repeat 5 more times from* slip st to ch1.  Fasten off.

6 decorations waiting to be won!

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