Make it Monday – cupcakes

12 10 2009

This week I have decided to share my favourite cupcake recipe at the moment. So yummy and very simple to make.

Gingerbread cupcakes with Lemon cream cheese frosting.
Makes 12

For the Gingerbread cupcakes:
1/2 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup plain flour
1/4 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 egg
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 1/2 oz (90g) butter
1/4 cup milk
2 tbsp golden syrup

For the Lemon Cream Cheese frosting:
1oz (30g) butter
3oz (80g) cream cheese
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 tsp grated lemon zest

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees centigrade (GM 4)
2. Sieve dry ingredients into bowl
3. Add all other ingredients
4. Mix in mixer or with electric hand-whisk for 2 minutes
5. Divide equally into individual cupcake wrappers and bake in the oven for roughly 30 minutes (this varies depending on your oven. I check mine after 20 minutes to see how they are getting on)
6. Cool on a rack while you make the frosting.
7. Put all frosting ingredients in a bowl and mix (with mixer electric hand whisk if possible) until pale and smooth.
8. When cupcakes are cool cover with the frosting.

Eat and enjoy! I make these all the time but I don’t have a picture to share….probably because they never last long enough!


Make it Monday: Pot of indoor narcissus

5 10 2009

This week is another Christmas present. It wasn’t too expensive – I spent a total of £6.50 which I don’t think is too excessive. You could make it much cheaper by finding fun and unusual containers in charity shops, flea markets or at the car boot.

I bought a pack of Narcissus Paperwhite Ziva bulbs from our local garden centre. They are a fragrant variety that flower in December or January (I am hoping that they will come up in time for Christmas). They cost £2.99 for 5 bulbs. You could do this with any other indoor suitable bulbs however. I love the delicate flowers on these.


I bought this pot for £3.49.


I requested the help of my glamorous assistant husband.


We added crocks to the bottom of the pot (in our case some pebbles from our garden).


Then planted the bulbs upright in bulb fibre so that the tip of the bulb is just level with the top of the fibre.


We moistened the bulb fibre and placed the container in a cool, dark place with the temperature below 10 degrees C (50 degrees F). In our case the garden shed, which if it is not that cold yet I am sure it soon will be. Check the water weekly and water if dry. After 12 weeks move to a warm, light place for flowering. 12 weeks for me will be the weekend before Christmas – you could just get your 12 weeks in if you started this week

So we will hope that these will come up in time.

Make it Monday: Sloe Gin

28 09 2009

So, because I am on maternity leave and although the little man takes up most of my time I do want to make a lot of my Christmas presents this year. We were chatting on twitter one evening and other people were sharing their ideas so Liz is going to hold a Thrifty Christmas carnival over at Violet Posy between 9th-12th November, where we will all share our ideas for ‘thrifty’ Christmas presents. I will submit this post, but I thought that I would start my own little regular slot: Make it Monday.

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As part of the Christmas presents for our three sets of parents we have decided to make hampers. We will be including sloe gin in some of them, so Mr C scoured the hedgerows and bought home three bags of sloes and I made the sloe gin. This is the recipe that I used last year, and it turned out very well. This year however I decided to have a little bit of fun with it and I have made different variations and written the recipe on a label stuck to each bottle. Then in December we will have a taste test to see the difference between each batch and come up with an ultimate recipe (I hope!)

To make 1 litre of sloe gin


450g/1lb sloes

225g/8oz caster sugar

1 litre/1¾ pint gin

2 cinnamon sticks


1. Wash the sloes and place into a freezer overnight.

2. Pour 500ml of gin into a 1 litre sterilized jar.

3. Divide the sugar and frozen sloes in half and place half in the jar and have in the gin bottle.

4. Add a cinnamon stick to each.

5. Seal both the jar and the bottle tightly and shake well.

6. Store in a cool, dark cupboard and shake every other day until sugar has dissolved. Then shake once a week for two months.

7. The sloe gin will now be a beautiful dark red and ready to drink, although it will still improve with keeping.

8. Strain through muslin, squeezing as much liquid out as possible and pour into sterilized bottles.

If you want to, do not discard the drained fruit, as you can reuse it to make sloe sherry. I found this recipe this week and plan on trying it myself this year! And a very boozy Christmas to us all!