Vegan Mulled Wine Cupcakes

This year I’ve made a different kind of advent calendar to help us celebrate Christmas. Each day we have a game, a drink or song/carols, and a dessert. On one of the days, the dessert was cupcakes. This meant the perfect opportunity to make the vegan mulled wine cupcakes I was thinking about.

Vegan Mulled Wine Cupcakes

I’ve used a recipe to guide myself and that was a mistake, as I didn’t have enough batter for 6 full size cupcakes, but I’ve used a full size tray. So, I’ve ended up with 6 smaller size cupcakes. I will mention the amounts I’ve used, but if you want bigger cupcakes, make only 4.

These vegan cupcakes are amazing. It’s the first time I’ve made dairy-free and egg-less cupcakes. I’ve made dairy-free cupcakes before, but I’ve used eggs. Now I’m so impressed with these ones, that I think I’ll always make vegan cupcakes from now on. I might try to bake the batter as a cake too. Maybe a mulled wine cake, that sounds like a great idea for Christmas.

Despite the name, the cupcakes are alcohol free. Last year I’ve shared a recipe of mulled wine for kids. I’ve used grape juice, with no added sugar, instead of wine. The flavours of the spices will make the drink very similar to the adult version, but it’s a drink that anybody can have.

For decorating I’ve used my new fondant cutters to make these cute snowflakes. The icing is made with green superfood powder. I have green food colouring, but I would rather use a healthy version. The superfood powder I’ve used is what I would add to my morning smoothies. It’s a mixture of wheatgrass powder, spirulina, coconut flour, goldberry, and coconut sugar. Any kind of green powder would work just as good. I will try to add it to bakes too, to see if I can replace the food colouring with something that is actually very good for us.

Ingredients for 6 smaller cupcakes:
– 75g white flour
– 50g wholemeal flour
– 55g sugar
– 175ml grape juice
– 3 spoons oil
– 1/2 sp cocoa powder
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 1 pack of spices for mulled wine
Ingredients for icing and decorating:
– 50g icing sugar
– 1/2 tsp green superfood powder
– freeze dried strawberries
– white fondant snowflakes

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Halloween Black Pizza

I wanted to share another squash recipe, but tomorrow is Halloween and I thought a Halloween Black Pizza was too important not to share today. I used sliced cheese and cookie cutters for gingerbread. I realized only when the pizza dough was in the baking tray that I didn’t have any Halloween cutters. So, I had to improvise with what I already had at home. I think it looked very nice. I also used an ivy cutter to make some leaves.

Halloween Black Pizza

Ingredients for 1 pizza:
– 200g strong white flour
– 100g strong wholemeal flour
– 200ml lukewarm water
– 6g Easy-Bake dried yeast
– salt
– black food colouring
– 1/2 tsp sugar
– 1 spoon of oil
– 1/2 can of chopped tomatoes in tomato juice
– chilli oil
– dried oregano
– dried basil
– olives
– Emmental cheese slices

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My Easter Menu

I hope everybody who celebrated Easter had a wonderful time. I wanted to share what I prepared for Easter because it’s a great way to get inspiration when I’m deciding on the menu for next year. We didn’t have a 4 course meal, but we had starters in the morning, then desserts, then soup and main. So I will talk about the dishes as we had them.

01 My Easter Menu

As every year, I made the traditional dyed&decorated eggs. I love decorating boiled eggs and they are delicious with mayo and the other starters.

02 My Easter Menu

To avoid adding too many pictures, I made two collages, for starters and desserts. From left-up, the starters I made are: mushrooms and gherkins salad with mayo, grilled courgettes with balsamic vinegar, terrine with cheese and spring onion, pepper jam, homemade mayo with cauliflower and butter with olive oil and herbs.
I usually make terrine, similar recipe here, mushrooms and gherkins salad and cauliflower mayo. Also, the butter spread is similar to the ones I made before.
It’s the first time I make pepper jam. I love onion jam and I discovered a jar of Polish pepper paste, similar to tomato paste. I tried this pepper jam and it turned out delicious. I liked it a lot. I will share the recipe next time I’m making it.

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Simnel cake

I have to say that this cake was made last year, for Easter. As I thought it would be strange to share a recipe of Simnel cake after Easter, I kept it for today.

Simnel cake is a fruit cake with a layer of marzipan in the middle. The tradition of the Simnel cake is a very long one, starting from medieval times, approximately 13th century. Conventionally eleven marzipan balls are used to decorate the cake, the story is that the balls represent the twelve apostles, minus Judas or twelve marzipan balls might be used to represent Jesus and the twelve apostles, minus Judas. This way of decorating started in Victorian times.

01-Simnel-Cake

Ingredients for a small cake, 8 servings:
– 175g soft butter (very soft)
– 175g muscovado sugar
– 85g white self-raising flour
– 90g wholemeal self-raising flour
– 3 eggs
– 1 tsp cinnamon
– 50g ground almonds
– 3 spoons of milk
– 300g mix of dried fruits (I used sultanas, pineapple and apricots)
– 2-3 spoons of apricot jam to glaze the cake
– 450g golden marzipan

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Breakfast in bed for Mother’s Day

I had a long thought about the best ideas for breakfast in bed for Mother’s Day after being asked by Blinds Hut. It’s not as easy as I thought it would. It has to be something simple, that takes only a short time to make, but it’s also delicious and looks amazing. I had a chat with my mother, I asked her what she would like, not surprisingly, she agreed with me that scones and boozy cupcakes are a good choice.

 Breakfast in bed for Mother's Day

If you make huge portions, like I did, you can share it and that is an even better idea.

Some of the things I’ve prepared can be made in advance, like the garlic butter. Even the cupcakes can be made the day before. If not, start with them, so they have time to cool before pipping the buttercream on top.

 Breakfast in bed for Mother's Day

Ingredients for 6 scones:
– 225g white self-raising flour
– 35g butter at room temperature
– 1 egg
– 110 ml milk
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 1 tsp Black sesame seeds, plus more to sprinkle on top
– salt
– dried basil
– 1 slice of cheese, I used Gouda

Start by heating the oven at 200C or 180C fan.
Mix the dry components by hand with the butter until it resembles bread crumbs. In a separate bowl, beat the egg with the milk. Pour most of the egg mixture over the dry ingredients and start mixing. Tip it onto a floured worktop. Make sure you are not kneading the dough too much. Flatten the dough with a rolling pin or with your hands. Cut the scones with a cookie cutter and place them on a tray lined with baking paper. Brush the remaining egg mixture on top. Bake the scones for 10 minutes.

Take them out of the oven, put pieces of Gouda on top and sprinkle sesame seeds over. Put them back in the oven and bake the scones for another 3-5 minutes. Take them out of the oven and leave them to cool on a cooling rack.

 Breakfast in bed for Mother's Day

The scones will have a beautiful texture and they will go great with olives and the garlic butter.

 Breakfast in bed for Mother's Day

Ingredients for the garlic butter hearts:
– unsalted butter
– salt
– garlic powder
– dried basil

Boil water in the kettle and put it in a shallow bowl or plastic tupperware, like the one for sandwiches. Put a ceramic bowl over it with the butter. Stir so the butter starts melting.
If you use salted butter, don’t add more salt, as it will be too salty. Add the salt, garlic powder and basil to your taste and stir. When the butter is almost melted, take the bowl out and pour the butter in the moulds. Put the moulds in the fridge and it will set in 30 minutes to 1 hour.
10 minutes before serving, take the butter hearts out of the moulds and put them on the serving plates.

 Breakfast in bed for Mother's Day

Ingredients for 6 cupcakes:
– 115g plain white flour
– 60g demerara sugar
– 1 tsp and a half of cocoa powder
– 120 ml milk
– 1 egg
– 4 spoons of oil
– 6 alcohol chocolates, frozen
– 1/2 tsp of baking powder
For the buttercream:
– 125g unsalted butter, soften
– 125g
– 125g icing sugar
– 1/2 tsp vanilla paste
For decor:
– sugar hearts

Pre-heat the oven at 200C or 180C fan.

Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl. In another bowl beat the egg with the milk and the oil. Pour the egg mixture onto the dry ingredients and incorporate it. For a small amount, like for these 6 cupcakes, it’s very easy to make the batter by hand.

Spoon in the batter into the oiled cupcake cases. To make sure they hold their shape, put the cases onto a cupcake tray. Place a chocolate on top of each cupcake without pushing it inside. Put the baking tray in the oven immediately. The chocolates will start to melt if you leave them for a long time outside. Bake the cupcakes for 15 to 20 minutes. When they are baked, take them out of the oven and leave them to cool for a couple of minutes. Then let them to cool on a wire rack.

Make the buttercream by mixing the butter with the icing sugar and the mascarpone. Add the vanilla paste and mix until the buttercream has its lovely texture. Make sure the cupcakes are cold or they will melt the buttercream. Pipe using a pipping bag the buttercream on top of the cupcakes. Decorate with the sugar hearts and leave them in the fridge until you want to serve them.

 Breakfast in bed for Mother's Day

Even if they were in the fridge, the chocolate in the middle is still soft. I loved them. I might do something similar for Easter, too good not to.

Do you plan to prepare breakfast in bed for your mother on Mother’s Day? Let me know your thoughts.

Post in collaboration with Blinds Hut.

Christmas menu

I hope everyone had a wonderful time this Christmas. Last year I made a list with everything I prepared and it was helpful when I made the menu for this year, so this is what we had this year.

Vegetarian Christmas menu

Get ready for a lot of pictures. I cooked a lot, but we still have food left for the next couple of days.

Vegetarian Christmas menu
Devilled eggs, something made traditionally in Romania. My husband loves them, so I made a batch. Preparing this made me realize I need some food tweezers for decorating with small herbs.

Vegetarian Christmas menu
Olives and Polish squash pickles. It was the first time I had pickled squash and I love it. It has a mild flavour and it’s so versatile. I will buy it again. I’m not sure if it’s something specific to the Polish cuisine, the jar I had was in Polish.

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Last minute ideas for Christmas

For today I’m making a selection of the dishes for Christmas. I’m revising the Christmas menu for this year today and it’s a perfect way to see what options I have that I didn’t think about.

04 Snowflake cookies with cinnamon
Snowflake biscuits with cinnamon, the one I made was huge, but a smaller size would be just as nice.

03-tudor-pie
This is the Tudor Pie I baked for GBBO and it was fab. I am thinking of baking a pie for Christmas this year, maybe with a different filling.

basic-bread-recipe
I love having fresh bread and I try to bake for all the important occasions.

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