Lots of things to be done and a recipe or two, you can read if you like – it’s right up to you!

This is a time of year when our newsfeeds are full of new year’s resolutions and memories of the year gone by.  It’s a time when we make decisions about the coming year and feel full of excitement and ideas and plans.  Well, after our feverish few months running up to the festive period I actually took a couple of days to sit back and do nothing other than drink hot chocolate, watch Christmas films and snuggle on the sofa with a blanket, a cup of tea and our dog – which was great but then, as usual, I had to get up and get on with things (I am well known in our family for being rubbish at sitting still) and so I’ve been making plans for the Little Lemon for next year, tidying and sorting, and making yummy things for our Christmas guests like these Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies from Donal Skehan’s website (I discovered him recently on Pinterest and his site is full of divine-looking food). This is the best recipe for chocolate cookies I’ve ever found – they were definitely the most delicious cookies I’ve made and they didn’t last long with our guests (I might also have eaten quite a few of them!)

choc_cookies

 

I discovered this delicious-looking cake on his website, made by Kate Packwood of the Wild Flour Bakery in Ireland.  I’m planning to fit in a bit more baking in the new year in amongst all the fudge-making for our markets so this might be a good one to start with:

Wild-Flour-Kate_25Doesn’t it look amazing?  Speaking of cake, back in November we made the wedding cake for our dear friends Gemma and Ian whose wedding took place in the beautiful Tudor Barn in Burnham.  It was a three-tier cake (chocolate, ginger and butterscotch) with a cream cheese icing and decorated with winter flowers and berries to match the bride’s bouquet:

ramoway_cake

 

Early in the new year we’ll be creating some new flavours of fudge – every now and then someone who comes to our stall will suggest a flavour that they’d like us to try out (this is how our celebrated Salted Caramel fudge came about) and quite a while ago a lady asked us about passionfruit fudge which she’d had in New Zealand.  We’ve also had requests for liquorice and for pistachio; up until now we’ve not been able to track down the perfect ingredients but we’ve managed to do so, so look out for some exciting new additions to our collection!

While I’ve been writing this, George has been asleep on my lap and my legs are full of pins and needles so I’m off to make myself a salted caramel hot chocolate, but I’ll leave you with possibly the cutest selection of pics I’ve seen this year:

animals

 

Happy New Year!

 

 

New Year on the Strip

Whenever we’ve told locals that we’d planned to spend new year’s eve on the Strip in Vegas, without exception they’ve told us we were either a) mad b) brave or c) completely bonkers.  We made the decision armed with most of the facts and chose to go ahead anyway because it would either be an experience that was so brilliant that we’d want to do it again or one that would never be repeated.

In the finish, it turned out to be brilliant: we headed down to the strip at about 4 o’clock to be able to park, and spent a while walking along through the slowly-growing crowds, stopping at the Bond Bar at the Cosmopolitan for cocktails (Tree and I had a ‘Teddy’ which consists of raspberry vodka, Godiva chocolate and chocolate vodka – delicious).  We wondered around The Bellagio and marvelled at the Christmas decorations in the Atrium: giant everything, including polar bears made from white carnations, wooden toy soldiers and baubles; we visited the largest chocolate fountain in the world at the Jean-Phillipe Patisserie, and played the Big Wheel at the Paris casino before experiencing a fab five-course dinner at Mon Ami Gabi, sitting out on the patio, overlooking the revellers on the strip.  Afterwards, we crossed the road to the Bellagio again and watched the fountains – the first display was accompanied by Frank Sinatra’s Luck Be A Lady, very old-school Vegas and I loved it.  This is the second time we’ve watched the fountains and they’ve made me misty-eyed each time.  The fireworks at midnight were great – several casinos up and down the strip put on identical displays so you could see the same thing all the way down.

White carnation polar bear

We had a brilliant time – not once did we come across unbearably busy crowds or unpleasant drunken behaviour, quite the opposite – everyone was truly entering into the spirit of the night and having a very jolly time.  If we ever find ourselves in Vegas at Christmas time again, we would most certainly consider a Vegas new year.  Great company, great food, and great entertainment.  Happy New Year!