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!)
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:
Doesn’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:
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:
Happy New Year!
I know I’ve not written for a while and have been meaning to for a few weeks but I hadn’t realised until I checked yesterday that it’s actually been about six weeks since I wrote about our weekend in Monza, and the main reason is that we’ve been rushed off our feet making giant mountains of fudge which is never a bad thing! This is the Little Lemon’s first festive season so we’ve jumped in feet first and booked ourselves in for eight markets and a wedding cake, all before the middle of December. Sound crazy? Well, maybe a little bit but it’s been so much fun so far that despite not being able to move for crates of fudge in our house we’re really enjoying ourselves.
We’ve twice had friends round for the evening to help us cut and package fudge in return for dinner, which is an alternative to Tupperware evenings (although now I come to think of it, it’s probably not that different) and we’ve been busy putting together our gift boxes too. This weekend, our Canadian friend Chaps who is on tour in Paris with Cirque de Soleil came to visit us and was not deterred at all by us roping him in to help at Lighting Up The Manor (setting up a state of the art show in a ginormous tent all over the world is nothing compared with setting up the Little Lemon…)
Next weekend we’ll be at the Duck Pond market for Saturday AND Sunday; the last time we did a two-day event there was the Medieval weekend in August which was brilliant, and this time there’ll be Christmas music and mulled wine! Can’t wait. After that we’ll be back at the Little Fox for an evening market (“The Starlight Market” which just sounds lovely and Christmasy) and then another two-dayer at the Duck Pond in mid-December. Phew. Oh, and some dear friends are tying the knot at the end of this month and we’re delighted to be making their cake for them. They’ve chosen beautiful autumnal colours for the wedding – imagine deep reds, burnt oranges, winter berries and leaves and you’ll get an idea – and the decoration of the cake will complement the bride’s bouquet. We’re very excited about it!
We’re so pleased that the Little Lemon has taken off so well, and even the website is starting to garner more attention with online orders coming in and people tweeting us lovely messages about our fudge. So, come mid-December we’ll have a chance to sit down and rest our aching feet, spend time with loved ones and enjoy a few days off, but until then it’s going to be a real whirlwind of a time. A big, Christmasy whirlwind covered in tinsel and baubles, of course.
George taking a stroll to the park
Now that I’m no longer working on a show in the evenings, I’ve a little more time on my hands. I’ve been spending that time walking in the park with George (which is lovely now that the evenings are warmer and lighter) and discovering all sorts of things via Pinterest and some of the blogs that I follow. There’s something intrinsically communal in reading what other people are up to and sharing ideas with them and here are three things I’ve discovered today which I really like:
Grooveshark – a website where you can create your own playlists (they seem to have pretty much every track ever written) and even embed it into your own website. Tree introduced us to something similar when we stayed over in Vegas last year, but you couldn’t access it from outside the U.S because of copyright laws. Grooveshark is international so visit the site and fill yer boots! Here’s my playlist for today:
I also found a new recipe for an old favourite:
Chocolate brownies with cream cheese icing, strawberries and blueberries on top – I’ve made brownies before and I love the fudgy, gooey inside but I’d never thought of topping them off with cream cheese icing and fruit. You need to make sure that the brownies are slightly thinner than usual to accommodate the thick fruity topping, and a little crispier than usual. I can’t wait to make these! It’s our anniversary in a couple of weeks’ time and we’re having a barbecue to celebrate so these might have to go on the menu…
Berry brownies – with thanks to http://www.freckled-fox.com/
Lastly, I’ve been looking at photo-editing apps to do funky things with. I normally use Adobe Fireworks and Apple’s Aperture which are fab but I downloaded an app from the App Store called iSplash; it’s simple to use and has one function: to add splashes of colour to monochrome images. Here are a few other pics which I used iSplash on:
On the dance floor at Tree and Josh’s wedding last year
Gotta have Pimm’s at a summer wedding!
Simon signing the register at Tree and Josh’s wedding
As you can see, it’s quite addictive. I could spend hours messing around with our pics but there’s baking to be done and fudge to be made so I’d better get back to it…