When struggling to think of the perfect gift for a loved one, the safe fallback is always something to fill their tum! While you may be a good egg and want to opt for a bag of satsumas with a bow on top, be a good sport and try out this easy peasy sweet treat recipe - a chocolate and cranberry slab.
My friends have compared this sugar-hit to Hotel Chocolat products (thanks guys!) but costs a fraction of the price. Quick, simple and a treat for the eye, you will need:
200g dark chocolate - 70% or higher
75g white chocolate
50g finely chopped dried cranberries
25g finely chopped mixed nuts (optional)
Edible glitter (because Christmas)
A cocktail stick or skewer
1. Break up the dark chocolate and melt it in a bowl (preferably over a saucepan of boiling water, but you can do it in the microwave - just add a little lump of butter to stop it burning). Leave to cool for ten minutes.
2. While the dark chocolate is cooling, melt the white chocolate and put to one side.
3. Finely chop your chosen toppings - I went for dried cranberries and a few cashews, but this would work with almost anything (within reason - not sausages, etc).
4. Line a tray with baking paper and pour the dark chocolate into an oval shape.
5. Slowly pour the white chocolate all over the dark. Grab your cocktail stick and lightly drags it over the surface of the chocolate to create a marbled effect.
6. Sprinkle your toppings on and pop in the freezer for an hour. Voila! Keep it in the fridge until you want to be a piggy.
If you can resist temptation and fancy giving this a go for a present, all you need is a piece of card and some cellophane - I got 3 metres for £1 in Wilko's Christmas section.
1. Cut a 12cm x 6cm rectangle of card.
2. Cut a much larger rectangle of cellophane, around 40cm x 30cm. Glue the card on to the centre of the cellophane to act as your base.
3. Pile up your chocolate on the card - you'll need to work quickly, as touching it too much will make it melt!
4. Pull the cellophane edges together (like tying up your hair) and secure with an elastic band just above the top of the chocolate pile. Add a ribbon for the icing on the cake/chocolate!
Tweet me a photo @kirstiepicker if you give this a go!
I'm a firm believer that you can chuck a load of cinnamon into anything and it can be called 'wintery'. These fruity treats are one of those bung-it-all-in-the-bowl recipes and go down a treat with a cuppa or warmed up with custard or ice cream for pudding! Yum.
280g plain flour
280g caster sugar
3 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 large apple, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1. Line a rectangular tray with greased baking paper and set the oven at 180 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl, sieve in the flour and add the baking powder and cinnamon.
3. In a large bowl, mix the sugar, eggs and butter until smooth.
4. Slowly fold in the dry ingredients and when fully mixed together, add the raisins and apple.
5. Once fully incorporated, pour the mixture into the tray and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown.
Easy peasy! If you give this recipe a go, be sure to tweet me a photo @kirstiepicker!
I remember being at school and 24 years old sounded comparable to being a dinosaur. Little did I realise back then that not too much changes in that brain of yours but expectations of others up their game. Being in your twenties is a weird little period in life where everyone expects you to have your shit together and make all the big decisions that impact the rest of your life when really, you're still happy making a den on Sundays and eating pick 'n' mix for dinner.
23 was a big year for me and now I finally feel like I'm settling within myself much more than 12 months ago, it feels so good!! Thanks to a super supportive other half and amazing friends and family I'm finally feeling more like the optimistic little egg I used to be.
It was my birthday last week and I had the best time. I took two days off from work and headed to Wimbledon aka the dream with my manfriend. I've always loved tennis and have wanted to go for years. We were lucky enough to go to centre court and see Federer, Serena Williams and Murray play - soooo lucky!! It was great to wander around all of the courts and take it all in, to me it's so different in the flesh than how it looks on TV. 'Henman Hill' is basically a lump in reality, much smaller than it seems!
The next day was my actual birthday and upon realising we were being blessed with a glimpse of sunshine, we headed down to West Wittering beach. Close to Chichester, this is my favourite sandy beach I've been to in the UK and is just beautiful. As it was a Tuesday it was almost empty and the tide went so far out you could barely see the sea. Such a lovely little day!