Monday, 16 December 2013

Edible Christmas Wreaths


I’m always looking for new ways to surprise my friends and family during the Christmas holidays and edible wreaths never fail to go down a treat. Loved by adults and children alike, an edible wreath will make the ultimate centrepiece for your Christmas dinner table. A shop bought wreath is great for decoration purposes but you can’t beat a handmade one if you want to impress your guests with a unique design.

Savoury Wreath Ideas
If you are hosting Christmas dinner this year, a savoury wreath can not only complement your main meal but it also works well as a sharing starter. You can create show stopping edible wreaths with olives, mozzarella balls, spinach leaves and cherry tomatoes. Simply stack one of each of the ingredients on a cocktail stick and arrange them in a circular shape. You can even use the space in the middle for dips. Alternatively you can create an edible wreath from pigs in blankets and serve as a stunning side dish.

Sweet Wreath Ideas
Kids will love the novelty of a sweet wreath. If you are looking for a tasty treat that will satisfy your sweet tooth, you can’t beat an edible wreath. When it comes to ingredients, the possibilities are endless. You can create a cute wreath out of gingerbread stars like this one on Pinterest or you can create a fabulous wreath out of Lindt balls for chocolate lovers. 

If you are making a wreath out of baked goods, you can buy all of the equipment you need online from somewhere like Bakery Bits. The shiny red Lindt wrappers make this design incredibly festive and it will not only taste great but look great too.

You will need:
  • A metal wreath frame
  • Leaves and Twigs
  • Lindt Balls
  • Moss
  • Pine Cones
  • Ribbon
  • Scissors
If you don’t want to create a Christmas wreath that is completely edible, you can simply make a traditional one and add treats to it. Wrap the moss, leaves and twigs around the metal frame to create the base of your wreath. Add pinecones and bows to bulk out your design and then fill in the gaps with a few sweet treats.

A Christmas wreath will make a great addition to your festive celebrations. Hopefully this post will inspire you to make your own edible wreaths this Christmas.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

3 Yummy Christmassy Fondant Icing Decoration Themes


Sometimes, deciding how to decorate your latest tasty baked creation with fondant icing can be tricky. When you’re presented with a blank canvas your mind can struggle to find come up with the goods. Even when you have a particular occasion it can turn into a creative nightmare.

Fortunately Christmas is one of those events that is wide open for inspirational decorative ideas. There are all kinds of different images associated with Christmas: snow, holly, Father Christmas and presents just to name a few. With all these options on the table you can take your pick to create some amazing Renshaw fondant icing decorations themes.

But sometimes you can have too much of a good thing and too many options results in making decisions too tough to make. If you want to know what to do with all that fondant icing sitting on your work surface, here are three yummy, Christmassy fondant icing decoration themes.

1.     Snowman Christmas Cake. Spruce up your plain old Christmas cake with this cute snowman motif. Everything on the cake is made with fondant icing, and although it takes a steady hand to get some of those little details like the scarf fronds and holly leaves just right, it’s not out of reach for most of us. The bold colours make the cake come to life and will draw your guests around the table while they wait for a slice. The composition is beautiful too, with the snowman off centre and grinning at you against a perfect starry winter sky. 

 photo snowmancake_zps5b42936a.jpg
source: Renshaw baking

2.     Snowflake Cake. We’d all love a white Christmas wouldn’t we? And who knows maybe this year we’ll be in luck. But if fate doesn’t favour us why not create your own magical winter wonderland like this striking snowflake cake. What’s great about this theme is that you can get snowflake cutters to do the hard work for you. Simply roll out some white fondant icing and press the snowflakes out. That takes away the stress of trying to hand-shape them.

 photo snowflakecake_zps730f1db8.jpg
source: Renshaw baking

3.     Christmas Pudding Biscuit Pops. You don’t have to use fondant icing on cakes. It’s an incredibly versatile product, and because it also tastes good it makes for great decorations on biscuits and cookies. These lovely Christmas pudding biscuit pops will go down a storm over the festive holiday period. You’ll need to fix the fondant icing to the biscuit using some cooled boiled water. The holly leaves can be made with a cutter, but why not make them freehand for a bit of a challenge.

 photo cookiepops_zps19d877d5.jpg
source: Renshaw baking

Remember Christmas is a time of fun and frivolity, so don’t get too stressed out choosing your decoration theme. Hopefully these options will give you some food for thought. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Go Local: 3 Amazing Food And Drink Producers In And Around Bristol


British cuisine often comes in for a bit of stick, especially from our continental cousins. Our native recipes are stereotyped as bland, stodgy and uninteresting, all of which are unfair. Although efforts by celebrity chefs such as Gary Rhodes have done much to rehabilitate homegrown efforts it’s still something that haunts British food producers.

Bristol, however, is a place that pays no heed to stereotypes. It’s an innovative city, home to experimental, creative people in the arts and culture and food is no exception. There are food producers in and around Bristol that make top tier produce enjoyed across the country and around the world. Here’s a selection of the best.

1.     Bristol Beer Factory. Bristol has a pretty long association with quality alcohol. Back in the late 19th century John Harvey & Sons created the first cream sherry, known around the world as Bristol Cream. Beer has also long been produced in the city, and this fine tradition is carried on by the Bristol Beer Factory. This company makes award-winning ales and beers on a site that has been used for brewing beer for centuries. If you want an authentic British beer, with all the delightful hoppy flavours then Bristol Beer Factory’s selection is for you.

 photo bristolfooddrink1_zps41254ce0.jpg
(Credit: IdleFormat

2.     Pieminister. Nothing goes with a bottle of quality ale like a chunky, delicious pie. Pieminister found its start in a Bristol cellar, where two enterprising brothers-in-law decided to create the best pies imaginable. They opened their first shop in the city in 2003 and from there they’ve been on an unstoppable upward spiral of success. They source as much of their ingredients from local West Country suppliers as possible, and serve up some of the most delicious pies ever. From old favourites like steak and kidney, to exotic goats cheese concoctions, there’s something for every taste.

 photo bristolfooddrink2_zps5dc701ba.jpg
(Credit Nick Piggott

3.     In A Pickle. You know what would make the perfect complement to that Pieminister pie? Some locally-made pickle. In A Pickle only started up as a business in 2011, and in that short time they’ve won a variety of awards and accolades for their incredibly tasty range of pickles, chutneys and relishes. They use mainly local produce and always use fresh, seasonal ingredients, making them an ethical as well as tasty option. A big dollop of their Chuffin’ Ale Chutney will taste amazing with your pie and Bristol beer.

 It just goes to show that you don’t have to go to London or Paris to get some delicious food. It’s right there on your doorstep in Bristol, if you know where to look for it.