26 December 2013

Christmas Giggles

So Christmas morning poked her hiding head out from under the grey clouds & brought with her a scrumptious crisp morning & a hazy slow sunrise. 

Jumping out of bed & tumbling down the stairs, I found my little man already patiently waiting to brace the outdoors with an excitedly wagging tail full of Christmas happiness. Shrugging on my coat & wellies, we set out on our morning walk, filling our lungs with fresh anticipation for the big day ahead!

Father Coco working his festive magic for another successful year.

Having preened & pampered myself, weighed up different outfit options, munched on some breakfast, there was only one thing left to do.. It was time to gather up my stocking & unearth the goodies lurking inside!

Santa must of been eaves-dropping on many of my conversations in the recent months about the majesty of Smashbox makeup! Beholding such fine products, I did what any girl in my position would do...got down to business & indulged in big girl's beauty play. 

I was one very happy girl & the Cava hadn't even been whipped out yet...

Skipping downstairs, I found my parents bustling about in the kitchen & was greeted with goofy Christmas smiles & bundled up into squishy monster hugs. Ooing & ahhing over the festive food they'd already prepped, it was time to get crackin' on the duties I'd been tasked with. 

Makin' & creating the starters. 

Now I'm not going to lie, throughout the whole task I wasn't really sure what I was doing, what the final product would be exactly or more importantly, whether the final outcome would suffice. Or taste nice for that matter.

Impulsive improvisation featured rather heavily...

Oh, and popping the Cava ensured things were carried out with expert precision!

There's definitely something in the air at Christmas that makes sipping on bubbles before 12pm & chomping on endless chocolate truffles totally acceptable. 

Well, it'd be out of order not to take advantage of such unspoken customs, right?

With the starters all prepped & my fingers crossed that they'd pass the tastebud test of the family, I poured another glass of bubbles, plucked up the camera & sought out these two mischief makers...


I also launched the lens at mama Salmon & nabbed a few sneaky selfies with the beautiful lady! 

...whilst papa Salmon busied himself in an attempt to hide from the camera by fussing over the other bird in his life other than Mama & I...

The Turkey.

Such a meddling minx.

After all the fun playing around with the camera, it was about time to start filling our bellies & inevitably devouring far too much food than our bodies could handle. 

Christmas done right we always say!

To start we had Chive & herb blinis topped with a dollop of crème fraîche & smoked salmon, nestled on a bed of rocket, dried cranberries & crushed walnuts.

I also whipped up some spicy butternut squash croquettes rolled in parmesan breadcrumbs, served with a garlic yoghurt dip & sweet chilli sauce on the side.

They went down extremely well. Phew.

With a room full of chatter, giggles, cheesy Christmas cracker jokes & wine toasting, time slipped on & we found ourselves awaiting the hour of the main event...

A huge slow roasted turkey stuffed with garlic, rosemary & copious amounts of herby stuffing, juicy succulent lamb roasted slowly overnight, crispy plump roast potatoes, chopped sprouts sautéed with slithers of crunchy bacon & crushed roasted chestnuts & a mix of roasted carrots...it was Salmon Christmas dining at its prime.

 Oh & lashings of gravy of course!

For pudding, mama served up her coveted secret recipe Christmas pudding complete with thick, warm, oozing custard & a glass of wine. Beautiful.

By now, my eldest brother was laying on the floor of the lounge with his face head down in a pillow & encapsulating the perfect image of the ultimate food coma whilst both my dad & Mamgu nodded off into a sleepy snooze of food satisfaction on the sofas.

After a period of a stuffed family fairly unstable on their legs & just about ready to retire, it was time to regather & settle in for a late afternoon of exited gratitude & smiles. 

It was time for pressies! 

This news undoubtedly thrilled me!

Any present-giving occasion involving my brother James simply can't be passed up without some involvement of a minion-themed gift.

Needless to say, he was stupidly delighted. 

Before too long all that was left were piles of glittery patterned paper, smiley faces, contented yet fragile bellies before we all settled down to play with our news toys & sneak a few cheeky chocolates despite our tummies reverently telling us not to. 

Hush down estomago, you're time to shine has well & truly passed. This is purely a matter of temptation dealing its dirty ways.

Hope you all enjoyed a simply wonderful Christmas, gorged yourselves silly, chuckled & giggled until you peed with your favourite people & look forward to some deliciously wicked antics come New Years eve!

Now excuse me, there's a fresh box of Milk Tray looking lonely & I plan to befriend it before too long. Can't keep it waiting an' all!

23 December 2013

Fully loaded brownies with chocolate fudge blanket icing

Tis' the season to be jolly. And what do you need to be jolly? Chocolate. Lots & lots of it.

Sometimes, life just needs a shed load of chocolate. Amen.

These little fella's will lift you out of the rainy, lethargic slumped out mess you've become as a result of the recent blustery rain showers. Downright unacceptable behaviour from the weather, I must say. 

Coco thoroughly agrees...he was not a happy gentleman this morning as he beheld the water bouncing at the windows. The poor chap knew his lead would not be making an appearance today.

Back to the case in hand. 

I have for you a wonderfully gluttonous brownie recipe, perfect for your Christmas snack munchies & most certainly fit to distract you from the wailing winds outside. 
They're fully loaded, not an inch hesitant or shy & they certainly know their way around satisfying a girl with their rich flavour. 

Forget the wind outside. These veritable hunks will blow you away & deliver some seductive, memorable moments of pure unadulterated pleasure on your tongue. 

Chocolate Chunk Brownies with Fudge Blanket Icing:

100g self-raising flour
50g coco powder (make sure it's for baking, not drinking!)
225g golden caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
100g stalk margarine
100g chocolate chunks

Chocolate blanket icing:
300g icing sugar
40g coco powder
100g stalk margarine
25ml milk

Pop your oven onto 180°C to warm up & get all toasty, ready to bake & sunkiss your dashing brownie slabs.

Grab yourself a rectangle shaped baking dish, butter it up & line it with some greaseproof paper.

Don't feel obliged to pack all your ingredients into the lined dish like so...this was simply an attempt at being arty & original. Impressed?

Begin by measuring out 225g golden caster sugar & sling it into a bowl. Plop your two eggs on top & give it a quick whizz with a whisk.

Once you've got yourself a smooth & silky golden mixture, snatch up your stalk margarine & measure out 100g. Get your fingers into the mix & ripping it into small random chunks, drop them into the sugary egg mix.

Now measure up the rest of your dry ingredients & sieve your flour & coco powder into the bowl. 
Don't forget to add a cheeky lick of vanilla extract whilst you're at it...

It's time to crack out the whisk & whip everything up into one mighty fine rich & goopy waterfall of goodness.

Let's just take a moment to revel in that magnificent pile of chocolatey indulgence...absolute pure filth. 

If you thought that was all I was going to offer on the chocolate front then you're in for a charming ol' surprise mis amigos. 

Remember the chocolate chips? Find your pack of chunks & pour the whole entire bag into your thick, creamy mousse. Yes, you heard me. No shame here. 

There's nothing better than munching your way through a squishy fudge mountain of delight only to be scrumptiously surprised by a playful chunk of chocolate love.

Fold the little beauties into the mix...

So now it's time to pour your first-class batter into your pre-lined dish, smooth it out into the corners using a spatula & proceed to feel smug & its' pure glory. 

Who knew you could whip up something so mischievous in such a cinderella flash?!

Chuck it into the oven to bronze into a wanton lil' beauty & after 25 minutes, pull it out to chill & cool off, ready to be dressed in some big, bold frosted buttercream. 

It's time to get the gloriously sticky, sweet frosting party crack-a-lackin'!

Measure out your icing sugar, coco powder & margarine & throw it all into a bowl. Give it a pinch of vanilla extract & begin mixing it all together. I can assure you that you'll find yourself with some rather lovely bicep muscles making an appearance...

Then measure out 25ml milk & gradually add it to the mix until you get the consistency you want..you may not need all of this so the best advice I can give is give it your best judgement. 

You want the buttercream to be smooth enough so it's easy peasy to spread across the brownies but not too wet that it'll slip on down past the edges & miss the main show!

Once you've got your frosted buttercream juuuust right, scoop it out & dump it straight onto your brownie slab. 
There's no prizes for being all dainty & neat so don't worry your pretty lil' heads at trying to make this a masterpiece.

Grab your spatula or knife & smooth it out so that the frosting covers the entire surface like so...

With your knife, cut up your brownie tile into bite-sized pieces. The size depends on who they're for really..are they being dished up at a girly dinner party or are they for some rough tough gentlemen football break munchies? 

Either way, my mantra is always the bigger the better...

A wondrous pairing...a squishy, rich, fudgy, goopy explosion in your mouth laced with some sneaky chunky chunks to get your teeth stuck into.

I strongly advise you to devour them in their entirety & wash it all down with a trunket of merlot. 
If you fancy attempting to make up for some sinful behaviour of fraternising with these playful, d-licious gentlemen, plump for a crisp, cool tipple of sauvignon white...you might just find yourself seeking out a second round of naughty chocolate debacles.

I don't blame you. In fact, I actively encourage it. 
Go on, ignore outside, build a sofa fort, snuggle up & get lost in a sinful daydream of tummy satisfaction.

Chocolatey, buttery & beautifully creamy. How utterly dreamy.
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