Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Officially the best chocolate brownies in the world, ever!

Here at Jumbleberries HQ we love chocolate brownies. Our favourite recipe is from Hummingbird Barkey, because, quite frankly, they are the best chocolate brownies in the world - at least according to my son. But even though they are super-delish as they are, occasionally I like to add an extra little ingredient to give them a bit of a twist. I've made a Black Forest version (went down a treat at work) and a White Chocolate with Cranberry version (nice but a bit too sweet for me), but as this is part of my 12 Makes of Christmas Series, I thought I would share my Spiced Orange & Dark Chocolate version. Serve them warm with some extra thick double cream and your Christmas house-guests will love you forever!

Spiced Orange Chocolate Brownies
Over a gentle heat melt 175g of butter and 200g of dark chocolate. (I use Sainsburys Basic chocolate and it works a treat.) 
Add 6 cloves to the mixture whilst is it melting. 
Once it has all melted together, take it off the heat and fish out the cloves.
Mix in 325g of caster sugar until the mixture looks a bit like wet sand.
Now stir in 130g of plain flour and mix thoroughly.
Next add the zest of one orange, one teaspoon of dried cinnamon and one teaspoon of dried ginger. Your kitchen will already start to smell like Christmas.
Finally mix in 3 medium sized eggs.
Pour the mixture into a lined, greased cake tin and bake at 170 for around 30 mins.


Jumbleberries  xx

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like......

... OK perhaps not quite yet, but I've spent all summer dreaming of all the crafty-loveliness I could make for Xmas and then I've realised that it is actually only 12 weeks away - eek! So I am trying really hard to override my 'leave everything to the last-minute' default setting and actually crack on with some of my little ideas.

I'm sure you are very organised and your Xmas crafts are well under way, but I thought I would share my little designs over the coming weeks anyhow - kind-of-a 12 Makes of Christmas sot-of-a-thing - just in case you would like to make some of them too (I'm good like that).

So here is my first one:

Felt Lavender Pillows

This is a really quick & easy, but super cute little pressie idea, perfect for 'Gifts for Teacher' or a little treat for Grandma - or anyone who likes a bit of 'pretty' really.

You'll need some paper, 3 pieces of co-ordinating coloured felt, embroidery thread, some cushion stuffing and some lavender.

Cut yourself 2 heart shapes from the paper, one slightly smaller than the other. Mine measure 10 x 9.5 cm and 8 x 7.5 cm. You'll also need to draw yourself a 5 petal flower shape. Using your paper patterns, cut two of the larger heart shape from your darker coloured felt, one of the smaller heart shape from the lighter coloured felt and 3 of the flower shape from the co-ordinating coloured felt. I also cut a couple of mini leave shapes from a pale green colour.

With all your pieces cut out, you now need to start stitching the flowers and leaves onto the small heart. I stitch up throw the middle of the flower and back through the same hole beneath the flower shape in order to give the petals a slightly 3D effect. Do this for each of the five petals.   

Once all three flowers and the leaves are stitched to the small heart, you now need to blanket stitch this onto one of the larger heart shapes. When this is complete, you then need to blanket-stitch the second large heart onto the first, but leave yourself a little opening in order to stuff the pillow. I use a normal cushion stuffing, and then sprinkle in some dried lavender (home-grown) mixed with a bit of salt, which is supposed to stop the lavender from rotting. Once the pillow is stuffed, close up with gap by continuing to blanket-stitch all the way round.

And there you have it.

The design also works well as a hanging decoration made using Christmas colours. I added a small sequin to the centre of each flower as I think it makes them look like poinsettias. I thought they might look nice hanging on the back of each chair around the Xmas dining table.

What do you think?

Let me know if you have a go yourself, I'd love to see your version.

Happy Christmas Crafting.

Jumbleberries xx 

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