Normally in the FoodNerd household at this time of year, the tree is up (but only with a strict colour scheme – with me sneaking on old Disney ornaments) the kitchen is getting full of homemade treats, Wham Last Christmas is blearing out and getting overly excited over watching Elf.
Only some of that will be happening this year, as I’m spending my Christmas in Budapest with my parents. This came about due to my bro and his girlfriend would be spending Christmas in New Zealand. Instead of spending lots of money on food, alcohol, presents and moaning that they weren’t there , the three of us would use the money we would of spent and go on holiday.
When it comes to holiday planning my parents are the same dream big to begin with then get realistic. So the first idea was 2 weeks in Florida, winter sun in Maldives, Boston. Then scaled back down to Europe and that’s how we came about a week in Budapest over Christmas. Hopefully, in the New Year there will be a post about strudel bars in Budapest.
Even though I would be missing the traditional English Christmas, I’m really excited to see what Budapest has to offer and been getting all my layers of clothing ready as think it might be a frosty one! To get in the Christmas spirit at my flat we held a Christmas pastry with lots of paper chains, Christmas jumpers and of course lots of food. Below are the three recipes I made for the party.
For my Foodie Penpal this month, I made some chocolate fudge. This recipe is brilliant. I have used it for years and the joy is you can anything to flavour it and don’t need a thermometer to watch to get it right.
- – 397g condensed milk (a standard tin size in the UK)
- – 450g caster sugar
- – 150ml milk (I used semi-skimmed as that’s what is always in my fridge)
- – 115g unsalted butter
- – 200g dark chocolate (or any other flavourings you fancy, peanut butter works really well)
- In a large pan, over a low heat melt the all the ingredients except the chocolate. Keep stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
- Increase the temperature, boil the mixture for 15 minutes, you will want to do this in a big enough pan for you to have a rolling boil to drive off the moisture to make the fudge crumbly. The fudge will start thickening at the sides. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the chocolate or other flavourings and stir until it is melted. The fudge should be thickening.
- Pour the mixture into a square tin – I use a silicone mould as it means I don’t have to grease or line a tin. I’m that lazy! Leave to cool overnight and then cube up into lovely portions.
Joy’s Gingerbread Cake
The week of the party I was trawling all my favourite blogs for inspiration as to what to cook and as ever I ended up doing a Joy the Baker recipe. Seriously obsessed with her recipes! Here’s the recipe to save me copying it out again. I didn’t have time to make the frosting but the cake was delicious and rich, with all the heady Christmas spices. Don’t think I’ll just keep this recipe until Christmas to make!
Serious Decadent Hot Chocolate
I made this one Sunday evening a few weekends back when my housemate asked if I had any hot chocolate powder. I didn’t but thought I would cobble together some ingredients from my cupboard. And the results were so good I’m never buying hot chocolate powder again. I didn’t get a chance to make it at the party as we had mulled wine but this would be perfect to make a big batch and serve with marshmallows. I served it in a huge mug- its so rich we could only manage a third of it! And yes I did have these things ready in my cupboard!
– 8 tbsp cocoa powder
– 410g tin of evaporated milk
– 410g tin of rich and creamy coconut milk
– 4 tbsp caster sugar
– 100ml Bailey’s
– 50g cocoa butter
– marshmallows, whipped cream, cocoa powder, cinnamon
1. In a large pan, chuck all the ingredients together and over a low heat whisk until all the ingredients have come together and nice and smooth. It might take a while for the cocoa butter to melt. Slowly bring to the boil, taking care it doesn’t catch on the bottom due to the sugar content.
2. Have a taste to check it isn’t too sweet or bitter from the cocoa- either add more cocoa or sugar. Ladle into mugs and serve with an array of toppings that take your fancy.