November 24, 2012

Download my free Christmas Card!

Every year my Granddad would start talking about Christmas around August. Like me, he was obsessed with all things glittery and festive. He loved everything that Christmas involves: excessive food, presents, drink and merriment. So each year as summer came to a close I would get a phone call from him requesting a serious meeting to discuss 'this years card'. We would have several meetings where I would present initial rough sketches, he would make me change them loads (angels could be plumper/happier etc.) and then we would finally decide on a drawing. He had a little book stuffed full of names and addresses of his various friends that he would send them to. Most were in their eighties or nineties and kicked up a huge fuss if their names weren't on his card list. He would stagger the postage because as his buddies received the cards they would then ring him to discuss the card etc. and stay on the phone for hours. Being in his nineties his phone was on the loudest volume setting possible so if you were in the room to witness one of these calls it was quite deafening as he tended to yell back too! 
Granddad is no longer here but I recently found one of these cards and decided to scan it in and share it with you. I can't remember what year it was from but I do remember him insisting that I write have 'a holy Christmas' as he had a few nuns on his books so wanted to keep on their good side. Of course it worked a charm and his phone was hopping for days. 

Originally I printed these on cream paper and placed gold star stickers on top of the stable. We spent a good few enjoyable  hours folding and sticking. Well I was folding and sticking he was sipping a hot whiskey. Here are a few ideas of ways that you can personalise the cards for your own use:

  • Print out loads and get your or someone else's kids to color them in.
  • Print them on colored or gold paper and you won't even have to color them in!
  • Glue glitter or place a gold star sticker over the stable.
  • Print out scaled at 40% and thread with a ribbon, use as gift tags.
  • Enlarge and print on to A3 paper, use as a disposable Place mat on Christmas Day. Your fellow diners could even color them in whilst they wait for the turkey to be carved!
So I've created a google group page thing where you can download it. The link is here.
Lilly x

November 19, 2012

Sugar free, Butter free and Wheat free Banana Cake

The Banoffee Cake from my book Make Bake Love is one of my favorites. It's oil based and really moist and it only takes minutes to make. Another one of it's winning features is the thick toffee icing spread oh so generously over the top. But lately I've been trying to make healthier cakes, well a little healthier. Liam is nearly one year old already and the pressure is mounting for his Birthday Cake. Of course a first birthday cake has to be amazing. It's the first of many incredible celebration cakes. So I'm practicing but I do want a baby friendly cake. The last thing I want to do is to overload him with sugar. He loves honey in his porridge so I've altered this recipe and replaced the sugar with honey and most of the flour with oats. So really it's a breakfast cake. Porridge in a heart shaped tin. 
This cake won't be THE birthday one but it is a celebration cake of sorts as he started walking last week and is now unstoppable. One of many milestones. He loves the cake (phew) so I'll be making it again!
Lilly x

Sugar free, Butter free and Wheat free Banana Cake
This cake doesn't rise the same as a cake with lots of gluten but it is rich and moist making it the perfect thing to have with hot tea or even vanilla ice-cream! I blitzed normal porridge oats in the food processor to make a fine flour, I then made the entire cake in the processor. It may seem like a very wet mixture to begin with but the oats absorb loads of that moisture and it thickens up quickly. You can make this cake entirely wheat free by using coconut or rice flour.
180g oats, blitzed to a fine flour in a food processor
45g plain, Tritamyl, coconut or rice flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
120g honey or 100g Agave Syrup
2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp vanilla essence
220ml olive oil or rapeseed oil

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Butter a 28cm springform tin and dust with flour.
2. Sieve the flours and baking powder into a bowl. Set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and honey on high with an electric mixer until thickened and light in colour. Fold in the mashed banana and vanilla. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while still mixing.
4. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed, taking care not to overmix. Pour the batter into the prepared tin.
5. Bake for 25–30 minutes, until golden. Cool on a rack.