Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Christmas pudding

Dare I say I started the Christmas preparations back in October. Well essentially it consisted of spending maybe 15 minutes mixing the fruit but it counts right..
I ended up going back home for a weekend to celebrate my brothers graduation so what was supposed to be a week of soakage turned into more than 3. 

As usually happens things always fall together and I literally got off the plane to go on a 3 day intensive work course which just knocked the stuffing clean out of me and baking was the last thing on my mind. 

Eventually found my mojo and set about making a gluten free version of this Nigella recipe. Now as with all my recipes I tend to use what I have, in this case I didn't have sherry so I used whiskey and I couldn't get gluten free suet but after some research found a great alternative.

       1¼ cups currants            
1 cup golden raisins 
1 cup roughly chopped pitted prunes          
¾ cup Whiskey
⅔ cup gluten free flour
2⅓ cups gluten free breadcrumbs
14 tablespoons coarsely grated vegetable shortening
¾ cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon baking powder      
grated zest of 1 lemon   
3 large eggs
1 medium apple (peeled and grated)
2 tablespoons honey
Combine the currants, sultanas and prunes in a bowl with the whiskey and mix well. Cover with cling film and leave to steep overnight or for up to a week. If like me you intend a longer steeping time I recommend putting the fruits in a Ziploc bag to minimize use of fridge space.
While the fruits are steeping I put the vegetable shortening in the freezer, it makes it so much easier to grate when it comes time to put everything together.
When your done steeping and ready to move on with the process, grease your pudding dish and put some water on to boil. Check the level with your dish to ensure the water wont come over the side of the pudding dish. 
Combine all the remaining pudding ingredients in a large bowl. Add the steeped fruits and mix well. Put into your dish and push down to press out any air holes. At this point you can pop on the lid to the pudding bowl. Mine didn't have one so I wrapped my dish in 3 layers of parchment paper and tied it up. I had some mixture left over so used two ramekin dishes for the remaining mixture and wrapped them in parchment also. Place in the pot of water and cook for 5 hours, checking regularly to ensure the water level is maintained.

Once finished cooking, carefully remove from the pot and wrapping but leave in the dish. Allow to cool completely then place in an airtight container for Christmas. The smaller puddings turned out great, I think these would be fantastic as individual servings if you where having a dinner party or if like me you have no patience you can munch on them in the run up to the big day without sacrificing the main feature.. a win win if you ask me!
And finally on the day you intend to serve the pudding, you need to steam it again for 3 hours. Make sure you wrap it well in parchment or tin foil and place in pot of water as before. To serve remove from pot and parchment, turn out onto a plate and remove pudding dish. Decorate as desired.

The pudding can be made up to 6 weeks in advance and stored in a cool dark place until you are ready to serve or you could make and freeze it up to 1 year ahead of time. Just thaw over night at room temperature and follow reheating instructions from serving day above.
 I am way behind on my Christmas decorating this year, these pictures are actually from last years pudding that I never got around to posting. Don't worry I have Septa Unella from Game of Thrones ringing the bell and shouting SHAME in my direction.
She will no doubt get me back later in the week with a Christmas cake recipe trial once I get the decorations up and can get some festive pictures. This years I promise, I didn't make one last year. SHAME!
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Michelle xxx

Thursday, 1 September 2016

365 Days...

as Mrs. Ni Tuama!!!
I cannot believe how quickly this year has gone by. I honestly feel like we are only now coming around to the idea that this is for real, we are married. It still feels weird to say my husband...
So to mark our first year it seems appropriate to share some of the wedding photos I promised waaaaay back {apologies procrastination is my middle name, I'm working on it} Be warned there are a lot of them as I haven't gotten round to sorting our album yet so for now this will serve as our go to reminder. You can also check out our wedding teaser here if pictures seriously bore you. I cannot recommend our videographer enough, Sinead is amazing, any one in Ireland looking for a wedding videographer Under the Apple Tree should be your first call

We have a lot of nieces and nephews between us and wanted to get the younger ones involved in the day in some way. These signs were just the ticket for three of the boys.
Check out how we made out ceremony booklets here. Our invitations were made from the same seeded paper range from Botanical Paper Works, you can see the details here.


When deciding center pieces I knew I didn't want big candelabras or anything like that and this teapot idea really got my attention, to make it that bit more special the one pictured belonged to Justins mam Eileen who passed away before we got engaged. We had it on our table and the other tables had all white teapots but in different designs.
I made up these little booklet and activity bags to keep the kids entertained during the speeches. They where personalized to each of the kids likes such as the Lion King, Batman, Disney princess you know yourself. They were definitely a couple of hours well spent. There wasn't a peep out of them at the table.


We had such a lovely day, everyone really enjoyed themselves and loved the extra little touches we added.
Happy First Anniversary Hubby here's to the year ahead!!
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Michelle xxx




Monday, 6 June 2016

Cuteness overload...

Soooooo.... this little cutie became the first four legged member of our family this weekend.
She is a 9 week old, liver and tan bloodhound with the most stunning blue eyes. J and I are both dog people and have really missed having dogs around since we moved away. We are so looking forward to getting to know this little girl and getting back into the groove of pet life.

I have big plans for this girl. Once we get through the puppy classes we are hitting the scenting trail and hope to proceed to search and rescue training in the future.


She is from a litter of 10 pups, 8 girls and two boys. 9 of the pups where black and tan color and our little beauty is the only liver and tan. As you can see from the picture above the girls like to stick together. There is 8 of them in one bed and the two boys in the other.

This weekend marked our nine month wedding anniversary, I can't believe how quickly time has gone by, but what better way to spend the weekend then with this ball of fun.
 Welcome to the family Fletcher.
If you'd like to keep up to date with Fletcher's antics follow us on Facebook or Instagram, there is sure to be an abundance of fun and games coming their way.
Michelle xxx