Saturday, 26 November 2011

Let's Make Christmas

What a crazy couple of days it’s been. In preparation, I decided to clear my diary for the day on Friday. I planned to spend the morning kicking back drinking coffee whilst the cake I planned to enter into the competition was baking away in the oven. Well, that didn’t happen. I ran out of hot water mid shower whilst I was conditioning my hair, ran out of fairy liquid with a mountain of washing up to do and spilt coffee everywhere. The day was not off to a good start. But any bad omens were fortunately only a feature of friday morning, as friday afternoon turned out to be tremendous fun.
Having suffered a few setbacks in the morning, I rushed to get my Christmas gifts ready to take with me and managed a couple of quick photos before I left the house.  I almost took a photo of the kitchen to make you laugh as it really was in such a state but I decided I’d actually be too embarrassed to post the photo in the end, but you can picture the trail of destruction in my wake.

Here’s a photo of the ingredients I used as I got started (and before the kitchen was trashed). Some of you have been asking which chestnuts I used, and here are the ones I used, which I think are by Clément Faugier - they were from Waitrose. I usually buy Merchant Gourmet chestnuts, simply as they are often the only ones I can find on sale, but this brand worked fine. Another question I have been asked, is if you can use chestnut puree. My answer to this would be yes, but you probably need more than a can, as I whizzed the chestnuts up into a puree with the milk too. I reckon you would need around a can and 1/3 to 1/2 extra. But this is just an estimate.
I actually found it really hard to find anywhere stocking chestnuts at the moment, so I suggest that if you see some, snap them up for your larder. I got mine in Waitrose at Westfield, which seemed like the only place I could find in London which had them in!

Here’s a photo of the finished cake before I headed out to Fortnum and Mason. I topped it with some finely grated 74% chocolate (the same as I used in the cake) and some fresh chestnuts. I did buy a very nice gold ribbon from John Lewis to go around the cake, but sadly, it clashed with the cake base, so I left it off.
The mulled cider was very simple to put together. I just had to zest the fruit and slice the ginger and that was all the hard work required for this. Same for the dulce de leche. The washing up is more of a faff than making it. Here are the cider and dulce de leche ready to go.

Sadly, the cake didn’t withstand the journey in from Brixton. A fellow passenger very helpfully slammed themselves into my whilst I was getting off the train at Green Park. Sadly, my cake was damaged... I knew I should have driven!
The event itself was excellent and a really wonderful chance to meet some lovely people and catch up with familiar faces. Here’s hoping there will be another Let’s Make event soon. Thank you to Vanessa for organising it and Dan for judging.
See my previous post on Let’s Make Christmas with my recipes here
If you would like to read more, take a look at Vanessa and Sarah’s excellent blog posts.


  1. I thought your cake looked fantastic. It was such a good afternoon and lovely to meet you briefly. My home town is Ferndown so not too far from yours.

  2. Hi Laura! Thank you. Was a shame it didn't travel! Let me know if you fancy meeting up. I'm about 4 miles away!! Charlotte : )

  3. Hi Charlotte, I'm sure it still tasted delicious. Meeting up would be lovely. I will email you :)