Very sad day :(

My beautiful girl Tilly died this morning. She was 9 1/2 and we are going to miss her so much. She was one of our kittens that I hand reared and I swear she thought she was our child! She was soft, loving, beautiful and loved to be cuddled. She would climb on me in bed and sleep on me no matter what position I would be in! She loved our company, always greeted us in the mornings or when we came in and our lives will be totally empty without her 😦

RIP my beautiful, special girl, Mum loves you xx

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White chocolate and caramel cheesecake

I made this today as a trial run for Christmas Eve and it is heaven on a plate. It is my basic cheesecake recipe (unbaked) with melted Belgian white chocolate and caramel pieces that I made crushed inside and then caramel shards on top. It is so scrummy!!! Half of it went to the children and the other half is sitting in the fridge but I guarantee it won’t be there tomorrow!!

Recipe:
7oz caster sugar
4tbsps cold water
200g digestive biscuits
150g butter
2 x 200g tubs of Philadelphia
300g double cream
125g bar of good quality white chocolate
Crush the biscuits and melt the butter, combine and press into a loose bottom tin. Put in fridge to set for about an hour.
Put the caster sugar in a saucepan with the cold water and heat gently until the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. Bring the liquid to the boil and cook for 4-5 minutes without stirring until the sugar syrup turns a deep golden brown. Swirl the caramel around the pan gently as it bubbles.
      As soon as the caramel is the colour of toffee, remove from the heat and carefully pour onto the non stick mat in swirls and leave to cool. When fully set, peel off the mat and set aside 1/3 for the topping, crush the remainder in a plastic bag.
      Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Take off the heat and leave to cool but do not allow to set.
      Whip the cream in one bowl and in another put the cream cheese. Stir it until smooth and add the crushed caramel, the melted chocolate and then the whipped cream. Once combined pour onto the biscuit base and leave to set in the fridge. Just before serving decorate with the remaining caramel shards. Enjoy!!

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Fabulous Mince Pies

I have perfected my mince pie recipe and you must give it a go! For the pastry I made a sweet shortcrust and added the zest of an orange to it which makes the most delicious pastry. I add cranberries soaked in orange juice and zest to the bought mincemeat and it results in delicious mince pies, you will never buy another one in a shop again!

For the sweet shortcrust pastry:

150g plain flour
50g cornflour
100g chilled and cubed butter
2tbsps icing sugar
1 medium egg

Plus:

Zest and juice of an orange
1/2 jar mincemeat of your choice
30g dried cranberries

Combine pastry ingredients in a food processor until it comes together adding a small amount of water if needed.

Wrap in cling film and chill in fridge for at least an hour to allow the pastry to relax. Soak the cranberries in the orange juice for this time and then add to the mincemeat with some more orange zest.

Roll out the pastry and cut out the bottoms and stars for the tops, fill with mincemeat and bake at 200 degrees for 15-20 mins until nicely browned. When cool, sprinkle with icing sugar. Stores for a good 5-6 days in an airtight container if they last that long!!

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