My second recipe of today is my Boozy Christmas Trifle. Again, this is another recipe that I have been making for the last few years and I look forward to it every year.

You will need the following ingredients to make my Boozy Christmas Trifle:

1 packet of Boudoir Fingers (may also be called Lady Fingers)
Sherry
350g of frozen summer fruits (thawed)
500ml of M&S Christmas Compote
500ml of vanilla custard
500ml of double cream, whipped

Decorations if needed

In your trifle dish place a layer of boudoir fingers and soak in sherry. How much you use is up to you but I like to put on a big glug. Leave to soak before you put any more ingredients in.

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Spoon over the thawed summer fruits in an even layer. A sprinkling of icing sugar will remove the tartness of the fruits.

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Add the christmas compote in an even layer and fill in any gaps where the fruit may have settled.
Add the custard and smooth the top. Pop in the fridge for the custard to firm up before you put the cream on top.

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Whip the cream and spoon on top, making sure any gaps are filled. Sprinkle with decorations. I have used crushed meringue, silver balls and red sugar sprinkles. Keep refridgerated until needed.

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I cannot wait to tuck into this bad boy!!

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If you feel that you can brave the shops today, or if you just happen to have a store cupboard full of ingredients, then I’m going to be writing up two of my favourite Christmas recipes which I’m sure you will love. These recipes have become somewhat of a family tradition after finding them in the Nigella Christmas cookbook, and adapting them to my own recipe.

First up are my Christmas pudding truffles. Unlike regular chocolate truffles, these are more reminiscent of the rum truffles that you can get from local delicatessens, that are usually covered in chocolate strands. Delicious!

For my Christmas pudding truffles you will need the following

454g of christmas pudding, heated up and left to cool
150g plain or dark cooking chocolate
30ml of golden syrup
60ml sherry

To decorate
100g white cooking chocolate
Sprinkles

I have been making these for so long that I very rarely measure out so my measurements are approximates.

Once the Christmas pudding has been heated and left to cool, break it up in a mixing bowl using a wooden spoon. Add the sherry and syrup and mix until all the ingredients have mixed together.

Anoushkaloves christmas pudding truffles

Melt the chocolate and pour into the mixing bowl and stir. The mixture will go very glossy and shiny.
You may want to wear vinyl gloves for this part but I love to get my hands in! Take small amounts of the mixture and roll into balls and place on a baking tray covered in greaseproof paper. Once you have filled your baking tray, place in the fridge to set and cool.

Anoushkaloves christmas pudding truffles

Decorate by using melted white chocolate drizzled over the top and add the sprinkles before the chocolate hardens (unlike me, who forgot). Let the chocolate drizzle down the sides of the truffles, so it looks like an old fashioned Christmas pud. Pop back in the fridge to set.

Anoushkaloves christmas pudding truffles

Don’t eat them all at once!

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Time is getting on and the days are getting closer to the big event. This post is one of my favourites to write and thats because it’s about cake. I haven’t gone for a traditional fruit cake this year, but a modern take on the old classic. I made this last Christmas and my family went crazy for it. Ladies and gents, let me introduce you to my boozy fruity chocolate cake!

Anoushkaloves christmas cake

First things first, I’m going to show you how to line a tin properly so your cake is smooth around the edges when its cooked and on display. For this I use greaseproof paper and a sharp pair of scissors. My tin is a round tin with a loose bottom and is 8″ deep.

Grease the sides and bottom of the tin, then prepare your greaseproof paper. I fold over the bottom third and with a pair of scissors I make small cuts in the paper like the picture below.

Anoushkaloves christmas cake

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Place the paper into the tin using the greased sides to adhere and slide into place. The little cuts will help the paper sit in the right position. A circle of greaseproof cut to size will fit perfectly over the fanned out pieces.

Anoushkaloves christmas cake

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Trim away any excess and voila, you have a perfect double lined tin ready for your cake batter.

The ingredients that you will need are:

350g prunes, chopped
250g raisins
175g currants
175g soft butter
175g dark muscovado sugar
225g honey
125ml of black cherry rum, or you can use a coffee based liqueur like Tia Maria
2 oranges, juice and zest
1 tsp mixed spice
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 eggs, beaten
150g plain flour
75g ground almonds
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees or gas mark 2.

Anoushkaloves Christmas cake

In a wide saucepan place all the fruits, butter, sugar, honey, rum, orange juice and zest, spice and cocoa poder. Pop it on the hob and gently bring it to the boil, stirring the mixture to incorporate all the ingredients untilo the butter melts. Simmer for ten minutes then take off the heat and leave to stand for 30 minutes.

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Beat the eggs in a separate dish and add this too the saucepan mixture. Also add the flour, ground almonds, baking powder and bicarb, stirring to combine.

Pour your mixture into your lined cake tine and put it in the oven for 1 3/4 – 2 hours. It should look firm yet have a glossy, sticky finish. The cake needs to be slightly gooey inside and a cake skewer inserted into the cake will help you decide!

Anoushkaloves Christmas cake

Leave the cake inside its tin on a wire cooling rack to cool, the still in its paper. wrap it in another layer of paper and then foil and place into an airtight container. As it contains fruit, it has a long life. I make mine two weeks before Christmas.

Anoushkaloves christmas cake

For my decorations I used chocolate coffee beans and edible gold glitter and stars. These are available from all good baking shops and several garden centres.

Have you made your Christmas cake yet?

*This cake recipe is adapted from a recipe by Nigella Lawson

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Two weeks to go and I’m sure most have you have bought all your presents and are just getting those last few bits sorted out. I just have to pick up a few little stocking fillers for my friends children and neighbours.

I love the personal touch and i’ve found a great way of making sure those stocking fillers are made with love and especially for the person intended. ‘Personalised Dummy Chains‘is a fairly new business that makes beautiful dummy chains and bag clips for those special little people in your life. Ideal for my friends children as stocking fillers and little gifts, Personalised Dummy Chains can be made for any occasion. Here are the Christmas ones that I have picked up.

Personalised Dummy Chains

At only £5, they’re a great way to inject that extra bit of love and thought into a present and with the amount of little people that have been born into my circle of friends recently, what better than a special gift from Aunty Nou!

Personalised Dummy Chains

Personalised Dummy Chains have a Facebook page and I’m sure Emma, the creator, would love to see you over there and showing your support.

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Its getting nearer and nearer and I’m like a big kid waiting for the big day. The run up to Christmas is by far my favourite time of year and I love that festive feeling. From watching Christmas films on TV, to listening to my favourite yuletide songs whilst at work, I love it.

Monday the 2nd December was a special day for me. Apart from it being a day off, it was Christmas decorating day! I have been making sure that I had everything ready and prepared before I started decorating, as there is nothing worse then putting the tree up and your lights don’t work! Here’s what I’ve done with the place!

First of all, this is the before picture…

Christmas countdown

And now its like a winter wonderland at Casa Anoushkaloves!

christmas countdown

My tree is rather over the top. When I first bought it, I knew I wanted a big tree however I think I was a little greedy. The tree is 8ft and 6ft at its widest point and takes about an hour just to assemble it and unpack its branches. The lights I have used are Next 350 micro lights, £22.

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My colour scheme for the last few years has been pink, purple and silver and lately I’ve been introducing some blues into the colour palette. I’ve picked up decorations from my local garden centre, Newbank Garden Centre as they have some of the most beautiful ornaments I’ve seen. Home Bargains has also been a little treasure trove for finding pretty and unique decorations, as well as Next for baubles.

christmas countdown

I would hazard a guess at there being around 500 decorations on my tree and I’m branching out (excuse the pun) into using larger ornaments to fill the big spaces.

christmas countdown

I am also collecting ornaments from holidays and around the world. My New York apple and Las Vegas Mr and Mrs Christmas are so cute up at the top of my tree.

christmas countdown

Throughout the rest of the living room I have added finishing touches by creating a huge garland on my bookcase using a plain green garland and adding microlights and purple baubles and decorations. This pack of 50 decorations was from Next for just £10.

christmas countdown

I also decorated the window ledge with a bauble garland and white glittered ceramic letters spelling Noel. The outdoor lights finish off the window

christmas countdown

Have you put your Christmas tree up? I would love to see what your trees look like!

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This week on the Countdown to Christmas, I’m bringing you not one but two parts to my mini series. With only 20 sleeps to go, its time to crank up the festiveness and start transforming our houses into magical grottos and finding those special items to buy. On Friday, I will be sharing with you a great find for stocking fillers as well as my usual ramblings about what I’ve been getting up to!

Today I’ll be showing you a very simple way to create a stunning and effective centrepiece for your house or for your Christmas table. It really is so beautiful, that I can’t wait to show you how I made my Santa hat bauble tray!

Anoushka Loves Santa Hat Centrepiece

What you will need:

Red stiff craft card
Black stiff craft card
A tray (sizes depends on where you are displaying it, mine is 30cm x 12cm)
Small baubles in your colour scheme (Mine were from Next for £5)
PVA glue
Crafting pom poms
Square cut jewels
A glue gun
Scissors

Anoushka Loves Santa Hat Centrepiece2

I wanted a tall santa hat and a smaller santa hat, so I used my crafting card to make a cone to the size I wanted. Rolling it in my hand and using PVA glue to seal down the edges until it had dried. Although the bottom of the cone is uneven, this can be trimmed into shape after the glue has been dried.

Anoushka Loves Santa Hat Centrepiece3

Anoushka Loves Santa Hat Centrepiece4

Take a strip of black card to make what will be the belt around the cone. Thats if you can get the cat off it!

Anoushka Loves Santa Hat Centrepiece

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Using the square cut jewels, I applied a sall dot of PVA glue to the back of them before placing them in a rectangular shape around the black card, so it looks like a sparkly buckle. The PVA glue dries clear so don’t worry if you make a mess!

Anoushka Loves Santa Hat Centrepiece5

Whilst you are waiting for the buckle to dry, plug in your glue gun. If you don’t have a glue glue, don’t run out and buy one, just use a glue that is strong enough for bonding pom poms to cardboard. Make a circle of pom poms around the base of your cones, them top the cones with either one pom pom or a few!

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Once dry, place your Santa cones in your tray and fill with small baubles. I trimmed the strings off mine first.

Anoushka Loves Santa Hat Centrepiece

So, a very easy and simple but wonderful effective centrepiece or decoration for your house. I absolutely love mine and I hope you like it too!

See you on Friday where I will be showing you my Winter Wonderland-esque house!

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Eeeeekkk!! Its nearly December, which means its nearly time for my tree to go up and my advent calendar to be opened. I haven’t opted for a beauty advent calender this year. Although I certainly found myself caught up in the hype, I have stayed true to tradition and gone with a chocolate advent. Rasberry white chocolate to be precise, in the form of Percy Pig. Even Thomas, my cat, has his very own Dreamies calendar.

I’ve been feeling under the weather today, so I’ve cheered myself up by making lists of things to do and watching Christmas films. Home Alone 1 & 2, Elf and The Grinch have been on today and I’m certainly feeling in the Christmas spirit. On my to-do lists are buying the rest of the ingredients for my Christmas cake, sort out gift boxes and the wrapping paper colour scheme and to buy some Christmas cards for my friends.

I visited Manchester Christmas Markets on Monday evening for a night out with my friends. We always meet up at the Windmill bar in Albert Square for mulled wine and maybe a roast pork sandwich or bratwurst. I love the German markets. Being of Eastern European descent, I feel such a bond to the German traditional offerings, especially the Gluhwein.

The tree is going up on Monday so whilst I prepare everything over the weekend ready for the big day, I will also be writing up some blog posts about some very special finds and a crafty piece to make a very simple but effective centerpiece.

Keep reading and in the meantime, don’t forget to enter my giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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The countdown is getting close to official start, the advent calendars are waiting to be opened and the tree is fighting it’s way out of the box in order to be put up.

This week I’ve been getting prepared by buying even more lights, some more baubles and I’m planning on making a table decoration for my hall. When I’ve made it up, I’ll give you a step by step on how to make it for your own house.

The family Christmas cards have been purchased and all I need to do now is find a present for my sister and her partner. I think, maybe, that I’m almost ready for Christmas!

As December first falls on Sunday, and I unfortunately will be working that day I am going to out my tree up on the Monday. I know it’s seems like such a long time to have a tree up but when you have to go to work, you just don’t get time to enjoy it.

My typical Christmas tree day consists of beautiful Christmas music being played, a few movies like Home Alone and Elf, whilst drinking glühwein and eating lebkuchen and mince pies.

What does your tree putting up day consist of?

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Eek, I love Christmas! It’s my favourite time of year and I adore the run up to Christmas so much. I’m very much a child at heart and find the festive period so enchanting and magical. Every Friday I will be counting down to Christ as and giving you an insight to my life and home on the run up to the special day. I’ll also be showcasing some lovely small businesses who can make personalised presents, salons in the Manchester area and their special offers and also my favourite recipes and creative makes.

As it is still only mid November, I haven’t really done much in the way of Christmas counting down, but I have remembered to purchase new tree lights. Nothing worse than getting everything out in preparation and the lights don’t work! My Nanna treated me to a new garland which I’m going to make into a feature and I’ve also bought my advent calendar (Percy Pig) and the cats (Dreamies).

So, I will be back next Friday as I start to prepare my little house for the onslaught of decorations, garlands, lights and candles! I actually cannot wait!!xx

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