For the past few weeks I've taken some time away from blogging. It all started with my annoyance at Google by changing some account settings and all the effort it took to get things back exactly the way they were. Then, the Winter sniffles came and, amongst other things, I found it increasingly more difficult to get back into my routine.
It has been a novelty to me to be able to watch a whole episode of Game of Thrones without the need to rewind and rewatch as I'd previously been too engrossed in Bloglovin' or keeping up to date with my Twitter feed.
It also got to the point where I didn't enjoy it much. Not even baking. And really what's the point of churning out posts that I'm not happy with?
So instead, I've been out for lots of nice meals, discovered new places and even met some blogger friends and chatted about life apart from blogging.
My favourites include,
Meeting Flick and Frankie for dessert - and establishing that staying in is the new going out! Frankie's review of the evening had me giggling for ages.
Drinking Butterbeer in the snow with Boy at Harry Potter film studios. We won't count how many times I've been over the years, all I care is that it snowed in Hogsmeade and I got a Gryffindor scarf.
Going to Waitrose Cookery School with my Mum and Grandmother for a Festive masterclass. Not only were the food and drinks incredible, everyone was so lovely, we all enjoyed ourselves so much. Even the brussel sprout haters were swayed!
Any blog posts that may have appeared have been scheduled from earlier bakes in the year.
This recipe was made for Mackays as a way of showcasing my favourite of their preserves, strawberry and champagne. But I love it just as much on toast in the mornings, any day of the week.
Mackays Strawberry & Champagne Preserve Mousse Tart
(Makes a 22cm tart)
Sweet pastry tart:
375g plain flour, sifted + extra to dust
60g caster sugar
250g unsalted butter, chopped
Strawberry mousse filling:
220g Mackays Strawberry and Champagne Preserve
150ml whipping cream
1 packet of powdered gelatine (or 4 sheets)
120g Mackays Strawberry and Champagne Preserve
1 tbsp water
200g fresh strawberries
To make the pastry tart, add the flour and sugar into a food processor. Add the butter and process until the mix looks like breadcrumbs. Add 40 ml chilled water and process once more until the dough just comes together. Wrap the dough and chill for 30 minutes.
Roll out the chilled pastry and line a 22cm loose-bottomed tart tin. Chill the tart for a further 20 minutes whilst you heat the oven to 1800c.
Using a fork, prick the base of the pastry case so any air is released whilst baking. Line the pastry case with baking paper, fill with baking beans and bake blind for 10 minutes. Remove the beans and cook for a further 10 – 15 minutes and leave to cool in the tin.
For the mousse filling, bloom the gelatin following the packet instructions and set aside.
Heat the jam in a small pan on a low heat until it starts to loosen, add the gelatin and quickly stir through before removing from the heat and leaving to cool on ice. Whip the cream and gently fold into the cool jam mix.
Fill the cooled pastry case with the mousse, using a palette knife or the back of a large spoon to smooth over the top.
Place in the fridge to set whilst you make the strawberry glaze. Heat the jam in a small pan on a low heat and stir in the water until the jam has loosened and is slightly warm.
To finish the mousse tart, decorate the top with sliced fresh strawberries. Pour over the still-warm glaze and leave to firm up at room temperature before returning to the fridge to set 30 minutes before serving. Or, if making the day before, leave it in the fridge until needed.
Happy New Year to you all, for the end of the week! May your 2015 be filled with peace, love and happiness.