4 Hot Rum Drinks to Enjoy This Winter

Blogmas Hot Rum Cocktails

I’m not a regular drinker, but there’s something about warm alcohol at winter than makes me more inclined to drink it. A bit of Baileys in a hot chocolate? Yes please. Coffee with a shot of kahlua? Slide one over. Maybe it’s because I’m always cold at home and the minute I have any alcohol I instantly turn toasty and red-faced. Anyway – I love rum and have a big bottle of Kraken sitting around and wanted to make drinks!

Chai Rum Hot Toddy

This probably won’t kick a cold like a whisky hot toddy, but it’s certainly soothing. I’ve provided the measurements I use but I hasten to add this isn’t a cocktail, there is no secret science here and I recommend adjusting according to how sweet or boozy you want.


Chai Rum Toddy

Makes 1 cup/mug

Ingredients
1 x chai tea bag
1 tsp honey (or, to taste)
small squeeze of lemon (to taste)
20ml spiced rum

Brew a chai tea bag in a cup of boiling water for at least 4-5 minutes. (You can leave the teabag in depending on how strong you like your chai taste.) Add a small squeeze of lemon to add tang, swirl in some honey until it melts then add the rum.

Ginger Rum Hot Toddy

I had intentions of making a hot version of a dark and stormy by swapping out ginger beer for a hot ginger infusion. It sorted of worked, but lacked a little something, so I turned it into a toddy.

If the chai rum hot toddy is soothing, this one is kick you in the chest spicy. I tested this with a cold and it was soothing on the throat, though did make my inner ears feel a bit itchy.

Ginger Rum Toddy

Makes 1 cup/mug

1 cup of water
1 inch of ginger, peeled and sliced (roughly 10g)
1 tsp of honey (or, to taste)
20ml spiced rum

Put the water and ginger into a small saucepan. Bring the water up to a boil, then turn down to a low heat and simmer for 10 minutes to infuse the ginger. Stir in a teaspoon of honey. Taste and adjust if need be. Pour into a cup or mug, then stir in the rum. Again, adjust to your taste.

Hot Buttered Rum with Caramel

This drink is delicious. It’s warm, sweet and scarily easy to drink. Luckily unless you have a very sweet tooth, it’s not really the sort of drink you want to knock back loads of. Feel free to omit the caramel sauce, it adds an additional note of sweet creaminess, but the drink is lovely without. If you don’t use the sauce, I’d add an extra tsp of brown sugar – but adjust according to your taste! I’ve posted my caramel sauce recipe if you do want to try it.

Hot Buttered Rum with Caramel

Makes 1 glass, though you might want to split into 2 half servings

Ingredients
15g butter
2 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp caramel sauce (optional)
¼ tsp (heaped) ground mixed spice
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
grating of fresh nutmeg
35ml dark or spiced rum

Put all the ingredients in a cup and pour over 200ml boiling water. Stir until everything has dissolved and serve immediately.

Note: If you want to make this for a larger group, put everything in a pan and warm up on the hob on a low heat.

Mulled Cider with Rum and Chocolate

I saw on tv someone putting chocolate into mulled cider and thought it looked quite interesting, so I gave it a whirl and put it as an option below. It tasted really strange on a spoon, but when I poured a mug of it I enjoyed it. It adds quite a bitterness to the drink but also mixes interestingly with the spices, so if you’re curious to try, perhaps pour a mug of mulled cider and stir in some chocolate as a test.

Without the chocolate, this is a delicious, boozy mulled cider.

1L dry cider
65ml dark or spiced rum
40g dark brown sugar
½ tsp vanilla bean
1 x star anise
1 stick of cinnamon
½ tsp of cloves
generous grating of nutmeg
Zest/peel of one orange and one lemon
35g dark chocolate (optional)

Add everything but the rum to a pan and bring to a light boil, then turn down and simmer on low for 15 minutes. Take off the heat and stir in the rum (and chocolate) until melted.

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Things I learnt putting this post together: it’s really hard taking photos of drinks. This post was supposed to go up yesterday but I ended up redoing the photos this morning with some natural light. I definitely want to get better at food/drinks photography, but let me just add that to my never-ending to-do list and see where I get, ha.

What are your favourite winter (alcohol or non-alcohol) drinks to have?

Easy, Delicious Caramel Sauce Recipe

Caramel Sauce

I love having caramel sauce around at this time of year. It goes great with drinks and desserts, but it also makes a good small gift to give, especially for things like secret santa at work.

This is a quick and easy caramel sauce recipe. Using water when cooking down the sugar makes the process of caramelised your sugar much easier than just throwing the sugar in the pan hoping it doesn’t crystallise. This takes around 10 – 15 min from pan to jar.

Caramel Sauce

Ingredients
200g caster sugar
120ml water
100g unsalted butter
100ml double cream

Have all your ingredients ready before you start. Put the caster sugar and water in a pan on medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally to distribute heat. Cook until the mixture turns a deep amber colour and starts to smell of caramel. Once at this point, take the pan off the heat and whisk in the butter until melted. Then, while stirring, slowly pour in the cream until combined. Pour into jars, let cool and then keep in the fridge. When you want to use it, heat up gently in a microwave to melt.

Caramel sauce will keep for 2 weeks.

If you’d like to make salted caramel, you can mix in half a tsp of flaked sea salt with the cream.

Decoration Idea: Metallic Paper Pinwheels

Paper Rosettes

Don’t hate me…today’s post is a bit of a cop out, as I’m ill. I just wanted to share a quick decoration I’m going to be putting up in the house, once we put up our Christmas decorations. Just did a quick trial run on the inside of my bedroom door today!

Paper pinwheels are easy to make and a quick way of adding some colour or decoration to doors and walls. I want to put these on doors in the hallway to add a bit of festivity. I’m debating making some more to do a larger wall decoration as we have a nice blank space in the living room that would suit this. Much like making pom poms, this is a task that isn’t too labour intensive so can be done while watching TV in bed. I’m an advocate of bed crafts!

The metallic pinwheels are made from IKEA wrapping paper and I just used A4 coloured paper for the smaller ones. Just a cheap, simple but joyful way to lift a blank wall or door for the holidays.

Free Christmas Wallpaper: Minimal Tree Pattern

Macaroons Christmas Winter Wallpaper 2016 Free Download

When I was planning Blogmas, I knew I wanted to do another wallpaper. My Autumn wallpaper has been one of the most visited posts on my blog and I had lovely feedback on twitter and from friends. I’m actually bringing you something more minimal this time around and I am in love with the dark variant of this, it looks lush on my screen and is quietly festive without being too distracting. I am actually working on a pattern in the style of my Autumn wallpaper but we’ll see where that goes. I haven’t actually made another pattern since then, so it’s still a very rough skill.

I know not everyone likes dark desktop wallpapers, so this I also made this in a blue option. This one reminds me of wintery forests and a lovely option if you just want something less Christmas and more Wintery.

Macaroons Christmas 2016 Wallpaper Download Dark Variant

Christmas 2016 Wallpaper – Dark Variant

Mobile
320 x 480 | 480 x 800 | 640 x 960 (iPhone 4/4s)
640 x 1136 (iPhone 5/5s) | 750 x 1334 (iPhone 6/6s/7) | 1080 x 1920 (iPhone 6+/7+)
Tablet
768 x 1024 (old iPads) | 1526 x 2048 (iPad Air/Mini) | 2048 x 2732 (iPad Pro)
Desktop
1280 x 800 | 1280 x 1024 | 1440 x 900
1920 x 1080 | 2560 x 1440 | 2560 x 1600 | 2880 x 1800

Macaroons Christmas 2016 Wallpaper Download Blue Variant

Christmas 2016 Wallpaper – Blue Variant

Mobile
320 x 480 | 480 x 800 | 640 x 960 (iPhone 4/4s)
640 x 1136 (iPhone 5/5s) | 750 x 1334 (iPhone 6/6s/7) | 1080 x 1920 (iPhone 6+/7+)
Tablet
768 x 1024 (old iPads) | 1526 x 2048 (iPad Air/Mini) | 2048 x 2732 (iPad Pro)
Desktop
1280 x 800 | 1280 x 1024 | 1440 x 900
1920 x 1080 | 2560 x 1440 | 2560 x 1600 | 2880 x 1800

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If you’d like to use this for any other non-commercial purpose, you’re more than welcome to but please credit me and my website. Please do not re-distribute.

I’d love to know if you use this and please let me know if this is something you’d like me to continue doing in the future, maybe on a seasonal or monthly basis.

Shop Independent this Christmas: A Gift Guide

Indie Gift Guide

Sorry for the break in blogmas! I’m not organised enough to have any scheduled posts, have been very busy since Friday and typically the last two DIY ideas I had in mind, I’ve given a test whirl and neither have worked as I wanted. Very frustrating, but there are still a few more DIY posts in the pipeline, plus lots of food.

Today though, I’m coming at you with this Shop Local(ish), Shop Indie gift guide (*cough* wishlist *cough*). I don’t shop independent for everyone (there are some people it’s easier to just buy something/a brand you know they like) but I’d like to support the indie movement a bit more. There are SO many awesome makers in the UK right now that if you want to go off the high street, there is so much quality to choose from. It can be quite the trawl to find brands, so hopefully this will help some of you. No affliate links, just good vibes and nice things that have caught my eye.

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Sweet Tomato Chilli Chutney Recipe

Sweet Tomato Chilli Chutney

I knew I wanted to make two chutneys this year, a nice mild chutney that goes with everything (the caramelised onion chutney ticked this box) and then something with a bit more kick.

This chutney is tangy and has that kick. It’s not hot as I wanted tomato to be the main flavour but you can use more chillies if you want something hotter. It’s quite relish-like and goes well with strong, mature cheddar and meats. It’s a bit too overpowering for milder cheeses. Best of all, it’s easy and if you have a food processor, prep takes no time at all.

Tomato Chilli Chutney

You’ll need 1kg of ripe tomatoes; I just used regular round tomatoes. On the question of peeling, I believe life is too short (read: I am too lazy) to skin tomatoes. The texture of having the skins left in doesn’t bother me as I don’t think it’s particularly noticeable as none of the bits are big. But, if you prefer to remove the skins, go for it.

Coring tomatoes
Cooking tomato chutney

The tomatoes need to be cored and chopped into small bits, then both the onions, garlic and chilli should be chopped too. I saved myself some effort by doing everything but the chillies in the food processor. If you have sensitive skin or any cuts on your hands or nails, it’s a good idea to wear some latex gloves as chopping this many chillies is quite the irritant.

Everything goes in the pan at once with this recipe, so after you’ve chopped all the ingredients, there isn’t much work to do here except to come and check on the pan once in a while and give it a stir.

A few hours later and you have a rich, sweet chutney ready to be preserved. It tastes good now, but if you can, leave the jars to mature in a dark place for at least 2-4 weeks to improve the flavour.

Sweet Tomato Chilli Chutney

Makes 3 0.125L kilner jars

Ingredients
1kg ripe tomatoes, washed
1 large or 2 small red onions
4 – 6 mild red chillies, deseeded and deveined
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp sea salt (or 1/2 tsp table salt)
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp soy sauce
220ml red wine vinegar
115g golden caster sugar

Method
1. Core your tomatoes and then chop into small, roughly 5mm chunks. If you have a food processor, throw all your tomatoes in and pulse until all in small pieces. Don’t blend! Pour these into a large pan.

2. Peel and quarter your onions and put them into the food processor along with the garlic and process until small. Finely chop your chillies. Transfer both to the large pan, then add the spices, salt, vinegar and soy sauce.

3. Bring everything up to a simmer, stirring all the time. Once it’s gently bubbling, reduce the heat to low and cook for 3 – 3½. Give it a stir at least once every half an hour.

4. Once it’s nearing 3 hours, watch the chutney more carefully. Don’t let the chutney stick to the bottom of the pan. It’s ready when the liquid is absorbed and the mixture is thick and soft. You don’t want to overcook the chutney as it’ll be too dry, if undercooked it’ll be too runny. When it’s ready, pour into hot, sterilised jars and store in a cool, dark place for up to 8 weeks to mellow. You can enjoy sooner if you like!

Tomato Chutney Jars