Is everyone sick of me talking about soap yet? Apologies. My sister and her husband are moving to Canada this week and while I'm super excited for them, I'm also really going to miss them. So rather than writing a maudlin post about how they won't be here for Christmas, I'm going to talk about the soap I made as a little Christmassy/ going-away token!
For new readers you can read about my first soap making attempt with the basic 'how to' here. I used melt and pour soap bases bought here.
The green soaps are green tea, made with matcha powder I picked up in Japan. The tea is such a bright green that I didn't need to add any additional colouring. The red soaps are cinnamon flavoured (I used about 1/2 teaspoon per 1/2 cup of soap but it's best to just experiment and see how strong you like it) and coloured with a little red dye.
I used a little metal brioche mould to get the frilly shape. I think they look a bit like a christmas tree all stacked up together. I was a little scared they wouldn't come out of the tins but with a little advice from Martha Stewart it was actually pretty easy. You just have to make sure you oil the mould (I used olive oil), then when you have poured the soap in, you let it cool for 2 hours. Then put it in the freezer for 20 minutes after which time it will pop out really easily. You need to polish the soap with a little paper towel or tissue as there will be residual oil on the surface.
I made this chocolate cherry trifle (from Nigella's Feast) for the farewell lunch. My brother-in-law LOVES trifle but I have to say I'm not really a fan of the traditional kind. So this was my way of meeting somewhere in the middle. The chocolate custard was beautifully light and mousse-like and not at all eggy (which is usually the issue I have with custards). This recipe may just have converted me to a trifle lover (at least in this liberal interpretation of the term!).