We are now in that part of the year that doesn’t really seem to exist. Christmas is over, New Year is only a few days away and if you are, like me, at work, nothing seems to be happening. It is pretty much the same with food. We can’t have anything new because we still have left over food to eat. Well that is the theory. I have been concocting a list of dishes that can use some of the wonderful turkey meat (my Mum outdid herself this year with the quality of the turkey). Unfortunately, my suggestions are being seen as ways to ruin a perfectly good piece of cold meat. In a way I do agree. There is nothing better than a leftover turkey sandwich with all the trimmings or a ham sandwich with apple chutney (we had a bumper crop of apples this year). I don’t know why I try and fight it.
Anyway, I hope that all my readers are enjoying themselves whatever they are doing, or eating!
Anyone that saw my post last week about my Christmas baking sessions will know that I am not completely impressed with this recipe. When I made them they collapsed too much during baking. However, they taste delicious and as with all the recipes that I post on my site, they are a work in progress.
250g caster sugar
190g condensed milk
390g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
200g mixed chocolate chunks or drops
Leave the butter out of the fridge for a good couple of hours so that it is nice and soft.
Beat the butter and caster sugar together until light and fluffy then mix in the condensed milk.
Sieve in the plain flour and baking powder and mix in. At this point I got my hands in the bowl to make sure that everything has been incorporated. Then I mixed in the chocolate chips.
REMEMBER, do not overwork the flour. Only mix the dough until everything has come together!
Wrap the dough in cling film and put into the fridge for 20mins to firm up.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade and find your rolling pin and cutter. Line 2 baking pans with baking parchment.
Roll out your dough to just under a centimetre depth and cut out your biscuits.
For small cookies (2 inches and under) bake for 10-12 mins for anything larger they will take between 15-18 mins.
Leave to cool on the pans for 5 minutes. Then transfer the finished biscuits to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Question: How does Good King Wenceslas like his pizzas?
Answer: Deep pan, crisp and even!
As I am the writer of a cooking blog I should be telling everyone how I will produce the most spectacular Christmas banquet this year. However, I do absolutely nothing on Christmas day other than help out with peeling sprouts, and that is contingent on whether we get the pre prepared ones from Marks and Spencers.
My Mother does all of the hard work every year. I know I should feel guilty but I have no idea how long to put the turkey in the oven for, I am hopeless at dressing tables and my timings at cooking vegetables leaves a lot to be desired. I will happily… well that is too strong a word… I will be on hand for any kitchen help that is needed or to top up peoples glasses at the very least.
What she produces every year is delicious. We get a wonderful fish related starter, followed by a huge turkey with all the trimmings and if we can eat another bite, this year we will be getting a steamed syrup sponge (Mum will be having her Christmas pudding!).
I am really looking forward to it and I hope that all Christmas cooks and chefs have a wonderful and hassle free day!
For me, each Christmas starts around a week before the big day when I start baking. I like to make big batches of goodies and give them as gifts.
This year started when I received my delivery of 7.5kgs of chocolate through the post. 2.5 kgs of that was purely to make the truffles. It has been a long time since I have had a chocolate order through and I was really looking forward to opening them.
I made batches of shortbread, honey and oatmeal cookies, chocolate chunk cookies, peanut butter cookies and of course my chocolate truffles. The chocolate chunk cookies don’t look quite as good as the others but the taste more than makes up for it. The recipe for those will be posted next week.
During the dough rolling sessions I found a couple of things in my Mum’s cake decorating supplies that I have… borrowed. They are simple square rods. Using these as guides I got even height cookies every time that cooked evenly. They were brilliant. I highly recommend them to anyone who makes cookies regularly.
All my boxes have finally been sent off. I hope everyone that received one enjoys them!
Cole’s Law: Thinly sliced cabbage.
There are thousands of websites devoted to food and drink and it is almost impossible to read through them all. I have found some lovely websites and most importantly recipes that work!
Here are a few from this week’s travels:
Ladles and Jellyspoons – Christmas cake in a jar – This article shows you how to make Christmas cakes in jam jars to give as Christmas gifts.
Mary’s Nest – Keeping a kitchen journal – Wonderful example of journalling
Grandma Loy’s Kitchen – Fudge recipe – Even if you have never thought about making fudge before, these recipes are worth a go.
There are loads more that I have found and I will post them regularly but these are well worth a read.
My mother is the cake decorator of the family and has produced some beautiful designs over the years. Me, on the other hand has had a few differences of opinion with Royal Icing, granted I have only had 3 attempts, but each time something has gone wrong.
This year I decided that I would give it another go, especially as it was my parent’s 40th wedding anniversary.
Step 1, the cake.
If I am baking a cake it is normally flavoured, such as chocolate or blueberry, however, my Mum and Dad’s favourite is a basic Victoria sponge.
I followed Delia’s recipe for an 8 inch Victoria sponge cake, a recipe that I hadn’t made since I was about 18. It was delicious. Only one snag, the amount of batter was only for one half of the Victoria sandwich so I was one half of a cake short… I didn’t have the time to make another one so I had to alter my plans.
Step 2, the icing.
As I didn’t have as much cake as I thought I would cut the cake into quarters and stack up the pieces using butter cream for glue. So far so good.
The icing itself went quite well. I had chosen a design that would cover it all up if it went wrong and all told I was feeling pretty proud of myself.
Step 3, the leaves and squirrel.
I got the idea for the pile of leaves from a cake decorating fair I went to at the NEC in Birmingham. There was an absolutely gorgeous square cake covered in autumn coloured leaves, topped with a hedgehog and flower pot. I knew it wouldn’t have been easy to make but I thought that a lot of leaves would cover up whatever my icing looked like. So, I set about rolling out and cutting out leaf looking things. My knife work leaves a lot to be desired but I enjoyed doing it. The squirrel was… an interesting first attempt.
Step 4, putting it together.
For once in my life I took advise from my mother and took my time; waiting for one section to dry before moving on to the next. Plus, I put a layer of coloured icing over the squirrel to make it look like it had fur.
I really enjoyed making this cake and I really need another excuse to make another one.
Write all complaints legibly in this space.