Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Christmas Table Decoration

I think this looks beautiful as a centre piece for the Christmas table. A collection of red fruits and dates would be enough, but I mixed mine with some golden glass fruits which were a bargain find in a second hand shop recently and a painted gold orange. A little greenery looks good too. Maybe a candle in the middle for the evening? The bonus being you can snack on it every time you pass.

Happy Christmas to everyone who has followed my blog this year. I haven't been as frequent with my posts. There are times when I wonder why I'm doing it, but even for my own reminder of recipes I find it useful. I hope there are others out there who do too. So for the moment I'll keep going, so keep reading. 

Merry Christmas and A Very Happy New Year. x

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Chocolate Brownie mix in a jar

I'm sure these aren't a new idea, but I saw them a couple of weeks ago at a Christmas fair and thought they were a good present idea. I have a few spare Kilner jars in my cupboard and had most of the ingredients required to make up the jar. I'm waiting for some walnuts to top the jar up. They are very quick to make and I think a really nice present for someone who loves chocolate brownies. The recipient just adds the eggs and melted butter to the mix and bakes. Certainly not too late to put together now if you are struggling for present ideas for Christmas, or in fact any occasion. 

Makes 16

In the Jar:
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
95 g plain flour
35 g cocoa
75 g plain flour
135 g brown sugar
150 g sugar
100 g chocolate chips
100g white chocolate chips
50 g walnuts or pecans (optional)
150g melted butter

3 beaten eggs

Layer the dry ingredients in a one litre jar, following the order above, from top, starting with the baking powder and flour. Press each layer down before adding the next. The amounts given should exactly fill a one litre jar.
Give to your friend :) Remember to include a tag with the following instructions

For the tag: Combine the contents of the jar with 150g melted butter and 3 beaten eggs. Mix well, and pour into a lined 9 x 9 inch tin. Bake at Gas 4 / 180 C (160 fan) / 350 F for 25-35 minutes.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Delia Smiths Spiced Apricot and Orange Chuntney

Looking through my faithful Delia Smith, Christmas book, I was reminded of this lovely chutney which I used to make every Christmas. That was a time before children when I used to make a lot of my Christmas gifts. There is nothing difficult or time consuming about it, so I decided to make some yesterday with the thought of presents on my mind. 
The mixture filled 3 bonne maman jars, those jars come in very handy. Add a luggage label and a ribbon and voila. 

400g no-soak dried apricots
1 tsp whole coriander seeds
225g soft brown sugar
425ml cider vinegar
1 chopped onion
50g sultanas
2 tbsp grated ginger
2 chopped cloves garlic
1 tsp salt
½ tsp of cayenne pepper
grated zest and juice of an orange

Cut the apricot into small pieces. Heat the coriander seeds in a dry frying pan, then bash them in a pestle and mortar until ligthly crushed. Put everything together into a large stainless steel saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer half-covered for 45 minutes or so. You want soft onions and fruit, but you don't want it too thick, and it will carry on thickening as it cools. Rather like a liquid jam. 

Spoon into sterilised jars. It's best kept for a month before eating, and is a perfect accompaniment with cheese and cold cuts of meat.