Saturday, 28 January 2012

I'm back!!

Well, I tell a lie. I haven't actually gone anywhere, I just havent really been here. I'm sorry, I truly am...
You see, before christmas, it was work, work, work. Schoolwork, work work, christmas work. Then it was christmas! And then, it was work work, house work, cleaning-up-after-christmas-work. Yes, yes, lame excuses, I know; you see, the thing is, every single day I've been meaning to blog about my christmas baking that I did. And every day, I've just been too busy (or too lazy, I haven't decided which yet). So, for my late new year's resolution, I have resolved to do more blogging, and work harder. Unfortunately, I don't believe that school and blogs live hand-in-hand, and so I'm afraid one of them might have to go. I'm opting for continued blogging at the moment :)

Anyway, here are some of the things I baked over christmas...even though it's almost February...

{Shortbread}
This is my Grandma's recipe, so it's in ounces as well as cups. Just for an old-fashioned feel.

20 oz (4 cups) of flour
8 oz (1 1/2 cups) of cornflour (cornstarch)
8 oz (1 1/2 cups) of icing sugar
500g of butter
Vanilla
  1. Melt the butter.
  2. Sift the rest of the ingredients into a bowl and add the butter; mix until well combined.
  3. Keep in the fridge for 20 - 30 minutes, or until thoroughly cold. Roll out between two sheets of baking paper until 5mm thick, and cut into shapes.
  4. Place the shortbread onto trays, prick with a fork and sprinkle with caster sugar if desired.
  5. Bake at 175C for 25 minutes--makes approximately 60.

Oldie but a goodie :)

{Rosemary Wine Jelly)
This one is a little more difficult to do, and more expensive, so i would advise only once a year at christmas time.
2 kg of green apples
3 cups of dry white wine
3 1/2 cups of white sugar, approximately
2 tbs of roughly chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 large sprig of rosemary per jar
  1. Wash the apples well and dicard the stalks. Cut into largish chunks and put into a large pot, skins and seeds included. Add the wine and bring to the boil. Simmer, covered, for 1 hour; stir a few times during the hour to make sure that the apples are cooked evenly.
  2. Place a jelly bag or a large piece of muslin in a bowl and cover with boiling water; drain and suspend bag/muslin over a large heatproof bowl.
  3. Pour the fruit and wine mixture into the bag/muslin. Don't push the fruit through the cloth, otherwise the jelly will go cloudy. Allow the mixture to drip through the bag overnight, or until there is no more liquid coming through.
  4. Place two small plates in the freezer. Discard the pulp from the bag (warning: there will be a LOT of pulp...it seems such a waste!) and measure the liquid. For each cup of liquid, use 1 cup of sugar. Heat the liquid in a pan and add the sugar. stir, without boiling, for 5 minutes, or until the sugar is dissolved. Remove any scum with a slotted spoon or skimmer.
  5. Place the rosemany leaves in a small piece of muslin. Tie securely with string and hang in the pan. Boil everything for 10 minutesthen remove from the heat and test for setting point.
  6. To test for setting point: place a few drops of the jelly on one of the frozen plates, A skin will form on teh surface of the jelly and wrinkles will form when pushed with your finger.
  7. Discard the muslin bag. Place a sprig of rosemary into each clean jar, and immediately fill with the jelly. Seal, label and date; store in a cool, dry place for 6 - 12 months.

{Friut Mince Pies}
This pastry is so. good.

Pastry:
1 3/4 cups of plain flour
150g of butter, chopped
3/4 cup of ground hazelnuts
2 tbs of caster sugar
1 - 2 tbs of iced water

Filling:
3/4 cup of blueberries
1 cup of peeled and finely chopped apple
1/2 cup of raisins
1/2 cup of currants
1/2 cup of sultanas
1/4 cup of slivered almonds
1/4 cup of caster sugar
1/2 cup of brandy or rum (please do not omit this, it makes it taste so good)
The grated rind of 1 lemon and 1 orange
1/2 tsp of mixed spice
1/2 tsp of ground ginger
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
  1. For the Pastry: Sift the flour into a large bowl and add the butter. Cut/rub in until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.Stir in the nuts and the sugar. Make a well in the centre and add the water. Mix well using a flat-bladed knife unil the mixture comes together like little balls. Gather the mixture together and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Flatten lightly into a disk shape, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
  2. Between sheets of baking paper, roll the dough out to a 3mm thickness. Cut out 24 rounds of pastry and line two greased, 12 hole muffin tins. Line each pastry case with baking paper and fill with blind-baking beads. Dried peas, beans or rice can also be used. Bake for 10 minutes at 180C, remove beads and paper, and bake for a further 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, press together the pastry scraps and cut out 24 star shapes to go on top of the pies. Keep until needed.
  4. Filling: Place all ingredients in a pan and simmer, stirring well, for 5 - 10 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and pulpy. Spoon the filling evenly among the cases and top each one with a star lid.
  5. Bake the pies for about 20 minutes, or until the pastry lids are golden. Dust with icing sugar before serving.


And, las but not least...
{Rum Balls}

I dont actually have a set recipe for these. I think it's somethig like:
1 tin of condensed milk
1 packet of milk arrowroot (or any other plain, sweet biscuit), crushed until really fine
1 - 1 1/2 cups of dessicated coconut (approximately)
3 tbs of cocoa
2 tbs of rum
1/4 cup or so of sultanas
  1. Mix everything together. Keep adding coconut until the dough isn't sticky anymore, but thick enough to roll into balls.
  2. Roll into balls.
  3. Roll in coconut.
  4. Eat.
  5. This thing keeps adding numbers when I don't want it to. Stupid thing.
Thats better :) but I cant get rid of 5, unfortunately. It's there to stay.
And thats the end of that late, amazingly long, christmas-in-january post!

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