Tag Archives: holidays

Christmas Cake

28 Nov

It might seem a bit early to make this now but once you’ve made it, covered it with marzipan, then iced it with royal icing or sugar paste and finally decorated it you’ll be way into December! So now is definitely the time! This is my mums family recipe passed down from mums to daughters for generations and I will do the same 🙂

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Ingredients:
227g Sultanas
454g Currants
227g Raisins
116g Dates
118g Mixed peel
117g Glacé Cherries
114g Chopped blanched almonds
80ml/ 1/8pt Brandy
227g Butter
227g Muscovado sugar
230g Plain flour
1tsp Mixed spice
1 Lemon zest and juice
4 Eggs

Directions:

Firstly weigh all of your dried fruits into a bowl with your mixed peel and chopped blanched almonds. I would half the glacĂ© cherries so they can be evenly mixed through the cake! Give this mix a rough stir before pouring the brandy over. Ideally you want to leave this bowl covered with a tea towel over night, but if you’re in a rush then about three hours will suffice 🙂

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Now weigh your butter and Muscovado sugar into another bowl and cream together until light and fluffy. Obviously as this is dark sugar it will not go as light as normal but there will be a very obvious change in colour!

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Once the butter and sugar have been creamed together slowly mix in the eggs, making sure they are fully mixed in before adding the next. The mix will curdle at this point but don’t worry, once the flour is added it will come together.

Now fold the flour in in roughly three parts, making sure that each part is folded in completely before the next.

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Now to line the tin…this is more fiddly than normal cakes! First you’ll need some string, measure the string around the tin and mark a small bit over so there is some extra room. With this string measure the length of great proof paper, you want to trim the top so it will be a few inches above the tin edges. Once this is measured, draw around the bottom of the tin on another piece of greaseproof.

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Fold the bottom of the paper up about an inch and cut tabs all along the bottom. Now carefully place the paper into the greased tin and arrange it so that the tabs fold into the middle and you can press the sides out so it’s stuck to the tin.

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Once the sides are lined place the circle paper in the bottom so every bit of the tin is covered.

Take your dried fruit and give them a rough stir before folding them into the cake mix. Make sure you add in the lemon juice and zest as well, once all mixed pour into the cake tin and smooth the top.

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Now you need some brown parcel paper, or if needs be you can use a wider bit of greaseproof paper. Measure the length using the string from earlier and cut a bit extra so it will definitely fit round. This time you don’t need to fold the bottom or cut it you just have to wrap it around the outside of the tin and tie it tight with the string.

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Place this doubly wrapped cake into the oven and bake at 180c for 3 and 1/4 hours. Once the cake is ready the top will be browned and a skewer will come out clean, place on a cooling wrack to cool. Once it’s cooled take it out of the tin and wrap it in greaseproof followed by tin foil and leave for a few days before trying to marzipan it!

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This cake smells amazing and will make you want to eat it as soon as it’s out of the oven! It’s such a tease having to leave it for a few days but it is so worth it, this cake finished for Christmas is just amazing! I hope you love this cake, you can always use it for any other occasion cake you want!!

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Turkey & Sweetcorn Chowder

9 Jan

Chowder is often a sea food stew or a thickened soup made using milk or cream for the sauce. I am not keen on fish so didn’t like the idea of having fish soup for lunch! So instead I’ve made Turkey and sweetcorn. This is a brilliant way to use up any leftover turkey from Christmas and is enough for a few days of lunch!

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Ingredients:

  • 500g Sweetcorn (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 Onions finely chopped
  • 600g Chopped Potatoes
  • 2tbps Sunflower oil
  • 1lt Chicken stock
  • 1lt Semi-Skimmed Milk
  • 500g Chopped Cooked Turkey
  • 2tsp Basil

Directions:

Firstly, the worst part of this, cutting the onions… I’ve said finely chopped but really it’s your soup so you can have the onions however chunky you want them to be! Once chopped, put the onions into a pan (large enough to hold almost 2.5lts of liquid) with the sunflower oil. Heat the onions and cook them on a medium heat until they are soft and almost see through. As you’re making a soup/chowder you don’t want any colour on the onions as if there’s too much colour then it can give the soup a bitter flavour, which no one really wants!

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Now that the onion is cooked chuck in your chopped (peeled) potatoes and sweetcorn, keep the heat on a medium and cook for another 5 minutes. You might be able to do this with only an occasional stir, but if your hobs are like mine and the thermostat has broken and to prevent it all burning I had to stand there constantly!  If it starts to catch on the bottom then you can turn it down a bit.

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Once the 5 minutes is up then you can add the litre of chicken stock, whether it’s homemade or Oxo (which I use) it doesn’t matter, I’m sure that homemade would give it an extra amazing flavour, but to be honest I’ve never noticed!! Bring this all up to the boil and then simmer for roughly 5-10 minutes or until the potato is tender, easiest way to tell is just by using a fork to see if they’re soft to pierce.

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Now pour in the milk and mix it in well. Once mixed spoon half of the mix (or as much as you can fit) into a blender and blend until course. I found this worked best when I blended more of the potato and sweetcorn with only a small amount of the liquid. When roughly half of the soup has been blended, or it’s to the texture you want then you need to pour it back into the pan and, you guessed it, bring all of it back up to the boil! Now you can stir in the herbs and add the turkey meat, season it to your taste, and I would say try the turkey to make sure it’s all warmed through before you serve it to anyone!

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