Monday, December 31

HAPPY NEW YEAR

WISHING THAT ALL YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE IN 2013

PHOTO FROM PINTEREST SOURCE UNKNOWN

Sunday, December 16

Christmas Cake


 Made Christmas cake today
This is not your traditional black dry tasteless cake
but a warm caramelly fruit filled delight with the warmth of ginger singing in its flesh
(ok maybe I am getting a little carried away)
But seriously this is a really delicious fruit cake
I sometimes bake it in 2 loaf tins during the year as a rich fruit loaf perfect for an afternoon snack or to pop in a lunchbox


I chose to decorate with a layer of marzipan
dusting of icing sugar and blanched almonds nestled into the top
but if you like you can of course decorate with the usual frosting also


I also put a layer of marzipan in the middle
just because I am a big fan of marzipan


RECIPE 

225g sultanas
225g raisins
110g candied peel
100g stoned dates
75g chopped dried apricots
50g crystallised ginger chopped very fine
125 ml hot strong tea
2 tspns vanilla essence
juice of half an orange or a whole clementine
275g softened butter
200g soft light brown sugar
75g dark brown muscovado sugar
5 free range eggs
1 tsp orange or clementine zest 
50g ground almonds
275g plain flour
1tsp mixed spice
1tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
50g flaked or nibbed almonds

METHOD

Pre heat oven to 150c
line a 20 - 23cm cake tin with parchment including a high collar around the sides
(that is a lining that stands proud of the tin)
to protect the cake during the long baking time

place dried fruit in a bowl and cover with hot tea, van essence and juice
leave to steep
Cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy 
add eggs, 1 at a time incorporating each completely before adding the next 
stir in ground almonds and zest, 
sift in flour and spices
stir to combine
add steeping fruit with liquid and the flaked or nibbed almonds 
Transfer mixture to prepared cake tin
Your cake will not rise a lot as their is no raising agents in this cake but the eggs will make it rise a little 

place in the oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours 
or until a skewer comes out clean
leave to cool completely in tin

when the cake is completely cool tip out of tin and carefully peel away parchment paper.
brush cake with warmed apricot jam 
roll out your marzipan to fit over the cake 
carefully place marzipan over cake and smooth
add blanched almonds around the edge pushing them into the marzipan to secure

This cake will keep for up to 3 weeks in an airtight container




Friday, December 14

Passing

 My Father and I
The Alhambra, 
Granada,
Spain
1997

This is a difficult post to write
I honestly don't feel like posting
but I think I must write something to break the spell
2 weeks ago my Father passed away
I had the privilege of being by his side for his final moments

He was an amazing man 
I may tell you about him someday 

but for now I just wanted to explain my absence
x x
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