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Sunday, 16 November 2008

Christmas is a-Coming, the Cook is Getting Fat

In the "12 (and Only 12) Days of Christmas" group on Ravelry the call went out for favourite Christmas foods. As the name of the group suggests, we try not to overdo it. I've been trying for years to simplify our Christmas (and meeting with a fair amount of opposition) but one thing I do need for Christmas is... Christmas Cake!! And you need to get them made fairly early so that they have a chance to mature (and you have a chance to give them a real good soaking with your alcohol of choice).

As the recipes are fairly long, I've posted my two favourites here and put a link to them in the group. So, even if you're not signed up on Ravelry (why not?!) you can still check them out.

Boiled Fruit Cake
Super easy, moist and delicious. Use any standard mug as your cup measure (my cup = 300ml/10 fl oz).

In a large saucepan place

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 3 cups fruit (I use 1 c raisins, 1 c sultanas, 100g candied peel and rest of cup topped up w/ currants)
  • 6 oz butter (or margarine)

Boil and leave to cool.

Stir in

  • 2 eggs, beaten

  • 2 cups self-raising flour (or plain flour + 1 T baking powder)
  • spice (optional) (I use 1 t ea cinnamon & nutmeg,
    ½ t allspice)
  • 2 cups glace cherries

Pour into a 9" loose-bottomed cake tin and bake on the middle shelf at 150°C/300°F for 2 hrs 15 minutes.

FRUIT! Fruit Cake
Oh, I love this cake! Adapted from LaVerle McCandless' family recipe (five generations and going strong).
For my British readers, 1 cup = 8 fluid ounces = an average teacup;
1/4 cup = 4 tablespoons

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 cups chopped pecans
  • 1 lb candied cherries
  • 1 lb candied pineapple
  • ½ lb chopped dates
  • 6 oz/170g butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp grated lemon rind
This recipe makes 1 tube pan or four 7"x4"x4" pans or 2 loaf pans or 6 baby loaf pans (I halve the recipe and use one 9"x5"x2½" loaf pan).

Grease and flour the pans, then line the bottoms with greaseproof paper.

Mix flour, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Coarsely chop the fruit and nuts and then stir them into the flour.

Cream butter and sugar until smooth. Stir in the beaten eggs, vanilla and lemon juice. Stir in the lemon rind. Combine with the fruit and nuts.

Bake the tube pan at 140ºC/275º F for 1½ hours
Bake the other pans at 120ºC/250ºF for 1½ hours

(You may find that some butter leaches out of the cake – just pour it off, the cake will be fine. I’ve already reduced the amount of butter the original recipe called for; you may want to experiment with even less)

When cooled, wrap in cling film, then in foil.

To quote LaVerle:

    If you want to spike the fruit cake, cover a plate with cling film, place the fruit cake on it and pour a shot glass (2 Tbsp) of rum, whiskey or what you like over the fruit cake and let sit for a day. Then wrap and store in fridge or freezer. Be sure you mark these spiked cakes as spiked.

    Slice fairly thin as this is a very rich fruit cake. I can almost guarantee that this fruit cake will not be used as a hockey puck or door stop.

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      Monday, 10 November 2008

      A new flake for Snowflake Monday

      A member of Crochet Partners recently posted a link to her new Crochet Lace Snowflake pattern. It was a must-try!

      So I did. :-)

      Her sample is blocked much more gently than mine and has a nice, rounded look to it. I'll have to make another one and try not to pin it out quite so vigourously, LOL.

      It was a fun flake to work and so nice to find a fresh, new pattern. Anyone else designing out there?

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