Posted in Baking, Christmas, tagged Christmas muffins on January 3, 2011 |
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It seems you always have some Christmas pudding leftover after Christmas day (even after several days of eating it after reheating in the microwave).
I saw the recipe for these muffins on some random Rachel Allen programme on the Good Food channel or similar and thought it looked very simple (particularly compared to the bonbons in the Nigella book which I really wanted to make but just couldn’t be bothered with).
These are delicious, they have a hint of Christmas about them but aren’t loaded with cinnamon like most Christmassy baked goods.
You only get six muffins but they’re completely delicious so I’d recommend doubling the quantities so that you can palm your leftovers off on work colleagues, thus winning massive brownie points without having to spend a fortune.
I made the icing with vanilla rather than sherry, but I really think a squeeze of orange or clementine juice would work well, if not better. Hope everyone had a wonderful New Year – I was in bed at 10.30, but it did mean I felt amazing on New Years Day!
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Posted in Christmas, Switzerland, tagged Gruyere, Nyon on December 28, 2010 |
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This was one homemade Christmas present that I was really pleased with. It’s a scarf using one skein of the Artists Palette cloud that I made my Ishbel from (which I will show you as soon as I’ve woven in the ends and blocked it) – so although it’s expensive yarn it’s quite an economical way of using it.
The pattern (which is available here for free on Ravelry) is a simple lace pattern and I’d recommend this as a first lace project as it’s very easy to see when you’ve gone wrong (although that didn’t stop me from knitting about 30 cm’s without the correct number of stitches – doh!).
The key to making this scarf look half decent is blocking it. Before I blocked it it just looked like a rag.
I don’t think it would keep you very warm, so it’s probably more of a summer/autumn scarf than a depths of winter one. But the real advantage of using this weight yarn is that you can knit it in the summer without getting really hot so that you’re ahead on your Christmas list! This isn’t what I did, but it is what I intend to do every, single, year.
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I’ve scaled back the chutney making this year and just made one – a Plum and Cranberry chutney that I found in Sainsbury’s magazine several years ago. It’s an excellent recipe, and I’m going to share it with you because I can’t find it online and I can’t remember who wrote it. You can’t beat it with a slice of ham and some crusty bread.
Unlike other chutney’s you can make this now because it only keeps for a couple of months (although I’ve eaten it after six months and it hasn’t made me ill!). In face you can’t really make it much earlier anyway as you need fresh cranberries and you won’t find those in the shops earlier in the year.
Plum and Cranberry Chutney
225ml cider or wine vinegar
250g caster sugar
2 2.5cm cinnamon sticks
4 star anise
900g red plums (halved and stoned)
450g fresh cranberries
Put vinegar and sugar in a large pan with cinnamon and star anise. Heat gently and stir until sugar dissolves. Add plums, simmer gently for 15 minutes, add cranberries and simmer for a further 10 minutes until fruit is tender (some of the cranberries will pop – that’s OK!) and the liquid is syrupy. Remove cinnamon and star anise and pour chutney into jars.
Such as simple recipe. Sometimes it ends up being a little runny but honestly it doesn’t matter that much. If you don’t want to buy 900g of red plums you can substitute some apples in – they contain lots of pectin so they help it set a little more so be careful not to overcook it.
I love the way this chutney looks in jars – it’s really Christmasy. You can leave the star anise in if you like (just tell people not to eat it), it looks lovely if you get one to lie right next to the edge of the jar.
Also worth noting that the yield on this chutney is low. You’ll probably get just over three jars from the recipe above (370g jars) – which aint a lot. As I didn’t want loads of chutney (not a lot of point when it only lasts two months and there are only two of you) I decided to just make half the amount above – this means you’ll only need one punnet of cranberries which are quite expensive. In the past I’ve subbed dried cranberries for some of the fresh ones and just whacked them in with the plums.
I’m not going to tell you how to pot this up becuase there are a million things on the internet about how to do this – make sure you sterilise the jars, if you don’t your chutney will go mouldy and you’ll have wasted loads of effort.
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