Saturday, 7 December 2013

Food, one of my favourite things.

Prepared Chestnuts
Mark and I are not really having the full works this Christmas, not the same without the family but we will probably have a chicken or small turkey if we can find one.
Not a waste when you think of other meals you can get out of it and at this time of year you never know when the next meat delivery boat will be held up.
One thing I didn't want to miss out on was my sausage and chestnut stuffing, no popping in to Morrisons for a lovely bag of vacuum packed chestnuts but a long struggle with shoving them in a very hot oven, slitted of course and then jumping out of my skin when one exploded. I did what the computer told me, wrapped them in a damp tea towel for twenty minutes and they were supposed to be really easy to peel. Ha, were they, no.
About an hour later and I have just enough for my stuffing so they are tucked up in the freezer waiting.
Chestnuts in a tea towel

I did make a Christmas cake back in November and have been feeding it Brandy ever since and then I realised that you can't buy marzipan ready made on Skopelos .
The only thing to do was make my own, which entailed grinding the flaked almonds in a food processor, adding icing and caster sugar, 5 egg yolks, lemon juice and brandy and almond essence and then lots of squishing to make the paste. If I say so myself it has turned out pretty well. It is quite yellow as our eggs are so bright and a bit grainier than ready made but the flavour is great.

The cake waiting for it's icing.
All this Christmas stuff started to make me feel a bit sad and homesick for my family and friends and then in the evening I had a lovely email card from my lovely friend Yo, wishing me a Merry Christmas. It was wonderful and I do bless the internet every day for keeping me in touch with all the people who mean so much to me.
I had a bit of marzipan left over and Mark has a history with too much of the stuff so I found a cake recipe to use some up.
I didn't have any fresh plums so I used some I bottled in the summer and I hope it turns out ok.

Plum and Marzipan Cake.
300g sifted self raising flour
150g butter cut into small cubes
100g caster sugar
zest from one orange
2 eggs beaten
100ml milk
350g plums halved, stoned and sliced
100g marzipan cut into small cubes
cranberry, redcurrant jelly or plum jam
20g toasted almonds
A greased , base lined 8 inch cake tin
Oven 180 C 160 fan, 350F gas 4
Flour and butter to fine breadcrumbs put in large mixing bowl with .sugar and zest.Mix together eggs and milk and stir into flour mixture. It will make quite a stiff batter.Put half into cake tin and cover with half the plum slices. Sprinkle over the marzipan and cover with the rest of batter. Smooth the top and lay the rest of the plum slices on the top.
Bake for 45- 55 minutes until skewer comes out clean.
Place tin on rack and leave to go cold.
Spread the top with the jelly or jam and sprinkle on the toasted almond flakes. ( east to toast, carefully in a dry frying pan)
When completely cold ,dust with icing sugar and make a pig of yourself.

Plum and marzipan cake

Another thing I have been doing is dealing with two carrier bags of mandarins from a friend's tree. They have a superb flavour but are rather pippy so I juiced the lot and I have a litre of juice. It makes the most fabulous jelly now I have found the gelatine in the local supermarket.
We went to the same friend for lunch last week and he had made a sorbet with them, delicious.
Well that is about it for now, I am going to try and shift Daisy from my seat.

Comfy kitten

I would just like to take the opportunity to wish all my family and friends a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and fun 2014. Love to you all.

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