Friday, June 23, 2006

Butterscotch Buttons

These were the last thing I cooked in the oven, before I got sensible and helped the spouse finish emptying the kitchen out. Bye bye oven - hope you're on your way to some meaningful recycled future, and thanks for giving my food your all despite those unfortunate structural flaws.

From the Womans Weekly's 'Sweet old fashioned favourites' cookbook, these are cute and very morish- think of a small round brown-sugar coloured shortbread with no decoration bar the imprint of fork tines.

No photos I afraid, our Canon A70 camera has completely given up the ghost. It has been slowing packing it in over the last few months, the LCD occasionally showing strange purple-black lines which would disappear with a gentle tap. A bit of a web search showed it was a very common failing of these cameras, however after a visit to the service centre, Canon refused to admit it is a flaw in the camera. We've yet to work out what non-Canon camera will grace our home next.

125g butter
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tbs golden syrup
1 1/4 cups self raising flour

Beat the butter, vanilla essence, sugar and golden syrup until light and fluffy. Stir in flour. Roll into about 40 balls, each of approximately 2 teaspoons of mixture (or go larger or small as suits). Bake in a slow oven for about 30 minutes or until firm.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Nana's Christmas Pudding

This is the Christmas pudding I make every year. It's a rich, beautifully flavoured recipe which my nana used to make every year (I suspect she made several batches as I know often gave puddings as gifts). Sadly she is no longer alive, that she passed the recipe on to me is something that I treasure.

Why mention Christmas pudding now? Well I make two, a big family one for the big Christmas meal, and tiny one (using the mix that doesn't fit in my big pudding bowl) for winter solstice for just the three of us. I've written down the recipe just as it was given to me, and yes it has almonds and eggs in it. The last two years I've just omitted those ingredients, which leaves the pudding a little less well structured on unmoulding, but no less delicious. You could start making this years Christmas pudding any time now...

4oz prunes
1 cup raisins
2oz preserved ginger

1 cup sultanas
1 cup currants
4oz mixed peel
grated rind and juice of 2 lemons and 2 oranges
1/3 cup rum
1/3 cup stout
1/3 cup brandy
3 eggs
6 cups or 12oz fresh breadcrumbs (one large loaf of white bread)
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
½ tsp cinnamon
pinch ground ginger
pinch salt
6oz butter
3 oz ground almond

Marinate fruit in rum and brandy, fruit rind and juices. Stand overnight

Cream butter, add brown sugar,spices and salt and beat until mixed. Add eggs one at a time. Add fruit and stout alternately with ground almonds and breadcrumbs.

Put into well greased 4 pint pudding basin, filling it no more than ¾. Cover top of basin with foil and tie securely with string, leaving it fairly loose at the top to allow mixture to rise.

Steam, water ½ way up side, with tight fitting lid for 6 hours. Pudding will go soggy if water not boiling.

Replace foil when storing. Resteam for 2 hours. Will keep several years

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Chocolate Biscuits or Cocoa Fudge Cookies

This isn't a new recipe, I've spent the last week in bed with the flu and have done no cooking let alone thinking about food. Niki posted this on her site Esurientes a little while ago, we made them that day, and they are beaut. The only change I've made is reducing the amount of cocoa to a more child-friendly quantity.

I'm reposting the recipe here as I know some of the extended family read this, and they need to know - these biscuits are Hannah-safe and they are really yummy! I think I need to make another batch tonight before the oven gets ripped out and we are kitchen free for three weeks.

1 cup plain flour
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter
tbsp cocoa powder (unsweetened)
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
dried tart cherries or cranberries for optional decoration

Preheat oven to 350F (175C). Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.
In a large, microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter in the microwave. Stir in cocoa powder and sugars. Stir in yogurt and vanilla extract. Add flour and mix until just combined.

Drop tablespoonfuls of batter onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Press down slightly to flatten; cookies do not spread a lot. Decorate with dried fruit if desired

Bake at 350F/175C for 9-12 minutes or until set and slightly firm at the edges. Allow to cool on the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 2 dozen.