The “C” word (part 2) aka Christmas Cake

Some Christmas food preparation needs to be done long in advance of the day. And today, I am talking Christmas Cake!

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I am not usually a big fan of fruit cake, but after years of persevering, I found a Christmas cake recipe that I really do like.

This recipe is a two-day process – first the dried fruit needs to be soaked overnight in a mixture of port and mulled wine spices.

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I have only done minor tweaking on this recipe – I loathe glace cherries, and so instead I add dried blueberries and cranberries to the raisins, sultanas, candied citrus peel, prunes and fresh ginger. And I add walnuts. I mean, why, oh why, would you have a fruit cake that didn’t have nuts in it!!

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This recipe makes a huge cake, and one of the joys of it is that it doesn’t need “feeding” like a traditional Christmas cake does. Once it has cooled, it gets tightly wrapped up in baking parchment and tin foil, and put away to mature, whilst I decide how to decorate it. I usually bake the cake in September or October, and it will last – well wrapped – for months.

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It is a bit cracked, like me, but whilst cooking has filled the house with the lovely, spicy, warm delicious fragrance of Christmas.

 

Lime & Coconut Cupcakes

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My head is still spinning with recent events, and with my chronic pain and insomnia, I am craving flavours that lift my spirits. So, baking it is!

Lime and coconut are one of those marriages made in heaven, they compliment each other beautifully.  This also happens to be one of my three go-to cupcake recipes.

The cupcakes themselves are lime and coconut, whilst the buttercream frosting is lime. And I like my lime nice and sharp, so I managed to double the quantity of fresh lime juice in the recipe.

Fresh and zingy, and coconutty 🙂

Rosemary, Olive and Garlic Focaccia

Baking bread is therapeutic. All that kneading. Not to mention the aroma of freshly baked bread….

A recipe tweaked my interest – no-knead focaccia.  What??? WHAT??? No kneading? Oh, go on, I’ll give it a try.

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I don’t have a breadmaker. In fact, I am the breadmaker! I enjoy it as much for the process as for the end result. I have read about slow rise breads, where the dough is refrigerated overnight for a slower rise and here was the recipe to try.

My dough was initially very dry, which I felt was wrong, and so I upped the olive oil and water quantities and nervously put it in the fridge overnight. It did rise, but looked alarmingly wet.

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Still, I persevered, ever hopeful.

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The dough really was too wet, I found it difficult to shape out on the baking tray. But, live and learn, huh!

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And so, the end result. I really need to tweak this, although it worked, and the texture is good, I think it could be better, and maybe a little less liquid, a different baking dish. I don’t know. I’ll think about it.  In the meantime, freshly baked focaccia tastes fantastic 🙂

 

Healing

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I haven’t posted for a while. A combination of my chronic pain and life events has left me stunned and sad.  2016 has certainly been an eventful year and has left me struggling more than I had expected.

I am trying to take a little time to heal and hope that I will come back with inspiration. I wish you all peace, I hope to catch up soon.