Can I just apologise for the *massive* blog fail that took place in December. My epic “A taste of Christmas” series fell staggeringly short of my plans and ended up consisting of only two rather un-spectacular posts. To add insult to injury, I really and truely did cook all of the things that I planned to cook, and just failed to actually write them up. So, just so I have something to show for my efforts, here are those “tastes” in pictures:
A taste of Christmas #3: Homemade mince meat and pies
For the first time ever, I made my own mince meat (following old faithful, Delia’s recipe). I didn’t think I liked mince pies. Turns out I don’t like shop bought mince pies. When made from scratch they are a delight (though one is probably enough).
A taste of Christmas #4: Candied peel
I can’t believe I didn’t post this because it was insanely epic. To candy peel you basically have to blanch lemon and orange peel in segments like a million times (leaving to cool between each blanch), then boil in sugar syrup for 45 minutes. The results are quite special, but it took me the best part of a day.
I used my candied peel in…
A taste of Christmas #5: Panettone
After a twitter discussion with @graphic_foodie and @PatrickMcGuigan about the quest for the ultimate panettone recipe, we resolved to all follow a different recipe and see which turned out best. We all made our panettones, but didn’t find time to meet up and compare notes (and breads). And I didn’t find time to write my endeavours up, despite the fact I made it twice. Shame and horror. I followed The River Cafe Classic Italian Cookbook (an excellent Italian cookbook btw) recipe. It was really good. We wondered whether it might be too “cakey” considering it used 2 whole eggs and 7 (yes 7) egg yolks. However, the family at Christmas all declared it to be a triumph, and the Antonio Carluccio panettone was left rather neglected and barely touched (#smug). I believe my mother made bread and butter pudding with the leftovers too!
A taste of Christmas #6: Dried orange slices
Well, this wasn’t so much a “taste” of Christmas, but just a nice Christmassy idea. I thinly sliced an orange and dried the slices in the oven at a low temp (around 140°C) for about 4 or 5 hours. I used them to decorate my presents and my homemade chutneys.
Other tastes of Christmas I forgot to mention…
Made two different types of chutney: cranberry, orange and Christmas spices AND caramalised red onion. Forgot to even take photos of those. Sigh.
Embarked on a massive family mission for a completely homemade Christmas feast involving Turkey and Goose, 3 types of stuffing, cranberry sauce, bread sauce, all the usual veg, Christmas pud, Christmas cake, brandy butter AND the prettiest cranberry bakewell tart you ever did see. No pics. MASSIVE FAIL.
Had lobster on my Dad’s birthday.