Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Time to ice the Christmas cake and time to collapse

I've always been the same, I can keep on going, but as soon as I stop I collapse with some horrible flu like lurgy. Only I wish it wouldn't happen in my holidays. I have plans to see friends who are not seen enough, to visit quaint Devonshire towns and villages packed with seasonal goodies. However, instead I am either in bed or on the sofa with the flu and a chest infection. But I can be thankful for lovely parents-in-law who are taking good care of me and my husband who is also suffering.

My husband and I have been able to take the Christmas break with family in Devon, a chance to get away from the Big Smoke. And now that I am capable at most of typing this, I am glad that I had gotten everything else done and ready for Christmas. The presents were already bought and have since been wrapped, some were homemade foodie gifts, the house has been cleaned and prepared with lots of lovely chocolates to be discovered for when we return before new year and the Grandmother's Christmas Cake has been iced!

I've been looking forward to icing the Grandmother's Christmas Cake from Vanessa Kimbell's recipe book 'Prepped' since I tested the recipe at the beginning of November. Each week I have fed the cake with brandy, and have basked in the clove aroma as I have lifted off the lid. Knowing that we would be in Devon for Christmas and that I could have my fill of my Father's own delicious Christmas cake I decided to ice mine in time to have some friends around before the trip down south. So last Wednesday we enjoyed a nice cup of tea with this (if I don't mind saying so myself) deliciously moist, rich and dark Christmas cake. Now I can't wait for when we return and can have some more.
This was the second cake I have decorated, the first being my Hubba's 30th birthday cake, and it is the first Chirstmas cake I have decorated. I really enjoyed doing this, it wasn't too stressful and didn't take too long either.
As you can probably see from the photo's it is a tall cake (too much mix for the tin!), but this has just meant that there is more cake to each slice - yum! However, it did make it a little tricky to smooth out the excess icing around the edge of the cake -  another reason to use a wide ribbon. I decided to roll the marzipan quite thin as I only wanted the flavour to complement the cake and icing rather than overpowering it.
To create the shooting star and central star motifs I used pastry cutters that I bought the day before, and found that brushing the place to adhere them with just water, rather than Gin or Vodka, was sufficient.

You may remember that I plan on cooking through a book, well I intend on doing this in the new year and I plan on studying through Proverbs 31, to look at what the Truly Good Woman of the 21st century is.

I pray you are all well for the Christmas celebrations, with any preparations still to be done and for time spent with friends and family.

Isaiah 9:6 

6 For to us a child is born, 

   to us a son is given, 
   and the government will be on his shoulders. 
And he will be called 
   Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, 
   Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Fiery Tomato Chutney

My homemade Christmas larder is almost complete. In addition to my Spiced Christmas Pears and the Apple and Mint Jelly I have made Fiery Tomato Chutney.

This chutney goes really nicely with Edam and sliced apple.
I also made this at the end of the summer with green tomatoes. The result with red tomatoes is a deeper brown colour. It is the Cayenne pepper which makes it fiery and although it isn't too hot (i.e. not watery-eyed hot), if you don't like things at all hot, replace the cayenne pepper with coriander and cumin.

This is a recipe by Ghillie James in the August 2010 edition of Woman and Home.

  1. In a food processor, in batches, whizz the tomatoes, omions and apples until pulpy, but still a bit chunky. Transfer to a large preserving pan, add the remaining ingredients apart from the sugar, stir and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the sugar and stir well, then leave to simmer, stirring every 15 minutes, for a further 1 hour, or until the mixture and lost most of its water and leaves a trail when you pull a wooden spoon through it.
  3. Using a jam funnel, ladle the chutney into warm, sterilised jars and seal them.