… In my house anyway, as I have been baking my Christmas cake and making edible goodies for gifts.
Firstly, Delia’s Christmas cake, which was recommended to me by several people. I am not a fan of Delia since her cheat cooking show which was a travesty, nor do I have any of her books, but I do remember watching Delia’s Christmas show with my mum when I was little, so I decided to go for it for nostalgia value.
As my mum was coming over for a day of shopping, I decided to make two cakes so that she can have one as well. So I prepared the fruit the night before as per Delia’s instructions … a measly few teaspoons of brandy – next time I’ll take the advice from various web forums and drown the fruit in the stuff and use any leftovers to feed the cake.
The cake itself is simple to make (minus the detested mixed peel for me), especially if you have a kitchen aid … and smells lovely, although I was a bit fed up of it when it was still cooking at gone midnight. You don’t need the full cooking time (great tip from a friend) so be cautious and check after around 3 hours 30. One of mine (round) took just under 4 hours, the other (square) just over. I’ll be feeding them with rum (no more brandy in the house, but loads of rum) each week for the next few weeks, and then will ice them a couple of weeks before Christmas. I have bought loads of sugarpaste so that I can make lots of pretty decorations – mum is planning to come back over for that as well.
Over the weekend I also made the following:
Nigella’s sweet chilli jam
Nigella’s corn chow chow
Lemon curd (sugar, lemon juice and butter melted together and mixed with beaten eggs until thick)
Red onion marmalade (1kg red onions sweated down then mixed with port, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and seasoning)
Plum and port jam (1.8kg plums boiled with water, then 1kg jam sugar added and cooked to setting point, then port stirred in)
The plum and port jam was my first jam making experience and I loved it. The jam I have made is beautiful – port red with an intense sweet flavour of jam with good texture. It took nearly an hour to reach setting point which was getting me into a bit of a panic, and I still have the scars from my splash burns, but the result is worth the effort, and I can’t wait to make some more jam.
Closer to Christmas, I’ll also make some sweets and biscuits. I am thinking of ginger tom cat biscuits (with my super cookie cutter!), shortbread, peanut brittle and rocky road. It’s overall probably more expensive than buying gifts in a shop, but I know what I would prefer to receive.