I hope you are all having a lovely time this holiday break! We are having a quiet family Chrissy, but after a madly busy year that suits me perfectly!
This is not a photo-filled post as my Flickr app is refusing to be helpful with the few photos I remembered to take, so instead I give you a list of yummy things I have made in the last two weeks, some to give away, and some to eat here!
Simple shortbread biscuits from an old Australian Good Taste Baking Collection magazine. These were gifts for my daughters’ teachers at school.
Chocolate gingerbread biscuits via Cindy 2Paw – warning!! The dough is so delicious you’ll have trouble leaving it alone long enough to make the biscuits to cook!! These went to KissMyFrog – maybe she’ll have pics?
Currant Butter Biscuits via Taste.com.au, my go-to recipe website. I blitzed the flour and butter and lemon rind in the food processor, then put into a bowl to mix in the egg. This took a long time, and I ended up adding the juice of half a lemon or so to give it enough moisture to come together properly. These were very nice biscuits, lots and lots of currants which made them a little hard to cut out. I think I’ll do an orange version next, or maybe orange and craisin? These went to my neighbour.
Next were Peanut Butter Biscuits which were very tasty – they have honey in them which adds an extra yum factor! My dough was ridiculously soft, so I added another cup of flour, which made less fudgy biscuits – next time I’ll only add half a cup, and remember to flatten out the balls of dough with a fork. (I didn’t bother adding a peanut on top – I only had crunchy peanut butter in the house so my bikkieshad plenty going on without that extra bit of fiddling). We had these when the girls had a friend over to play.
There were some Rosemary and Parmesan Biscuits for the neighbours, which were tasty, but a bit crumbly. I think maybe using some cheddar cheese in there would help to hold them together a bit better. I did one batch with fresh garden rosemary, and another using dukka which turned out tasty too. These went to my neighbours on the other side.
I bought the Feast Celebrate Summer Cookbook and have been playing with lots of things – so far we have had the Jawaneh chicken (roasted drumsticks tossed in a hot garlicky lemony coriandery sauce), the Pineapple Upside Down Cake, the Cider-glazed ham, the Yoghurt Raspberry Cake and the Panforte.
The Yoghurt Rasperry cake was a big hit, though I omitted the lemon syrup and added a little sugar to the cake batter and served with fresh raspberry sauce – so far I’ve made this twice and it hasn’t lasted 48 hours on either occasion!!
The Panforte is rich and decadent and incredibly hard to leave alone – I made it in little 10cm fluted flan tins, so I have some to give away to neighbours. Finding all the glace fruit was a bit of a challenge, but between the deli and the health food shop I got most things. I added craisins, and would probably add even more next time, because I love them and want more of them in my slices of chocolatey goodness.
The Pineapple Upside Down Cake was very soft and tasty, but I obviously didn’t do a good job of the caramel, because it was less like a glossy glaze on top and more like a dribbly sauce that ran everywhere… Still yum though (I think I’ll have some for morning tea today!)
The Cider-glazed Ham was very tasty, and even though I forgot the mustard in the sauce, it was so rich and savoury-sweet that it didn’t matter at all. I ordered half a ham from Scottsdale Pork, and it is beautiful!! We also had a boned loin of pork from them, which I stuffed with garlic and rosemary, seasoned and roasted. It was beautiful, succulent and flavorsome, and we had spiced apple and cranberry sauce to go with – no gravy, my lack of gravy skills continues!
Yesterday we had quail for dinner with the ham, more or less based on this prosciutto-wrapped, pan-fried quail recipe. They were tasty, but quite rich with the sauce and prosciutto, so one each was plenty with the ham. I also consulted Stephanie (the early edition, I’d be interested to know what’s different in the newer edition?) for ideas on what to do with some enormous honey-brown mushrooms, so we had those stuffed with garlic, onion, herbs, pinenuts and goat’s cheese and roasted in the oven under some baking paper because I didn’t have the vine leaves suggested by the recipe. They were very tasty, and I will be having one on a piece of good bread for lunch today!
After all that cooking, dessert last night was a selection of berries and cherries picked up by Craig as he passed the Cherry Shed at Latrobe, and then the Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm. The cherries were divine, huge and sweet and gorgeous, worlds away from the sad, battered and unappetising specimens currently being offered in the local supermarkets – I’m so glad Craig was able to get the Real Thing! I have happy memories of stopping at Colac on the Hume Highway to buy big boxes of cherries on the way up north to my family for Christmas or New Year – cherries really mean summer holidays to me now!
That’s all my cooking for the past week or so, now I have a fridge full of leftovers to get creative with, and a total aversion to doing any washing up at all! My poor hands are drying out so much that even though I desperately want to try some fancy lace knitting, I think that the lace yarn would snag too much so I am contenting myself with chunkier things like more stripy mitred squares, and a New Year’s pair of Thuja socks for Craig.
I hope you are having a similarly tasty time – although it sounds like we’re being gluttonous we have been taking care to be moderate in our portion sizes, and spreading the goodies out over several days has helped. I am getting out and walking the dogs most days, and enjoying the sunshine (when we have it – this is storm season, so the weather is often rather startling). Right now the wind has picked up and is rattling the awnings, so I had better get the washing through the machine so it can take advantage of the excellent drying opportunity!
Best Wishes to everyone!