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Archive for December, 2009

Fishcakes!

These fishcakes deserve an exclamation mark because I’ve never made fishcakes before and these were a success! Woo! I bought some fresh fish (haddock and salmon) a while back thinking it was high time I made some fishcakes or a fish pie but it all ended up in the freezer. Today I gave the freezer a (long overdue) defrosting and found the frozen fish. After a bit of reading I found that the consensus is that a fishcake without some sort of smoked fish is a bland, boring affair. So I had to get some smoked fish to put into the cakes. I am afraid of smoked fish (not smoked salmon because it is great, but the stuff with the weird yellowy colour at the fish counter that will stink your house out when you cook it) so, for the first time ever, I came back from the supermarket with a small piece of smoked coley – apparently just as good as smoked haddock but much cheaper. Who knew?  And so the fishcakes were born…

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Ah, Christmas! It’s my first Daring Bakers Challenge and I am so excited that it’s a Gingerbread House! Woo! But it’s also a daunting challenge considering a quick Google can bring up the most incredible structures (Exhibit A).  So, I went for a rather simple house plan (I got my templates here (top of the list)) which made things alot easier than attempting to design this house myself!  I used joint Challenge-Setter Y’s recipe (which is a recipe by Beatrice Ojakanga from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book).

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A yummy last-minute alternative to the traditional Christmas cake.  Quick, easy and delicious.
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Another great foodie Christmas gift and they are so easy to make. And they look (and taste) alot better than that crappy photo above would suggest. Santa is on his way with a shiny new camera – things will look alot more enticing after Christmas! The list of steps in this recipe make it look like alot of hassle but it really isn’t. Just keep a watch on the clock when they’re in the oven. This is a recipe from bbcgoodfood.com, (with a much better picture) with the Christmassy additon of cranberries. I got about 70 biscotti from this recipe.

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Homemade foodie treats make really great Christmas presents. My good friend, the great and fabulous Catherine, and I have decided to make little food hampers for friends and family this year and, with a bit of planning, this can be an inexpensive way to tick a few names of the buy-for list (and earn some kudos for your culinary skills!).

Chutneys really aren’t much effort to make and can be prepared well in advance of Christmas, or the week before if that’s all the time you have. Wash and keep any suitable jars you come across during the year – smaller is better in this case. If the jars are big, you are just making work for yourself! A quick search of eBay will give you all you need: plastic covers for the jars (and rubber bands to hold them in place), squares of coloured gingham and some rafia twine (or ribbon or whatever you can get your hands on). We printed our own labels, but you can easily buy plain or christmassy labels for your gifts. The recipe I used here is Nigella Lawson’s from How to be a Domestic Goddess.

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Round two in the Classic Sponge-Off brings us to Nigella. I love Nigella. Alot of her recipes look to have ten ingredients too many, but I still drool when I read her books. ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’ makes me want to get up at 6am just to have the delicious smell of blueberry muffins wafting around the house in time for breakfast. This has never happened, but, hell, she had me thinking about it once or twice.

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Lemon Drizzle Cake

This recipe comes from the most fantastic French Tart on Recipezaar. Discovered out of a need to use up some lemon curd (and free up another jar for the explosion of Christmas fare that I have planned over the next few weeks – ooh exciting), this cake has been made twice this week. A sure sign of a hit, especially as the OH declares to not like lemony things due to overexposure as a child. He ate this cake. The photo above does not do it justice, but it’s all we have until Santy brings a fancy new camera and I manage to be at home during daylight hours.

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