White Christmas

IMG_7149

This recipe is from my son Max. Although it’s not a new idea, he did decide to put dried cranberries into the chocolate instead of raspberry lollies. It’s a very easy and quick treat for stockings on Christmas Eve!

You will need:

250 gems of white melting chocolate

Dried cranberries

Marshmallows (chopped)

Pistachio nuts (chopped)

A shallow baking tray

Baking paper

A little butter

What to do:

Melt the chocolate either in the microwave or in a metal bowl over a saucepan of boiling water. The chocolate must be runny.

Smear a little butter over your shallow baking tray and cut some baking aper to place at the bottom of the tray.

Pour the chocolate into the tray and spread out to all corners.

Sprinkle the chopped marshmallows, pistachios and dried cranberries all over the melted chocolate.

Pop it into the fridge till the chocolate is hard.

Chop it up into chunks and bag up for Christmas treats.

 

Baked New York Cheesecake

IMG_8056

This cheesecake is the creamiest most delicious cheesecake like EVER! You MUST leave it in the oven, though, with the door ajar till it cools before you pop it in the fridge. This will ensure it is creamy creamy heavenly.

You will need:

For the base:

200 grams of McVitties Digestive biscuits (do NOT use any other brand. These are the best)

100 grams of butter (melted)

For the cake bit:

3 x 300grams of full fat cream cheese

2 cups of castor sugar

3 tablespoons of plain flour

Zest of 1 lemon and some juice

4 eggs plus one egg yolk

285 ml of full fat soured cream

What to do:

Turn the oven on to 150 celsius and mash up the biscuits in a blender.

Add the melted butter and mix thoroughly

In a 25-ish cm springform tin, line with baking paper (at the bottom and grease with some more of that butter, then press the crumbs into the base. You can use a glass to press it all down

In a mixer, mix the cream cheese and sugar till creamy, then add the flour

Add the lemon zest and juice, then the eggs, then the soured cream. Mix thoroughly between each

Pour into the springform tin and bake in the oven at 200 celsius for 10 mins

Turn the oven down to 90 celsius and bake for another 25 mins

Turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake int eh oven to cool with the door ajar

Pop it into the fridge for a few hours when cool to set it

Serve with whipped cream and berries. Yum!

 

Apricot Jam

IMG_5265

It’s stone fruit season and if your trees aren’t abundant with delicious fruits yet, somebody else’s will be and you’ll be able to source some delicious stone fruits at your local market.

I love making preserves. It must be something to do with me being a ‘rat’ (in the Chinese zodiac). Gathering and storing for a rainy day. I make berry jam, apricot jam, mango chutney and sometimes preserved lemons once a year and keep the jars for gifts and for myself. Everybody loves homemade produce, so they make great gifts for Christmas.

Below is my favourite apricot jam recipe. It’s from Stephanie Alexander. I love it because she includes the apricot kernels, which are non-toxic once cooked and help to firm up the syrup. They’re deliciously nutty in the jam. This jam is delicious on toast, but equally yummy on pancakes with cream and in tarts and sponges.

Ingredients:

1.5 kg of apricots (try to grab firm apricots, which will ensure your jam keeps for a very long time)

1 cup of water

A squeeze of lemon juice

1.5 kg of white sugar

What to do:

Preheat oven to 160 degrees celsius

Wash apricots and cut into quarters

Wrap the kernels in a tea towel and crack with a hammer, remove the kernels from the shell then set aside and toss the shell bits

Put fruit, water and lemon juice into a pan and bring to the boil.

Turn down the heat and simmer for about 20 mins

Pop the sugar in a baking tray and put into the oven till it is hot to touch (this helps it melt really quickly when you add it to the apricots

Pour the sugar into the apricots and stir through

Add the kernels then boil for about 15 minutes

To test if your jam is ready, pour a small amount onto a cold plate. If it retracts at the edges then the jam is ready

Ladle the jam into your sterilised jars (just wash with warm soapy water and pop in the oven till hot)

Screw lids on the jars and turn upside down to create a seal

 

IMG_4902

IMG_4908

IMG_4910