My friends it's been a cooking frenzy in my kitchen this last week, preparing for Christmas and the arrival of our daughter and family. Sore feet, music constantly playing, lots of water and the occasional vino, have ensured the marathon is completed. So here are just a few photos, and very sincere and warm wishes for a wonderful festive season from Mr. HRK and me. I might not be back on the blogging platform until the New Year but I will be reading what you are up to. This is my December contribution to the wonderful Sherry Picking's In My Kitchen series. Thanks Sherry.
This is my latest Christmas fruit cake, no fiddling with the photo at all, and a very nutty presentation this year. I could have even added more nuts.
Recipe is on my blog. Link to Christmas cake recipe
|Christmas cake ready for the oven|
I made the next cake especially because my daughter loves it, as do I. This is a Coffee and Walnut cake or slice. Old fashioned cakey goodness, with lots of coffee icing this time. A bit flattened because it is already in it's protective container. Link to the Coffee and Walnut Cake
Another fruit cake to get us through until the ceremonial cutting of the Christmas cake, I know, does that sound like an indulgence? This is my Boiled Cherry Brandy Fruit cake, our friend Paul's Mothers recipe. A real goodie this one. Link to the recipe here. I think it could double up as a Christmas cake really.
Also the plum puddings are made, 4 hours of simmering away in the big pots. The most difficult part of that exercise is keeping the water simmering at a constant heat. Well worth it though.
- Put the dried apricots into a small saucepan, cover them with cold water and drop in the cracked cardamon pods, still containing the fragrant cardamon seeds. Bring to the boil, and keep it bubbling on the stove for 10 minutes. Keep an eye on it as at the end of 10 minutes the saucepan will be just about out of water but mustn't boil dry. The apricots will absorb more water as they cool.
- Take the saucepan off the heat and allow the apricots to cool.
- Preheat your oven to 180 deg. C./160 deg. C. Fan, or Gas mark 4/350 deg. F.
- Remove 5 of the dried apricots and tear each in half, and set them aside on a plate for a while. Discard the cardamon husks, leaving the seeds in the pan.
- Pour and scrape out the sticky contents of the saucepan including the apricots into the bowl of a food processor. Add the ground almonds, polenta, baking powder, caster sugar and eggs, and give a good long blitz to combine.
- Open up the top of the food processor, scrape down the batter, and add 2 teaspoons of lemon juice and the rosewater, and blitz again, then scrape into the prepared cake tin and smooth the surface with a spatula. Arrange the apricot halves around the circumference of the tin.
- Bake for 40 minutes, however if the cake is browning too early, cover it loosely with foil at the 30 minute mark. I didn't need to do this. When it's ready, the cake will be coming away from the edges of the tin, the top will feel firm, and a cake tester will come out with just one or two damp crumbs on it.
- Remove the cake to a wire rack. If you are using apricot jam to decorate and this gives a beautiful gloss and flavour to the cake, warm it up a little first to make it easier to spread. Stir a teaspoon of lemon juice into the jam and brush over the top of the cake. Then sprinkle with the pistachios and leave the cake to cool in its tin before releasing from the cake tin and removing to a serving plate.