That time of the year

During this season of giving, let us take time to slow down and enjoy the simple things. May this wonderful time of the year touch your heart in a special way. Wishing you much happiness today and throughout the New Year.

I am taking a break,,, see you when I get back home!

Desember Squares

Onion Salad

Christmas dinner is the primary meal traditionally eaten on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.  Christmas dinner around the world may differ and the traditions can reflect the culture of the respective country it is being celebrated in. Turkey is present in a fair number of these meals. We as a family are celebrating Christmas with cold meat and salads, which are more suitable for our hot summer days.
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Here is one of my mom’s “traditional” salads she  used to make for Christmas.
Onion Salad
1 kg small onions                1 cup (250 ml) brown sugar
1 cup brown vinegar          1 t mustard powder
1 egg, whisked
 Peel the onions, taking care to keep them whole.
  1. Boil the onions in salted water for 15 minutes or until just tender. Drain.IMG_8226
  2. For the sauce combine the  mustard powder, sugar and vinegar  over heat until the sugar is dissolved and then boil for 5 minutes.
  3. Let the mixture cool down add whisked egg into the cooled mixture.
  4. Slowly bring it to a low simmer over low heat while whisking.  Heat over low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens. IMG_8228Remove from the stove immediately, pour over the onions and leave to cool.IMG_20151228_100418

We baked and we baked

Fruitcakes for Christmas

Last Saturday my sister from flippenblog and I set out to bake our annual batch of fruitcakes!
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Fruitcakes are often served in celebration of weddings and Christmas.

The earliest recipe from Ancient Rome lists pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, and raisins that were mixed into barley mash. In the Middle Ages, honey, spices and preserved fruit were added.

Fruit cakes soon proliferated all over Europe. Recipes varied greatly in different countries throughout the ages, depending on the available ingredients as well as (in some instances) church regulations forbidding the use of butter, regarding the observance of fast, Pope Innocent VIII (1432–1492) finally granted the use of butter, in a written permission known as the ‘Butter Letter’ or Butterrief in 1490, giving permission to Saxony to use milk and butter in the North German Stollen fruit cakes.

Starting in the 16th century, sugar from the American Colonies (and the discovery that high concentrations of sugar could preserve fruits) created an excess of candied fruit, thus making fruit cakes more affordable and popular.- WikipediaIMG_4969

As I said before in a previous post, Christmas in our family is not the same without a fruitcake or 2………  That being said, we managed to bake 11 of them!  ( click on the links for the recipes!)

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Between mixing and waiting for the boiled fruit to cool down, we had time to admire the glorious weather and views from her balcony!

DSC_0025Now all we have  to do is to wait for our other sister and her husband to join us  this year for Christmas!!

Cee’s fun foto challenge-kind and caring

This photo says it all!

My precious grandchildren.

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Photo taken by my daughter in law.

A blessed Christmas to you and your family!  I am so grateful to all of you for stopping by my blog, leaving comments and likes. I hope you will have a wonderful time with all your loved ones and plenty of delicious food over the next few days.

http://ceenphotography.com/2013/12/24/cees-fun-foto-challenge-kind-and-caring/

 

Not so traditional Christmas Cake

As I said in a previous post I personally prefer a dark richer Fruitcake. I have searched to find one that I liked and here is my rendition of a not so traditional Dark fruit cake.

Dark Christmas Cake

500 g mixed dried fruits

250 g dates, cut up

125 g butter

200 ml soft brown sugar

250 ml strong coffee

200 g cherries

Put all the ingredients in a large pan set over a medium heat. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 3 mins. ( I boiled mine in the microwave for 8 min on high.)

IMG_0999Add 5 ml Bicarb of soda and 100 g chopped pecan nuts into the hot mixture and stir well. Leave to cool for  about 30 mins.  IMG_1005Pre-heat the oven to 130 C.                                            
Then add :
500 ml plain flour
5 ml baking powder
2 ml mixed nutmeg
2 ml ground cinnamon
2 ml ground cloves
2 ml salt
2 large beaten eggs                                                          
Add the remaining ingredients to the fruit mixture and stir well, making sure there are no pockets of flour.  and tip it into  prepared tins, level the top with a spatula and bake in the centre of the oven for about 1 hour 15 minutes.IMG_1006Remove the cake from the oven, poke holes in it with a skewer and spoon over 15 ml of your chosen alcohol. Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin.IMG_1015To store, peel off the baking parchment, then wrap well in cling film or tin foil.chritmas 

Sunday Stills: Holiday Lights and Decorations

Sunday Stills, the next Challenge: Holiday Lights and Decorations

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Christmas decorations in Auckland, NZ
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Chiristmas tree at our local mall

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Related posts:

http://backroadstraveller.blogspot.com/2013/12/sunday-stills-next-challenge-holiday.html

http://shyraven23.wordpress.com/2013/12/15/sunday-stills-holiday-lights-and-decorations/

http://sillarit.wordpress.com/2013/12/16/sunday-stills-the-next-challenge-holiday-lights-and-decorations/

http://hamburgundmeehr.wordpress.com/2013/12/16/sunday-stills-holiday-lights-and-decorations/

http://castelsarrasin.wordpress.com/2013/12/16/sunday-stills-holiday-lights-and-decorations/

http://geriatrixfotogallerie.wordpress.com/2013/12/16/sunday-stills-holiday-lights-and-decorations/

Chocolate coated Shortbread cookies

Shortbread

Shortbread is a type of biscuit which is traditionally made from one part white sugar, two parts butter, and three parts flour.

“The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.”
― Molière

Once again I was given a challenge to bake shortbread biscuits  that were intended as Christmas gifts for clients of a local business.  

It sounded easy enough and of course I cannot resist a challenge!!

I got the recipe from a friend.

When I started to mix the batch of biscuits I realised that this was going to be a much bigger task than what I have anticipated!

shortbread1

 

Ingredients

1 kg butter

1 and a half kg flour

500 g Icing sugar 

Preparation method

  1. Heat the oven to 190°C
  2. Beat the butter and the icing sugar together until smooth – it will look like  whipped cream
  3. Stir in the flour to get a smooth dough.  Let it rest for about 20 minutes in the fridge.
  4. Turn on to a work surface and gently roll out until the paste is 1 cm thick (it was a little tricky to get it even so  I used 2 flat wooden spoons on either side of the dough to get it even).shortbread2
  5. Cut into rounds or fingers and place onto a baking tray.
  6. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until pale golden-brown.  Set aside to cool on a wire rack.

So far so good!

Then I dipped half of each biscuit in melted chocolate.  That sounded easy enough, but I soon realised that I did not have enough hands and had  to come up with a plan  on how to let the chocolate set without touching and leaving  streaks.  So I used my oven roasting pan and rack and it worked like a charm!

shortbread3I then put about 10 of the coated biscuits into individual little gift bags and presented it in  a pretty box.

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For more photo’s go to http://flippenblog.com/2013/12/07/cookies-and-gift-ideas/

 

Fruit Cake

 From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Fruit cake (or fruitcake) is a cake made with chopped candied fruit and/or dried fruitnuts, and spices, and (optionally) soaked in spirits. A cake that simply has fruit in it as an ingredient can also be colloquially called a fruit cake.  Fruit cakes are often served in celebration of weddings and Christmas. Given their rich nature, fruit cake is most often consumed on its own, as opposed to with condiments (such as butter or cream).

Each person has their own list of  must have foods for Christmas.  For me, one of them  is a Fruit Cake.

Baking a Fruit Cake for Christmas will always bring back  memories of my mom. She always baked a cake for each of our siblings.

To us Christmas is just not the same without it!

My mom’s recipe is for a light Fruit cake:

Fruit Cake

Ingredients and Method:

500 ml sugar

500 grams mixed dry fruit

50 ml citrus peel

cherries

500 ml water

250 grams butter

 

Place fruit, sugar, water and butter in a saucepan and bring it to the boil. Simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

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Butter or spray 2 cake tins with a non-stick vegetable spray. Line the bottom of the tins with buttered baking paper, also lining the sides of the cake tins with strips of buttered baking paper that extend about 3  to 4 cm above the tins.

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Preheat oven to 130 degree C.

Beat 3 eggs until light and add it to the cooled fruit mixture.

Then fold in 4 cups (4 x 250 ml ) self raising flour.IMG_0766

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Scrape the batter into the 2 prepared tins and bake it for about 75 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool completely.

IMG_0783 Wrap the cake thoroughly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil and place in a cake tin or plastic bag. Brush the cake periodically (once or twice a week) with brandy until Christmas. This cake will keep several weeks or it can be frozen.

I personally prefer a dark richer Fruit cake , but that will have to be a story for another day.