Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Restored calm (could just be calm before the storm!)

Wow, time is rocketing by and this is the longest I have gone without posting since I started this lark! This however does not mean I have eased up in my kitchen has been frenzied!

First up here is the kitchen bench, restored! Not sure how often it will look like that between now and Christmas day, but there you have it, I am able to clear the decks from time to time!

This being the final week of school/daycare I have been trying very hard to cram in as much as possible before having the kids home all day!

Am only going to post recipes in this post that I can cut and paste off the internet as just dont have time to type them all out but will share some photos of all the lovely goodies that I have been making.......
Heres the assortment of goodies going out to all and sundry......shortbread, choc dipped biscotti (cranberry and cashew and cherry and almond), kahlua truffles and apricot and coconut truffles.

I have been parcelling them up in cute noodle boxes, they are quite cheap and decorate up nicely....
We had great fun making some Swedish Gingersnaps from a recipe kindly posted by Semlan on Violets Pantry, they are very yummy and would go very well with mulled wine, but it is just too hot to contemplate that right now!

Here's her recipe...
Swedish Gingersnaps

The "dough" must rest over night (well doesn´t have to be NIGHT but to make flavours come out....) The dough softens when you handle it. It is quite stiff when you get it out of the fridge but it is all right!!

250 grams of butter (yes!!)
5 deciliter of caster sugar (2 cups)
1,5 deciliter of water (150ml)
0,75 deciliter of syrup (75ml)
1 tablespoon of ground cloves
1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon of bicarbonate
appr. 11 decilitres of plain wheat flour (4 1/2 cups)
Put the water to boil together with the spices, sugar and syrup. Pour the hot mixtyre over the butter and stir until it melts. Add the flour. Wrap in cling film and let it rest in cold for a few hours or over night. bake the gingersnaps at 175 degrees C for appr 8-10 minutes.

I have also started on some of my Christmas day desserts, namely the strawberry granita, which has since changed to strawberry sorbet. This is the easiest recipe (except sieving all those tiny seeds from the strawberries!!) and tastes glorious!
2/3 cup (160 ml) water
2/3 cup (135 grams) granulated white sugar
5 cups or 2 pounds (1 kg) fresh or frozen unsweetened strawberries
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or other liqueur (optional)

Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan, over low heat, and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved (about 3-5 minutes). Boil the mixture for one minute then remove from heat. Pour the sugar syrup into a heatproof container, and place in the refrigerator until completely chilled (about an hour or so).
Meanwhile, thaw the strawberries and then place the thawed strawberries in a food processor and process until the strawberries are pureed. Transfer to a large bowl, add the lemon juice and liqueur (if using), and refrigerate until the mixture is thoroughly chilled. (If using fresh strawberries, puree the berries in the food processor, transfer to a large bowl, add the lemon juice and liqueur (if using), and place in the refrigerator until chilled.)
Once the simple syrup and pureed strawberries are completely chilled, combine the simple syrup with the pureed strawberries. Pour the mixture into a 8 inch (20 cm) or 9 inch (23 cm) stainless steel pan (sorbets will freeze faster in stainless steel), cover with plastic wrap, and place in the freezer. When the sorbet is completely frozen (3 to 4 hours), remove from freezer and let stand at room temperature until partially thawed. Transfer the partially thawed sorbet to the food processor, and process to break up the large ice crystals that have formed on the sorbet. (This step is what gives the sorbet its wonderful fluffy texture.) Place the sorbet back into the pan and refreeze for at least three hours, and up to several days.

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