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Category: Slices of Life

A trifle for Christmas

http://spartinadesign.co.uk/comments/feed It’s Christmas Day and all over the world people are celebrating. And feasting.

http://creativepropertyuk.co.uk/wp-login.php?action=logout Here, it’s summer time, but because so many of us have ancestry from the northern hemisphere, we all still dream of a white Christmas (though many of us have never experienced snow) and the shop windows are full of fake snow — even while we’re roasting in the heat.

A lot of people still eat the full traditional Christmas dinner, with roast (baked) meats and vegetables, followed by the traditional plum pudding. 

I love plum pudding, but this year I made trifle instead. If you’ve never made trifle, it’s easy — more a case of assembling a dish, rasher than cooking. In this case, I bought sponge cake, sliced it thin and made a kind of sandwich with lemon curd (home made — also easy)

Put a layer of cake in the bottom of the bowl, sprinkle it with sherry (or orange juice), then layer in fruit, custard, fruit, jelly (jello) and repeat the process. I always use fresh fruit –  for this one I used mostly mangoes and lots of blueberries, strawberries,  youngberries and raspberries, but I’ve also used other fruits in the past — bananas, passionfruit,  peaches, apricots, kiwifruit — anything yummy, really. Mostly I try to use fresh fruit, but if fresh fruit is in short supply, a little added good canned  fruit, like sliced peaches, is fine. 

The final layer is freshly whipped cream topped with fruit. It’s light and yummy, and even nicer the second day.  (In fact I did all except the final whipped cream and fruit layer the night before.) And perfect for dessert in the warm weather.

Do you like trifle? Do you usually have plum pudding for Christmas dinner or not?

Wishing you all the best for the festive season.
Anne xx

Edible gifts

I’m very fond of making edible gifts — really it’s just an excuse to make something fun, and then give it away so that I’m not tempted to eat it myself.

This year I made “Christmas crack” and white chocolate nougat. Both are quite easy to make but look pretty and, wrapped in cellophane, make lovely small edible gifts. The nougat is on the right. I use a “cheat’s recipe” passed on by a friend. Her recipe only used almonds, but I switched it to almonds, pistachios and dried cranberries to make it more Christmassy. When I put it on my Facebook page, so many people asked me for the recipe, I thought maybe it ought to go here, as well. So here’s the recipe.

 

The other thing I made—and I often make this for Christmas, as it’s so yummy and people always love it — is called “Christmas crack”. It’s a layer of salted crackers with toffee baked over (and into) them, then chocolate melted over that and sprinkled with toasted nuts – I use flaked or slivered almonds. It’s made as a slice, and you chill it in the fridge and then break it up.

It’s toffee nutty salty chocolatey goodness — and be warned, it’s addictive.

Here are two of the little bags  of Christmas Crack that I gave to friends at a pre-Christmas author dinner. There are heaps of recipes on the web, and here’s one.

All the very best for the festive season. I hope you have a peaceful and happy time, with good food and good company.

Milly & Ella sing

I play all kinds of music, and generally I sing along as well, but the only singer that my Milly-dog ever joins in with is Ella Fitzgerald. For some reason only the divine Ella inspires her to these heights.

Cracks me up every time. I have to hide in the next room to record her, as she’s a shy performer.

So here, for your entertainment (or otherwise) is the sound of my Milly-dog singing along with the wonderful Ella Fitzgerald.