(Not So) Tasty Morsels

Monday, 29 December 2008

I'm generally quite adventurous with food and will try most things but I do have my limits.

I certainly wouldn't try pig brains with eggs as seen on Slashfood. As if the idea itself wasn't horrible enough (I guess I am pretty squeamish) the description of the smell as being a "vominously fishy cat food smell" would just make me vomit.

Thankfully, coming up on the blog are lots of recipes for some very yummy things to take your mind off things like this.


Oh dear...

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

I apologise for being so absent. I've been sick. Really sick. The kind where you barely want to get out of bed let alone look at food. My taste buds are sick too... It's no fun.

I've got tons to blog about but it's going to all come after christmas. I've got iced christmas cakes, cookies galore, tea loaves, fudge and coconut ice. I've got christmas dinner with new things to try. I promise I'll be around after Thursday but I just don't have the time to get posting properly before then.

This is me wishing you a very merry christmas and a happy and safe holiday season whatever you are doing and however you are celebrating. I'll see you on the other side.


Party Food: Cherry bakewells

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Mini Cherry BakewellCherry bakewells are my favourite and my gran always used to buy boxes of them for me and my family to enjoy with (or without) a cup of tea. I must admit, this mini version of our much loved cherry bakewells have become a bit of a trademark for me since I thought them up a couple of years ago. They appeared at both my parent's 30th wedding anniversary and my brother's wedding.

The trick to these is a mini muffin pan with a wooden utensil that pushes a ball of pastry into the shape of the pan. It takes the hassle out of rolling and cutting tiny cases for your treats. I don't have one of my own so I steal my mum's when she's not looking. She doesn't mind! I think they're pretty high up on my kitchen wish list as they make turning out a tray of bite size appetisers a breeze.
Tray of mini cherry bakewells
So, use your favourite shortcrust pastry and fill each cup with a perfectly pressed tart case. Fill these with a small spoon of berry jam and top with a simple frangipane. These then bake in a moderate oven for around 10-12 minutes and, when cooled, should be covered with glacé icing (icing sugar with a tiny bit of water to form a smooth paste) and topped with half a glacé cherry. These are simple, delicious and sure to impress.


Turkey: 5 ways to cook the bird

Thursday, 4 December 2008

So Christmas is fast approaching (3 weeks to go) and I'm sure many of you will be working on how to go about sorting the dinner. Turkey is the traditional meat of the season here in the UK (along with goose and sometimes beef) but it does have a tendency to dry out in the oven if you're not careful. There are several ways to try to get around this including roasting the bird breast-down to enable the juices to drain toward the breast meat and to roast the breast and the legs separately (but where's the fun of carving in that?).

How much thought have you put in to cooking your turkey in a totally different way? Life Hackery's article about 5 alternative ways of cooking turkey may well be just what you're looking for.

This year, we're spending christmas in the company of my brother and his girlfriend so we've decided on a Turducken (labelled 3 bird roast - Turducken isn't a pretty name is it?) for three of us with a vegetarian option for my brother's girlfriend. I know we're excited as Al's been going on about turducken for a good few years now and is happy we've finally got one. I am however being a bad foodie and have opted to get ours (well our guests have picked it up and stashed it in their freezer) from Aldi. It's a bit cheaty but I'm not sure I mind having someone else do all the work.

I'm also quite interested in the peking turkey idea. Sounds delicious! I'm not convinced that Tofurky really counts as an alternative way to cook turkey though!


Covering Christmas Cake with Marzipan

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

As we have finally reached December and the weather is getting colder, I felt like I should be getting on with my christmas preparations. My christmas cake has been waiting patiently in the wings to be dealt with but to be honest, I have been putting it off.

As you may know, this is the first time I've ever made Christmas cake. I decided that it was about time I learned how to do it but it's still a bit of a challenge. The preparation and actual making of the recipe was fine with no problems... I also fed my cake for a few weeks with Sailor Jerry rum and drooled over (not literally) the smell coming from it.

So, it's time to begin the decoration. Traditionally Christmas cake is covered with marzipan and then iced and this year, I'm mostly sticking with tradition. As this cake is being cut into four piece to be given as gifts individually, I have a bit of a chance to play around with the designs. one of my brothers doesn't like icing and requested a fruit topped cake.

Anyway, marzipanning (not a real weird I'm sure) the cake was the first step and it was time to just do it. Here is a step by step guide of how I did mine. This is by no means a definitive guide but it is how I did it and it seems to have worked!

1. If you are icing a whole cake (because I'm sure you're not silly enough to want to make separate ones) then make sure the surfaces are flat. If you're silly like me then you need to cut your cake into equal pieces... I got Al to do ours and then I ate the crumbs...you have to taste these things!

2. Then you need to take your marzipan and roll it out on a clean flat surface dusted with icing sugar to prevent sticking. Now, I haven't got any measurments for you because I just guessed. I ended up using about 1 and a quarter packets of marzipan for my 4 squares (I utilised trimming and was left with a bit left over for eating after all the work was complete). I didn't really want the marzipan to be too thick as the cakes are quite small so it was rolled fairly thin.

3. Next, you need to cut a piece a little bigger than the top of your cake. Then, using some warmed, smooth apricot jam you need to paint the top of the cake and place the marzipan on top and trim the edges with a sharp knife (preferably sharper than the useless one I used).

4. Then, with more marzipan you need to cut a strip to go around the cake (I did mine with two strips and joined them so that I didn't have to deal with breakages). Again, using the jam, you need to "glue" the marzipan on and make sure there are no gaps then trim the edges.

5. Finally you need to smooth the marzipan over the cake and make sure the join between the top and sides as well as the joins with the side pieces are firmly joined.

There you have it. It really wasn't as difficult as I had expected it to be and once I got the hang of it, by the fourth cake it was a pretty quick process. Now, as for the request for a fruited top for my brother's cake...

I simply left the lip of the marzipan from the sides of the cake a little higher than for the plain cakes and made a decorative pattern with dried fruit (here I used figs, dates, cherries, papaya and pineapple) and glued them down with leftover jam.

You need to leave the cakes out for the marzipan to dry for a few days before icing them.


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