Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas goodies

Still praying for rain.  It is so dry here.  Apparently some is coming tonight.  The Chinese Star Jasmine doesn't seem to mind.

I love these garlic plants coming into flower, it is like they have their own little hat..
I have been busy cooking up Christmas goodies to give as presents this week.  I have made lemon cordial and summer berry jam as well as preserved lemons and apricot jam,

 which I always make in December.   In a mad rush of blood to the head I was going to make a Christmas cake but decided to make a Bara Brith, which, according to our English jackaroo, is a popular Welsh fruit cake.  It is infinitely easier to make than a Christmas cake and although not necessarily a Christmas treat, I thought I should make it for him, he being so far away from home 'n all, and besides, his mother is Welsh.
After a bit of googling I discovered it is translated as 'speckled bread' and many recipes have yeast, but as luck would have it in a trawl through my recipe folder I found a clipping with an easier recipe, which I think came from Matthew Evans:


500g mixed dried fruit (just sultanas, raisins & currants)
85g sugar
300ml hot tea, best made in a pot
500g SR flour
2 tblsp marmalade
2 teasp mixed spice
1 egg, beaten
warmed honey to glaze

Start the day before.  Mix the fruit and sugar in a large bowl and pour over the hot tea.  Leave overnight.

Preheat the oven to 170c.  Grease and line a large loaf tin (or two smaller ones, it freezes well).
Give the fruit a stir and add the flour, marmalade, mixed spice and egg.  Mix well.
Put the mix into the loaf tin and bake for about an hour or until a skewer comes out clean.  Brush the top with warm honey when it comes out of the oven.  Cool in the tin for about five minutes before turning out on a cake rack.   Good with butter and a cup of tea.  This has been going out with the packed lunches to the sheep yards all week.

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