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Easy Christmas Ideas


When I was thinking about what food to feature for the Christmas edition of the TM news, an episode of the Vicar of Dibley came to mind. The one when Dawn French over committed and ended up having to attend three different Christmas lunches. I can recall her eating lot of boiled, grey looking brussel sprouts so as not to offend her hosts. I thought at the time that she would have coped better had they been blanched, wrapped in bacon, stuffed with cheese, and finally brushed with maple syrup before being grilled.

Here are a couple more quick but impressive ideas.

Miracle 3 ingredient Christmas Cake.

I am usually not one to make anything where the title boasts – easy 3 or 4 ingredients. However, this cake actually is very good. Every year I always have good intentions of making a fruitcake from scratch, the ones that take weeks while the fruit is soaked beforehand. But I always run out of time and I can’t trust myself not to nibble at the fruit. I had this 1kg of fruit in the cupboard for a week and when I weighed it out there was only 900gm- did I really pick at that much, oops. So I had to decrease the milk and flour by 10%. For cakes always purchase quality ingredients. I get my dried fruit from The Olive Branch as it is more plump and fresh than the pre-packaged alternative. Always use branded flour and full cream milk. This is an adapted recipe is from Annabel Langbein.christmas-cake-1

1kg mixed dried fruit 2½ cups (600ml) milk or almond milk 2¾ cups self-raising flour  1tbsp sherry, rum or whisky, to brush (optional)

Place dried fruit in a bowl, cover with milk and leave to soak overnight in the fridge.

The next day, preheat oven to 160°C and line a medium to large (25cm diameter) spring form cake tin with baking paper.

Stir flour into fruit mixture until evenly combined and smooth into prepared tin. Bake until it is risen, set and golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean (check after about 45 minutes and return to oven for a little longer if needed). Remove from oven and, while still hot, brush with sherry, rum or whisky, if using. Cool in the tin before turning out.

Rhubarb Jam for Gifts.

This is a classic Tamborine Mountain gift, your off mountain friends will love it. I have made rhubarb jam many times and have found that adding strawberries improves the colour and succulence. The addition of jamsetta reduces the cooking time and makes it thicken up nicely.

1.5 kg chopped rhubarb 500gm strawberries hulled and chopped. 2kg white sugar Juice of 1 large lemon 1 50gm sachet of Jamsetta from IGA.christmas-jam-2

Place everything in a large saucepan, stir well and bring to a boil over medium heat for 20 minutes. Place a teaspoon of jam on a saucer, put in the freezer to see if it has reached desired thickness. If not simmer jam for longer, testing every few minutes. Pour into clean jars that have been sterilized in a 120 oven for 30 minutes. Wrap with pretty ribbons and tags.

December 18, 2016 / Uncategorized / thechef