Thursday, 16 December 2010

Festive Treats

Christmas is Coming! The blogger's getting fat,
So please take some fudge from the foody's stash!
If you don't like fudge there's some jelly too,
And if you don't like jelly, will pâté do?

I know I am not the only one who likes cooking but doesn't have a big family to inflict it on. Even worse, I like making some sweet stuff from time to time and my only resident taster doesn't really have a sweet tooth. So most of the stuff I have been making in a fit of Christmas spirit (mulled wine with extra cherry brandy being my Christmas spirit of choice this year) has been going into work, or my dance class.

I've made a couple of batches of cheat's fudge - white chocolate with orange and cranberry, and dark chocolate with peppermint. The recipe is originally from a Mennonite cookbook but I have taken it and run with it.

Cheat's Fudge

1 can condensed milk (sorry people, you have to use the full-fat version for this, the low-fat one goes soupy)
400g chocolate
50g butter
flavourings, inclusions etc

Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler. Add condensed milk. Stir until smooth. Add your flavourings and inclusions & spread into a lamington tin lined with non-stick baking paper. Chill and then cut into small pieces.

For my white chocolate one I added the zest of an orange, 100g dried cranberries and garnished it with some edible red glitter. For the dark chocolate I added a bit of peppermint essence and pressed crushed candy canes into the soft fudge, then sprinkled with a little iridescent glitter. Only problem being that the candy canes de-natured and I was left with (very delicious) chocolate fudge swimming in pale pink syrup.

I was also inspired by this recipe from Dan Lepard, for mulled wine plum jellies (scroll past the gorgeous caramels). I love those soft fruit jelly sweets with the crunchy sugar coating, but there are always too many flavours that I don't really care for in a bag, so I was delighted to come across a recipe that promised something similar, if more sophisticated. Now, Paul has been stripping the fruit off his calamondin to prepare it for winter and I have a whole jar of last year's calamondin marmalade left, so I pureed the fruit and used that, along with white wine. Yum. These are so good I am not too keen to share them with anybody! Either as a sweet, or with cheese, these are definitely going to be repeated. And with the useful bit of information that jam gels at 105C, I think my preserving has just turned a corner.

But for Paul, I really did have to make a savoury treat, so I made Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's Game Terrine. Mine doesn't sit up as proudly as Hugh's because the mallard I thought was in the freezer wasn't, and there weren't as many pigeon breasts as I thought, so my 1kg lean game was more like 500g. Still - it looks very impressive and it tastes absolutely wonderful. Very festive!


Suelle said...

I wish I hadn't read this - the fudge and jellies look wonderful, but the waistline won't stand it all!

Kavey said...

Wow, all those treats look so good!

Ben said...

I miss cooking for people :( Maybe next year I'll be able to have one or two Christmas parties :D I'll take some of your ideas.

Arlene Delloro said...

Is a calamondin an apricot? The jellies are addictive, but I just like cherry and licorice.

Jude said...

The terrine looks fab FC. And I'm going to have a go at the cheat's fudge just as soon as I find out what the British equivalent of a lamington tin is!

Simona Carini said...

My favorite photo is that of the jellies: the sugar sparkles and the color is just beautiful. Also, I had to laugh a bit about the mallard that wasn't in the freezer.

Alicia Foodycat said...

Suelle - at least you have a couple of extra tasters at home!

Kavey - thank you!

Ben - it's a bit sad isn't it? Feeding people is so satisfying!

Arlene - a calamondin is a small citrus, in flavour like a bitter orange.

Jude - 7 x 10" and about 1" deep.

Simona - I have no idea when we ate that mallard!

Deb in Hawaii said...

You have been busy! I just had to unload a big plate of cookies at the neighbors because I needed them OUT of my house. ;-) The jellies are gorgeous.

Choclette said...

Oh, I want some of those plum jellies - they look gorgeous and the sort of think it costs heaps to buy in a really upmarket deli or chocolatier. I'd take those over the fudge for preference, but wouldn't turn a piece or two of that down either.

Alicia Foodycat said...

Deb - it's a menace having those things around, isn't it?

Choclette - the jellies are my favourite too.

Rachel said...

What interesting and delicious festive things you've been cooking up. The game terrine looks wonderful.

Anonymous said...

I love jellies too! I always try them in doctor's offices and the like, as we never buy confections, but this home made version sounds a good alternative.

Alicia Foodycat said...

Rachel - oh the terrine is superb! Very happy to have that in the house for snacking.

Jo - Home made is good. Much less sugar!


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