Ok, before I get into the Christmas goodness I have to say something. IT WAS 42 deg C here today! Gee that is hot, damm hot, smoking hot! But, it did mean that it was perfect beach weather. It also means that Iam so glad we chose to spend all day yesterday in the kitchen rather than today.
As part of our family christmas tradition we always get together to make the same biscuits from a greek cookbook. Sesamebiscuts and almond shortbreads. They are both great, but the short breads WOW!
This shows a 'plate' of biscuits, normaly we make christmas trees and decorate them. But my mum lost my cutter! grrr oh well
Here is another view, oh we also like them to look 'handmade' LOL. In otherwords... my mum likes to'pump' them out and gets narky whenItryand take my time heheheh :)
This is the shortbread, they need to sit in the icing sugar for 2 days prior to eating, after which they just melt in your mouth!
This shows the kitchen table, do you think we prepared enough plates? After this we wrapped them in cellophane and tied them up all pretty! I did manage toconvince her to make a whole extrabatchthough ... just so we would have enough :)
I forgot to copy out the recipes, but if you would like them let me know and I will make her email them to me. (the are both really yummy and keep teally well)
There was one other Christmas job we do, we make our own cake, the recipe varies but this year I managed to talk everyone into having fresh stollen! We normaly have stollen but it is just bought and not homemade :) NOT THIS YEAR! It was suprisingly easy to make, but it does take a few hours and we ended up with2 'logs' about 50cm long. It was so hard to not cut into them and try a slice, but I know it will make the whole experience much more rewarding when we eat them on xmas day! The other important thing is that stollen like traditional "english" xmas cake improves with some aging, so even if you forgot to prepare your mincemeat in august (heheh) you will still be able to have homemade aged 'cake'! I have a traditional german yeasted recipe. I would love to have a round up and tasting of stollens. So if you follow the recipe and post about it let me know and I will do a round up. (RECIPE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POST)
Here are some bonus photos:
This isKiri's duck :)
This is theview of th beach from the front of my parents place *sigh*
This is my mum's wild rocket patch :)
Here is a link to a conversion site (thanks fg)
400gms Sultanas and Currants
200gms slivered almonds
100gms candied citron (or lemon peel)
100 gms fresh yeast
500gms butter (you can substitute in 100gms of lard)
1 kilo flour
150 gms sugar
pinch of Cardomon powder
12 tablespoons Rum
1/4 litre of Milk (250 mls)
zest of 1 lemon
2 packets of vanilla sugar
Soak Sultanas, currants and the zest of 1 lemon in the 12 tablespoons of rum, preferably overnight.
In a large bowl put the flour and then make a well in the centre with your fist. Add 1 tablespoon of the sugar, the fresh yeast and 1/8 litre of milk which has been warmed to luke warm (125 mls). Sprinkle alittle of the flour of the top. Leave to rise for atleast 1/2 hour til the mixture is risen and fluffy. Add 350 gms of butter (or 250 gms and 100 gms of lard), 1/4 litre milk warmed to luke warm, almonds, cardomon, candied citron. Knead the mix together until the mix leaves the side of the bowl. Leave to rest for at least 1/2 hour. Roll the mix out thinly ( if you want to make a few 'stollen' then divide the dough up into 2 or 3 and roll them out individualy. Evenly spread the soaked sultans, currants and lemon zest of the dough. Roll up into a log. Leave to rest for 1/2 hour. Preheat oven to 250 C ( I also heated my baking stones up too which are 2 large terracotta stones which cost $5 each). Shape the stollen and ensure the seam is on the bottom. When the oven has preheated place them in the oven (either on to preheated stones or butter and floured baking trays). Reduce heat to 175 - 200C and bake for 50 mins until the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
Melt the rest of the butter, when the loaves are still hot from the oven, brush the outsides with butter until they don't want to absorb any more. Sprinkle the vanilla sugar and icing sugar over the top then drizzle the rest of the butter on the top. Leave the stollen to cool. When cold sift more icing sugar over the top. Wrap well in parchment paper and place in a cool dark spot til christmas. Remeber to photograph the process, blog about it and then email me!
If you have any questions please email me or leave a comment. They are really not hard to make and *hopefully* will taste fantastic!
If you have any queries over the measurements or temperature please ask!
As a guide
1 pound is approximately 500gms
250C is as hot as the oven goes (close anyway)
1 tablespoon is 15 mls
600 mls is a pint