Sunday, 23 November 2008

The Blueskin Bayleaf Christmas special

Isn't Christmas great? I like to think of it as a season and not just
one day. For me it's the fun of getting food ready, the giving of
plants and books, children's stockings by the fire, my violin and
carols and friends and family sitting around under trees nursing
too-full tummies.

These recipes have been staples on our Christmas menu for the last
three years – they might almost soon count as traditional!

MARMALADE AND WHISKY HAM COOKED IN A SCONE DOUGH

I always use a Havoc-cured, uncooked ham for my Christmas dinners. If
it's prepared right, it is the best ham you can buy for taste and
melt-in-the-mouth texture only surpassed by good wild pork. You need
to order them in advance and pick them up from the Farmers Market the
Saturday before Christmas day.

1 Ham (cured and uncooked)

6-10 cups flour

water to mix

* Mix dough to scone dough consistency.
* Divide mixture into two for easy handling.
* Grease large roasting pan or line with foil.
* Roll out dough to about 1inch thickness to fit the underside of ham.
* Place ham onto first piece of dough.
* Roll out second piece of dough to cover top of ham.
* Seal dough with your fingers around the ham - it should be a
tight fit with no holes.
* Place into pre-heated oven at 350 degrees
* Cook for 1hour per kg plus an extra 1/2 hour at end of cooking
for good measure.
* 20minutes before baking time is completed remove the ham from
the oven and remove the pastry and skin from the ham, cover with glaze
and return to the oven for the last 20 minutes.

Whisky and Marmalade Glaze

I like to make a lot of glaze, as there is no excuse for being stingy
here. Make enough to totally smother your meat a lot.

2 cups of marmalade

1 cup of whisky

1 t salt

1 T grated fresh ginger.

CRANBERRY, CHERRY AND HAZEL NUT CHRISTMAS CAKE

This cake is adapted from a Peta Mathias recipe. I love its
no-nonsense construction sequence. Note, you can easily double the
recipe – if the amount of butter doesn't terrify you too much.

1 kg fruit mix. I like the cranberry, golden raisin and cherry mix you
can get at the bulk bins at Gardens New World. Very yummy, unique yet
still classic.

1/2 cup green ginger wine

250g butter

250g dark cane sugar

1 T molasses

3 large eggs

grated zest of half a lemon

1 1/2 cups flour

1 t baking soda

1/2 t salt

1/2 t mixed spice or ground cardamom

1/2 t cinnamon

1 t curry powder

100g coarsely ground hazelnuts. I am using the terrific Hill Rd
Hazelnuts grown by Neville and Colleen Hastie in Warrington. I am so
excited to have a source of locally grown nuts! And you do too – they
will pack to order by phoning 482 1931.

* Soak the fruit in the alcohol overnight.
* The next day, preheat the oven to 160°C. Cream the butter, sugar
and molasses until soft and light. Add the eggs one at a time.
* Stir in the grated lemon, then add the sifted flour, baking soda,
salt and spices.
* Stir in the alcohol-soaked fruit and hazelnuts.
* Line a large tall cake tin with 2 layers of wet newspaper, and
then one layer of butter wrapper, greasy side up. Pour in the mixture.
A tip I discovered just today. The wet paper stops it drying out on
the edges and keeps it a bit chewy instead.
* Place the cake on the lower rung of the oven and bake for one
hour, then lower heat to 120°C and bake for another 2 hours.

ELDERFLOWER CORDIAL

This is a nice recipe because it's so versatile. Serve a splash with
champagne, sparkling water, gin or simply plain with water, ice and
sprigs of mint. Use as a flavouring in baking or on ice cream.

25 elderflower heads

3 oranges

3 lemons

60g citric or tartaric acid

1.5kg sugar

2.5 l boiling water

*Wash and slice the oranges and lemons, and place in a large container
with the other ingredients.

*Pour over 2 1/2 litres of boiling water and leave to soak for one or
two days, stirring occasionally.

*Strain through muslin and pour into sterilised bottles. Makes 2.5
litres. Keeps for a couple of weeks in the fridge or freezes well.

by Rowan Holt

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voluntary/non-profit community publishers in Blueskin Bay (Seacliff,
Warrington, Evansdale, Waitati, Doctors Point), Dunedin, New Zealand.
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domain and may be freely shared, archived, re-edited and republished.
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