Friday 25 February 2011

Diamonds are forever Part 1

Pat and Colin

I’ve started the cake for P and C’s Diamond wedding celebrations in April. They’ve requested a fruit cake to celebrate their 60 years together. The first stage is to make the cake so I’ve used one of Grandma Abson’s tried and tested Celebration Fruit Cake recipes in an 8 inch or 21 cms cake tin. 
Celebration Traditional Fruit Cake
8oz/225g brown sugar
8oz/225g butter
1 tbsp black treacle (warmed)
1 tbsp golden syrup (warmed)
5 eggs (beaten)
9oz/250g self raising flour
3-4oz/100g glace cherries
4oz/110g mixed peel
10oz/275g each of sultanas, raisins, currants
1tsp each of cinnamon and mixed spice
2oz/50g nut mix +1oz/25g ground almonds or
3oz/75 ground almonds
1/6 pint/110ml stout

Cream the butter and sugar and add the treacle and golden syrup. Add the eggs and half of the flour and spices. Beat the mixture. Stir in the almonds and cherries and then the rest of the flour and dried fruit. Add the stout. Bake for 3 – 3 ½ hours. Start warm for 30 minutes and then gradually reduce and finish in slow oven. (325F, Mark 3, 170C to 250F. Mark ½ 130C)
Celebration Cake ready for the next stage

Meryl's tips : It’s important to cook a fruit cake like this gently and in advance so it can mature over the next couple of months. Wrap it in foil to store until it’s ready for the next stage. I’ve pencilled in a date around mid-March (2 weeks before the Diamond ‘do’) to put on the almond paste and then the end of March (1 week before) to complete it with the icing. I’m going to make a 2 tiered cake with a Victoria Sandwich as the second tier so I’ll keep you posted with the preparations.
I’m wondering how to decorate the cake. Pat carried lilies of the valley at her wedding so I’m on the lookout for a spray of these flowers .....

Thursday 17 February 2011

All sorts of Gingerbread

Jayne's Gingerbread
I had a special request this week for a recipe for Gingerbread ‘of the sort you roll out’. So I found this one amongst Grandma Abson's old magazine cuttings. It's a perfect recipe to make Gingerbread Valentine biscuits too as well as the usual Gingerbread Men. 
Gingerbread for your heart's desire
110g/4oz butter

75g/3oz soft brown sugar

4 tbsp golden syrup
300g/11oz plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsps ground ginger

Preheat the oven to 180°C, Gas mark 3, 375F. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Melt the butter, sugar and syrup in a pan. Then remove from the heat. Sieve the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ginger into a bowl and stir the melted mixture into the dry ingredients to make a stiff dough. Roll out the dough about 5mm/1/4 inch thick. Use cutters to make shapes. Place the shapes onto the lined baking trays and bake, in batches, for 9-10 minutes until light golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.

I got a message from Jayne a few days later : ‘Just to say I made gingerbread this afternoon; the recipe is fab, really easy and yummy...’ This week she made some more and brought them to work ... and she'd added a lovely romantic topping for a Valentine's Day recipe!
I love all things with ginger and Grandma Abson has Ginger Buns amongst her recipes as well as the famous Yorkshire Parkin.  Enjoy all sorts of Gingerbread!  Let me know which you like best.

Friday 11 February 2011

Grandma meets Nigella

Fruit Harvo Bread 
I’m a really big fan of Nigella Lawson, and while doing some research for Grandma's book, I was delighted to find that  one of Grandma’s recipes Fruit Harvo Bread from the original edition of Grandma Abson's Yorkshire Recipes I produced in 1981 had been posted on Nigella’s website. The author describes it as ‘A nice sticky malty loaf, which keeps well’. It’s actually a teabread, made with raisins which you can spread with butter. The writer comments on measuring using cups rather than scales. Don’t be afraid of using cups as measurement. This old-fashioned technique really works. I suggest 1 cup = approx. 4oz/110g.

2 cups wholemeal brown flour
2 cups white plain flour
1 cup golden syrup or treacle
1 cup sugar
1 cup raisins
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Milk to mix

Mix all the ingredients together with milk to a soft paste. Pour into greased loaf tins. Bake in a slow oven for up to 2 hours. (300F, Mark 2, 150C).

Meryl says : It’s worth checking the bake after 1 hr 40 mins as this seemed sufficient in my oven. 
Fruit Harvo Bread ready for the oven
Fruit Harvo Bread ready to eat!

Find more Teabreads on Grandma's Recipes page!

Saturday 5 February 2011

It’s Marmalade week

 Seville Orange Marmalade
I love making marmalade with Seville Oranges and always make the most of the Marmalade season. Grandma Abson had several Marmalade recipes and now I have another easy Orange Marmalade recipe from Grandma Pat who used to make Marmalade for all her family.

Grandma's Seville Orange Marmalade
1lb/450g Seville oranges
1 pint/600ml water
2lbs/900g sugar
Squeeze the oranges, remove the pith and pips and put them in a muslin bag.
Either cut up the peel or chop it in food processor. 
Put the juice, bag of pips and pith and peel 
with half of the water in a large pan. 
Simmer for about an hour until the peel is soft. 
Remove the bag, add the sugar and the rest of the water. Bring to the boil. Fast boil for 15 minutes. 
Leave for about 10 minutes before potting. 
Enjoy your homemade marmalade!