Monday, 24 December 2012

And So this is Christmas

The table is laid on my verandah ready for  lunch tomorrow

Santa is watching over

The tree is up

Santa ready to welcome visitors

Angels watching over the wine!

Santa watching over the glasses
Roses are ready for the table
The front courtyard ready for the onslaught
Santa waiting for the presents to arrive
The last batch of mince pies (click here for recipe) just coming out of the oven and then off to bed - its a busy day tomorrow.
Thank you to everyone who took the time to visit Magnolia Verandah this year - Merry Christmas to you all and wish you a fabulous 2013.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Gingerbread Men for Christmas

A little Master chef in the making?
Don't ask me why I only make gingerbread men at Christmas time because I do love them - my daughters whip them up for their children all year round as a morning treat or after kindergarten "stopper".  They are also lovely as a "take away" for guests at children's parties, iced and decorated, wrapped in cellophane bags and tied with pretty ribbon, as my son did for his daughter's birthday last week. Kids big and small just love them.

125g butter
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup golden syrup
1 egg lightly beaten
2 + 1/2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon bicarb soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

What to do

Melt the butter in a bowl
Beat in the golden syrup and sugar
In a separate bowl combine dry ingredients
Add the egg and liquids and mix
Turn onto a floured board and knead gently to form a ball
Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 mins.

Preheat the oven to 160 C.
Roll out the dough
Using a gingerbread man cutter - cut about 12 little men
Place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.
Buttons can be made from currents or anything you fancy - (we attached smarties with a little icing after they had cooled)
Bake for about 10 mins or until lightly brown
Leave on the baking tray for about 5 mins then using a palette knife transfer to a wire cooling rack and cool completely.
Other decoration can be made with some royal icing or an icing pen. Or marked with a knife before they are put into the oven.
Store in an airtight container

I love this "angry business" man - all the gingerbread men that were given out at the end of the party all had different characters - this was mine! He went down very well with a cup of tea.

I am entering this in the Random Recipe Challenge for December over at Belleau Kitchen as this recipe is from a book given to me last   Christmas -a Reader's Digest composite "Like Grandma Used to Make" this book has struggled to come down off the bookshelf due to its very old fashioned style and photography, but it is certainly good for making these gingerbread men.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Fig Jam for Christmas

On a roll with my Christmas cooking now and yesterday picked the first of the organic figs (ie growing on the tree in the back yard) which looked very pale inside and I thought I would have to add some food colouring to perk it up (god forbid). Then miraculously the natural colour became richer and richer in the cooking- I couldn't believe it! This looks like a berry jam instead of fig it is so red all on its own!

I will package these two little beauties up to give away as gifts. This preserve is not only good on toast but great with cheese instead of quince and a nice alternative to have with the turkey instead of cranberries.
Click here for the recipe that I made in February this year.  Merry Christmas.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Coffee Shortbread Gift Jars

I have always been inspired by homemade gifts for Christmas and have normally cooked gifts from the heart - this time I thought I would prepare all the raw ingredients and package them up in pretty jars.  All that was left was to add the recipe tied with a bow.
Click here for the Coffee Shortbread Recipe that I made last Christmas.