Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Birmingham German Christmas Market

Birmingham, England is twinned with Frankfurt, Germany and they put on an annual Christmas market. The setting was in Victoria Square near New Street and The Bullring. I did think of you here Lucie.


Sweeties and Snacks

More Sweeties! These were tasty, Lucie do you have the German name of these yummy marshmallows?

What do these cookies say?

These were called German burgers, served with fried potatoes and mushrooms. Are German burgers authentic? What makes them different to other burgers? I didn't try this food,but was intrigued.

Sausages. This is what I tried, both kinds!

The mulled wine warmed me just before it started to snow. I got my own mug to bring back for a refill next year.

Pretty painted votive candle, it looks like cut clay and is my kept trinket.

I would never eat these due to the sprinkles on top (it's a texture thing), but they are too cute! I love hedgehogs ever since I saw one in a garden here in England.

The mad dash to get out of the weather and onto a train northbound.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dundee Cake


Dundee cake is a traditional, Scottish, Christmas cake. It is a lighter version of run-of-the-mill fruitcake with almonds in a lovely display on the top. It is said that it was created due to the fact that Mary, Queen of Scots didn't like cherries in her cake. I imported a few in mine, although it is still a lighter cake.

Dundee Cake

8 oz flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 oz butter
5 oz sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 oz blanched almonds
8 oz mixed peel
6 oz currants
4 oz each dried cherries and pineapple
Grated rind and juice of an orange
2 tablespoons whisky

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 3. Grease and line, with a double layer of greaseproof, an 8” tin.
Sieve together the flour and baking powder. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs incorporating them one by one, alternating with the flour mixture. Add cherries, pineapple, currants and mixed peel. Add Orange juice and whiskey, mix well.

Pour mixture in the tin. After it has been cooking for an hour, arrange the almonds in concentric circles on the top of the cake. Cook for another hour.

Make a nice glazey sauce to soak into the cake:

4 tablespoons marmalade
3 tablespoons whisky
2 tablespoons orange juice

Melt in a saucepan and serve warm over a slice.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Bubble and Squeak, it's Not Greek....

Left-overs of meat and cabbage bubbled, they squeaked and carried-on in a pan, hence the name that followed of the famous British dish. As time moved on from the 18th century, the dish evolved to leaving out the meat and using cold veg such as potatoes, cabbage, brussels sprouts, etc. left-over from a Sunday dinner. This evolution is probably due to wartime rationing, when meat was less available.

This version of the dish is a fusion of British and Spanish. I found this in a compilation book of Yours magazine and had to try it.

Kale Bubble and Squeak w/ Chorizo

800g. boiled potatoes
200g.kale, shredded
225g. chorizo, diced
2 med. leeks, sliced
1 tbsp. oil

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the leeks and chorizo for about 7-8 minutes. Add the potatoes and kale and fry 1-2 minutes. Lightly crush the potatoes down, brown and heat through. Turn out onto a plate and serve.


and dont't forget the SQUEAK ***

In Cockney rhyming-slang when they say "Bubble(s)" they mean Greek, due to Bubble and Squeak.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Oh My Darling

Now playing: I Sanremini - Oh Mia Cara Clementina (Oh My Darling Clementine)
via FoxyTunes

The lovely seedless Christmas treat that is packed with vitamin C! These low calorie Mandarin oranges make a lovely snack and help protect against cancer. If you eat enough of the portable taste delights it can lower blood pressure. This time they are made into a vinaigrette and added to Spaghetti Squash from the garden (remember the veg. garden?) The squash was harvested in October, they have a long shelf-life. Spaghetti squash are another low calorie choice that is packed with vitamins that can be found this time of year. This squash was baked at 400 deg. for a hour; in a shallow pan, cut side down in a pool of water, sort of steaming them. I added a knob of butter and then the vinaigrette. Serve hot!

Served with Braised Short Ribs that were glazed with a beer....Yes, Stout....

Population 1 more!

To make the glaze- reduce the pan juices with a jar of homemade ketchup, (Yes, that came from the garden too.) beer, 1/4 c. brown sugar and a big spoon of mustard.

Roasties- lightly oiled (goose fat is best for this) Russet potato chunks roasted in a convection oven set to 400 deg. make another great side.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Ginger Inspirations

The inspiration for making a lovely gingerbread comes from several different sources. This all assumes that one needs justification for a good baking session....

* The blog of my friend Kathy a few blogs back.

* The combination of my favourite Tazo iced tea, lemon/ginger.

* The recipe I saw in a recent Imbibe magazine.

* A jar of stemmed ginger.

* The holiday season.


* The weather!

I used the recipe from the November/December 2009 issue of Imbibe magazine, but I added a few twists.

They quote the recipe from a cookbook called 'All Cakes Considered.' The producer of the radio program 'All Things Considered' is well known for bringing delicious cakes into work. The recipes were made into a cookbook.

Gingerbread Cupcakes

1/2 c. butter
2 tbsp. dark brown sugar
1 lrg. egg
1 c. treacle (twist)
1 c. dark beer
2 1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 8oz. jar stemmed ginger, drained of syrup and finely chopped (twist)
dash of salt
crystallised ginger

juice of 4 lemons (twist)
2 - 8 oz. containers cream cheese
1/2 c. butter
3 c. icing sugar

Whip together until smooth. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 deg. Line a muffin tin with holiday cupcake liners. (twist)

Cream the butter and brown sugar. Add egg, treacle and beer. Beat well for a couple minutes. combine dry ingredients in separate bowl. Add to wet ingredients slowly until all is smoothly combined. Fold in stemmed ginger. pour batter into cups. Bake for approx 20 minutes. Cool completely. Frost with icing. Garnish with cut crystallised ginger.

These strongly flavoured cupcakes are guaranteed to give you a lemon/ginger kick in the pants!!! Believe me, that is a GOOD thing this time of year.