To set us off on the journey, I've been baking again. There are a few recipes I'm trying to perfect, but they're not the kinds of things you make every week, so the opportunities are spaced out and I have to remember what I did the time before. Anyway, I've got them to a point where I'm mostly happy with them, and since it's Christmas, I thought I'd share them.
First up, I made again Martha Stewart's tiramisu cupcakes. They are totally delicious. My tweaks so far have been to use coffee liqueur instead of the coffee-marsala mix, to use more of this than the recipe calls for (!), and to sprinkle grated coffee-flavoured chocolate on top instead of cocoa. The topping is to die for, but the sponge still needs softening and lightening a bit (I'm working on it).
Next, I made - of course - some mince pies. I didn't know where to find mincemeat here in Belgium, so I made my own. After spending too long searching for a recipe that suited me (suet? - I don't think so; mixed peel? - not in my cupboard, not going to the shops in the snow; etc), I decided just to make it up, as I tend to do in the kitchen (not always with brilliant results). Anyway, here is my recipe for the filling (I've tried to judge the quantities as best I can, as when I was putting it together it was literally a handful here and a tip-the-jar-in there):
1 1/2 cups of sultanas
1/3 cup of chopped almonds
1/4 cup of brown/white sugar mix
1/4 cup of water
2 tbsp whisky
grated rind of 2 clementines
juice of 1 clementine
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3 cloves, ground
I let it all mix together for a few days and then used it. And it was tasty.
Then I made some apple sauce. I'm quite a fussy apple eater, and my granny smiths were past what my high standards deem to be their best, so I put 7 of them, chopped, in a saucepan with a cup of water and 3 tablespoons of white sugar and let simmer for half an hour. It was intended for pork, but as it made quite a lot I made apple pies too.