Tuesday 21 December 2010

The Long Road to Ruin

Christmas is, amongst other things, a time for eating. Whether it's an accepted period of gluttony, a time to enjoy guilty pleasures, or a week of dread, this fact cannot be escaped.

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.

Finally, I made some Christmas cookies to take to a friend who invited us for dinner. I made ginger ones, but in the end was glad to give them away because I have decided I don't like ginger biscuits.

And that's it. No scrappy stuff today. Just food, and the first step on the long road to ruin.


  1. They look fabulous, amazing cupcakes, and very adventurous making your own mincemeat. Glad you enjoy baking, it is such fun to turn out tasty treats, and everyone is always impressed even though it's not that hard!

  2. Oh I love ginger biccies! Mmmm ginger nuts dunked in hot tea! *drool*

    These all look so yummy, please keep us updated on perfecting your tiramisu cakes - they sound gorgeous!

  3. I'm off to make some mince pies right now! I'm very tempted by the tirimasu cupcakes, though: they sound delicious.

  4. Gosh I'm impressed at making your own mincemeat. Doesn't your baking look wonderful - I'm just as happy to see cooking as I am scrapping, especially when both are done so well.

  5. MMMmmm!! It all sounds just wonderful and they look that good too!! Merry Christmas!!

  6. Hey thanks for sharing these... they look amazing... want some... haha... *hugs*

  7. Ooh this all looks very yummy, I made mince pies over the weekend too ready to indulge on during the christmas week! :)