Marzipan or Sugarpan?

Make your own Marzipan

Day 8 of my Christmas countdown, as promised yesterday in my Late Christmas Cake recipe  today’s recipe is for home made Marzipan.

Although I personally do not favour a traditional Christmas Cake, preferring something lighter & less sugary, I know, for a lot of people, Christmas would not be complete without one. The cake in yesterdays recipe is a variation on the good old traditional theme. Today’s marzipan recipe is prepared using fresh natural ingredients & also makes you aware of the additives & preservatives used in most store bought Marzipan or Almond paste, as it is also known.

Do you head to the super market & grab a pack of ready -made Marzipan? Have you read the small print on theback?  It should really be called Sugarpan, because the main ingredient is, guess what, SUGAR!!  OK, most recipes call for half ground almonds & half sugar, but even in the more respected stores, ground Almonds only account for 25% of the product, the rest being made up with the afore mentioned sugar & other additives. So here goes:

HOME MADE MARZIPAN

. G/F. V. Low Fodmap  Allergens: EGG. Cooking Time Nil. Covers 1 10cm Cake or smaller cake with enough left over to make chocolate marzipans.

Ingredients:

450g Ground Almonds (Good Quality)

225g Icing Sugar

225g Caster Sugar

2 Small Eggs

Juice of half a lemon

1. Tbspn Rum or Sherry

1.Tbspn Orange Flower Water

Few drops Almond Essence

METHOD

Place the dry ingredients in a large bowl & mix together well.

Pour in the lightly beaten eggs & add the other liquids, mixing with your hands, to form a smooth paste.

DO NOT USE A FOOD MIXER. When the ingredients have bound together, forming a smooth paste, wrap in cling film & chill for a couple of hours. Over working the paste will result in an oily paste, caused by the oil being released from the almonds. Ifyou do not wish to use alcohol in the recipe, replace with Elderflower Syrup.Use fresh, free range eggs, as the rich yellow yolks, produce a good coloured Marzipan.

Use as required, rolling out on a board which has been dusted with icing sugar, to prevent sticking.

Any left- over Marzipan can be rolled onto balls or cut into shapes & dipped in melted chocolate & used for decoration. If you are feeling creative, you can always whip up a boozy Christmas Stollen with your lovely home made Marzipan in the centre.

Until tomorrow, when the recipe will be “The Icing on the Cake”. Have a lovely evening

Ground Almonds,Marzipan,Marzipan recipe,Cake covering,Icing
Christmas Stollen with Home made Marzipan

The late cake recipe

Christmas cake recipe

Day 7 of my Christmas Countdown is the cake, especially for all you budding cooks, that haven’t we got round to making your Christmas cake yet. This recipe is a little different from the traditional cake recipe, but if you make it this weekend, you will find the recipes for the Marzipan (Day 8) & Fondant icing (Day 9) for covering the cake on the Christmas Countdown, this weekend.

Of course I can hear you cry, “I haven’t got the time for cake making”, Well let me suggest to you. Once you have felt the satisfaction of making your own cake, I very much doubt you will resort to a shop bought one again. Just think of all your friends & family, congratulating you, on your culinary skills. Apart from the feel good factor, you can be sure you are feeding your family an additive & preservative free cake, containing real butter, free range eggs & no nasty palm oils.

Well here we go:

Jan’s late Christmas Cake recipe.

Makes 1. 20cm cake, or 3. 8 cm cakes.  Time taken 45mins + cooking

Equipment: 1. Deep 20cm cake tin, side & based lined & lightly oiled.

Allergens: Dairy, Egg, Nuts

INGREDIENTS

120g Dried Cranberries

120g Dried Cherries

120g Chopped blanced Almonds

120g Dried Apricots chopped

120g Dried Dates

120g Sultanas

250g Spelt Flour

5 level tspns Baking powder

1/2 level tspn Salt

175g Unsalted Butter, not spreadable type.

175g Dark Brown Sugar

Finely grated rind of 1 orange

3 Large Free range eggs

1 tspn Almond essence

3 tbspns Brandy

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 325f, 170c, Gas 3.

Place the dried fruits, orange rind & nuts in a bowl & set aside.

Sift the flour, baking powder & salt together & set aside.

Using a hand mixer, cream the butter & sugar together until very soft & light.

Lightly beat together the eggs & essence & beat into the creamed butter & sugar a little at a time. With the last additions of the egg mix add a couple of tablespoons of the flour.

Fold the remaining flour, alternatley with the brandy & then fold in the fruit & nut mix.

Turn the mix into the prepared tin, lightly level the top & slightly hollow out the centre.

Place in the preheated oven & bake for 1 hour, lower the heat to 300f 150c Gas 2 & bake for a futher 1 1/2 – 2hours. 

Test cake by pushing a warm skewer into the centre,  it should come out clean with no traces of uncooked mixture.

Allow cake to cool in tin. When cold, wrap in foil & store in an air tight tin for a few days, until ready to almond paste.

Its as easy as that. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments box below & I will answer them tomorrow.

Enjoy your evening.

Top those pies with veg

Vegetable topped pie recipes

Day six, of twenty two daily recipes, posted in this, my Christmas Countdown. Don’t forget, if you would like to see any particular recipe or need some advise on your festive cookery, just leave a comment at the bottom of the post & I will be happy to help.

Today, we are talking pies. Not pastry pies, but vegetable topped pies, a cunning  way of getting extra veg into the kids & also a little bit healthier for us all.   You can use a variety of different veg to top your pies & a lot of different fillings, to go under that veggie thatch. See my variations at the bottom of the recipe.

The pie in the photo, (find the recipe below) is topped with an equal mix of white potatoes & celeriac. The sauce is made with the addition of a couple of tablespoons of Pernod, which enhances the flavour of both the fish & celariac, although you can omit the alcohol if you wish. 

potatoes, celariac, sweetcorn, fish, pies
Part of you 5 a day

Haddock & Veggie topped Pie

Time: 40mins + cooking.  Equipment: Oven proof baking dish, 2 saucepans, frying pan. Allergens: Fish, Milk

INGREDIENTS:

225g Smoked Haddock, or fish of your choice

500ml Milk

 2 Stalks Celery, 1 Carrot chopped.

Parsley + 2 Bay leaves

4 Hard boiled eggs, peeled & halved.

150g Frozen sweetcorn or mixed veg.

40ml Olive oil, for the sauce

2 Tbspns Plain Flour.

450g White Potatoes. Peeled & chopped into chunks

400g Celariac, Peeled a chopped into chunks

40ml Olive oil for the topping

Seasoning.

METHOD

Place the potatoes & celariac into a large saucepan, cover with water & salt, bring to the boil & simmer until tender. (About 20mins)

Place the skinned fish in a large frying pan, add the carrot, celery, parsley & bay leaves. Pour over the milk. Bring to the boil, turn off the heat, cover and let stand for 5mins. Add the frozen veg & let stand while you are making the sauce.

In a medium saucepan, place the olive oil & flour, over a medium heat, stir until the mixture binds together & bubbles, lightly, do not brown.

Remove pan from the heat & strain the milk from the fish, into the pan. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Stir in the seasoning & Pernod.

Flake the fish into a oven proof baking dish, add the veg & eggs.  Pour the sauce over the top.

Drain the potatoes & celariac, place back on heat, to briefly dry. 

Add remaining olive oil & sesonings & mash well, until smooth

Pile on top of the fish & sauce & make a decorative pattern with a fork.

Place in a preheated oven 180c 350f Gas 4 & bake for 20-30mins until golden brown.

Serve immediately.

Cooking up a feast.

Although not as rich & creamy as butter, olive oil is far better healthy option. Generally speaking, any root vegetables can be used mashed, for the topping, either on their own or mixed with potato.

Variations: Try a mix of potato & beetroot, mashed with a tablespoon of creamed horseradish. Replace the fish with cooked smoked mackerel. Omit the eggs & sweetcorn, replacing with 2 Tbspns Capers.

Cheats way.  Omit the haddock & use 1 tin of Tuna Fish, mixed with 1 can Cambells Condensed Tomato Soup & 2 Tbspns pitted Black Olives. Top with potato & grated parmesan.

If you have been. Thank you for reading.

Until tomorrow.

Mascapone Pastry

Rough puff pastry

Day 4 of Countdown to Christmas & we are back to pastry.  Rough puff pastry, but to be exact, Mock rough puff pastry. This dough is very easy to make, but care must be taken when mixing the ingredients. There is a long chilling time involved, which makes it easy to make & plonk in the fridge until the next day. Kept chilled & wrapped in cling film, it will last for 1 week, which makes it ideal to whip out & create those little Christmas canapes or impressive afternoon tea pastries.  It is also a very rich mix, which is suitable for both sweet & savoury recipes. You can use french patisserie flour, but I like to use Maize Bite Flour, for a crisp flaky texture & a golden yellow apperance.

Mascapone Rough Puff Pastry   Makes 225g   Time taken 15mins + 8 hrs chilling time.   Allegens: Dairy

175g. Maize Bite Flour or French Patissere (Plain Flour)

175g. Chilled butter

175g. Mascapone Cheese

Pinch of salt.

METHOD

Sift the flour & salt into a bowl.

Chop the butter in with the flour, it must be no bigger than the size of a baked bean. (See video below).

Add the mascapone & bring the mixture together with the blade of a knife.

Do not over mix, it just needs to come together in a ball.

Wrap in cling film & place in the fridge for a minimum of 8 hours.

Chopping butter into flour

When ready to use, roll out on a lightly floured surface 1/2cm thick & use as required.

The header photo shows, parmesan & blue cheese twists, to make these roll out the pastry into an oblong, sprinkle with grated parmesan & blue cheese & fold in half.  Cut into strips, see photo’s above & twist the pastry, sprinke with more parmesan. Place on a baking tray, lined with non-stick paper & bake in a pre-heated oven, 220c 425f Gas 7 for 10-12 mins, until golden.

Variations:  Roll out as above, stamp into small circles & pipe with hummus, pate or herbed cream cheese, for drinks party savouries.

Roll out as above, cut into wide strips spread with harasia & roll around mini chorizo sausages. Bake as above.

Instead of your usual pastry, use to make your mince pies.

Roll out as above, Cut into small oblongs & bake as above, sandwich 3 together with a fruit conserve, whipped cream & fresh or frozen raspberries, Dust with icing sugar before serving.

Now you have the idea, I am sure you can have fun making your own shapes & sweet & savory fillings/toppings.

For me, its a large G&T with some olives & the twists in the photo.

Until tomorrow. Enjoy your evening.

Chocolate & Coconut Truffles

Recipe for Dairy Free Truffles

Day 3 of the Coundown to Christmas recipes & tips brings you the delight of chocolate. In particular dairy & gluten free Coconut Truffles, very apt for Truffleicious you may think.

We all love chocolate, but there are varying degrees of this comforting confectionery. Many of the cheaper varieties are mainly made up of sugar, & additives. Food regulations state that the ingredients list must show the components of the product in a decreasing scale. Therefore, if the first ingredient listed is sugar, then sugar is the main ingredient of the product. So, my mantra for purchasing any food product is “Always read the label”.

For the recipe below you must use chocolate that has a cocoa butter content of above 72%. Block creamed coconut must also be used, not a tin of coconut milk as this is all part of the setting agent in the finished truffles.

Coconut & Rum Truffles.

Gluten free, Dairy free, Vegetarian, Vegan.  Time taken, 45mins + chilling

Makes 40.

INGREDIENTS

250 g Dark Chocolate (above 72% cocoa mass)

1/2 Pack of solid creamed coconut 

60 g Desicated Coconut, (fine variety)

150 ml Rum, OR Malibu OR Water if you want to avoid alcohol.

150g Coconut, or Cocoa Powder for Rolling.   These can also be dipped in melted chocolate when set.

METHOD

Place the the coconut cream & your prefered liquid in a saucepan & bring to the boil, stirring.  Cool for 10mins.

Chop the chocolate into small chunks & place in a large bowl.

Pour the coconut mixture onto the chocolate, stirring briskly, from the centre, until you have a thick glossy emulsion. Stir in the fine desicated coconut.

Chill & roll into balls, with you fingers. Coat each ball with your chosen coating, or dip in melted chocolate. 

Leave to set & there you have it, the perfect gift for friends & relations or if like me, you are a bit of a Piggy, Eat them yourself.

Chocolate, truffles, liqueurs, home made, Coccoa fat,
A little of what you fancy.

Until tomorrow Foodies, have a lovely evening.

Don’t forget, if you have a question or would like to see a particular recipe on The Christmas Countdown. Please leave a comment in the box below.

About

Cookery & Food Experience, what I can offer you.


TRUFFLEicious is based at Great Chalfield, Wiltshire, in a stable we converted into a 5* hygiene registered kitchen, within the grounds of Great Chalfield Manor.

I have been working as a private cook/recipe developer for more than 40 yrs, mainly in private family houses, for Polo functions and at Harrods. During this time I have built up a large repertoire of my own recipes, which I have created & developed over the years, to suit our ever changing tastes & dietary needs requirements. 

“My aim is to supply 100% Homemade food, made from fresh, natural, local ingredients, which contain NO nasties”.

I am a great believer in cooking food from scratch, using fresh natural ingredients. You may like to read my related article Taste have we lost it?

Food & Cookery for the small business

I am available, on a consultancy basis, to advise on any food related matters, you may wish to discuss with a fully experienced Cook/recipe developer. These may include:

  • Creating recipes from your own product. 
  • Assisting you in creating a new food product.
  • Creating recipes for all dietary requirements.
  • Writing food & recipe blogs for your business.
  • Food Hygeiene.
  • Advise on food legislation & regulation for the small food business.

Home Cooking

I also offer a Cookery Tuition Package (in your own home)

The difference between us & other cookery schools is:

You choose what you would like to learn to cook.

You may want to:

  • Brush up on your basic skills.
  • Learn to cook dishes for various dietary needs.
  • Batch cooking from scratch – time management.
  • Special occassion cookery.
  • Healthy eating & nutrition.
  • Nutritional foods & cooking for older people
  • Ecconomic purchasing & cooking for families.
  • How to use your leftovers.

These are only suggestions, we are able to accomodate any aspect of food & cookery.

Should you wish to chat with us about any of the above topis, please contact me at info@truffleicious.co.uk

TRUFFLEicious is registered as a food business with Wiltshire Council & our Scores on the Doors are 5*. We hold current public & product liability insurance & Food Hygiene Certificate.

Visit our sister sites for more information

>> TRUFFLEicious 

> > http://www.truffleiciousteaches.com

 

A Cook in the Baking

Here at TRUFFLEicious/Wiltshire Artisans we know all about the small food business, not because we have done a couple of baking courses & think we know it all, but because over the years, (about 40), to be precise, we have done it. Several times. I am definitely a cook in the baking.

cake, chocolate, homemade, small business, cookery
A chocolate treat

We have never been, or wanted to be a large food business, small & exclusive, I think are the words that describes us best. Circumstances prevailed, when it was not always possible to continue those businesses, but never the less our passion for food & creativity has led us down different paths, over the years.

Learning the basics of cookery, like most girls in my youth (this was 40 yrs ago), from my mother, I had various jobs in kitchens during the school holidays where I learnt even more about food & my passion was born.

Leaving school, my teachers thought I was bound for Art College, but it was not to be “out to work & earn some money” my father told me and so off I went. The Lady Magazine, a publication which still exists today, was the key to my short term future.

“Cook required for small family of 5. Large Rectory in the rural Cotswold’s. Simple daily cooking & some entertaining at weekends”. Putting pen to paper, (no e-mails in those days,) I applied & two weeks later I was installed in my first proper cooking job. I thoroughly enjoyed the 5 years I spent here, the family were lovely, I had a cosy little cottage in the grounds & learnt a lot – about people & food.

During my time at the Rectory I was introduced to many interesting people, made even more fascinating because my cookery skills were in demand. I made steak & kidney pies for local pubs, cakes for cafe’s & cooked dinner parties for friends of my employer. One particular lady, the grand-daughter of a famous composer, lived in a beautiful Elizabethan Manor House. Finding times difficult, she started a bed a breakfast business for visiting Americans. Dinner in the evening was becoming a necessity, my services were needed on an ad hoc basis, a cottage became available on her estate, & the rest, as they say, is history.

cooking, history, small business, food, changing world
A Cook in the baking

Farm Cottage was started from my kitchen in rural Gloucestershire. Having obtained a list of names from my landlady I set about creating a mail shot. This was hard work in the pre-internet years. I hand wrote menus on vellum paper, stapled them into booklets and popped them into 25 large envelopes. I then sat back & waited for the phone to ring & ring it did.

Read more of my journey, in a later post on this site.

menu, mail shot, advertising, small business
A menu from the past

West Wiltshire Magazine

I found a publication on Issuu that I think you’ll love. Find out more about our Cookery Lesson in this months issue of The West Wilts Magazine.

Check this out: