Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Christmas baking

Usually, my mum does the majority of the Christmas baking with my help, but this year, following an operation to fix her carpel tunnel problems, she was a hand down and consequently I was left in the kitchen all of Christmas eve! (She kept me company which I guess is something - oh and she made a jelly :D ). The first thing on the list was to make sausage rolls - simple, grab some sausage meat, fry some onions, mix them up, put this in the middle of some puff pastry and bake!Next was a Christmas cake - now in my house, this is not a fruit cake, but in fact a chocolate sponge! I made two chocolate sponges, then started to make the butter icing for the middle. As most of my mums recipes are as old as her (!) they aren't given in grams but in tablespoons and apparently the measurements change depending on what it looks like. Not being my mum (and therefore not knowing what I was looking for), I followed her instructions and ended up almost killing my arm trying to mix the icing sugar into the butter. We then added some cocoa into the butter icing, which then resulted in it being too runny, so more icing sugar was needed. The cake was meant to just have a melted chocolate top, but with the vast quantity of butter icing now made, we decided to put it both inside the cake, and on top. Then I added a few Christmas cake toppers and put the cake to one side. Lastly, for dessert on Christmas day, we'd decided on Eton Mess (meringue, cream and raspberries all smashed together to make a mess!). So, I whisked up 8 egg whites with 1lb of sugar, shaped with two dessert spoons and placed on baking trays. I then baked these in the oven for 45mins at gas mark 1 - I'd cut down the cooking time because the spoons I used for shaping were smaller than the ones I'd have used at home, so thought they'd need less time to cook. After cooking, the meringues should be left in the oven until the oven has cooled. When trying to remove the meringues from the baking paper, I found that they weren't very cooked in the middle at all - so I baked them for another half hour! I'm not sure if it was that they gave them a great chewiness, but they were great meringues! (tip for the leftover egg yolks, yummy scrambled egg!)After all the baking I was in need of a sit down - but instead went to Midnight Mass with my mum whilst Ian cooked the pork ready for dinner the next day (our oven is quite small so we had to try and get ahead somehow). So, at about 1am christmas morning, I was eating roast pork and longing for sleep - perfect! Which is just how Christmas dinner turned out, and no thanks to me, all the credit goes to Ian who made the tastiest roast chicken ever. He's a very very clever man!

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