Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Gifts From the Kitchen

This year I decided that some of the gifts I gave would be ones I made myself. This isn't an easy nor is it an inexpensive option but I love that it sends the message that you care enough about a person/people to want to make an effort to spend time making them a gift. It feels like I have spent days and days in the kitchen amounting to at least 2 1/2 weeks with the end of school, Harry's birthday and Xmas day. I must admit that I was almost over the kitchen and especially baking after Xmas... honestly!! This afternoon when I woke up, (I am in the middle of nights), with a headache and feeling really quite dopey I had a fortifying cup of tea and a couple of bikkies then I thought I would whip up a lemon yoghurt cake for tonight and voila headache gone and I now feel much better. Amazing to think a bit of baking can be so relaxing for me that it can even cure a headache!

Anyway back to the post about the Xmas gifts. For the neighbours this year I made this amazing slice called Rocky Road Slice. It is a Nigella Lawson recipe and is very easy to make for maximum deliciousness and effect. Everyone I know loves it and it can be very hard to stop at just one piece. The recipe will follow below.

Wrapped and ready for the nieghbours
Promise I hadn't eaten all this...well maybe just one piece!

Goodies for Maureen across the road
The obligatory Pecan Tarts for Helen- recipe can be found here.
Lemon and Pistachio Shortbread

White Chocolate, Apricot, Cointreau and Macadamia Truffles (Oops I see it says Pistachio...must have the Xmas exhaustion)

Dark Chocolate and Fresh Mint Truffles

Brandied Fruits, Prune and dark Chocolate Xmas Cake decorated by me

Hopefully you can see the edible glitter on the stars...so pretty.
I know I should have taken more photos but because I was busy making all of this as well as other things, I either forgot or just didn't have the time. George and Russ got the Xmas cake (a really lovely recipe from an old Dish magazine) which I covered in fondant and cut out fondant stars to decorate it. I also brushed over some really beautiful edible glitter which sparkled and twinkled in the light. They also got a box with homemade granola, hot cocoa mix blogged about here, the Lemon and Pistachio Shortbread, (found on the Foodlovers website), as well as both sets of truffles. 

I think the gifts went down well and they certainly looked impressive. I hope everyone else had a lovely Xmas day with lots of fantastic food.

Rocky Road Crunch Bars (Nigella Lawson 'Express')

125 gm butter
300 gm dark chocolate (I used Whittakers 62%)
3 Tbsp golden syrup
200 gm superwine biscuits, crushed so there are some crumbs as well as some bigger bits
100 gm mini marshmallows

Melt the butter, golden syrup and chocolate in a pot. Once it's all smooth take out about a 1/2 cup of this and set it aside. Cool a little. Add the biscuits and marshmallows then tip into a lined tray (about 24 cm square). Push in as best you can with a spatula so it comes together. Pour over the reserved chocolate mixture and refrigerate. Slice when cold and dust with icing sugar.

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