Smell’s Like Christmas….Gingerbread Biscuits.

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December comes around so quickly. Hard to believe it’s been a year since I last had my gingerbread biscuit cutters out.

The kitchen smells of ginger and cinnamon and fruit mince pies.

I’ve yet to make my gingerbread house though. I’ll have to get a move on.

There are two gingerbread recipes I use but this one is my favourite.

Its actually a ginger nut biscuit recipe from Margaret Fulton’s Book of Home Baking. One of the most used recipe books in my collection. I have adapted the recipe a little to make it more Christmasy, but I do use the original recipe many times throughout the year.

My young nephew could easily down a half dozen of these biscuits without drawing breath. Luckily he’s considerate enough to share whatever is left.

So here is the recipe:

In a small saucepan melt together 60g butter, 2 Tblsp treacle, 2 Tblsp golden syrup and 70g dark brown sugar over low heat until the butter and sugar have melted. Leave this to cool down for a few minutes then add 225g self-raising flour, 2 tsp ground ginger (or a little less if you don’t like it too spicy) and 1 tsp ground cinnamon and mix until you get a smooth thick paste. I then wrap it up and let it cool down for about a half hour to make it easier to handle.image

Now roll it out between to pieces of baking paper or plastic wrap to about 8mm thick and cut with your favourite biscuit cutters. Arrange on baking trays lined with baking paper and sprinkle with a little raw sugar and bake at 170c for 12 – 15 minutes depending on whether you want them really crunchy or a little chewy in the middle.image

Leave them on the baking trays for a couple of minutes to cool down slightly before transferring onto cake racks to cool down completely.

Simply replace the wheat flour with gluten free flour for a gluten free batch of gingerbread happiness.

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Hope you enjoy…

Rhubarb and Mixed Berry Pies

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I’ve got to say, I’m not a real big fan of rhubarb but these little pies turned out really delicious.

My husband and I went to the Growers’ Market in Pyrmont on Saturday. It’s only on for a few hours on the first Saturday of every month but you can walk out with bags full of goodies.

Our main aim was to buy garlic plaits to give as gifts, but you always end up buying other things.

I found some baby white turnips which I plan to pickle and a bunch of rhubarb that was meant to be poached, and half of it was. The other half ended up chopped, mixed with some beautiful fresh berries and baked in my favourite polenta short crust pastry.

Here’s how to make them…

For the pastry measure out 215g plain flour, 40g polenta, 60g castor sugar and 175g butter and pulse them in a food processor until they resemble breadcrumbs (takes only a few seconds) then add 1 egg and 1 Tblsp cold water and pulse until the pastry comes together.

Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1/2 an hour.

Now roll out the pastry and line either 1 large loose bottom pie tin or 6 small ones, leaving enough pastry for the top, and chill.

Roll out the left over pastry and cut into thin strips. Leave aside in the fridge until ready to use.

For the filling:

In a bowl mix together 180g fresh mixed berries (I used blackberries, chopped strawberries and blueberries, but any combination will work), 200g rhubarb (chopped into 1cm thick slices), 180g castor sugar, 2 Tblsp plain flour and gently mix.

Spoon the filling evenly into the chilled pastry lined tart tins and lay the thin strips over the top however you like.

Bake at 200c for 15 minutes then turn the temperature down to 180c and continue baking for another 30 minutes or until cooked and golden brown.

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Yummy on its own or with a scoop of your favourite ice cream.

you’ve got to give this a go….

Enjoy…

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Playing With Recipes : Date and Oat Slice.

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I’ve been playing with this recipe for years. The original recipe is from the very old ‘Book of Home Baking’ by Margaret Fulton. I don’t actually remember where or when I got this book from but it does have an old faded Big W price sticker on it. It’s a book I’ve used many many times.

In particular this recipe which is fantastic in itself but I can’t help myself and add something different to it nearly every time.

Let me know if you do…..

In a small saucepan put 300g chopped dates, 2 Tbls water, 1Tbls lemon juice and 1Tbls honey. Simmer gently over a medium heat until the dates are soft. Take off the heat and leave aside while you prepare the crumbly oat layers.

In a medium bowl mix together  225g wholemeal flour with 200g rolled oats and then rub in 220g butter. Stir in 60g brown sugar and I like to add about 50g flax seed and a few pepita and sunflower seeds.

Press 1/2 this mixture into a shallow square or rectangular baking dish which you’ve lined with baking paper.  Cover with the date mixture. Here is where i play with the recipe. I’ve added a layer of thinly sliced apple or pear, some sultanas, currants, pecans, slivered almonds, whatever I had at hand. Today I’ve sprinkled a handful of dried cranberries and some chopped  walnuts.

Cover the filling with the remaining crumble and press down well.

Bake at 190c for 35 – 40 minutes until brown.

Cut into slices while still warm then cool completely in the tin before removing and serving and eating.

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This slice is still delicious even 1 week later, just keep it in an air tight container.

If you leave out the nuts it makes a great lunchbox snack.

Enjoy…