Here you will find all the fare & recipes I have posted about. 24 Jan 2016 020

Bottled/Preserved Plums

(Americans call them canned, I never did get that as they are in bottles, actually that’s technically incorrect as well, they are glass jars!)         Pick your plums, make sure they are not over ripe, in fact get them before they completely ripen (before the birds get them!) and obviously no decayed or bruised fruit. DSC00921             To sterilize the jars and lids: put the jars into the oven at 60 degrees Celsius for 20-30 minutes,  and boil the lids 24 Jan 2016 015 Make a syrup: (choose how sweet you want it) Medium – 1 cup sugar to 3 cups water Sweet – 1 ½ cups sugar to 3 cups water Heavy – 3 cups sugar to 3 cups water Boil together for 5 minutes, then add the fruit (I use a slotted spoon, be careful this is molten hot)24 Jan 2016 013 Cook until tender, I skewer the fruit to see when I think they are soft, but not falling off the stone.     Spoon the fruit into sterilized jars.24 Jan 2016 014       Top up with syrup.24 Jan 2016 017 Place the lids on the jars and clean up the spills. Screw the bands tight. jan 16 100             jan 16 104

Strawberry topping

  4 cups strawberries ½ cup – 2/3 cups white sugar (I like to go lighter on the sugar) 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Wash and hull strawberries.  Add sugar and vanilla to a saucepan and bring gently to the boil, stir and mush some of the strawberries to stop it sticking to the bottom of the pan. Cook for about 15 minutes until it vaguely starts to thicken. Take half of the mixture and blend it in a food processor, I like to keep half of the strawberries in their semi formed state. Process the lot if you don’t want fruit in your topping. Enjoy with ice cream!   jan 16 043          

Strawberry Jam

jan 16 1012kg strawberries 2kg white sugar (jam setting sugar if you have it)       Heat the strawberries in as pan until they start to juice and bring to a simmer, add the sugar. Boil for approximately 30 minutes or until it thickens to your liking. Do the saucer test, take a spoon of jam, place it on to a saucer which has been in the freezer or fridge, leave it for a few minutes to see if it is getting a wrinkle on the skin of the jam, or is setting to your liking.

Xmas cake


Fruit cake recipe     Method for fruit cake The method remains the same for any size cake you wish to make. Chop fruit and place it in a bowl, pour the liquor over the fruit and cover & leave over night. Cream the butter and brown sugar. Add grated fruit rinds, essence and marmalade. Drop in eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition. Fold in prepared fruit alternatively with dry ingredients.  Mix well. (I use a large wooden spoon towards the end as it is often too large a mixture for the mixer to handle). Fill into lined tin. Lining the tin Fit strips of baking paper around the tin, and a cut paper circle on the bottom, I usually do two or three layers of baking paper , or 1 layer baking paper and 1 layer of thick brown paper closest to the tin . Settle the mixture by raising the tin about 30cm (12 inches) above a firm hard surface, and drop it.  This ensures the mixture settle into the tin. Smooth the mixture by wetting the palms of your hands.  This will ensure a flat surface, and a bit of a gloss. Bake the cake in a slow oven 150 C, for approximately 3 ½ hours. (Test it with a skewer or knife to ensure it is cooked). Old fashioned fruit cakes are named according to the amount of butter and sugar are used in each cake. For example a Quarter Pound Cake uses 125 grams (1/4 lb) butter. A Half Pound Cake uses 250 grams (1/2 pound) butter.  Half Pound Cake For a Quarter Pound Cake, halve the recipe, and for a One Pound Cake, double the recipe. 750 grams (1 & 1/2 lbs) sultanas 250 grams (8 oz) raisins 125 grams (4 oz) currants (I don’t like currants o substitute the same weight in dried cranberries) 125 grams (4 oz) glace cherries (I love the cherries so double them, using red and green if I can find them for colour) 125 grams (4 oz) mixed peel ½ cup rum, brandy or sherry (to soak the fruit in) 250 grams (8 oz) butter 1 & 1/3 cups firmly packed brown sugar 1 teaspoon grated orange zest 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 tablespoons marmalade 4 eggs 2 & ½ cups plain flour Pinch of salt 1 teaspoon mixed spice ¼ teaspoon cinnamon ¼ teaspoon nutmeg Prepare and mix ingredients as in Method for fruit cakes. Fill into a deep 23 cm (9 inch) round or a deep 20 cm (8 inch) square cake lined tin. Bake the cake in a slow oven 150 C, for approximately 3 ½ hours. (Test it with a skewer or knife to ensure it is cooked). Baking tin sizes (I have tested) Two cakes from a Half Pound Cake recipe, into 20cm and 15 cm tins (makes 4 inch high cakes, so perhaps use one size larger if you don’t want such a tall cake). Quarter Pound Cake recipe into an 18 cm (7 inch) cake tin or a 15 cm (6 inch) square tin One Pound Cake recipe into a 28cm (11 inch) cake tin.    

Shortbread recipe

8oz/250 gram butter

6oz/185 grams icing sugar

2oz/70grams cornflour

10oz/285grams flour

Pinch of salt

Cream butter & sugarCream the butter and sugar


Sift in the dry ingredients and mix initially with the beater until it looks like coarse bread crumbs.

Frippery 020

Turn it out onto the bench and knead it into a ball.

Shape any way you like (I’ve made a few suggestions below).

Bake at 150 C 30 minutes.

 The fun bit is shaping them.

 Pricked round biscuit Either roll the mixture into a log and slice the log into 1cm thick slices, prick with a fork and bake. Shaped shortbread  Roll the mixture with a rolling pin until it is about 1cm thick and cut with your favourite shape cutters, for Xmas I like a star and place a silver cachou in the centre and bake. Multi coloured shortbread
Christmas shortbread
  1. Divide the kneaded mixture into 3 pieces.
  2. fareAdd coloured food gel to 2 of the pieces (leaving one piece au natural); knead the colours into their respective pieces of dough.
  3. Roll each piece to about 1 cm thick with a rolling pin
  4. Cut small stars (or whatever Xmas shape you want, I thought next time I would try a bell)  out of whichever colour you want on the centre of the biscuit.
  5. fareStack the stars on top of each other until it is about to topple over, turn it on its side and continue stacking until it’s about 20cm long, or whatever length you find easy to handle. When it is not manageable then start on another stack!
  6. Place them into the freezer to firm up.
  7. fareWith the 2nd colour of your choice, (already rolled out). Cut lengths about 1cm wide and as long as your stack of stars, but the trick is to cut them on an ange to get a long triangle. Make 5 lengths per biscuit roll.
  8. fareTake the first stacked shape out of the freezer. Lie the long triangular strips into the recesses of the star, and press into and have the dough wrap right around the star so the star is no longer showing.
  9. With the 3rd colour (rolled out to approximately .75cm (7.5mm) thick), and create a rectangle as long as your stack, and wide enough to wrap around the log you have made. Wrap it around the log you have created so the 2nd colour is no longer showing.
  10. Chill your log in the fridge, when firm, cut the log into 1cm thick biscuits.
  11. Bake at 150 C 30 minutes.