Edible Gifts for Christmas

Thyme and Pepper Crackers

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Once a week our intrepid designated-shopper ventures out, suitably gloved (trendy blue rubber), protectively scarfed, and armed with a very long list.

I haven’t been supermarket shopping for a month. Not since my trip to prepare for my homecoming brood. I returned that afternoon ashen and visibly shaken. Quite traumatised, in-fact, by the row-after-row of empty shelves that had accosted  me. The long-and-the-short is that my ‘captive tasters’, aka the brood, have banned me from shopping and chained me to the cooker! Don’t worry it’s the best place for me. Continue reading

Russian Meringue Cookies

a mound of meringue cookies with easter chick

Chocolate Orange and White Chocolate and Pine Nut Meringue Cookies

 

Something a little different for Easter. These meringue cookies are wonderfully easy to prepare and a great way to use up leftover egg whites from your Easter Lemon Tart. They make delicious gifts and a very sweet ending to an Easter Feast. The texture of these meringue treats is very seductive – wisps of meringue dissolve as you bite into soft chocolate and crunchy nuts. Below I share two of my favourite versions: White Chocolate and Pine Nut , and Chocolate Orange and Pecan Nut.  The white chocolate in the first recipe takes on a tantalizingly caramel flavour, reminiscent of Dulce Du Leche, and the chocolate orange zings with flavour. The most exciting thing for any imaginative cook is that these meringues lend themselves to experimentation – different chocolates and nuts, dried fruits such as cranberries and candied peel. Or experiment with the original Ukrainian/Russian noodle version (see below).

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Canelé flavoured with Seville Orange, Seedlip Spice 94, and Orange Brandy.

canele with seelip

Canele flavoured with Seville Orange, Orange Brandy and Seedlip’s Spice 94

Who ever thought of cooking sweet batter in small fluted moulds at a very high temperature ?  Luckily for us they did and today these deliciously sweet bites are enjoying the limelight.  

 Canelé are reputedly tricky to make; the batter is the easy part – the cooking of canelé is what makes it tricky. The art is in cooking the sweet batter of the canelé for a short burst in a  fiercely hot oven. The heat boils the batter trapping the air in pockets as the batter sets. Once cooked the insides are aerated and creamy soft in texture. The outside of the canelé is caramelised forming a dark, crisp shell.

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