Actually, I quite like mince pies…

A long evening cooking and I’ve run out of time again…more at a more normal hour!

The morning after

I don’t know where the time has gone. Thanks to the flu/virus I have ended up with a backlog of cooking, so last night I made:

· Nigella’s star top mince pies

· Nigella’s mini apple pies

· 2 batches of “24 carat brownies”

· finally cooked the Christmas cake and “iced it” with turkish delight

I’d made my Christmas cake on Monday night but ran out of time to cook it, so it had to stand over night until I got back from work. Whilst it was cooking I made my mince pies.

Turkish Delight topped Easy Christmas Cake
Turkish Delight topped Easy Christmas Cake

I have had a lot of hits on these pages for people looking for Nigella’s star topped mince pies so I thought I may as well do them and then post a link. Basically it’s a straight forward shortcrust pastry recipe using a mixture of fats and replacing the water with orange juice. The recipe can be found here. Mine are made with lard instead of vegetable shortening as that’s what I had in the cupboard (besides am a little concerned about transfats and vegetable shortening) and mine are heart topped as that’s the only cutter I have the right size.

heart topped mince pies
heart topped mince pies

Since the only reason I was making the pies was so that Spider had something to leave out for Father Christmas I only made 12. The rest I turned into apple pies using the apple filling recipe (which I will post up later).

Finally I made a double batch of my favourite Brownies. I had been planning to make some flourless brownie’s following my post yesterday on Allegra (as I was short of flour) but Husband put in a request for some nut free brownies to take to work.

nigel slater's fantastic brownies
nigel slater’s fantastic brownies

Anyway the worlds best Brownies can be found in Kitchen Diaries:Nigel Slater but it also appears in various places on the web and can be found here. My version missed out the cocoa powder as I’d run out (put in extra flour instead) and used a mixture of soft brown sugar and caster sugar…they seem to be hitting the spot at my work though – but then we are all in a Christmas mood anyway.

Christmas Cake indecision

I was flicking through How to be a Domestic Goddess:Nigella Lawson trying to choose a Christmas Cake which wouldn’t end up sitting on the sideboard like last year and I came across her Certosino which is a “fabulous spicy fruit cake” which is decorated with dried fruit and nuts. It seemed to fit the requirements of our family namely fruit cake, nothing too heavy, perhaps slightly alcoholic, easy on the icing. Also I have most of the ingredients in, just need to buy a few things.

Anyway I was all set to make this when I got struck down with the lurgy meaning that I’ve since had a lot of time in bed and between sleeping have been reading cookbooks and have of course changed my mind. Same idea as the Certosino just the cake itself uses up more of what I have in the cupboard including a tin of chestnut puree which has been sitting neglected in the kitchen since last christmas.

The Easy Action Christmas Cake (from Feast) can be found here. Normally with recipes from Feast I automatically halve the quantites but this recipe actually suggests if you don’t want a large cake then you could make a small cake and 12 muffins – so that’s what I will be doing between now and Christmas as soon as I get the all clear and can cook again. I know I’m cutting it fine, but since there is no icing involved, just sticking fruit on the top and glazing with jam, I can if I need leave it until Wednesday night…not going to mention christmas cake again this year but will post a pic when I finally get myself off this sickbed and into the kitchen.

My new years resolution is less procrastination, more action… sitting here reading a time management book !