Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Tuesday 20 November 2012
I know, I know, its only November but already I've been getting festive in the kitchen. In addition to the Pinnies and Petticoats Christmas Party I've been baking for a Marie Cure Christmas Trading and Coffee Morning and the School Christmas Fair. First up Festive Shortbread using my Grandma Monearn's recipe. Works a treat every time and is really effective with Christmas cutters.  It also gave me the chance to use my new Tala Flour Sifter which I bought with some birthday vouchers and love. Retro and useful.

I've previously posted the shortbread recipe when I made it for a Marie Curie Blooming Great Tea Party. But its worth repeating:

12 oz plain flour 
8 oz butter (room temp) 
4 oz caster sugar 
2 oz cornflour 

Put everything in a food processor and blitz until it comes together. Roll out on a floured surface and cut into shapes. Transfer on to a baking tray and prick with a fork. Cook for 30 minutes at 150 degrees. Cool on a wire rack and sprinkle with caster sugar.

Next up a cheeky no bake donation for the School Christmas Fair. Rudolph Candy Canes. So simple but really effective. Candy Canes from Poundland and Googly eyes, pipecleaners and pom poms from Hobbycraft. Top tip. Glue the candy canes together first. Hot glue gun works best.
Also for the school fair I did Mincemeat Muffins. I'm a big mince pie fan at Christmas time and these are a nice alternative and much quicker and easier to make. I've tweaked the recipe over the years and here's how I make them.

8 oz plain flour
2 oz rolled oats
1/2 tsp Bicab of Soda
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp salt
2oz caster sugar
1 egg
250ml milk
90ml veg/corn oil
1 jar mincemeat (411g)

Sift together all dry ingredients in one bowl.  In another combine all wet ingredients. Pour wet into dry and mix.  Spoon into muffin cases and bake at 200C for 20 minutes until tops are lightly browned. Sieve icing sugar over the top. I posted a photo of these on my Facebook Page and got a great suggestion as to how they could be made even better. Brandy Buttercream on the top.  I am so going to try this.
Husband made two batches of Banana and Choc Chip Muffins but alas no photographic evidence. If truth be told he is a better muffin maker than me. Lots of lovely cakes and bakes on the Cake and Candy stall at the school fair but my absolute favourite was these cute wee marshmallow snowmen. Two marshmallows on a cocktail stick topped with a rolo hat, a stsrawberry lace scarf and black icing face. They sold out really quickly as did my reindeer candy canes.  Guess I'm going to have to make some more as I've already had comments from friends hoping that they'll be getting one for Christmas. Whether they do or not may depend upon if they've been naughty or nice.
Next up is a Christmas Gift. Spiced Apple Jelly. This is so good with so many things. In particular roast pork, cold cuts, sandwiches and cheese. I made it last year and had requests for more so happy to oblige. The spice comes from fresh ginger, cinnamon and cloves.  These are cooked with the apples, lemon and water before the whole lot is drained overnight through a jeely bag.  I set mine up rather precariously on a broom handle balanced between two chairs.  The important thing with jelly is to let it drain under its own steam and not try and force it through or you will get a cloudy liquid.
Once strained the resulting liquid is boiled up with sugar till setting point is reached. Then its jarred, sealed and topped off with some festive fabric. That's a couple more pressies scored off Santa's list. If only some of what boy and girl have put on their extensive lists could be created in the kitchen. Anyone have recipes they can share for for Heelys, Barbie Hair Artist or a Nerf Strike Alpha Trooper?


  1. Hi! Thank you for sharing your recipes. I made your shortbread last week much to the delight of hubby and son who scoffed the lot in double quick time!
    Am going to try the muffins next, and if successful will make and take to work on xmas morning ( us nurses deserve a treat )!
    Am interested in the spiced apple jelly as usually make chutney to add to hampers, however my harvest was too poor this year. Cannot read all of recipe on your page and wondered if you'd be kind enough to tell me where I can access recipe please?
    Had to sign on anonymously as have no idea what other one to use! Sharon Cameron

  2. CHRISTMAS!!!!!! How exciting. Eagerly await for more and plan to make those mince meat muffins

  3. Just made some of
    Gorgeous! Thanks for sharing. Wouldn't mind her recipe for scones if they are as good as the shortbread.

  4. Made your mincemeat muffins today- am amazed there are some left, absolutely delicious and so easy to make!

    Also made the marshmallow snowmen but couldn't get any laces for their scarves, they were scoffed in double quick time anyway!

  5. mmm I just made some mincemeat this morning and I'm loving the idea of your mincemeat muffins - especially with the brandy buttercream suggestion!

  6. Great to hear of shortbread, muffin and marshmallow snowmen success! I shall look out Grandma Monearns scones recipe and the Apple Jelly recipe and post both.

  7. Just visiting from funky foodies. Love the idea of the mincemeat muffins!

  8. Got some of Grandma Monearn's shortbread in the oven at the moment :-) Dinosaur and Christmas shapes! Forgot quite how much this recipe makes - it was a wee bit much for my food processor to deal with but it got there in the end! Must make half next time :-)


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