Festive Frenzy


This time of year is always a mad rush – rush to get to school because its hard to wake up when you had a busy day before and its cold and dark, rush to get the home sorted because we are having Christmas here this year, rush to get pressies because every year I leave it too late despite promising myself that I will start earlier, rushing around doing school type stuff because for some reason the school thinks its fun to cram everything they possibly can into one and a half months, rush to get the Christmas dinner sorted (another thing I always leave until the last minute) and of course the rush to sort out the teacher’s gifts which I like to do myself.  Why would I want to put myself under that extra strain, you might ask? Well, because I was a teacher once upon a time and I always felt extra special when I received a gift that was home-made.  It’s more personal.

I did promise to share some more of my home-made ideas so here are the goodie baskets I did for the teachers.

Copyright © 181213 by Karen Payze

Copyright © 181213 by Karen Payze

The first item I made were the biscuits.  They are spicy orange biscuits with orange Glacé icing.  Here is the recipe courtesy of lindyscakes :

Spiced Orange Cookie Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 75g (3oz) butter
  • 75g (3oz) soft brown sugar
  • 30ml (2tbsp) honey
  • Zest from one orange
  • 10ml (2 tsp) orange juice
  • 225g (8oz) plain flour, sifted
  • 5ml (1 tsp) bicarbonate soda
  • 5ml (1 tsp) cinnamon

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC/ 325ºF/ Gas Mark 3
  2. Place butter, sugar, honey, orange zest and juice in a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved and the butter melted.
  3. Sieve the flour and dry ingredients in a bowl and add the melted ingredients. Mix well until the dough becomes firm.
  4. Place the dough in a plastic bag and chill in the fridge for 40 minutes
  5. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to 5mm  thick and stamp out the cookies, using your chosen cutters. If you are using a template, cut around the template with a knife for each cookie.
  6. Lightly knead and re-roll the trimmings together again to use up all the dough. Place the biscuits on baking sheets.
  7. Bake biscuits for 10-15 minutes until lightly coloured and firm but not crisp. Leave on the tray for two minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

And here  is the orange icing recipe:

Ingredients:

2-3tbsp   Milk
2tbsp       Orange juice
2 1/2c     Icing sugar
1tbsp      Orange Zest
Method:
  1. In small bowl, stir 2 tablespoons of the milk, the orange juice and icing sugar until smooth.
  2. Stir in orange zest.
  3. Add additional milk 1 teaspoon at a time to desired consistency

My daughter helped to ice these ones.  Here is the finished result:

Copyright © 181213 by Karen Payze

Copyright © 181213 by Karen Payze

Next I made fudge.  This recipe was taken from Sainsbury’s Magazine (which is my favourite magazine).  It’s a wonderfully quick, simple recipe.

10 Minute Fruit and nut fudge

Ingredients:

  • 125g      Diced Unsalted Butter
  • 375g      Golden Caster Sugar
  • 1 tin       Condensed Milk (397g one)
  • 1tsp       Vanilla Extract
  • 150g      Mixed Fruit and nuts

Method:

  1. Line an 18cm square tin with baking paper.
  2. Place butter, sugar and condensed milk into a microwaveable bowl – do not stir.
  3. Microwave on full power (900 watts) for 1 minute then stir.  Repeat this process 9 times.
  4. Remove from microwave and stir briskly until slightly cooled and thickened.
  5. Stir in Vanilla Extract and 2/3 of the fruit and nut mix.
  6. Pour into lined tin then scatter over remaining fruit and nuts.
  7. Leave to cool completely then cut into squares.

This is my fudge:

Copyright © 181213 by Karen Payze

Copyright © 181213 by Karen Payze

I then made the lemon drizzle cakes.  they were supposed to be lemon drizzle with lavender icing but, of course, there is no fresh lavender at this time of year so I had to settle for lemon icing, which actually came out rather well 🙂  This recipe is courtesy of Baking Inspiration.

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Ingredients:

Cake

  • 175g      Self Raising Flour
  • 150g      Caster sugar
  • 150g      Butter
  • 3             Medium eggs, beaten
  • Grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 tsp      Lavender, optional

Drizzle

  • 75g       Caster sugar
  • Juice of 1½ lemons

Glaze

  • 50g       Icing sugar
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Lavender to decorate, optional

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to fan 160°C, conventional 180°C, gas 4.
  2. Grease and line the base of a 1kg loaf tin with baking parchment.
  3. Sift the flour into a small bowl and set aside.
  4. Using an electric whisk, cream sugar and butter together until light and fluffy.
  5. Gradually add the beaten eggs, lemon zest and lavender with a little of the flour, after each addition.
  6. Gently fold in the remainder of the flour until all the ingredients are combined.
  7. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 45 minutes or until firm and golden brown.
  8. While the cake is cooking, place the drizzle ingredients in a small pan and heat gently to dissolve the sugar.  Make hole in the cake using a tooth pick.  Pour Drizzle over cake.
  9. To make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a small bowl, add enough lemon juice to make a smooth icing. When cake is cold decorate with the icing and sprinkle with lavender.

I also made the little box to put it in, quick and simple to make, I thought I would share that with you too: it comes from .docstoc.

And here is my finished product:

Copyright © 181213 by Karen Payze

Copyright © 181213 by Karen Payze

Last but certainly by no means least is the Ginger Preserve.  I can absolutely say that making this preserve was the BANE of my LIFE!

I got the very simple and straightforward recipe from Sous Chef.  Here it is:

Ginger Preserve

Ingredients:

  • 800g fresh ginger
  • 750mls sugar
  • 375mls water

Method:

  1. Firstly you have to peel your ginger – harder and more time-consuming than you think.
  2. Cut the ginger into cubes that are roughly the same size.
  3. Cover with water and soak for at least 8 hours or overnight. – thanks for that, I have so much time.
  4. Drain the ginger and place in a saucepan and cover with water, bring to the boil and drain, repeat this two more times, then on the third time, simmer the ginger until a sharp knife goes through it easily, mine took just over an hour. – Yeah.
  5. In a thick bottomed saucepan bring the sugar and the water to a boil, then turn down the heat a little so you have a rolling boil. Keep an eye on it and stir every now and then until the syrup thickens, 20 – 30 minutes. – Kill me now please!!  I actually burnt it because I was doing other things so left the timer on then forgot and it burnt at roughly 20 minutes, just so you know.  I HAD TO REDO MINE…
  6. At this point I added some clove spice, it gave the syrup a lovely colour and Christmassy spice smell!
  7. Add the ginger and simmer for 10 minutes, cool completely before spooning into a sterilized jar (just rinse the jar in very hot water, shake off any excess water and pop in the microwave on high for 1 minute). – Actually I heat mine in the oven, just be very careful when removing them, they are piping hot!

Please don’t think my experience with making this ginger has anything to do with the recipe above.  there is nothing wrong with the recipe.  All the Ginger preserve recipes are basically the same actually.

I underestimated the amount of ginger I would need, stupidly thinking that one large piece of stem ginger would fill a small bottle.  The result is that each of the four jars (yes I did extras) are filled with my spicy ginger syrup and some floaty lost pieces of ginger.  Oh well…

Here it is:

Copyright © 181213 by Karen Payze

Copyright © 181213 by Karen Payze

Anyway, I hope the teacher enjoy the huge effort I put into making this and I hope you will try these recipes and enjoy the results!

Now I most probably won’t have the chance to do another post before Christmas, which is in 1 weeks time, so I will use this post to wish everyone

  A happy, safe, blessed Christmas. 

May all your wishes come true!

Copyright © 181213 by Karen Payze

Spiced Orange Cookie Recipe
75g (3oz) butter
75g (3oz) soft brown sugar
30ml (2tbsp) honey
Zest from one orange
10ml (2 tsp) orange juice
225g (8oz) plain flour, sifted
5ml (1 tsp) bicarbonate soda
5ml (1 tsp) cinnamon

  1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC/ 325ºF/ Gas Mark 3
  2. Place butter, sugar, honey, orange zest and juice in a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved and the butter melted.
  3. Sieve the flour and dry ingredients in a bowl and add the melted ingredients. Mix well until the dough becomes firm.
  4. Place the dough in a plastic bag and chill in the fridge for 40 minutes
  5. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to 5mm  thick and stamp out the cookies, using your chosen cutters. If you are using a template, cut around the template with a knife for each cookie.
  6. Lightly knead and re-roll the trimmings together again to use up all the dough. Place the biscuits on baking sheets.
  7. Bake biscuits for 10-15 minutes until lightly coloured and firm but not crisp. Leave on the tray for two minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

– See more at: http://www.lindyscakes.co.uk/2009/09/05/spiced-orange-cookie-recipe/#sthash.0a8EkMnQ.dpuf

Spiced Orange Cookie Recipe
75g (3oz) butter
75g (3oz) soft brown sugar
30ml (2tbsp) honey
Zest from one orange
10ml (2 tsp) orange juice
225g (8oz) plain flour, sifted
5ml (1 tsp) bicarbonate soda
5ml (1 tsp) cinnamon

  1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC/ 325ºF/ Gas Mark 3
  2. Place butter, sugar, honey, orange zest and juice in a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved and the butter melted.
  3. Sieve the flour and dry ingredients in a bowl and add the melted ingredients. Mix well until the dough becomes firm.
  4. Place the dough in a plastic bag and chill in the fridge for 40 minutes
  5. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to 5mm  thick and stamp out the cookies, using your chosen cutters. If you are using a template, cut around the template with a knife for each cookie.
  6. Lightly knead and re-roll the trimmings together again to use up all the dough. Place the biscuits on baking sheets.
  7. Bake biscuits for 10-15 minutes until lightly coloured and firm but not crisp. Leave on the tray for two minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

– See more at: http://www.lindyscakes.co.uk/2009/09/05/spiced-orange-cookie-recipe/#sthash.0a8EkMnQ.dpuf

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6 Comments

  1. Christ. I don’t think I ever gave my teachers so much as an apple.

    • I bet you sat in the naughty corner a few times though 😛

      • Thanks for the mention, lovely to see the recipe being used. Have a happy Christmas.

        • Youre welcome 🙂 I may even try it again when im less stressed; p merry christmas to you and yours 🙂

  2. I think I gained weight just reading these recipes. 🙂 They look delicious.

    Merry Christmas. I hope you were a good girl this year.

    • Hehe they were all good ; ) merry christmas to you too and I am always good o:)

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