Tag Archives: cranberries

cranberry and lemon cake

Cranberry Sauce 003

Like most people, I tend to overbuy at Christmas, and that’s even with cutting back a *lot*. We had a couple of punnets of fresh cranberries lurking in the back of the fridge; well, when I say “fresh”, $deity alone know what they do to them to make them keep for over two months, but there they were.

Pete picked through them and we had about 1.5 punnets when done. So, I made lemon and cranberry cakes. This cake recipe is a good basic one, and you can add any dried fruit to it, but fresh is even better – give it a try with blueberries!

This is the recipe for one cake, but I always make two, because it freezes well. And I use the zest and juice of the lemon for two cakes.

160g caster sugar
125g butter or marge
175g self raising flour (or be like me – plain with a teaspoon of baking powder)
2 large eggs
zest of one lemon
a pinch of salt
4 tablespoons of milk

If you like, you can glaze the top with lemon juice and icing sugar mixed together, but that’s too sweet for us.

Cream sugar and butter/marge, add eggs, fold in flour, add lemon bits, berries and milk. If you’re adding fresh berries, I blitz them in the blender for a few seconds to break them up.

I always bake loaf cakes in a parchment liner – much easier. About 40 minutes at 180C should do it. Recommended.

Also, as a hint, chopped fresh cranberries are just lovely added to sausagemeat for home made sausage rolls.

 

New Year's Eve dinner 2010

New Year's Eve venison

When I ordered the goose from Fields, I added a venison loin to the order for New Year’s Eve; traditionally, I cook dinner for three close friends on 31/12, and have done so for many years. The fact that we’ve moved 220 miles away seems to make no difference 🙂

The butcher phoned a couple of weeks before Christmas to say their supplier had delivered no venison loins (perhaps they have a very odd breed of deer up here :), and would a haunch be OK. As I’d never cooked either, it seemed a plan, so he set aside a 2Kg one for me. I asked how much it would cost, and felt a bit faint when he told me but, you know, festive season and all that.

By Friday morning, we realised we had *8* people for dinner, so during the morning Pete and I between us cooked up a huge batch of dauphinoise potatoes with leeks to accompany the venison and sugar snap peas. I had a bag of cranberries in the fridge, and a punnet of plums, so I did a plum streusel (using this recipe, but without the pine nuts) and a cranberry and chocolate roulade. The former went very well; the latter …

My oven is ancient and not very good. I baked the roulade for the recommended time, and it clearly wasn’t cooked, so I gave it another five minutes. When I came to get it out of the tin, it was a bit sticky, but I slathered it with the cream and cranberries and then – disaster. It wouldn’t roll up, and was really more like a chocolate mooooose than a sponge. Too late to do anything about it, so we manoeuvred it on to as plate (getting covered in chocolate to boot), dusted it with icing sugar to hide the damage, and hoped for the best. And despite its rather collapsed appearance, it was *gorgeous*, and every scrap was consumed.

On to the venison. I was a bit worried, because it cost £38! (yes, really), and I didn’t want to wreck it. In the end, I went for Hugh Fearnley-Eatsitall’s method – seasoned it, put some fresh thyme and bay leaves on it and wrapped it in 12 thin rashers of bacon. 30 minutes at gas 7, then 50 at gas 4 (it weighed 2.156kgs, boned), and it was cooked *to perfection*, lovely and pink. It went down very well.

Eight people round our dining table was a bit of a squeeze, and there was a rather varied assortment of chairs, but we managed, and a fine night was had by all. I think between us Pete and I did eight lots of washing up between last night’s dinner and this morning’s cooked breakfast for four – roll on the kitchen makeover in Feb, and a DISHWASHER.

Sadly there is both venison and plum cake left, so Pete and I will have to eat it tonight. Such hardship.

And I wish you all a very happy new year!

breaking with tradition

Every year, towards the end of December, I buy a bag of cranberries. I don’t know why – I don’t like cranberry sauce, and anyway, we always eat goose for our festive dinner, but there you go; it’s part of the Christmas Tradition.

And so, towards the end of February, we generally have an equally traditional Throwing Away of the Cranberries (Mouldy).

But this year, things were different. I found this recipe for Christmas Morning Muffins, and I did indeed make them for Christmas morning, and they were delicious, and we snarfed the lot. And then I made some more a couple of weeks later.

Earlier this week, I discovered the last of the cranberries at the back of the fridge, and last night we made *more muffins* with them. And now they are all gone (the cranberries, that is; there are still some muffins left), and I have none to throw away in a week’s time. I’m quite sad about that in a way, but I think now I can move on, don’t you?