Archive for December, 2010
Rocky Road is an any-weather treat, but there’s something magical about it when it’s ‘dressed’ for Winter…so we’re taken by this Nigella Lawson recipe*, which brings out the child (and artist) in us. However, we’d pare this down for any other time of year by making the simple substitutions suggested at the end of this blog.
You will need:
- 250g dark chocolate 70 per cent cocoa solids
- 150g milk chocolate
- 175g soft unsalted butter
- 4 x 15ml tablespoons golden syrup
- 200g hard amaretti biscuits (not soft)
- 150g shelled brazil nuts
- 150g red glace cherries
- 125g mini marshmallows
- 1 x 15ml tablespoon icing sugar
- Foil tray approximately 24cm x 30cm
How to make:
- Chop all the chocolate into small pieces – about the size of Cadbury’s Buttons. Put in a heavy-based pan to melt with the butter and syrup over a low heat.
- Put the amaretti into a freezer bag and bash them with a rolling pin to get big and little crumbs – some pieces add crunch, the others are for sandy rubble.
- Do the same thing with the brazil nuts in another bag – again, you want a variety of sized nut rubble.
- Remove the melting chocolate from the heat and add the crushed biscuits and nuts, cherries and marshmallows. Turn carefully to coat everything with syrupy chocolate.
- Tip into the foil tray and smooth the top over, although it will be bumpy (and that’s ok!)
- Refrigerate for approx 1.5-2hrs, until firm enough to cut.
- Remove the whole block of Rocky Road from the foil ready for cutting.
- Push the icing sugar through a small sieve to ‘dust’ the top of the Rocky Road.
- With the longest side in front of you, cut it into 6 slices down and 4 slices across so you have 24 bars.
- Decorate and arrange into a festive centrepiece – and serve!
Makes 24 bars
Less fuss, more us: you can swap Rich Tea biscuits for the amaretti, remove the cherries and the nuts for a less fussy (but as sweet!) treat.
*Published in YOU magazine, supplement to The Mail on Sunday, 30 November 2008, pg 111
There’s something warm and cosy about stringing popcorn and cranberries onto thread around the kitchen table at Christmas. Maybe it’s the smell of freshly popped corn, or the shine of those crimson berries…but it is engrossing, creative, and encourages conversation about Christmases past, present and future.
Start your own tradition this holiday season by making these gorgeous garlands with your family for your home. They look stunning against the backdrop of a fresh green tree, or hung like bunting in any room of the house.
You will need:
- Fresh cranberries (available from any supermarket)
- Popcorn (fresh is best – you can buy the kernels from the supermarket and pop them yourself on the stove, but pre-popped work just as well)
- Sturdy threads (i.e. buttonhole or quilting thread)
- Bowls for the cranberries and popcorn
…and we recommend a thimble if you have one!
How to make:
- Pour the cranberries into a bowl and throw away soft or brown ones.
- Pop the corn and pour into a separate bowl.
- Thread needles with heavy duty thread and pull until doubled.
- Thread a cranberry down to the end and knot the thread around it to make an anchor.
- Alternate threading pieces of popcorn and cranberries until the thread is full – take care as it can be easy to split the popcorn (and prick yourself!)
- Leave room at the end of the garland to tie another cranberry knot when you have finished.
Cranberries are bitter and can be a choking hazard to infants and toddlers, so supervise with care or leave this activity to older children.
There are various arts and crafts sprays you can use to preserve the life of the popcorn and berries. You can also use fake berries and slightly stale popcorn to keep your garland for more than one season: simply store in a sealable plastic bag (i.e. freezer bag) and keep in a cool, dry place.