It's funny how everyone does things differently across the world at Christmas. Of course there are lots of people that live in places where food is scarce, and we should all take time to think about them. We have taken things, small, toys and sweets etc, into work and one kind person gets them posted off to the children in these poor countries. It's not much of a help but it's something.
Can you tell I made these mince pies myself and that they are not shop bought?!! Errr - yes I think you can! The plate is white - camera again sorry.
As I was saying about everyone doing things differently on Christmas day. Here's what we will be doing in our house.
- Get up and put the turkey in the oven - I went a bit mad this year and bought one that is way too big for two people so it will take an age to cook.
- Open our presents - except this year we don't hardly have any - no money am afraid! But hey, it really doesn't matter, it just looks like you'll all have to put up with my dodgy photos that are taken with my phone for another year!
- Have a Pernod mixed with fresh orange whilst cooking the dinner - only time I drink it as I prefer wine instead of spirits.
- It is the absolute law to get the Christmas dinner on the table in time for 'Top of the Pops' at 2pm, which sadly stopped showing in 2006 but it turns out they are showing it again - a new one for Christmas 2008 - Yay!
- It is also the law to have Christmas crackers just so you get to wear the paper party hat that's inside! Christmas would not be the same without the hat.
- Eat, drink, watch TV and that's that. Next day, eat drink and watch TV again - Christmas sorted for another year!
Once again Happy Christmas Everyone and all the Very Best for 2009
Today though, it seems like I've caught up at last. The most bothering thing has been (and still is) waking up and ending up getting up at 4am six days a week which includes every Sunday! Paul had to get another job on top of him cleaning windows as the weather has been so bad he's just not getting very far ahead. It's a doddle of a job 5am till 8am, it's just the getting up! But it pays the mortgage, and he can still do windows if it isn't raining, which is a good thing. Bless him - he's so sweet.
The television thing is still going ahead! In January there will be more filming, so there has been quite a lot of work to do for that, but it is a great opportunity to learn stuff, and will be really good fun!Now as I said before I have had a bit of help here and there - I still need help on my presentation! James over at The Cotswold Food Year has been a great help and so has my niece's boyfriend Ant - I thank them both once again.
I've changed my mind about what to cook for a dessert at least a million times, well not quite a million! This is the dessert I have chosen to do, but need to work on my presentation!
James gave me a recipe for a chocolate torte which is fantastic. I made it but added red chilli, pistachios and Grand Marnier. I got that idea from the Chocolate and chilli mousse I made a little while back.
As I'm so not into baking, I do not have individual tins. But I used cooking rings placed onto buttered greaseproof paper on a baking tray and it works!
Preheat the oven to 180c/350f or Gas 4
For the Torte:
140g plain chocolate – 85% cocoa solids
85g chopped pistachios - keep about a teaspoon aside for decorating
1 x medium hot red chilli – seeds removed and finely chopped
1tablespoon of Grand Marnier
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites
85g golden caster sugar
1 tablespoon of instant coffee
160g of frozen raspberries that have started to defrost.
6 x tablespoons of icing sugar
Break the chocolate into pieces and melt both the chocolate and the butter in a glass bowl over simmering water.
When butter and chocolate have melted take off heat and stir almost all the pistachios, the chilli and the Grand Marnier. Have a taste to see if you want to add a little more Grand Marnier.
In a clean glass bowl whisk the whites until stiff - an electric whisk would help.
When done, gently fold the egg white into the chocolate mixture.
Grease all four of the 8.5cm cooking rings (3cm high) and place on a tray with buttered greaseproof paper underneath.
Carefully pour the mixture into the cooking rings and cook on the middle shelf of a preheated oven (180c) for approx 12 minutes.
The tortes should be soft in the middle. When they don’t wobble in the middle they are done.
Leave in the rings for 5 minutes before turning them out, this saves them sticking to the ring.
The tortes will be cool completely in about 30 minutes
Put the raspberries and the icing sugar into mini-food processor and blend until smooth.