Christmas is a time for gratitude, remembering all those things you are thankful for, and indulging in things that make you happy, spending time with loved ones and overdosing on favourite foods. I have a lot to be grateful for, and one thing that is high on my happiness list is chocolate. I decided to revisit a recipe from last year and improve on it by combining cocoa with my gingerbread recipe to create a chocolate version, and substituted milk for ginger beer.
This gingerbread is delicious by itself, dressed up with your favourite icing or used in trifle, which is what I will be doing later this week for Christmas.
Wishing you a very happy Christmas.
What I was cooking this time last year: Gingerbread Trifle
- 2 cups self-raising flour
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon mixed spice
- 1 cup ginger beer
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 125g butter
- 1 cup golden syrup
- Cooking oil spray
- Melt butter and syrup in saucepan over low heat until butter is melted and set aside to cool a little.
- Sift the flour, cocoa & spices into a bowl.
- Add sugar, eggs, ginger beer and butter syrup and mix well.
- Spray your baking tin(s) with cooking oil spray. Pour cake batter into tins – I used mini-cupcake tins.
- Bake for 20 minutes at 170°C [fan-forced] or 180°C normal oven (you will need to adjust the cooking time if using larger tins). Remove from oven when cooked – ie skewer comes out clean or the gingerbread springs back with lightly touched.
What is your favourite food that makes you happy? Has this post inspired any new ideas?
In Sydney, Christmas falls in the middle of summer; this also happens to be when cherries are at their best. My recipe this week uses dried cherries, which I managed to track down at a local health food store, and pistachios, for their green christmasy colour. This recipe makes a lot of fudge, so it is perfect for sharing and / or giving as home-made gifts to friends and family. I ended up making a double batch so that I would have plenty to go around. I wrapped squares of fudge in clear cello gift wrap then placed them in gift bags and boxes as presents.
With the salt quantity specified below, this is specifically for salt flakes, if you are using regular table salt proceed with caution and only use 1/4 of a teaspoon or less.
What I was cooking this time last year: Raspberry, Goat Cheese and Pistachio Salad
Chocolate Fudge with Cherries and Pistachios
- 75g butter
- 395g tin condensed milk
- 250g brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt flakes
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 220g dark chocolate
- 100g pistachios
- 125g dried cherries
- Cooking oil spray to grease your tin
- Pre-heat the oven on to 180°C.
- Transfer the pistachios to an oven proof dish and roast in the oven for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool.
- Line a tray with grease-proof paper and spray with cooking oil.
- Add the butter, condensed milk, vanilla, salt and brown sugar to a saucepan.
- Stir the saucepan of fudge mixture over a medium heat until the butter is melted and the fudge starts to thicken.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the chocolate. Stir to combine.
- Add the cherries and pistachios to the chocolate fudge and stir to combine.
- Pour the fudge into the lined tray and refrigerate until cool.
- Remove the fudge from the tray and peel off the grease-proof paper.
- Cut the fudge into serving size pieces. Your fudge is ready to serve or wrap for gifts. Enjoy.
What are your favourite christmas flavours? Has this post inspired any new ideas?
I’m freshly back from a wonderful trip to Cuba. While I didn’t discover many amazing foodie delights to share with you, the food I experienced in Cuba was fresh and plentiful, but a bit on the plain side. I did however get a chance to cement my love of mojitos, which I’m fairly sure will be my drink of choice this summer. I also discovered a Cuban cocktail new to me, the Canchánchara at a beach party just outside of Trinidad. The beach party was fabulous complete with bonfire, Cuban band, sun setting into the ocean and the cocktails flowing.
My highlights from Cuba include the proud and passionate people, the amazing architecture – either crumbling or painstakingly restored, the music and salsa dancing.
Rum is cheap and plentiful in Cuba, and forms the basis for most Cuban cocktails. It is made with sugar cane or small guavas, ranging from white rums through to darker aged rums. Havana Club is the brand most easily obtained outside of Cuba, but Barcardi also originated in Cuba. This cocktail relies on a balance between sweet from the honey, sour from the lemon and a healthy kick from the rum. Lime and lemongrass can also be used instead of or as well as the lemon. Feel free to play with the ratios until you get a balance that is right for you. In the spirit of the margarita, and because of the heat in Cuba, you could also add a pinch of salt to replace some of the salts lost through sweating.
What I was cooking this time last year: Seasame Shortbread
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 2 shots of white rum
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Soda water or sparkling mineral water
- Add the honey, rum and lemon juice to a glass. Stir to combine.
- Add ice and fill the glass with sparkling water. Stir. Enjoy.
What is your favourite summer cocktail recipe? Has this post inspired any new ideas?