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Source: piarecipes.blogspot.com via First Night Design on Pinterest

I adore Sweet and Sour Chicken.  Actually, I adore anything sweet and sour!  Click here for the recipe.

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


A delicious-sounding potato and yam accompaniment to any meal or a stand-alone dish for vegetarians.

 

The Celiathlete

As I mentioned, my CSA bin was exploding this past week with treats to help make any Thanksgiving feast complete.  Honestly…everything in there would go in a Thanksgiving meal.  And if I was making a Thanksgiving meal…that would be ideal.  As it was, being the token vegetarian among my roommate’s family, I am always asked to supply a vegetable dish.  And as I had green beans in my bin…I went with that.  Although, I honestly could have provided a healthy and fresh side item (forget canned yams and cranberry sauce…I could have made it from scratch with fresh and local ingredients), I stuck with what I was told to bring and let them open up canned yams and cranberry sauce.  That’s their tradition.

But I’m a firm believer in fresh is best and therefore now had a plethora of Thanksgiving fruits and vegetables to play around with.  As a result…I…

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An apricot and its cross section

An apricot and its cross section (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This apricot delight has to be one of the most delicious of mousses and I’ve been making it for years.  Just looking at the list of ingredients makes me salivate!  It also makes a great option during the holiday season when you want something sweet but cannot face a helping of Christmas pudding or a mince pie.  On the other hand, it makes a welcome change to brandy butter or cream on either of the latter!

INGREDIENTS (Serves 8)

1/2 cup • 4 oz • 115 grams Dried Apricots
3 Eggs
3/8 cup • 3 oz • 85 grams  Caster Sugar (superfine)
1 cup • 1/2 Pint • 284.13 ml Double or Whipping Cream
Amaretti Biscuits

METHOD

  1. Soak the dried apricots overnight in a pan of water that just covers the fruit.
  2. Cook the apricots in the same liquid until tender.
  3. Strain the fruit and blend to a purée.
  4. Beat the eggs and the sugar until the mixture is thick enough to leave a trail.
  5. Whisk the cream until it is thick (soft peaks).
  6. Fold the apricot purée into the egg and sugar mixture.
  7. Fold in the whipped cream and place either in the refrigerator or the freezer.  Or eat straight away!
  8. When you are ready to serve, sprinkle with crushed Amaretti or Almond biscuits.

Please note that if you freeze the mousse, you will need to defrost it for at least 6 hours.

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Guinness Cake

© First Night Design.  Adaptation of White Roses, Chrysanthemums in a Vase, Peaches and Grapes on a Table with a White Tablecloth by Henri Fantin-Latour (1836-1904) from Wikimedia.

I love food!  In whatever setting, whether on the sofa in front of the television, a picnic in the park, a family get-together or an informal dinner party (I’m not so devoted to the formal).  Combine good food with stimulating conversation and copious amounts of laughter and I’m in heaven.

I have an extremely sweet tooth.  Actually, that’s a lie.  I used to have a very sweet tooth but it has lessened the older I’ve become, to the relief of my waistline.  But give me Bread and Butter Pudding,  Tarte au Citron, homemade Banana Ice Cream, or Raspberry Trifle, and I’ll follow you anywhere!

It was a Twitter conversation about favourite cakes with Maree Gecks of Marzipants UK, and a shared love of Lemon Drizzle Cake, that inspired this post.  Thank you, Maree!

While I now find many cakes and pastries too stodgy and have never liked fruit cakes (too dry, for the most part), Guinness Cake touches my soul.  I can’t pretend it’s my recipe for it was given to me by the actress Mary Conlon when we were both training at drama school in the 1970s.  It is sublime.  And it doesn’t matter if you abhor stout (I loathe it myself) for you will still enjoy a slab or two or more of this exquisite concoction.  It also makes a great alternative to Christmas Cake (I tend to eat only the Royal Icing and marzipan on one of those!), iced or not.

MARY CONLON’S GUINNESS CAKE

1lb self-raising flour
1lb sultanas
½ pint of Guinness (or more!)
3 eggs
½ lb butter
½ lb brown sugar
1 teaspoon mixed spice*

Melt the butter in a saucepan with the Guinness and sultanas until the latter are swollen with the stout. Allow to cool. Beat the eggs and sift in flour and mixed spice, and fold into the mixture.  Line a round/oblong tin with greaseproof paper (unless it’s non-stick) and spoon into mixture. Place in medium oven (l60¬∞C (325¬∞F) Gas Mark 3) for 2 hours until cake is cooked.  Test the centre with a knife and if it comes out clean it’s cooked.

Mixed spice is a British blend but is similar to the American Pumpkin Pie Spice.  According to Wikipedia, it typically contains Cinnamon (or cassia), Nutmeg, and Allspice, although Ginger and Cloves, among other spices, are often added.

  • Delicious if eaten warm with double cream, ice cream or brandy butter.
  • Needless to say, I always make double the measures and sprinkle the mixed spice in with abandon.

Enjoy!  Take care and keep laughing.

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