Day 722 – #57 Make Turkish Delight

29 12 2011

My other christmas cooking experiment was that of turkish delight.  Now, I tried making this *last* christmas using the recipe in my Hope and Greenwood cook book.  However, it didn’t set, smelt foul and made a horrible mess.  So I needed to look elsewhere for a recipe.  I found one in Rachel Allen’s book which looked promising.  Not least because it used 3 sachets of gelatin!  It couldn’t fail to set with that in it…..

I don’t think I’ll be making a habit of making this as it takes sooooo long.  Boiling sugar for 3o minutes and then for another hour with regular stirring is pretty tedious.  However, this time it didn’t smell horrid and it thickened nicely.  As you can see from the photo, it set properly and got divvied up and given out as gifts to my lovely mum and my girly friends.  Mum liked hers so I hope the others did too.





Day 722 – #55 Try 50 new recipes and #76 Host a party

29 12 2011

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In my ever-diminishing wisdom I decided it would be a good idea to have a party over Christmas for our skittles team.  I sent out the invitations, gathered bits and bobs for decoration, bought a pretty frock, booked the hairdresser etc etc.  But then came the task of feeding my friends.  I decided I needed a centerpiece, both savoury & sweet.  So I consulted my array of cookbooks and decided upon Nigella’s Ham in Coke for the savoury element.  I’ve heard this raved about but was still somewhat sceptical.  I shouldn’t have been.  It was a doddle to cook and delicious to eat.  I didn’t take an individual photo but it’s to the left on the table picture.

For the sweet element I knew exactly what I wanted to try; Delia’s Fresh Coconut Cake.  It looks so pretty and I thought it was appropriately Christmassy.  Particularly with my added extra of a snowman topper!!  The instructions for getting into the coconut were successful so all was going well.  It’s basically a sponge cake with added grated coconut.  And thus I hit my first hurdle.  Coconut is a bugger to grate manually.  I need to buy myself a microplane grater if I’m ever to make this again.  There was grated coconut in the cake, grated coconut in the frosting and then the whole thing was covered in yet more bloody grated coconut.  My poor hands were cramped to bits.  But it was worth it.  It looked fab and tasted gorgeous 🙂

The party went well too!





Day 722 – #55 Try 50 new recipes

29 12 2011

I didn’t make so many foodie things for Christmas this year (last year’s hampers took it out of me a bit!!) but I did a couple of things.  One of which was this cherry & almond nougat.  I got the recipe from my Hope & Greenwood book so I was a little nervous.  The only other recipe I’d tried from there was an unmitigated disaster….

BUT Dad loves nougat so I thought I’d give it a whirl and see how we got on.  It was surprisingly easy to make.  Egg whites whipped in the mixer.  Then a mixture of honey, sugar & glucose heated up.  Half goes in the egg white mixture at one temperature, then the rest is heated up more and added while the mixer is still running.  Then it’s all beaten for 10 mins.  Easy peasy you’d say.  And it was.  Specially with a sugar thermometer.  However, getting it OUT of the mixer was considerably harder.  I had to enlist Mark’s help as it was ridiculous.  We eventually gouged out most of it and got it in the tin whereupon it set beautifully.  Getting it back out of the tin and cutting it out wasn’t too bad and you can see the result here.  (This photo was taken before I went out for lunch – when I got back it had all oozed together and resembled more of a nougat-pancake!!)  I’m assured it was very nice 🙂





Day 722 – #72 Teach Pedro 5 new tricks

29 12 2011

Who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?  Well, they were wrong.  Pedro, after nearly 6 years on this earth, has learned to jump up on the sofa!  He has been watching Malcolm with envy as he prances around and leaps up and down like a gazelle.  So while we were in Cornwall we decided to get Ped involved.  The settee there is a bit lower than ours at home so it seemed a good place to get him started.  It took a while to get him to understand, but a few bonios helped things along considerably…

Then when we got back home we carried on with the encouragement and he can now jump up here too.  Still, his laziness hasn’t been completely abated.  He’ll still ask to be picked up first!





Day 711 – #52 Make bunting for the kitchen

18 12 2011

Ever since we finished decorating the kitchen, I’ve felt that it needed something more.  Because we don’t have any wall units, there seemed to be a very large, plain expanse around the top of the room.  I’d decided that bunting might be quite nice and would brighten up the walls a bit.  So after a while looking around, I came across some fabric patches for sale on ebay.  I ordered them and they were perfect – a really good mix of red & white patterns.  So I set about making my first ever bunting.  My sewing room was put to good use – and the excess has ended up in there too!  I think it looks great 🙂





Day 711 – #17 Finish decorating all the bedrooms

18 12 2011

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Bedroom 1 (as was) is now finished.  Mostly.  I just have to make some blinds, but lord only knows when I’ll get around to that.  Need to speak nicely to my mum 🙂  Anyway, this is now our guest bedroom and I’m really pleased with it.  Looks like a place you’d be proud to let people stay rather than having to excuse the mess all the time.  3 down, 1 to go!





Day 711 – #61 Complete 3 cross stitch pictures

18 12 2011

I know that these two add to up to a total of 4 cross stitch pictures finished.  I started the dachshund picture yonks ago and it kept getting interrupted by doing pictures for my neice & nephews (total 6 so far…) and this year was no exception.  This time it got put off again by doing a birth sampler for my friend Rachel.  This is the Eeyore picture.  However, I have *finally* got my lovely dachshund finished.  Just have to get him framed now…