Christmas Truffles

I’ve been having a mini-argument with Mark about the Taste of Christmas. For me, I think the flavour which comes closest to tasting of Christmas is probably treacle, with or without a liberal sprinkling of ginger and cinnamon. I love treacle. Mark doesn’t. Which I only found out when I made treacle-flapjack (no syrup, but treacle from the Christmas cake…).

But I thought, despite his dislike (or perhaps because of, so I get more), I’d try my hand at Treacle Truffles.

DSCN2048

As with all my truffle recipes, this one’s a nice, quick, simple one.

You’ll need a: Sploosh of double cream, gently heated with a Splodge of treacle (warm the spoon in hot water first and it slides off more easily) until almost boiling, stirred with generous sprinklings of ground ginger and cinnamon, and then poured over handfuls of dark chocolate drops. Stir until all molten and smooth and then pop into a fridge until firm and you can roll it into balls.

Best eaten at room temperature, so they’re slightly squidgy and not too solid.

Try not to eat them all at once. If you can.

Oh, and because of Christmas and its busyness, I’ve sadly been unable to play with creative words quite as much as I’d like this week, and next week looks quite full too, I thought I’d give myself a week’s holiday, so I’ll be back in 2015, starting up again on the 4th Jan., with a new story.

Happy New Year! May all your hopes and dreams for the next year come true 🙂

Gingerbread with Lemon and Blueberries

Do you have a favourite gingerbread recipe? Do you prefer to use golden syrup or gloopy treacle? By ‘gingerbread’, I am talking about the tea-time cake, not gingerbread men. Light and spongy or dark and heavy? Oo, that would make a nice base for a fruit cake. Must remember to try that at somepoint.

P1010306

Ginger is a wonderfully versatile sort of spice: it goes in both sweet and savoury recipes. Much underrated, if you ask me. Which you didn’t, not really, but never mind. You can have my opinion anyway.

It was my friend’s birthday at the weekend, and you need cake for birthdays. She wanted fruit. She likes ginger. So a gingerbread cake with lemon cream cheese icing and blueberries was planned.

 My mother makes a mean gingerbread drizzled with a lemon glaze and dotted with crystallised ginger. But I don’t have her recipe, and for some reason, the only ginger recipe I have in my myriad recipe books is a chocolate and ginger recipe. Which isn’t quite what we wanted. So an internet hunt is required.

The only problem with internet hunts of recipes is that you don’t know how good they are. I always have to look at at least half a dozen before I decide. And for thus one, I wanted a simple recipe which didn’t need me to get too many extra ingredients. So I found a nice simple one which only called for treacle besides standard cake ingredients. Some of the comments suggested using syrup instead, or a mix of the two. I thought I’d decide while I was in Sainsbury’s (i.e., pick the cheapest, which turned out to be treacle. So treacle it is).

Treacle always reminds me of that scene in 101 Dalmatians when Glenn Close falls into a vat of molasses (because farmers in wherever it was in England that they were routinely keep vats of molasses in their sheds. And raccoons are a native English species, don’t you know?).

Turns out, this recipe is quite good. The cake smells wonderfully of treacle (as well it might, given that it contains the better part of a pound of treacle) and the root ginger we added heightened the spices.

P1010307

And since I found this on t’internet (at allrecipes.co.uk), here’s the recipe. Let me know how you get on!

You will need:

100g caster sugar

125g butter

1 egg

225ml treacle

300g plain flour + 1-2 tsps bicarb of soda/300g self-raising flour

Spices: ginger, cinnamon, ground cloves

250ml hot water

I also added chopped root ginger.

To make:

The oven wants to be at 180C/Gas Mark 4. You’ll need to grease and line a cake tin.

Cream together the sugar and butter. Mix in the egg and then the treacle.

Sift together the flour, bicarb, and spices. Add to the treacle mix and stir well. Chuck in any chunks of ginger. Stir in the hot water.

Pour in tin and bake for about an hour/until a skewer comes out clean.

For Lemon Cream Cheese icing:

Mix cream cheese with icing sugar to taste and stir in a couple of drips of lemon juice.

Decorate with blueberries.