Last night we had our family dinner and it was beautiful. We had barbecued prawns that had been marinated into chilli and garlic marsala - and we had cold potato salad and a big leafy salad too. For desert I baked this saffron, pistachio and yogurt cake - which was truly, truly the most delicious, moist cake I've had in a long while. I didn't do the glaze for it and I don't think it needed anything with it! My parents and sister told us all about their time in Japan and Hong Kong - all the fascinating places, museums, galleries, shops, places to eat, vending machines, even public transport that actually comes on time! I also decided to give them all my presents so I could be there when they opened them (Mum loved her napkins by the way!). I got some lovely little treats I will share with you: a bright blue cardigan from Hong Kong, so many yards of beautiful Japanese patterns, cotton and linen, books, and some treasures from the Studio Ghibli Museum (Studio Ghibli are my favourite film makers) - a Totoro puzzle, pin and a little Moomin 2009 diary - Moomin!! Needless to say I was absolutely smitten...Now. Back to the homemade projects:I decided to have simple icing for the gingerbread this year - half plain - half iced with a wee sugar holly leaf and Christmas bush flower. Its not that hard to make your own sugar paste but I make it easy for myself by buying it premade at a local cake supply shop. This year's baked plates include gingerbread, lemon and pistachio biscotti and of course a hefty slice of panforte:There's nothing a little doily, cellophane and red and white ribbon won't improve!I am also liking the addition of doillies on presents too.
And my last homemade gift project was making some red onion chutney:
Red Onion Chutney
6 large red onions, sliced in rings
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cup vinegar (red wine, balsamic etc)
4 bay leaves
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
(**1-2 tbsp cornflower)
Gently fry onions in a little olive oil until soft. Add sugar and vinegar and bring to the boil. Add bay leaves and pepper and let simmer for 1-1.5 hrs. You can push the chutney through a sieve but I like it all lumpy so I don't bother - and pour until sterilised jars. Store in a cool, dark place. **Add the cornflower at the final stages of simmering if you want to thicken it up a bit - I know this batch definitely needed it**
Now that my presents are wrapped and my bags packed -
I'm off to the country!