January 14, 2010

A dressing

Melissa Mead, 2 Jan 2010, Recipe Thread

I’m not much of a cook, but here’s a dressing I made up with one of Penzey’s blends yesterday. I really like it. Measurements are approximate, because I kept tasting and tinkering.

¾ cup mayonnaise (I’m thinking of using yogurt next time.)
lemon juice to the “lemon juice” line on my dressing maker.
(maybe ½ cup?)
1 tsp. finely minced sweet onion
1 generous tbsp dill weed
2 shakes (1/4 tsp?) Sunny Spain salt-free blend (lemon pepper mix)

Pineapple Boiled Fruitcake

b_twin_1, 29 Dec 2009, Recipe Thread

1 can (425g) crushed pineapple
125g butter, chopped
1 cup brown sugar
500g mixed fruit
2 eggs, well beaten
1 cup plain flour
1 cup self raising flour
1 tspn bicarbonate of soda.

1. Preheat oven to 150C (slow). Line 20cm cake pan with baking paper.
2. Combine fruit, pineapple, butter and sugar in heavy-based pan; bring to boil and boil gently for 15 minutes with lid on.
3. Remove fruit mixture from heat and immediately add bicarbonate of soda and stir well. Leave to cool.
4. Beat the eggs.
5. When the fruit mixture is cool add the eggs and flours in 2-3 separate lots. Mix well.
6. Pour mixture into prepared pan and then bake for about 1 1/2 hours.
7. When cooked leave cake in pan and cover with towel. When cold remove from pan and store in cake container or wrap in greaseproof paper and foil. Store in a cool dark place. Use within 2 weeks. Can be frozen (if wrapped securely).

A new favorite butternut squash recipe

cgbookcat1, 29 Dec 2009, Recipe Thread

I discovered a new favorite butternut squash recipe tonight.

1 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 inch chunks
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh or 2/3 Tbsp dried sage leaves, chopped/crushed
1 1/2 Tbsp fennel seeds, crushed
1 tsp ground cinnamon
salt and black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. (~200 C) Mix all spices with the olive oil in a small bowl. Place squash in a large bowl, add the spice mix, and stir so that the squash is entirely covered. Roast the squash until it is very soft and starting to brown (25-40 min), stirring once or twice during the roasting process.

All-purpose, To-Be-Recommended, Fruit Cake recipe

AJLR, 28 Dec 2009, Recipe Thread

Re the discussions about fruit cakes we’ve had on the Blog Posts forum recently, I had this recipe from the friend who made my wedding cake, many years ago. I’ve used it often since and it always works and being a boiled mixture, it keeps very well.

1 lb of mixed, dried, fruit*
2 oz each of walnuts and glace cherries, roughly chopped
6 oz butter (a stick and a half)
6 – 8 oz/1 cup sugar**
8 fl oz/1 cup water
1 heaped tsp of ground mixed spice
2 large eggs
8 oz/2 cups self-raising flour, or 8 oz plain flour + 2 tsps baking powder***

Put all the ingredients except the eggs and flour in a large saucepan and bring up to simmering point. Continue to simmer gently for 10 – 15 minutes, until the mixture has thickened slightly and looks glossy. Remove from heat and leave to cool for at least an hour. While this is happening, grease and line an 8″ cake tin (which should also be at least 3″ deep). Turn oven on to Gas Mark 1 or equivalent.

Pour the semi-cooled fruit mixture into a large bowl. Beat both eggs in (with a fork is fine)^, then sift the flour (plus BP if using) on top of the mixture and fold in as well. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and place on the middle shelf in the oven. Leave to cook for around one and a half hours, testing with a skewer in the centre of the cake to see if it’s done (skewer will come out clean if it’s cooked all through). When cooked, turn off the oven and open the door slightly, and leave the cake in there for about an hour. After that time, turn the cake out onto a baking rack to let cool completely.

* I often substitute dried, chopped dates and apricots for about half of the usual vine fruits mixture.

** Use slightly more or less sugar to taste. I often use part white and part soft brown sugar.

*** This works fine with a 50:50 mixture of white and wholemeal flour. Using all wholemeal does make the cake a bit too dense.

^ NB If the mixture isn’t sufficiently cool – ie, cool enough that it doesn’t burn you – you will at this stage find that you have a bowl full of very fruity scrambled eggs – which is not what you want!

Pecan Sandy Bars

Librarykat, 15 Dec 2009, Recipe Thread

I was too rushed for time to do regular pecan sandies this afternoon, so I fooled around with the two recipes I have to make what I call Pecan Sandy Bars

2 1/4 flour (I use unbleached)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup finely chopped pecans

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl, set aside.

Cream the sugar into the butter until fluffy, add vanilla and mix, then add the eggs and mix thoroughly. Add the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly, then stir in the chopped pecans.

Spread the dough onto a greased cookie sheet, bake in a pre-heated 350 degree F oven for 20 minutes. Lower temperature to 325 degrees F, bake for 9 minutes, or until the cookie is light golden brown. Remove from oven, let the cookie sheet cool completely. Cut into bars – I got 4 dozen.

I didn’t chill the cookie dough before baking – didn’t have time. I don’t know if that would have made any difference in baking. I just didn’t have the time to mess around with forming small balls of dough and all that – I had to work at the school today, and I had less than an hour before I had to leave the house.

This time I just used unbleached flour; usually, for my family, I’ll use 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour and 3/4 cup unbleached. These cookie bars are all going to other people as Christmas gifts.

I also processed the pecans so much they were more like ground pecans than chopped.

Salt-free pickles

Melissa Mead, Recipe Thread, 10 Jan 2010

One of the things I’ve really missed since I put myself on a reduced-sodium diet is pickles. (My mom makes the best sweet-and-sour pickles ever.) The salt-free pickles in stores contain potassium chloride, which isn’t safe for some people. And it has a nasty aftertaste, at least to me.

For Christmas, my husband and parents gave me a cornucopia of salt-free seasonings. One was Sauerbraten spice. I sniffed it and thought “This smells like pickles!” ( http://www.thespicehouse.com/spices/sauerbraten-spice-blend- I see they have “real” pickling spices too.)

Yesterday I tried the following experiment:

1 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tblsp Sauerbraten spice
1 tsp dill weed
1 tsp garlic powder

Mix ingredients together, heat, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. (Don’t inhale the steam!)

Slice approx 2 cups of cucumbers into a glass bowl. (Our store’s pickling cukes didn’t look so great, so I used a bag of “snacking cucumbers” that looked like baby European ones. A bit pricey, but they had a nice crunch.) Pour the liquid over the cucumbers (is it called a brine if there’s no salt in it?) and refrigerate overnight.

Given my track record with cooking, I expected that today I’d find that I’d ruined some beautiful cukes. Nope. They were tangy, sweet, sour, crunchy… they weren’t as good as my mom’s, and they still had a note of raw cucumber, but they tasted like Real Pickles. And they have no salt at all. Wink

Christmas Fruit Cake

BlueRose, Recipe Thread, 3 Jan 2010

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4024/4230606656_9a28beebfc.jp g

Note: I am working in metric

175g red or natural glace cherries
350g currants
225g sultanas
225g raisins
175g chopped dried apricots
75g finely chopped candied peel
4 TBSP brandy (plus extra for cake)
275g plain flour
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp mixed spice (see note 2)
400g softened butter
400g dark muscovado sugar
5 large eggs
65g chopped almonds
1 TBSP black Treacle (I used blackstrap molasses)
grated rind of one lemon and one orange


Mix all the fruit and peel into a large bowl. Rinse and dry and chop cherries and add. Add brandy, stir, cover and keep in a cool place overnight


Heat oven to 140 Deg C (Gas1) and grease a 23 cm deep round cake tin (line base and sides with double layer of baking paper)

Measure flour, nutmeg and mixed spices, butter, sugar ,eggs, nuts, treacle, and grated rind into a large bowl and beat to mix thoroughly (I beat my eggs first lightly and then add to the dry mix)

Fold in soaked fruits and spoon mix into prepared tin and spread evenly. If desired decorate the top of the cake with nuts and halved glace cherries

Cover top of cake loosely with double layer of baking paper and bake in preheated oven for 4- 41/2 hrs (until skewer comes out clean)
Leave to cool in tin, and when cake is almost cold, turn out, remove paper and finish cooling on wire rack. Once cold, pierce with skewer and feed with more brandy, wrap in a double layer of baking paper and then tinfoil and store in cool dry place for up to 3 months. Feed regularly with more brandy.

Note 1 – you can use any preferred mix of fruits so long as it makes up the weight in the recipe
Note 2 – I have seen some questions from US bakers on other forums as to what mixed spice is – this might help



Mixed Spice in New Zealand is a pre packed spice containing the
following: coriander, cinnamon, pimento, ginger, cassia, nutmeg and

In Australia this is a mix of the following:
cinnamon, coriander, ginger, cassia, cloves and nutmeg