I wasn't going to post today as I am really, really tired, but I sat down in front of the laptop and, well, here I am. Won't be a long one, though - my bed is calling me...
Today was 'Mama & Me', with 7 mums and their little ones attending. It was fun - we sang songs, had a story time, played pass the parcel, baked and ate! All this in spite of M kicking off even before the first guest had even arrived, and remaining inconsolable until she was sat in her highchair to munch on Frosties (much to the horror for the japanese mums - sugar, at her age?). I demonstrated a recipe I used to do in my former life as a Pampered Chef consultant, always a massive hit at this time of year and one of my favourites, the Festive Ring. It's really easy to make (once you know how) and looks impressive, but it's not the easiest of things to explain. Here goes:
1 jar of mincemeat (customise this as you like with some extra chopped nuts or brandy - I used the mincemeat that I made the other day)
200g soft cheese
55g icing sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
zest of 1 orange
1 pack of puff pastry
Combine the soft cheese, sugar, egg yolk, zest and vanilla in a bowl. Cut the pastry into long triangles (the pastry sheets I used were quite small so I just cut them in half diagonally) and arrange on a tray in the shape of a sun, with the bottom ends overlapping:
Spread the cheese mixture over the pastry in a ring shape, then top with the mincemeat. Lifting from the point, fold the pastry over the mixture and tuck underneat. Do this all the way round. Brush the pastry with egg white or milk before baking for about 25 minutes at 190c. If you're serving this cold, you can fill the middle of the ring with fruit and nuts for a fab centrepiece. It does taste at it's best when served warm, though.
I had terrible trouble with my oven while baking this, having raised the temerature to 200c and it still being uncooked after 40 minutes! By the time the pastry was cooked through, the fruit had started to catch, grrrrr. But regardless, it tasted just fantastic! The raspberries in my mix worked so well with the orange, and the creamy mixture underneath was just mmmmmmmmmmm. Without exception, all the mums took the recipe and will be making it for their familes over the holiday.
Right, I really have to sleep. M please, please, please sleep 'til the morning!
1 hour ago