Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Merry Christmas, Everybody!

Well, as we are all aware, things are about to get pretty busy for us homemakers and purveyors of Christmas Spirit (and I'm not talking about alcohol!). The food is all now bought, and anything that has been forgotten, we'll have to do without, as time has run out for me to be driving all over the place looking for that elusive ingredient or food item.

Oh my goodness - it's Christmas eve, everyone!! How did that happen?? I had weeks left a moment ago!! Argh! I feel like we're at the very top of a roller coaster, teetering just before the big drop that you can't control and just have to enjoy. And we will enjoy it. The Moomin is now old enough to get excited at the mention of presents and Father Christmas - or, as she calls him, "Vawer Grizmaz".

As I am quite a slow knitter (having a very energetic two year old doesn't help speed the process any!), I am ashamed to say that I didn't manage to complete my Christmas Knit List this year, but the most important things got completed, and are wrapped and under the tree, so that's the main thing! I am knitting Mr Deravelled a stripey blanket in manly shades (blues, browns and creams) that I was hoping to have had finished by now, but, as with everything, life got in the way, and so I'm four panels down (I have completed two). Luckily, that was not his only present, so I don't think he'll be too disappointed tomorrow!! I just need to learn some speed knitting techniques, methinks.

We went food shopping last night, and, as is the tradition, forgot a food item. This year it was the chocolate yule log. Never fear, thought I - I will make one, no problem! It was only when I got home that I realised that I don't have a big rectangular baking tray for baking the pre-rolled log on. Argh!!! So instead, we are having Chocolate Orange Cake, as featured in Nigella Lawson's classic culinary tome, How to be a Domestic Goddess. And for all of you lovely ladies who may be in a similar predicament, or just fancy a good quick standby recipe (because, lets face it, that makes us all feel a little more secure), here is the recipe for you. :)

Chocolate Orange Cake

125g unsalted butter
100g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
300g good, thin-cut marmalade
150g caster sugar
pinch of salt
2 large eggs, beaten
150g self raising flour

20cm Springform tin, buttered and floured.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/ Gas Mark 4.

Put the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and put over a low heat to melt. When it's nearly completely melted, stir in the chocolate. Leave for a moment to begin softening, then take the pan off the heat and stir with a wooden spoon until the butter and chocolate are smooth and melted. Resist temptation to dip finger in.

Now add the marmalade, sugar, salt and eggs. Stir with your wooden spoon and when all is pretty well amalgamated, beat in the flour bit by bit. Put into your prepared tin and bake for about 50 minutes or until a skewer comesout clean.

Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes before turning out.

Decorate however you wish (a snowy dusting of icing sugar looks nice). Can be eaten warm with a good dollop of creme fraiche (or ice cream), or cold.

Serves 6.

And here is something for the children - you can track Father Christmas live as he flies his sleigh around the world. That should get you in the mood!

Merry Christmas, Everyone!! May your day be filled with joy and goodwill to all, and hardly any bickering!! x x

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