Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Cupboard love, a crafty christmas challenge


Oh how I love my store cupboard. It is Christmas Eve and I still need some simple, effortless, no buy, no bother treats. Bearing in mind the imminence of the annual ritual of pantrification, I turn to the larder to come up trumps with some simple ingredients.Some forgotten standby´s coming close to their sell by date will clear some valuable future  shelf space and give me what I need for my challenge of the moment.
 My five minute pantry probe saw me flouncing back into the kitchen rewarded with a bounty of choice ingredients,including.......
Mini vol au vent cases
Chocolate cups
jar of home made lemon curd
a packet of 16 mini tarlet cases
icing sugar
Jar of classic mincemeat
Dried apricots 
Maciera
Sugar, honey, flour
Mixed dried fruit (raisins sultanas,candied peel)
glaçe cherries
Blanched and flaked almonds
bar of cooking chocolate

and with the help of some friends from the fridge
Butter
1 apple
Half a quince
I set to work and before long had come up with some tasty sweet canapés.First off, using the tartlet cases,some mini open mince pies. No time to make pastry so just fill the cases with some mincemeat, pop em in the until heated through.Remove and Hey ho Santa, I had my first Christmas treat.

Second up,I filled the chocolate cups with some home made lemon curd.You could substitute almost any filling here,perhaps a chilled eggnog sprinkled with grated nutmeg
for a festive touch.

Next up something slightly more elaborate,inspired by one of my mothers old Christmas offerings, an apple, mincemeat, quince and apricot jalousie.I chopped one of the apples, the quince half and some dried apricots into very small pieces.I sautéed the fruits in some butter and a small spoonful of Maciera (a Portuguese brandy similar to calvados)and  some sugar for a couple of minutes but still letting them retain some crunch.I stirred through some mincemeat and when cool I spooned them into the vol au vent cases. I know a jalousie should have a lattice topping,but the filling was so pretty I decided these should be left open too.While still warm I dusted them with icing sugar and yo ho ho another fruity feast.

Last up - Florentines. Click here for my recipe ( makes 18 medium sized Florentines) These are always a favourite at this time of year, a little bit more of a faff to make than the previous two but well worth the effort.As you can see from the picture I cut them into fan shaped bite sized pieces.

 Who wouldn´t rather spend Christmas eve afternoon in the kitchen than fighting with those who´ve left it till the last minute to fight the crowds, food shopping.Oh how smug I felt that I could now put my feet up and tuck in to some sweet things.Not only that but I had used up all those half packets of dried fruits, nuts and whatever else making room for new year new stocktaking.

Total prep and cooking time 30 minutes

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