Frocks and Fruitcake

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Christmas eve, and I’ve finally made my traditional Christmas chocolate fruitcake that I mentioned in my most recent Guardian post.

I spent most of today trekking around Manhattan trying to fossick together the ingredients (why you no glacé cherries, New York?)

A couple of readers asked me to divulge my (not at all) secret recipe, so here we go!

 

Lilli’s Chocolate Christmas Cake

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Ingredients:

250g butter / 1 cup brown sugar / 1/2 cup brandy / 1kg dried fruit / 1 cup dark chocolate / 200g glacé cherries / 5 eggs / 2 tbsp treacle / 2 tsp lemon zest / 1 3/4 cup plain flour / 1/2 cup of self raising flour / 1 tsp bicarb soda / 1 1/2 tsp mixed spice

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Christmas Cake Ingredients 1

Step 1. Melt the butter, brandy, half a cup of water and the chocolate together in a large saucepan, then add the dried fruit, glacé cherries (I could only find maraschino, so I used those instead)  and bring the mix to the boil. Reduce the heat & allow to simmer for ten minutes.

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Step 2. Remove the pot from heat & allow the mix to cool.

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While the fruit mix is cooling, switch the oven on and set it to 300°F (150°C) and line the base and sides of a large cake tin with two or three layers of baking paper/greaseproof paper. Extend the paper at least 5cms above the tin.

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Step 3. Once the mix is cooled add the beaten eggs, the lemon zest and the treacle (again, I had trouble finding treacle, so I used molasses instead.)

Christmas Cake Ingredients 2

Step 4. Add the two flours, the bicarb and the mixed spice, and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon.

Christmas Cake Ingredient 3

Step 5. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and wrap another two layers of brown paper or baking paper around the outside of the cake tin. Extend the paper high, like you did with the previous layers.

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Step 6. Bake in the oven for 2 to 2.5 hours until a skewer inserted into the heart of the cake come out clean.

Allow the cake to cool in the tin, and then you can wrap it up in tinfoil and keep it for a few months…. or eat it straight away!

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Iced, Iced, Vovo

 Top: Embody Denim

Trousers: Queen Clothing

Shoes: Wittner

I was very lucky recently to get to try a number of the new items from Embody Denim.

Embody would have to be the best premium denim brand for plus-size women, and I’ve owned any number of their excellent jeans, but I’ve never tried anything else in their range.

Recently they branched out and now have several essentials (including a killer LBD) in the Embody Clothing range.

Today’s trans-seasonal polkadot blouse – the “Thrill Me” blouse is one of the new items, and it’s turning into a great go-to item for me with Melbourne’s weather fluctuating from hot to cold every five minutes.

The three-quarter length cuffed sleeves, and ruffled front add a bit of drama and elegance, and the polkadots keep it fun. I’m wearing it today with my high-waisted trousers from Queen clothing – breaking my own rule of “volume-down-below-equals-fitted-up-top”. Surprisingly I don’t feel swamped in fabric, and I think its probably because the “Thrill Me” blouse is really nicely fitted to the body – skimming curves without clinging.

Natalie Wakeling – the excellent individual behind Embody – is also offering Frocks and Frou Frou readers a 25% discount on all Embody Denim & Embody Clothing ranges (woo!). All you have to do is email her at sales@embodydenim.com.au, and she’ll send you the code!

Meanwhile, you’re probably all wondering what on earth is up with the title of today’s post.

The Sophisticate is at the tail end of a big project at work at the moment, which means I’ve had a bit of time at home alone, and have spent it experimenting in the kitchen. By far my most successful endeavour so far were the little Iced-Vovo inspired tartlets that I made on Sunday.

The recipe is as below:

Pastry: (You can use a pre-made shortcrust pastry, or you can make your own) Ingredients: 125g butter / 1/2 cup sugar / 1 egg / 1 cup plain flour / 1 cup SR flour

Tartlets: Ingredients: Biscuit pastry / Raspberry Jam.

Marshmallow: Ingredients: 3/4 cup of caster sugar / 1/4 cup cold water / 2 tsp powdered gelatine / 1/4 cup hot water / 1 tsp vanilla / a few drops of pink food colouring / desiccated coconut

1. To make the pastry cream butter & sugar until white & fluffy. Beat in egg then stir in mixed flours. Knead lightly, then wrap in plastic and chill until firm enough to roll

2. To make the tartlets roll out the pastry thinly & line shallow tartlet tins. Prick bases & put 1 tsp of jam into each. Chill for 20 min then bake in a preheated moderate oven (around 180 degrees celsius)  for 15 minutes

 


3. While the tartlets are cooling make the marshmallow: Place sugar & cold water in a bowl & beat with an electric mixer for 3-4 minutes. Dissolve gelatine in hot water, then add to sugar mixture. Beat until thick & white, then add vanilla & food colouring.

4. Spoon the marshmallow over the top of the cooled tartlets,  then sprinkle with a little bit of desiccated coconut.

5. Enjoy!

 

Apparently they taste like riding a unicorn. Or eating a unicorn… it wasn’t clear in the message I got from The Sophisticate’s workmates. But I think they liked ’em.