Easiest Braised Artichokes

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Belonging to the same family as thistles, global artichokes are considered by many to be a delicacy and like asparagus is a true spring vegetable. However, for those unfamiliar with this vegetable it can be somewhat challenging, but once mastered converts look forward to spring so they can feast on this unique vegetable.

Now in season you will find artichokes at Farmers’ Markets and specialty vegetable shops.

Easiest Braised Artichokes Ever

Serves 6

6 small to medium, globe artichokes, prepared and quartered (see below for preparation instructions)
COOKING BROTH
2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup dry white wine or water
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 onion, sliced
1 large clove garlic, crushed
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary

1              For the cooking broth, combine stock, wine or water, lemon juice, onion, garlic, thyme and rosemary in a saucepan. Bring to the boil.
2              Add artichokes. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until tender. Drain and transfer to a bowl of iced water. Drain well before using.

Some Serving Ideas for Braised Artichokes

  • Serve on a platter with garlic aioli for dipping.
  • Combine ¼ cup lemon juice, ½ cup olive oil, 1 sprig fresh rosemary, 2 sprigs fresh thyme in a bowl. Add warm, cooked artichokes. Cover, marinate in the refrigerator overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving. Serve as part of an antipasto platter.
  • Pan-fry in a little butter and oil and serve as a side dish – especially good with fish, lamb and chicken.
  • Make an artichoke pate – strain the cooking broth and reserve. Place artichokes, 1 tbsp olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste in a food processor. Add a little of the cooking broth and process until smooth – continue adding cooking broth until you have pate of desired consistency. Add lemon juice to taste.
  • Don’t throw away the cooking broth – it’s too delicious. Add to soup or use instead of milk when mashing potatoes.

To Prepare Globe Artichokes
Allow one to two small to medium globe artichokes per person. Combine 2L water and
¼ cup lemon juice in a bowl and set aside. Working with one artichoke at a time, bend back out leaves until they snap off close to the base. Continue removing leaves until
exposed leaves are pale green at the top and pale yellow at the base. Depending on the size of the artichokes and to avoid losing too many leaves you trim the top of the artichoke to remove the tough tips of the leaves. Trim base of stem, leaving as much steam intact as possible then using a vegetable peeler, peel stem to remove rough outer layer. Cut
artichoke lengthwise into quarters and remove any fuzzy centre (the choke). Place in bowl of lemon water to prevent discolouration while preparing remaining artichokes. The artichokes are now ready to cook.

Happy cooking and eating.

Recipe by Rachel Blackmore

 

 

Smoked Trout, Pea & Preserved Lemon Risotto

RisottobI picked up some fresh peas at the market last weekend and with the hot smoked trout leftover from Sunday’s lunch thought a risotto would be just the thing for last night’s dinner.

My Australian readers will be able to buy hot smoked trout,
however if you live in New Zealand you need to know a fisherperson who will catch the trout for you, then they or you need to smoke it. Trout cannot be sold in New Zealand and it is not farmed for the
purposes of eating. So we were feeling extremely lucky that there was some left from Sunday’s lunch and that the fisherman asked us if we would like it! If you cannot get your hands on hot smoked trout, use hot smoked salmon instead.

Preserved lemons are available from speciality food stores which sell Moroccan and Middle Eastern foods. They are lemons that have been pickled in salt and their own juices. Only the skin is used,
however both the flesh and skin are preserved. To use, rinse under cold water, remove the flesh and discard, then chop or thinly shred the rind.

Smoked Trout, Pea & Preserved Lemon Risotto

Serves 4

50g butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1½ cups arborio rice
½ cup white wine
5 cups hot chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups shelled fresh or frozen peas, blanched, refreshed
300g hot-smoked trout fillets, flaked
2 tbs finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp chopped preserved lemon

1              Place butter, oil and onion in large heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes or until onion is soft and translucent. Stir in garlic and cook for 1
minute longer.
2              Stir in rice and cook, stirring for 1 minute to coat grains. Add wine and cook for 2-3 minutes or until wine is absorbed.
3              Stir in 1 cup of hot stock and cook, stirring frequently, until stock is absorbed. Continue adding 1 cup of stock at a time, stirring frequently and allowing stock to be completely absorbed before adding more.
4              With the last cup of stock, add peas and continue cooking until rice and peas are cooked. Fold through three-quarters of the trout, half the parsley and half the preserved lemon.
5              To serve, spoon into serving bowls, scatter with remaining trout, parsley and preserved lemon. Accompany with a salad of mixed leaves dressed with a white wine vinegar and olive oil
dressing.

Happy cooking and eating.

Recipe by Rachel Blackmore

Beer & Brown Sugar Glazed Ham

HameServed warm or cold a glazed ham on the bone is a delicious and easy centrepiece for your festive table or in fact any large gathering or party.

The Lions Club Xmas Party which I mentioned in an earlier post was yesterday and as previously mentioned I served a warm glazed ham with salad ingredients, condiments and a selection of rolls so that everyone could build their own roll. This is a great way to feed a crowd and with paper plates and napkins and plastic glasses clean was kept to a minimum. The Xmas Cake Truffles of my earlier post were well received with many other Lions wives pleased to learn of another way to use excess Lions Christmas Cakes.

A whole ham generally weighs around 9kg and will feed quite a crowd with leftovers. A half ham weighs around 4-5kg. But speak with your supplier because they will be able to guide you on what will be best suited to your needs and remember leftover ham is delicious and helps solve the ‘What’s for dinner?’ question in the days after Christmas.

Beer & Brown Sugar Glazed Ham

I used a ham from local company Holly Bacon. The Holly Bacon Company has been a Hawke’s Bay family business since 1914 when the original company ‘Elite’ Bacon was established by Carl Vogtherr and is run today by his great-grand daughter Clare. Today the Holly Bacon Company has its factory and shop on the corner of Warren and St Aubyn Streets, Hastings.

I used beer in the glaze but you can use apple, orange or pineapple juice instead.

30 (depending on the size of your ham and what else is being served) with leftovers

1 whole ham, cooked on the bone, skin removed (see instructions below)
1 x 330mL bottle of beer of your choice
whole cloves
BROWN SUGAR GLAZE
1 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger

1              Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a large baking dish with a double layer of aluminium foil, then a layer of baking paper (this saves on clean up).
2              To make glaze, in a small bowl combine sugar, mustard and ginger with just enough beer to make a thick paste. Set aside.
3              Score the fat of the ham by making diagonal cuts about 3cm apart across the
surface, then repeat in the opposite direction so the surface has a diamond pattern. Take care when scoring not to cut through into the meat. Push a whole clove into the ham at each diamond intersection. Place ham in prepared baking dish and pour over the
remaining beer. Bake ham for about 1 hour, basting several times with beer. Spoon glaze over surface of ham and cook for 30 minutes longer, basting with glaze several times. To keep the heat out of the kitchen the ham can also be cooked on a covered barbecue – this is how I cooked this ham.
4              To serve, place directly on a large platter or place on a ham stand on a platter, cover loosely with foil and let stand before carving. Serve warm.

To Skin a Ham:  Firstly using a sharp knife cut a zigzag pattern at the shank end through the rind – this gives an attractive presentation. Then, using a small sharp knife, at the base end of the ham carefully make a cut between the skin and fat, then slide your fingers
between the rind and fat to remove the skin, working down the ham to the shank end. Work slowly and gently so as not to tear the skin and to retain as much of the covering fat as possible.

Holly Bacon Company
Corner Warren & St Aubyn St, Hastings
Ph: (64) 6 878 5072
Email: help@hollybacon.co.nz
Website: http://www.hollybacon.co.nz
Shop open: Monday – Friday 8am – 5pm

Happy cooking and eating

Recipe by Rachel Blackmore

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James’ Fantastical Feast at Taste Cornucopia

Fantastical Feastb

What a ‘fantastical’ evening – fantastical food, fantastical friends and fantastical fun!

Two friends and I had a birthday lunch at Taste Cornucopia at the beginning of November. When we were talking with chef, James Beck, that day he told us about the series of Christmas-themed
degustation menus that he was going to be doing on Friday evenings through November and December – we booked immediately and enjoyed our ‘fantastical feast’ last Friday night.

This post is going to be more pictorial than most as I do not think my words can do justice to James’ food – not sure if the pictures can
either, but hopefully it will give you an idea of how talented this Hawke’s Bay chef is and how lucky we are to have him here in the Bay.

Baby Baguettes

Baby Baguettes with extra virgin olive oil

While we wait with anticipation for the ‘fantastical feast’ to begin, tiny homemade baguettes with extra virgin olive oil and butter, to nibble appear.

Pimms Spherea

Appetizer

Pimmes sphere – all the flavours of a Pimms in one mouthful – pimms gel; strawberry and Granny Smith salad; cucumber mint sphere; dried fruit and popping candy.

Prawn cocktail, but never like you have eaten before (sorry started eating before I remembered I should have taken a photo!). Soft poached king prawn, asparagus royal, avocado mousse, tomato consommé, house shrimp cracker (I could have had a whole packet of these – not just one). Wine match Millton Chenin Blanc ‘demi sec’ 2009.

Snowman

I’m dreaming of a White Christmas

Kingfish, Waikanae crab & pickled lemon roll, cauliflower
‘snowman’, horseradish snow. This was my favourite dish, I just adored the icy cauliflower ‘snowman’ with his beautiful carrot nose. Wine match Urlar Pinot Gris 2011.

Glazed Ham

Glazed ‘ham’ with pineapple

Slow braised pork shank, molasses glazed lardo di colonnata,
caramel spiced pineapple, parsnip & sour cream puree. Lardo di
conlonnata
you ask? Lardo di Colonnata is cured pork back fat that the quarrymen who work Carrara marble have been using as sandwich meat for thousands of years. The lardo is cured with salt and herbs in marble basins, the resulting product has a wonderful silky texture which here enhanced the flavour of the melting tender meat from the pork shank to create a dish with an exquisite taste. Wine match Wrights Gewurztraminer 2012.

Pheasant

Pheasant with all the trimmings

Truffle infused breast with Te Mata baby mushrooms (these are the tiniest mushrooms I have ever seen), parmesan crumb, liver parfait encased in fig and brandy, brioche wafer. The liver parfait is the round ball on the right hand side of the plate – this was amazing, as was the plate it was served on. Wine match Tasman Bay Pinot Noir 2010.

Lamb

Smoky Lamb

Waimarama lamb, sweet chilli figs, charred aubergine caviar, red pepper coulis, chorizo paper. Perfectly cooked lamb combined with complementary flavours. Wine match Hawkes Ridge ‘Grande Reserve’ Tempranillo 2010.

Xmas Tree

Edible Christmas tree

70% Maragda bitter chocolate and pine mousse, lemon cream, snow and presents. The Christmas tree tasted of pine and the waitress told me that yes, pine essence was used and yes, James had made it himself – awesome. Wine match Clearview Sea Red.

For “James’ Fantastical Feast’ you can choose 3 courses $55 (wine match $30), 4 courses $65 (wine match $40), 5 courses $75 (wine match $50) or 6 courses $85 (wine match $60).

The evening was magical and fantastical made even more so by the hospitality of chef, James Beck, who would appear at our table from time-to-time through the meal to add a final touch to a dish or explain something about the dish, it really felt as if we were eating at his place, which of course we were.

Thank you James for opening you place to us and for sharing with us to your ‘fantastical feast’.

Taste Cornucopia Organic Kitchen
219 Heretuanga Street East, Hastings, 4112
Ph: (+64)6 878 8730
Email: info@tastecornucopia.co.nz
Website: www.tastecornucopia.co.nz
Open: Monday – Friday 7.30am – 4pm; Friday nights from 6.30pm
Closed: weekends and public holidays

Happy cooking and eating.

Kumara, Walnut & Feta Salad

I had planned to use rocket in this salad but the warm weather must have made it go to seed because when I went to buy some there was none available so instead I am using lovely organic spinach from JJ’s Organics – but try rocket when it is once again available as I think it would make a really punchy salad, that would be great on a barbecue table. No matter which you use – rocket or spinach – this salad makes a great side dish for meat eaters and ensures that there is an interesting dish for non-meat eaters.

Walnut oil made from Hawke’s Bay grown walnuts is available from Maude & Harry’s Walnut Co at the Hastings Farmers’ Market. Walnut oil has a mild nutty flavour and perfectly complements the walnuts used in this salad.

Locally grown walnuts are readily available in Hawke’s Bay – several stalls at both Farmers’ Markets sell them as do some speciality food stores. Store walnuts in the freezer, this ensures that they do not go rancid. Because of the high oil content of nuts they do not freeze solid and can be used or eaten straight from the freezer.

Sherry vinegar is available from some supermarkets otherwise look for it at speciality food stores.

Kumara, Walnut & Feta Salad

This colourful salad can be served warm or at room temperature.

Serves 4-6 as light meal or 8 as side dish

2 large orange kumara, peeled and cut into 3cm cubes
olive oil
½ cup walnut halves
1 bunch spinach, stems removed, leaves torn into large pieces if necessary
1 bunch green onions, sliced into 1 cm pieces
100g feta, crumbled
GARLIC MUSTARD DRESSING
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 teaspoon Dijon or wholegrain mustard
¼ cup walnut oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

1              Preheat the oven to 220°C.
2              Place kumara in a large baking dish, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and toss to combine.  Roast for 30 minutes turning every 10 minutes or until kumara is cooked – take care not to overcook. Place walnuts on a separate baking dish and put in oven for the last 5 minutes of cooking time to toast nuts.
3              To make dressing, place garlic, mustard, walnut oil and vinegar in a jar and shake well to combine. Set aside until ready to use.
4              Place the spinach leaves and green onions in a large bowl, drizzle with dressing and toss to combine. Scatter with warm sweet potatoes and walnuts. Finally top with crumbled feta. Serve immediately. Alternatively allow sweet potatoes and walnuts to cool to room temperature before assembling the salad.

Happy cooking and eating.

Recipe by Rachel Blackmore

Simple Folded or French Omelette

OmeletteMultib

Over recent months several people have asked me how to make a simple folded or French omelette. For me this type of omelette is the ultimate fast food – they take just minutes to make and can be eaten plain or with a filling of your choice – see below for suggested
fillings. They are great any time of day – breakfast, brunch, lunch, as a light evening meal or even as a snack.

A two- or three-egg omelette serves one and it is better to make individual omelettes rather than one which uses more than three eggs.

If you are lucky enough to have an omelette pan this is the time to use it – the ideal omelette pan is about 15 cm in diameter across the base, is heavy-based, made of cast iron, aluminium or steel and has slopping sides. My omelette pan is cast iron has a 15 cm base with sides slopping out to 20cm.

omelette 011a

My well-used omelette pan

Simple Folded or French Omelette

Serves 1

2-3 free-range eggs
1 tsp water per egg used
salt and pepper, to taste
knob of butter

1              Break eggs into a bowl, add water and season to taste with salt and pepper. Whisk with a fork to combine yolks and whites.
2              Melt a knob of butter in a seasoned omelette or heavy-based non-stick pan over a medium heat until the butter foams and just starts to brown – take care not to burn. Add eggs to pan and using a fork draw edges of omelette into centre of pan as the eggs set,
tipping pan to pour uncooked egg mixture to the sides of the pan – this process only takes about 1-2 minutes.  Let omelette cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute longer to brown base and until top is still runny or lightly setyou’re your preference.
3              Scatter half the omelette with the filling of your choice, fold and slide onto a warm plate. Serve immediately with toast and/or a green salad, if desired.

To Season a Cast Iron or Steel Pan: Cover base of pan with coarse salt and heat over a low heat for 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat and rub vigorously with a wad of paper towels. Discard salt and wipe pan with a clean dry cloth. Seasoning ensures that the omelette will not stick to the pan. If the pan is kept exclusively for omelette making you will only need to season the pan every once in a while and the pan only needs wiping, not washing after using. However, if you use the pan for other cooking season each time before making an
omelette.

Suggested Fillings: grated cheese; grated cheese with chopped fresh herbs of your choice; chopped fresh herbs of your choice; sautéed sliced mushrooms and onions with chopped fresh herbs of your choice; chopped ham, grated cheese and diced tomato.

For the pictured omelette, I filled it with leftover onions from yesterday’s Beef, Bacon & Cheese Sandwiches and grated Hohepa Danbo cheese.

Happy cooking and eating.

Recipe by Rachel Blackmore

Beef, Bacon & Cheese Sandwiches

Sandwiches 004aThese sandwiches are great for feeding a crowd and easy to do on the barbecue, toast the bread on the barbecue grill and cook the
bacon and beef patties on the barbecue plate. The onions can be cooked ahead of time and reheated when required.

The sandwiches can be as simple or as exotic as you fancy. Make your own patties or use good quality purchased ones, use standard tasty cheese or take it up market and use a gourmet cheese – smoked cheese works well on these too. The onions can be as fiery or as mild as you want depending on the tastes of those you are feeding – here I used 2 tablespoons of Orcona’s Hairy Cactus sauce which is a green jalapeno sauce that is medium hot and gave the
onions just a hint of heat without being overpowering.

Beef, Bacon & Cheese Sandwiches

Serves 4

2 tbsp vegetable oil
500g onion, thinly sliced
hot sauce of your choice, to taste (optional)
¼ cup beef stock
8 thick slices bread of your choice
softened butter
4 slices bacon, rind removed
4 beef patties
1 cup grated cheese
¼ cup tomato or barbecue sauce

1              Place oil and onions in a frying pan over a medium heat, cover and cook, stirring from occasionally for 10-15 minutes or until
onions are tender and translucent. Stir in hot sauce and stock and bring to simmering, remove pan from heat.
2              Spread one side of each slice of bread with a little butter. Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and cook, bread,
buttered side down for about 2 minutes or until toasted. Remove, keep warm and repeat with remaining bread slices.
3              Add bacon to pan and cook, turning once until crisp. Remove, drain on paper towels and keep warm.
4              Heat pan over medium-high heat, add a little oil and beef patties and cook for 3-4 minutes each side or until cooked to your liking. Pile a quarter of the grated cheese onto each patty and cook for about 1 minute longer or until cheese just starts to melt.
5              Place 4 slices of toasted bread, untoasted side up on serving plates. Top with beef patties, bacon, onions, cheese, sauce and
remaining bread slices, toasted side up.

Happy cooking and eating.

Recipe by Rachel Blackmore

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Beetroot & Walnut Dip

Beetroot Dip 002aThis bright red dip has a festive appearance so is perfect when entertaining at this time of year – it’s also inexpensive, simple to make and can be made in advance.

Roasting the beetroot does take some time, but once it is in the oven no attention is required, so it can be left to cook while you are doing other things. The beetroot could be cooked in the microwave which is much quicker but roasting gives a more intense flavour to the finished dip, so I think it is worth cooking them this way.

Beetroot are low in kilojoules, a good source of fibre, folate and vitamin B. Their red colour comes from betanin, a phytochemical which is believed to boost immunity. They are however, messy to prepare with their red colour tending to colour anything they come in contact with. To avoid ending up with beetroot coloured stained hands wear disposable gloves and to protect your clothing wear an apron (even if you don’t usually wear an apron this is the one time it is worth getting it out of the drawer and putting it to use!)

Beetroot & Walnut Dip

With its bright red colour this dip fits in perfectly at any festive occasion and will take you right through summer, but best of all it is also healthy. Wrapping the beetroot in foil helps shorten the cooking time as it steams as it roasts.

Makes a medium-sized bowl

2 medium (300-400g each) beetroot
½ cup walnuts
1 large garlic clove, roughly chopped
1 tbsp tahini
1 tsp ground cumin
juice of 1 lemon, or to taste
3-4 tbsp olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
crackers, to serve

1              Loosely wrap beetroot in foil, place in a baking dish and bake at 180°C for 1½ to 2 hours or until tender – you should be able to easily pierce the beetroot with a skewer.
Remove beetroot from foil and set aside until cool enough to handle.
2              Place walnuts on a baking tray and place in the oven for 5 minutes or until lightly toasted – this can be done while the beetroot are cooking.
3              Once beetroot have cooled a little, remove skin, if they are properly cooked the skin should easily slip off. Cut cooked beetroot into chunks and place in the bowl of a food
processor.
4              Add walnuts, garlic, tahini, cumin, lemon juice and 3 tbsp oil to the food processor bowl and process to make a smooth dip. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper – add a little more lemon juice and remaining oil, if necessary. Transfer dip to a serving bowl and accompany with crackers.

Happy cooking and eating.

Recipe by Rachel Blackmore

Cheesy Onion Tart

HohepadThe double hit of cheese – both in the filling and crust – makes this tart extra special and delicious.

Onions are available all year round and Hohepa cheeses are readily available in Hawke’s Bay and really adds a local flavour to the tart.

Speciality food stores, especially those specialising in organic foods, and some supermarkets round the North Island stock Hohepa cheeses otherwise stop by their Farm Shop near Clive or the Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Markets. To find out more about Hohepa and the nearest retailer to you check their website.

Cheesy Onion Tart

Serves 6-8

FRENCH ONION FILLING
2 tbsp olive oil
about 1kg onions, thinly sliced – be generous rather than economic
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 large free-range egg, lightly beaten
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
¾ cup grated Hohepa Herb and Garlic cheese
CHEESEY PASTRY CRUST
1 cup wholemeal flour
a couple of good grinds of sea salt
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
100g chopped Hohepa Danbo cheese
60g very cold butter, chopped
3-4 tbsp cold sparkling mineral or soda water

1              For the filling, heat oil and onions in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat and cook, stirring for 4-5 minutes. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally for 20-30 minutes or until onions have released all their juices. Remove lid, and continue cooking, uncovered, stirring occasionally for 40-60 minutes or until onions caramalise and very tender. Stir in sherry vinegar, remove pan from heat, transfer onion mixture to a bowl and set aside to cool.
2              While the onions are cooking make the pastry crust, place flour, salt and paprika a food processor and pulse to combine. Add cheese and butter and pulse until mixture forms fine crumbs. Add 1 tbsp water at a time, pulsing after each addition until dough binds together and forms a rough ball. Turn dough out and form into a ball, flatten using the palm of your hand to make a disk. Wrap in plastic food warp and chill for 30 minutes.
3              Preheat the oven to 200°C.
4              Place the chilled dough between two sheets of baking paper, and roll out to fit a 23 cm loose bottom flan tin. Roll pastry over
rolling pin, lift, place in tin, then press to fit, leaving a little pastry
extending above the top of the edge of the tin – fold extended edges down. Chill for 20 minutes longer. Line pastry case with baking
paper and weight with uncooked beans, rice or ceramic baking beads and bake for 15 minutes, remove paper and weights and bake for 10 minutes longer. Cool.
5              Add the egg and cheese to onion mixture and mix well to combine. Pour mixture into pastry case and bake for 25-30 minutes or until filling is slightly puffed, golden and cooked through. Remove from oven and stand for 10 minutes before serving with a simple tossed salad of mixed leaves. Alternatively, allow to cool completely and serve at room temperature.

Happy cooking and eating.

Recipe by Rachel Blackmore

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Xmas Cake Truffles

Xmas Cake Truffles_MultidWe have got my husband’s Lions Club Christmas party here next Sunday – this is always a causal affair with strict budget considerations and this year more so than ever. My thoughts when feeding a crowd is keep it simple – this makes it easy for the cook/host and helps keep costs down.

As the club is lucky enough to have a member who is a keen fisherman we will start (as we always do) with smoked Taupo trout, lemon wedges and bread and butter.

Keeping things simple it will a glazed ham served warm with salad ingredients, condiments and a selection of rolls so that everyone can build their own roll.

Then to finish something sweet, of course, and Xmas Cake Truffles seem just prefect – especially as we have a couple of Lions Christmas cakes leftover from last year! However, you can use any fruitcake for these truffles – they are a great way to use up leftover
Christmas cake. These truffles also make an easy inexpensive gift.

Xmas Cake Truffles

Almost more of an idea than an exact recipe. You don’t need to be exact with quantities if you have a bit more or less cake or chocolate they will still work.

Makes about 80

1.2kg dark fruitcake
¼ cup sherry, brandy or rum
250g block dark chocolate, broken into pieces
chocolate sprinkles or hail, to roll
desiccated coconut, to roll

1              Pierce the cake a number of times with a skewer, place in a container, pour over sherry, brandy or rum, cover and leave at least overnight.
2              Cut cake into rough pieces and place in a food processor. Pulse to make into crumbs – you may need to do this in batches.
3              Place chocolate in a microwavable bowl. Microwave on HIGH (100%) for
1½ minutes, stir and microwave in 30 seconds bursts until chocolate is completely melted.
4              Transfer cake crumbs to a bowl, add chocolate and mix to combine.
5              Place chocolate hail and desiccated coconut on separate plates. Take level
tablespoons of mixture, roll into balls then roll in chocolate hail or desiccated coconut. Place balls on a tray lined with baking paper and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until firm.

Cook’s Note

  • For even sized balls, I use the tablespoon from my set of measuring spoons.
  • Remember when melting chocolate in the microwave it holds it shape so stir
    frequently to avoid burning.
  • Roll balls in coatings as you go – the coatings adhere better.
  • Use other coatings such as melted chocolate, cocoa powder or crushed biscuits.
  • If making for kids, use fruit juice instead of alcohol and roll in 100’s & 1000’s.

Recipe by Rachel Blackmore

Cooking & Eating in Hawke's Bay, New Zealand