Saturday 26 December 2015

Saturday December 26th - Boxing Day - First Day of Feasting

Or, "Please yourself day" as my mother called it, once we were all old enough to fend for ourselves.

I remember that Christmas - my brother and I stayed in pyjamas, probably all day, scavenging for food in the well-stocked fridge, or scattered bowls of fruit, nuts chocolate. I doubt we had what one would call a balanced diet that day. We watched  TV, played with presents, read, watched TV, played with presents, read...

I think my grandmother stayed in bed for most of the day; people (probably my mother) brought her refills of gin and peppermint cordial, or maybe a boiled egg and soldiers, some tea and toast, a turkey sandwich, at intervals through the day.

Maybe my farther proposed "a nice brisk walk". Maybe he didn't.

Even the dog didn't bother to get dressed.

Ah well, those were the days...

DD and BB went for "a nice brisk walk" into town in the morning, mainly because a Banoffi Pie was to be made, which required bananas and digestive biscuits.

My father joined us for "left-overs lunch". He was a little surprised to discover it was the sausages and bacon that didn't get cooked with the turkey yesterday, stretched to feed five with the addition of fried potatoes, fried tomatoes and fried eggs. Not cold turkey, cold ham, etc.

No1 Son went for "a nice brisk walk" in the afternoon, to see the tractions engines gathered in the town centre, and buy bananas and digestive biscuits (DD and BB had been unable to find them in the morning. Imagine it - Waitrose AND Marks and Spencers were CLOSED!).

As for me - I cooked the lunch. And I made a batch of Speculaas biscuits (no picture, we ate them all before I thought of that).

I started with the Hairy Biker's recipe from etc

But there's quite a lot I don't agree with, including the miniscule size of print.

Into a bowl put

100g plain flour
1 teasp ground cinnamon
1/2 teasp ground ginger (a little too much - use less next time. Maybe a large 1/4 teasp)
1/2 teasp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teasp salt (seriously? I put in a pinch; next time I might not even add that much)
1/2 teasp baking powder (far too much - I could taste it. Half that amount next time.)
50g soft brown muscovado sugar
75g butter (I always use unsalted)
1 tablsp whole milk. (we only ever have semi-skimmed)

second time around I added a pinch of ground cloves

2 tablespoons candied peel. CANDIED PEEL!! That was a bit of a shock. I left that out.

Mix the ingredients together (sort of rubbing in) and bring together into a dough.

Roll out 0.5 cm (1/4 inch) think and they made shapes with cookie curtters etc. I rolled it into a rectangle, sprinkles flaked almonds over it, and cut it into twelve fingers. It needed another handful of flour to make the dough manageable.

Bake on a lined baking tray in preheated oven 180C/350F/Gas 4 (is that fan? they didn't say) for 15-18 mins. Cool on  wire rack. (It needed the 18 minutes)

Comments "very close to Dutch speculaas" "too much ginger"  "too much nutmeg"   

A blog post without pictures doesn't cut the mustard, in my view. So here's the banoffi pie, filling most of the bottom of the fridge:

Here's a second batch of speculaas biscuits which I made just to be able to photograph them, and to test the adjustments to the recipe. (Also, we had eaten all the others, remember?)

Rolled out, just before cutting into pieces

Cooling on the tray

Comments "more delicate spicing than last time"

Still pretty good.

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