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09-16 Getting to Know V.C. Buckley, author of HANAMI

Friday, December 18, 2015

Three Treats for Christmas


Hi, I'm Pippa Jay, author of SciFi and the supernatural with a romantic soul. This is my final post for the year as I take an extended break from the internet until into the New Year. I'm really looking forward to it!

Normally I just share my Christmas biscuit recipe, but this year I'm giving you extra (well, it is nearly Christmas after all). So, I have a couple more winter recipes to warm you up (when all the Christmas surplus is gone).


Now, I'm not a great cook (that's my husband), mostly because I don't really enjoy it. But one thing I do like to make is soup. Often I'll make a big batch at the start of the week which does my lunch for most of it, and usually from odd vegetables left lying around. So don't expect exact measurements and feel free to substitute other veggies.

Thrown in Anything Vegetable Soup

Ingredients:
Cooking oil
1 onion, red or white
Mixed root vegetables of your choice (sweet potato, potato, squash, pumpkin, leek, peppers, carrots, parsnips, swede etc)
Bag of leaf salad (kale is currently my favourite, though you could use spinach, rocket, mixed leaf etc)
Lentils if you like them
Water
Vegetable stock cubes
Method:
1. Take a large cooking pot/saucepan, and pour in enough oil to cover the bottom. Add one chopped onion (and sliced leek and/or pepper if using)
2. Chop/dice your mixed root vegetables (the smaller the pieces the quicker they will cook, and the less household energy you'll use!). I generally chop enough to half fill my big soup pot.
3. Gently fry the onion until soft, then add your chopped root vegetables and make sure they're all coated in the oil. Leave to sweat on a low heat with the lid on for ten minutes.
4. Add enough water to just cover the root veg, plus a stock cube, and lentils if you want them. Then add enough leaf vegetable to fill the rest of the pot to the rim (this will then steam cook, preserving the goodness!).
5. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until all the root vegetables are soft. Blend to your preferred consistency. 

This is a great way to use up odd vegetables, and easy enough that most people can cook it (well, I manage, lol). 

And for dessert, maybe my Christmas biscuits?

Blue Star Biscuits (Cookies)

The basic sweet biscuit recipe for this has been in my family since before I was born, but I’ve added a twist to create the coloured centers. You will need:

4oz. butter
4oz. caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
8oz. plain flour
Boiled sweets

Oven temperature: 350°F

Lightly grease three baking trays. Cream the butter and sugar together, add the egg gradually and beat well. Sift the flour and fold into the creamed mixture. Knead lightly and roll out to the required thickness. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters – for mine I used two different sizes of star and kept the middles too, but you could use any shape. Place on the trays and put a boiled sweet in the hole in the middle – you can crush these to make them melt quicker in the oven so the biscuit part doesn’t overcook. Bake toward the top of the oven for 15-20 minutes until pale brown (the sweet should melt and spread out in the center of the biscuit). Allow to cool before removing from the trays to allow the melted sweet to reset.

You could also make different shapes and use different coloured sweets to vary the design, even using them to make edible Christmas tree decorations if you make a hole in the biscuit before cooking to thread ribbon. You can also flavor the biscuit (because of the sweets I didn’t add any flavoring to these) by using the following:

2 level tsps. grated lemon rind
2 level tsps. mixed spice or cinnamon
2 tsps. Vanilla essence
2oz. dried fruit
2oz. glace cherries, chopped
Grated rind of one orange.


And to finish off, some orange spiced mocha. I got addicted to this after picking some up on sale and out of curiosity at a local shop. Unfortunately it was a seasonal thing, so once I finished my six sachets, that was it! So, here's my own version. Well, two:

1. Cheat method. Buy sachets of ready made mocha and simply add:
Three drops of orange essence
A third of a teaspoon of mixed spice (or straight cinnamon or similar as you prefer)
Squirty cream and grated chocolate (optional extras for decoration)

Experiment to find how much of each makes for your optimum taste satisfaction!

2. Long version:

8oz freshly made coffee/instant
4oz milk (you can use soya or almond milk, but you might want to skip the sugar if using almond)
15g cocoa powder (or you could use drinking chocolate powder, but again skip the sugar, or chocolate syrup/sauce)
15g warm water
Optional sugar
Squirty cream and/or chocolate sprinkles/shavings for decoration
Brew the coffee (the stronger the better, but it's down to personal taste). If not using ready made syrup, add the warm water and cocoa powder together to make one. Add to your coffee, leaving room for the milk (and the cream topping). Warm the milk and add to your mug. Decorate to your satisfaction!
(both recipes make just one cup)

And after you've made, enjoyed and while busy digesting all that lot, how about a book? My award winning scifi/time travel romance novel Keir is just 99cents/Euros/pence until the end of the year. Enjoy!
A Science Fiction Romance Novel
Goodreads | Available from...
Amazon | All Romance eBooks
Kobo | iTunes | 
B&N Smashwords

Print available from... 
Amazon | B&N | CreateSpace
The Book Depository

1 comment:

Sarah Raplee said...

My husband is the great cook, too, Pippa! Thank you for the lovely recipes and the AWESOME book idea!