Orange Shortbread

orange

This recipe for Orange Shortbread came from the side of a packet of sugar. It was nice, but slightly too crumbly because I think I had the oven on too hot a temperature.

I might be bragging here, but the pattern I made on the dough with the fork is the best I’ve ever managed. It looks just like a snowflake… (yes, we in Australia cling to our British and European backgrounds when it comes to Christmas traditions – the ones we like, anyway. I for one think that summer and shortbread go very well together).

I’ll make normal Shortbread next week, since we have already eaten all of the Orange Shortbread.

4 tablespoons sugar

125gm butter (I used slightly more)

rind of two oranges -finely grated

1 1/2 Cups plain flour

Cream the butter and sugar, then beat in the orange rind. Gradually add the flour.

Roll into a ball and split into two. Roll both out to a one centimetre thick circle. I did this on baking paper, to prevent having to try to move the rolled-out dough.

Cut the round into eight (imagine you are cutting up a pizza) then press around the edges using the end of a teaspoon, then go mad with the fork to decorate your own snowflake shortbread.

Bake for 15 minutes at 170 degrees Celsius. Let the shortbread cool on the tray before moving it.

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Christmas Pudding

pud-2

Today is Christmas Pudding day!* I put the fruit to soak in the brandy about three weeks ago, and have been diligently shaking the mixture every night. I made sure I had all of the ingredients for the pudding last night, then mixed it up this morning.

He Who Eats All of Our Leftovers and Miss S both stirred the mixture, (apparently if everyone in the household has a stir, it is good luck for the coming year), then got it in the pot nice and early. Today had to be Christmas Pudding day, as the weather in Melbourne tomorrow is to be 32 degrees, much too hot to have a pudding steaming away for 6 hours.

My Christmas Pudding recipe has been adapted from Mum’s, which is an adaptation of a recipe from the 1968 Australian Women’s Weekly recipe.

5 Cups dried fruit

2 packets glace cherries (Mum left out the cherries last time she made Christmas Pudding and we all complained as if our throats had been cut. “What, no cherries?” “Mum, I didn’t get any cherries!” Etc…)

1 Cup brandy (Mum only uses a couple of teaspoons of sherry, but I splash in brandy until the mixture looks about right, so this might be a bit more than a cup. Anyway, use your own discretion about what type of and how much alcohol suits your taste).

Mum also uses mixed peel, but I would rather stab myself in the eye with a knitting needle than eat mixed peel on purpose. Put mixed peel in if you must, but don’t expect me to eat your pudding without complaining. You would have to ask Mum how much mixed peel she uses, as I am not going to ask her for you.

Place the dried fruit, cherries and brandy into a container with a tight lid, close the lid and shake it up. Give the fruit a shake every time you think of it for at least a few days. I put extra fruit in, as I have a taste every time I think of it too…

pudding

250 gm butter

2 Cups brown sugar (use white sugar if you want the pudding to taste like Mum’s)

4 eggs

1 Cup plain flour

4 Cups soft breadcrumbs (I use brown bread and Mum uses white. Mum says not to use the crust).

pinch of salt

1 teaspoon mixed spice (I used allspice this year as I didn’t have any mixed spice, don’t think it will matter).

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Cream the butter and sugar. Don’t let any son-in-laws, not even your favourite Son-in-Law, near the electric beaters. My favourite son-in-law has a tendency to put knives too near to the blades for my peace of mind.

Mix in a tablespoon of the flour and some fruit. Stir the flour and fruit in, then mix the eggs in one at a time with a wooden spoon.

Mix in the remaining flour, nutmeg, mixed spice and cinnamon, fruit and breadcrumbs.

Make sure everyone in the house has a stir of the mixture to bring good luck to your household for the next year.

Line the pudding steamer with aluminium foil.

Pour the mixture into the steamer, then tie the lid on. Dad always ties the lid on for Mum, and says “Don’t let it get out,” when he gets to the difficult bits.

He Who Eats All of Our Leftovers ties the lid onto the pot for me and he does a good job of it, although he takes his duties more seriously than Dad and doesn’t joke about.

pud

Place the pudding into a larger pot, with water about half way up, and bring to the boil on the stove top, then turn down to a simmer. Top up with water every half hour. Cook for six hours.

Let the pudding cool down, then place the whole pot into a large container in a cool spot until Christmas (this is easier said than done in a hot Melbourne summer).

On Christmas Day, steam it for another two hours, then take it out of the pot and turn it onto a large plate while everyone watches anxiously. Dad usually does this, and makes more jokes about not letting the pudding get out… he likes an audience, and at this point, we are all hanging on his every word.

(Or if you have moved with the times, turn it out of the pudding tin cold, and microwave slices for anyone who wants theirs hot).

Serve hot or cold, with cream, or custard or ice cream (your choice. Just make sure there are leftovers, as we all enjoy another slice of Pud for breakfast on Boxing Day).

*This post was written about a fortnight ago, when Melbourne was at the end of the hottest November on record. It seems crazy to eat pudding during summer, but Christmas wouldn’t be the same without it.

 

Chicken Parmigiana

parma

Chicken Parma is a pub classic in Australia, and is usually the safest (and most popular) option on the menu.

My version took quite a while to make, but it tastes heaps better than the Parmas where I used to have lunch once a month with my workmates.

4 chicken breasts

oil and butter for frying

plain flour

parmesan cheese

2 Cups breadcrumbs

2 eggs

1 Tblspn milk

ham slices

grated cheese (I use a mixture from the supermarket which is already grated and includes parmesan, cheddar and mozzarella).

425gm tin canned chopped tomatoes

garlic

1 onion – finely chopped

1 sachet tomato paste

1 Tblspn brown sugar

Cook the chopped onion and garlic in a saucepan in butter, then add the tinned tomatoes, tomato paste and brown sugar and simmer for 20 minutes. (This sauce is so delicious I can eat it straight from the pot).

parma 2

Flatten the chicken between sheets of cling wrap (I smashed the chicken with a rolling pin), then dip the chicken in the beaten egg and milk, before rolling it in the mixed breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese.

Cook the chicken in a frypan using oil and butter.

parma 3

Once the chicken is browned and cooked through, place onto a baking tray (remember, baking paper is your friend), and top with slices of ham, the tomato sauce and grated cheese. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes and serve with chips, potatoes or salad.