Orange and Poppy Seed Syrup Puddings

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Take one large orange.

Peel, simmer in a pan of water, then puree. Cool then fold into a mixture of butter, sugar and eggs. Add ground almonds and poppy seeds.

Bake in a muffin tin.

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Drench in an orangey, sweet, zesty, cardamomy syrup.

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Make some creme patissiere, add some double cream to transform to creme legere, and pipe over the puddings. Make milk chocolate shards and scatter over.

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The proof of these puddings is in the eating.

I knew that adding a touch of chocolate to the orange flavour was sure to work well. But what I really like here is the sweetness and the moistness together with the texture given by the ground almonds and poppy seeds.

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Dundee Cake

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Here’s a bonny fruit cake for christmas.

Although I’ve swayed from the usual almond-only decoration, the cake itself is full of tradition, and that means full of raisins, currants and mixed peel.

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I’ve followed a lovely recipe by Katie Stewart, as found The Complete Book of Bread and Baking by Linda Collister and Anthony Blake.

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Of course, this wouldn’t be a Dundee Cake without the baked-on almonds, but to go further, on top of a sugar and milk glaze, I’ve added angelica strands together with sliced glace cherries, both red and gold.

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Poached Black Worcester Pears

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Also known as Parkinson’s Warden, this is one of the oldest pear varieties in Britain, said to have been introduced by the Romans. It is strictly a cooking pear. Valued for being a long keeper, it can be harvested in November and will store until April.

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However, not to keep a good thing waiting, I have poached these three plump fellows in Merlot, spiced with cloves, cinnamon and orange peel and enhanced with orange juice and vanilla extract.

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I have left the fruit to soak up extra colour and flavour in the cooling juice for a few hours before continuing to simmer and reduce the liquid to a syrup.

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The liquor has then been poured over the pears to pool around the orange-zesty cream cheese swirls.

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The Radnorshire Gingerbread Hoard

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Here’s a my treasure trove of christmas biscuits!

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During the festive season, these jewels of Broad Street are on display as one of twenty five local Advent Windows.

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Made to a hard, yet tasty, construction gingerbread recipe incorporating butter, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, golden syrup, vanilla extract and, of course, ginger.

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Various kitchen-handy tools have been used in the crafting.

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Apart from pastry cutters, shapes and patterns have been formed with a fork, a cheese knife, an assortment of piping nozzles and the lid from a golden syrup tin.

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Fox’s Glacier Fruits have made the glorious gemstones. (Other boiled sweets are available, but in my view not as clear, bright and beautiful.)

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Stout Cake

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Standing tall and stout, this is my version of Nigella Lawson’s moist masterpiece that beautifully combines, among other ingredients, sour cream, vanilla extract and Dublin’s famous black stuff, all beneath a lovely smooth cream cheese frosting.

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Apart from the obvious shape-shift, my own stamp is the addition of a dark chocolate ganache coating (which also separates the three sponge layers inside).

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Tippaleipa

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Scandi Candy!

Sweet Finnish funnel cakes, traditionally prepared by pouring batter through a funnel and deep fried.

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Eaten to celebrate the first day of spring on the first of May at street festivals called Vappu.

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My batter is made with seven egg whites, one yolk, caster sugar and flour. It has then been piped through a round nozzle and swirled into a deep pan of hot sunflower oil. Dusted with icing sugar, they are better for not being left for too long.

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