Citrus Scented Shortest Day Cake

The shortest day is here; Christmas cake is for winter in the Northern Hemisphere and suits a warming cup of tea of an afternoon.  Here in the Southern Hemisphere it works the same, but needs a new name.   

This recipe is a re-invented Christmas cake perfect for the shortest day with fruit steeped in citrus-scented tea.
1 ½ cups of boiling water
6 Lady Grey tea bags
1 kilo dried fruit mix
200 grams butter, chilled and grated
2 cups organic stoneground plain flour, sifted
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
2 free range organic eggs, beaten
½ cup whole milk
¼ cup real maple syrup

Steep the tea bags in the boiling water for 5 minutes and then discard the bags.  Add the fruit and cover.  Leave for four hours or overnight until the fruit is lovely and plump.

Preheat the oven to 160ÂșC. Line and grease a 23cm cake tin allow a high paper collar as the cake will rise.

Rub the butter into the flour by hand or in a food processor until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the sugar, baking soda and salt and combine.

Stir through the soaked fruit.

Mix together the eggs, milk and maple syrup and stir through the dry ingredients.

Press into prepared pan and bake for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2  hours.

Simple All Season Muesli

Muesli is a staple in our house,  this simple un-toasted muesli can be mixed with apple juice in the summer for bircher or cooked with milk in the winter for porridge.  No matter what the season, with a little fruit and yoghurt muesli makes a great nutritious breakfast.

1 1/2 cups favourite nuts and seeds
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup chopped dried fruit
1/4 cup chia seeds or crushed linseed

Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container or jar.

Makes: 5 3/4 cups
Preparation time 5 minutes

Celeriac Remoulade and Rhubarb and Apple Sponge Pud

Celeriac Remoulade

With Laura Faire
Remoulade is the French term for mustard flavoured mayonnaise.
Serves 4 as a side
Preparation time 20 minutes
Cooking time 3-4 minutes
Cost per person $2.80* All prices are for organic ingredients.

2 bulbs celeriac
1 lemon, juice and zest
1 pinch mineral salt
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon boiling water
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon capers, chopped
1 large gherkin, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon (or any other herb you have to hand)
1 pinch of white pepper
Slice the thick dark skin from the celeriac and discard.  Slice the celeriac into match sticks and drop into a bowl of water with half of the lemon juice.
Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and add the remaining lemon juice and a pinch of salt.  Blanch the celeriac for 3-4 minutes and then refresh under cold water.
To make the remoulade, place the egg yolk in a baking bowl with the mustard and beat with a large whisk.  Slowly whisk in the oil in very small amounts whisking furiously.  When it is thick and yellow whisk in the boiling water.  If you still have more oil continue whisk this in until it has all been combined.
Fold through the red wine vinegar, lemon zest, capers, gherkin, herbs, pepper and salt if needed. Add remoulade sauce to the drained celeriac.

Rhubarb and apple vanilla sponge pudding

With Laura Faire
I like to think of this recipe as a cobbler, the key is to thoroughly cream the butter and sugar until it is the consistency of clotted cream.  Once that is achieved I guarantee the toping will be outrageously good.
Serves 4-6
Preparation time 15 minutes
Cooking time 30-35 minutes
Cost per person $2.80 * All prices are for organic ingredients.
4 cups fresh chopped rhubarb and apple
50g or 2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 free-range organic egg
1 cup stoneground organic flour
1 tsp cream of tartar (or 3 tsp of lemon juice)
1 pinch mineral or sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Cream whipped or pouring to serve
Preheat oven to 180C.
Fill an ovenproof dish with fruit.
Using electric beaters cream together the butter and sugar until pale and sugar is dissolved.  Beat in egg.
Sift the flour, cream of tartar* and salt into a bowl.  Combine baking soda, milk and vanilla extract in a small bowl or jug.  Fold together the dry ingredients, creamed mixture and combined liquids and spoon over the prepared fruit.
Bake for 30-35 minutes until the sponge is puffed up and golden brown.
Note: * If substituting lemon juice for cream of tartar then add with the other liquid ingredients.