I seem to be having some trouble getting back on track after Christmas. I haven't been reading because there's always so much to do, some friends to visit still, some gifts to take back to the store and of course working...
We were 11 around the table on Christmas Eve but it seems we made dinner for 30 :-)
It's not all bad because now I don't have to cook for a few days, we'll just eat leftovers. It was really nice to have my parents, my in laws and my brother's in laws celebrating Christmas together and I'm sure we'll do it again next year.
One of my favourite gifts was a sewing machine. I still haven't had the time to explore it but I hope to do it soon. Must find an easy project for starters...
Btw everyone liked my gifts especially the ones I made :-)
I leave you with a picture of Bolo Rei, it's one of the traditional desserts of the Holiday Season. It's round with a hole in the middle remembering a crown and it's said to represent the presents the 3 Wise Men offered to Baby Jesus.
Here's a recipe I found online:
1/2 C. candied citrus peel, chopped
3 T. raisins
3 T. pine nuts
1/3 C. plus 2 T. Port
2 1/2 t. active dry yeast
1/3 C. plus 2 tbsp. water
3 1/2 C. unbleached flour
1 1/2 t. salt
7 T. unsalted butter, softened
1/3 C. plus 2 tbsp. sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Grated zest of 1 orange
3 eggs, beaten
1 dried fava bean or small trinket
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tbsp. water
10 candied cherries
2 segments candied orange peel
2 segments candied lemon peel
2 segments candied lime peel
Lump sugar, crushed, for garnish
Apricot jam, for glaze
To prepare bread:
Soak citrus peel, raisins and pine nuts in Port overnight or until plump. Sprinkle yeast into water in bowl and let stand 5 minutes. Stir to dissolve.
Mix flour and salt in large bowl. Make well in center and pour in dissolved yeast. Use wooden spoon to draw enough flour into dissolved yeast to form soft paste. Cover bowl with dish towel and let stand until "sponge" is frothy and slightly risen, about 20 minutes.
In separate bowl, beat butter with sugar and lemon and orange zests until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, and beat well after each addition. Add mixture to flour mixture and mix in flour from sides to form soft dough. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Knead until soft, smooth, silky and elastic, about 10 minutes. Knead in dried fruit and pine nuts until evenly distributed.
Place dough into clean bowl and cover with dish towel. Let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours. Punch down, then let rest 10 minutes. Shape dough into ring and place on buttered baking sheet. Wrap dried fava bean or trinket separately in wax paper. Insert tiny package into bottom of shaped dough. Cover with dish towel and set aside until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
To prepare topping:
Brush dough with egg glaze and decorate with candied fruit and crushed sugar. Bake at 350°F. 45 minutes until golden. Warm apricot jam in saucepan over low heat until melted, then brush top and sides of bread with jam. Cool on wire rack.
Makes 1 Loaf