I finished knitting this for Poppy last night. It's going to be one of her Christmas presents.
I have a weakness for vareigated yarn, and I really like the self patterning wool I've used for this. I've got enough left to make a matching hat too.
I got the pattern from this blog and it was really easy. I like that it is a unisex design. I think the sizing would be just right for 6-12 months. My yarn was aran weight and I used 5mm needles so that it would knit a little bigger. My daughter is a small 16 month old, it fits now and I think it will fit for a while yet.
Soak 175g raisins, 175g currants, 175g sultanas, 50g mixed peel, 140g glace cherries, 50g whole almonds, 1 medium carrot (grated) and the zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon in 150ml of brandy and 50ml of Grand Marnier.
In a large bowl mix 175g light muscovado sugar, 175g fresh white breadcrumbs, 125g self raising flour, 1tsp mixed spice and a little nutmeg.
Add the soaked fruit, 175g grated butter and 2 beaten eggs.
Stir all together and make a wish!
This makes enough for a 1.5l pudding dish. Grease the dish, put a circle of greaseproof paper in the bottom and press the mixture down, making a dip in the middle.
I decided to make 2 smaller puddings.
Put a greaseproof circle on the top, then cover with a double layer of greasproof and a layer of foil. Tie some string around and make a string handle.
One large pudding needs to steam in a pan of water, or in the oven in a roasting tin of water for 6 hours. Don't let the water all dry up.
I cooked mine (remember mine are 0.75l each) in my slow cooker on full power - I filled it halfway with water - for 9 hours and it has come out just perfect!!
I just want to stick a sprig of holly in it and eat it now with a big blob of hot custard!!
Once cooled the pudding will store in a cool, dry cupboard for up to a year.
This is my first foray into preserves and it was easy peasy.
You need 2lb of clementines (or you could use a mix of clementines and tangerines) which you wash, remove the stalks, cut in half and remove any pips. Then blitz them in the food processor, not completely smooth, but until the shreds of skin are small enough to make the marmalade to your liking.
Put it all in a large saucepan with a pint and a half of water and the juice of two lemons. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 minutes.
Add 1 kg of granulated sugar, stir and bring to a rolling boil. Stir regularly, keeping at this rolling boil until it has thickened and begun to get to setting point. This took about an hour for me.
Cool a little in the pan, then stir to make sure the bits are evenly mixed through and pour into sterilised jars.
My friend asked me to make her a sympathy card for a man. It was really difficult, but this is what I've ended up with. I decided to keep it simple with just some printed papers, a ribbon and a little heart shaped brad. I did the word with rubber stamp letters.
This is my first foray into confectionery, and it is pretty good. I think I will be making up a batch for teacher's gifts closer to Christmas, and maybe for some non-weightwatching friends and relatives.
Here's the recipe. (Makes loads - about 1 1/2 lb)
In a medium, heavy based saucepan put 225g granulated sugar, 50g unsalted butter, a 397g tin of condensed milk, 1 tbsp clear honey and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Heat gently until the sugar dissolves - keep stirring all the time.
Bring to the boil, and boil for 6 - 8 minutes - keep stirring all the time!
Remove pan from heat and beat in 100g grated dark chocolate until smooth and glossy.
Pour mixture into square cake tin (lined with baking parchment) and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Chop into squares. Store in an airtight container.
I've put some in an old jam jar, and it looks quite attractive. I might also try wrapping some in cellophane and tying up with ribbon.
I really should have started making Christmas cards before October! I don't make all the cards I send, but I do need to produce about thirty. Need to get cracking really. I'm going to Crafts for Christmas at the NEC in a month's time, hopefully to return full of big plans and inspiration.