Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Mince pies, biscuits, meringue........

Morning, all.
Mince pies. Fruit mince.
I made the mistake of popping in to the local giant supermarket early this morning, and came face to face with the "pile them high and sell them cheap" thing supermarkets do best. And I immediately thought - I need that. I must get that - such a bargain. And then I remembered that I have ordered our fresh vegetables from our local farmer and I do not need anything more. 


So I did. 

We have more than we need.  More than we could possibly need. 

Nothing fancy, mind you, but even in the toughest of years, there has always been more than we have needed. And believe me, there have been tough years. The secret to the tough years and survival, by the way, is to make things into a game. I am exceptionally good at that particular game. I could write a book if I was so inclined. I am not, by the way. 

I digress. 

There has been the annual mince pie and biscuit (cookie) baking marathon in progress around here. The house smells great and very festive and the tins are full-ish. My family keep eating things, but, as they point out, it is for them anyway. They are right. I can bake more. Now that I have replenished the baking supplies. I still have a roll of pastry I made for mince pies in the fridge, which must be used. I will make something this afternoon. 

I was so pleased with my 41 mince pies (odd shaped baking trays = odd number) until, so help me, my sister messaged us a photo of HER mince pies. Her husband has made over 200. So I am feeling a trifle inadequate even though 41-9=32 or so is still MORE than enough for us.  (See above.)

We always were a competitive lot.


I had to include one of the church photos. As we arrived, with Diana on her scooter with her red and white candy cane striped cast, our little 2 year old friend on her scooter arrived too. Dressed in red and white striped tights. They were a matching pair and SO excited! The cuteness was just off the scale. 


Back to the baking. 

As always, after baking the mince pies, I had egg whites left over from the pastry, and this year I decided to make a pavlova instead of individual meringues. We can have a pavlova on Boxing Day. For those who are unfamiliar with them, they are essentially a cloud of meringue, named after Anna Pavlova, the ballerina and they are New Zealand's national dish. I think. They are a great Southern Hemisphere favourite. You make normal meringue mixture, then dollop it onto a baking tray covered with baking paper in a circular fashion. Preferably the size of a dinner plate TIN. A few inches high. Then bake as normal and leave in switched off oven over night. I did this. I am a star. And then discovered that I had been over-generous with my Pavlova size and there was not a single tin large enough to take it in the entire universe. So I ended up wrapping it in greaseproof paper, cling wrap, and then putting it in a plastic storage box under the kitchen table. 

I will forget where I put it. 

You serve it on a large plate, piled with whipped cream and sliced fresh fruit, or berries. Divine. Seriously delicious, and perfect after left overs the day after Christmas. (Boxing Day.)


MY Pavlova in hiding. 


Custies, of course. I tried replacing them with another biscuit one year as gifts and that didn't go down too well. So custies rule. They are delicious too. 

And now I want to introduce you to the grand old lady who has been my faithful baking and cooking friend for my entire adult life. 

This is the Kenwood Chef I got as a wedding present in March 1976. Apart from one little mishap when my sister used an open grill right next to it and melted a hole in the side of the bowl (I still used that bowl for years until I swiped my mother's whole one - I just covered the hole with a tea towel when adding flour, or it sprayed the entire kitchen with the white stuff) it has never given me a single problem. I have just ordered a new K beater, because this one needs to be retired. So it will be 39 years old next March. 

39 years old. 

How many modern day appliances would last that long? I don't need new fancy things, you know. I like Old Faithfuls. I asked a friend of mine who also had an ancient Kenwood before she got a Kitchen Aid machine  a few years ago what it did that the Kenwood couldn't do. 

Not a thing she said. 

Old Faithful stays. 

And finally, this is my darling daughter in "leave the house" mode. Complete with scooter, candy cane cast and crutches. She is over the hump, so to speak. 3 weeks down already and less than 3 to go now. It is tough having limited mobility, but she is being a star. 

The post man has just called and I now have a little more wrapping to sort - I will be back in the morning......


Needled Mom said...

I always enjoy seeing all of the baking that you do. We had that delightful meringue with fresh raspberries when we lived in the UK - heavenly!!!

I loved the picture of the two girls on their respective scooters. Too cute.

My 46 year old Hamilton Beach mixer still works great too.

marla said...

Love your mixer - the old ones are the good ones! I'm still using a Kitchenaid I bought at an auction in the 70's. Probably from 1920 or so - said the repairman the one time I took it in the be serviced. It's a bit of an eyesore, but I love it!

Debbie said...

I am most impressed with all your baking! The old faithfuls are the best! I have a few of those myself. I hope you have a very merry Christmas and 2015 is filled with blessings for you and your family.

Isabelle said...

I had to get a new Kenwood a couple of years ago because the old one died at about the age of yours. I trust the new one lasts as long!

Vee said...

Custies! Now why didn't I remember that recipe yesterday. It pays to visit here. Pavlova...new to me...and it is under your kitchen table? =D