Sunday, 14 December 2008

In the bleak mid winter

At last, a few moments to my self, l have shut the curtains, turned off the lights and am sat here in the dark, pretending that l am out, even Boy has joined in the game. This is you see, an absolute must this time of year, tonight sees the local young farmers club holding their carol singing event, screeching loudly at every front door between here and Little Dimchurch in the hope of a] money and b] something to nibble on! In my eyes this is money with menaces, 'if you don't pay up or feed us we will sing'! Hence my strategy for playing 'Gone Out'.

The Christmas Food Fayre was very well supported this year, with a deluge of shiny 4 x 4s descending on the pub car park. The fancy photographer from The Prattler showed up and was snapping gaily away at the groaning tables of food, celebrities and villagers, Mrs De La Pole, embarrassed us all once again by wearing her leopard skin coat, which although somewhat scabby around the edges was photographed a plenty and even more so when the hussy opened the coat to reveal a very small polka dot bikini, not exactly what the poor man was expecting, and most certainly not a desirous sight on a woman of Her age, who has lived on nothing but coca-cola for the last 60 years!

As l was walking to the Post Office this morning, l thought that under the 6 inches of snow, the village looked incredibly festive. Sparkling lights, inflatable Santas Christmas wreaths. Strolling back through the woodland path that meanders past Longshort Manor, l caught a glimpse of what l can only describe as the most shocking thing l have every seen coming from the place in all the long years that l have lived in the area, even worse than the various elopements or card game frauds. The wonderful Elizabethan house, which had survived, Civil War, murder and shortage of funds, was bedecked in enough lights to drain the entire grid of electricity. Every gable, gutter, down pipe and window was dripping in white fairy lights, whilst perched a top the very highest roof was Santa, resplendent in his sleigh and complete with all his reindeer, Rudolf with his neon red flashing nose leading the entourage. I was indeed so disturbed by what l saw, that l had to desperately race home to down a good half a bottle of sloe gin to restore my equilibrium.

Cranberry-Mince Shortcake

makes 12
175gr unsalted butter, diced
73g golden caster sugar
150g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder, sifted
100g ground almonds
4 medium eggs, separated

400g mincemeat
150g cranberries
icing sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 180C/gas mark 4 / bottom shelf AGA. Butter a 30 x 23 x 4cm baking tray. Mix butter, sugar, flour, baking powder & ground almonds to a crumb like constancy, add egg yolks and mix to a sticky dough. Press dough into base of tin and smooth using your fingers. Bake shortcake for 25 - 30 minutes until lightly golden and slightly risen.

Whisk egg whites until stiff. Spoon mincemeat into a bowl and fold in the whisked white in two goes. Fold in 100g cranberries and smooth the mixture over the shortcake base. Scatter the remaining cranberries over the top and bake for 20 -25 minutes until slightly coloured on the surface.

Allow to cool then cut into 12 squares, approx 7cm, then dust with icing sugar.


Un Peu Loufoque said...

Oh how terribly nouveau riche of your neighbours at the manor to deck their beautiful home with such appalling taste...I think you are very wise hiding from young farmers....

Grouse said...

My sister and BIL decorate theirs in much the same way.....much to the disgust of the residents of their very 'CL' village

Pondside said...

That shortbread recipe looks wonderful - I'll have to get busy and convert it or get a scale so that I can give it a try.
I had to laugh at the thought of you sitting in the dark! The Great Dane and I have done that in the past in order to have a quiet and solitary Sunday at home.

Sally's Chateau said...

Well I rather laughed at the thought of the Manor being decked so garishly for it seems that the stouts and weasels that have taken over so many Toad Halls display an appalling lack of taste in so many departments that one can only laugh gaily.

muddyboots said...

what would christmas be without lights and blow up santas? Recipe looks yummy though.