Sending gifts to Spain

This week, my son asked if I could send something homemade for him to give as gifts to people he has been working with at a primary school in Benalmadena, near Malaga. Cakes were out of the question but biscuits seemed a possibility.

I made a batch of spiced cranberry and almond biscotti and some oat and cherry cookies and packed them in bags in a padded box and posted them last Saturday morning. They arrived at the school on Wednesday morning, which I thought was quite impressive bearing in mind it was the bank holiday weekend.

So, his Spanish colleagues can try out biscuits baked in England while I hope he will bring home some Spanish delicacies!

I rarely make Millionaires shortbread – mainly because I love it and would find it very difficult to stop myself continually testing it to make sure it was still ok. However, I made some last week as I knew I had people coming around who could help out. It is rather delicious! And if I cut it into small squares, it may not be quite so bad! I remember making this years ago and burning the caramel – maybe that’s another reason why I haven’t made it regularly. I was subconsciously protecting my saucepans.

Anyway, today has been back to baking for The Earl Grey Tearoom, making them a coffee and walnut cake, a cherry Bakewell cake and a lemon drizzle cake as well as some chocolate cupcakes and gluten free scones. And when I have a free hour or two, I need to look through recipes to find some new cakes to try. Now what would the people of Southborough like to try next?

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Christmas preparations – cranberry and orange compôte

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Some cranberry sauces can be rather sweet. I like to make this compôte as it has a spicy tang and is not full of sugar. The cranberries are cooked with orange juice and zest, some red wine, cinnamon and cloves along with a little sugar and then port is stirred through to give it a rich flavour.

It tastes delicious with Christmas dinner as well as gammon and is equally good with cold meats, especially ham, for a Boxing Day spread. After opening, it should be kept in the fridge, but left unopened, it will last several months. The jars may contain whole cloves.

If you would like to order a jar, they cost £3.50 for 190ml.

It is also available in a 3 jar selection pack – try combining it with a spiced redcurrant jelly and an apple and sage jelly to give you accompaniments for various meats for £10.00.

Cranberry and orange compote

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This compote has a rich flavour but is not sweet. It is the perfect match for roast turkey at Christmas and goes equally well with gammon or other cold meats. It is made with fresh cranberries and oranges, spiced with cinnamon and cloves and fortified by the addition of port. It keeps well in the fridge after opening.