Boozy Christmas Fruit

One of my “go to” books at Christmas is Delia Smith´s Christmas.  Sometimes I follow the recipes with just a few tweaks, and other times the book just inspires me to try something new.

My parents are coming out to Spain this year to celebrate Christmas with me and Big Man.  To say I´m excited would be a huge understatement.  When I was growing up, and ever since to be honest, they always made Christmas a very special and magical time for me and my brother.  My grandparents lived with us (my mum´s parents) and next door was my godmother, Zia Luciana, and her two daughters who were all part of our extended family.  I have very happy and treasured memories.

Although I have entertained my parents before at Christmas, it´s been a while, so this year I really want to make it extra special.  Of course, one of the ways I can do this is through the food I prepare for us to share.

My dad requested a Light Christmas Pudding, which features in the Delia Smith book that I have made previously.  I´ll post that soon.  I´m also going to make an ice cream inspired by another recipe and I´ve just made some Boozy Christmas Fruit.  The recipe in the book uses mainly glacé fruit, but it´s a recipe that is flexible.

Here´s what I used (quantities are up to you)

Dried cherries, dried cranberries, dried apricots (chopped), chopped mixed peel, glacé cherries and ginger

All these are put into a jar and covered in a sweet dessert wine (I used a local wine which is very much like Vin Santo).  The recipe calls for Madeira.  I took the shot before it was mixed up to show you the different fruits.  This will now sit quietly in a cool dark place until Christmas Day when it will be spooned over the ice cream and any other desserts we fancy eating it with. I may have to do a few quality control spot checks beforehand though…just to be sure its maturing nicely you understand.


Speedy Apricot Jam

Ready to enjoy!

A visit to Málaga a few days ago to sort out some paperwork also led us through the backstreets to the old market, which has been beautifully restored.  Sadly, I didn´t have my camera with me to show you the stalls beautifully laid out with fruit, vegetables, fish and meat.

Sadly too, some of the fruit, when we got home, was not as lovely as it had promised to be.  I think the best stuff was “up front” and the bags of non regular shoppers were filled with the less than top quality produce from the back.

Hey ho, squashed and not so fruity tasting fruit lends itself to jam making, and making it in small quantities is also fun.  It´s quick, you don´t feel obliged to give away most of what you made to friends and family, and you get to have a wide selection of different flavoured jams in the despensa (that´s the larder to you and me)!

After tasting a few apricots and deciding that they weren´t up to that much, I stoned the rest and chopped them roughly and was left with 500g of fruit in weight.  I added 300g of sugar and the juice of one lemon and put into a deep pan.

Start the jam off at a low temperature until the sugar has dissolved.  The turn the heat up and get it bubbling, but making sure that it doesn´t boil over.  Cleaning cold, set jam off your cooker is no fun at all. 

Bubbling Away

Keep it bubbling away for about 10 minutes.  Don´t get distracted or walk away!  If you have a jam thermometer, do use it, it saves having to reboil the jam later if it doesn´t set.  Otherwise you can drop a spoonful of jam onto a saucer which you have previously placed in the freezer.  When the jam cools on the saucer you push it slightly – if it wrinkles, it´s at setting point.  If not, boil a little longer then repeat.

Sometimes you can just go with instinct, and even if it doesn´t set, runny jam tastes just as good.

Now you need to leave the jam to cool down a little for 5-10 minutes so that when you pour it into still warm, sterilized jars (I run mine through the dishwasher to do this), the fruit will not float to the top.

Seal the jars while they are still hot and this will keep (although I doubt you´ll be able to resist!) for at least a year.  Now, where´s that loaf of bread?