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Monday, 20 December 2010

orchids and biscuits




The first one from our collection of cymbidium orchids has come out into a full bloom, just in time for Christmas! We have four of these beauties and they spend their summers in the corner of the garden, mostly forgotten, just occasionally watered and fed. We bring them in just before there is any danger of a frost and every time they reward our neglect with beautiful blooms.









Another very cold weekend, with snow not going anywhere. This would normally be the busiest shopping weekend before Christmas. We can only see on the news the half empty shops and even the large stores complaining of the big losses in revenue. London's Heathrow airport and others were closed, even now flights are limited. The rail not much better, even Eurostar cancelling, with northern France being in the same situation as us. I really feel for all those people trying to get home for Christmas, but instead having to spend yet another night on the airport floor.
We had a lot more snow today. We tried to make "a run for it", but in the end we turned back. We might had been able to get to the nearest town, but possibly not back again, it is not worth risking.
I was going to make more Christmas biscuits, but I haven't got any more plain flour, so it will have to wait.

So, by a "public" demand, I will give you recipe for the two kinds on my blog so far.

Bear's paws:

140g plain four
70g caster sugar
100g unsalted butter
70g ground nuts (of your choice, I use walnuts)
vanilla
cinnamon

Rub the butter into the flour until crumbled, ad all the other ingredients (or just give it it a blast in the food processor). Break of small pieces and press into small tins (like madelaine tins or similar). Madelaine tins give it the traditional look of "bear's paws". Bake in a medium oven for a few minutes. Sorry, can't give exact time or temperature, this comes from a very old cookery book, I think they expected you to know!

Vanilla and almond crescents

150g plain flour
20g icing sugar
100g unsalted butter
50g ground almonds
vanilla
finely grated lemon rind
1 egg yolk
vanilla sugar for coating

Mix all dry ingredients, mix vanilla with egg yolk and use this to bind the pastry together. You can either roll out the pastry and cut out crescent shapes with a cutter, or, as I do, make a sausage shape from pastry, cut of small pieces and form them into a crescent shapes. Again, bake for a few minutes in the medium oven until they are starting to change colour. Then coat them in vanilla sugar.

Ad then, the most important: hide them until Christmas!

7 comments:

  1. Hello Radka, thank you so much for the recipes. I think I will use pecans, as I really prefer them to walnuts. Both seem nice, easy recipes.

    I just love your orchid. What spectacular blooms and how lovely to have them now when things are so gloomy for you outside.

    The world news tells us that the snow is still coming thick and fast. I do hope it will not interrupt your Christmas plans.

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  2. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

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  3. Hello Radka...... so so beautiful Orchid very lovely... NowI am watching the slide show
    Oh how beautiful and neat your bullion roses are, I wish I can make like this... adorable..
    Wish you a very Happy Christmas …
    I would love if you come to visit me at
    http://craftaworld.blogspot.com/
    Love
    Farah

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  4. Thank you Radka - I think I will be baking the Bears Paws today - sound delicious. Hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas and are not too 'snowed in' - over here in Oz it is going to be lovely and sunny on 25 Dec - 28C which is about 82F. Not too hot for a hot meal......

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  5. Looking at the cookies, makes me hungry and wanting to make them!!! I love the orchid... so beautiful!! Thanks for sharing.

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  6. What a beautiful orchid Radka and just in time for Christmas.

    I have so enjoyed your blog and the many pictures you post. Thankyou.

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  7. Hello Radka, your advice to hide all the fine cookies until Christmas is indeed a good advice (but I guess people having a sweet tooth, will find them everywhere ;-) ). Your vanilla and almond crescents look like the "Vanillekipferl" we bake and they are indeed yummy! Wishing you wonderful and relaxing Christmas holidays and all the very best for the coming year!
    Christmas greetings from
    Barbara

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