Tis the season for telling baby birthing stories…
Sit yourself down, grab a mince pie…actually lets start again… Get your ass to the kitchen, make some mince pies, now sit down with a pie and glass o’ port as we begin…
It was a cold, dark night when the virgin (ha!) Linda pissed on a stick.
The plastic, urine soaked rod glowed a heavenly blue as it told her “you’re going to have a baby”.
“Dave! Dave! I have been told that in 9 months we are to have a baby!”
“So November? I knew I gave you a proper good one on Valentines” proclaimed an ecstatic David.
So, later that year, Dave and Linda made the 10 minute journey across Widnes, riding on a Ford Capri.
They arrived at Highfield Hospice where the midwife told Linda she would soon be with child.
“He will be called the Baby Michael!” Announced Linda. “Michael, after some hot guy from a TV show as I’ve realised naming him Marc after Marc Bowlan may not auger well.”
But, the joyous night did not last long…
After many uncomfortable hours a midwife approached Linda to tell her “There is no room in the vagina!”.
A new light appeared in the night sky. It was the flashing of an ambulance which had come to carry Linda and the partially crowned Baby Mykie to a manager in Whiston Hospital.
Doctors bearing gifts of gas, forceps and air paid their respects to the half-born Baby and delivered him into his mothers arms via C-section.
“All hail the new Baby Michael!”
“I know he is a special baby” said Linda. “He has a pointy head and is a bit yellow!”
“That’s because he got stuck in your lady tunnel and is half Chinese” barked the slightly racist nurse.
After treatment for jaundice, Linda and David took their cone-headed prince home to Widnes.
After that delightful tale you may have gone off your pies…but if you still want a gobble, here’s our recipe for sweet short crust pastry as a variation on our previous pies.
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
- 225g plain flour
- 60g butter, softened
- 40g vegetable fat (trex)
- 25g caster sugar
- pinch o’ salt
- 1 egg, beaten
- tsp vanilla extract
- splash of milk if needed
- Rub fats into flour
- Stir through salt and sugar
- Cut through egg, ancillary and milk (if needed) with a butter knife until mixture comes together
- Press into a smooth ball, flatten and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes
This pastry is so easy to work with and rolls nice and thinly. It has a beautiful crunch yet melts in the mouth…perfection!
Have a very merry Christmas!!! Love Wondercat!
Hello! It’s totally Christmas time!
Here at Wondercat we’ve been fabulizing the tree and decking the halls…the season has us in its tinselly grasp!
This weekend called for a bit of festive munchables, but, to be honest, we were more about the eating than the baking…time to whip up some lightening fast mincemeat and turn it into pies…so bloody scrumptious they’ll make you throw your arms wide and pull the “Farah face”!
Mo Farah Mince Pies
equal weights of:
- Dried fruits of various kinds-Plump raisins? A sour cherry perhaps? Christmas craisins? How about some candied peel? Throw caution to the wind, live on the edge, do it for Baby Jesus!
- Cooking apples-peeled and chopped into little bits…not the cores, dumbass!
quarter weight of:
- Brown sugar
- Ginger beer
- Almonds, toasted and chopped
- 2 tsp mixed spice
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- Brandy, or some other delightful booze
- Lemon zest
- Orange zest
So, the equation for mincemeat is as follows (food algebra, brain food):
(4x(fruit+apple)+x(sugar+beer+butter+almonds)+spice+zest+booze)-bakers scoffing privileges
Just call me (P)Einstein! *We know, we know, total cracker joke right? Speaking of cracker jokes we heard THE BEST today…ready for this??! “How does King Wenceslas’ like his pizza?” We’ll pop the answer at the bottom of the post…worth every second of scrolling, we promise you!*
Back to the mince meat…
- Just throw everything in a big ol’ pan (except the brandy and nuts) and boil away until the apples have turned mushy.
- Let it cool for a while then stir in the almonds and as much booze as you can without making it a big sloppy mess…we got a good few glugs in let me tell you! *we had also been drinking the booze so were dancing around in just our pants singing Nicky Minaj…sometimes life calls for a semi-nekkid Minaj moment*.
- Throw it into sterilised jars or as we did, a big lock ‘n’ lock tub and store it in the fridge.
- 200g plain flour
- 100g butter-cut into cubes
- couple of tbsp of lemon juice
- pinch o’ salt
- tsp vanilla extract
- Rub butter into flour and salt until breadcrumby
- Cut in lemon juice and vanilla extract with a butter knife until it starts to come together…and a bit of water if needed but not too much…if it’s a big wet mess then you have fooked it up.
- Bring it together into a ball, squish it flat, wrap in cling-film and whack in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. *We used this time to go at the mincemeat with a spoon*
- Bake at 175C for 20 minutes until the mincemeat is bubbling and the oven stink o’ Christmas.
- Sprinkle with icing sugar then enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!
These pies are tiny, hardly a pie at all. They are actually closer to mini tarts but who has a mince tart? It would be like renaming the iPad mini the iPhone big. Any who, they are a perfect little morsel for a mouthful of Christmas cheer; like Mo Farah and gold medals you can have them all! *Mo probably didn’t eat his gold medals with a glass of wine watching Strictly…but maybe he did? Who knows?*
That’s right kids, go on! Eat all the pies…then bake more and eat them too!
It’s Christmas time!!!!
Oh yeah, the joke…”Deep pan, crisp and even!” We laughed until snot shot from our nose…It doesn’t take much to tickle a Wondercat.
Travelled down the road and back again; Your heart is true, your a pal and a confidant. And if you through a party; Invited everyone you ever knew; You would see the biggest gift would be from me and the card attached would say thank you for being a friend!!!
Sorry, we went to a bad place…this isn’t a Golden Girls post, it’s about German, Herman Friendship Cake…picture it, Sicily, 1912 (We’ll stop now, promise!)
Right…picture it, Christmas party, Altrincham, last weekend…Granny Dot gave us a Baby Herman! If you haven’t heard of Herman he is a version of Amish Friendship Breadthat is currently having a bit of a revival. It is basically an edible chain letter that we here at Wondercat predict will be the Zombie/Bacon/Angry Birds of 2012.
The easiest way to explain things is to show you the instructions:
We are definitely on-board with the festive here at the bakery!
This weekend was time for our annual Winter Soirée; a time to catch up with friends and family and be merry! Tis the season after all!
This year we changed things up a bit. Gone were the glazed ham, roast turkey and salmon…bring on the Bolly and canapés! Of course, there were a few regulars…
The Chadong Christmas Cake and Mykie’s Mince Pies!
The Chadong Christmas Cake is the highlight of the baking calendar for us. Not only do we try and improve on the taste of the cake each year but we also have a great time planning the décor! The Cake is the centrepiece, the fruity glue that holds the evening together…it must be perfection (or as close as we can get given the restraints of time, resource and sanity).
This year we totally revamped the fruit cake which is usually just a Delia with a twist or two. This year we wanted something different; something that still screamed fruit cake but lighter, fresher, and more appealing to the “fruit cake haters”.
The Fruit Cake Nativity
- Mary: Dried Apricots
- Wise Men: Dried Mango/Pineapple/Papaya
- Baby Jesus: Maraschino Cherries
- Angel Gabriel: Candied Mixed Peel
- Joseph: Sultanas
- Donkey: Pistachio Nuts
- Shepherds: Lemoncello, Calvados, Apricot Brandy
- Inn-Keeper: Honey
As you can see, we made some big changes! The cake batter was made with golden caster sugar a heap of vanilla and spiced with just a touch of cinnamon and a generous helping of ground ginger…light honey frivolity replaced dark treacly depth.
The design for this year was “Snow Stripe”; we wanted to create something rigid in design but with the Wondercat signature piping detail. Over all it turned out OK. There are a few areas that aren’t as surgically precise as we would of hoped for but in the time we allowed for decorating we will settle for good over great.
So, how was this mountain of blue hues received? Pretty well!
It managed to retain the essence of a good Chrimbo Cake but really was zippier, lighter and brighter. The tropical fruits and cherries punctuated each mouthful brilliantly giving something more interesting than the traditional homogeneous treacly fudge of a classic cake. This cake converted two “fruit cake haters” to total cake-munchers but the biggest compliment came from Moogi Leong; she rang the next day to say she really enjoyed the cake and that Grandma Glover (R.I.P.) would have loved it as she also wasn’t a fan of the traditional fruit cake so always had Dundee Cake at Christmas. This had Mykie in floods when he hung up the phone…we are keeping this recipe (which I will post, promise) and dedicating it to the late, great Betty Glover!
The mince pies we made using the Cranberry Mincemeat of the previous post but once again we gave things a shake! In place of the ground almonds in the sweet shortcrust pastry, we used THIS to give a richer, more nutty texture and taste. It added a slightly wholemeal feel which contrasted nicely against the sweet cranberry and citrus tang of the filling…yummers!
The evening was a blast! Wonderful to see everyone and ramp up the Christmas spirit!
Not long to go now folks…Santa’s coming!!!! Raise a glass to friends and family both living and departed and celebrate!!!!
So after a few weeks of not being able to look at a cake, bat an eyelid at a biscuit or glance at a gateaux we are back in the baking habit…oh happy day!!
We’ve been trying to rev ourselves up for a while but after two weeks channelling Takeru Kobayashi in China and thus returning looking like a giant cha siu bao; the Violet Beauregarde of the Far East if you will, we have steered clear of the kitchen.
But we’re back! Christmas has cracked us! After our traditional “Grand Opening to Christmas”-a trip to Fortnum and Mason for high tea in St James’s and a rampage through their decadent decorations (seriously, rampage…last year I managed to totally decimate a display of baubles…why didn’t I learn from classic cartoon slapstick and not take a bauble from the bottom of the pile!?); a freshly filled decanter of Pedro Ximenez and finally the erecting of the festive foliage…we could hold back no longer…
Chadong Panettone and Mykie’s Mincemeat
I’m not adding recipes as the panettone is a work in progress and the mincemeat is just a revamp of Nigella’s Cranberry Studded Mincemeat with a few tweaks.
So, panettone…bit of a disaster for a few reasons…
- I didn’t have a recipe I liked
- I decided to freestyle and make my own
- I used a tin that was too big
- I baked it totally wrong
Apart from that it was fucking marvellous!
So Christmas is here! Fragrance adverts are taking over the TV and there is tinsel everywhere (except our house, let’s be real people, we are not tinsel people)…(for some reason we’ve started calling it tinzel…well, tiiiinnnnzzzzzzeeelllll…it’s hilariously homo…try it, you won’t go back)