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Herb Damper

Just a quick recipe for tonight.  I made a loaf of this at lunchtime to go with soup, and it was gorgeous. David loved it: I think he ate more than I did!

Damper is an Australian bread, traditionally cooked over an open fire.  The quantities I use make a small loaf, just right for the three of us. I reduced salt because David was eating it, and we very rarely add salt to anything now. It’s edible cold, but it’s best almost straight from the oven, in buttery chunks.

Ingredients
2 cups self-raising flour
pinch salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp room-temperature butter
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup water
chopped chives/ dried mixed herbs to taste (I used about a tablespoon)

Method

Sift the dry ingredients together into a bowl.
Add the butter and rub between fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Mix in chives and herbs.
Make a well in the flour mixture, and add the milk and the water. Mix together until a dough is formed.
Turn the dough out onto a floury surface, and knead until silky.
Form into a round loaf and cut a deep cross in the top.
Bake for 20 minutes at 200C, then reduce oven temperature to 180C and bake for another 10-15 minutes until done.

How do you tell it’s done? Pick it up (with oven gloves on!) and tap the bottom. If it’s cooked it’ll make a hollow sound.

Serve warm with butter.

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Cherry and Cinnamon Cookies

I’ve been on a bit of a cookie drive the last few weeks, but I fancied something a little different from the standard choc-chip cookie.  I started off by making white chocolate cherry cookies to this recipe, a couple of times and with a few variations.  I then moved onto banana oat cookies, as we had bananas that needed using.  Now, I’m back on the cherry side of things.

You’ll need:

2 tablespoons butter, softened.

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp golden syrup

2 cups plain flour

1 tsp bicarb of soda

1 tbsp cinnamon (you can use mixed spice if you prefer)

1 cup glace cherries (I used multicoloured ones, this is experimental Christmas cooking!)

 

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C.

Cream the butter and the sugar together.  Add the egg, vanilla extract, and golden syrup, and blend well.  Add the dry ingredients, and stir with a wooden spoon.  Fold in the cherries.

Bake on a greased baking tray for ten minutes.

Take cookies out, allow to cool until set on tray.  Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.  (Don’t do what I did and eat one off the baking tray, you’ll burn your tongue on the hot glace cherry!)

Makes 24 medium-sized cookies.

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Chocolate Cakes

I make these on a regular basis, but they never seem to last very long!  The recipe produces a lovely moist cake that isn’t too rich.

Makes approximately 24 little cakes, or two sandwich tins.

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 4oz margarine
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda

Method

Combine dry ingredients, and mix them together.  Beat in the eggs, milk and margarine.

Put into muffin cases, and bake in medium-heat oven for 30-45 minutes, until a fork can be inserted and come out clean.

Leave to cool.  Try not to eat them all!

Icing

I usually cheat and use ready-rolled royal icing, and just cut it to fit the cakes.  It’s easier to decorate it that way, and the decorating is the fun part!

These were decorated with writing icing, silver balls, and sugar flowers.  Use whatever you fancy!

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