baking · food + drink

Irish Soda Bread with Dried Cranberries and Candied Orange Peel

sweet soda bread-0532

Baking home-made bread provides immense satisfaction and even though I have made bread on many occasions I feel a great sense of pride when taking a freshly baked loaf from the oven… every single time. When entertaining I might spend hours preparing for a dinner party and carefully laying the table, but once the home-made bread appears before the guests… all other efforts fade in comparison. With the heavenly baking aromas I would bake fresh bread everyday, but I know I (and the rest of the family) would be the size of a house if I did.

 “Bread is the warmest, kindest of words. Write it always with a capital letter, like your own name.” – Russian Cafe Sign. Continue reading “Irish Soda Bread with Dried Cranberries and Candied Orange Peel”

baking · food + drink

Italian Christmas Fruitcake – Panforte

Italian Christmas Fruitcake-3615I wanted to make a different type of fruitcake for Christmas this year after finding an old piece of paper with a recipe for a fruitcake. Mum had given me the recipe after clearing out her cookbook cupboard, she never made the fruitcake herself but thought I might like to try it… mum hoards recipes too! Called a Palestrina (an area in Italy) Christmas Cake, this fruitcake is packed with nuts, some dried fruit, dark chocolate and candied orange peel, all bound together with a honey and sugar syrup.  I guess you could call this a panforte, a renowned speciality fruitcake in Siena, Tuscany. It is best to buy a good quality candied orange peel for this recipe and if you have difficulty finding some, try making your own homemade candied orange peel… it’s not difficult. Continue reading “Italian Christmas Fruitcake – Panforte”

food + drink · store cupboard · sweets and chocolates

Homemade Candied Orange Peel

candied orange peel-1998With the holiday season only weeks away this is the time of year when I find myself making lots of  homemade candied orange peel. It’s quite a straightforward process but takes some hours to complete. The final results are so worth the effort… and your home is filled with the warming aromas of the simmering orange peel while cooking.

Strips of candied orange peel dipped in melted dark chocolate, then chilled, are irresistibly delicious and make an impressive after dinner sweet treat, which your guests will guiltlessly devour… if you’re willing to share them! Candied orange peel can be made weeks in advance and used in sweet bread recipes like this Salted Caramel Focaccia with Rosemary and Vanilla or in cakes, cookies, desserts, ice cream and used for decoration on sweets and cupcakes. Continue reading “Homemade Candied Orange Peel”