Writers cook too!

It’s Christmas! And these Five Authors are celebrating by sharing some of our favourite recipes with you – a small thank you for dropping by on our blog over the year. Hope you enjoy them all!

First up, here’s Sue Moorcroft’s chocaholic recipe for Toblerone Cheesecake

toblerone-cheesecake-webIngredients   150g crushed chocolate Hobnob biscuits (or biscuit of your choice) :  50g butter : 280g light cream cheese (yeah, because ‘light’ is going to make a huge difference to your calorie intake with this recipe!)  :  180g Toblerone Milk Chocolate (melted and slightly cooled :  200ml whipping cream : Another 20g Toblerone Milk chocolate

Method  Melt the butter and combine with the crushed Hobnobs. Press into the bottom of a lightly greased 22cm springform tin. Put into the fridge to chill. (Try not to eat any of the Toblerone while you wait.)  Beat the cream cheese until smooth, lightly whip the cream and fold the two together. Fold the melted Toblerone in, too.  Pour onto the chilled crumb base. Smooth. Turn the 20g Toblerone into shavings and sprinkle on top. Return the whole to the fridge and try not to eat it until the following day.

Serves 12. Allegedly.

Sue says: Merry Christmas, lovely readers of Take Five Authors! I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported The Christmas Promise to amazing rankings and chart positions. Thank you for buying, reading, reviewing, talking about, or sending me ‘shelfies’ i.e. pictures of the book in supermarkets, airports, train stations, high streets, independent bookshops, hospitals and service stations. You’ve helped make my Christmas joyful and I hope that yours is just as good.

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Next, welcome to Janet Gover, who has had a brilliant year, winning every award in sight! A proud Aussie, Janet wants us to think barbecues. It’s a bit of a stretch with the wind howling and rain battering against the windows, but here goes!

Janet says: Christmas has crept up on me so quickly this year – I’m now running around like a mad thing trying to get ready. I just want to say thank you to all my friends, readers and supporters who have shared 2016 with me. What a year it has been – in so many ways.

prawns-1776527_1920In Australia – of course, Christmas falls in the middle of summer. When I was growing up, it would often be 40 degrees on Christmas day. A lot of families didn’t do the full roast turkey dinner – it was simply far too hot to even think about turning the oven on. The centrepiece of our cold Christmas lunch was always a huge bucket of king prawns – big and red and juicy. We would just peel them and eat them. Occasionally we might throw a couple on the barbie – but mostly we just ate them with a bit of prawn sauce and a squeeze of lemon as we sat in the shade of a gum tree down by the creek.

A different kind of day to what I now celebrate here in the UK, but in my heart they are the same, and that’s what matters. Much love to everyone, and Merry Christmas.

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Mary Smith says: My recipe is a wonderful alternative pud for those people who don’t like Christmas pudding. It is really easy to make and what’s not to like about a recipe which calls for a pound of chocolate and a pint of cream? I think I came across at the dentists’ years ago – it’s been a firm favourite ever since.

Amaretto Torte

Ingredients for the base:  100g (4oz) digestive biscuits, crushed into crumbs :  75g (3oz) Amaretti biscuits, crushed into crumbs  :  75g (3oz) butter, melted

Ingredients for the filling:  450g (1lb) good quality plain chocolate (minimum 50 per cent cocoa solids)  :  575ml (1 pint) double cream  :  4ml (3 tbsp) Amaretto liqueur (an extra splash won’t hurt)

Decoration:  Icing sugar  :  Chocolate scrolls

chocolateMethod for the base: Mix together both lots of crumbs with the melted butter. Press into a 23cm (9in) loose-based spring-clip tin. You might want to line the base with parchment for ease of removal from the tin.

Method for the filling: Break the chocolate into small pieces and melt in a bowl over a pan of gently simmering water. Or you can melt it in the microwave. Whip the cream until it holds its shape and stir in the liqueur. Drizzle the melted chocolate in the cream and whisk until mixed through. Spoon on top of the biscuit base and level the top. Chill for at least four hours – better still overnight – until firm. Remove from the tin onto a serving plate, dust lightly with icing sugar and decorate with chocolate scrolls.

Method for chocolate scrolls:  Melt some chocolate, a mix of plain and milk, and spread over a melamine chopping board or marble work surface with a palette knife. When hard, push a paint scraper across the top of the chocolate. Keep scroll on a chilled plate until needed.

Enjoy!

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Jenny Harper says: Being Scottish, I’ve always loved shortbread – but it has to be really short, not the heavy stuff that sits in your tum! With my Indian roots, I also love cardamom, and I’ve started serving cardamom shortbread with cinnamon ice cream as a dessert for guests after my husband has offered up one of his magnificent curries. It occurred to me that the shortbread would make a lovely spicy offering at Christmas, so I baked up a few trees! They are a bit different, and your guests should love them …

Cardamom shortbread

Ingredients:  360g plain flour, sieved  :  120g caster sugar  :  240g butter  :  12 green cardamoms, deseeded

jennys-shortbreadMethod: Rub the butter into the flour until it looks like breadcrumbs. Add the caster sugar and mix well. Crush the cardamom seeds lightly (I like to make sure some are still whole), then work the mixture with your hands to bring it together. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and butter it well. Press the mixture evenly into the tin with the ball of your hand. Bake at 160C/325F/Gas3 for 20-30 minutes, until a light gold. Allow to cool slightly, then cut into trees (or other Christmassy shapes) with a cutter. Don’t waste the scraps! Mine disappeared before I’d finished the icing …

A big thank you to everyone who has supported me over the year – I hope you have a great Christmas!

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A contribution from Ellie Campbell: Pam’s a vegetarian and Lorraine is catering for about thirty this year, some of whom are on the Paleo diet, which doesn’t matter too much as we’re having Christmas meals thousands of miles apart. One day we’ll get it together to meet at Christmas. Our Pumpkin Pie is based on a Jamie Oliver recipe, which is a classic twist on an American dish. And as it’s made with butternut squash, Pam’s happy as that’s one vegetable that’s a success in her allotment and Lorraine’s happy as apparently it’s on the ‘can have’ lists of the Paleo people. Win. Win.

Ingredients: 500g  dessert pastry (it’s fine to use ready-made!)  :  1 large butternut squash (quartered). Keep the seeds handy for later  :  ¼ teaspoon each of ground nutmeg, ground ginger and ground cinnamon  :  4 tablespoons maple syrup :  6 tablespoons caster sugar  :  3 large free-range eggs, lightly beaten :  200 ml double cream

pumpkin-pieMethod  Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6. Roll the pastry evenly. It should be about the thickness of a pound coin. Line a 22cm loose-bottomed tart tin with the pastry and bake blind for 20 minutes. Place the squash in a baking tray and sprinkle with the spices, then drizzle  maple syrup over it. Cover tightly with tinfoil (double thickness is best) and bake for 45 minutes until soft. Reduce the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4.

Allow the squash to cool, then scoop out the flesh (you need about 600g of cooked squash flesh). Be sure to use all the juices! Put in a food processor and blend until smooth, then transfer to a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of the sugar, and the eggs. Mix well and stir in the cream. Fill the tart case with the mix and bake for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, wash the seeds well, then dry them and lay them flat on a tray. Sprinkle them with the remaining sugar and place in the oven with the pie for the last 10 minutes, until crispy. Remove the tart from the oven and sprinkle with the seeds when cool.

Serve with cream or ice cream, if you’re feeling naughty.

Pam and Lorraine say: We both want to wish all our readers and fellow Take Five Authors a fabulous Christmas. May all your hopes and dreams come true. Thank you so much for your great support and may you all have a super relaxing but fun time!

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There’s nothing left to say but Happy Christmas – and be sure to drop by next week for our Take Five Authors’ New Year resolutions!

 

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