Saturday, 18 December 2010

Top Tips For Christmas Part 6

Christmas Cake Conundrums**

1. The Apricot Jam

bm apricot jam

You are supposed to brush your cake with this prior to applying marzipan. It is supposed to make it stick to the cake. However when you hunt in the cupboard, you remember that you ate the last of the jar’s contents in a recent late night toast binge.

USE MARMALADE INSTEAD! [but do take the bits of peel out first!] I’ve done this for years – and nobody has noticed the difference.

2. Marzipan Layer


The Elizabethans called it Marchpane, we call it Marzipan, some call it Almond Paste [in honour of the wonderful almonds!!] If you buy yours ready made [and most of us do] you will have noticed that it says do not refrigerate or freeze on the pack. However if you have a box of ‘Christmas foodstuffs’ stashed away in the garage, you may find the marzipan is really cold and hard when you bring it inside and really difficult to knead.

If you unwrap it, place it on a plate, and DEFROST in the microwave for 25 seconds [for a 454gram/1lb pack] it will become easily pliable. Then you can cover the cake.

3. The Leftover Blob


However carefully you measure and roll, when you have done the cake, there’s almost always a blob of marzipan leftover, usually the size of a small satsuma.

What do you do with this? Various possibilities…

  • eat it then and there in the kitchen [bad for waistline!]
  • divide into smaller hazelnut sized blobs, and stuff some dates
  • dip the smaller blobs into melted chocolate to make petit fours
  • Or you can wrap it in clingfilm and chill in fridge for half and hour – then grate into your usual crumble mix to make an almondy topping for a fruit crumble.

Cold Weather Conundrums

image 1. Brief Encounter

Some women are super-efficient and lay out tomorrow’s outfit the night before. I am not among that sisterhood. However, I can recommend selecting your clean underwear and hanging it over the end of the radiator the night before.

This does not stop the radiator from warming the bedroom – but does warm up your lingerie. The joy of getting out of bed on a cold snowy day and putting on warm briefs is wonderful! [nb this is an internet photo. I refuse to post my panties on the blog!]

2. Hand In Glove

odd gloves

I keep losing gloves – usually the right one, because I take it off to do something fiddly, then somehow it gets mislaid. So I wear mismatched ones. Last week I was in a fetching red/black set.

If I have two odd left gloves, I just turn one inside out! I found a forgotten pair of matching gloves in a coat pocket on Tuesday. I am seriously considering putting a string on them and threading it through the sleeves. It works for the little ones at school, why not for this teacher?

**Conundrums Conundra

What is the correct plural of this word? I checked here and decided on drums not dra!


  1. Hi Angela - I'm snowed in and will be decorating the cakes today, i wear odd gloves, odd socks and we put our work shoes on the radiator so they are warm when we walk to the station, it is such a treat!

  2. Works nicely for bras and pj's too :) In fact if I wasn't so HUGE I'd just sit myself there - fully clothed of course :) - all day!!!

  3. Me too with the radiator, (no photos please!)

  4. Great tips, will put my underwear for the next week on the radiator straight away as remembering to do it the night before could be too much of a challenge.

  5. Froogs - sorry you are snowed in - it is snowing here quite steadily now
    Lynn - my auntie said that if you sat on the radiator all day it would bring you "piles of trouble"!
    Elizabethd - thanks for your comment- hope you are safe at your UK Christmas destination OK!
    Jean - I am concerned your radiator may end up looking like M&S Lingerie dept!!
    Thanks for all the comments


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