Last blast of good things
LITTLE CHRISTMAS:Sit down, put your feet up, and be served these sweet treats on Nollaig na mBan, writes EUNICE POWER
Little Christmas or Nollaig na mBan is celebrated tomorrow, January 6th. Of course the date is also the feast of the epiphany. How fitting then that some emancipated soul should have had their own epiphany and proclaimed it a day of rest and reward for women. Call me biased but isn’t every woman in the country exhausted by the time the Christmas festivities come to an end ? Tomorrow they finally get a chance to kick back and relax with friends, and be served by the men of the house – well that’s the theory.
My female friends /co-conspirators and I don’t like to leave the fate of this day in the hands of men, so we gather together and plan our lunch with military precision. The men are evicted from one or other of our houses, where we congregate, all bringing a food offering that can be prepared the day before. We then spend an afternoon lunching and chatting, competing for air time.
ICED COFFEE SOUFFLES
This is my contribution to our lunch this year
2 level tbsp powdered instant coffee
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp rum
Separate eggs and beat the yolks with the sugar and powdered coffee until mixture is thick and creamy.
Melt the chocolate and water together in a small saucepan. Add the rum and then stir the chocolate into egg and coffee mixture.
Whip the cream and fold into the souffle mixture. Whisk the egg whites and fold them in too. Pour into individual ramekins, glasses or coffee cups and freeze for four hours, or overnight, or days even. Once taken out of the freezer they must stand at room temperature for 20 minutes or so before serving, with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of chocolate.
HAZELNUT AND COFFEE BISCOTTI
I love to see the awe on people’s faces when I produce these simple little biscuits. There is something about these that convince people they have to be made in a far away country where they are dried in the sun for months. The truth is that they take about 10 minutes to make, 45 minutes to bake and a further 20 minutes to crisp up. They are delicious served with coffee, or with a little glass of liqueur.
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
170g caster sugar
100g shelled hazelnuts, toasted for 10 minutes at 150 degrees/gas 2 until golden
2 heaped tsp instant coffee
Preheat an oven to 150 degrees/gas 2. Mix together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Add the coffee to the eggs and lightly beat until the coffee is dissolved. Make a well in the centre of the flour and add the eggs, this can be done in a mixer if you prefer.
Turn the dough out on to a floured surface. Dust your hands with flour and work in the hazelnuts. Divide the dough into two pieces and shape each piece into a plump long roll. Put each roll on to a flowered baking tray and bake for 45 minutes, until firm.
Take the rolls out of the oven and reduce the heat to 130 degrees/gas ½. Using a serrated knife, thinly slice each roll into one-centimetre slices. Place the slices on a wire rack – I use cooling racks. You will probably have to do this in batches. Then put each tray into the oven and leave for 20-30 minutes until the biscuits are dry and hard. Take them out of the oven and allow to cool, then store in an airtight container.