Ho ho frugal Christmas

It’s Christmas and that’s a time for oily rag households to breakout the home brew and celebrate their frugality with low cost feasts. Here are some ideas for summer treats usingfruit that is in-season and plentiful.

To make a cheap and very filling pudding, try this ‘cobbler’ (this has nothing to do with holes in your shoes!). A cobbler in the kitchen is a deep-dish pie with a thick crust. Any type of fruit can be used, but, when the plums are ripe, this is what you need for a plum cobbler. Preheat the oven to 200 C. Take 650g of any type of plums (red ones look very good), 300ml water, 100g sugar and 25g chopped almonds (optional). Place plums and water in saucepan and simmer until soft. Remove and place in a greased baking dish with half the cooking liquid, plus the sugar and almonds. Rub 75g butter or margarine into 175g self-raising flour and add 25g sugar and enough milk to mix into a soft dough. Roll dough out to 10ml thick, cut into rounds. Place rounds on top of the plums. Brush the rounds with a little milk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake the lot for 15 to 20 minutes until the top is golden. Serve hot with home-made yoghurt or custard and cream.

Peaches are a little like Bubba’s shrimps (in Forrest Gump) – they can be used in many ways: “Peach jam, peach preserves, peach pies, peach puddings, peach crumbles, peach chutney, peach kebabs, peach salad, peach burgers, fried peach, boiled peach, roast peaches, peaches with cream, caramel peaches, peaches in syrup, peaches in a lunch box, peaches in the kitchen, peaches in the TV room, peaches in the car, peach sandwiches… and that’s about it!”

For a really gorgeous and dead simple peach pudding to show off to dinner guests, take 450g peaches, simmer in a little water and sugar until soft, then drain and place in a shallow heat proof dish. If using preserved or tinned peaches, simply omit the cooking part. Sprinkle over with 50g blanched or toasted almonds or sunflower seeds and leave to cool. Whip 300ml of cream until it is thick, and spread evenly over the fruit completely covering it. Sprinkle 100g soft brown sugar over the cream and place under a hot grill until the sugar melts and caramelises. Remove and serve at once.

Banana treats – bananas are cheap to buy and versatile to use in lots of tasty b-a-n-a-n-a-l-i-c-i-o-u-s ways! Slice a banana and spread on a piece of toast. Sprinkle brown sugar over the top of the banana and grill.

To make a banana smoothie take two very ripe bananas, 200g of natural yoghurt (homemade of course), and a few scoops of vanilla ice cream. Puree in a blender and pour into glasses. This can be adapted for any soft fruit – whatever is available.

Banana split. Slice a banana lengthwise. Place the two halves on a plate. Place two scoops of your favourite ice cream in the middle and add a dollop of whipped cream. Sprinkle with chopped nuts and pour over your favourite topping.

American style pancakes are great for breakfast, lunch, or as an after-dinner dessert. All you need is 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of milk, 1 egg (use a duck egg if you have one), a couple of tablespoons of sugar, a teaspoon of baking powder, a tablespoon of melted butter, and a pinch of salt. Mix the dry ingredients. Beat the egg, and mix in the milk and butter, then add to the dry ingredients. Blend to form a creamy batter, then pour about a quarter of a cup into a hot, lightly greased frypan. Cook until bubbles break the surface, flip, and finish cooking. Pile the hot pancakes on a warm plate, with a dot of butter between each. Serve with heaps of maple or golden syrup and cream – or lots of Christmas fruits like strawberries.

Let us know if you have a favourite Xmas treat so we can share it with readers.
“Peggy” from Whangarei is looking for ideas on the best use for duck eggs. If you can help, please send in your tip via the oilyrag.co.nz website.

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