Sunday, 23 January 2011

How green is my halo!!! and a recipe for stollen

I've had a day of recycling - smug? moi??!!!!

This morning I recycled the christmas tree in to weed-supressing mulch for the paths in my vegetable garden. Yes, I know christmas was about a month ago, but until a week ago the paths, like the rest of my garden, were under a thick layer of frozen-hard snow, and I would have needed a pickaxe to get at them. And last weekend it poured with rain non-stop... which at least got rid of the snow. First time I'd seen grass in my garden for 7 weeks. The garden is looking very sorry for itself, but no doubt it will recover. I hope the garlic (from Gubbio in Umbria) and jerusalem artichokes are ok under the still-frozen ground. The kale, purple sprouting broccoli and swiss chard plants all look as if someone has sat on them, but once it warms up a bit I expect they will shoot again.

I tried the christmas tree mulch on one path last year, and it certainly did seem to work, fewer weeds and a pleasant surface to walk on (although I wouldn't try it with bare feet)  so today I snipped the smaller branches into bits about 6" long, or less, and spread them on another path, treading them down. One 4' christmas tree only produced enough mulch for about 6' of path, but what is left (the central trunk) will be much easier to dispose of. If I had an open fire or stove I would burn it but it would be very sparky, and anyway I dont, so it will go in the green recycling bin to be shredded and composted by the council .

I also tidied up about two months of stuff destined for the compost heap  - when the ground was covered in snow I couldn't get to the compost bin so all the (biodegradable) bags of veg peelings, dead flowers etc had been piling up in buckets outside the back door. At least the cold weather prevented it from smelling!

After lunch I spent a couple of hours recycling two old duvet covers into eight large cloth sacks. I did this because in the next week or so I am expecting a delivery of fleeces, and cloth bags are much better than polythene for storing them. The big bags are useful for storing loads of other things too- they are tougher than bin bags, good for wrapping and cushioning awkward shapes, and of course they are washable and reusable.

Finally - I 'recycled' (well, used up) the marzipan left over from the christmas cake by making two stollen. I modified the recipe to use my breadmaker for the dough, then baked them in the oven.

Tastes as good as it looks!!



Here's the recipe:

Breadmaker Stollen (makes 2)
100ml warm water
2tbs dried milk powder
1 egg
300g plain flour
50g icing sugar
Zest of half a lemon
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon brandy
50g flaked almonds
50g butter chopped up small
100g raisins
1 tsp dried 'quick' yeast
150g marzipan

Put everything except the marzipan in the breadmaker, in the order given, and set it to the dough programme.
When the dough is ready, tip it out on to a floured surface. Cut it in half. Stretch each piece into a rectangle about 12 inches by 8.
Make the marzipan into two 'logs' 10 inches long. Place in the middle of the dough rectangles and wrap the dough round them, pinching the ends.

Place on a non-stick baking tray and bake at 180 C for40 mins. Enjoy!!!

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