If you are like me and put off making a Christmas cake until the very last minute, here is the recipe for you – Nigella Lawson's Chocolate Christmas Cake. The cake doesn't immediately taste like chocolate, more like fruit and honey and the mixture smells deliciously like pan forte. My husband who will not touch alcohol, likes the cake because it doesn't have any alcohol (well, not after I've substituted the liqueur with coffee). It doesn't have any candied peel so pleases the anti candy peel brigade too. I especially like that it is really moist and doesn't need the usual seasoning over time to be ready before Christmas.
I have used the recipe below a number of times including this afternoon. If you get the seeds soaking today, or tomorrow, you can jar it on Tuesday and still be ready for Christmas.
Honey and Cardamom Mustard
Makes approx. 580 g
2/3 Cup Whole Yellow Mustard Seeds
2/3 Cup Whole Black Mustard Seeds
1 1/3 Cup Cider Vinegar
2 Teaspoons Cardamom Seeds
6 Tablespoons Water
6 Tablespoons Liquid Honey
Combine mustard seeds and vinegar in a non-reactive bowl. Leak to soak for 24 hours.
Dry fry the cardamom seeds until fragrant. Grind seeds roughly with a pestle and mortar.
Add cardamom, honey and water to mustard seeds and grind until the desired texture.
Spoon into small clean preserving jars.
Grinding -The texture of the mustard is a matter of taste. The mustard seeds tend to elude the blade of a food processor. I use a stick blender to mix all of the ingredients and spice grinder to grind small portions till smooth and then stir back through the main mixture
Whole Mustard Seeds – If you are buying only small amounts of mustard seeds, I recommend using your local Indian spice store. If you are buying a lot, or well away from spice stores a wholesaler like Moore Wilson is good too.
Jars – You will probably be looking for small jars. I find these ones from The Warehouse (I admit, I was surprised) are the best. The seals do not have any metal in contact with the mustard and consequently don't corrode. If you are using jars with metal next to the mustard, try not to keep the mustard for more than 6 months as the lids corrode slightly. Otherwise, baby food jars are just ideal.
Timing – Most mustards need about a week for the flavours to blend. So if you are making mustard for a gift this week, let the recipient know they need to wait a little bit longer to taste it.
Variations – The general rule for mustards appears to be equal parts of seeds and vinegar soaked for 24 hours, season, grind and thin with water or more vinegar if needed.