Mrs Widds Rides Again

 In my own defense I do a lot of stuff around here too, but it seems that Mrs Widds is on a roll so it’s only right that credit is given where credit is due.

(As an aside, we have a good working relationship with our landlady and if we can fix things ourselves, she has no problem OK-ing it, and paying for parts, etc)

On the 23rd of December, right at the tail end of the baking frenzy that is part of our year-end gifting to the offspring, (from Mrs Widds loins they sprung, not mine. I can’t think of anything more horrifyingly painful than trying to squeeze a whole, albeit small, human being out of my vagina, and I have the utmost admiration for all the women who do) the oven stopped working. Well, not completely, just the bottom element, the most important one.

Only the upper one remained, which left to its own devices, proved that it had the capacity to burn everything to a charred wasteland if left unattended for three seconds. Mrs Widds was not amused.

Once the Christmas festivities had concluded, the last ‘do’ was on Boxing Day, Mrs Widds, true to form, eviscerated the oven and discovered this …

Ring connectors, lightly fried

Ring connectors, lightly fried

Ring connectors are the little thing-a-ma-jigs that transfer electricity from the wiring to the heating element itself. Tucked away behind the back wall of the oven. Tightly secured. Really tightly secured. So tightly secured that we had to cut the wires to get the bloody things out.

Take one trip to Canadian Tire, add a small packet of ring connectors, stir in Mrs Widds to reassemble, and turn the oven on again.

Heating, heating …

BOOM! KAPOW!

This happened …

It looks like Kane's chest after the alien exploded from him ... Emegherd! There was an alien in our oven!!!  ...Alien (the movie) reference, in case you missed it

It looks like Kane’s chest after the alien exploded from him… Emegherd! There was an alien in our oven!!! …Alien (the movie) reference, in case you missed it

Out into the pouring rain we went, again. (it’s been raining, heavily, here since the end of November)This time to our local hardware store who had the exact right replacement element.

And now the oven looks like this …

Working perfectly, and a whole lot cleaner

Working perfectly, and a whole lot cleaner

Mrs Widds bakery on Widder Island is back in business!

We did pick up a couple of loaves to tide us over, they were OK, but nothing compared to the real home-baked thing.

Have you ever … A Lesson in Gastronomy …

… licked your fingertip and picked the crumbs off your plate because 1 – you’re an adult now and you just can and 2 – you know that the crumbs of what you just ate contain the distilled essence of all that is good and fine in the world?

Nah, me neither.

Shortbread - shorts, or breads, or cookies?

Shortbread – shorts, or breads, or cookies?

Ginger Snaps ... before and after

Ginger Snaps … before and after

Mrs Widds cuts the mincemeat with apple - means you can have more than one, even if you're not doing quality control

Mrs Widds cuts the mincemeat with apple – means you can have more than one, even if you’re not doing quality control

AllysNotebook Ginger Ale fruitcake recipe - still warm from the oven

AllysNotebook Ginger Ale fruitcake recipe – still warm from the oven

As Requested … The Recipe For Butter Tarts

Please bear in mind that this is Mrs Widds Secret Recipe, so don’t tell anyone, (without attribution) especially Great Uncle Algie. We all know what a gossip he is when he’s got a bit of eggnog under his belt

-oOo-

BUTTER TARTS

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

TASTY TIP: Place foil in bottom of oven to catch any spill. (preferably before you turn the oven on!)

Spray 12 cup tart/muffin tin very lightly to enable easy removal of tarts if your filling overflows as it melts.

 

INGREDIENTS:

FILLING
1 egg
½ cup butter or margarine softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups raisins or pecans or walnuts

PASTRY
½ tsp salt
2 cups Flour
¾ cup Shortening or lard
1 tbsp vinegar
5 tbsp cold water

 

MIX IT ALL TOGETHER AND WHAT DO YOU GET:

Filling:

Beat together the first 5 ingredients until creamy, not grainy.

Chill the filling to make it easier to work with – not necessary but less messy.

TASTY TIP: I usually make up a batch of filling early and freeze it until needed.

 

Pastry:

Mix dry ingredients together, add liquid and mix together lightly.

Roll out the pastry on a floured surface.

TASTY TIP: Dust the rolling pin with flour to stop the pastry sticking to it.

Experiment with thickness, (I prefer my pastry to be fairly thin) but thick enough to hold the filling.

Pastry and filling and butter, oh my!

Pastry and filling and butter, oh my!

ADD THIS TO THAT:

Cut pastry to fit your tart/muffin tin, leaving enough to create a fluted edge around the top of each tart. Experiment with sizes. Add a few raisins, walnuts, or pecans in the bottom of pastry cup just before you put the filling in. The tarts are delicious with or without them so adding them is at the discretion of the baker.

Fill each pastry cup approximately 2/3 full.

 

LET THE ALCHEMY COMMENCE:

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until filling is set and pastry a golden brown.

TASTY TIP: Once baked IMMEDIATELY remove the tarts from pan … or you will have to hack them out with a jackhammer!

TASTY TIP: Scrape overflow into tart. To remove from tin, slide a fork down side and slide to one side gently lifting the tart as you go. Tart should lift easily out of tin.

Makes about 12, depending on the size of your tart/muffin tin, but the recipe can easily scale up for even more deliciousness.

The tarts can be frozen after baking, and reheated as desired.

BUTTER TARTS!!!

BUTTER TARTS!!!

Mrs Widds Goodie Basket Seasonal Baking Begins

Mrs Widds rose a little earlier than I yesterday and put her nefarious plans in place.

Because we live in such a little cottage I awoke to a tantalizing toffee-and-melted-butter aroma that gently lifted me from my recumbancy.

Although I’m not at my best before my first cuppa tea, I hastened to the kitchen to be greeted by this …

Pastry and filling and butter, oh my!

Pastry and filling and butter, oh my!

She waved her magic rolling pin, and in a great act of alchemy transformed these base elements into ….

BUTTER TARTS!!!

BUTTER TARTS!!!

I quelled my beating heart for I was about to face my greatest test ..

Quality control ...

Quality control …

I girded my spleen, also pancreas, and bravely hoisting my tea, sallied forth to do my duty …

Going ...

Going …

Gone, in a sugar induced haze of glory ... if I should fall in service to the season, bury me where the wild tarts roam!

Gone, in a sugar induced haze of glory … if I should fall in service to the season, bury me where the wild tarts roam!

One of the ‘playlists’ on our ‘Wunder-Lusters’ video channel is going to be about cooking these sorts of things with a propane oven, dutch oven, campfire, all sorts of RVcooking in general really, because we do love our food, we does.

The Return of, ‘Mrs Widds Bakes’!

Every year at around this time Mrs Widds goes into a bit of a flour-induced frenzy. For those of you who don’t know what I’m referring to, it’s probably worth checking out these mouthwatering posts:

Mrs Widds bakes bread … and … Mrs Widds bakes tarts and cookies.

This year she’s baking up a few favourites, and a few twists, that I can’t go into because I know that the recipients of our ‘goodie’ baskets occasionally read this blog.

However, all is not lost. My friend Ally, of Ally’s Notebook posted this wonderful 3-ingredient cake recipe that Mrs Widds had to try. All it is, is dried fruit, ginger ale, and self-raising flour.

We had all sorts of dried fruit left over from various snack-a-lots, so in went some dried papaya, (pawpaw) prunes, dried apricots, craisins, (sweetened dried cranberries) raisins and all the other usual suspects, and some roasted pecans for crunchyness.

Once everything was assembled it went into the oven and came out looking like this …

Crisp and crunchy on top ...

Crisp and crunchy on top …

... and perfectly baked everywhere else

… and perfectly baked everywhere else

We (the Baker, and the quality control expert, which would be moi) decided that next time we’d like it to have a tad more cake and a smidge less fruit, but other than that, it was truly scrumptious. Thank you, Ally!

-oOo-

The very next day … this happened …

Look at that. Some leftover pastry and a bit of roast chicken. Whatever shall I do with it?

Look at that. Some leftover pastry and a bit of roast chicken. Whatever shall I do with it?

Throw some veggies and gravy on top ...

Throw some veggies and gravy on top …

... cover with a bit of pastry and into the oven they go

… cover with a bit of pastry and into the oven they go

And this is what comes out the other end. Perfect one-person chicken-pot-pies

And this is what comes out the other end. Perfect one-person chicken-pot-pies

We grabbed one each and retreated to our separate corners where a tastefully controlled amount of snarfing occurred.

Ready for your close-up before I devour you?

Ready for your close-up before I devour you?