Decorating ones house for Christmas is a trend which really hasn't taken off in New Zealand, probably because it doesn't actually get dark until after 10pm at this time of the year. It was a real treat then to visit this outstanding Christmas display on Thursday evening.
If I look a little like a rabbit caught in the headlights it is because that is exactly how I felt. It was mesmerising. The story goes, that the owner of the property decorated his house and outbuildings with some 300,000 lights for his wife after she was diagnosed with a terminal illness. It turns out that she was misdiagnosed and so together they decided to open it to the public. I am pleased they did. We arrived at 9pm, as dusk was approaching and stayed until after dark at 10.30pm. Master 9 was so engrossed in the spectacle, he didn't want to go home.
Now, my poor naked Christmas cake was starting to feel a little rejected, so after all of this Christmas inspiration, it was time to do something about it. To be fair, Courteney is my icing specialist and she has worked over 30 hours this week so having her home long enough to work her magic was proving to be a problem. After 8 hours working in a dusty warehouse sorting books on a 30 degree day, she was feeling like unleashing her creative talents and this is the result. She made her own icing using the same recipe as last years cake but unfortunately made about 3 times the amount she needed so we still have mountains in the fridge. I do like this recipe though, it is nice and soft and pliable to work with.
Fondant Recipe (I would reduce this by at least half next time)
1Tbsp of unflavoured gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
1tsp almond extract
1/2 cup light corn syrup (I got mine at the Asian Supermarket)
1Tbsp glucose syrup
2lbs confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp white vegetable shortening