Tag Archives: Christmas recipes

Christmas cooking

It is my youngest daughter’s eighth birthday tomorrow, the party was held at the weekend and everything is ready for tomorrow. This, then, for me, means I can begin to think about Christmas. I can’t contemplate it before her birthday preparations are out of way. Thank goodness she wasn’t born closer to Christmas. What this also means is that I have been doing this blog for more than five years now. This was bought home to me when I printed off the chocolate birthday cake recipe for my mum to make for her and looked at the photo of the cake that my youngest had decorated for her Dad when she was three.

This made me think about just how many recipes I have posted on here over that time. It has become my own personal cookbook and I hope that it has the same purpose for others too.  In my planning for the holidays I started to look back on the recipes that are favourites and also found some that I really enjoyed when I made them but haven’t returned to since. It occurred to me that a round-up of the recipes I will be revisiting or would like to, but probably won’t have the time when it comes to it, would be useful for me and perhaps for a few of you too.

I do love all the cooking that comes with the Christmas holidays. The girls have two weeks off from school which means that we can have proper breakfasts, rather than a bowl of cereal or a piece of toast. So we will be enjoying pancakes, waffles, pikelets or Staffordshire Oatcakes as well as the occasional Full English.

The Aga baked ham will be cooked for Christmas Eve dinner and for tucking into afterwards too. Whenever there is a ham in the house Fidget pie is made, because I love it so much. When I made Fidget pie last week, I used white wine instead of cider and reduced it to a syrup before I added the cream and it was delicious. My recipes are always evolving.

My mum makes enough mincemeat for all of us, but if you do need a recipe the one I made with pecans was really tasty. Mince pies are very popular in this house, in fact I have promised to make some today. My eldest likes them slightly burned. I like to oblige, sometimes because I have forgotten put the timer on. The curse of the Aga.  Then when we are bored of them, mincemeat bars might make an appearance or that Norfolk Scone I have promised myself.

My mum will also be cooking the turkey, but she will be doing it this way because it’s tried and tested and delicious. Mushroom and chestnut wellington makes a very good alternative to the turkey.

Stollen might make an appearance, because I make marzipan at Christmas, not for the cake (mum makes those) but because we love it. Marzipan chocolates will be the result and I should really make my ginger and marzipan cake again because that was very, very good.

Christmas pudding is my absolute favourite, but if you want something different then my Cardamom and almond steamed pudding or my Whisky and honey cheesecake go down very well. Chocolate truffles, whether chilli or cherry flavoured will be on the table at some point and I might find time to make candied peel again.

Just writing this post has lifted me into the festive spirit so I am off to make mince pies and some lemon curd ready for the pikelets and oatcakes. Be assured that whilst I make these I will be half watching a movie on one of the Christmas channels. I started doing that back in November. Don’t judge me too harshly.

Aga cooked turkey

I have had a stinking cold.  It’s the sort where only full bed rest will do, but life is just not going to let that happen and I do want to tell you about how my mum cooks the Christmas turkey.  I am only sorry I didn’t manage to post it earlier in the week. It is the best turkey I have ever tasted, moist and delicious.

The one in the picture above is from last Christmas but I never quite managed to post about it.  If you have an Aga then this is the way to cook your turkey.  This recipe is based on a 15lb (7kg) turkey.

Mum stuffs the cavity with two types of stuffing, usually prune and sausagemeat and apricot. You can stuff your turkey with your favourite stuffing. She then slathers the entire bird in butter and then on Christmas Eve night she cooks it for 1 hour in the roasting oven.  This gives it a good start, crisping the skin and bringing the internal temperature up.  She then turns it onto its breast and places it in the simmering oven under a tent of foil and leaves it there overnight. So it gets about 8 hours in the simmering oven.  When she gets up in the morning, and she is an early riser, she turns the bird over and places it back in the simmering oven for another hour or so. Then she checks the internal temperature with a meat thermometer to check it is cooked.  Then transfers the bird to the warming oven, where it sits happily until we are ready for our dinner at about 1pm.  The turkey is still hot and the juices have run back into the meat making for a very delicious turkey.

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas.  I hope you all have a wonderful time. Kath xx

Mince pie

Here is a mince pie made with the Christmas mincemeat, shortly before being polished off by me.  I like mince pies in all forms, whether made with shortcrust or puff pastry.  Last night I made them with shortcrust pastry.

As you will see from the picture at the bottom we love mince pies so much in this house that we also make them during the summer holidays.

This makes 24 mince pies.  You can freeze mince pies in the patty tins, once frozen you can then place them in a freezer bag for easier storage. When you are ready to cook simply place them back into the patty tin. They will need a few more minutes if cooking from frozen.

350g plain flour
175g butter
cold water

450g mincemeat

1 egg, beaten
light soft brown sugar or icing sugar to dust

Method

I always make my pastry in a food processor as it means you handle the pastry less and it makes for a crumblier texture.  Place the flour and butter in a processor and pulse until it becomes the texture of breadcrumbs. (If you are doing it by hand rub the butter and the flour lightly through your fingertips, lifting your hands up high in the air over the bowl as you do it until all of the butter and flour is combined and the texture of breadcrumbs).  Add enough cold water to form a dough (probably about 4-5 tablespoons, but add carefully) and mix until just combined.  Remove from the bowl and place in a plastic bag or cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to about 3mm thick.  Using a 7.5cm round pastry cutter, cut 24 rounds out of the pastry and using a 6 cm round pastry cutter cut another 24 rounds out.  You will need to re-roll the pastry to use it all up and I normally do this in two batches, splitting the dough into one ball that is two-thirds of the dough for the larger rounds and the second ball that is one-third of the dough for the smaller rounds.

Place the larger rounds into the bottom of each hole in two patty tins. Using a pastry brush, brush a little egg around the top of each pie.

Place a teaspoon of mincemeat into each pie, don’t overfill or it will burst out and burn during cooking.  Place the smaller rounds on top, pressing around the edge gently. Pierce a small hole in the top of each pie with the point of a sharp knife. Brush the top of each pie with egg.

Cook in a preheated oven at 200°c (400°f, gas mark 6) for 25-30 minutes until they are golden brown.  Dust with sugar or icing sugar as soon as they come out of the oven.

Christmas mincemeat with pecans and dried cherries

Well I missed Stir-up Sunday but I did manage to get round to making my mincemeat this week. It is worth making just for having the smell of Christmas in the house for a couple of days whilst it sits and soaks. I used Delia Smith’s recipe as a guide but added dried sour cherries and pecan nuts – two of my favourite things. I made the first batch last night, baking twelve and freezing twelve, and I am deeming this mincemeat a success. They get eaten pretty quickly in this house as the girls are both fans of a mince-pie too.  I am looking forward to making the next batch already. I use vegetarian suet so that I can offer them to anyone who may call.

This recipe makes 6lb (2.75kg) of mincemeat.

450g Bramley apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped (I used two large apples to get this weight)
200g vegetarian suet
200g raisins
200g sultanas
200g currants
100g dried sour cherries
200g whole candied peel, chopped finely
350g soft dark brown sugar
grated rind and juice of 2 oranges
grated rind and juice of 2 lemons
50g pecan nuts, chopped
4 tsp mixed spice
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ whole nutmeg, grated
6 tbsp good quality brandy

Method

Mix all of the ingredients, except the brandy, in a large bowl, making sure that everything is well combined.  Cover with a cloth and leave to stand for twelve hours.  Cover it loosely with foil and then place it in a low oven (120°c, 225°f) for three hours so that the suet melts and covers the rest of the ingredients.  This will help preserve the mincemeat for longer.  Allow it to go completely cold.  Stir the brandy in well (this is when the smell is at its most delicious and really is Christmas in a bowl!) and then spoon into sterile jars and seal.

Mincemeat will last for twelve months in a cool dark place.

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After the suet has melted