Category Archives: Christmas

Merry Christmas!

 Wishing you all a merry Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous new year!    

Love

Anna & Darcy xxx

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Mini Breakfast Bites

These mini breakfast bites were one of the first things I invented for myself in 3rd year food tech!  They are now a staple tradition in our household and I couldn’t imagine Christmas without them!

Mini Breakfast Canapes

Makes 24

24 slices of white bread (2 meduim sliced loaves)
1/2 cup sunflower oil
24 quails eggs
12 rashers streaky bacon or pancetta
24 tiny button mushrooms (or 6 small mushrooms cut into quarters)

  • Heat the oven to gas mark 7.
  • Get out 2x 12 hole bun tins, I prefer the rounded ones but the straighter ones work just fine.
  • Use a large round cookie cutter, checking that it is slightly bigger than the bun tins you are using,   to cut out a large round from the centre of each slice of bread.  (leftover crusts can be used to make bread sauce, or breadcrumbs to freeze for later use)
  • Brush both sides of each round of bread and gently press into the bun tins.
  • Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, until just turning crisp and golden.
  • Take out the tins (being careful coz it’s hot!) and crack a quails egg carefully into each one.  (I use a sharp knife to pierce the shells)
  • Return to the oven for ~5 minutes until the eggs are just setting.
  • Prepare your bacon/pancetta rolls by slicing each rasher in half then rolling up.
  • Take the tins out of the oven again and add your bacon rolls and mushrooms.
  • Cook for another 5-7 minutes until the bacon is cooked through.
  • Serve immediately while hot and make sure you get some too because these will disappear fast!
  • Mini Breakfast Canapes

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Filed under Canapés, Christmas, Moderately easy

Mini Yorkshire Puddings with Roast Beef and Horseradish and Mustard Creme Fraiche

December is here and ’tis the season for cocktails and canapé at every turn!  I thought I’d take the opportunity to share one of my favourite canapé from last year’s Christmas festivities, Mini Yorkshire Puddings!

Mini Yorkshire Puddings with Roast Beef and Horseradish

These are a fabulous little morsel that are quick and easy to prepare, you can even cook the Yorkshire puddings in advance and then reheat them but I do recommend using an oven to reheat rather than a microwave as you get a much better texture.  You can even serve these at room temperature if there’s too much pressure on the oven space.  Keep it simple and enjoy your party!

Mini Yorkshire Puddings with Roast Beef and Horseradish

Makes ~24

100g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
300ml milk
1 egg
oil/lard/trex for cooking (I favour Lard unless I have a vegetarian about in which case I switch to trex)
200ml creme fraiche
2 tsp horseradish sauce
1 tsp dijon mustard
~6 thin slices of roast beef
parsley sprigs for decoration

  • Put the flour, salt, milk and egg into a tall jug.
  • Blitz with a stick blender to combine (Keeping a good grip on the jug!)
  • Leave to sit for around 20 minutes, half an hour, or longer if necessary.
  • Get the oven nice and hot (Gas 6 / 200C or above)
  • Put a small knob of Trex, lard or a dash of vegetable oil (just enough to cover the base of the tin) in each hole of a 24 mini muffin tin (if yours is smaller do this in batches) and place in the oven to get piping hot.  (10 minutes or so)
  • Pour the batter in to just fill each hole of the tin.  (Careful of the hot oil!!)
  • Place carefully in the oven and close the oven door.
  • Leave to cook for 15-20 minutes until all poofed up and golden brown.  DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN WHILE THEY ARE COOKING!
  • Mix the creme fraiche, horse radish and mustard together in a bowl.  Test to see if its got enough bite to it (or too much!) and alter to suit your tastes.
  • Roll the roast beef up and slice into sections about 1″ long.
  • Carefully spoon a little of the horseradish mixture into the centre of each Yorkshire Pudding, insert a roll of beef and decorate with a sprig of parsley.
  • Grab and bottle of bubbly and go mingle with your guests!

Mini Yorkshire Puddings with Roast Beef and Horseradish

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Last Minute Sweet Gifts Roundup!

If you have left it too late, or have an unexpected guest arriving tomorrow here are some ideas for quick, easy sweet gifts that you can throw together. Or may be you have superpowers and somehow have some free time to whip together some sweets for the hoards about to descend. Either way, here are my favourite sweet recipes!

Fruit and Chocolate DropsChocolate FudgePeppermint Puddings'Fakewell', ginger and chilli and chocolate and peanut cookiesSpice Biscuits

Fruit and Chocolate Drops
Fudge
Peppermint Creams
–  Chocolate Truffles
– Condensed Milk Cookies
– Spice Biscuits

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Filed under Christmas, Cookies and Biscuits, Roundup, Sweets

Gingerbread Biscuits

Gingerbread Biscuits

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without gingerbread!  Now, prior to this year I have always made and endured gingerbread biscuits but only because it’s Christmas and that’s just what you do!  Not this year, oh no!  I have finally found a gingerbread recipe that I actually enjoy!  These biscuits are crisp enough to keep their structure when hung on a tree, or built into 3D constructions but chewy enough that you don’t feel in danger of cracking a tooth on them unlike some of the recipes I’ve tried over the years.  They are incredibly moreish and have just the right level of spice and interest for me without being so strong that you can’t accidentally eat half a dozen in 5 minutes flat!

Gingerbread DoughGingerbread Snowmen

Makes ~30 of different sizes, depends on your cutter!

100g butter
175 dark muscovado sugar
85g golden syrup
pinch of salt
350g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
1 egg

– Melt the butter, sugar, syrup and salt in a saucepan and mix until all combined.
– Set aside to cool while you weigh the other ingredients.
– Put the flour, bicarb and spices in a large mixing bowl.
– Add the warm melted butter/sugar/syrup and give a little mix.
– Add the egg, continue to mix until it forms a soft batter.  Don’t worry, it will be much squishier than you think it should be.
– Put it in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes.
– Heat the oven to gas mark 6 and prepare 2 baking trays with lining paper.
– On a lightly floured worksurface roll out the dough to about 5mm for larger cookies or the thickness of a £1 coin for smaller .  I have a small worksurface so I work with half the dough at a time and keep the rest in the fridge.
– Cut out your biscuits and carefully lift onto the trays, leaving plenty of space for them to spread a little.  They don’t loose their shape but they will puff out a bit.
– Bake your cookies for 5-10 minutes.  The larger the biscuits are the longer they will take, the smaller they are the quicker they’ll bake.  Small ones will probably take about 7 minutes, larger ones 10-12 minutes but keep checking.  You want the biscuit to be deep brown, but not yet catching and darkening on the edges.  Black is too far!
– If you want to put holes in for hanging on trees or making into 3D structures, cut these immediately upon leaving the oven while the dough is still hot.
– Leave on the tray to firm up for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool, continue to repeat with the rest of the dough until it’s all gone.

 

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Filed under Christmas, Cookies and Biscuits, Easy

Christmas Tree Tear and Share Bread

This Christmas Tree Tear-and-Share Bread is the perfect side to any holiday meal, it’s cute, easy, and can be made ahead the night before for a low stress gathering all round!  It’s not so garlicy or cheesy as to overwhelm, but feel free to dial it up!

Christmas Tree Tear and Share Bread

Bread making doesn’t have to be hard, in fact this takes about 20 minutes hands on time, total!  It’s a real crowd pleaser and could easily be scaled up to suit any size of gathering.

Christmas Tree Tear and Share Bread

Serves 4

250g strong bread flour
4g fast action yeast
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
150ml warm water
100g shredded mozzarella
1 tsp crushed garlic
25g butter
small handful fresh parsley or basil, shredded

– Put the flour in a large mixing bowl, add the yeas to one side and the salt to the other.
– Mix to combine.
– Add the olive oil and most of the water, keep a little in reserve in case it’s too sticky.
– Start to bring the dough together in the bowl with your hand, or a dough hook attachment on a mixer.
– If using your hands, when the dough has formed tip out onto a worksurface and continue to knead by hand until the dough is soft, smooth and elastic.  If using the dough hooks continue to knead in the bowl.
– Set in a clean, oiled bowl and cover.  Leave in a warm, draft free place to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
– When the dough has risen add the cheese and garlic and knock it down.  Knead in the bowl until the cheese and garlic are evenly distributed.
– Grease an oven proof dish.
– Pinch off small balls of dough, about the size of a walnut.  I needed 23 balls.
– Roll them in your hands and arrange them in the dish to form a Christmas tree!
– Now you can cover the dish with clingfilm and keep in the fridge overnight, or you can set aside at room temperature for another 30 minute rise.
– When you are ready for your bread get the dough out of the fridge and heat the oven to gas mark 6/200C or higher.
– Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown on top.
– Immediately upon removing from the oven, dot the bread with butter.
– Scatter the parsley on top for a green Christmas tree!

Christmas Tree Tear and Share Bread

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Filed under Breads, Christmas, Sides

Christmas Recipe Roundup!

30 Christmas Recipes

Tis the season to stuff our faces!!!!!! Here are all of the recipes I think you need to see you through the festive season! Don’t forget to check out my Recipe Index too if you’re looking for some inspiration for cakes, bakes, mains and sides and everything in between!

Christmas Bakes:

Christmas CakeSpice BiscuitsChristmas MuffinsChristmas Tree Chelsea BunsGinger Bread HousesGalette des RoisMincemeat!Mince PiesKugelhopf

Christmas Cake
– Spice Biscuits
Christmas Muffins
Christmas Tree Chelsea Buns
Gingerbread
Galette des Rois
Mincemeat
Mince Pies
– Kugelhopf
Christmas Pudding

Nibbles:

Honey Mustard Glazed SausagesAnna's Breakfast BitesWheat ThinsGougeres / Palmieres

– Honey Mustard Glazed Sausages
Breakfast Bites
 Wheat Thins
– Gougeres
– Palmieres

Starters:

Christmas Tree RavioliMushrooms in Garlic Butter
-Christmas Tree Ravioli
– Mushrooms in Garlic Butter
– Chicken Liver Pate

Mains:

Pork PieRoast PartridgeTurkey Wellington!Turkey Wellington RouladeChristmas Pie

Christmas Pie
– Pork Pie
– Roast Partridge and Pears (Partridge in a Pear Tree!)
Turkey Wellington
Turkey Wellington Roulade

Desserts:

Cranberry Fool Clementine Syllabub

Cranberry Fool
– Clementine Syllabub

Edible Gifts:

ArancelloFruit and Chocolate DropsChocolate FudgePeppermint Puddings

– Arancello
Fruit and Chocolate Drops
Fudge
Peppermint Creams

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Hasselback Potatoes

If you have ever set foot on Pinterest you will have seen these babies.  The humble hassleback potato.  And may be you’ve simply looked at them and thought “Yeah, not worth the effort for a potato.”  well, I’m sorry but YOU WERE WRONG!  These things are so very much worth the effort, and it is such a small amount of effort at that!

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These potatoes are crispy and salty, soft and chewy, crunchy and pillowy and DELICIOUS!!!!!  They are all good things in potato form and what’s more, they look smashing too!

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Makes… however many you want really!

1 large potato
olive oil
sea salt

– Take your potato and carefully slice into it so that you stop just shy of going all the way through.
– Slice every couple of mm along until the whole potato is done.
– Place on a baking dish and drizzle liberally with good olive oil.
– Scatter with a pinch of sea salt.
– Cook in the oven for 45 minutes until crisp and golden brown.
– Eat as a side, main, heck, make mini ones and do canapes!

 

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Filed under Basic, Christmas, Easy, Sides

Apple Crown

I am a bit odd when it comes to apples.  I don’t like them.  Except for these apples.  These apples I will eat every day that they are in season and come up with ways to preserve them just a little bit longer.  I love them.  But they are the only ones.  They are the apples from the tree in my parent’s front garden.  These apples are ‘Discovery’ and are an eating apple that does a bang up job of being a cooking apple too.  When ripe they are gorgeously fragrant and the flesh holds a rosy pink blush, which makes these just the prettiest apples ever!

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In this incarnation I have worked them into a sweet braided crown the better to cram as much appley goodness into every bite as I can.  It’s a bit tricky, and some may say overloaded, but no.  More apple = better! The enriched dough makes a perfect vehicle for these lovely chunks of apple and the sticky cinnamon sauce it all creates is a delight!  I’m sure if this were to be presented on Bake Off there would be “Soggy Bottom” comments but I really can’t bring myself to care, the juicy apples and sweet cinnamon are worth a tiny bit of sog!

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If you wanted to you could brush the finished crown with an apricot (or apple jelly!) glaze to make it shine and a drizzle of simple glace icing would make it look lovely too.  Alas, I had run out of icing sugar on this occasion and couldn’t wait to share this recipe with you so you have here the unglazed crown.  Still beautiful in its own way!

Apple Crown

 

Serves 12

250g strong bread flour
1 tsp salt
7g instant yeast
50g unsalted butter
135ml warm milk
1 egg
3 apples, chopped
1 tsp cinnamon (or less if you prefer)
4 tbsp granulated sugar

– Take a large mixing bowl and add the flour, then add the salt to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other.
– Mix it all together.
– Chop your butter up into little bits and add this along with the milk and egg.
– Get in there with one hand and mix everything together.
– Keep mixing by hand in the bowl.  It will be sticky but keep going and after not too long it will start to come together into a cohesive dough.
– Once you have almost everything as one ball of dough you can turn it out onto a floured worksurface and really start kneading! (There will still be some sticky bits, you can take a small bit of dough and clean round the bowl to mop up stragglers.)
– Keep working it, the trick with a wetter dough is time!
– After about 10 minutes you should have a smooth, elastic dough.
– Place in a clean, oiled bowl, cover and place somewhere sheltered to rise for 1-2 hours until doubled in size.  I found 2 hours about perfect.
– Prepare your apples.
– Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured worksurface.  Do NOT knock it down.
– Simply start to roll it out with a rolling pin.  You want it to be about 25cm deep and 45cm long.  Try to keep it rectangular.
– Scatter the surface with 2 tbsp sugar, then the cinnamon, then the apples, then the remaining 2 tbsp sugar.
– Carefully roll the long end of the dough towards you, keeping the apples inside and keeping the roll quite tight.
– When you have a long roll gently press to seal the dough back to itself.
– Starting about 1″ in from the end cut straight through the dough all the way along to the other end.
– Now for the messy bit!  Twist each half around the other, one over the top, followed by the next, arranging the cut side so it faces uppermost.  Shove the apple back in as it falls out!
– Gently manoeuver onto a baking tray covered in baking parchment and bring each end round to form a circle.  Press the ends together gently to secure.
– Place in a plastic bag (bin bags work well here) and leave in a sheltered spot to rise for another hour.
– Heat the oven to gas mark 6/200C.
– Bake for 25 minutes.
– Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the tray.
– When cool the sticky puddle of sauce in the centre should separate nicely as you peel the baking paper away leaving you with your crown!
– Serve as is or glaze with jam and drizzle with icing, the choice is yours!

 

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Filed under Breads, Cakes, Christmas, Desserts, Moderately easy

Turkey Wellington Roulade

So, in previous years I have made a Turkey Wellington, and I have made a Turkey Roulade… this year the two have been unitied in glorious harmony, I give to you the Turkey Wellington Roulade!  You’re welcome!  This is an impressive centre piece for any Christmas celebration, it looks great bringing it out, all covered in golden pastry, and when you slice into it it is simply stunning! It also makes a fantastic sandwich if you have leftovers!

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I made this for a small Christmas Party I had at the weekend as part of a buffet, because the turkey part is thin it can happily be eaten with just a fork, which is handy! Again, this recipe may look tricky but when you break it into individual steps it really really isn’t.  Give it a go and wow your guests this year!

 

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Serves 8 comfortably

1 x ~1.6kg Turkey Breast (I get a frozen butter basted one from Tescos, defrost it and trim it so I just have the meat, no skin)
400g sausage meat (I use Lincolnshire sausages coz I like the flavour)
100g bread crumbs
75g dried cranberries
1/2 tin chopped chestnuts
1 small egg
250g smoked bacon lardons
~30 rashers pancetta
500g puff pastrya little milk for brushing (or beaten egg, either works)

– Take your Turkey Breast and trim it so all you have left is the meat.  Turn it over so the good side is downwards.
– Carefully split the breast about 1/3 through the breast, making sure to not cut all the way through.
– Repeat the split halfway through the remaining meat cutting from the fold towards the outer edge.
– The breast should unfold like a letter.

turkey

Here is a (hopefully somewhat) illustrative diagram for you.

– If you need to flatten it more you can score cuts partly through the meat to help it lie flat.
– Now take a rolling pin and give it a bit of a bash, especially if you have any fatter sections, beat it until it is mostly uniform and as close to a rectangle as you can get it without splitting the meat.
– In a medium size bowl mix together the sausage meat, breadcrumbs, cranberries, chestnuts, lardons and egg.  Add a little bit of seasoning and give it a really good squidge together with your hands.
– Spread the stuffing mixture over the turkey, spreading it into a layer of even thickness across the turkey.  You may not need all of the stuffing, in fact it is a good idea to keep some back for evening things out later.
– Choose which edge looks the straightest and then start rolling from the oposite edge so you finish with a cleaner line.
– If you have any vastly different thicknesses you can pad it with stuffing so you get a nice smooth roll.  Gently shape the ends so they are more squared off.
– On a clean, floured worksurface roll out your puff pastry so that it is wide enough and long enought to wrap around your turkey.  It should be around the thickness of a £1 coin.  Keep rolling, it’ll get there!- Place a layer of pancetta rashers in the centre of the pastry, then place the turkey on top, with the join pointing to the top.
– Pull the pancetta rashers up the side of the turkey and place another layer over the top and round the sides so that the whole thing is encased in pancetta.
– Now gently wrap the pastry around the turkey, brushing the edges that join with milk to make them stick.
– Neatly fold the ends up and make sure that all of the joins are on the top side of the turkey.


– Now, carefully and gently pick up / roll your turkey into an oven proof tin or dish so that all of the seams are underneath and you have a nice, clean pastry top.
– Now you can add any decoarations that you wish, use spare pastry to create shapes, or simply use your fingers to pinch or crimp a pattern on top.
– Brush with milk and bake in the oven at gas mark 6/200C for 2 hours.
– When the tme is up get two spatulas/fish slices and carefully lift the Wellington out and onto your carving board/serving platter.
– There will be an amount of juice in the tray so this will have something of a soggy bottom.  If you want to avoid this then you can try pan cooking your sausage meat first before making the stuffing and draining off the excess fat.  This should cut down on the amount of liquid produced, but I like to drain it off and make a gravy out of it all.  You could also try baking it on a rack over a roasting tin but I’ve never tried it so I’m not sure how the pastry might hold up to that kind of treatment.  .
– Allow the Wellington to rest on a carving board/serving platter for 20 minutes or so before serving.

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Filed under Christmas, Mains, Moderately easy