Christmas Red Cabbage

I love the traditions of Christmas and we have so many. One of them for us is that Christmas dinner wouldn’t be Christmas dinner without red cabbage. It’s Neil’s favourite so I make it all year round. It’s full of all the Christmas flavours we know and love, apple, cranberry and cinnamon, you name it! Make it a day or two before Christmas day to save yourself some time. Get it out the fridge at 11am when you’re pouring yourself another Bucks Fizz. We pop the cork before we open the first present.

Simply warm it up when you’re ready to serve dinner.

Serves 4 generously

Ingredients

1 small red cabbage

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 apples

2 star anise

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon all spice

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 tablespoon honey

2 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

100ml apple juice

1 heaped tablespoon cranberry sauce

Salt and pepper to season

( 4 knobs of butter and 2 tablespoons honey to stir through when you reheat).

Method

Pre heat oven to 170C / 150C fan

Finely slice your red cabbage and set aside.

Finely slice your apple and add to a large roasting dish with your vegetable oil.

Now add the sliced cabbage and all the other ingredients, stirring well.

Stir to combine, cover and roast in the oven on the middle shelf for approximately 2 and a half hours. Check every now and then, giving a little stir.

Once the cabbage is soft as velvet, remove from oven and don’t forget to remove the star anise.

Once cool store in the fridge until ready to use in the next day or so.

To serve simply transfer to a pan, add the knobs of butter and extra honey, season to your liking and stir until nice and hot.

Merry Christmas.


Cointreau Hot Chocolate

Posting today to try to offer some comfort to all my lovely followers, especially those in tier 4 like we are. This is more of a suggestion than a recipe. If you love chocolate, orange and alcohol and let’s face it who doesn’t, then this is a winner.

Simply make your hot chocolate, add a measure of Cointreau, stir, add lots of frothy squirty cream and sprinkle over a little grated chocolate.

Sit by the fire basking in the light of the Christmas tree watching the Grinch. Do your best to have yourself a merry little Christmas and let’s look forward to better times ahead with our loved ones.

“Maybe Christmas (he thought) doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more.” The Grinch.


Butterscotch Brioche Bread and Butter Pudding

Carbs don’t count at Christmas!! I fantasised about making this dessert as I love Green and Blacks Butterscotch Chocolate. I had an Easter egg made of it once and it got me hooked!

I was thrilled with how this turned out , it was every bit as delicious as I imagined. What’s more it’s quick and easy to make which is what we need when we’re snowed under with shopping to get and presents to wrap.

Top it off with loads of hot vanilla custard.

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 brioche rolls

60gs Green and Blacks butterscotch chocolate

8 teaspoons marmalade

150ml single cream

1 tablespoon demerara

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Method

Pre heat oven to 180C / 160c fan

Slice 2 brioche rolls into rounds.

Line your dish with them.

Snap up your chocolate into pieces and dot half over the brioche in the dish.

Add another layer of 2 sliced brioche rolls and add the other half of the snapped up chocolate, dotted about.

Dot in your 8 teaspoons of marmalade.

Pour over 150ml single cream.

Sprinkle over your cinnamon and demerara sugar and bake in the centre of the oven for approximately 20 minutes until it turns golden brown.

Serve with vanilla custard.


Spiced Apple Cake

I love Christmas cake but I’m aware not everyone does. This is perfect to offer as an alternative as it’s still full of subtle Christmas flavour and there’s not a currant or sultana in sight.

My Sister’s neighbour Pat gave her his own body weight in Bramley apples bless him, so she kindly donated some to me and here is the end result.

Ingredients

100g butter

175g light brown sugar

175g self raising flour

2 tablespoons milk

1 Bramley apple, peeled and grated

1 teaspoon mixed spice

2 eggs

1 teaspoon baking powder

Icing sugar to dust over once cooked

Method

Pre heat oven to 200C / 180C fan

Grease and line an 8 inch cake tin.

Peel and grate your apple and set aside.

Throw all of your ingredients except the apple into a large mixing bowl, use an electric whisk to combine.

Now add your grated apple and whisk away some more to ensure it’s fully combined.

Pour the mixture into your lined cake tin.

Bake in the centre of your oven for approximately 30 minutes..

Remove from oven, allow to cool for a moment or so and transfer onto a wire rack to cool.

Sieve over a little icing sugar.


Cheese and Prosciutto Turnovers

These are my absolute weakness and I make them every Christmas Eve without fail. Prosciutto, cheese, puff pastry, oh my they are so delicious.

They sell cheese and bacon turnovers in our local delicatessen and when I’m feeling reckless I add one to my grocery order and scoff it up on my way home, then I regret not buying ten. I thought I’d make my version with prosciutto as they cook even quicker as you don’t have to wait for the bacon to crisp up. I’m so delighted that they are as quick as a flash to make and so will you be when you try them. Be warned they are additive.

Makes 6

Ingredients

6 slices prosciutto

90g mature cheddar cheese – grated

Pack of ready roll puff pastry

1 beaten egg to glaze.

Method

Pre heat oven to 200c / 180C fan

Roll out your pastry on a floury work surface and cut out six even squares. (Mine were about 5×5 inches).

Place each pastry slice on a lined baking sheet.

Add your slice of prosciutto to each pastry square. Sprinkle over your grated cheese and fold in the sides and press to fasten.

Brush with your egg wash

Bake in the centre of your oven for approximately 14 minutes.

You can thank me later!


Winter Spiced Cupcakes

I absolutely love festive baking and these were so fun to make and delightful to eat. The delicate spicing gives a hint of Christmas and will fill you with glee with just one bite.

Makes 12

Ingredients

125ml self raising flour

125ml butter

125ml caster sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon mixed spice

1 teaspoon gingerbread syrup – I used Monin

2 eggs

For the icing

1 tub of vanilla frosting

or

85g butter (room temperature)

250g icing sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

A few drops of ice cold water to mix

Packet of mini gingerbread men to decorate

Method

Pre heat oven to 180C / 160C fan

Line a 12 hole muffin tin with cases

Place the butter and caster sugar in your mixing bowl and cream together until smooth. Gradually add the eggs and fold in the flour, baking powder, mixed spice and gingerbread syrup. Mix together until fully combined and a lovely dropping off the spoon consistency.

Lastly add your milk and mix together some more.

Divide between your cake cases and place in the centre of your oven for approximately 15-20 minutes, keeping an eye so you can take them out when they are a gorgeous golden colour. They will smell wonderful when cooking and fill the house with the scent of Christmas.

Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

Once fully cooled pipe on your icing and decorate with your tiny gingerbread men.

Take a little bite while listening to Doris Day and feeling all 50’s housewife.


Banana and Cinnamon Loaf Cake

Banana cake is a favourite in our family and I’m always looking at ways to develop my recipe. This cake is gently spiced with a hint of Christmas flavour. It’s not a stunner in aesthetic terms but it is in terms of taste. I like this sliced with a cup of tea but you could have it buttered or with a good vanilla ice cream as a dessert. A perfect alternative to Christmas cake if you are not a lover of fruit cake.

Ingredients

175g self raising flour

50g light brown sugar

125g caster sugar

175 butter

1 egg

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 ripe bananas

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon Monin gingerbread syrup

1 tablespoon icing sugar to dust

Method

Pre heat oven to 180C / 160C fan

Grease and line your loaf tin.

Beat together the butter and sugar until soft and creamy.

Add an egg and beat further until combined.

Now add your mashed bananas, flour, baking powder, syrup and cinnamon.

Whisk with an electric whisk or by hand if you prefer until you have a creamy mixture. Transfer to your loaf tin.

Bake in the centre of your oven for 1 hour.

Transfer to a wire baking rack and allow to cool.

Once fully cooled dust over a little icing sugar to make it look all snowy and pretty it up a little.


Chilli Jam

This is a recipe by Nigella Lawson from Nigella Christmas, that I have been making for years. I make so much in the run up to Christmas as it goes so well with cheese and biscuits and in turkey sandwich’s. I use it in burgers, pittas, and as a dipping sauce for chicken goujons. Its fabulous smeared on crumpets and heaped on the side of the plate for dipping.

I make a big batch and decant into smaller jars and dish out to my favourite people.

Ingredients

150g long fresh red chillis

150g red pepper, cored and cut into chunks

1kg jam sugar

600ml cider vinegar

x6 250g sealable jars such as Kilner.

Method

Pop your jars in the dishwasher to sterilise. Allow to cool.

Blitz your peppers in a food processor or with a hand blender. If you use a hand blender, sunglasses may be needed! Nigella takes out the seeds but I like them in, the choice is yours.

Take a medium sized saucepan and dissolve the jam sugar into the vinegar over a low heat. Don’t stir.

Tip the pepper mixture into the vinegar pan and bring to the boil, then leave to boil on high for 10 minutes.

Take the pan off the heat and let it cool. They syrupy mixture will gradually thicken and set to a lovely, bright, flecky jelly like texture.

Once cool, spoon into jars and seal tightly.

Tip: Nigella recommends making the jam up to one month before using. It can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to one year but once open store in the fridge and use within one month. Trust me you will use it quickly as it’s delicious with virtually everything!


White Chocolate and Apple Spiced Flapjacks

Happy 1st December everyone. I love Christmas and everything about it so I’m delighted to share with you my Christmas recipes over the coming weeks.

I’ve got a few variations of flapjack on my blog but this one is perfect for this time of year. The addition of mixed spice combined with the apples sends a scent of Christmas throughout the house. I love mince pies but I know not everyone is a fan of them. These spiced apple flapjacks are the perfect simple alternative to offer. The countdown is on….

Makes approximately 12

Ingredients

250g oats

125g butter

125 caster sugar

3 tablespoons golden syrup

1 Bramley apple, peeled and diced small

1 teaspoon mixed spice

50g white choc chips (and a tablespoon or 2 to drizzle over)

Method

Pre heat oven to 200c / 180C fan

Grease and line a tin approx 20 x 20cm

Gently heat your butter in a saucepan and stir in the sugar, syrup, mixed spice and diced apple.

Gradually add the oats and make sure you coat them fully in the butter mixture. You don’t want a dry oat in sight!

Now add in your choc chips, stir to combine.

Transfer to your baking tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 15 minutes.

As they come out of the oven quickly score into even squares and then score each square in half so you have triangle shaped flapjacks.

Allow to cool, transfer to a plate and drizzle over some more white chocolate.