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christmas-pudding-surprise-cake

 

 

What you need:

175g  unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing

50g glace cherries

40g   dark chocolate

125g  self raising flour

1 tsp ground cinnamon or mixed spice

15g cocoa powder

35g ground almonds

175g golden caster sugar

3 large  free range eggs

Zest and juice of 1 orange

50g chopped nuts (optional)

For the icing, 100g white chocolate, broken into squares

3 tbsp  double cream

Few drops almond essence

What you do:

Preheat the oven to 180 C/ 350 F /Gas  mark 4

Grease and line a 1 litre ovenproof bowl. Chop up the glace cherries, leaving 3 whole for later

Melt half the dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the bowl isn’t touching the water. Chop up the remaining chocolate

Sift the flour, spice and cocoa into a large bowl

Add the ground almonds, butter, sugar, eggs and orange zest. Whisk together until smooth and creamy

Mix in 2 tbsp orange juice

Fold in the chopped cherries, the melted and chopped chocolate, and nuts if using, then spoon into the ovenproof bowl. Level the surface

Bake for 30 mins, then cover with greaseproof paper and bake for another 45 mins, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the sponge. Leave to cool for 5 mins then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely

To make the icing:

Place the white chocolate, cream and almond essence in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water

Heat gently until melted, then stir to combine

Spoon the white chocolate icing over the cake

To decorate:

Place the 3 whole glace cherries on top of the cake and finish with a couple of holly leaves

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sprout-and-stilton-puffs

 

What you need:

1/2 shallot, peeled and finely chopped

1 tbsp  olive oil

40g  Brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced

30g  light soft cheese

25g  mature blue Stilton

1 x 320g sheet puff pastry

1 egg

What you do:

Preheat the oven to 200 C/ 400 F/Gas mark 6

Gently fry the shallot in olive oil in a nonstick pan, until soft. Tip into a bowl. Turn up the heat a little, add the sprouts and fry for 2-3 mins.

Add to the bowl with the shallot and soft cheese then crumble in the Stilton. Season with freshly ground black pepper and mix.

On a lightly floured surface, cut the puff pastry sheet in half. Divide the filling between each pastry sheet, leaving a 1 cm border.

Beat the egg and brush onto the pastry border.

Fold the pastry over the filling to enclose it, and press the back of a fork along the edges to seal.

Put the parcels on a baking tray, brush over the remaining beaten egg to glaze, then chill in the fridge for 15 mins.

Bake the pastries for 20-25 mins, until risen and golden.

 

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Christmas Meatballs

 

What you need:

2 eggs

1 packet onion soup mix

1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs

1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries

2 tbsp minced fresh parsley

1-1/2 lb lean minced beef

SAUCE:

1 tin (14 oz) whole-berry cranberry sauce

3/4 cup ketchup

1/2 cup beef broth

3 tbsp brown sugar

3 tbsp finely chopped onion

2 tsp cider vinegar

What you do:

In a bowl, mix together the eggs, soup mix, bread crumbs, cranberries and parsley. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into 1-in. balls; place 12 to 14 balls on a microwave-safe plate. Cover with grease proof paper; microwave on high for 2-3 minutes or until no longer pink. Remove to paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining meatballs.

In a 2-qt. microwave-safe dish, combine sauce ingredients. Cover and microwave on high for 3-4 minutes or until heated through, rotating once. Gently stir in meatballs.

Cover and cook on high for 1-2 minutes or until heated through.

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mincepies1

 

What you need:

280g plain flour

125g icing sugar, sifted

pinch of salt

200g butter, diced

2 egg yolks

500g mincemeat

300g plain chocolate

2 clementines, zest and juice

2 tbsp milk

1 egg, beaten

Fresh double cream to serve

What you do:

Preheat the oven to 200 C/400 F / gas mark 6

Mix the flour, icing sugar and salt together in a bowl. Mix in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the eggs until the mixture comes together in clumps. Knead the pastry briefly until smooth, wrap in cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for one hour

Remove the pastry from the fridge, and roll out to a thickness of 6mm, the thickness of two stacked pound coins. Using a 7.5cm fluted cutter, stamp out 12 discs from the pastry and use them to line a 12-hole bun tin.

Break your chocolate into a small bowl and put this over a pan of boiling water (be careful not to burn yourself). Allow the chocolate to melt slowly, stirring very occasionally to ensure that it melts evenly. Mix in the mincemeat and the clementine zest & juice, then fill each pastry hole with two tsp of your choco/mincemeat mix.

Brush the edges of your pies with a little milk. Using a 6cm/2n fluted cutter, cut out 12 circles and use them to top the mince pies, pressing the edges together with your fingertips. Brush the top of each one with beaten egg.

Re-roll any remaining pastry and cut out star or snowflake shapes to decorate the top of each pie. Gently place the decorations on top, then brush again with egg.

Bake your mince pies in the oven for  around 25 minutes until the pastry is cooked through.

Allow to cool,.

Serve with fresh double cream.

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Cinnamon Roll Casserole (Slow Cooker)

 

What you need:

2 12 oz tubes of cinnamon rolls cut into quarters- divided

4 eggs

½ cup whipping cream

3 Tbsp maple syrup

2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg

What you do:

Spray your slow cooker  with cooking spray.

Place a layer of cinnamon roll pieces to cover the bottom of your slow cooker completely. (Reserve icing packets)

Beat eggs, cream, maple syrup, vanilla and spices until blended well.

Pour evenly over the rolls in the slow cooker.

Place remaining roll pieces on top and spoon one packet of icing evenly over rolls.

Cover and cook on low for 2½ to 3 hours or until sides are golden and rolls are set.

Drizzle remaining icing over top and serve warm.

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Raspberry White Chocolate Scones

What you need:

3 cups flour

½ cup sugar

6 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

¾ cup very cold butter, cubed

6 oz  good quality chopped white chocolate

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup milk

1½ cups frozen raspberries

What you do:

Preheat the oven to 190 C  / 375 F / gas mark 5

I start these in my food processor because it is so fast but they can be made just as easily in a large bowl by cutting the butter in with a pastry blender or even 2 knifes held between the fingers.

In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

Pulse in the cold butter until this mixture resembles a coarse meal. It is very important that pea sized pieces of butter remain in this mixture.

Transfer to a large bowl and toss in the white chocolate.

Mix together the lemon juice, vanilla extract ans milk.

Pour this over the surface of the dry mixture. Toss all together gently with a fork only enough to form a dough ball.

When the flour is almost incorporated, add the frozen raspberries.

Frozen berries work best because they are less delicate and easier to incorporate into the scone dough.

It is important that you work this dough as little as possible or the finished scones will be too dense and heavy.

Roll to 1 inch thickness and cut out scones with biscuit cutter or in triangles with a sharp knife and place on parchment lined baking sheet.

If desired you can brush the tops of the scones with an egg wash of 1 egg beaten together with 1 tbsp water.

Bake  for 25 minutes or until light golden brown. Baking time will vary depending on the size of your biscuit cutter.

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Cranberry and Caraway Stuffing

 

What you need:

1 tbsp groundnut oil

200 g sausagemeat

8 sage leaves, finely chopped

15g parsley, finely chopped

1 tbsp caraway seeds

140 ml brandy

100 ml chicken stock

1 egg, beaten

280 g unsalted butter

7 slices white bread, crusts removed

50 g dried breadcrumbs

1 onion, chopped

2 celery stalks, diced

60 g cooked chestnuts, chopped

60 g dried cranberries

What you do:

Preheat the oven to 180 C / 350 F / gas mark 4.

Melt 250 g butter in a saucepan and heat gently until it goes brown and smells nutty, then strain through a fine sieve. Set aside 175g of the strained butter (keep any remaining to use another time).

Dice the bread slices and combine with the breadcrumbs in a large bowl.

In a small frying pan, melt 15g butter; add the onion and cook on a low heat until soft. Add the celery and remaining 15g butter and cook for 10 minutes, then add to the bread mixture.

Increase the heat, add the groundnut oil to the pan and cook the sausagemeat until browned, breaking it into evenly sized pieces as you go. Add this to the stuffing with the chestnuts, cranberries, sage, parsley and caraway seeds, then return the pan to the heat. Pour in the brandy and boil vigorously for 1 minute so the alcohol evaporates. Scrape up any bits from the bottom of the pan.

Combine 125g of the brown butter with the brandy and chicken stock and mix with the stuffing. Season with salt.

Stir through the beaten egg (the mixture should be very moist) and spread on to a parchment-lined baking tray so that it is 1.5cm deep.

Cook in the oven for about 20 minutes, then remove and set aside until ready to serve (this can be made the day before).

Slice the stuffing into rectangles, about 5cm x 7cm. Fry in batches, using 1 tbsp of the remaining brown butter for each batch, until golden brown all over.

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What you need:

425 g currants
250 g each sultanas and raisins
300 g glacé cherries, quartered, rinsed and drained
150 g ready-to-eat dried apricots, snipped into small pieces
75 g mixed candied peel, roughly chopped
4 tbsp brandy, plus extra for pouring
300 g plain flour
1 tsp ground mixed spice
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
300 g softened unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
300 g dark muscovado sugar
5 medium free-range eggs
1 tbsp black treacle
Finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
Finely grated zest of 1 large orange
60 g whole unblanched almonds, roughly chopped.

What you do:

Preheat the oven to 140 C/ 275 F/gas mark 1.

Mix together the dried fruit and candied peel in a large bowl. Add the 4 tbsp brandy and stir in to mix well. Cover and leave overnight.

Put the remaining ingredients except the almonds in a large bowl. Beat with a hand-held electric mixer until well combined. Stir in the nuts and the soaked fruit with any soaking liquid.

Grease a deep 23 cm round tin or 20 cm square cake tin with butter, line with a double layer of baking paper and grease the paper (see Golden Rules). Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin. Level the top and cover with a disc of baking paper.

Bake for 4-5 hours until firm to the touch and a skewer pushed into the middle comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool in the tin.

When the cake has cooled, remove the baking paper disc, pierce the top in several places with a skewer, then pour over a little brandy. Remove the cake from the tin but keep it in the baking paper. Wrap with more baking paper, then wrap with foil. Store in a cool place for up to 3 months to mature, occasionally unwrapping and spooning over 1-2 tbsp brandy.

Decorate the cake with glacé fruit, marzipan or ready-to-use icing. Tie a ribbon around the cake if you like.

 

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What you need:

225 g (8 oz) margarine
340 g (12 oz) plain flour, sifted
225 g (8 oz) caster sugar
1 tsp mixed spice
110 g (4 oz) glace cherries, halved
110 g (4 oz) mixed peel, finely chopped
225 g (8 oz) raisins
225 g (8 oz) currants
225 g (8 oz) sultanas
110 g (4 oz) blanched almonds, finely chopped
4 eggs, beaten
full fat milk, as needed

3 tbsp  brandy, plus extra for ‘feeding’

What you do:

Preheat the oven to 220 C /  425 F  /Gas mark  7.
Line and grease a 25 cm (10 in) cake  tin.
Rub the margarine into the flour then add the sugar, spice, fruit and almonds. Pour the eggs into the mixture and add a little milk. Beat well so that the cake mixture should just be able to drop off a spoon, adding a little more milk if necessary. Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 1 hour, then reduce the heat to 120 C / 220 F /Gas 1/2 for a further 2 hours until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool on a rack before decorating.

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What you need:

50g (2oz) raisins
25g (1oz) sultanas
25g (1oz) glacé cherries, halved
25g (1oz) ready to eat prunes, chopped
25g (1oz) dried apricots, chopped
25g (1oz) dried dates or figs, chopped
25g (1oz) dried cranberries
1/2 large orange, grated rind and juice
1/2 large lemon, grated rind and juice
1/2  cooking apple, skin on, chopped finely in a food processor
15g (1/2 oz) fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped or grated or 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2tsp ground cinnamon
1/4tsp ground mace
1/2tsp ground nutmeg
25g (1oz) flaked almonds or pine nuts (optional)
50g (2oz) gram Doves Farm gluten free plain flour
1 egg
75ml brandy or extra fruit juice, or a combination of the two
ladleful of brandy or whisky for flaming

What you do:

Mix all the fruits with the spices and nuts, if you are using them, and flours in a large bowl. Mix in the egg and brandy or fruit juices. Stir thoroughly. Spoon into a bowl big enough to be able to leave approx 3cm/1 inch space at the top. Cover with a double thickness of greaseproof paper and secure with rubber bands or string.

Put in a large saucepan with water 2/3 of the way up the bowl. Bring to a gentle boil, cover the pan and steam for 2-3 hours. Remove from the pan, replace the greaseproof paper with fresh, and store in a cool place till needed.

To serve, either re-steam for 2 hours or heat in a microwave (good but not quite as good as steaming) for 2-3 minutes. Warm a ladleful of brandy over the heat, pour over the pudding and light.

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