Merry Christmas!


Wishing you a very Merry Christmas! I’m looking forward to tucking into this pudding later today.

My planned edible gift posts were sadly thwarted by the particularly nasty cold bug that’s been going round but I am finally starting to feel human again. Serves me right for leaving them to the week before Christmas!

Cornish Sea Salted Caramels

I can’t remember where I found this Donal Skehan recipe for sea salted caramels but glad I took a screen shot of it on my phone as I can’t find it online now. Donal being Irish, the original recipe calls for Irish sea salt but I love the Cornish sea salt so I used that instead. These caramels are soft and chewy so don’t need a warning for those with fillings and make an ideal christmas gifts. The salt balances the sweetness of the caramels and makes them pretty easy to eat.

IMG_0928Cornish Sea Salted Caramels_Small

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Sugar & Spice Candied Nuts

I saw this Sugar & Spice Candied Nuts recipe on the Smitten Kitchen site last Christmas but I had already made all my gifts/run out of time so I made sure to fit these in this year. They are very quick and easy to make but are very difficult not to keep snacking on. I made up jars for friends and kept the left overs for myself for Christmas time but unfortunately polished them off today on the first day of my 2 week holiday. Oops!

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Whisky & Ginger Truffles

These whisky and ginger truffles make an excellent homemade Christmas gift and are pretty easy to make, save from covering yourself in melted chocolate as you roll them into balls! I sadly also found out last week that they are extremely comforting after I had to say goodbye to my faithful feline friend Erin. Her final vets bill will no doubt result in everyone getting homemade gifts for Christmas this year and possibly 2015……..

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Apple & Walnut Chutney

This apple & walnut chutney was a hit last Christmas and I am very behind with the edible gift preperations this year so it’s making its second appearance in the hampers! I’m not really getting into my usual Christmas spirit but had to get a wriggle on with chutney making so that it had time to mature before the festive season hits. This one is great with cheeses and cold meats too. I will bring you the recipe for the savoury biscuits shortly.

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Vegan Christmas Cake

I always bake my friends Jo and Teppo a Christmas cake each year but last year they adopted a vegan diet so my challenge was to find a good vegan Christmas cake recipe so that they could still enjoy a festive treat. I came across this blog post by The Hungry Veggie and the recipe had many positive comments so I used this as the basis of my cake and tweaked the recipe to try and make it as similar in taste to my traditional Christmas cake. It must be good as they requested another this year, so now I have their seal of approval here is the recipe.

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It’s starting to smell a lot like Christmas……….. cake….

So yes it’s that time of year again. My fruit had been soaking in booze for a good few days so I took my cue from the wet and grey Sunday afternoon to get baking the first of 6 Christmas cakes.

I’m not sure what the blog etiquette is for annual posts but here are the links to my previous posts for Christmas cake and the boozy fruit that goes in it.

Delia Christmas cake

Chocolate and Mulled Cider Cake

As soon as I spotted this recipe for chocolate and mulled cider cake by Will Torrent in the December issue of Jamie Magazine, I knew I was going to have to give it a try. It would make a great alternative to christmas pudding and has the wow factor in both looks and taste. It keeps well for several days in an air tight container. Most supermarkets sell mulled cider or make your own by heating apple cider in a saucepan with a mulling spice sachet or star anise, cloves, a cinnamon stick and a squeeze of orange.

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Boozy Cider and Brandy Mincemeat

Jars at the ready it’s another Christmas jarring recipe……I have scoured the recipe land in search of the perfect mincemeat and a few years ago think I found it! After trying various traditional suet mincemeats, baked mincemeats and veggie mincemeats, Hettie Potter’s suet-free mincemeat from Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess has got to be the best. Not least because it contains half a bottle of cider which is always going to win a Cornish girl over but it is the juiciest fruitiest mincemeat going with a satisfying boozy kick.

I use the large glass jars that supermarket own brand golden syrup comes in and find this recipe perfectly fills 3 of these 680g jars. Each jar makes about 2 dozen mince pies.

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Brandy Soaked Fruit

Is it too soon to mention the C word?…….I hope not! I try to make my Christmas cake by mid October and have been using Delia’s Classic Christmas Cake recipe for some years now having made a few tweaks to suit my own tastes. I definitely stand on the Mary Berry side where alcohol in cakes/desserts is concerned and frankly more is more. Delia suggests a quite stingy 45ml brandy while Mary goes for 150ml so I’m edging up towards Mary’s measure!

To get started I like to soak the fruit for 5-7 days before baking the cake. Delia only soaks hers overnight though so if you are short on time, overnight is fine. And some cooks swear by a month or more soaking so start it whenever you have the time. For readers in the UK, Asda currently have 500g bags of dried fruit on 3 for 2 promotion so thats my cue to get soaking fruit.

Brandy Soaked Christmas cake fruit Continue reading