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Favourite Homemade Christmas Recipes

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      05.12.2011 10:41
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      A delicious and easy to prepare alternative to Christmas Pudding

      ~~Crumble for Crimble! Black Cherry Crumble~~

      This is a dessert I like to serve on Christmas Day for those family members who don't like Christmas Pudding. The filling could not be easier to prepare, because it comes out of a tin. The crumble topping can be made a few days in in advance, and then stored in a sealed container in the fridge. So on the day it's really quick and easy to assemble, and doesn't add to the stress of the lunchtime preparations. We always tend to have a break in between courses, so it's no problem to pop into the kitchen and put this in the oven for about half an hour. It has become a real favourite in our family over the years, and is certainly a winner in terms of effort vs. deliciousness!

      ~~Ingredients~~

      Topping:
      6oz plain flour
      3oz butter or hard margarine (I use Stork, as it doesn't contain any dairy produce - which means it's safe for me to eat my own pudding, and I should think so too!)
      2oz brown sugar (I use dark brown sugar, as I find it gives a slight 'caramel' taste to the topping)

      Filling:
      2 tins Hartley's Black Cherry Fruit Filling (take a bit of care, as some of the cherries may still contain their stones)


      ~~Instructions~~

      Sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Cut the fat into small pieces, and then rub the fat and the flour together with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the brown sugar.

      Spoon the pie filling into a dish, and cover with the crumble mix.

      Cook for 30 minutes at Gas Mark 6, 200 degrees C (180 degrees if using a fan oven). If you use your own raw fruit in this recipe, then you should cook the crumble for an extra 5 minutes.

      I find that these quantities provide four generous helpings,

      We like to have ice cream (or in my case, Swedish Glace's non-dairy equivalent) with this pudding, and the contrast between the hot crumble and the slowly melting ice cream makes for a delicious combination. You could also serve it with custard or cream.

      And - just in case there is any left over after your guests have gone - this dish is also a bit of a treat when eaten cold (I know this is true, because I have occasionally been known to finish off the remnants!).

      Of course you can eat this pudding at any time of year, and it's a really popular favourite with my family. The mixture of the sweetness of the cherry pie filling and the slightly crunchy crumble topping is yummy. My brother and his wife came to us for Sunday lunch one weekend, and while we were eating our dessert I asked them what my husband and I could contribute to a forthcoming family get-together they were hosting. My brother didn't say a word, because he had a mouth full of pudding, but he just pointed very forcefully to his bowl of crumble. Message received.

      Enjoy!

      (My product rating of five stars has obviously been [modestly] given to my recipe by myself, but because this pudding is always so well received by family and friends, I thought it was a reasonable score.)

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        21.11.2011 23:30
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        My Favourite Christmas recipes

        My Favourite Christmas recipes:

        When it comes to recipes some people just think of food, well I also love to make special hot drinks for them cold winters night.
        Hot Choccie Peps.
        I simply adore this drink I first tried this when I was around 7 years old and my nanny joy made it for me. It developed in to a Christmas Eve treat as when we used to drop the presents off Nan would have a large batch of this made with some mini cookies.
        Ingredients:

        (This will make around 4 cups)
        1 tbsp Sugar
        2oz Chocolate (Dark or Milk depends on preference)
        ¼ tsp Peppermint Extract
        500ml of Milk
        100ml of WaterAll you need to do is place all the ingredients into a saucepan and heat gently until all the chocolate has melted into the milk. You do however need to keep stirring and be careful not to boil as this will burn the chocolate within the mixture. When it comes to the chocolate being used I think it tastes best using good quality dark chocolate. This gives it a much richer taste without being over the top sweet.

        You also can do this with soya milk and dairy free chocolate, but you need to take out the sugar if doing the dairy free version. But again I guess that is down to preference as I find it to sweet otherwise. As for some reason my body has taken a dislike to dairy after all these years! So it's fun changing recipes around to suit needs. Personally no matter how I make it, it never tastes as good as my Nan used to make but the smell certainly puts a smile on my face remembering the good times.
        Next item I like to do at Christmas is a carrot cake but with a bit of a Christmas twist, as I cannot stand mince pies or Christmas cake so for me this is my version of Christmas cake.
        Christmas Carrot Cake

        This one is a little lengthy as I'm one that enjoys the fast but effective recipes but we can all push that boat out for Christmas.
        Ingredients:
        3 large eggs
        225 g Self-Raising flour
        1 orange, juice only
        225 g Muscovado Sugar
        250 ml Sunflower Oil
        1 Orange (zest only)
        250 g Carrots, peeled and grated
        1 tsp Cinnamon
        1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
        8 Pecans, roughly chopped (This is optional)
        100 g Sultanas

        Ok, so a few steps involved with this one but I can promise you it's worth it. Line 2 cake trays 20cm. Preheat your over at 180c (mine is fan assisted)
        Pour the orange juice into a saucepan adding also the sultanas and heat gently, when they have warmed through remove from the heat and let them cool.

        In a large mixing bowl whisk the sugar and oil together once they have combined add your eggs. I normally cracked them in a different bowl just in case I get any shell in the mix. Plus adding the cooled orange juice and sultanas.
        On top of the batter mix sift the flour, ginger and cinnamon then fold this into the mixture. Divide it between the cake tins and bake in the for oven around 30 minutes, sometime the cake can need a few extra minutes so just check it is cooked by sticking a folk or skewer into the can. If it comes out clean it's cooked. Then let them cool before turning them out.

        Now for the filling, you if you wish just make a simple butter cream for the middle but its Christmas so something a little special is in order.
        50g Icing Sugar
        1 ½ tsp orange juice (or you can use lemon)
        1 Orange Zest
        150g Mascarpone

        Add all the ingredients to a bowl mix well and use some of the mixer to go into the middle of the cake and the rest as a topping for the cake with the chopped pecans, however you don't have to use nuts.
        I hope that you will give one of these a try have a wonderful Christmas everyone, if you haven't seen that family member for awhile do pop in and remind them you love them.

        Then if you wanted to go that extra mile you could also drizzle some cinnamon syrup on top
        Thanks for reading :o)

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          15.11.2011 19:43
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          A yummy treat that is a bit different at Christmas

          This is one of my family's favourites and makes a great gift too when you slice it and put the slices in paper cases, combine it with rum truffles or other home made sweets.

          You can use any combination of dried fruits but the brighter colours make a nicer looking slice.
          I use about: 40z blanched almonds ( other nuts can be used too)
          8oz mixed dried fruits, apricots, figs, dates, prunes all unsoaked
          4oz dark chocolate
          2oz cherries
          4oz dark soft brown sugar - Muscavado is best
          6oz butter
          1 egg beaten
          Rum or any alcohol you fancy to taste
          Then cocoa powder it roll it in or you can use desiccated coconut for a change.

          You chop everything up including the nuts and get rid of any stones, this has to be quite fine but not minced.

          Break chocolate and melt it add the rum and stir.
          Add the sugar and butter to this and stir until sugar has melted.

          Take this off the heat and add the other stuff and stir until it as all covered, add the egg and mix again.

          Once all is mixed make the mixture into two log shapes and roll them in greaseproof paper quite tightly and pop it into the fridge. leave it at least overnight. I store mine at this stage in the fridge.

          When ready to use. unroll the log and roll it in the cocoa powder or coconut so that the outside is coated.
          Slice the 'salami' into cm wide slices or just under. If they are too thin the slices fall apart. I put mine into mini paper cases to serve.

          You can dredge them with icing sugar and put them on a plate to serve instead of the paper cases.

          This really is tasty. you can add other fruits and nuts and leave out the booze if you choose. I have also left out the egg by mistake once and it didn't seem to make that much difference. Go for it experiment with what you like really and it is very yummy!

          Make a great gift and after dinner sweet, can be served with cheese too.

          Thanks for reading. This may be posted on other sites under my same user name.
          Catsholiday

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            03.12.2009 18:03
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            Get baking its Christmas

            I have posted this recipe before, when reviewing store bought mince pies, however I have realised this is the perfect place to post this nice winter warming mince pie recipe. (I realise it doesnt matter I have repeated it, as I get no dooyoo miles for this review!)

            I do cheat; I buy the pastry from the shops ready made! I said I like to make my own, I didn't say I was the new Nigela!

            Ingredients:

            * In my case store bought pastry, but feel free to make your own if you know how.

            * 540g mincemeat ( this is on offer in Asda, two jars for £1.50
            for the really good stuff)
            * Orange zest
            * Couple of tablespoons of Brandy
            * Pinch of cinnamon
            * 50ml milk
            * 1 egg, beaten
            * 50g caster sugar
            * Butter for greasing tin
            Optional:
            * Handful of roast chestnuts
            * Handful of dried cranberries

            How to make them:

            1. Heat the oven to 220C/400F/Gas 6.

            2. Mix the mincemeat together with the orange zest, brandy and cinnamon.

            3. Lightly grease the tins with butter.

            4. Roll out the pastry as thinly as possible. Cut out approximately 12 rounds with a pastry cutter (most pastry cutters have two sides, one with a greater diameter than the other, use the larger side for the base and the smaller for the lids) and place them in the base of your tins.

            5. Prick all the pie bases with a fork to stop them rising. Fill each case with about 3 teaspoons of the mincemeat mix. You could also add some roast chestnuts and dried cranberries at this point for extra Christmas yumminess. Don't overfill or they will leak!

            6. Brush the pie edges with a little bit of milk or egg whites.

            7. Stamp out another 12 rounds, using the larger end of your cutter, for the lids and place over the mincemeat mix. You could also cut out a little holly leaf or star shape and place that onto too for a little Christmas spirit.

            8. Pinch the pie edges together to seal. Brush over with egg whites and prick the tops with a fork. Bake in the oven for approx 20 minutes until golden brown.

            9. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

            10. Sprinkle a little icing sugar on top.

            11. Eat whilst still warm!

            Happy baking!

            Summary: Get cooking! Get the kids involved they will love it! Esp if you bake one for the big fella himself!

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              03.12.2009 16:36
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              I'm not going to look at another mince pie recipe after doing this one!

              This recipe produces the most tasty mince pies ever. Well, they're the nicest I've ever had anyway! I made them last night and they're almost all gone, mainly due to Mr. Nykied's Xbox Fifa night being held at our house last night. But still...

              I have given the recipe below, with my findings and tweaks under that, but it's a very easy recipe to make.

              ~What you will need~

              225g cold butter, diced
              350g plain flour
              100g golden caster sugar
              A pinch of salt
              280g mincemeat
              1 small egg, beaten
              Icing sugar, to dust

              ~What you need to do~

              *Rub the butter into the flour until it looks like breadcrumbs
              *Mix in the sugar and a pinch of salt
              *Combine the pastry into a ball (don't add liquid). The dough will be fairly firm, like shortbread dough ˡ
              *Preheat the oven to 180̊C. Line 18 holes of bun trays by pressing walnut-sized balls of pastry into each hole ²
              *Spoon mincemeat into the pies
              *Take smaller balls of pastry and pat them out to make round lids. Put them onto the pies and press the edges gently together to seal. (You can now freeze them, uncooked, for one month)
              *Brush the tops with the beaten egg and bake for 20 minutes, until they're golden.
              *Once they've cooled down a bit, take them out of the bun trays and sprinkle with icing sugar to serve

              ~My amendments~

              ˡWhen I made the pastry, I found it very hard to combine into a ball, so I added half of my beaten egg
              ²This is quite tricky and can make the mince pies look messy. Next time I will be rolling out the pastry and using cutters for the bottoms and the lids. If you still want to press them in, squeeze the pastry balls a few times to make them easier to use. You can alternatively roll out the pastry and cut shapes (such as stars) and use those as lids. As long as your pie is not too full, they shouldn't spill out.

              As another extra, you can use the grated peel of an orange to mix into the pastry which gives the pastry an extra kick.

              All in all, this is a mince pie recipe that I'm keeping as it's really easy and the pies are out of this world!

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                10.12.2008 22:05
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                A great cake, 5 stars, don't put marzipan and icing on it though.

                Green and Black's Fruit Cake

                Ingredients:

                2 2lb loaf tins
                175g raisins
                100g currants
                200g stoned prunes
                115g mixed peel
                100ml brandy
                50ml dark rum
                275g muscavado sugar
                3 medium eggs
                200g self raising flour
                150g plain flour
                1 tsp cinnamon
                1/4 tsp mace
                1/4 tsp ground cloves
                1/4 tsp ground ginger
                100ml espresso coffee
                125g walnuts chopped
                250g dark chocolate (at least 60% cocoa solids

                Method:

                1) Soak the fruit in the brandy 24 hours in advance of cooking.

                2) Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C/gas mark 3

                3) Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well. Sift the flour and spices together and add to the mixture in two stages, mae sure well combined between each stage. Fold in the fruit and coffee. Then add the walnuts and chopped chocolate and mix thoroughly. Divide between two tins (or one large one if you prefer). Cover loosely with greaseproof paper, with a small hole to release the steam. Bake for 1 hour and a quarter, checking the cake after about an hour. Insert a skewer into the center and it should come out dry if cooked.

                4) Lave the cakes in the tins for about 30 mins, then turn out onto a cooling rack. Pour over the remaining brandy.

                5) If you are making it in advance of a special occasion, wrap with foil and douse frequently with brandy :-)

                I got this recipe from a Green and Black's recipe book. It was the first fruit cake I have ever made, and I found it daunting at first - soon it became very easy to make. The twist (the chocolate) on this traditional recipe adds extra depth, bitterness and sweetness all at the same time to the cake, and this recipe works really well (especially when doused in lots of brandy) I put marzipan and icing on my cake, and I would recommend that you don't do this - the fruit cake in itself is divine, I find the extra sweetness is too much. This really is a wonderful recipe and makes a very moreish cake (might have to make another one before Xmas - it's nearly all gone):-s! Enjoy

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                  24.11.2008 21:07
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                  A great recipe for mincemeat

                  I have always made my own mincemeat at Christmas following in the footsteps of my mother and grandmother. I used to love helping nan make hers on that old scrubbed kitchen table - sorry, I'm off into the realms of childhood memories there!

                  I now use a recipe that I found in a book called Everyday Cookery by Mrs. Beeton, which I received for my 21st birthday - OK so it almost qualifies as an antique now - I thought I'd say that before any of you did! I have adapted the recipe to personal taste, health and using my memories of how my mother and grandmother used to do it.

                  I thought I would share it with you, as it might be useful with the festivities fast approaching....

                  First of all I will go through the reasons behind the various adaptations to the original recipe.

                  1. I use a vegetarian equivalent of suet rather than the beef suet recommended. This is for two reasons, firstly it is a lot lower in saturated fat and secondly it means that, since I make my pastry with White Flora as opposed to lard, vegetarians can still eat my mince pies. I will just mention here that this makes absolutely no difference to the taste.

                  2. I use whisky as the main alcohol in the mincemeat together with just a drop of brandy. My grandmother always made hers with whisky and it tasted great! What better recommendation do I need?

                  3. I do not put candied peel in my mincemeat purely because I don't like it and neither does any of my family!

                  OK then enough of the build up - here is the recipe and instructions to make delicious mincemeat!

                  Ingredients
                  -------------
                  (As the book is over 25 years old the weights and measures are Imperial not metric!)
                  1lb cooking apples (prepared weight)
                  1lb currants
                  1lb raisins
                  ½ lb sultanas
                  1lb suet (add this carefully 1lb may be too much for some tastes - I usually use more like ½ lb)
                  1lb demerara sugar
                  2oz blanched chopped almonds
                  Grated rind and juice of 2 lemons
                  ½ teaspoon nutmeg
                  ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
                  ¼ teaspoon ginger
                  ½ teaspoon salt
                  ¼ pint whisky

                  Method
                  ----------
                  The best way to make the mincemeat is to use a mincer for the fruit as this gives the correct texture, but I suppose it could also be achieved by grating the apples and finely chopping the dried fruit.
                  Quite simply all you do is prepare the fruit as described above and add it to all the other ingredients in a large bowl and mix it! That's all!

                  For storage I use some Kilner jars that I was given years ago. They are ideal for the mincemeat and get reused every year - how's that for recycling? I wash and dry them thoroughly and fill each one with the mincemeat. I then cover the top of the jar with greaseproof paper before putting the lid on.

                  The whole process usually takes me about an hour from start to finish.

                  Because of the fact that there is alcohol in the mixture, which is a known preservative, the mincemeat will last for ages. It doesn't of course as it tastes so nice it gets used quickly!

                  Apart from the obvious use of making mince pies another delicious use is in baked apples. Remove the core and fill the resulting hole with mincemeat and then bake as usual. Yummy!

                  I also now have a recipe for mincemeat and sultana muffins which hubby says are great!

                  I made my mincemeat last week and my first batch of mince pies at the weekend and they went down a storm even if I do say so myself.

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                    25.09.2008 10:44
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                    A rich tasting alternative 'Yule Log' with no cooking involved.

                    This is a very simple way to make a Yule Log cake.

                    ~~~You will need~~~

                    1 packet of gingernut biscuits. (The larger in diameter the better)
                    1 Large tub of whipping cream.
                    2 Tablespoons of cointreau (Or your favourite liqueur!)
                    1 Teaspoon of cocoa powder.
                    A sprinkling of icing sugar if you have it.
                    Any little christmas cake decorations you might want to add.
                    1 Rectangle of aluminium foil.
                    A fork to make the pattern on the top.

                    ~~~How to do it~~~~

                    Take all the gingernuts out of the pack and lay them flat.
                    Dribble the liquer you have chosen over them so they all get a bit.
                    Whilst that is soaking in, (take the spoon out of your mouth all the liquer has gone now!) beat the cream into a firm consistency.
                    Put aside approximately half the cream.
                    Lay the foil loosely onto a long plate.
                    Use a knife to put a portion of cream onto one side of a gingernut biscuit.
                    Put a portion of cream on another biscuit and sandwich them together. Stand it on edge on the foil.
                    Continue doing this until the whole packet is laid alongside one another with a filling of cream between each biscuit. Don't put any on the two outside biccies.
                    Wrap the foil tightly around the biscuits keeping a nice even cylindrical shape.
                    Put it in the fridge to chill.

                    Take the remaining whipped cream and mix in enough cocoa to make it a light brown colour. Or you could leave it white to look like snow.

                    Take the dish the cream was in and lick it out. (This is nothing to do with being greedy, it just gives the biscuits a little longer to chill!)

                    Take the biscuits out of the fridge and carefully unwrap them and place them centrally (lying down!) on the plate you want to serve you cake on.

                    Completely cover the biscuits with the cocoa coloured cream. I use a flat knife to spread it all on with. Use the fork (and summon up your artistic muse,) to create a bark effect on the log. (I love this bit but then I am just a big soft kid!)

                    If you want, you can then add your little decorations. We used a tiny robin for ages until my son's dog ate it. (Revenge for not being given any cake?)

                    For an even richer alternative add very, very finely chopped nuts and apricots to the cream filling. (Make sure the tinned apricots are dry first)

                    Make this cake at least three hours before you want to serve it to give the liquer and cream time to soak in and soften the ginger nuts to a cake like consistency.

                    This is a delicious once a year treat which serves six to eight people.

                    Voila!

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                      18.12.2007 00:30
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                      Well worth the calories!!

                      Clootie Dumpling is a traditional Scottish favourite. A Cloot is the Scottish word for cloth - as in dish cloot, face cloot etc. Just as the name would suggest this is pudding cooked in a cloot. It was traditionally served up for special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas when little charms or pennies would be cooked inside, just waiting to break your teeth or choke you!!! Now Clootie Dumpling is served throughout the year all over Scotland but it is still very much recognised as a Christmas favourite. I thought it would be nice to share my recipe with you.

                      Clootie Dumpling has a similar taste and texture to a bread pudding but is very rich in flavour being slightly spicy and very fruity.

                      This wonderful pudding can be eaten hot with custard, fresh cream, ice cream, brandy sauce or anything else you care to try it with. You can also even try a slice of this cold sprinkled with sugar or spread with butter and jam and eaten with a cuppa Mmmmmm....It has also been known to be served up the next day fried with bacon, beans and eggs, although this does not appeal to me!!

                      ~~~Ingredients~~~

                      6 oz of self raising flour

                      6 oz of brown bread crumbs

                      6 oz of suet

                      1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

                      2 teaspoons mixed spice

                      1 teaspoon ginger

                      4 oz currants

                      6 oz sultanas

                      4 oz soft dark-brown sugar

                      2 tablespoons of golden syrup

                      1 1/2 cups of milk

                      ~~~Method~~~

                      Place your cloot in a pan boiling water.
                      Mix all your ingredients together with the milk to make a fairly soft consistency in a baking bowl. Make sure everything is mixed well.
                      Take the cloot out of the boiling water and wring the water out of it with your hands (let it cool first !). Then lay it out flat and dredge (sprinkle) well with flour. Smooth the flour over the cloot with your hands to get an even spread.
                      Now place your mixture on the cloot, draw it together evenly, leaving room for expansion, and tie-up the cloot with string. The idea being that a clootie dumpling is a round affair.
                      Put a plate in the bottom of the pan of boiling water, then on top of this place your clootie dumpling. Simmer the clootie dumpling for two to three hours. Remove from the pot and put it in a colander to drain.
                      Untie the string and gently pull the corners of the cloot apart to reveal the dumpling. Put a large plate over the now open clootie dumpling in the colander. Turn it over to transfer the clootie dumpling to the dish. Now carefully finish peeling the cloot from the dumpling.
                      Do not dry out the dumpling - or this will make it hard. Best eaten freshly made from the pot.

                      My sister is cooking our one this year.

                      Merry Christmas everyone!

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                        11.11.2007 00:00
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                        A vegetarian Christmas lunch

                        We are mostly vegetarians in our family and so there is no turkey for us on Christmas day. I like to ring the changes for Christmas lunch and this is one of the nicest recipes I have found. The recipe uses my favourite cashew nuts and is really delicious!

                        Layered cashew and mushroom roast.

                        This will serve about 6 people so add if you need to feed more folk!

                        1. I tablespoon of olive oil.
                        2. 1 onion. Chopped.
                        3. 2 cloves of garlic. Crushed.
                        4. 8 oz cashew nuts.
                        5. 4 oz fresh breadcrumbs.
                        6. 1 egg.
                        7. 3 medium parsnips cooked and mashed with butter.
                        8. 1-teaspoon fresh rosemary.
                        9. 1-teaspoon fresh thyme.
                        10. 1-teaspoon marmite dissolved in ¼ pint of water or stock.
                        11. Salt and pepper
                        12. 1 oz butter.
                        13. 8 oz mushrooms chopped.


                        Method

                        1.Heat the oil and gently fry the onion and garlic until they are soft.

                        2. Grind the nuts then mix with the breadcrumbs. Beat the egg and add to the dry ingredients.

                        3. Mix in the mashed parsnips and herbs.

                        4. Add the fried onion and marmite stock.

                        5. Melt the butter and sauté the mushrooms until soft.

                        6.Grease a 2lb loaf tin with butter then press in half the nut mixture. Cover with a layer of mushrooms and top with the rest of the nut mixture.

                        7.Cover with foil and bake for an hour at 180o c or gas mark4.
                        8. When cooked leave to stand for about 10 minutes turning out.

                        Serve with all the usual Christmas vegetables. A great veggie Christmas alternative to turkey.

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                          08.12.2006 19:19
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                          Make your own mine pies

                          The supermarkets are full of mince pies at the moment and many have special offers, but if you can find time to make your own they will surely taste better. You can try changing one or two of the ingredients to suit your taste. You can of course buy a jar of mincemeat if you are short of time.

                          Ingredients
                          =========

                          2 Bramley Apples OR 225g no-soak dried apricots, chopped

                          Juice and grated zest of 2 lemons OR (for a sweeter taste) 3 tablespoons orange juice and grated zest of 1 orange

                          500g shredded suet

                          100g chopped mixed peel

                          2 tablespoons orange marmalade

                          250g currants

                          500g raisins

                          250g sultanas

                          1kg dark muscavado or demerera sugar

                          1.5 teaspoons ground mixed spice

                          0.25 teaspoons ground nutmeg

                          5 tablespoons Irish whiskey OR 300ml brandy

                          If you are using apples, preheat the oven to 180degreesC (gas mark 4).

                          Core the apples, score the skin around the middles with a knife and bake for about thirty minutes until soft. Skin them, put them into a large bowl, then mash. If using apricots, chop them and put them in the bowl. Add the lemon or orange zest and juice. Mix in the other ingredients, one at a time.

                          Cover the bowl and leave it in a cool place for two days, stirring from time to time.

                          Spoon the mincemeat into sterilised jars. This quantity should fill about four 500g jars. Cover and store in a cool place. Leave the mincemeat to mature for at least two weeks before using.

                          Other alternatives are to use cranberries instead of apples or apricots, and port instead of whiskey or brandy.

                          RICH SHORTCRUST PASTRY
                          ========================

                          Ingredients
                          =========

                          (to make 12 - 18 pies)

                          250g plain white flour

                          pinch of salt

                          150g cold butter, diced

                          butter for greasing

                          2 teaspoons icing sugar

                          1 medium egg, beaten

                          milk for glazing

                          Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the icing sugar. Add the beaten egg, stirring with a round-bladed knife, and then bring the dough together with your hands. Knead lightly for a few seconds, wrap in cling film and leave in the refrigerator for at least half an hour.

                          MINCE PIES
                          ==========

                          Preheat the oven to 200degreesC (gas mark 6). Butter 18 small muffin tins. Roll the pastry out quite thinly and cut out a dozen 7.5 cm circles and a dozen 6.5 cm ones. Re-roll the remaining pastry and cut out more circles. Put the 7.5 cm circles into the tins, fill each one with 1 heaped tablespoon of mincemeat, brush the rims with milk, then top with the 6.5 cm circles of pastry. Cut a cross in the top of each, brush with milk and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.

                          If you are really short of time, buy a packet of ready-rolled puff pastry, make sausage roll-type shapes filled with mincemeat, brushing with beaten egg to seal the edges. After baking, leave to cool, sprinkle with icing or caster sugar and cut into small slices.

                          I can remember my mother making an open mincement tart and covering it with icing once it had cooled. We certainly enjoyed it, but it might be too sweet for some tastes.

                          Bon appetit!

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                            11.10.2006 22:51
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                            FESTIVE DRINKS FOR ONE AND ALL

                            So, whether you like it or not the festive season is racing towards us like an unstoppable express train. For many people, Christmas is an excuse to indulge in rich food and drink that would not be consumed at any other times. And with this in mind I have gathered up three of the best recipes I could find for Christmassy drinks. If you decide to make any of them, I hope you enjoy them as much as I always do. If you decide not to make any of them, heck that’s up to you, but you don’t know what you’re missing.

                            Mulled Wine

                            Mulled wine was a favourite in Victorian England, and was even served to children on their birthdays. Today it is mostly reserved for Christmas.

                            Recipe for Mulled Wine

                            1 Bottle of Red Wine
                            1 Lemon, quartered
                            6 Cloves
                            1 stick of Cinnamon
                            A small pinch of Ginger Powder
                            3 tbsp brandy
                            12 fl oz Orange Juice
                            Sugar to taste

                            Stud the lemon with the cloves.
                            Place all the Ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
                            Reduce to a simmer for a couple of minutes.
                            Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before serving.
                            Remove the Lemon chunks and the Cinnamon stick.
                            Taste the Mulled wine and sweeten as appropriate.
                            Serve in red wine glasses.


                            Eggnog

                            Eggnog first appeared in Europe around three hundred years ago. It started life as a drink that mixed warm milk and eggs with Sherry or Brandy. The mixture was served in a noggin, (a small, wooden mug) and thus the drink became known as 'eggnog'. During the 19th Century Eggnog became very popular in Great Britain, especially around Christmas. It was served both warm and cold to people who came visiting during winter.

                            Recipe for Eggnog

                            4 Egg Yolks
                            4oz Castor Sugar
                            4 fl oz Rum, Brandy or Whisky
                            2 Pints whipping cream
                            2 egg whites
                            fresh nutmeg

                            Beat the egg yolks until they are pale and thickened.
                            Gradually beat in the castor sugar.
                            Add 2 fl oz of your chosen alcohol very slowly, beating constantly.
                            Let the mixture stand covered for 1 hour to dispel the "eggy" taste.
                            Add the rest of the alcohol and the whipping cream while beating constantly.
                            Refrigerate for 3 hours.
                            Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold them lightly into the mixture.
                            Serve the eggnog sprinkled with fresh nutmeg.


                            Danish Glogg

                            Glogg is a traditional drink of the Advent season in Denmark and Sweden and is traditionally made with red wine. Each serving glass has a few almonds and raisins in it as well as the drink. Glogg has a high sugar content as well as a heavier alcohol taste than that of a Mulled wine.

                            Recipe

                            3 cups of Water
                            1 Cinnamon stick
                            5 Cloves
                            4 Whole Allspice
                            3 Cardamom Pods
                            A pinch of Ginger
                            Grated Orange Peel (1 Orange)
                            Grated Lemon Peel (1 Lemon)
                            4oz Raisins
                            1 Bottle of Red Wine
                            Slivered Almonds

                            Mix the Water, Cinnamon, Cloves, Allspice, Cardamom and Ginger for 1 hour. Add grated Orange peel, grated Lemon peel, and Raisins.
                            Let mixture sit overnight.
                            Pour the bottle of red wine into the mixture, and slowly let it come to a simmer. Put a few slivered almonds into the bottom of each serving glass or mug, and pour the Glogg on top, Enjoy.

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                              09.05.2005 14:39
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                              I thought i would share with you this wonderful recipe i found and added to to create gorgeous brownies the brownies are deliciously moist, laden with chocolate and crusted in a glossy coat of sugar. They are packed with generous chunks of gorgeous chocolate! here goes:

                              the ingredients you need:
                              500g bournville chocolate or similar
                              75g butter
                              3 eggs
                              175g caster sugar
                              175g self raising flower
                              pinch of slt
                              5ml vanilla essence

                              How to make it:
                              roughly chop 400g of the chocolate and set aside.

                              Break up the remaining chocolate and put into a heat proof bowl with the butter put this on top of a boiling pan of water till it melts- then let it cool slightly.

                              whisk the eggs and caster sugar together untill smooth, then gradually beat in the melted chocolate mixture

                              sift the flour and salt together over the mixture, then carefully fold in the chopped chocolate and vanilla essence.

                              put it into a prepared tin and level the surface

                              the brownies should be baked for roughly 25 minutes at 180 degrees depending on the type or your oven.

                              they are ready when the centre is just firm to the touch and the surface is crusty!

                              and ENJOY!!!!!!!

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                                25.12.2004 17:14
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                                Hello and Merry Christmas, I'd like to share a recipe with all of you that has brightened and warmed up my family's annual Christmas eve party.

                                First off I am an accomplished amatuer self trained gourmet who specializes in Down Home cooking. For true Poor white trailer trash cooking you must understand what my style of food preparation entails. Down Home cooking tries to minimalize costs and utilizes cheap and common ingredients to create edible meals. My skills were honed in college where we had to stretch a few boxes of 39 pence pasta to feed 5 robust young men with the munchies with the addition of a can of soup and one pound log of ground turkey and some onions. The true artiste of down home cooking can work miracles with low grade cuts of meat, frankly any spanner can make a top grade cut of meat turn out alright, and any tosser with some balsamic vinegar and cooking sherry can make a meal fit for a king. I laugh when I watch the cooking shows or read recipe guides in the newspapers, written by some Swiss Banker making 15k quid a year and talking about how to prepare filets of sole that cost 30 quid a kilo. I am now gainfully employed and making some good Crosby,Stills and Nash but like most of my co-workers on the railway we are from humble origins and love down home cooking.

                                Last new years eve I was invited to a Russell held by a sweet young tassel named Patty. And since I knew I would inevitably end up intoxicated to the point of near death which would result in some unwanted fighting, undesired reversal of food or drink or inapproprite bodily functions (jimmy) on the floor or broom closet or in front of her dustbin lids. I basically covered all of these as well as committed acts of unwanted attention on most of the attractive single people of any gender. Knowing how I would act I knew that I had to really cook something special and I did, I made two pork roasts a Szechuan-Soy soak and a cocooned roast carmalized with honey, maple syrup, walnuts, toffee and coco-nut. If you wonder where I get my recipes I admit I dream them up myself while standing in the shower for hours.

                                This latest recipe is inspired by a drink I was offered by the owner of the Tea House of the Dancing lady in Sandusky Ohio. I was relaxing in his fine establishment and usually the only contact I have with such club owners is that they tell me to keep my pots and pans off the girls or Billy Bunters. I was sitting having a Gold Watch and he asked me if I would like a drink and I said sure and the bartender (who I fancy) made us Banderos. The Owner, Craig explained that a Bandero was John Wayne's (pause for a moment of silence when invoking this great man's name) favourite drink. It is a small sip of lime juice followed by a shot of tequila and then topped with a short pull of tomato juice flavored with tabasco sauce. To me it is an ultimate tour of flavors and textures, a complete awakening of the tongue, a mosaic of sensations and flavours. The sweet yet sour awakening of the lime juice followed by the spicy saltness of teh tequila and then capped with the fruity yet saline spiciness of the tomato juice. And it was Eureka for me and I knew I had found the basis of my next great Pork Roast.

                                The Bandero Pork Roast.


                                Go down to the market and have a butchers at the butcher and find a good pork shoulder roast. Get one around 1.75 Kilograms if you want this recipe to work, and we want to keep the bill under Paul McKenna. If they has them with the stringy net on them, that is good. Then you has to go into Tesco and get the big plastic bottle of Tomato juice and then a small Aristotle of Lime Juice. All the while thinking about our brave lads who popularized Lime Juice and if you really care stop and say hi to me old China Lord Nelson there at Trafalgar square. Now I shant have to tell anyone to go out and buy Tequila for this recipe as any decent bloke has 5 or 6 aristotles laying about the flat. But you will need tequila. And since everyone already has Tabasco sauce you should make sure yours is the red one. Of course you can substitute some low grade hot sauce from Makedonia or Spain but think about the scene from The Green Berets where they are sorting out the commies in the night fight and ask yourself, is this how I want to commemorate John Wayne with some third rate sauce?

                                Now you take all of your ingredients and sit them before you on the table and smile at them. Then you get out the crock pot and plug it in. If you live in a council flat like me you then hope it works and you won't have to call the rat man on Christmas.

                                Drop the pork roast into the crock pot. Then change your mind and pull it back out. Then pour all the tomato juice into the pot and then a good toss of lime and then a glorious amount of tequila, don't look at the bottle when you pour, that is bad form, that is a miserly way to cook, you stop pouring when you feel you should not when you want to economise your liqour. Then take a daniel boone and stir it up for a while and then pour in a good dose of Tabasco sauce. Truthfully, all pork pies aside, I did two roasts in the same juice yesterday, so of course the second one isn't kosher, and in the course of it all I used half of a two ounce bottle or Tabasco, and since I don't have me calculator handy I can't rightly figuree it out, so whatever half of a two ounce bottle of tabasco is, use about that many ounces of Tabasco.

                                Then you just leave it there and let it cook for as long as you got time to let it cook. Throughout the day jab that Daniel Boone in there and turn it about and then add either tabasco or lime or tequila on that portion so it is uneven and that way the roast will be more apt to have varying degrees of flavour of each of the three "spices". I left this last one in over night and it is so tender and delicious. It is much better than the one that roasted only 3 hours.

                                Maybe yours won't be any good but it is an easy meal to make and it has character. I hate showing up at a party and some wanker has the same flogger as me and I feel foolish, well I tell you what ain't nobody else gonna be making a Bandero roast around you unless you live in the council flats in Surrey with me. But it is a good solid meal, cheap with a good story to tell. You just tell them that it is a meal inspired by John Waynes favourite drink.

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                                  29.11.2003 00:20
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                                  Though winter definitely isn't my favourite season there are a few things that I really like about this time of year - the football on Boxing Day, Christmas dinner (the eating part not the hours I spend in the kitchen before and after) and, best of all, the feeling you get when you have your hands wrapped around a hot alcoholic drink, the taste burning your throat and the steam rising up through your nose. Let's face it, Christmas wouldn't be Christmas if you had to stay sober for more than five minutes. HOT BUTTERED RUM 1 teaspoon of brown sugar 120ml of boiling water 1 whole clove 60ml of dark rum 1 teaspoon of unsalted butter An eighth of a teaspoon of grated nutmeg Pour the boiling water into a large glass and stir in the sugar until it dissolves. Add the clove and the rum, float the butter on top and dust the whole lot with nutmeg. ELENI'S EARL 2 tablespoons of brandy 1 tablespoon of Bols triple sec 1 teaspoon of honey A cup of hot Earl Grey tea Preheat a mug, combine the ingredients and stir. My favourite Christmas drink of all. MALIBU HOT CHOCOLATE 2 tablespoons of Malibu 250ml of hot chocolate (approx. one cup) Mix the Malibu and hot chocolate together in a mug. Add a dollop of whipped cream if you've got an extra sweet tooth. ITALIAN COFFEE 50ml of amaretto (http://www.dooyoo.co.uk/food_and_beverages/drinks/amaretto/) 1 tablespoon of brandy 150ml of hot coffee Be careful with this one as amaretto is a bit of an acquired taste. GLÜHWEIN I first tasted this when one of my sons brought back a bottle from a German Christmas Market a couple of years ago. The recipe was easy enough to find on the internet and it's simple enough to make. Wonderful on frosty mornings, just as long as you don't have to work afterwards. 3 cups of water 240ml of sugar 12 cloves 2 cinnamon sticks 1 lemon peel 750ml of red wine 60ml of brandy Simmer the water with sugar, cloves,cinnamon and lemon peel in a pot for 10 minutes. Pour in the wine and heat (but don't boil or you'll lose the wine!). Add brandy and pour into a coffee mug. CALYPSO COFFEE My daughter's favourite. 120ml of hot coffee. 3 tablespoons of Tia Maria 1 tablespoon of dark rum 60ml of heavy cream Mix the coffee, rum and Tia Maria together. Pour the cream over the back of a teaspoon so it floats on top of the drink. COOKED EGGNOG 6 eggs 57g of sugar (about a quarter of a cup) 1 litre of milk (divided into 2 X 500ml) 1 teaspoon of vanilla Beat the eggs and sugar together in a large saucepan (you can add a pinch of salt for a little extra taste). Stir in half of the milk and cook over a low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat a metal spoon. Remove from the heat and stir in the rest of the milk along with the vanilla. Cover the saucepan and refrigerate overnight. Before serving, pour the wggnog into a bowl and serve immediately. The perfect way to have a merry Christmas.

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