Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Make Ahead New Year Hangover Breakfast Recipe

A Happy New Year to all my readers.

And just for you, here is an extra recipe for today... which mean no recipe tomorrow.

If, like me, you are going out for New Year's eve you may be familiar with the after-party hangover on the following day.

Here's a recipe for a breakfast that provides you with everything you really need when hung-over on the morning after the night before... and you can prepare it this evening!

Make Ahead New Year Hangover Breakfast

Serves: 6
Make Ahead New Year Hangover Breakfast: A breakfast casserole of eggs, bread, sausages, onion and bacon that can be prepared the evening before and which is ideal for anyone with a New Year reveller's hangover


250g (about 4 cups) French bread (or any rustic bread) cut into 1cm cubes
175g (2 cups) mature (sharp) Cheddar cheese
90g (1/2 cup) finely-chopped onion
8 large eggs
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
6 thick rashers (slices) of bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled
6 thin beef, turkey or pork sausages, roasted until cooked and cut into 2cm lengths
butter for greasing


Liberally butter a casserole dish (about 25 x 30 x 4cm [10 x 12 x 2 in]) and set aside.

Combine the bread cubes, sausage, cheese and onion in a bowl then toss to combine. Turn this mixture into the casserole and spread over the base of the casserole.

Beat together the eggs, cream, mustard, salt and black pepper in a bowl. Pour this mixture over the bread, sausage and onion mix in the casserole.

Sprinkle the bacon over the top then transfer the casserole dish to an oven pre-heated to 170°C and bake for about 25 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the centre of the dish emerges cleanly.

This can be served straight away, or it can be cooled, stored in the refrigerator and re-heated in the oven or microwave when you need it the following day.

Creamy Eggnog Pie and Coconut Snowball Martini Recipes

Today I have two recipes for New Year's eve... both of which have a bit of a 'snow' theme.

The first is a classic eggnog and whipped cream pie, easy to make, delicious and guaranteed to go down a treat at any gathering.

And because New Year would not be New Year without a milk-based cocktail, I'm also presenting a recipe for a coconut martini.

Creamy Eggnog Pie

Serves: 6–8

Christmas may be over, but this eggnog pie still goes down a treat for a New Year, or even an Easter dessert. It's delicious, can be made the day before and is great for any party.
Creamy Eggnog Pie: Classic seasonal dessert of eggnog blended with whipped cream and set with gelatine in a pastry shell served decorated with piped whipped cream


1 tbsp unflavoured gelatine powder
4 tbsp cold water
65g sugar
2 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
1/4 tsp salt
500ml good-quality eggnog
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp rum (or rum extract)
250ml whipping cream, whipped
1 pre-baked sweet shortcrust pastry shell (22cm/9 in)
whipped cream, to decorate


Place the 4 tbsp cold water in a small bowl and sprinkle over the gelatine powder. Set aside to stand for 1 minute.

Combine the sugar, cornflour and salt in a small saucepan. Stir in the eggnog then gently bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Continue cooking, again stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.

Add the gelatine and stir until dissolved then take off the heat before setting aside to cool to room temperature.

Stir in the vanilla and rum extracts then fold in the whipped cream.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pastry shell then transfer to the refrigerator and chill until firm (at least 3 hours, but best over night).

Decorate by piping with whipped cream, then serve as a dessert.

Coconut Snowball Martini

Serves: 6

No New Year's eve party would be complete without a cocktail, so here's a seasonal one for you to serve to your guests tonight.
Coconut Snowball Martini: Classic festive cocktail of cream, vanilla vodka, coconut rum and cream of coconut served in a martini glass


180ml single cream
120ml coconut-flavoured rum
4 tbsp vanilla vodka
4 tbsp cream of coconut
ice cubes


Mix together the cream, rum, vodka and cream of coconut in a jug.

Half fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes and pour in the coconut mixture.

Cover and shake well to chill then divide the mixture between six martini glasses.

Serve immediately.

For many more classic and seasonal cocktails (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic), why not visit the Celtnet Cocktail recipes pages.

Monday, 30 December 2013

Bacon and Onion Crescent Roll Pinwheels Recipe

With New Year's Eve only tomorrow, here is another recipe for a classic appetizer or party snack that can be varied as you desire to add more ingredients or flavour.

This recipe can be made with pre-bought crescent roll dough, but here I provide a recipe for you to make your own crescent roll dough from scratch at home.

So you can either go the easy route, or prepare the whole recipe for yourself from scratch.

Bacon and Onion Crescent Roll Pinwheels

Serves: 20

I have given a scratch version for this recipe here, but the yeasted dough is a home-made equivalent of canned, refrigerated crescent roll dough and you can substitute the commercial product for my dough recipe to make this a very quick and easy to make appetizer.
Bacon and Onion Crescent Roll Pinwheels: Classic New Year snacks or appetisers made with crescent roll dough spread with butter, bacon, onions and parsley. Cut into pinwheels and baked.


For the Dough:

2 sachets active, dried, yeast (about 1 tbsp)
180ml (3/4 cup) warm water
100g (1/2 cup) sugar
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
100g (1/2 cup) shortening (or a 50:50 mix of lard and butter)
550g (4 1/2 cups) unbleached plain (all-purpose) flour

For the Pinwheels:

65g (1/3 cup) butter or margarine, softened
100g (3/4 cup) onion, finely chopped
8 rashers (slices) of rindless bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled
3 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped


Add the yeast and water to a large bowl then stir the yeast to dissolve. Add the sugar, salt, eggs, shortening and half the flour and beat to combine. Now add all the remaining flour and blend until smooth. Using a spatula scrape the dough from the sides of the bowl towards the centre then cove with a damp cloth and set aside in a warm place to rise for about 90 minutes, or until doubled in volume.

Mix together the butter, onion, bacon and parsley in a bowl.

Once risen, knock the dough back then divide into eight equal-sized portions. Roll each portion out into a rectangle about 6mm thick.

Spread 1/8 of the butter mixture evenly over each dough rectangle. Fold the dough up into a roll along the long edge.

Cut each roll into 4 or 8 pinwheels, then arrange each pinwheel on a baking tray. Flatten the tops slightly then cover loosely with a cloth and set aside to raise for 20 minutes.

After this time, transfer to an oven pre-heated to 180ºC (375ºF) and bake for about 15 minutes, or until cooked through and lightly golden.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Server warm or at room temperature.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

New Year Party Bites — Four Easy Recipes

As New Year is only a few days away, today I thought that I would do something different, so here are recipes for four easy to make party nibbles.

In essence these are 'quick bites', canapés to be served with drinks or for people to nibble on as they wait for the main meal.

These are also excellent as part of a buffet or as a mixed platter starter.

So here are a mix of quick and easy to prepare party foods:

Pizza Crackers

Serves: 12
Pizza crackers: Crackers topped with cheese and tomato sauce that look just like mini pizzas


12 multi-grain crackers
12 slices of mozzarella cheese
12 tsp tomato sauce (or thick tomato ketchup)
garlic powder, to taste
dried oregano, crumbled, to taste
paprika, to taste


These truly are simplicity itself to make. Just top the cracker with the cheese and then a dollop of tomato sauce.

Season to taste with garlic powder, dried oregano and a dusting of paprika.


Raspberry Chipotle Cream Cheese Dip

Serves: 8
Raspberry Chipotle Cream Cheese Dip: Cream cheese topped with a raspberry chipotle jam served with crackers


For the Raspberry Chipotle Sauce:

350g raspberry preserves
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 or 3 whole Chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce, drained and chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced

For the Dip:

225g (8 oz) cream cheese
180ml (3/4 cup) raspberry chipotle sauce (as made above)

crackers, to accompany


Begin by making the raspberry chipotle sauce (this can be prepared well in advance). Combine the raspberry preserves, vinegar, chipotles and garlic in a medium saucepan. Stir well to mix then bring just to the point of boiling. Reduce to a simmer then cook, uncovered, for about 5 minutes or until the liquid has thickened to a sauce-like consistency.

Take off the heat and transfer to a sterilized and warmed screw-top jar. Seal and store in the refrigerator (it will keep for up to 2 weeks).

For the dip, soften the cream cheese and mound in a bowl. Spoon over the raspberry chipotle sauce and serve as a dip, accompanied by crackers.

Chocolate-coated Peanuts

Serves: 30
Chocolate-coated Peanuts: Peanuts covered in a blend of dark chocolate and butterscotch


330g (12 oz) dark chocolate, chopped
660g (24 oz) butterscotch, broken into chips
450g (1 lb) skinless salted peanuts


Combine the chocolate and butterscotch in a bain-marie (double boiler) set over barely simmering water. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chocolate and butterscotch have melted and combined with each other.

Pour in the peanuts and stir until evenly and well coated.

Take tablespoons of the mixture and drop onto greaseproof (waxed) paper. Allow to cool until set and harden.

Peel off the paper and serve in an air-tight container until needed.

Buffalo Prawns with Blue Cheese Dip

Serves: 4
Buffalo Prawns with Blue Cheese Dip: Prawns (shrimp) in a spicy coating served on a blue cheese dressing bed


120ml (1/2 cup) sour cream
120ml (1/2 cup) mayonnaise
4 tbsp milk
120g (4 oz) blue cheese, crumbled
1 tbs fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp sea salt
4 tbsp plain flour
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
675g (1 1/2 lbs) king prawns, peeled and de-veined (but leave the tails attached)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tsp hot pepper sauce
1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped


In a bowl, mix together the sour cream, mayonnaise, milk, blue cheese, lemon juice and 1/2 tsp sea salt. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

In another bowl, mix together the flour, 1/4 tsp salt and cayenne pepper. Add the prawns and toss to coat in the spicy flour mix.

Combine the oil, butter and hot sauce in a frying pan. Add the prawns and cook, stirring constantly, for about 4 minutes, or until just cooked through and lightly browned.

Arrange teaspoons of the blue cheese mixture on a serving tray. Scatter over the parsley then sit a prawn on top.

Serve immediately.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bundt Cake Recipe

Now that Christmas itself is well and truly over, it's time to turn our culinary attentions towards the New Year, both New Year's eve parties and a few traditional dishes to bring you luck for the New Year itself.

I many traditions, circular foods, particularly if served on New Year's day, represent good luck as the circle is never-ending. So, if you want to offer your guests good luck for the forthcoming year, why not serve them a piece of this delicious cake?

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bundt Cake Recipe

Serves: 10
Chocolate Peanut Butter Bundt Cake: Rich chocolate cake baked as a ring to engender luck for the New Year served with a chocolate and peanut butter topping.


500g (16 oz) devil's food cake mix (either boxed, or use this home-made devil food cake mix recipe)
500g (16 oz) sour cream
3 eggs
10 miniature peanut butter cups, foil wrapping removed
75g (1/2 cup) dark chocolate, chopped
125g (1/2 cup) creamy, smooth, peanut butter


In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, sour cream and eggs until the batter is smooth.

Pour half the resultant batter into a greased and floured ring mould (bundt cake tin). Cut each of the peanut butter cups in half and arrange these evenly over the cake batter.

Top evenly with the remaining cake batter then transfer to an oven pre-heated to 170ºC (350ºF) and bake for about 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake emerges cleanly.

Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes then invert onto a cake and gently shake out the cake. Set aside to cool completely.

When the cake has cooled, combine the dark chocolate and peanut butter in a saucepan over low heat. Cook gently, stirring constantly, until the chocolate has melted and blended with the peanut butter.

Take off the heat and drizzle the mixture over the cooled cake.

Note, that if you have a stoneware ring mould you can cook the cake in a microwave by cooking on full power for about 12 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre emerges cleanly (cooking times will vary, dependant on the power of your microwave).

Friday, 27 December 2013

Banoffee Tarts Recipe

Christmas is over and now I am starting on a few New Year recipes for you.

Today is an interesting dessert based on a classic Banoffee Pie (you can find the original Hungry Monk version of banoffee pie here)... Individual banoffee tarts that can be served either as a dessert or as a nibble.

For even more recipes for your New Year Festivities, visit the Celtnet history of New Year and New Year recipes page.

Banoffee Tarts Recipe

Serves: 6
Banoffee Tarts Recipe: Miniature banoffee pies in a baked shortcrust shell, topped with whipped cream and fudge sauce


For the Shortcrust:

150g (1 1/4 cups) self-raising flour
25g (3 tbsp) ground rice
finely-grated zest of 1 lemon
50g (1/4 cup, packed) dark muscovado sugar
150g (3/4 cup) butter

For the Caramel (Banoffee) Sauce:

60g (5 tbsp) light brown sugar
60g (4 1/2 tbsp) butter
50ml (1/4 cup) cream

For the Filling:

1 1/2 large bananas
4 tbsp banoffee sauce
225ml (1 cup, scant) double cream
sifted cocoa powder, for dusting
1 dessertspoon fudge sauce


Begin with the shortcake: In a bowl, mix together the flour, ground rice, lemon zest and sugar. Rub the butter into this mixture until the combination resembles fine breadcrumbs. Lightly work this mixture together to form a soft ball of dough (if the mixture is too crumbly, add just a little lemon juice until it comes together).

Divide the mixture into six and press into the base and sides of six greased, fluted individual flan moulds. Prick the base lightly with the tines of a fork, then transfer to an oven pre-heated to 170ºC (350ºF) and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the shortcake is cooked through and lightly golden. Allow to cool as you prepare the filling.

For the banoffee (caramel) sauce, melt together the butter and sugar in a small pan over low heat, stirring frequently until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Stir in the cream and continue heating gently, stirring frequently to prevent burning, until the sauce is thick and bubbling. Take off the heat and set aside to cool.

For the filling: Once the bases and sauce are cooled, carefully turn the shortcake bases out of their baking tins and arrange in the centre of six serving plates.

Peel and slice the bananas and evenly distribute the rounds between the shortcake cases. Spoot about 1 tbsp of the banoffee sauce over each tartlet.

Whip the cream until it holds its shape then spoon into a piping bag fitted with a large star-shaped nozzle and pipe over the banana and caramel mix.

Dust with the cocoa powder. Drizzle over the fudge sauce just before serving.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Turkey Potpie with Stuffing Crust Recipe

Everyone will have leftovers today and so, here is a classic recipe that will make use not just of your leftover turkey, but also your leftover stuffing and some of the leftover vegetables too.

This is a very economical recipe and it's exactly what I will be having for lunch today.

For even more ideas of what to do with your leftovers, why not visit the Celtnet Leftovers recipes and leftover cooking ideas page?

Turkey Potpie with Stuffing Crust

Serves: 8
Turkey Potpie with Stuffing Crust: Classic Christmas or Thanksgiving leftovers recipe. Use up leftover turkey, gravy, vegetables and stuffing to prepare this potpie cooked in a pastry shell and topped with leftover stuffing


250g (2 cups) leftover cooked turkey, diced
500ml (2 cups) leftover turkey gravy
220g (2 cups) leftover stuffing
880g (32 oz) leftover vegetables, cut into pieces (or use frozen vegetables, thawed)
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tbsp ground garlic
1 tsp dried sage, crumbled
1 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
prepared pie crust (optional), to line your baking dish


If needed, cook your vegetables by boiling until tender (if using leftovers, you do not need to do this). Allow the vegetables to cool if you are cooking just prior to making this recipe.

In a large bowl mix together the turkey, vegetables, spices and seasonings.

You will need a baking dish of about 22 x 33cm (9 x 13 in). If lining with the pie crust (pastry) roll the pastry out on a floured work surface and use to line your dish. Trim neatly and prick all over the base.

Transfer to an oven pre-heated to 175ºC (350ºF) and bake for about 15 minutes, or until cooked and just very lightly coloured.

Remove the pie crust from the oven and allow to cool.

Spoon the vegetable and turkey mixture into the prepared pie dish. Pour over the gravy then top with the stuffing (ensure that you spread this evenly over everything).

Transfer to your oven and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the dish is piping hot and the stuffing topping is brown and crispy.

Serve hot with more gravy and mashed potatoes.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Day 12 — Hasselback Potatoes and Turkey and Barley Soup

Well, it's Christmas Eve, so I would like to wish all this blog's readers a very Merry Christmas. As today and tomorrow are very busy cooking days for me, I will be taking a break from the blog for a day and a half... but I'll be back on the 26th.

This is the final day of my 'Twelve Days of Christmas' seasonal food countdown. Today I have two recipes for you, a great recipe for Hasselback Potatoes to accompany the turkey and a recipe for a soup that you can make with left-over turkey (after all, everyone needs ideas for leftovers after Christmas!).

The Hasselback potatoes recipe rounds off my offerings for the complete Christmas dinner. These include the recipes published over the previous days for: Honey-brined Herb-Roasted Turkey; Crockpot Stuffing and Cranberry Relish and  Spicy Honey-roasted Sweet Potatoes and Spicy Braised Red Cabbage. And for dessert there is yesterday's recipe for Microwave Christmas Pudding, which you still have time to prepare, even today.

As well as this recipe, the Celtnet site has also been updated today with over 40 new Christmas dishes. Go on over to Celtnet's latest recipes page for the updated Christmas dishes.

Of course, the festive season continues, so after Christmas there will be recipes for leftovers and some recipes for you to enjoy over the New Year.

But, for now, a very Happy Christmas to one and all.

Spicy Hasselback Potatoes

Serves: 4–6
Spicy Hasselback Potatoes: Part-sliced potatoes, basted with butter and finished with a spicy topping


4–6 medium-sized potatoes
6 tbsp butter

For the Spicy Topping:

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander seeds
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly-grated nutmeg
more butter, for basting


One of the beauties of thee potatoes is that they will cook comfortably alongside whatever else (typically a roast) is in your oven, so the oven temperature will depend on what else you have there.

Wash the potatoes thoroughly, pat dry, but do not peel. Cut a thin slice from one side of each potato, so that they will lie flat. Sit each potato in turn on a cutting board then lay a wooden spoon behind it (this prevents you from cutting all the way through the potato).

Turn the cutting board so that the potato and spoon are at right angles to you. Using a harp knife, slice the potato thinly (but remember to use the spoon to prevent you from cutting all the way through).

Use your fingers to spread 1 tbsp of the butter over the top of the potato. Now, using a pastry brush force some of the butter between the potato slices.

Repeat with the remaining potatoes. Transfer to an oven pre-heated anywhere between 180ºC and 220ºC (350ºF to 425ºF). Bake for around 45 minutes, basting occasionally with more butter.

Mix together the spices and scatter over the potatoes. Return to the oven and bake for a further 15 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy on the outside.

IF the potatoes are not browning, time their cooking so that you can remove the roast for 20 minutes to rest. During this time, increase the oven temperature to allow the potatoes to brown.

Serve hot.

Turkey and Barley Soup

Serves: 6
Turkey and Barley Soup: A classic and warming winter soup made with leftover turkey


1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 carrots, scraped and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
150g (2 cups) button mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp dried thyme, crumbled
1.5l (8 cups) turkey broth
2 tbsp tomato purée (tomato paste)
4 tbsp pearl barley
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
300g (2 cups) left-over turkey meat, shredded


Heat the oil in a large, deep, frying pan or skillet. Add the onion, carrots, celery and mushrooms and fry for 2 minutes. Sprinkle over the thyme and continue cooking for about 6 minutes more, or until the vegetables are just tender.

Heat the turkey broth in a large pot, whisk in the tomato puree then stir in the fried vegetables. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the vinegar, season to taste with salt and black pepper then stir in the pearl barly. Bring the soup just to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for about 18 minutes, or until the pearl barley is tender.

Stir in the turkey meat, bring back to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes more, or until all the ingredients are warmed through.

Serve immediately, ladled into warmed soup bowls.

If you need more recipes to help you use-up those Christmas leftovers of all kinds, why not visit the Celtnet Leftovers and Leftover Recipes and Ideas page.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Day 11 1/2 — Microwave Christmas Pudding

The problem with Christmas puddings is that they take hours (sometimes a whole day) to prepare and up to eight hours to cook the first time. Then they need to be stored to mature for several weeks.

After that they need to be re-boiled, again for several hours before serving.

If you have not prepared a Christmas pudding beforehand, then you are stuck... you can't have home-made pudding for your Christmas lunch.

At least, that used to be the case... but not any more. Now, with this microwave method you can prepare a rich Christmas pudding on Christmas day itself.

So, even if you don't have a Christmas pudding yet, you can use this method to prepare on Christmas day.

I am indebted to the Celtnet site, whose recipe for Microwave Fruity Christmas Pudding this version is baed on.

As well as this recipe, the Celtnet site has also been updated today with over 40 new Christmas dishes. Go on over to Celtnet's latest recipes page for the updated Christmas dishes.

Microwave Christmas Pudding

Serves: 8
Microwave Christmas Pudding:  A light fruited Christmas pudding that's been adapted to be cooked in a microwave on the day of serving. Show as a wedge with cream.


75g (1/2 cup) raisins
75g (1/2 cup) sultanas
50g (1/2 cup) glacé pineapple, chopped
50g (1/2 cup) glacé cherries, chopped
50g (1/2 cup) crystallized ginger, chopped
4 tbsp brandy or rum
50g (1/2 cup) ground almonds
50g (3/4 cup) fresh breadcrumbs
finely-grated zest of 1 orange
finely-grated zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 orange
50g (1/3 cup) brazil nuts, chopped
50g (1/2 cup) cooking apples, peeled, cored and grated
50g (1/2 cup) carrot, grated
125g (1/2 cup, heaped) buter
125g (1/2 cup, packed and heaped) dark muscovado sugar
2 eggs, beaten
125g (1 cup) wholemeal self-raising flour
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp freshly-grated nutmeg
2 tbsp treacle (molasses)
2 tbsp whole milk (or as needed)


If you have the time, combine the raisins, sultanas, cherries, pineapple and ginger in a bowl. Stir in the brandy, cover with clingfilm (plastic wrap) and set aside to soak over night. Alternatively, cover and microwave on half power for 2 minutes then set aside for 2 hours to soak.

When the fruit have plumped, in a separate bowl mix together the ground almonds, breadcrumbs, orange zest, lemon zest, orange juice, nuts, apple and carrot. Stir the macerated fruit into this mixture.

In another bowl, cream together the butter, muscovado sugar and treacle. Beat until light and fluffy then add the beaten eggs, a little at a time, beating thoroughly to combine after each addition. If the mixture looks like it may curdle add a spoonful of flour and mix to combine. Stir into the fruit mixture.

Mix together the remaining flour and the spices then work this into the fruit mixture. Add about 2 tbsp milk, or enough to give you a fairly moist cake-like batter.

Lightly butter a microwave-proof pudding basin (about 1.5l) and sit a circle of greaseproof (waxed) paper in its base. Turn the pudding mixture into the basin and smooth the top with the back of a spoon. Cover with microwave clingfilm (plastic wrap) and pierce this with a skewer to make steam holes.

Place in your microwave and cook for 15 minutes on low (900W microwave). Allow to stand for 5 minutes.

When ready to serve, run a round-bladed knife around the inside of the pudding basin and turn the pudding out onto a warmed serving plate.

If you want to flame the pudding, place 2 tbsp brandy in a glass and microwave on full power for 20 seconds. Pour over the pudding and set light to the alcohol with a taper.

Serve immediately, accompanied by white sauce (menyn melys) or brandy butter.

For the full Christmas day experience, I have also published on this blog recipes for: Honey-brined Herb-Roasted Turkey Recipe. To accompany this turkey recipe, tomorrow I will be publishing recipes for Crockpot Stuffing and Cranberry Relish on this blog. On Monday I will have recipes for two accompaniments: Spicy Honey-roasted Sweet Potatoes and Spicy Braised Red Cabbage. This is rounded off by my recipe for Hasselback Potatoes.

If you would like even more Christmas recipes, and would like to learn more about the history of Christmas foods through the ages, visit the Celtnet History of the Foods of Christmas page.

Day 11 — Spicy Honey-roasted Sweet Potatoes and Spicy Braised Red Cabbage

Welcome to the penultimate entry in my 'Twelve Days of Christmas' recipes collection. Over the preceding two days, I have already provided a recipe for the turkey in my Honey-brined Herb-Roasted Turkey page and I have provided recipes for garnishes in my Crockpot Stuffing and Cranberry Relish page. And for dessert there is yesterday's recipe for Microwave Christmas Pudding, which you still have time to prepare, even on Christmas today.

Today I round off the main Christmas meal with two classic side dishes, one of which is a true personal favourite of mine.

We all serve potatoes for Christmas, but I sometimes like to mix it up with something a little different, and sweet potatoes are a real favourite of mine, so the first recipe today is to try and get you to give something a little different a go. Of course, my wife is Nigerian, so we will probably have yams and plantains as well!

Later today, I will have a recipe for a microwave Christmas pudding, which you can prepare from scratch on Christmas day, just the thing if you have forgotten your own pudding!

Here you can find a link to all my Twelve Days of Christmas (and all the other Christmas) recipes published on this blog... a true treasure-trove of seasonal dishes.

Spicy Honey-roasted Sweet Potatoes

If you fancy something a little different than the traditional roast potatoes to go with your roast turkey this Christmas, then this recipe for honey and orange flavoured roast sweet potatoes might just be what you're looking for.

Serves: 6

Spicy Honey-roasted Sweet Potatoes: Orange sweet potatoes in a spiced honey glaze.

3 tbsp unsalted butter
3 tbsp runny honey
4 tbsp orange juice
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground cumin seeds
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
4 medium orange sweet potatoes, halved crosswise and quartered lengthways
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste


Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Whisk in the honey, along with the orange juice and spices.

Liberally butter a glass or ceramic baking dish (this must be large enough to hold the sweet potatoes in a single layer). Arrange the sweet potato wedges in the dish, then pour over the honey mixture.

Toss the sweet potatoes to coat in the honey mix then transfer to an oven pre-heated to 200ºC (400ºF) and roast for about 50 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are browned and tender and the pan juices are thick and bubbly.

During the cooking times you should gently stir the sweet potatoes several times during cooking to ensure that they are coated in the pan juices.

Serve immediately.

Note that the honey and spice dressing for the sweet potatoes used here also works well for carrots, swedes and squashes, or you could mix all these up and roast in a single dish.

Spicy Braised Red Cabbage Recipe

This is the dish that I invariable serve with my own Christmas turkey. Though based on an old German classic, I've adapted and amended the recipe over the years, to produce something that is always a hit with my family.

Serves: 4–6
Spicy Braised Red Cabbage: Red cbbage slow cooked with raisins and apples in a spiced port wine and redcurrant jelly base, served mounded in a blue plate


4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 medium-sized red cabbage, cored and shredded (about 1kg [2 lbs])
1/2 tsp mixed spice (pumpkin pie spice)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tart eating apples, cored, peeled and cut into chunks
60g raisins
120ml port wine
4 tbsp redcurrant jelly or blackcurrant jelly
salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste


Combine the butter, sugar, vinegar and port wine in a deep frying pan over medium heat. Stir in the spices and season to taste with salt and black pepper, then bring to a boil.

Add the cabbage pieces, stirring to mix with the juice. Reduce toa gentle simmer, cover and cook gently for about 60 minutes, or until the cabbage is soft.

Now stir in the apple pieces and cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes more.

Finally stir in the reducrrant jelly to cover the cabbage. Adjust the seasoning to taste, turn into a dish and serve.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Day 10 — Crockpot Stuffing and Cranberry Relish

With only three days until Christmas, I am rounding off my Twelve Days of Christmas feature on this blog with some classic accompaniments.

Yesterday, I published the recipe for a Honey-brined Herb-Roasted Turkey. On this tenth day I am publishing two classic accompaniments to go with the turkey — a stuffing and a relish/sauce. Tomorrow I will publish recipes for roasted sweet potatoes and braised red cabbage so that you will have everything you need to accompany your turkey.

Following on from yesterday's recipe for perfect brined and roasted turkey, I could not help myself from adding a recipe to that essential turkey accompaniment, the stuffing.

This recipe has a twist though in that it's not cooked in the bird — rather it's prepared in a slow cooker (crockpot).

Of course, any turkey-based meal is not complete without cranberry sauce... but today I have a bit of a twist on that recipe, a relish made from a blend of cranberries and oranges in a sweet base.

Here you can find a link to all my Twelve Days of Christmas (and all the other Christmas) recipes published on this blog... a true treasure-trove of seasonal dishes.

Slow Cooker Stuffing Recipe

Serves: 12
Slow Cooker Stuffing Recipe: Moist stuffing to accompany your Christmas or Thanksgiving turkey that's prepared in a crockpot


200g (1 cup) butter
200g (2 cups) celery, chopped
100g (1 cup) onion, chopped
1 1/2 tsp dried sage leaves, crumbled
1/2 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp dried thyme, crumbled
2 eggs, beaten
1l (4 cups) chicken broth
800g (12 cups) dry breadcrumbs


Mix together the butter, celery, spices and eggs in a large bowl. Add the chicken broth and beat with a fork.

Stir in the breadcrumbs, then turn the mixture into a slow cooker (crockpot). Cook on high for 45 minutes, then reduce the heat to low and continue cooking for a further 6 hours.

Serve to accompany your Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey.

If you want more slow cooker recipes, why not visit the Celtnet Slow cooker and Crockpot recipes page.

Cranberry and Orange Relish

Serves: 12
Cranberry and Orange Relish: Classic fresh relish made from a blend of cranberries and orange sweetened with sugar. A perfect accompaniment for your Christmas turkey


330g (12 oz) fresh cranberries
1 medium orange, washed and quartered (remove any pips)
200g (1 cup) sugar
1 apple, cored and quartered


Wash the cranberries and drain in a colander. Combine in a food processor with the orange quarters and apple. 

Pulse the mixture to chop then scrape into a bowl and mix with the sugar. Cover and refrigerate over night.

Tomorrow, I will I have recipes for two accompaniments: Spicy Honey-roasted Sweet Potatoes and Spicy Braised Red Cabbage. And for dessert there is yesterday's recipe for Microwave Christmas Pudding, which you still have time to prepare, even on Christmas today.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Day 9 — Honey-brined Herb-Roasted Turkey Recipe

With only four days to go to Christmas, we've reached day nine of my 'Twelve Days of Christmas' food countdown. Today we reach the main course, the turkey.

Indeed, no Christmas meal would be complete without the ubiquitous turkey, so in my run-up to Christmas I simple had to provide a recipe. However, turkey can sometimes be a rather dry meat, and brining is an excellent way of keeping your turkey moist and succulent. For best results, the turkey should be kept submerged in the brine for at least 18 to 24 hours before cooking.

Here is a classic method of getting perfectly moist and well flavoured turkey meat for your Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner, using a traditional brining method.

Here you can find a link to all my Twelve Days of Christmas (and all the other Christmas) recipes published on this blog... a true treasure-trove of seasonal dishes.

Honey-brined Herb-Roasted Turkey

Serves: 12
Honey-brined Herb-Roasted Turkey Recipe: A classic method of achieving a perfectly moist and flavourful turkey by marinating in a honeyed brine and roasting with mixed herbs. Shown served on a plate with a parsley garnish.


1 fresh whole turkey (or 1 whole frozen turkey, thawed)
10l (10 quarts) water
400g (2 cups) sea salt
250ml (1 cup) honey
4 tsp coarsely-ground black pepper
12 garlic cloves, peeled
2 red finger chillies, halved lengthways (optional)
2 bunches fresh thyme
1 bunch fresh sage
1/2 bunch fresh marjoram
1l (4 cups) chicken stock
3 lemons
4 tsp olive oil


Remove the neck and giblets from the turkey body cavity (reserve these for gravy). Rinse the turkey with cold, running, water then pat dry with kitchen paper.

Combine the water, honey and salt in a large bowl or stockpot, stirring until the honey has completely dissolved. Add half the thyme, sage and marjoram, along with the garlic, black pepper and chillies (if using). Finally mix in the chicken stock.

Line a large pot with a plastic bag that's suitable for food (a roasting bag or large freezer bag is ideal). Sit the turkey inside then pour over the brine. Gather the ends of the bag and twist so that the bag closes tightly around the turkey, causing the bird to be completely enclosed in the brine. Seal the end of the bag then refrigerate in the pot over night (a minimum of 12 hours, and 18 to 24 hours for best results).

After this time, remove the turkey from the bring and pat dry with kitchen paper. Arrange the turkey, breast side up, on a rack set in a large, shallow, roasting tin.

Squeeze the juice from the lemons into the body cavity of the turkey then sit the squeezed lemon halves inside along with the remaining herbs.

Lightly coat the turkey with cooking oil then season with salt and black pepper.

Transfer to an oven pre-heated to 170ºC (350ºF) and roast for 40 minutes per kg (18 minutes per pound), or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the turkey leg registers 82ºC (180ºF). If you do not have a thermometer, then the juices of the thigh and breast should run clear when pressed, and a carving fork when inserted into the meat should feel hot when touched against your lower lip. During the cooking time cover the bird loosely with kitchen foil and baste bird every 30 minutes either with the pan juices or with chicken stock.

Remove the foil for the final 90 minutes of cooking to ensure that the skin is nicely covered.

When done, remove the turkey from the oven and transfer to a cutting block. Cover tightly with foil and allow to rest for about 20 minutes before carving.

For more information and guides to roasting times and temperatures for all kinds of meat, take a look at the Celtnet Ultimate Guide to Roasting page.

To accompany this turkey recipe, tomorrow I will be publishing recipes for Crockpot Stuffing and Cranberry Relish on this blog. On Monday I will have recipes for two accompaniments: Spicy Honey-roasted Sweet Potatoes and Spicy Braised Red Cabbage. This is rounded off by my recipe for Hasselback Potatoes. And for dessert there is yesterday's recipe for Microwave Christmas Pudding, which you still have time to prepare, even on Christmas today.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Day 8 — Christmas Hard Candy and Torrones (Spanish Christmas Nougat)

Just like you can't have Christmas without drinks, neither does Christmas work without candies.

For this ninth entry in my 'Twelve Days of Christmas' food series I a presenting recipes for home-made candies that will please kids and adults alike.

In fact, the kids will tend to prefer the first recipe whilst the adults will like the second. Both these recipes will also make excellent gifts... and if you're wondering how I got the hard candies into the star pattern, the mixture was allowed to cool slightly and was then forced through a cookie former.

And I know that, as today is the maids-a-milking day, I probably should have provided a recipe for milk-based candies (if you are desperate, there is a recipe for Cornish Clotted Cream Fudge elsewhere on this blog).

Here you can find a link to all the Christmas and all the other Twelve Days of Christmas recipes published on this blog... a true treasure-trove of seasonal dishes.

But now, on to the recipes (note that both these make excellent home-made gifts).

Christmas Hard Candy

Serves: 20
Christmas Hard Candy: Classic sugar-based candies coloured orange and shaped into stars for Christmas


800g (4 cups) sugar
250ml (1 cup) golden syrup (light corn syrup)
250ml (1 cup) water
2 tsp cinnamon oil (or 2 tsp peppermint extract)
red food colouring, orange food colouring or green food colouring
icing sugar, for dusting


Combine the sugar, golden syrup and water in a pan. Bring to a boil and continue cooking until the syrup reaches the hard crack stage (149–154°C; 99% sugar concentration [When you drop a little of the syrup in water at this stage it will solidify into threads that will shatter at the slightest torsion (sideways pressure). This is the ideal stage for making toffee, nut brittles and lollipops]).

Beat in the cinnamon oil (or peppermint) and the food colouring of our choice.

Turn the resultant coloured syrup into a baking tray lined with kitchen foil and greased with oil.

Sprinkle over a little icing sugar whilst still warm. Allow to cool until it can be handled and break into pieces.

Stor in an air-tight tin.

Torrones (Spanish Christmas Nougat)


This is a classic Christmas sweet (candy) from Spain made with almonds.
Torrones (Spanish Christmas Nougat): Classic Spanish Christmas nougat made with almonds and candied fruit in a syrup and sugar base bound with egg yolks


225g finely-powdered sugar
180ml golden syrup (light corn syrup)
120ml water
2 egg whites
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp orange extract (or orange blossom water)
75g (1/2 cup) candied fruit, chopped
candied fruit, to garnish
110g (1 cup) slivered almonds


Combine the sugar, golden syrup and water in a pan. Place over medium heat, bring to a boil and cook until a confectioner's thermometer inserted into the syrup reaches 127ºC (260ºF).

In the meantime, beat the egg whites in a clean and dry bowl until they stand in stiff peaks. When the syrup mixture reaches temperature gradually pour in a thin single stream onto the egg whites, beating constantly.

Add the extracts and beat well for 15 minutes, then add the candied fruit and beat for a further 2 minutes.

Fold in half the slivered almonds, then pour the resultant mixture into a buttered 22cm square pan that's been lightly dusted with powdered sugar.

Top with the remaining slivered almonds, then set aside to cool and set over night.

The following day, cut into squares.

This makes an excellent home-made Christmas gift.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Day 7 — Red Hot Christmas Punch and Christmas Wassail

You really can't have Christmas without drinks, and for today's seventh instalment of my 'Twelve Days of Christmas' recipe series I have a modern update of a true classic drink and a modern drink for children that can be spiced up with alcohol for adults.

The first drink presented here, Red Hot Christmas Punch, is a classic non-alcoholic punch recipe for Christmas that goes down well with both adults and children. This is also great if you want a non-alcoholic alternative for a New Year party.

The next drink, wassail, is a true historic classic. It's first recorded in Anglo Saxon times rose to popularity in Medieval times, is mentioned by Shakespeare and was still commonplace in Dickens' Victorian London. This is the apple and cider based drink, wassail.

Here you can find a link to all the Christmas and the remaining Twelve Days of Christmas recipes published on this blog... a true treasure-trove of seasonal dishes.

Red Hot Christmas Punch

Serves: 8
Red Hot Christmas Punch: A classic non-alcoholic Christmas punch made with mixed fruit juice and red hot candies cooked in a crockpot


900ml (3 1/2 cups) cranberry juice
900ml (3 1/2 cups) pineapple juice
1 cinnamon stick
4 allspice berries


Combine the fruit juices, red-hot candies, allspice berries and cinnamon in a crockpot (slow cooker). Cover and cook on LOW for between 3 and 5 hours.

Remove the cinnamon stick and allspice berries (easier if the berries are tied in a cloth first).

Ladle into warmed glasses or cups (Irish coffee glasses are ideal), garnish with a cinnamon stick as a server and serve immediately.

Winter Wassail

Wassail comes from the Anglo-Saxon toast 'waes hael': literally, 'be whole', but actually meaning something more like 'your health'. The first carols were Yuletide drinking songs and singers carolled their neighbourhoods carrying their wassail bowls with them.

Traditionally it was made from cider and had small, sour apples, in the mix. This version can be made either alcoholic or non alcoholic and it works just as well either way.

Serves: 14
Winter Wassail: A classic Christmas alcoholic drink made with cider and gin served warm in a glass, with instructions for a non-alcoholic version


4.5l cider (or fresh apple juice for a non-alcoholic version)
1 tbsp whole cloves
1 tbsp allspice berries
4 cinnamon sticks
1 star anise
4 blades of mace
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 nutmeg, halved
1/4 tsp sea salt
200g dark brown sugar
500ml (1 pint) gin or vodka (omit for a non-alcoholic version)
2 lemons, thinly sliced (remove the pips)
3 oranges, sliced thinly (remove the pips)
2 limes, sliced thinly


Combine the cider and the spices in a large pot. Season with the salt, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes to allow the spice flavours to infuse.

Take off the stove and sweeten to taste with sugar. Set aside to cool completely. Once cold, strain through a fine-meshed sieve lined with a layer of muslin (cheesecloth).

Set aside in a cool place until ready (you do not need to refrigerate). 

To serve, heat the wassail in a bain-marie (double boiler) over a large pot of boiling water. Add the citrus slices and continue heating until warm.

Add the gin or vodka (if using) and allow to warm up again (but do not over heat). Turn into a wassail bowl (a soup tureen, large china bowl or punch bowl work well).

Serve ladled into small punch glasses. If desired you can float chunks of tart apple in the wassail, to give it an effect similar to the original drink.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Day 6 — Spiced Roast Goose Recipe

Today's recipe, the sixth in my series of twelve, combines traditional roast goose with Asian flavours to give a Christmas roast, the likes of which you will never have come across before.

It just so happens that in the 'Twelve Days of Christmas' song, day six is 'Six Geese-a-Laying', so it seems apposite to present a goose dish for you today.

Before Charles Dickens, it was the goose that used to be the centrepiece of the Christmas table. And though many of Dickens' tales mention the Christmas goose, and the goose club, Dickens was instrumental in popularizing turkey as the central bird for Christmas.

This is a shame really, as goose is a much tastier bird. Today's geese are also much less fatty than their antecedents of yore. So this recipe is part of my attempt at putting the goose back in pride of place for the Christmas table.

Here you can find a link to all the Christmas and all the other Twelve Days of Christmas recipes published on this blog... a true treasure-trove of seasonal dishes.

Spiced Roast Goose

Serves: 6–8
Spice Roast Christmas Goose: Goose that's marinated and oven roasted with a honey and Asian spice baste, shown served with slices of bacon across its breast


1l (4 cups) water
150ml (2/3 cup) soy sauce
1 celery stick, chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp brown sugar
5kg (12lb) goose
1 tbsp sea salt (or to taste)
1 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
2 tbsp vegetable oil (or groundnut oil)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp anise seeds
pinch of ground cloves
1/4 tsp freshly-grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cumin seeds
1/4 tsp ground sichuan peppercorns
1/4 tsp ground ginger
4 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
4 tbsp runny honey
2 tsp cornflour (cornstarch)
2 tbsp ice cold water


Mix together 500ml (2 cups) water with the soy sauce, celery, onion and brown sugar in a pan. Brig the mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for about 12 minutes, or until the celery is tender. During this time, stir the mixture constantly. Take off the heat and set aside until coole to room temperature.

Once cold, pour the marinade mixture into a large plastic bag.

Wash and dry the goose, removing any excess fat from the body cavity. Add to the bag with the marinade then seal the bag and turn a few times to coat the goose evenly. Transfer to the refrigerator and marinate for 6 hours, turning frequently during this time.

Drain the goose, discarding any excess marinade. Season the body cavity of the goose with salt and black pepper, then rub the outside of the goose with oil. Mix together all the spices and rub over the outside of the bird.

Arrange the goose on a rack set in a roasting tin. Transfer to an oven pre-heated to 160ºC (325ºF) and roast, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, combine the vinegar, 1 tbsp soy sauce, the honey, Worcestershire sauce and the remaining water in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, reduce to a boil and cook until the volume has reduced by half.

When the goose is removed from the oven, baste generously with the honey mixture then sprinkle the skin lightly with sea salt (this helps to crisp it).

Return to the oven and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Baste with the pan juices then cover the bird and cook for roast for 55 minutes per kg (25 minutes per pound), basting frequently with the pan juices to prevent the bird from drying out. If your bird looks in danger of drying out, cover with slices of bacon for the final 30 minutes of cooking (these will help keep the breast moist).

When done, check that the meat juices run clear by piercing in the thickest part of the thigh an ensuring the juices run clear. Remove the fowl from the oven, set on a warmed plate, cover with foil and allow to rest for at least 20 minutes before carving and serving.

During this time, prepare a gravy from the pan juices. Strain the pan juices into a bowl, skim the surface and discard the upper layer of fat. Pour the juices from the bowl into a saucepan then heat gently. Whisk together the cornflour and wate to form a slurry. Whisk this slurry into the pan juices. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook gently for about 5 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.

Serve the goose carved and accompany with the spiced gravy.

If you would like to learn more about how to roast various meats to perfection, see the Celtnet Guide to Roasting Meats page.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

The Twelve Days of Christmas — Recipes

Yes, I know that the 'twelve days of Christmas' refer to the days of and following Christmas day itself. But for a recipe site, it's best to publish recipes on the days leading up to Christmas.

As a result, I am taking a bit of a liberty here (at least in terms of the song) by publishing an essential Christmas recipe each and every single day leading up to Christmas Eve. In essence, this is my Christmas Advent Calendar for you, with each day providing a new recipe.

For those who are unfamiliar with the song, I give it below with an illustration:

The Twelve Days of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
A partridge in a pear tree

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Two turtle doves

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Three French hens

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Four Colly Birds

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Five gold rings

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Six Geese-a-laying

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Seven Swans-a-swimming

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Eight Maids-a-milking

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Nine Ladies dancing

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Ten Lords-a-leaping

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Eleven Pipers piping

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Twelve drummers drumming

The colly birds are blackbirds or songbirds, 'colly' being a regional word for 'coal'. In many modern versions, 'four calling birds' is sung instead.

The song was first written down in the 1780s, but originates in an older folksong. Note that 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' is a cumulative song, meaning that each verse is built on top of the previous verses.

My version and the recipes:

The Twelve Recipes (and a few more) of Christmas

Day 1 — Mincemeat Christmas Cake Recipe
Day 2 — Christmas Cardamom Butter Cookies

Day 3 – Christmas Fruited Quickbread Recipe
Day 4 — White Eggnog or Advocaat Muffins Recipe

Day 5 — Rich Port and Chocolate Christmas Cake Recipe
Day 6 — Spiced Roast Goose Recipe
Day 7 — Red Hot Christmas Punch and Christmas Wassail
Day 8 — Christmas Hard Candy and Torrones
(Spanish Christmas Nougat)
Day 9 — Honey-brined Herb-Roasted Turkey Recipe

Day 10 — Crockpot Stuffing and Cranberry Relish

Day 11 — Spicy Honey-roasted Sweet Potatoes 
and Spicy Braised Red Cabbage

Day 11 1/2 — Microwave Christmas Pudding

Day 9 — Honey-brined Herb-Roasted Turkey Recipe

Below are some additional Christmas recipes from this site, broken into sections:

Starters and Soups

Fennel and Walnut Soup Recipe
Wonton Soup Recipe

Main Courses and Accompaniments

Corn Pudding Recipe
Francatelli's Recipe for Roast Haunch of Venison
Honey-roasted Turkey Recipe
Venison Wellington
Roasted Smoked Country Ham with Cider Glaze Recipe

Desserts and Puddings

Traditional Rich Christmas Pudding Recipe
Winter Rice Pudding with Dried Fruit Recipe

Cakes and Baking:

Eggnog Bundt Cake Recipe
Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake Recipe
Cherry and Almond Cake Recipe
Luxury Eccles Cakes Recipe
The Ultimate Chocolate Roulade Recipe
Dundee Cake
Easter Biscuits Recipe (adapted for Christmas)
Biscuits de Noël (Christmas Cookies) Recipe
Rich Christmas Cake
Mincemeat (and Mince Pie) Recipes for Christmas
Traditional Rich Fruit Christmas Cake

Sweets (Candies) Snacks and Gifts

Madhura Seva Recipe
Cornish Clotted Cream Fudge Recipe
Ungodly Chocolate Truffles Recipe



Recipes for Leftovers

Turkey Marsala Recipe
Bread and Butter Pudding Recipe
Turkey Curry with Peas Recipe

Day 5 — Rich Port and Chocolate Christmas Cake Recipe

Today is the fifth day in my 'Twelve Days of Christmas' festive recipes collection.

Though it's really just a little late to prepare this cake (you could just about manage it if you baked tomorrow), I couldn't really not put it up on this blog, as the combination of the classic rich fruitcake with chocolate is just something else.

This cake really is indulgence on a plate, a must for anyone who loves Christmas and anyone who loves chocolate. Kids really tend to love this one and it's a great introduction to Christmas cake for the wary.

Just beware, it really is rich and small pieces go a long way... it keeps well, but by New Year you're unlikely to have much left.

Of course, like all rich, fruited, Christmas cakes this also makes a fabulous base for a birthday or a wedding cake.

Here you can find a link to all the Christmas and all the other Twelve Days of Christmas recipes published on this blog... a true treasure-trove of seasonal dishes.

Rich Port and Chocolate Christmas Cake

Serves: 12

Rich Port and Chocolate Christmas Cake: A classic rich fruited Christmas cake that also contains an extra indulgence of adding both chocolate and port wine to the cake batter

340g (2 cups) pitted prunes
375g (2 1/2 cups) currants
375g (2 1/2 cups) raisins
300ml (1 1/4 cups) port wine
250g (1 1/4 cups) butter, diced
1 tbsp vanilla extract
200g (1 cup, packed), dark brown sugar
4 eggs
juice of 1 orange
finely-grated zest of 1 orange
80ml treacle (molasses)
180g (1 1/2 cups) plain flour
60g (1/2 cup) self-raising flour
1 tbsp mixed spice (pumpkin pie spice)
1 tbsp freshly-grated nutmeg
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
200g (1 1/2 cups) dark cooking chocolate, chopped
250g (2 cups) glacé cherries
200g (2 cups) walnut halves


Chop the prunes finely then mix in a large bowl with the currants, raisins and 250ml (1 cup) of the port. Cover and set aside to infuse for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

In the meantime, grease a 23cm (9") round springform cake tin with butter then line the base and sides with greaseproof (waxed paper), ensuring that the paper rises 5cm (2 inches) above the rim of the cake tin.

Take brown paper and tie a double layer securely around the sides of the tin (this will help prevent the outside of the cake from baking too quickly).

When the fruit has soaked sufficiently, add the orange zest, orange juice and treacle to the fruit, then stir to combine.

Combine the chopped chocolate, cherries and walnuts in a mixing bowl. Add the sifted flours to the bowl and stir gently to combine.

Finely chop the butter and add to a bowl then beat until pale and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract, beating to combine. Add the sugar and cream with the butter until pale and fluffy (ensure that all the sugar has dissolved). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly to combine after each addition.

Add the egg and butter mix to the fruit mix, stirring well to combine. Now stir in the flour mixture, stirring well to combine before spooning the batter into the cake tin.

Transfer the cake to an oven pre-heated to 160ºC (310ºF) and bake for between 3 and 3 1/2 hours, or until a skewer inserted in the centre emerges cleanly.

Remove the cake from the oven and pour over 3 tbsp extra port then wrap everything (cake, tin and all) in a clean cloth. Set aside for 24 hours, or until completely cold.

The following day, unwrap the cake then cover in a double layer of greaseproof (waxed) paper, followed by a double layer of kitchen foil. Store in an air-tight tin.

Every week before Christmas, use a skewer to poke several holes in the cake, then pour over a little more port (this is 'feeding' the cake).

A few days before Christmas you should ice the cake. Cover with marmalade or apricot jam then cover with a layer of marzipan (almond cake) before coating in icing.

This is a very rich cake and small pieces go very far.

If you are not fond of the traditional icing, glaze the cake with melted apricot jam, decorate with fruit and nuts, then glaze over the top of everything with more melted jam.

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