Christmas is around the corner and its normally different from any other holiday for its fantastic legends and distinctive traditions, jam-packed with things to do and people to visit there is always a delicious selection of foods that comes around with the festive season. A time when we often over-indulge – in both food and drink – there are numerous traditional meals and fares that we look forward to eating each year that should be healthy.
Christmas cake is one item carefully prepared in advance in order to allow the flavours to soak in nicely, a type of fruitcake it’s enjoyed all over the world and can be light or dark, sticky-wet, crumbly and moist, light or heavy, leavened or unleavened, available in every shape and size and decorated with marzipan, icing, and glazing, dusted with icing sugar, or simply left plain. If there’s icing on the top of the cake it’s often adorned with a greeting or decorated with images of fir trees or Santa. Sometimes sixpences are hidden inside, with Christmas puddings too, as a good luck charm to whoever finds it in their slice.
Traditional light fruit cake.
- 400 gms self raising flour
- 1cup brown sugar with molasses
- 300 gms margarine/salted butter
- 6 eggs1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp spice (cardamom)
- 200 gms mixed fruit (raisins, sultanas, orange peel, red & green)
- Pre- heat your oven at 180 degrees and prepare your baking tin.
- In a mixing bowl mix margarine and sugar until fluffy.
- Add the eggs one by one to the mixture and keep mixing.
- Add the spice(cardamom) and mix well.
- Add the flour and fold in to the batter.
- Fold in the mixed fruit, which you previously dusted with flour to prevent them from sinking on the bottom the cake.
- Pour your mixture into your baking tin and bake for 50 minutes until screwer comes out clean.
- Once its cooled, wrap it and eat it the following day.
Gingerbread is another delicious favorite at this time and popular all over the world, made in thousands of homes in the UK alone it’s often fashioned into gingerbread men, houses and cookies to be devoured by all the family. Gingerbread is made from sugars and spices that were introduced to Europe by soldiers returning from the Middle East after the Crusades and became popular as a treat in the 19th century, an indulgence enjoyed for its sweetness and distinct ginger taste.
My chocolate gingerbread cake
200 g brown sugar
4 eggs, medium size
1 cup groundnuts
15 g gingerbread spice mix
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
25 g candied lemon peel
1/2 tsp lemon peel
dark chocolate or 1tbsp cocoa
- Mix the eggs and brown sugar until foamy.
- Chop the lemon peel finely into tiny pieces(or grate the lemon peels).
- Add the other ingredients starting with the spices and lemon peel, mix thoroughly. Then add the candied lemon peel, cinnamon, cocoa and the groundnuts.
- Stir in the boiling water and mix or blend into a creamed mixture and pour into your baking tin.
- Pre heat the oven to 180 °C.
- Bake for 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let it cool.
Eggnog is an interesting mix of ingredients and an old holiday tradition literally meaning ‘eggs inside a small cup’. A drink with a long history it’s been enjoyed as a festive beverage in England for hundreds of years, although its structure has altered considerably from the original recipe. Typical grog ingredients include milk, sugar, cream and eggs and a spirit, but recipes differ depending on the country you are in, and modern recipes of eggnog can incorporate really unexpected ingredients such as ice cream.
- 3 cups whole milk
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 5 eggs separated
- 1 cup heavy or double cream
- 1 vanilla bean pod, split and seeds removed
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, plus more for garnishing.
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup Dark Rum, or bourbon
- In a sufuria, mix milk, cream, vanilla seeds,cinnamon, vanilla bean and nutmeg. Bring to boil over a medium heat. Once it’s boiling, remove from the heat and allow to steep.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar until well mixed and thick ribbons form when the whisk is lifted.
- Slowly whisk in the milk and continue mixing until the mixture is well combined and smooth.
- Add rum or bourbon and stir.
- Refrigerate overnight or for up to 3 days.
- Before serving, beat the egg whites in a large mixing bowl until fine soft peaks form.
- Gently fold into the eggnog until combined.
- Serve and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
Mince pies are an essential part of the season consumed by kids and adults alike. They’re made from minced fruit, not meat, and a mixture of nuts and mixed spices, normally nutmeg and cinnamon, including raisins, sultanas, candied citrus peel, apricots, apples and glace cherries. A well-known favourite food of Santa’s, its traditional to leave a few pies out for him on Christmas Eve night to say thanks for the gifts and set him on his way refreshed. Eaten specifically at this time of year since the 16th century it’s said to be lucky to eat one mince pie a day for the 12 days and with the first one a wish should always be made.
Homemade Fruit Mince Pies
- 2 cups mixed dried fruits(sultanas,raisins etc)
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp brandy
- 75g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
- 50gms finely chopped Slivered almonds
- 100g cold butter cut into cubes
- 1 egg, separated
- 3 tsp grated lemon rind
- 1tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp mixed spices
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1/3 a cup caster sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tsp iced water
- 150g chilled butter cut into cubes
- Put your dried fruits in a bowl and add the brown sugar, almond, butter, brandy, lemon rind, lemon juice, cinnamon and mixed spice.Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside overnight, stirring occasionally, to macerate.
- Then transfer the mixed fruit into a fine sieve over a bowl and stir to remove any excess liquid.
- To prepare the pastry, place the flour, sugar and butter in the food processor bowl and process until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Add egg yolk and water, and continue processing until the mixture just starts to come together.
- Turn onto a clean work surface. Shape into a disc. Cover with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes to rest.
- Preheat your oven to 180C.
- Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to about 5mm thickness. Use an 8.5cm-diameter round pastry cutter to cut 16 discs from the pastry. Use a 5cm-diameter star-shaped pastry cutter to cut 16 stars from the remaining pastry.
- Line sixteen (16) (1/3-cup) capacity muffin pans with pastry discs you made.Divide the fruit mince among the pastry cases.
- Cover with pastry stars. Brush the stars lightly with the egg and sprinkle with caster sugar.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until light golden. Set the pans aside for 5 minutes to cool before transferring to a wire rack for complete cooling.
Christmas is one of the most festive christian holiday that brings together families. The common Christmas celebration customs include gift-giving, sending holiday cards, Christmas trees and decorations, caroling, a feast and church celebrations. For those feasts consider trying out the recipes above.
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