Christmas Gone for another Year

Hi Everyone,

Well, all the festivities are now over, I returned to work yesterday like so many of you, I imagine.  I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and that we are all looking forward to a Happy New Year!

On the cooking front I didn’t get to bake my own mince pies this Christmas but bought them from the local bakery (Dorringtons), so although shop bought they were still delicious.  My baking, which I had planned over the weekend before Christmas, in fact, didn’t really get to start in earnest until Christmas Eve, and was quite a lot less than usual.  I invited the neighbours in for drinks, so with the help of my now adult children, who came home for Christmas, we put together plenty of canapés including cocktail sausage rolls for the evening ahead.  We have not known our neighbours for all that long as we only moved into our present home in March but 11 adults + 4 children joined us to make a good evening of it before the big day.

I also baked cakes and of course the Christmas dinner and a Boxing Day buffet for 20.  Every year my family get together for our special Secret Santa present giving and this year it was my turn to host the event.  Unfortunately, we were missing a few as Simon had to fly back home before Christmas as he was working during the holiday season and Mum & Dad were staying in Spain this year for their Christmas celebrations, but they did Skype during the afternoon.

Christmas Dinner (it’s always served up too late to call lunch) was a traditional turkey but this year the butcher had boned and rolled the whole bird for me.  It cooked beautifully staying succulent and so easy to serve, stuffing was a Waitrose recipe (another one to cross off the list) with batter puddings (we don’t like yorkshires too much air, we like a bit of stodge), roast potatoes, onions and parsnips with plenty of other veg, accompanied by turkey gravy and home-made cranberry sauce and apple & mint jelly. Christmas pudding was one that I had cooked two years ago and was still OK to steam for this year served with mince pies, custard and brandy butter.

This year the Christmas cake was not traditional but a cake called a Continental Gala Cake; a recipe which was passed to me by my first next door neighbour after being married, this is full of glacéed fruits not the traditional rich fruit cake; the recipe will be on the recipe pages and although not a dark cake uses plenty of butter and eggs.

gala cake





Another cake I made was the Delia Fresh Coconut Cake.  I made this for my Father-in-Law as he doesn’t eat fruit cake and I was very pleased at the way it turned out.  I can now cross that off the list of recipes to be tried and tested.  I recommended you to have a go, well worth the effort, it looks so delicious too!  Looked really good as a substitute for a traditional Christmas cake.

coconut cake with dec

Another dish to be crossed off the list is Rick Stein’s Salmon with anchovies & capers as I prepared this for our family get together on Boxing Day.  I am pleased to report that it was very well received as everyone enjoyed it, there was also plenty of cold turkey from my Son Ross as well as a glazed gammon from my Sister-in-law Anna.  The salmon was an ideal dish for a buffet lunch along with lots of mash and salad and I mustn’t forget the sausage pie from Art.  Desserts were another Christmas pudding and mince pies from me along with a hefty cheese board, boozy trifle from Heather and a chocolate roulade crafted by Iona.  Anna also made truffles – mmm!  We are blessed with so many good cooks in our family.

salmon front view

I often bake cookies as gifts to special friends, I hadn’t baked last year as I sewed tree decorations instead and the year before I baked mini mince pies so this year it was cookies again; I bought the ingredients, the cellophane wrapping and tinsel for ties but all my planning went to pot and I didn’t get any made.  I blame it on my Son Ross and his Wife Lucy producing a beautiful 2nd Granddaughter for us at the end of November who has kept us all very busy!  What I did manage to get time to do was the Heston Cookie Christmas Tree (you may have already seen a picture of my version on Twitter) this was baked for the Mother’s side of my 1st Granddaughter’s family – the feedback was that they really enjoyed it and it looked so pretty too!

cookie tree 1

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