This is a recipe I have been cooking for years. It’s great because it can be made a day or two before and gently reheated with no last-minute bother. It is a perfect accompaniment to venison, goose, or pork (and if you have any left overs it does wonders for bangers and mash!
Serves: 10-12 people
Time: 10 minutes
1kg red cabbage
450h onion, chopped small
450g cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped small
1 clove garlic, chopped very small
¼ nutmeg, freshly grated
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons wine vinegar
A large casserole dish with a tight fitting lid
- Pre heat the oven to 150c/ gas mark 2.
- First discard the outer leaves of the cabbage, cut into quarters and remove the hard stalk. Then shred the rest of the cabbage finely, using your sharpest knife (although you can shred it in a food processor, I prefer to do it by hand because it doesn’t come out so uniform) Next in a fairly large casserole dish arrange a layer of shredded cabbage and add some seasoning, then a layer of chopped onions and apples with a sprinkling of garlic., spices and sugar. Continue with these alternate layers until everything is in.
- Now pour in the wine vinegar and lastly add dots of butter on the top. Put a tight lid on the casserole and let it cook very slowly in the oven for 2-21/2 hours, stirring everything around once or twice during the cooking. Red cabbage, once cooked will keep warm without coming to any harm and it will also reheat very successfully. And yes, it does freeze well, so all in all, it’s a real winner of recipe.
This alcoholic blend is made with dulce de leche – a thick caramel. Add salt to your liking then serve up a mug of pure boozy bliss.
Time: 15 minutes
25ml dark rum
2 tsp dulce de leche or thick caramel
150ml whole milk
50g milk chocolate, chopped
- In a small bowl, mix together the rum and the dulce de leche until smooth then set aside.
- Warm the milk in a saucepan over a medium heat until simmering. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate and stir until melted. Pop the pan back on the heat until warm then add the rum mixture and a pinch of flaky sea salt. Pour into a mug and serve.
Makes: Two 1.2 Litre/2 Pint Puds (Each Serves 8)
Time: Prep: 20 minutes Cook: 8 hours, plus 1 hour cooking on the day
Ingredients (for the pudding):
50g blanched almond
2 large Bramley cooking apple
200g box candied peel (in large pieces) or all citron if you can find it
1 whole nutmeg (you’ll use three quarters of it)
140g plain flour
100g soft fresh white breadcrumb
100g light muscovado sugar, crumbled if it looks lumpy
3 large egg
2 tbsp brandy or cognac, plus extra to flame
250g packet butter taken straight from the fridge
Ingredients (For the brandy and ginger butter):
175g unsalted butter softened
Grated zest of half an orange
tbsp icing sugar
4 tbsp brandy or cognac
2 pieces of stem ginger, finely chopped
- Get everything prepared. Chop the almonds coarsely. Peel, core and chop the apples. Sharpen your knife and chop the candied peel. (You can chop the almonds and apples in a food processor, but the peel must be done by hand.) Grate three quarters of the nutmeg (sounds a lot but it’s correct). Mix all the ingredients for the pudding, except the butter, in a large bowl.
- Holding the butter in its wrapper, grate a quarter of it into the bowl, then stir everything together.Repeat until all the butter is grated, then stir for 3-4 minutes – the mixture is ready when it subsides slightly after each stir. Ask the family to stir too, and get everyone to make a wish.
- Generously butter two 1.2 litre/ 2 pint bowls and put a disc of greaseproof paper in the bottom of each. Pack in the pudding mixture. Cover with a double layer of greaseproof paper or baking parchment, pleating it to allow for expansion, then tie with string (keep the paper in place with a rubber band while tying). Trim off any excess paper.
- Now stand each bowl on a large sheet of foil and bring the edges up over the top, then put another sheet of foil over the top and bring it down underneath to make a double package (this makes the puddings watertight). Tie with more string, and make a handle for easy lifting in and out of the pan.Watch our video to see how to tie up a pudding correctly.
- Boil or oven steam the puddings for 8 hours, topping up with water as necessary. Remove from the pans and leave to cool overnight. When cold, discard the messy wrappings and re-wrap in spanking new greaseproof or baking parchment, foil and string. Store in a cool, dry place until Christmas.
- To make the brandy butter, cream the butter with the orange zest and sugar. Gradually beat in the brandy or cognac and chopped ginger. Put in a small bowl, fork the top attractively and put in the fridge to set. The butter will keep for a week in the fridge, or it can be frozen for up to 6 weeks.
- On Christmas Day, boil or oven steam for 1 hour. Unwrap and turn out. To flame, warm 3-4 tbsp brandy in a small pan, pour it over the pudding and set light to it.
1 litre bottle cheap red wine
30z/75g sugar (to taste)
1 tsp whole cloves
1 tsp ground cinnamon or stick cinnamon
Juice of 1 orange and 1 lemon
- Pour wine into a saucepan and add remaining ingredients (you can put whole spices in muslin).
- Heat until nearly boiling and strain (if necessary) into a warm bowl.
- Serve warm.
We all need some exercise to work off the excesses while enjoying the local beautiful countryside:
You can purchase annual memberships from the National Trust to enjoy quality time with your family in 2017!
This is the Italian answer to Christmas cake. A lovely textured, citrus infused cake or bread that will satiate an appetite for something sweet and delicate to accompany tea or coffee. For this recipe you will need 3 baking-safe panettone paper moulds. Be sure to use paper moulds that are intended for baking.
Makes: 1 – 3 LOAVES
5 tablespoons warm water (45 C)
2 (7g) sachets dried active baking yeast
500g plain flour
125ml warm milk
125g caster sugar
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 tablespoons unsalted butter
325g mixed glace fruits
2 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons orange zest
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon cream
- To make sponge, warm a small bowl by rinsing it with hot water. Pour in warm water and sprinkle 1 sachet yeast on it. Let stand until yeast has dissolved. Stir in 60g of the flour, cover with cling film, and let stand 30 minutes, or until doubled. Sprinkle remaining yeast over warm milk. Let stand until dissolved. Beat together sugar, eggs, egg yolks and vanilla. Stir in milk-yeast mixture. Add sponge and stir until well incorporated.
- Combine butter and remaining flour until crumbly. Slowly pour in egg mixture and beat on high speed 3 to 4 minutes, until dough is elastic looking and long strands form. Beat in fruit and zests. Turn dough into oiled bowl, cover with cling film, and leave in a warm place to rise until doubled, about 2 to 3 hours.
- Fold down moulds to form a 7cm cuff. Brush inside and out with melted butter. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead a few times to deflate. Divide dough into 3 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and drop into prepared moulds. Place bags on a baking tray about 10cm apart and cover loosely with cling film. Let rise in a warm place until doubled again, about 2 hours.
- Heat oven to 200 C / Gas 6. Cut an X in top of each loaf with oiled scissors. Combine egg yolk with cream. Brush tops of loaves lightly with egg wash.
- Place baking tray in bottom 1/3 of oven. After 10 minutes, lower heat to 190 C / Gas 5. Bake for 30 more minutes; if tops get too brown, cover with foil. Loaves are done when a wooden skewer inserted into centre comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.
The one thing I do every year is create my own wreaths.
One for my front door and the other for my Dad’s grave. I know this may seem a bit grim but it makes me feel good and helps me reflect.
I usually buy fresh flowers and get the foliage/holly from my garden.
Want something easy to make for over the Festive period? This slow cooker mulled wine is perfect! Throw all of the ingredients into your slow cooker and you’re done. It’s that simple!
Makes: 6 cups
Time: 35 minutes
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
1 satsuma, peeled and separated into segments
Several large chunks of lemon peel
1 vanilla pod, halved lengthwise
¼ tsp fresh nutmeg, grated
5 litres red wine (2 bottles) – plus more if required.
Gold edible glitter
- Add all the ingredients to the slow cooker. Cook on medium for a minimum of 30 minutes, or until the wine is hot. Add more wine as necessary.
10 ways to refresh in the New Year
1. Reset your problem-solving: Take a walk.
The basic act of going on a walk can bring so many positive benefits to your life. Getting outside and walking increases your brain function and is linked to improvement in mood and is a great way to boost your overall health.
2. Reset your anxious thoughts: Learn to meditate.
With each passing year, the list of meditation benefits grows longer and longer. Expect better mood, better sleep, and a stronger immune system as well as lower blood pressure and stress levels. A daily meditation practice is like a restart for your mind.
3. Reset your vices: Cut out something for one week.
This isn’t about losing weight. Cutting out a substance that’s been overused — like sugar, caffeine, or alcohol — can be a great refresher for your body.
5. Reset your to-do list: Write it all down.
The act of writing down everything you need to do can help quiet your mind and make things feel more organized before you’ve even done a thing.
6. Reset your mood: Do something that makes you laugh.
No joke — laughter improves our health and boosts happiness. The simple act of laughing has been proven to boost our mood and our immune system as well as relieve pain and lower stress.
8. Reset your schedule: Make time for the “fun stuff.”
Know the difference between doing something you enjoy versus doing something productive. Setting aside time for things that make you feel good might bring about more balance and joy in your life.
9. Reset your imagination: Give up on that book you’ve been lumbering through.
It’s okay to bow out of something if you’re not loving it. More than halfway through a book? Who cares. Find a great new book to start instead — and never look back. Life is short. Be specific with where you put your energy.
10. Reset your energy: Go to sleep earlier.
That movie, podcast or tv show will certainly be there for you tomorrow. Sleep is one of the very best ways to give your overall health a powerful reboot.
I agree with Nigella when she says that a big breakfast is way too much on Xmas Day – which is why we prefer her muffins!! I make the batter the night before & cook them fresh in the morning!
250 g plain flour
2½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
100 g caster sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg (or good grating of fresh nutmeg)
2 clementines (or satsumas)
125 ml full fat milk
75 ml vegetable oil (or melted butter left to cool slightly)
1 large egg
175 g dried cranberries ( or cherries if you prefer)
3 teaspoons demerara sugar (for the topping)
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6/400ºF. Line a 12-bun muffin tin with muffin papers or (as I have here) silicone inserts.
- Measure the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, caster sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg into a large bowl; grate the zest of the clementine/satsuma over, and combine. If you are doing this in advance, leave the zesting till Christmas morning.
- Squeeze the juice of the clementines/satsumas into a measuring jug, and pour in the milk until it comes up to the 200ml mark / halfway between the ¾ cup and 1 cup marks
- Add the oil (or slightly cooled, melted butter) and egg, and lightly beat until just combined.
- Pour this liquid mixture into the bowl of dried ingredients and stir until everything is more or less combined, remembering that a well-beaten mixture makes for heavy muffins: in other words a lumpy batter is a good thing here.
- Fold in the cranberries (or cherries), then spoon the batter into the muffin cases and sprinkle the demerara sugar on top. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, by which time the air should be thick with the promise of good things and the good things themselves golden brown and ready to be eaten, either plain or broken up and smeared, as you go, with unsalted butter and marmalade.