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57 items found for "Christmas"

  • Spiced Rice Pudding

    As mentioned in Day 48 of The Challenge This is very definitely a comfort food. It is super simple but you just have to have the patience to stir for about 45 minutes. I like mine sweet, but not super sweet. Feel free to add more sugar though if you feel it needs it for you. It is also very easy to vary the flavouring depending on what you are in the mood for by changing what goes into the pudding. At its core, it is short grain rice, milk and a little sugar. I almost always add raisins too. Beyond that, you can add brown sugar, jam, spices or apple sauce. The possibilities are endless! Toppings like toasted slivered almonds add a contrasting texture. As with the flavours, toppings are up to you. Ingredients: 1 tbsp butter 1 c short grain rice 1/2 c raisin 4 - 4 1/2 c milk 1/2 - 1 c sugar 1/4 tsp cloves 1/4 tsp fresh nutmeg 1 - 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1) Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the rice. Stir briefly then allow the rice to go transparent in the butter. 2) Once the grains are transparent, add the other ingredients and stir. It will take about 45 minutes for the rice to absorb all the liquid and to thicken to a pudding. Serve it up and add any toppings you want! I grew up having this only after trips to see my German grandparents when we would pick up the special rice for Milchreis. It was and is a once in a blue moon dessert, but I love it!

  • Leckerli and Eggnog Pudding

    This is another belated Christmas recipe (although generally a wintery one so I don't feel too bad. Leckerli ( Swiss German for Little tasties) are a Basle gingerbread which is especially prevalent around Christmas Mmmmm"), but then the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies started, and we stopped eating the leckerli because Fast forward to day 9 of the 12 days of Christmas Cookies, and we celebrated a rather belated Thanksgiving

  • Chestnut Puddings

    They always speak to me of Christmas markets, friends and family, and the smell alone is enough to carry

  • Pumpkin Pie with a Rosehip Swirl

    Pumpkin pie is a staple Thanksgiving and Christmas food in my family, so even though we were unable to

  • Sahlep Custard

    Growing up, sahlep, ground orchid root used in a Turkish milk-based hot drink, was a special treat, only after my dad had been on a trip to Istambul. I have discovered a shop here in Switzerland where I can find it now though, so while I like it as much as ever, it is less special and no longer a scarce commodity. Since discovering this, I have decided to start playing around with Sahlep as an ingredient in my cooking (Sahlep pancakes for example). As part of this, I decided a while back that I wanted to try Sahlep puddings. I tried a first iteration of these months ago, without baking. I simply chilled sahlep infused custard before serving. It was tasty, but the flavour needed some work, it was too sweet, and it never set. Summer was then crazy busy, and then there was the whole episode with the arrival of the Littler Bit, so I only revisited the idea in the last few weeks. We had been making macarons so I had egg yolks to use, so it seemed the logical thing to do. This time I decided to try baking the custards and tweaked the flavouring and sugar combo to boot. I also included whey, leftover from making ricotta to help balance out the sweetness. Ingredients: 2 tbsp flour 2 tbsp sugar 2 c milk 1 c whey 1 tsp cinnamon 2 tsp sahlep 2 1/2 tbsp maple sugar 2 tbsp butter 6 egg yolks 1 tsp mix spice 1 tbsp maple sugar 1) In a small saucepan, heat 1c of the milk over medium-low heat. stir in the sahlep, cinnamon and maple sugar. Stir until combined and thickened slightly, never allowing the milk to come above a simmer. Set aside. 2) In a saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar and flour. Stir and allow to cook for a couple of minutes, then stir in 1c of the milk and the whey. Bring to a boil and immediately lower to a simmer. Cook until thickened so that a finger dragged across the back of a spoon dipped in the pot leaves a trail. The Parting of the Milk! 3) Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks in a bowl. Once the milk mixture has thickened, stir in a spoonful of it into the egg yolks to temper them until about 1 to 1 1/2c of the milk mixture has been incorporated into the eggs. Turn the heat off and stir the egg-milk mix into the pot. 4) Add the sahlep mix from step 1 and stir. Add the butter, allowing to melt and incorporate. Taste test, and add milk or cinnamon as necessary. 5) Spoon the resulting custard into a shallow baking dish or ramequins. Sprinkle over the remaining maple sugar and the mix spice. Bake at 180°C for 45-50 minutes, until set but still slightly jiggly. Serve warm or chilled. We all very much enjoyed this, but even more so on day 2 when it was cold, with lekerli (Swiss German gingerbreads) dipped in the custards. Definitely pleased with this, especially as it is quick and easy to make and can be prepped ahead if entertaining.

  • Turkey Pot Pie with Leftover Stuffing

    Having roasted a turkey (a bit randomly) last week, we found ourselves with rather a lot of turkey carcass left to eat, and with only 2.5 of us working on it (I don't feel that Little Bit really pulled his weight), so aside from turkey sandwiches and soup, we needed to find other ways of eating it before it went off. This was one of them. Around Thanksgiving, my cousin had mentioned making his mom's Cuban stuffing, so I asked her for the recipe and made it with this turkey. It was delicious, with completely different flavour notes then the cornbread stuffing I usually do. It most notably has chestnuts, cumin, oregano and coriander in it. Using this left over stuffing as the lid for the pie also meant adapting the cream sauce a little. I made the pie crust a sage one as I find that sage goes really well with turkey. It worked very well! A little on the liquidy side, but as with the White Lasagne a couple of weeks ago, this didn't compromise the pie on the first evening at all, and meant that the leftovers heated up better. Ingredients: For the crust: 1 1/5 c flour 1/2 c butter, cold and diced 1 tsp sage 1/4 c milk For the filling: 1 tbsp butter 1 tbsp flour 2 - 3 c milk 1/2 c white cooking wine 2 tsp cumin 1 tsp coriander 1 1/2 c turkey, roasted and in small pieces 2 carrots, chopped 1 c peas Salt and pepper to taste 2 c left over Cuban Chestnut Stuffing 1) For the pie crust, place flour in a bowl and cut the butter into it. Using the tips of your fingers, work the butter into the dough. When it has reached the consistency of crumbs, add the sage and then the milk, mixing with a fork. Add the milk only a little at a time until you reach the right consistency. Working the dough as little as possible, bring it into a ball and chill for at least 30 minutes. 2) Make a roux. Melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour, without letting it brown. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly. You don't want the white sauce to be too thick, but it should not be runny either. 3) Add the spices and the wine. Add the carrots, peas and turkey. Cook slowly, stirring regularly, giving the carrots a chance to start cooking. Salt and pepper to taste. 4) Roll out the dough and line the bottom and sides of a casserole dish with it. Pour in the white sauce, veg and turkey. Spoon the left over stuffing over the top to form a lid, folding down and crimping any excess pastry around the edges. 5) Bake at 180°C for 30 minutes or so until the pastry is golden brown. Dish it up. This was immensely satisfying and rich, if a little on the heavy side. The flavours all complemented each other nicely. The spices in the stuffing played well with the other flavours and overall this was a success!

  • Candied and Chocolate Covered Citrus and Ginger

    I really enjoyed making these (and eating them too) and prepped a whole bunch last week as Christmas

  • Turnip Cookies 2 Ways

    Now, I know this is a weird one. It is as odd an idea as it sounds, but hear me out. They actually worked quite well. Done the first way, no one could tell they were turnippy. They were moist, tender spice cookies. Here's how I arrived at these. I've been cooking with Little Bit since he was tiny. He has a toy kitchen of his own, and he frequently "cooks" for us and has us try his meals. Sometimes they are things he has seen us make, sometimes not so much (like strawberry and banana soup). I want to encourage his creativity and interest in cooking, so I like to try out his ideas. Sometimes they are a direct request to cook together, like "Mama, we can make pear sorbet", sometimes just an idea in play, like "Mama, smell my turnip cookies". Either way though, I try to honour them and make his ideas a reality, and show him that they are viable. So hence the idea of turnip cookies, from my 3-year-old asking me to smell his turnip cookies. I don't know if he really registered that it was an unusual idea, or when a few weeks later, we bought a turnip and made the cookies, I don't know if he made the connection between the two. Cooking to my 3-year-old's imagination is an interesting challenge though, which I enjoy taking up. I spent a couple of weeks turning the idea over in my mind and playing with flavours I could pair with the turnips before settling on these two variants. The first batch, I had wanted to be almond and spice cookies, and so they were, but less almondy than I wanted as I discovered that I was out of almond extract when I went to start baking. I played around with different proportions of different sugars to achieve the flavour I wanted in the first batch, too. The second batch is a heavily adapted spiced molasses cookie from Claire Saffitz's book. As for the turnip itself, I wasn't sure how best to include it. Raw, like grated carrot in a carrot cake? Or precooked somehow? And if precooked, then in what way? I ended up going with the pre-cooked idea, first boiled and mashed, then roasted and blitzed. In terms of just eating the turnip, the roasted one was beautiful, but in terms of the cookies, the boiled ones were more subtle. The roasted ones somehow developed a strong negative turnip flavour from somewhere that wasn't apparent at every bite, but often enough that it bugged me a little. I would therefore steer clear of that method and boil the turnip for both cookie variants. I decided against the raw, grated ones as I wasn't sure how bits of turnip would work, rather than being smoothly incorporated into the cookie dough. Recipe Cook time: approx. 1 hour -- Portions: about 30 cookies -- Difficulty: Easy Almond and Chocolate Spiced Turnip Cookies Ingredients: 1/2 turnip (small) for 1/2 - 3/4 c boiled and mashed turnip 3/4 c butter, soft 3/4 c light brown sugar 1/2 c white sugar 1/4 c dark brown sugar 2 eggs 1 1/4 c ground almonds 2 1/4 c flour 5 cloves, ground (5 is Little Bit's favourite number. Very important!) 1/2 tsp ground ginger 1 tsp cinnamon 1/4 tsp cardamom 1/4 tsp cumin 1 tsp bicarb 1 tsp vinegar syrup (from pickled peaches) OR 1/2 tsp molasses and 1/2 tsp vinegar 100 g dark chocolate chips 1) Boil the turnip until fork-soft and mash. Cool. 2) Cream the butter and sugars together in a bowl. Beat in eggs, then the turnip. 3) Mix in the dry ingredients and combine well. Add vinegar and chocolate chips. 4) Place teaspoonfuls of cookie dough on a lined cookie sheet and bake 8-10 minutes at 180°C. Molasses Turnip Cookies Ingredients: 1/2 turnip 2 tbsp butter 3/4 c butter, melted 1 1/2 c dark brown sugar 2 eggs 1/4 c molasses 1/4 c liquid honey 1/4 c milk 3 3/4 c flour 1 tbsp baking soda 2 1/2 tsp ground ginger 1/2 tsp finely ground black pepper 1/2 tsp allspice 1/4 tsp cloves 1/2 c oats 2 tsp apple cider vinegar (Or homemade rosehip vinegar) 1) Cut the turnip into cubes and roast with the butter at 180°C for about 20-30 minutes, until fork-soft. Cool. 2) Cream the cooled, melted butter with the sugar. Beat in the eggs, then the molasses and honey. 3) Blitz the cooled turnip with the milk until smooth and add to the batter. Mix thoroughly. 4) Stir in the dry ingredients, mixing well, then add the vinegar (this is important both for the flavour balance and to activate the baking soda). 5) Roll dough into 1" balls and place on a lined cookie sheet. Bake at 180°C for 10-12 minutes. Both of these cookies turned out very nicely indeed, although, as stated above, I would stick with boiling and mashing the turnip for both recipes, as the roasting brought out some less desirable flavours. On the whole, I wouldn't know which of the two I liked better. Everyone I shared either with (and not just sycophantic family members who have to tell me they're good) said that they enjoyed both cookies. Each time, I waited until after they had been tasted to divulge the tuber secret, just to avoid a placebo or nocebo effect. Overall, odd as turnip cookies sound, I can't work out what it should be any odder an idea than carrot cake, or red velvet for that matter, which was traditionally made with beets. Side note, I've started using a silicone baking sheet mat instead of greasing cookie sheets. I find it works across different types of cookies and therefore doesn't waste the extra butter or shortening. Feel free if you prefer to grease your cookie sheets or to use baking paper instead. Swaps and substitutions: In both recipes, the different proportions of white to brown sugar can be played around with, although be aware that this will affect the texture and flavour of the cookies. Try preparing the turnip different ways - raw, boiled, roasted - and see how it differs. See how the difference between smooth incorporation and pieces (I would recommend small pieces) of turnip affects the flavour profile. As with the sugars, the proportion of honey to molasses can be played around with in the second recipe. It shouldn't affect texture too much, but it will change the flavour balance a little - darker and deeper with more molasses, lighter and more golden with a higher honey proportion. Try adding some almond extract - only 1/2 tsp or so to the first recipe, as I had intended (and plan to do at the first opportunity). As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

  • Apple Pectin Panna Cotta with Apple Sauce

    I started making my own apple pectin last year, and have used it a couple of times for jellies (like my Lemon and Ginger Chilli Jelly). Apple pectin is entirely naturally occurring in apples, and in the presence of sugar, it helps gel things. I wondered if it would be possible to use pectin instead of gelatine in other things, like Panna Cotta. I do like panna cotta and like playing around with flavours for it occasionally (like my lemon-topped one, or my savoury lemongrass and coconut one!). I was a little worried that the pectin would both flavour and colour the panna cotta as it is a pink colour. As for the flavour, I decided to run with it and pair it with applesauce. The idea has been bouncing around for a little while and I finally decided to try it. Recipe Cook time: 20-30 minutes + chill time 4 hours to overnight -- Portions: 4 -- Difficulty: Easy Ingredients: 2c cream 2 c apple pectin 3 tbsp brown sugar 1 c apple sauce 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1/2 tsp allspice 1) Pour cream and pectin into a saucepan and heat slowly. Stir in sugar. Bring to a slow simmer and cook for about 15 minutes. 2) Mix the cinnamon and allspice into the applesauce and spoon it into the bottom of 4 or 5 glasses. Gently pour the cream mixture over the top of the apple sauce and chill overnight in the fridge. This worked. Ish. Better than I had feared but not as well as I had hoped. I initially started with 1 c pectin, but while the cream did thicken, it didn't gel. I poured it all (apple sauce included as I couldn't seem to get just the cream) back into a saucepan, and added the third tablespoon of sugar and another cup of pectin. I cooked it again and chilled it again. This time it worked! The cream was the right consistency for panna cotta, and absolutely delicious, with little bits of apple and lots of spice caught in it. The only problem was that the cream was a solid layer on top of a layer of juice. I don't know if it was from the apple sauce or from the pectin, or a little of each, but as soon as we started eating the panna cotta, the juice seeped up and mixed with the cream, and it was all a liquidy mess. Next time, I think I need to reduce both the apple sauce and the pectin a bit further to prevent that. It was still tasty though! So very tasty! Science experiment successful though. Pectin works to gel things other than jellies, as a replacement for gelatine. With some caveats! The other issue with using homemade pectin, scientifically speaking, is that it is not going to be a uniform strength. What took 2 cups of pectin this time might take 1 1/2 or 3 next time, there is no real way to know... I guess I will just have to play that one by ear. Luckily, that is how most of my cooking happens, so I'm ok with that. Also, it didn't turn pink, but was a little coloured by the spices. I will have to try this one again, with reduced ingredients, to see how it goes then. Served in little glasses, I think this could work quite nicely as a party food!

  • Rabbit Stew with a Glühwein Twist

    Book Pairing: Making this, as Little Bit napped, I was listening to A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens Digesting our stew that evening, we lit the candles on our Christmas tree for the second time this year Candles, friends and good food (with some good books thrown in) do really make life - and Christmas-time

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