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Christmas Photos

• Smoked Salmon Roulade
• Celeriac & Stilton Soup

The Main Event
• Turkey - Hints & Tips
• Cranberry Sauce
• Perfect Roast Potatoes
• Sage & Onion Stuffing
• Honey & Parsley Glazed Carrots

Sweet Things
• Chocolate Cake
• Christmas Cake
• Christmas pudding
• Stained Glass Window Biscuits

The Next Day
• Turkey Pilaf (to use leftovers)






























































































































festive Fayre  




Smoked Salmon Roulade

This recipe originally used one large piece of smoked salmon made into a Swiss roll shape. However, smoked salmon being quite expensive, this recipe has been adapted to use smoked salmon pieces which are much cheaper.

You will need:
Large pack of smoked salmon pieces
Large tub of light soft cheese (you can use flavoured soft cheese if desired)

1. Grease two ramekins and line with clingfilm, leaving enough round the edges to wrap round the bottom of the ramekin. This will make it much easier to turn out.
2. Line each ramekin with pieces of smoked salmon, ensuring that each piece overlaps the next so that there are no gaps.
3. Layer the soft cheese with the smoked salmon until the ramekin is full. Make sure that your last layer is the smoked salmon.
4. Cover the smoked salmon with the spare clingfilm around the ramekin and place them into the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
5. Unwrap the clingfilm and place it on a serving plate. Remove the ramekin (this should be easy if you have pre-greased it) and remove the clingfilm.
6. Each ramekin should serve 2 as a starter.
Celeriac & Stilton Soup

Celeriac is a very underrated vegetable. It has a delicate flavour which works very well with the sharpness of the stilton.

You will need:
1 large onion, chopped
1 large potato, peeled and diced
1 large celeriac, peeled and diced
1/2 a pint of dry cider
1 litre chicken stock
350g Stilton, crumbled
Crème Fraiche to serve
1. Fry the onion, potatoes and celeriac gently until softened.
2. Add the cider and chicken stock and simmer for about 20 minutes.
3. Leave to cool slightly, liquidise and return to the pan.
4. Add 3/4 of the stilton and stir through the soup.
5. Warm the soup through but make sure it does not boil.
6. Garnish the soup with the remaining stilton and (if desired) a spoonful of crème fraiche.
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The Main Event

Turkey – hints & tips

1. Use a trivet to lift the turkey off the base of the pan as it prevents the bird from cooking unevenly and sticking to the pan.
2. Put a large sheet of tinfoil into the base of a pan and put the trivet on top of it. Cover the turkey in tinfoil, leaving a gap between the foil and the turkey like a tent. This allows the air to circulate and cook the bird evenly.
3. Butter the turkey and put strips of streaky bacon over the top and legs of the turkey. This will help to keep the turkey moist and also prevents the top of the bird from burning, as it will be in the oven for a long time.
4. Baste it! Use the juices in the bottom of the pan to baste the bird regularly. This will also keep the turkey moist.
ROASTING TIMES (May vary depending on oven)

I find that for best results you should cook the turkey slowly at a fairly low temperature. Times given are for this method.
Weight of turkey   Oven temperature 160 -170oC

3 - 3 1/4 hours
3 1/4 -3 3/4hours
3 3/4 - 4 1/4hours
4 1/4 - 4 3/4 hours

ALWAYS test your turkey to make sure it is thoroughly cooked. The best way to do this is to stick a skewer through the thickest part of the turkey (the thigh) and check the colour of the juices that come out of it. If the juices are running clear (no blood) then the turkey is cooked. If not then stick the turkey back in the oven.

Cranberry Sauce

This is my favourite cranberry sauce recipe. It’s easy to make and tastes fantastic. The hint of orange really makes the difference!

You will need:
250g cranberries, fresh or frozen
175g caster sugar
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
3 tbsp port (optional)

1. Put the cranberries in a pan with 5 tablespoons water. Cover with
a tight-fitting lid and boil for 10 minutes for fresh cranberries and slightly less for frozen, or until the skins just start to pop. Add the sugar, orange zest and juice and port and stir until the sugar has dissolved. If you add the sugar before the berries are cooked properly they will go tough so always cook until the skins start to burst.
2. Bring to the boil, lower the heat, then leave to bubble, uncovered,
for five to eight minutes until thickened. Leave to cool then chill until
required. The sauce keeps for 3-4 days in the fridge.
Perfect Roast Potatoes

Christmas dinner just wouldn’t be the same without roast tatties. For the best results go for floury potatoes such as King Edward or Desiree. You will also need some sunflower oil.
1. Peel the potatoes and cut them into equal sized chunks.
2. Par-boil the potatoes for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile pre-heat the oven to about 220oC. For fan assisted ovens about 200oC.
3. Put the oil in a large deep-sided baking tin with enough oil to cover the base and come slightly up the side of the pan. Put this into the oven to heat up.
4. Once the oil is hot take it out of the oven and put the potatoes into it. Make sure that you coat all of the potatoes in the oil and that none are touching.
5. Baste the potatoes in the oil using a pastry brush to make sure that all of the potatoes stay coated in the oil. This must be done regularly throughout the cooking time. At the same time make sure that none of the potatoes have stuck to the bottom of the tin. Use a fish slice to release them if necessary.
6. Cook the potatoes for about 30 minutes until golden brown.

Home-made Sage & Onion Stuffing

You will need:
2-3 large onions, chopped
4 slices of bread, ‘crumbed’ in a food processor
2 teaspoons dried sage

1. Boil the onions in a small amount of water until tender.
2. Add the breadcrumbs and mix with the onions.
3. Mix in the dried sage to taste. I prefer to use 2 teaspoons but it is quite powerful so you might want to use less.
4. Put the stuffing mixture into a greased oven-proof dish. If the mixture is too thick add a couple of spoonfuls of boiling water.
5. Top with about 1 tablespoon of the juices from your cooking turkey or a couple of little knobs of butter.
6. Bake in the oven for at least 30 minutes at 200oC.

Honey & Parsley Glazed Carrots

You will need:
5 large carrots
1 tablespoon runny honey
1 teaspoon freeze-dried parsley

1. Peel the carrots and chop them into even slices.
2. Add water to almost cover the carrots, add the honey and parsley and stir.
3. Boil the carrots until the water has almost boiled away leaving the carrots coated in the honey and parsley glaze.
4. Depending on how crunchy you want your carrots, adjust the amount of water that they will cook in. If you add a lot of water the carrots will cook for longer making them softer.
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Sweet Things

Chocolate Yule Log

This recipe doesn’t use flour as it would make the mixture too heavy. Instead use cocoa powder to achieve the correct consistency.

You will need:
6 large eggs, separated
150g caster sugar
50g cocoa powder, sifted
tub of whipping cream and a little icing sugar

To decorate: margarine, icing sugar and cocoa powder (buttercream)
Use a 32cm x 23cm Swiss roll tin, greased and lined with silicon paper.

To make the base:

1. Whisk egg yolks until pale and thick with an electric whisk.
2. Add the sugar and whisk until fully mixed in. Add the sifted cocoa powder.
3. Wash the whisk blades.
4. In a clean bowl whisk the egg whites until they reach the ‘soft peak’ stage. If there is any grease in the bowl the egg whites won’t whisk up properly.
5. Gently fold the chocolate mixture into the egg whites.
6. Spread mixture onto the prepared tin.
7. Cook for 20 minutes at 180oC, but do not overcook. The sponge should be springy to the touch.
8. Cool completely. Meanwhile whip the cream until thick and sweeten with icing sugar.
9. Empty the tin out onto a piece of greaseproof paper. Spread the sponge with the cream mixture.
10. Now for the fun bit! Using the greaseproof paper, roll the sponge into a Swiss roll shape with the cream mixture on the inside. It doesn’t matter if the ‘log’ cracks a little, it will make it look authentic!
11. Cream together some margarine and icing sugar until you have a soft sweet paste. This is called buttercream and is usually used as a filling for a Victoria sponge cake. However it moulds really well and is great to use as a ‘frosting’.
12. Add cocoa powder to turn the paste a lovely choclatey brown colour. Put the icing sugar mixture onto the log with a palette knife using long strokes to make a bark effect.
13. Once you have the desired log effect, gently sprinkle some icing sugar over the top of it to make it look like snow and add a sprig of holly to make it look really festive.
Christmas Cake

This is, or rather was, a top-secret family recipe handed down by word of mouth through the generations. I learned it from my mum and I have many happy memories of helping her in the kitchen in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

This Christmas cake, like most others, is best made well in advance and basted with brandy or rum on a weekly basis so that by the time Christmas comes around it’s dangerous to light a match anywhere near it!

You will need:
225 - 250g brown sugar
225g margarine
6 eggs
2 tsp brandy essence
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
350g plain flour
1kg mixed fruit and peel
Milk (if necessary)
1. Cream together the sugar and margarine.
2. Add the eggs one at a time, then the brandy essence and mix well.
3. Sift the spices, salt, baking powder and flour into the liquid and fold gently to mix.
4. Add the mixed fruit and peel and slacken the mix with a little milk if it is too thick. The mixture should be too thick to pour but not as thick as a dough. If you can stand a wooden spoon up in it it’s probably about right!
5. Divide the mixture between 2 greased and lined baking tins (6" and 7").
6. Bake at about 130oC for about 3 – 3 1/2 hours. Test the cake with a skewer to see if it’s cooked. The skewer should come out clean if the cake is properly cooked.
7. Once the cake has completely cooled, turn it upside down and stick a skewer into it in a few places. Spoon brandy or rum into the areas that you have skewered. This will help the alcohol to sink all the way through the cake.
8. Wrap the cake in fresh greaseproof paper and store in an airtight cake tin. Baste the cake with the rum or brandy on a weekly basis.
9. The week before Christmas you can decorate the cake with marzipan and Royal Icing.
10. There is a huge variety of cake decorations available to buy from your local supermarkets. You are only limited by your own imagination!

Christmas Pudding

One year I switched from using imperial measurements to metric. I remembered that I needed 1/2 pint of rum… unfortunately since I had got it into my head that I should be using metric I used 1/2 litre of rum. Needless to say everybody enjoyed the Christmas pudding that year!

To make two 900ml or one and a half pint puddings serving eight each you will need:
100g eating apple, peeled, cored and chopped
450g mixed dried fruit
100g plain flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
Pinch of salt
175g wholemeal breadcrumbs
50g ground almonds
100g vegetable suet
225g dark brown sugar
1 small carrot, finely grated
3 eggs, lightly beaten
150ml rum
Juice of 1/2 lemon

1. Place the chopped apple and mixed dried fruits into a food processor and whizz for a second so they are just roughly chopped, then transfer to a large bowl.
2. Sift together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt and stir into the fruit mixture with all the remaining ingredients, until everything is evenly combined. If time allows, cover the mixture and leave to stand for 24 hours, then stir again.
3. Divide the pudding mixture between two greased 900ml or one a half pint pudding basins, packing it down well and smoothing the surface.
4. Grease two double layers of baking parchment. Make a fold down the centre of each one to form pleats. Top each basin with the pleated paper and a large sheet of foil then tie in place with string.
5. Stand the basins on a trivet (or a large saucer turned upside down) in a large pan and add boiling water to come 2/3 of the way up the side of the basins. Cover and steam for up to six hours on the hob. Keep topping up the water as necessary.
6. Carefully lift the basins from the water and leave to cool. Re-cover each one with fresh parchment and foil and store in a cool place.
7. To reheat, steam puddings for 3 hours. To reheat in a microwave, remove the foil and discard the parchment. Cover each basin with plastic film and pierce the top. Cook on full power for 3-4 minutes and allow to stand for 5 minutes before inverting onto a serving dish.

Stained Glass Window Biscuits

These biscuits make lovely Christmas tree decorations and they taste great too.

To make 24 biscuits you will need:
100g margarine
100g caster sugar
225g plain flour
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
clear boiled sweets (fruit flavoured)

1. Preheat the oven 200oC/400oF/Gas 6. Beat together the margarine and sugar until pale and creamy. Add the flour and spices and mix well.
2. Beat in yolk and essence to make a firm dough. Cover the bowl with plastic film and chill in fridge for 30 minutes.
3. Roll out the biscuit dough to 1cm or half an inch thick and stamp out different cookie shapes with a biscuit cutter.
4. Make a hole in the top of each biscuit with a skewer or cocktail stick. This if for attaching bits of ribbon but more of that later. Cut out a small shape in the centre of each biscuit. This is not for your stained-glass window.
5. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with silicon paper, place in the oven and bake for 5 minutes.
6. Remove from oven and put a clear boiled sweet in each cut-out shape.
7. Bake for a further 5 minutes until the biscuits are golden and the sweets have melted. If the paper sticks to the sweet, let the biscuit go cold then rub a little oil into the stuck paper.
8. Thread different lengths of ribbon through the holes in the biscuits, tie a knot in the end and hang on your tree. If you want to save them to eat, then store in an airtight container.
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The Next Day....

Turkey Pilaf

This dish is a great way of using up left over turkey and adding a delicious touch of spice to Boxing Day

I find American cup measurements work best in this recipe for measuring out rice and liquids. One cup of rice serves two to three people. For every cup of rice, use 1 1/2 to 2 cups of liquid. You can buy American measuring cups from most supermarkets, but if you can’t find any then the teacups that you get with your crockery sets are approximately the same measurement.

You will need:
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tsp chilli powder (to taste)
1 tsp turmeric
1 chicken stock cube
1 cup of long grain rice (basmati is best)
Leftover turkey meat
Small packet of dried ready to eat apricots, chopped
1 1/2 to 2 cups of cold water
Toasted flaked almonds (optional)
1. Fry the onion and garlic in a little oil, add the spices and stock cube and fry very gently for a couple of minutes making sure that the spices do not burn.
2. Rinse the rice to take as much of the starch out as possible. This will prevent it from sticking together. I always rinse rice before I cook it.
3. Add the rice and turkey meat and fry gently to coat the rice and meat in all of the spices. Add the apricots.3. Add the rice and turkey meat and fry gently to coat the rice and meat in all of the spices. Add the apricots.
4. Add the water. Cover, bring to the boil and then simmer until all of the water has been absorbed by the rice. Test that the rice is cooked and if not add a little more water.
5. To toast the flaked almonds, place the almonds in a dry frying pan (no oil) and heat until they are golden brown making sure that they do not burn. Stir the toasted flaked almonds into the pilaf at the end of the cooking time. Then serve.
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