Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Recipes

I've had a couple of requests for recipes we use for Christmas, so this post is going to be fairly long and full of recipes!  Some of them are metric and some are Imperial measurements, because Dave got quite a few recipes from a US exchange student and various other US sources.

We make this Christmas Cake every year and it is always popular.  It is very dense and rich and alcoholic!  We make ours about 6 weeks before Christmas.

Quantities suitable for 6" square tin. Double for 9" round (bake 5.5 hours), triple for 10" square (bake 6.25 hours).

6oz   butter               1/2tsp mixed spice
6oz   dark brown sugar     1/2tsp cinnamon
1tbsp black treacle        6oz    currants
2tsp  Gravox               6oz    raisins
2     eggs                 12oz   sultanas
2tsp  brandy               2oz    candied peel
6oz   plain flour          2oz    glace cherries
sherry, rum or whisky      2oz    chopped almonds
(for soaking and pouring)  grated rind of 1 lemon

Mix currants, raisins, sultanas, candied peel, and glace cherries together in a bowl and soak in the alcohol of your choice overnight.  Pre-heat oven to 135C/275F/very slow.  Cream butter, sugar & treacle.  Add eggs and brandy.  Beat all together.  Sift dry ingredients.  Add fruit and dry ingredients alternately to butter mixture.  Stir well.  Transfer to tin lined with brown paper or baking paper.  Bake 4 hours (or as noted above).  Flip from tin and pour more alcohol over the bottom, then replace in the still-lined tin.  When completely cold (24 hours) pour more alcohol over the top and wrap in glad wrap and foil.  Store in an airtight container in a dark, cool place for at least a month before eating.

More recipes after the jump!

This year, the pudding was a little bland.  I think it is probably better steamed rather than boiled.  We'll try steaming it next year and if it's still unsatisfactory we'll have to find a new recipe!  Christmas Pudding is traditionally made on Stir-Up Sunday.  Everyone in the household should take a turn to stir the pudding batter and make a wish!  The full recipe makes a very large pudding, about 20 serves!  You can reduce to half or three-quarters with no problem, and still cook for the same length of time.

375g   sultanas                1C     plain flour
250g   raisins                 4 1/4C soft breadcrumbs
125g   currants                3      large eggs
125g   candied peel            1C     beer 
1C     minced/grated apple     1C     raw sugar
grated rind of 1 orange        brandy for soaking
1/4tsp ground cloves           1/2tsp mixed spice
1/2tsp ground cinnamon         1/2tsp salt
250g beef suet/packet suet (boiled) OR 185g butter (steamed)

Mix sultanas, raisins, currants, candied peel, minced or grated apple, and orange rind together in a bowl and soak in the brandy overnight.  Sift flour, salt and spices into a large bowl.  Rub in shredded suet or butter.  Add fruit, coat well.  Add sugar and breadcrumbs.  Beat eggs in a separate bowl, add beer, then blend into other ingredients.  Bring to the boil a very large pot of boiling water.  Transfer your pudding to the prepared pudding cloth or basin (see below).  Tie the pudding cloth firmly or seal the basin and plunge into boiling water.  Boil or steam for 6 hours, ensuring pudding is always covered with boiling water.

Prepare your pudding cloth (I just use a square of unbleached muslin) by dipping it in boiling water, wringing out well and rubbing plain flour into the area which will come into contact with the pudding.  You will need strong string or another strip of cloth to tie the pudding.  Drape the cloth over a bowl to help shape the pudding.  OR prepare your pudding steamer by greasing well with butter.

Store your pudding by hanging in a well-ventilated, cool, dark place, or cool slightly, remove from cloth or basin, wrap in a clean, dry cloth and store in the fridge.  I find it keeps better hung rather than refrigerated.  We hung ours in the spare wardrobe.

Re-heat your pudding by boiling for 1 hour before serving, or microwaving portions.

The exchange student mentioned above is the daughter of the owners of the Blue Bonnet Café in Texas.  This recipe is out of their cookbook.  It makes a LOT - we make ours in a lasagna dish and it lasts us several days.  You can halve it, but it reheats really well.  The recipe is made the night before.  We always make this for Christmas breakfast.

Whole unsliced loaf of white bread (our preference)
OR    8 slices thick toast bread
OR    whole French stick
8oz   cream cheese, cut into small cubes
12    eggs, beaten well
2C    milk
1/3C  pure maple syrup
Cinnamon to sprinkle

Cut bread into cubes.  You can remove the crusts, but we don't - leaving them gives you really nice chewy bits.  Place half the bread into a 9"x13" baking dish.  Scatter cubed cream cheese on top of bread.  Top with remaining bread.  Mix eggs, milk and syrup together.  Pour over bread.  Sprinkle with cinnamon.  leave in fridge overnight.  Preheat oven to 190C/375F.  Bake for 45 minutes.

Serve as is, or dust with icing sugar, or serve with warm maple syrup, or fresh strawberries.  Can be reheated in the microwave.

Dave was keen on a turkey this year, that's what he always had growing up.  We usually had a barbecue, in true Kiwi style!  We hadn't made a turkey together before and this was heaps of fun and turned out really well.  The gravy is the BEST GRAVY EVER MADE!  Recipe from MiNDFOOD.  We used a 4kg organic free-range turkey, 4 medium oranges, and 3 medium eggs.  The stuffing was still a little dry and could have done with another egg.  We also had hardly any pan juices so I didn't bother draining it and measuring how much I had.  Our orange liqueur was Orange Curacao.

125g  butter
1/4C  olive oil
1     large brown onion, finely chopped
175g  bacon (4 rashers), rind removed, chopped
3     large oranges, finely grated rind and juice
1/4C  fresh thyme leaves OR 3 tsp dried thyme leaves
6C    fresh breadcrumbs
2     eggs
5kg   turkey
1tbsp sea salt flakes
12    fresh figs, halved lengthways
1/4C  honey
2tbsp plain flour
2tbsp Cointreau or orange liqueur, optional
3/4C  chicken stock OR water

Melt 60g of the butter in a large frying pan 
with 2tbsp of the olive oil. When butter has melted and is sizzling, add onion and bacon. Cook for 8 minutes or until onion is soft. Cool slightly. Combine half the grated rind, half the thyme leaves, breadcrumbs, onion mixture and eggs in a large bowl. Fill turkey cavity with stuffing. Tie legs with kitchen twine 
and tuck wings under turkey.

Place turkey into a large roasting pan. Place remaining orange rind, remaining thyme and salt into a mortar and pestle. Grind until a fine mixture forms. Rub 30g butter over surface of turkey. Sprinkle with orange salt mixture. Cover turkey with a sheet of baking paper and foil. 

Roast for 2 hours. Remove foil and baking 
paper. Roast for an hour or until golden.

Meanwhile, line a baking tray with baking paper. Place figs onto tray. Combine remaining oil and honey in a jug. Drizzle over figs. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes or until caramelised.

Transfer turkey to a chopping board. Drain juices from pan, leaving behind 2 tbsp. Place pan over medium heat. Sprinkle flour over juices and stir until thickened. Slowly add 1 cup orange juice and Cointreau. Whisk until smooth. Add stock and stir until combined. Bring to the boil and simmer until thickened. Transfer turkey to a serving platter. Place roasted figs around turkey. Serve with orange gravy.

This may be another Blue Bonnet recipe, or it may have simply come from the same person, I'm not sure.  We usually make this on Christmas Day regardless of what else we're having.  It's quite sweet, you may wish to reduce the sugar.  It's a microwave recipe.

2      large sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
1/4C   orange juice
1tbsp  honey
15g    butter
1tbsp  brown sugar
2tsp   grated fresh ginger OR 1tsp ground ginger
1      orange, thinly sliced

1/4C   stale wholemeal breadcrumbs
2tbsp  brown sugar
1/4tsp cinnamon
60g    pecans or walnuts

Place potatoes in a single layer on the base of a greased, shallow, microwave-proof dish.  Top with combined orange juice, honey, butter, sugar, and ginger.  Cover and cook on high 6 minutes, until potatoes are tender.  Place orange slices between potatoes, sprinkle with cooked topping.  Cook on high 3 minutes, until hot.

Combine all ingredients.  Cook until hot, stirring occasionally.  NOTE: The recipe says high 3 minutes, but last time we did that it melted our micro-wave proof jug and burnt the topping!  Cook for 30 seconds at a time and stir each time.  You probably only need to cook for 1.5-2 minutes.  The sugar will start to melt and be very hot if you cook it too long.

We got a little free Christmas guide book from the supermarket this year and decided to use this recipe for our greens.  We substituted beans (the long round ones) instead of asparagus because neither of us like asparagus.  We made the dressing in my new Jamie Oliver Flavour Shaker (from Secret Santa) and steamed the veges in our steamer.

2tsp  olive oil
1tsp  finely grated lemon rind
1tbsp fresh lemon juice
2     bunches broccolini, trimmed, cut into thirds
2     bunches asparagus, woody ends trimmed, halved diagonally
250g  sugar snap peas, trimmed
25g  (1/4C) flaked almonds

Whisk together the olive oil, lemon rind and lemon juice in a small jug until well combined.  Cook the broccolini in a large saucepan of boiling water for 1 minute or until bright green and tender crisp. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a colander and drain. Repeat with the asparagus and sugar snap peas. Place the vegetables in a large serving dish.  Cook the almonds in a small frying pan over a medium heat for 5 minutes or until toasted.  Drizzle the dressing over the vegetables and season with pepper. Toss to combine. Top with almonds to serve.


  1. I would not have thought myself capable of being hungry for at least another 24 hours, but *drool*

    The greens recipe sounds good, might try that sooner rather than later!

  2. It was excellent, a nice light balance to the rest, and super-easy. Will definitely be doing it again!

  3. Can't talk, drooling. That French toast recipe... OH MY GOD!!

  4. The Stuffed French Toast is really, really delicious. We make it for Christmas breakfast every year and occasionally at other times. Highly recommended!