A list of things that can be made for Christmas that taste better than shop boought

(104 Posts)
bymoonlight Wed 11-Sep-13 20:35:26

I need a list of things I can make before Christmas that are worth the effort and taste better than shop bought.

So what do you all think about:

Christmas Pud - always make my own but wondering if shop is actually nicer.
Chutneys - any really good recipes you would recommend?
Bread sauce
Cranberry sauce
Pickled onions
Yule log - worth the effort
Christmas cake - Link to a good recipe?
Mince pies - do you buy the pastry? The mincemeat? Or make it all?

Do you think these are better when you make them yourself? Have you given up making anything and now shop buy as its easier/tastes better?

Anything else which is better HM than bought in a shop?

There are loads of different recipes for chutney - so go for something that you can buy cheaply because it is in glut or on offer.

The beetroot and apple one (my fav) is from The Good Housekeeping Cookery Book-

225g of apples - peeled, cored and chopped
225g of beetroot - peeled and chopped
225g of tomatoes (can be green) chopped
225g of onions - peeled and chopped
1 garlic clove
125g raisins (I use sultanas - they plumb up beautifully)
1 thumb of fresh ginger - peeled and finely grated (recipe states ground ginger - but I hate it due to the connotations of 1980's ginger and melon starter grin)
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp salt
300ml of malt vinegar
175g of Demerara sugar (I use whatever I have in my cupboard)

Put everything in a pan and simmer gently for 45-60 min (I generally go for 45min otherwise it can turn too mushy for my taste). Cool slightly and jar up. Eat. (Can be left to 'mature' - in my house a whole jar can disappear at one meal. I make 4 times the amount in the hope we will still have some left by Christmas!)

To jar up you don't need fancy jars. Save or buy standard jars (1lb jars are good, and come with a standard opening) but use NEW jar lids each time. The vinegar in chutneys and pickles evaporates more quickly than water so if you use the wax disks and cellophane lids that are meant for jam, you will end up with a sad little jar of dried out chutney - what a waste! New lids should be used to ensure that the acidic contents do not come into contact with the metal lid, since there is a layer of waxy plastic on the inside of the lids. Pot up while the chutney is still hot, and screw the lids on straight away and as they cool down they will form a vacuum inside the jars - just like the commercial product.

You can get jars and lids from Lakeland

Hope that helps - good luck with your weekend chutney making!

LegoCaltrops Fri 13-Sep-13 00:07:32

I will get the recipe book out in the morning for the shallots. you can do it with picklng onions as well - I think it's more about the vinegar. I grew a kilo of shallots this year in my mum's garden so I used them.

Yes re the pork mince - our family always use half mince & half sausage meat. It seems to give it more character to the filling & feels really properly meaty. Whatever pastry you choose to use. I must admit, pastry is not my strong point. I am determined to continue trying though. If I can do a real figgy pudding, I will not be beaten by a bit of shortcrust.

Can't do blackberry jam for the forseeable future, DD would not tolerate that much waiting about &, being a toddler, is way too young to help. That used to be our yearly jam supply - now we actually have to buy jam! The horror (instead of homemade with free/possibly stolen fruit from local woods & canal bank). Is it stolen if it's a public footpath/council land?

elQuintoConyo Fri 13-Sep-13 21:58:41

Delia's Christmas cake recipe.
I don't make Christmas pudding, there are only three of us and DS is 2yo!
Mince pies I make with my DSil's vegetarian recipe, it uses the liquid you get with jarred maraschino cherries instead of suet. I make the pastry with ground almonds - it's easy, soft, light, tasty and complements the mincemeat well. I always get good feedback off my mincies grin

cheekycherryza Sat 14-Sep-13 07:31:02

Last year I used this first recipe to make the pastry for mince pies and used morrisons extra special fruit mince with port and even DH who isn't a mince pie fan gobbled up mince pies and asked for more to be made http://utterlyscrummy.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/my-christmas-mincemeat-and-christmas.html

HollyBollyBooBoo Sat 14-Sep-13 15:52:36

I'd always made an Xmas pud but tried the Heston hidden orange one last year and it was amazing, will never bother making one again!

James Martins recipe for green tomato chutney is lovely.

theolddragon01876 Sun 15-Sep-13 21:50:27

I also do chutneys/relish and pickles. I had 72 jars of various pickled things last year,most went as gifts.
I had beets, bread n butter pickles,dill pickles,hot peppers,zucchini pickles
Corn relish,onion relish,apple relish tomato relish. Peach chutney and apple chutney Oh yeah and plum and licorice
I have a pickle problem grin. I buy whatever is on the clearance veggie rack and pickle it. The corn relish I use frozen corn,big bag of store brand stuff. Its very good and very cheap

bymoonlight Mon 16-Sep-13 11:45:56

Wow that is really impressive theolddragon!

How long do Chutneys keep for and where do you store them?

agreed on mince pies, my dh makes these with puff pastry and they are lovely grin

homemade cranberry sauce is nice too

CointreauVersial Mon 16-Sep-13 17:34:50

A few things taste just as good shop-bought (imho) and I wouldn't bother making.

Specifically Christmas pud, mincemeat, cranberry sauce and brandy cream/butter (assuming you buy decent brands of all these, of course).

Things which should never be shop-bought include bread sauce, ready-made mulled wine and packet stuffing (yuk). Shop-bought mince pies are usually pretty dire, but OK in emergencies.

Sparklysilversequins Mon 16-Sep-13 17:36:50

Stuffing. I had home made bacon and dried apricot stuffing at an ex's house once and it was one of the best things I have ever eaten.

theolddragon01876 Mon 16-Sep-13 21:44:34

bymoonlight smile
I can my pickles and relishes,they will keep for years so Ive been told,never had the chance to find out though. I like to keep them for at least a month before opening,gives them a chance to mature. Oh and pickled onions need at least 6 weeks
Canning is really easy btw and as long as its pickles and high acid content its very safe ( I wouldnt can anything else Im too scared of botulism smile )

Onefewernow Wed 06-Nov-13 13:55:42

If you make cranberry sauce and freeze and spare, it makes an amazing sight to spoon a bit on top of fairy cakes / cupcakes, on top of butter icing.

I did it once at the last minute for a school party contribution and it looked lovely and went down well.

ILikeToClean Thu 07-Nov-13 14:18:38

I make a fair few things myself, it is probably more expensive but I quite like to do it as I think homemade does taste better and gets me feeling all Christmassy. So here goes:

Christmas Pud - I use a BBC good food one but half the recipe -this one www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/8370/christmas-pudding-with-citrus-and-spice

Chutneys - I tend to buy these but good quality ones from farmers markets etc.

Bread sauce - we don't like it so never make!

Cranberry sauce - again I buy but a good quality one

Pickled onions - buy as only DH likes them!

Yule log - worth the effort? Not sure, I always intend to make one but what with all the other stuff I think it's a bit too much cake! The DDs would probably prefer a chocolate log rather than Xmas cake though so maybe this year I will.

Christmas cake - Here's the one I make:
www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1160/simmerandstir-christmas-cake

I then decorate it with marzipan and royal icing but only on the top, just google ideas every year to do something different but fairly basic.

Mince pies - upthread was recommended the Unbelievably Easy mince pies from BBC Good Food, I am rubbish at pastry but can make those. I make my own Mincemeat from Delia's recipe, again I half it.

I also make my own sausage rolls with puff pastry and sausagemeat.

And stuffing - again from BBC Good Food!

I would quite like to have a go at Stollen but it does look like a faff so I normally end up buying little stollen bites.

All these things can be made well in advance and stored or frozen in the case of the mince pies, sausage rolls and stuffing so I am planning on doing this one weekend in November so it's not too much work nearer the time.

HTH!

ShoeWhore Thu 07-Nov-13 14:54:08

My Mum makes Christmas cake and pudding better than any others I have tasted - shop bought or home made.

I especially like homemade stuffing and homemade cranberry sauce (I freeze the sauce which works well).

I like other people's homemade mince pies but mine are a bit rubbish!

MadeOfStarDust Thu 07-Nov-13 15:35:37

my mum makes mince pies with a sweet shortcrust base and a Viennese whirl type top - ohhhhhhhhh they are good!!!!!

milk Thu 07-Nov-13 16:07:58

Chestnut stuffing!!!

ILikeToClean Thu 07-Nov-13 17:12:37

And what about trifle? I always get MIL to make it and bring over!

lucysmam Thu 07-Nov-13 17:33:50

ooh, fab thread. Is home made cranberry sauce easy? smile

Onefewernow Fri 08-Nov-13 11:45:21

Lucysmam it is just orange juice, sugar and cranberries cooked for 15 mins in a pan.

Some recipes add orange rind or cinnamon or both.

How easy is that! It freezes well.

Onefewernow Fri 08-Nov-13 11:48:16

Sweet pastry is amazing for mince pies. Just add a tablespoon of sugar and an egg

lucysmam Fri 08-Nov-13 11:59:54

Thanks onefewer I'll make myself some in that case since no-one else likes it <strange people> confused

I got given loads of apples so have made this chutney from BBC website. Have made it before, is nice with a bit of cheese.

I always buy pickled onions, have memories of my mum/dad swearing over a pile of shallots from the allotment - they tasted great but it's a lot of faff!

This is the recipe I use for Christmas cake, we made ours in half term and it's now tucked away at the back of the cupboard.

I love buttery home-made pastry for mince-pies, I usually chuck in a sprinkle of ground cloves and maybe some orange zest into it, but I've never made mincemeat.

Lizzylou Fri 08-Nov-13 12:11:57

Ilike, that is the Christmas cake recipe I use. It is the best Christmas cake ever.
Also make a Christmas pudding. It is a diabetic recipe we use, with Guinness and grated carrot.
Make sausage rolls (but am thinking of going with the half pork mince thing, sounds fab), mince pies and Chestnut stuffing.
Also make yule log with the Dc.
We made spiced plum chutney the past few years, but our plum tree didn't do so well this year.

NoComet Fri 08-Nov-13 12:19:45

Make cake (pudding sometimes)
Spiced cranberry (way better than shops).

Mincemeat, DHs DSIS is a veggi and my best mate is Jewish. You can buy vegetarian MM now, but it used to health food shops only and £££

If you make your own you can use dried apricots, cherries, cranberries as well as or instead if apple, veggi suet ( bang the sodding flour off) and vodka instead of brandy (this tastes very fruity and is brandy hating DDs preferred recipe).

Also spare jars of HM cranberry and mincemeat are useful for as gifts for unexpected visitors.

Mincemeat keeps at least 3 years. Spice cranberry goes far too well with roast chicken or meatballs to last anything like that long.

Those making cake, am I too late and where is bargainous to get ingredients?

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