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?

We buy a good Christmas pudding.
I am thinking of buying a plain cake this year and decorating it myself having priced up the cost of making my own last year and realising just how much it actually cost shock.
I buy pastry for mince pies, and the mincemeat. But I spoon the mincemeat into a pan and gently warm it while adding brandy and cherries before I put it in the pies.
Home made stuffing is much nicer than bought.

bymoonlight Wed 11-Sep-13 20:50:20

Ooh yes stuffing - forgot that! I made my own for the first time last year. Was definitely worth the effort.

I agree about the cost of the cake, added to the cost of the Christmas pud and it is a lot of money.

I do like the tradition of making it every year with the dc though which is why I keep on doing it.

I buy a packet of the Sainsburys Taste the Difference Mini Mince Pies (has to be the mini, the bigger ones have too much mincemeat) . I can make mincepies but they never seem to work when I need them to. hmm

Cake- always nicer to make your own. Store cakes seem too dry and dark. I buy flour and sugar from Costco. Get the nuts and fruit each week, you won't notice the price (as much grin )
Marzipan - Delia recipe (I use Amaretto) . Much softer and more almondy

Cupcakes for the DC. I can be sure they are fresh especially the butter

Bread Sauce - doddle to make and much nicer.

Roast potato - I've had the Aunt Bessie ones once <<shudder>>

Christmas Pudding- we don't eat it. I made a syrup pudding last year.
Might try Sticky Toffee Pudding

bymoonlight Wed 11-Sep-13 21:29:18

Do you make normal cupcakes and decorate them all Christmassy 70isaLimit? Or you have a Christmas cupcake recipe?

No one really likes Marzipan in this house. The dc might like a HM one though. I might try that this year, how long does it keep for?

YY to homemade roasties with the luxury of goose fat at Christmas .. Mmmmm.

Thus time of year - make chutney! There are some real bargains to be had in greengrocers and farmer's marks as we reach the peak of the late summer glut. I've just make piccalilli and a lovely beetroot and apple chutney. Worked out as less then a pound per 1lb jar and tastes lovely!

Very smug...grin

bymoonlight Wed 11-Sep-13 21:35:09

I'm going to make Chutneys this weekend now I know I don't need Kilner jars or special paper.

Did you use lots of ingredients onlyfortonight? I need recipes that don't involve spending lots!

DowntonTrout Wed 11-Sep-13 21:36:59

I make the Cheeky Chilli Chutney ( shhh Jamie Oliver recipe )

And chunky Piccalilli. Both get better the longer you keep them.

I also make a chicken liver pâté and a ham hock terrine a few days before.

mynameisnotmichaelcaine Wed 11-Sep-13 21:40:17

Definitely make the bread sauce. SO much nicer.

holidaybug Wed 11-Sep-13 21:43:13

Mince pies - dead easy to make the pastry - it's the filling that you buy from the shops

Agree that home made cake is better - always do the good housekeeping recipe or Delia with more alcohol and its grea

Cranberry sauce is also better IMO the day it is made as its bloody easy and looks fabulous the first day - after the first day it just looks like ordinary jam or store bought

Bread sauce - again, stupidly easy, stupidly tasty

bymoonlight Wed 11-Sep-13 21:48:00

I will miss pate this Christmas - am pg. Not sure where I stand on terraine though.

Will have to remember that for next year. Is HM pate nicer?

Will google those recipes for the Chutney and Picaalili.

bymoonlight Wed 11-Sep-13 21:50:41

Just realised my cake has alcohol in it! Can I still eat it? I normally feed it as well, I won't be able to do that this year will I?

Can I even light the pudding with Brandy?

Its going to be a tough Christmas this year!

Pickled onions - definitely, miles better than any shop bought.

Mince pies - a different beast, I like bought ones but also homemade. Bit like comparing oven chips with chips from the chip shop. I made mincemeat last year and it was very easy and very lovely, also made pastry, as I had acquired a food processor, previously I used bought.

Christmas pudding - I don't like it, so can't comment.

Bread sauce - don't like that either, but my mum makes it and brings it to dinner at our house. Never tasted shop bought.

Stuffing - much nicer homemade.

bymoonlight Wed 11-Sep-13 21:59:02

I have problems with pastry. I can never get it even so I end up with different thicknesses that cook at different rates. It a nightmare that only I seem to encounter.

holidaybug Wed 11-Sep-13 22:02:22

bymoonlight - I do normal cupcake sponge cakes then a swirl of green icing (tree) decorated with tiny Smarties (baubles) .
Christmas flavoured would be too new and fangled for my DC grin

JustBecauseICan Thu 12-Sep-13 17:02:37

Delia's traditional classic Christmas cake is the cake.

I am always a bit scathing about Delia's prissy "slice a cherry tomato into 4 perfectly measured slices" approach, but that cake is just sublime.

I tried Nigella's 3 yrs ago and it was bloody weird. Like a chocolate, fruity, gloopy stodge. Never again.

For shortcrust pastry I always use the old fashioned Be-ro flour all in one pastry recipe. It's fab.

chocolate and fruit have no place together in a christmas cake


This is amazing. I made it for my FIL for Christmas this year and got rave reviews. Dead easy to make:


LoganMummy Thu 12-Sep-13 20:29:40

Great thread, thanks!

LegoCaltrops Thu 12-Sep-13 20:35:57

I made a kilo of pickled shallots last week. we're giving about half away as presents, but keeping the rest. I am a vinegar addict...

I'm making Christmas cake (just for general eating/to take a chunk round when we visit, as in our house there are only DH, me & DD who is 16m.)

Making fudge, mead & green tomato chutney (if I have time before they ripen too much) for presents. I also knit so there may be scarves/jumpers/hats for the kids.

I may also make sausage rolls. Half pork mince, half butchers sausage meat for the filling.

bymoonlight Thu 12-Sep-13 20:54:59

Thanks for all the recipe links.

Mango chutney looks lovely!

Can't believe I forgot sausage rolls! Never heard of making them with pork mince before, is it a lot nicer Lego.

I will stick with Delias cake I think!

70's - my dds would enjoy decorating Christmas tree cupcakes, great idea!

LoganMummy Thu 12-Sep-13 21:21:07

Lego - can you share your ingedientd for your pickled onions please?

Zeeky Thu 12-Sep-13 21:33:57

Homemade mince pies are soooo much nicer than bought ones. I usually make the pastry (using orange jest & juice which is divine) and use shop bought mincemeat, but this this I'm thinking of trying to make my own mincemeat to see if it's worth the effort.

Jams and chutneys are definitely worth doing.

I also make homemade liqueurs - blackberry gin, rhubarb schnapps, plum brandy etc. I don't drink them myself, but they go down well with DH and as gifts.

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:

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.


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?

Onefewernow Fri 08-Nov-13 14:08:42

Lucysmam, my kids don't like it either.

Strangely they change their mind in march to eat the leftovers spread on a chocolate cake with buttercream, when there are no biscuits in the house!

lucysmam Fri 08-Nov-13 14:51:07

accessorize I'm only soaking my fruit this weekend! Just been in Sainsburys for some almonds & certain bags of fruit and nuts had 20% off if that helps smile

ILikeToClean Fri 08-Nov-13 16:42:16

Accessorize it's not too late, I will probably make mine next weekend.

Think I am going to make a yule log too this year, maybe to have Xmas Eve! Anyone have a good recipe? (or I'll go to the Good Food website, my fail safe source!).

I have to pre-soak fruit? I am such a novice. Ok, so there's still time. Great! I shall pop to Asds or something tomorrow.

lucysmam Fri 08-Nov-13 17:08:51

you don't have to soak the fruit, you can just feed the cake if you want to smile

mazylou Fri 08-Nov-13 17:23:07

I did stollen last year and it got hoovered up. It's easy enough to make. Well worth it.

lucysmam Fri 08-Nov-13 17:52:57

Anyone make panetonne? (sorry about dody spelling, I can never get it right blush )

lucysmam Fri 08-Nov-13 17:53:22

Apparently I can't manage 'dodgy' either grin

Lizzylou Fri 08-Nov-13 18:10:12

The simmer and stir cake I do is really moist and will be made end of November. I made stollen the other year and it was grim, think I overdid the marzipan and it was just huge and sickly! I would love to know a panettone recipe!

So feed the cake or pre-soak the fruit. Excellent. Thanks.

lucysmam Fri 08-Nov-13 18:30:39

I only soak the fruit because it's easier than my girls scrapping over who feeds which cake really....far easier to get them to add fruit to a big jar....they can manage that because the fruit is in bags so one each to pour grin

MrsBennetsEldest Fri 08-Nov-13 18:33:04

We cannot eat wheat but are fine with Spelt so I have to make everything.
I love Delia's Christmas Pud. I have made it lots of times and it's miles better than shop bought.
Mince pies ( own pastry, bought mincemeat )
Sausage rolls, ( again own pastry, home made minced meat. Am thinking of adding minced wild boar this year)
Pork pie (own hot water pastry. It's a faff but if I don't make it,we can't eat it and I only make it once a year).
Christmas cake, I make the easiest ever fruitcake cake all year round and at Christmas I put some booze in it and it is lovely. If you have never made a fruitcake this is the recipe for you. I will post if it's wanted. It can be made a couple of weeks in advance if needed.
My special chocolate brownies, it's an American recipe...if anyone is interested I will post the recipe.
Stuffing, I do a forcemeat stuffing, really easy.

lucysmam Fri 08-Nov-13 18:39:37

I'd like the brownie recipe MrsB, was going to have a look for something to do with the girls tomorrow smile

CobOnTheCorn Fri 08-Nov-13 18:53:00

mazylou please could you share your stollen recipe?

MrsBennetsEldest Fri 08-Nov-13 19:23:51

American Chocolate Brownies.

5oz butter
1 cup cocoa
1/2tsp fine salt.
1 1/3 cups sugar ( ordinary granulated is fine)
1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs ( room temp )
2/3 cup plain flour ( or white Spelt )
1 1/2 cups choc chips ( I use costco dark choc chips)

Line a 9"x13" tin with foil leaving a 4 " overhang on the longest sides. Fold the overhanging foil back on itself twice. ( these flaps will act as handles to lift the brownie out of the tin). Butter the foiled tin.

Melt butter in double boiler over simmering water.
In a seperate bowl mix the salt, sugar and cocoa together.
Add the above to the melted butter and whisk slowly until the sugar has dissolved. Mixture should resemble fudge and pull away from the boiler.
Allow to cool until warm but not hot.
Stir in vanilla to loosen mix.
Add eggs 1 at a time.
The batter should look shiny and well mixed.
Add flour and stir until fully incorporated.
Beat mixture until your arm hurts smile
Fold in choc chips.
Spread mixture evenly in tin.

Bake for 30/35 mins 325f/165c/gas 3.

Leave in tin , on cooling rack until completely cooled.
Use foil flaps to lift from tin, cut into squares.

It's very rich and dense and gooey. I dust with edible gold and silver.

lucysmam Fri 08-Nov-13 20:02:16

oooh, sounds lush! tyvm smile

MrsBennetsEldest Fri 08-Nov-13 20:15:41

You are very welcome smile

ZingWantsGin Fri 08-Nov-13 20:26:28

gingerbread biscuits

meringue kisses

ice cream

INeedThatForkOff Fri 08-Nov-13 21:26:08

Haven't read the thread, but I think homemade mince pies and shop-bought are two different things. My mum is obsessed with just so, thin, short but not too crumbly pastry, topped with a dusting of icing sugar. Yum. But I also love the foil encased, thicker, granular shop-bought pies. Sainsburys bakery ones are nice; better than TTD.

Shop-bought mince pies are always better than my gran's yellowy, glazed-looking, heavy and rock-hard missiles <boak>

shezzle Sat 09-Nov-13 00:08:03

Oh I love this thread!
Every year I make-
A chocolate and apricot steamed pud with choc sauce as we don't like trad pud.
Chicken liver and champagne pâté- made it for gifts last year as family kept asking for it from the year before. Probably one of the simplest recipes ever!
Mince pies with homemade pastry and shop bought filling, a really good one if i can afford it.My friend gave me her pastry recipe after mine was always a disaster and I have never looked back! She uses trex which I swear makes perfect pastry even in my hands.
Italian festive stuffing from an old good food recipe book. It's vegetarian if you use rennet free type Parmesan cheese. I don't as not a veggie but just love this stuffing. It has pine nuts,raisins,ciabatta,herbs and Parmesan.
The thing I like about these recipes is you can make and freeze all of them at least a month ahead except for the stuffing. Each one tastes delicious and exactly the same as if they hadn't been frozen.

joymaker Sat 09-Nov-13 00:08:52

MrsBennetsEldest can you share your fruitcake come christmas cake recipe? I'm interested by the fact it can be made year round and 'jazzed' up at at Christmas. How so? My lot love fruit cake.

shezzle Sat 09-Nov-13 00:09:02

Forgot gingerbread Xmas cookies with the children- again they seem to keep for weeks and weeks too.

shezzle Sat 09-Nov-13 00:10:53

And nigellas orange and lime ice cream which also goes down a treat. I don't do complicated cooking and as a recipe it's just lovely and simple for Xmas with a mince pie.

WallyBantersJunkBox Sat 09-Nov-13 00:26:15

I made a huge batch of mince pies tonight and used 3 different pastry suggestions.

Delia - traditional pastry - half lard, half butter- it's okay, but fairly bland.

Nigella with orange juice and Trex was a little more crumbly - I added zest to the pastry too.

But the most outstanding was the Great British Bake off recipe book pastry for mince pies. It had ground almonds, all butter and some caster sugar. A beggar to roll out, but very forgiving to reroll.

They baked really well, and kept their shape.

I now have 90 mince pies boxed in the freezer. I am feeling tres Angelic!!

I can recommend Waitrose Traditional Mincemeat too, absolutely delicious.

We cracked open a jar of Delia's Christmas chutney today - I made it 4 weeks ago. Absolutely delicious, would definitely recommend.

So far I've made 3 mini puddings (Delia), her Christmas Cake, Chutney and my mince pies.

Sausage rolls will be next weekend, and I will bake the creole cake from Delia tomorrow (the fruit is steeping in mucho booze at the moment)

I will be making some chilli jam from Nigellas book next weekend too.

Closer to Christmas we'll make the Christmas Rocky Road from Nigella, some ginger biscuits for the tree and the Yule log. Oh and some shortbread too - that's very easy to make.

Everything else will be shop bought - I think I'll have done enough!!

shezzle Sat 09-Nov-13 00:33:39

Wally- do you have a recipe for your shortbread you could share? It's another of those things which have never gone well for me but we all love it! Mine seems to fall apart or I cook it for too long and it is hard.

WallyBantersJunkBox Sat 09-Nov-13 00:40:29
WallyBantersJunkBox Sat 09-Nov-13 00:43:07


This recipe is very basic. I know what you mean - I make in a very blasé way - fling in a food processor and try not go overhandle the dough as the butter turns oily?

shezzle Sat 09-Nov-13 00:45:24

Yes that's probably where I go wrong. Thanks-maybe this year we will eat perfect HM shortbread!

WallyBantersJunkBox Sat 09-Nov-13 00:49:18

No harm practicing either? smile

TheYamiOfYawn Sat 09-Nov-13 09:14:16

Could you share the recipe for chicken liver and champagne pate, please?

shezzle Sat 09-Nov-13 09:49:01

Yes yami, I will find it for you today grin

shezzle Sat 09-Nov-13 11:13:35


Am a bit rubbish with links hope this worked! I found it online as is exactly the same as my old recipe i use every year.If I don't have champagne I use any sparkling wine or prosecco. You can also make the pâté up to a month before and freeze. I put it in small glass ramekins or plastic tubs so I don't have to defrost the whole lot at once and can eat all over Xmas and New Year.

shezzle Sat 09-Nov-13 11:20:01

Fiddle with the seasoning until its how you like it, I put the salt in all at once one year and it was too salty. So I add gradually to taste now.

mazylou Sat 09-Nov-13 12:24:16

hello cobonthecorn here's the recipe. I am making some for presents this year, as Certain People ate so much. www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/dec/11/stollen-recipe-cherry-dan-lepard

mazylou Sat 09-Nov-13 12:28:46

Also this - wonderful with cheese and cold meat type things (I think the best bits of Christmas food are the leftovers)


mazylou Sat 09-Nov-13 12:29:10

You've all inspired me, just got all the ingredients for cake. Lidl had just about everything. Got extra glacé cherries & peel just in case. Stupid qu but is cherry brandy liqueur same as cherry brandy? And is that very sweet in the cake, would ordinary brandy be better as I don't like very sweet fruit cake. Even bought marzipan from Lidl although I've never iced a cake eeek.

MrsBennetsEldest Sat 09-Nov-13 18:45:57

Joymaker, here's the cake recipe .....

This is the everyday version.

125g marg
175g sugar ( granulated is fine )
175g currants
175g sultanas
50g candied peel
175g glacé cherries ( optional, but we like cherriessmile)
225ml water
1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 heaped tsp of mixed spice
2 beaten eggs
125g plain flour, whole wheat or white
125g self raising flour, whole wheat or white
Pinch of salt

Place marg, sugar, currants, sultanas, peel, water, bicarb and mixed spice in a pan, bring to boil and simmer 1 min. Pour into large bowl. Allow to cool.
Line an 18cm square or 20cm round tin, with greased, grease proof paper.
Add eggs, flours and salt to cooled mixture, mix well pour into tin.
Bake in centre of a moderate oven, gas 4, 350F, 180C, for 1 1/4 hours.

( double the mixture will fill three 2lb loaf tins )

For the Christmas version,

Substitute 4 tbs of the water with brandy, rum or whisky.
Use dark sugar.
I add 175g of dried cranberries. It's a very forgiving cake so you can tweek it to your liking.
I use whatever Christmassy spices I feel like at the time, as much or as little as you like really.
Add the grated zest of an orange or lemon or both.

I decorate with nuts and glacé fruits with an apricot jam glaze.

ouryve Sat 09-Nov-13 18:51:08

Now is the perfect time to make the cake, accessorize. I didn't look for bargainous ingredients (pointless when it has the best part of a half bottle of Irish Whisky in!) but i was pleasantly surprised by the Sainsburys Basics Sultanas that i bought for my Christmas puds. Lovely and juicy and sweet. I bought some expensive ones, last year, and they were rancid, despite being well in date. I ended up chucking them and just using more raisins and apricots.

ouryve Sat 09-Nov-13 18:53:32

And yes, Cherry Brandy is a liqueur. For a similar effect, but less sweet, just use brandy and a drop of almond essence. Or just brandy or whatever dark spirit you like.

ouryve Sat 09-Nov-13 18:56:27

My favourite home made Christmas recipe not involving something cakey is Cranberry and onion confit, btw. It doesn't need making well in advance, but it does freeze well, anyhow.

lucysmam Sat 09-Nov-13 18:58:47

accessorize, just don't eat the marzipan before it gets to the cake I would never do that, honest grin

Have fun! & don't forget to use melted jam to stick the marzipan to the cake smile

lucysmam Sat 09-Nov-13 19:00:02

ouryve that looks good...none of my lot would eat it though sad

INeedThatForkOff Sat 09-Nov-13 20:05:58

Ah, so looking forward to living in our new house with a decent sized kitchen. We're treating ourselves to a Kenwood Chef for Christmas. Next year I'm making everything smile.

WallyBantersJunkBox Sat 09-Nov-13 20:17:09

Apricot jam warmed with some brandy and sieved so it's smooth makes a good glue for the marzipan.

Can't believe the amount of things some of you make. I find it hard enough to do flapjack now and again and give them dinner! I know there will be arguing about feeding the cake but they will love it so. I will buy Lidl's excellent apricot jam next time I'm there, but I won't need to ice until we need to eat it so that's a way off. I hate marzipan (tbh honest I don't actually like fruit cake but the rest of the family do) but will have to hide it from dp! Looking at the recipe, I only need 150 ml of brandy so could I just buy a miniature or two? Dp has several bottles of Scottish whiskey but I don't think I want the cake to taste of whiskey. Or am I being dim?

mazylou Sat 09-Nov-13 23:13:45

Get a couple of miniatures - I do that so that I can drink the really NICE brandy and not fret about putting it in the cake.

What about leftovers? I think Christmas leftovers are the canine cojones, and usually make quite a nice turkey/ham/leek pie last year. This time, I want to do a raised pie, like this:


WallyBantersJunkBox Sat 09-Nov-13 23:23:04

A whiskey cake will be fine. It is all offset by the sweetness of the fruit and sugars. I've chucked brandy and Cointreau in this year. blush

I roll really thin marzipan - we are not huge fans either. Also try and leave the marzipan dry out before icing

Royal icing is very easy. DS decorates the cake top with figures from his Lego advent calendar. smile

Thanks for advice on booze smile I don't drink spirits!

shezzle Sun 10-Nov-13 13:36:29

Wally- loving the idea of Lego people on your cake! You have reminded me if what my mum used put on hers. When we were children she made a snowman version of each of us out of icing grin

WallyBantersJunkBox Sun 10-Nov-13 13:43:45

Mazylou - I tend to throw all leftover veg in with some fresh mash and make bubble and squeak if there's a lot.

It's a tradition for us to have cold turkey, crinkle cut chips, peas and salad cream for Boxing day lunch....not very culinary but we love it. blush

Delia has a nice Colonnial turkey curry recipe if I have any left over.

I tend to buy a fairly small turkey though, and after making sandwiches with stuffing slices, cranberry sauce, turkey and mayo on Boxing day eve there tends not to be much left but bones for stock. and me picking at it constantly reduces the volume somewhat

Pie sounds lovely though. I bought a traditional enamel rectangular pie dish from Lakeland last month - £2! Bargain - it's excellent quality.

OneMoreThenNoMore Sun 10-Nov-13 14:10:20

Love this thread! grin

Usually I make various chutneys in September/October, but didn't manage it this year. A few weeks ago I did a triple batch of Nigella's sweet chilli jam- have given this as Christmas gifts for a few years now and everyone loves it. I'm going to start making it more regularly so that I always have a stash of it. smile

I made chocolate truffles last year but they didn't make it out of the house blush. They were delicious and so easy. Apparently they're freezable too. I plan to make some more this year.

I do my own mincemeat- I'm not keen on suet though so I do a bbc good food recipe which uses butter instead. It is really worth the expense and it's very easy to make. I have a couple of jars leftover from last year but may make some more.

I do my own cranberry sauce.

I'm doing Christmas puddings for the first time this year- was meant to do them today but was too lazy so it'll be next weekend now...

I'm going to make some Scottish oatcakes as gifts as well I think. (And for us to have with masses of Stilton)

We make our own stuffings- well, dh does. He has a few different recipes- from bbc/bbc good food sites I think.

Mil does us a Christmas cake. Always amazing. She does them at the end of October I think, and feeds them regularly until Christmas.

Nigella's Christmas book is full of ideas. I need to have a look at it for inspiration now!

OneMoreThenNoMore Sun 10-Nov-13 14:11:40

Does anyone make peppermint creams? I've tried and failed, they just never work for me, so if anyone has a foolproof recipe that'd be great! smile

Blatherskite Sun 10-Nov-13 14:16:19

Last year I made a Christmas pudding and also paid through the nose for a poncey Waitrose Heston Blumenthal Hidden Orange one.

Mine was better <preen>

Not going to bother buying one this year.

Agree Delia's classic (1978) Christmas cake recipe is the best.

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