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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?

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.

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

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!

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.

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

accessorizequeen Sun 10-Nov-13 13:14:08

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

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

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:

accessorizequeen Sat 09-Nov-13 22:33:27

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?

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.

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.

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

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

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

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.

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 18:51:08

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.

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.

accessorizequeen Sat 09-Nov-13 12:37:18

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.

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


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 12:24:16

hello cobonthecorn here's the recipe. I am making some for presents this year, as Certain People ate so much.

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.

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 09:49:01

Yes yami, I will find it for you today grin

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

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

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