Christmas Craft Fair.

A mini Winter Wonderland full of beautiful craft, delicious hot drinks and scrumptious Christmas bakes and the best bit… it will be raising money for charity too! Continue reading

Christmas Pudding.

Its now just 9 weeks to Christmas and its time to make the Christmas Pudding so that it has lots of time to mature ready for Christmas day. 

Shop-bought Christmas Puddings are often dense and full of all different kinds of exotic fruit and nuts and usually I am big advocate of fiddling with recipes to add different yummy things. This pudding is incredibly simple and soft in texture but so full of Christmassy flavour and definitely doesn’t need any tweeking. 

This recipe has been passed down from my Great-Nan and my lovely Mum is the Queen of making these each year – she has even provided me with these pictures! Thank you Mum! 

If you make any Christmas Pudding this year then I urge you to make this one – you really won’t regret it.

Ingredients.

  • 4oz plain flour
  • 3oz (vegetable) suet
  • 8oz sultanas
  • 8oz raisins
  • 8oz fruit
  • 1/4 pint milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1tbsp brandy
  • 3/4tsp mixed spice
  • 1/2 lemon (juice and rind)

NB. if you wanted to make these gluten free then just replace the plain flour with gluten free plain flour.

Method.

Mix all of the dry ingredients together, then all of the wet ingredients together and then combine both wet and dry ingredients and stir thoroughly. Leave in the bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave overnight for all the juices to be soaked up by the fruit.

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Place the mixture in a 2lb basin and cover with baking parchment, with an extra fold in the top to allow for expansion and steam. Then top the baking parchment layer with a layer of foil (with a similar fold in the top).

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Place an extra strip of foil around the basin to create a handle. Fill a saucepan with a couple of inches of water and place a plate in the bottom (so that the pudding is not in direct contact with the bottom of the pan). Put onto the heat and boil/steam for 8 hours.

Important: Check the water level frequently so that it does not boil dry.

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Once the pudding has cooled, store in a cool, dry place until Christmas Day.

On Christmas Day.

Make a new hat for the pudding (with the baking parchment and foil) and steam just like before for 1-2 hours.

Pudding will easily feed 10 people with leftovers. 

Christmas Cake.

Its 10 weeks until Christmas and now is the time when I start thinking about my Christmas baking (yum yum yum…). Lots of delicious recipes improve by being left for a couple of months to mature and for the flavours to develop and this deliciously fruity Christmas Cake is the perfect example of that. 

A Christmas Cake is a very flexible cake recipe and can take all sorts of different goodies being added (or removed) to change the flavour to suit your own tastes. I prefer to not to use dried peal and to use dried cherries, marmalade and brandy as some of my chosen goodies so get creative!

If you would rather not have the hassle of making a Christmas Cake yourself then I am taking orders for Christmas Cakes so do get in touch by calling 07971423678 or emailing heather@heather-brown.com

christmas cake

Ingredients. 

  • 10oz currants
  • 12oz sultanas
  • 3oz dried cherries
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 orange
  • 2tbsp brandy
  • 7oz plain flour
  • 1tsp mixed spice
  • 5oz butter
  • 6oz soft brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1tbsp marmalade

Method. 

Line an 8″ round tin with 2 good layers of baking parchment. You can also wrap the outside of the tin with brown paper too. Also make a ‘hat’ for the cake out of baking parchment to protect the top but cut a hole in the centre to allow the steam to escape. The cake cooks for a long time in the oven and this helps not to scorch the top and side of the cake.

Preheat the oven to 140/gas mark 1.

Add the sugar and butter to a large bowl and beat them together until pale (about 2 minutes with an electric whisk). Add in the eggs gradually (alternating an egg with a spoonful of flour). Then mix in the flour.

Then add all your goodies – juice and rind of the lemon and orange, mixed spice, brandy, marmalade and all the dried fruit and mix well.

Place in the tin and put in the oven and bake for 2.5 hours. Check the cake every 30 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Allow the cake to cool in the tin and once cold, wrap the cake in a layer of baking parchment and a layer of foil and place in an airtight container and leave until about 1 week before Christmas, when you can ice the cake however you fancy. If you would like to – every 2 weeks, poke the cake a number of times with a skewer and spoon over some brandy. This is called ‘feeding’ the cake.

Mincemeat Swirls.

minceThese are the easiest of all mince pies to make – and SO yummy.

Ingredients…

  • 1 jar of mincemeat
  • 1 packet of readymade, ready rolled puff pastry
  • some icing sugar

Method…

Preheat the oven to 200degrees or Gas mark 6. Grease a baking tray or line it with baking parchment.

Un-roll the puff pastry and lay it flat. Spread out the mincemeat in an even layer over the pastry. Roll up the pastry again and slice into 1 cm slices. Lay the slices flat onto the baking tray (they do spread slightly so don’t lay them close together).

Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes. When golden, take from the oven and leave to cool slightly. Mix the icing sugar with a small amount of water until runny (but still quick thick). Dribble over the swirls.

Makes 12-15 swirls.

TIPS: This is even yummier with homemade mincemeat but I don’t know if the effort to make your own puff pastry here would be worth it. The ready rolled pastry really does work well here.