A Seasonal Christmas welcome to SUE'S KITCHEN!
and tips on cooking for blind & visually
impaired people. by Sue Pallett
Contents of this Page.
Preparing your Turkey for the Oven.
Preparing and cooking your Turkey.
Cooking your turkey.
Nut Roast - A Vegetarian alternative
Traditional Christmas Pudding Recipe.
Christmas pudding - tips on removing rind from your fruit.
Christmas Pudding - tips on how to recognise that your pudding is boiling.
Light Christmas Pudding recipe (NEW!!)
Brandy Butter recipe.
Rum or Brandy Sauce Recipe
Real Custard Recipe
Mince Pies Recipe
Special Christmas Recipe - Jan’s Sherry trifle
Christmas Cake Recipe
Citrus Sylabub Cream
Traditional Dundee Cake recipe
Chocolate and Raspberry Roulade recipe (NEW!!)
Marzipan or Almond Paste recipe (NEW!!)
Royal Icing (NEW!!)
Mincemeat Streusel recipe (NEW!!)
Mulled Wine (NEW!)
Cranberry Sauce Recipe (New!)
Scottish Highland Shortbread (New!)
Yes, it’s that time of year again when everyone either wants to cook turkey for the first time or can’t quite remember how long to cook one for! So to make it easier, here is a preparation and cooking guide which should help.
If you are the kind of person who likes to forward plan, order your fresh turkey early, or, alternatively, buy your frozen oven-ready turkey well before Christmas, before the prices go up and the more popular sizes sell out. Your turkey will be fine in the freezer for up to 6 months.
What size bird to buy, that is the question! Please don’t go mad and bring home a huge turkey that stands no chance whatsoever of fitting into that oven! It will simply take hours and hours to cook. People usually buy the most impressive size, forgetting that they will get fed up with the sight of turkey within a couple of days. a 6.3 kg, 14 lb turkey, should feed a family of 6 to 8, with plenty to spare for those boxing day salads and sandwiches. A rough guide to the Cooking time will be given on the packaging, plus an idea of the average number of people it should serve.
Don’t despair though if you are only cooking for yourself or for a small family, there are plenty of stuffed boneless turkey joints available from all the major supermarkets, get what you need early though as I have noticed that these tend to disappear from the supermarket shelves from the beginning of December onwards, to make room for the larger turkeys, chickens and joints of meat.
If your turkey is frozen, allow plenty of time for it to defrost. A large bird could take more than 2 days to thaw out naturally, as it should be kept in a cool garage, porch, or outhouse throughout this process and NOT in a warm kitchen! Keep the turkey covered, and stand it on a deep tray or platter to catch the water which will collect, you will get quite a lot, so you will have to tip this away every so often. Take care, though as this will contain juices from the bird as well so watch your clothing.
Remember to collect your fresh turkey on Christmas eve. Keep it, covered, in a cold garage, porch, or outhouse until you are ready to prepare it for the oven.
Late on Christmas eve, bring your fresh turkey or (frozen Once it has completely defrosted), into the kitchen, throw away any juice from the tray that its been standing on. Put the bird onto several layers of clean kitchen paper or newspaper on your worktop. Uncover it and examine it carefully. You are feeling for places where it could be secured or tied up with elastic, to hold the legs close in to the body, or string at the narrow neck end. The lower body of the turkey will probably be stitched together with string. Remove all this with sharp kitchen scissors. Put your hand inside the rear of the bird and take out the plastic bag containing the giblets. Oven-ready varieties may not contain these. You can either throw them in the kitchen bin now if you are not going to make your gravy with them or, put them into a clean plastic bag then refrigerate on a separate shelf, away from cooked food. Now, rinse the turkey well under the kitchen tap in cold, running water to remove any little particles which might still be left inside the neck and body cavity.
If you’ve already made the stuffing for your turkey, pack the inside of the bird’s neck and body cavity with it, either now, or first thing on Christmas morning. Folding the skin flaps over at the neck and rear, holding them in place with a small skewer. Personally, I have always thought, and many other cooks will bare this out, that putting too much of anything inside the body of the turkey, can alter the cooking time, so that the interior of the bird doesn’t get quite hot enough to kill all the bacteria during cooking. I would advise that you make your stuffing and cook it in a greased, ovenproof dish or tin and serve it separately.
Wrap your prepared turkey in Clingfilm, then put it into a large, freezer bag, to refrigerate on a separate shelf, away from cooked food, or take it back out to its former, cold storage place again, until tomorrow, Christmas morning.
Don’t forget to buy a roll of wide, extra strong baking foil to cook the turkey in, many of the cheaper foils simply just won’t be strong enough to support its weight, even though the box says Turkey Foil on it, pay a little extra just to be sure of the quality, it will save you having the screaming ab-dabs when you’re trying to wrap it around the turkey, with less chance of accidents when you are lifting the tin from oven to worktop.
The size of your baking tin is important too, it needs to be several inches larger all round than your bird and the deepest and sturdiest you can find, preferably with flanges or handles at both ends, it will make lifting the heavy turkey into and out of the oven much easier and make basting (that’s spooning the juices in the tin over the top of the bird while its cooking), much safer.
First thing on Christmas morning, bring the turkey out of the fridge or in from the cold garage or outhouse, and leave it, still wrapped on your kitchen worktop to get to a cool kitchen temperature, I say this as cooking times are estimated on the bird being at room temperature.
Place your large roasting tin on the work surface, now line the inside of it with strong, wide, turkey foil or baking foil, one piece going lengthways and the other widthways, allow plenty extra on each piece as you are going to wrap it up over the top of the turkey.
Unwrap your bird, Clean and prepare it, as given above, and if you haven’t already done so, fill the neck and body cavities with the stuffing mixture of your choice, either sage and onion or thyme and parsley, using home made or ready mixed from a packet, pushing it up between the skin and flesh of the neck, folding the loose flaps of skin flat against the back, to hold the stuffing inside, then hold it in place with a small skewer. Don’t pack too much stuffing inside the breast of the bird as it will expand during cooking and it could burst out. . If you are not stuffing the turkey, but still want a little extra flavour, peel a small onion and put that, whole, inside the body of the bird instead, or don’t forget to put your ready prepared stuffing into a greased oven proof dish or tin, ready to pop in to the oven, below the bird, next to the roast potatoes and sausage and bacon rolls, about 45 minutes before the turkey is ready.
Next, lift the turkey into the tin and lay it on its back.
Coat the outside of the breast and top surface of the bird with a little softened butter or margarine, sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and lay a few strips of either streaky or back bacon over the breast, overlapping the slices slightly.
Now, lift the foil at the front and back of the tin, bringing both pieces up to make a fold at the centre top of the turkey, then do the same with the foil at both ends to make a neat folded parcel. Don’t press the foil down too firmly as the steam will need to circulate round the bird and escape during cooking.
Turkey cooking times.
Remember to pre-heat your oven for 15 to 20 minutes before putting the bird in, just below the centre, to make sure that there’s enough height for the bird, in its tin, to slide in.
Please remember that all cooking times are only approximate as oven temperatures vary. It is usual to estimate, according to the weight of the bird, twenty minutes per lb (450 g ) with another twenty minutes extra added on to the end of that total cooking time. . All approximations are based on the turkey and stuffing being at kitchen temperature and not as taken straight from the fridge. If in any doubt, always cook it for another half an hour to 45 minutes before carefully unwrapping the foil to crisp up the skin on the breast. Watch your fingers as some steam will come out of the foil as you do this.
The average temperature for cooking a turkey is gas mark 4, 350 F, 180 C, 160 Fan.
e.g. if you are cooking a 12 lb, (5.5 kg) bird, you are probably looking at somewhere around the 4 to 4 and a half hour mark, or for your 14 lb, (6.3 kg) turkey, around 5 to 5 and a half hours, with an extra 45 minutes or so, resting time after it has come out of the oven.
About an hour before you estimate that the turkey will be ready, remember to put your foil covered tin of seasoned, oil coated, roast potatoes in the oven below the turkey.
When the turkey has only got about 45 minutes left to cook, Carefully lift the tin out of the oven on to a clear space on your work top. Turn up the heat to gas mark 7, 425 F, 220 C, 180 Fan.
Fold back the foil, carefully, remove the bacon rashers, leaving them on a plate to crisp up later.
Now, take a large spoon or ladle and carefully scoop up some of the juice in the tin and gently pour it over the top of the bird. Put the turkey back in the oven and repeat this process, several times throughout this last 45 minutes to (baste it), adding moisture and flavour to the meat. When you think it’s cooked, insert a fine skewer into the flesh and ask someone who can see to make sure that the juice coming out is clear and golden, but not pink. A good tip if you can’t see is to press the top surface of a fleshy area and, if it gives and dents in, the meat has cooked on the top surface. Pull a leg and see if it feels as though it’s beginning to come away from where it joins the turkey. If you are in any doubt at all, please cook it for another half hour and then check again.
After the turkey has finished cooking it will need to rest, out of the oven, for 45 minutes to an hour so that the juices and flavour are evenly distributed around the bird, making it easier to carve with less chance of it drying out too quickly. Those boxing day buffet salads and sandwiches will be extra moist and tasty too!
You might need help removing the turkey from the tin, two large fish slices or spatulas slid underneath from either side will help to lift it. There will be a lot of gravy in the tin that you need to be careful of and tipping the bird will remove any that’s still inside. You may like to use some of this to either make, or add to your gravy. Carefully transfer the bird on to a large serving dish to rest, it will hold its temperature well as long as it is not left in a draught. Use these 45 minutes, take the foil off the tin of roast potatoes, add the bacon to them that you took off the turkey breast, put them back in the oven to crisp up, now cook the stuffing and sausage and bacon rolls.
Don’t forget to cook those vegetables on top of your stove during this time too!
When you are ready to carve the turkey, you may like to ask for some help, It won’t be an easy task, it’ll save time and insure that you don’t serve anything inedible. Plus the fact that it’s traditional to give a guest the honour of carving the bird.
If turkey simply isn’t your thing, or you’re only cooking for two, buy either a small chicken, joint of meat or even a boneless, stuffed chicken, or piece of boneless, stuffed pork.
Please see, “Sue’s 21st Century Sunday Lunch” for more details.
Whatever you decide to cook, , relax and enjoy your Christmas with family and friends by doing as much of the preparation beforehand as you can, this will make for more of a holiday for you too!
To make your sage and onion or thyme and parsley stuffing:
You will need.
2 heaped teaspoons of dried sage, or 1 heaped teaspoon thyme and 1 of parsley, ,
1 large onion, peeled, and grated or very finely chopped
4 large, (medium thickness) slices of white bread made into crumbs, use a liquidizer or food processor for a quick even result. Take one slice at a time, Brake it into small pieces, dropping it in gradually, and operating it on the pulse control or giving the button quick short presses, , this way the crumbs won’t end up being too fine. Tip these crumbs into a large mixing bowl and repeat the process with the other slices.
1 beaten egg, (optional). or 2 to 3 tbsps of lukewarm water.
salt and freshly ground black pepper
To make the stuffing, Add the onion and sage or thyme and parsley, salt and freshly ground black pepper, to the breadcrumbs in the mixing bowl. then stir in a few tablespoons of lukewarm water or the beaten egg and mix together thoroughly.
The stuffing should be fairly firm, if you press it together it should hold its shape. If you are making it in advance on Christmas Eve, and you are not planning to stuff the turkey until Christmas morning, put it into a sealed plastic bag, then into the fridge.
Combining the stuffing with an egg will give it a firm texture so you can slice it up when it’s cooked, if you use water it will be more crumbly.
If you don’t have a food processor or liquidizer, break the bread into small pieces, put it in a mixing bowl and make it into crumbs with a fork. You can also use bread that’s a couple of days old and grate it up on the coarse section of a metal grater, standing on a large plate to catch the crumbs. Ask Father Christmas for a liquidizer, if I were you, it’s far easier!
Don’t forget to take the stuffing from the fridge to come up to kitchen temperature on Christmas morning, before you stuff your turkey. Alternatively, grease a shallow oven-proof dish or tin and cook it along with your roast potatoes and sausage and bacon rolls.
A vegetarian alternative to your roast turkey.
To serve 4 people.
You will need:-
8 oz, 225 g, peanuts,
(these should be natural, not salted or roasted.
2 oz, 50 g, sunflower seeds.
4 oz, 110 g, to or 3 slices of white bread to make bread crumbs.
4 oz, 110 g, mushrooms.
1 medium sized onion.
8 cherry tomatoes.
1 tbsp tomato puree,
1 tsp dried herbs, either basil or marjoram.
A small knob of margarine for frying,
Salt and pepper to season.
A few tbsps of cold water.
A little extra margarine to grease your tin.
Set the oven to gas mark 4, 350 f, 180 c, 160 fan.
Begin by greasing a 2 lb, 900 g, deep sided loaf tin.
Grind your nuts, sunflower seeds and bread in a blender or liquidizer. Make your breadcrumbs in small batches using a pulse action to make sure that they aren’t too fine.
Transfer your ground ingredients into a large mixing bowl.
Add a small sprinkling of salt and a grind of black pepper.
Run your fingers through the mixture to break up the nuts a little as they may have stuck together a bit, due to their natural oil.
Now, Wipe the mushrooms on kitchen paper to clean them, break them into small pieces and add to a medium sized saucepan.
Peel and finely chop the onion, and add it to the pan.
Now put in the herbs, tomato pure and salt and pepper plus a small knob of margarine.
Fry on a medium heat, stirring constantly for several minutes, then turn down the heat, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the onions have softened. Find out if they are cooked by testing with a fork.
Cut the cherry tomatoes in half on a plate. Add them to the pan, stir and continue cooking for another 3 or 4 minutes, to soften them slightly.
Add the contents of the saucepan to the nut mixture in the bowl, use a large spoon to mix everything together until well combined.
Now is the time that you might need to add a couple of tablespoons of cold water if the ingredients are not sticking together slightly. To check, just squeeze a little of it gently in one hand and it should hold its shape but not be too firm.
Now, transfer it into your prepared tin, levelling the top with a round bladed knife.
Cook in the centre of the pre-heated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top surface is firm to the touch.
Serve with roast potatoes and parsnips and all your other seasonal vegetables.
This nut roast is also very tasty as a sandwich filling or served with salad.
This is my favourite Christmas pudding recipe, the one that I keep coming back to after having tried several over the years. I have adapted it to include information for my American friends.
For example, if you are unable to find raisins or currants, simply use the same weight or cup measure in fruitcake mix instead and omit the mixed or candied peel.
If you are unable to buy suet, substitute it for Crisco.
I’ve also given tips on removing the rind or zest from fruit and hints about steaming your puddings, the more experienced blind or visually impaired cook won’t need these of course and can easily scroll down past them, but these tips are useful for some of us.
This recipe will make a pudding in either one two pint, one point two
litre basin, or two one pint, 570 milliliter basins.
You will need.
4 oz, 110 g, shredded suet or unflavoured Crisco.
2 oz, 50 g, half a cup, self-raising flour, sifted, plus a heaped tbsp extra to add to the Crisco.
4 oz, 110 g, One heaped cup of white breadcrumbs made from a loaf that is a couple of days old.
Half a teaspoon of ground mixed spice.
A quarter of a teaspoon of grated or ground nutmeg.
A quarter of a teaspoon of ground cinnamon.
8 oz, 225 g, one and a quarter cups, of soft brown sugar.
4 oz,110 g, 1 cup, of sultanas or golden raisins seedless
4 oz,110 g, one cup, of raisins or fruitcake mix.
10 oz, 275 g, two and a half cups, of currants or fruitcake mix.
One ounce, 25 g, one level tbsp, chopped, mixed or candied peel. Omit this if using fruitcake mix.
One ounce, 25 g, 1 level tbsp chopped or slivered almonds.
One small eating or dessert apple peeled, cored and finely chopped.
The grated rind or zest of one small orange and one small lemon.
Two medium sized eggs.
Two tablespoons of brandy or rum.
5 fluid ounces 150 ml, a quarter of a pint, 2-thirds of a cup, of barley wine.
5 fluid ounces, 150 ml, a quarter of a pint 2-thirds of a cup, of stout or dark coloured beer
Firstly, if you are using Crisco instead of suet, take it straight from the fridge chop or break it into tiny pieces and mix it with a level tablespoon of flour to separate it out so that it feels like fine breadcrumbs. This will enable it to be incorporated into the pudding mixture more evenly and it won’t all stick together.
Now put the suet or Crisco, breadcrumbs, flour, spices and sugar into a large mixing bowl, mixing in each ingredient thoroughly with a large, wooden spoon, before adding the next.
Now, gradually add in all the dried fruit, peel and nuts, one ingredient at a time, mixing thoroughly as you go.
Follow these with the chopped apple, orange and lemon rind.
A good way to remove the rind is with the coarse side of a metal “box” grater, standing on a plate. Hold the top handle of the grater firmly with one hand, take the fruit in the other and rub it back and forth over the coarse side that has the teeth compacted together, a bit like coarse, sharp sandpaper so watch your fingers, smile. Do this only a couple of times, then turn the fruit round a little bit and repeat the process until you can feel the slightly moist, pulpy pith that is just below the zest. You don’t want any of this in the pudding, so be careful not to grate down too far. Add the rind to the mixing bowl from the plate, being sure to tap the grater over the bowl as well, then run your fingers up and down the inside of it to remove any that has stuck. There will still be quite a lot left in the teeth on the outside of the grater, just let it dry out a bit and tap it over the bowl again.
Break the eggs into another medium sized bowl, beat them well with a fork, then mix in the brandy or rum, barley wine and stout.
Tip the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and Stir very thoroughly for several minutes, it might be necessary to add a little more stout at this point to make sure that the pudding is of a firm dropping consistency, when the mixture will fall from the spoon when shaken quite firmly, above the bowl.
This is the point where you might like to have some help with the mixing and let everyone in the house carry out the tradition to make a wish.
After you have finished mixing the pudding, cover the bowl with Clingfilm, so that it is airtight, and leave it to stand in a cold place overnight so that all the flavours become absorbed into each other.
The fridge would be an ideal place, but if you don’t have room, a cold garage or outhouse will do just as well.
The next day, grease the base and sides of the pudding basins with a little butter or margarine and fill them almost to the top with the mixture. Cover the top of each pudding with a piece of greased greaseproof or waxed or silicone paper and then put a piece of kitchen foil over the top, securing everything around the top rim of the basin with string or a large elastic band.
Now steam the puddings, either by placing each one in a covered graduated steamer over a large saucepan of water or, put each basin in a covered, half filled saucepan, making sure that the water only comes about half way up the outside of the bowl by standing it in first to check, before you start to steam it.
When you first turn on the heat, the pan won’t make any noise at all, then gradually you will begin to hear a noise that sounds a bit like your kettle as it begins to boil, quiet at first, gradually building up, then getting quiet again as the water gets hotter. This sound will be replaced by a constant hissing as the water reaches boiling point, now is the time to reduce the heat to simmer, listening for a quiet, constant hiss as you gradually turn it down. if you don’t hear anything at all, you’ve reduced the heat too much and the pan has stopped steaming. Double check if you wish, by carefully lifting the saucepan or steamer lid by the knob and you should feel a slight, gentle stream of steam rising to meet your hand.
Boil the puddings gently for 6 hours, yes, six hours, for the smaller puddings or eight hours for the large one, ensuring that the pans do not boil dry.
It will be necessary to add more water to the saucepans if you are not using graduated steamers, you can do this about half way through the cooking time by adding more warm water from a jug.
To do this, turn off the heat, remove the saucepan lid, then gently and carefully pour more water in, down the gap between the pudding bowl and the side of the saucepan.
When the puddings have been boiling for their allotted time, turn off the heat and leave them for half an hour or so to cool slightly before lifting the pans from the heat. Take the pudding basins out of the pans and steamers, letting them cool completely.
Next, take off the foil and paper. Re-cover each bowl with fresh, greased greaseproof or parchment or silicone paper, then with kitchen foil, securing it around the rim of the bowl with either string or an elastic band.
The puddings need to be stored in a cold, dry place, they will freeze well, alternatively store them in a cold outhouse or garage. Although the alcohol will preserve them well, it is important that they are kept cold enough to stop any mould forming on the puddings, so if you are in any doubt as to the temperature in your cold store, please freeze the puddings, just to be on the safe side.
Re-steam them on Christmas morning for two hours in the same way as given earlier in the recipe, remembering to take your puddings out of the freezer the night before.
Christmas pudding is best made in mid to late November to give it a little time to mature. But will still taste excellent if made just before Christmas.
It is customary to put a few silver coins into the pudding when you are stirring it, before leaving it to stand overnight, wrap each coin individually in foil though, so that they will be visible when the pudding is served, just in case young children are present at the Christmas meal, the more visible they are, the less chance there is of anyone swallowing one. If this is a concern, please leave them out.
Although this is the Traditional way to make a Christmas pudding, you can cut down on the time a little by heating them through in the microwave on Christmas morning, by removing the foil and heating each one for about 8 to 10 minutes or until hot, on a medium setting. Don’t do this if you’ve put coins inside though!
Luck is supposed to come to you if you are one of the fortunate ones to find a coin. Try making a wish when making the pudding too, and I sincerely hope your wish comes true.
My greetings come to you for this festive season. Happy cooking, Sue.
Why not serve this with your Christmas Pudding. The slightly salty flavour of the butter contrasts beautifully with the fruit in the pudding and the alcoholic content enhances all the other flavours and, above all, it’s quick to make.
This will serve six people.
You will need:-
3 oz, 75 g, 3 rounded tbsps slightly salted butter brought up to room temperature.
3 oz, 75 g, 3 level tbsps caster sugar,
1 and a half tbsps brandy.
1 tsp lemon juice.
Take the butter out of the fridge about an hour before you need to make the brandy butter.
Start by beating the butter in a large bowl with a wooden spoon, until its soft and creamy.
Add the sugar a little at a time and beat well after each addition.
When all the sugar has been incorporated and thoroughly beaten in, add the brandy gradually while you are still beating the mixture.
Lastly, beat in the lemon juice and, when everything is thoroughly mixed together, transfer the brandy butter to a suitable small attractive serving dish and chill for several hours before serving.
Serve this with your Christmas pudding as an alternative to cream or custard.
You will need.
2 oz, 50 g, 2 rounded tbsps of butter.
2 oz, 50 g, 2 heaped tbsps of corn flour.
15 fl.oz, or 425 ml, about 3-quarters of a pint of milk.
2 oz, 50 g, 2 level tbsps caster sugar.
2 to 3 tbsps of either rum or brandy.
First of all, slowly melt the butter in a small saucepan over a low heat, stirring constantly. You will be able to monitor it even without sight, as the knob of butter will gradually disappear under your wooden spoon and the butter will make a slight hissing sound as it melts, don’t overheat it.
Remove the pan from the heat on to a clear work top and stir in the milk, corn flour and sugar. Then return it to the gentle heat again, stirring constantly to blend in the sugar, insuring that the sauce doesn’t go lumpy.
When you can feel the sauce thicken under your wooden spoon, you will have a smooth. Fairly thick Creamy consistency, Continue stirring it for another minute or so to cook the corn flour and heat the sauce through. Turn off the heat, move the pan to your work top again, then add the brandy or rum, and have a little taste, add more rum or brandy again and then why not just add a bit more then have another taste just to make sure it’s ok!!
Serve it, immediately, poured over your Christmas pudding.
Happy cooking, Hick!!
This recipe will serve 3 to 4 people.
You will need:-
10 fl.oz, 275 ml, or half a pint, of double or single cream.
3 egg yolks.
1 oz, 25 g, 1 rounded tbsp of corn flour.
1 oz, 25 g, 1 level tbsp of caster sugar.
a few drops of vanilla essence or extract.
Begin by Heating the cream very gently, in a small saucepan, bring it just up to boiling point but do not let it boil, if you hear it bubbling, turn it off, and move the pan away from the heat immediately.
Now, separate your eggs, transferring the yolks into a medium sized bowl, (please see preparation techniques and cooking methods on page 4 for more details).
Add the corn flour, sugar and vanilla essence or extract to the eggs, combining everything together well.
Pour the hot cream in to this mixture, stirring it until the ingredients are well blended. then tip it back into the saucepan and heat very very gently, stirring the Custard sauce, all the time with a wooden spoon, until you can feel it thicken. This should only take a couple of minutes, if it does overheat and become a bit granular, don’t worry, if you take the pan off the heat and continue beating it will become smooth again as it cools. The addition of the corn flour stabilises the sauce and prevents it from curdling and going grainy.
This rich custard can be served either hot or chilled.
For an alternative, see (to Make the custard), in my sherry trifle recipe.
This recipe was given to me by my oldest and bestest friend Jan, Thanks Jan and I know that you won’t mind that I have adapted it slightly!
Ideally, you should begin making your trifle, the day before you want to serve it.
You will need, either a packet of trifle sponges or 1 small, plain sponge cake.
2 tbsps of apricot or strawberry jam.
1 tall, 400 g can of fruit, strawberries, peaches, pears or a fruit of your choice that will not be too acidic, and chosen to complement your other ingredients.
Pineapple and orange may be too acidic and might not allow the jelly to set.
1 packet of jelly, I suggest either strawberry, apricot, or peach.
1 small packet or tin of custard powder.
1 large, 1 pt, 20 fl.oz, 400 g, carton of double cream.
1 pint, 20 fluid ounces, of full cream milk.
Enough Boiling water to make your jelly up to 1 pt, 20 fl.oz, 2 tbsps or more of sweet sherry, (optional).
Chocolate nibbles, chopped nuts, tiny decorative chocolate bits, candied fruit pieces or tiny, sweet coloured balls, (hundreds and thousands) to decorate.
To make the trifle base.:-
Take a 10 to 12 inch, 28 to 30 cm, decorative deep glass bowl and split your trifle sponges in half from top to bottom so that they are half their depth, but the same length and width, and arrange them in a single layer in the base of the dish.
If you are using sponge cake, crumble up enough to give about half an inch depth in the bottom of the bowl.
Gently warm 2 level tbsps of either apricot or strawberry jam in a cup in the microwave or a small pan on the stove, until it has become slightly runny, then pour this over the trifle sponges or crumbled cake.
Now is the time to add the alcohol if you wish! How much you add is entirely up to you! Sprinkle the tbsps of sweet sherry over the trifle sponges or cake.
Open a can of fruit of your choice to complement the flavour of the jelly that you are going to use. Drain away the juice, through a sieve into a jug or bowl and save it because you will need this to make your jelly.
Evenly distribute the fruit over the ingredients in the bowl.
To make the jelly:-
Make it according to packet instructions, which means that you will break the jelly into cubes, put them into a large jug, add the fruit juice that you have saved from your can of fruit, and enough boiling water to make it up to a pint. Stir the jelly until the cubes have completely dissolved, then pour it gently over the fruit in the bowl. When the jelly has cooled sufficiently, transfer the dish to the fridge to set for several hours, before carrying on with the recipe.
Here is the part of the trifle that you will ideally complete a few hours before serving.
To make the custard:-
Put 2 very heaped tbsps 50 g, or 2 oz, of custard powder and 1 level tbsps 1 oz, 25 g, of granulated sugar into a jug, or deep bowl.
Measure out a pint, 20 fl.oz, of cold milk and add a little of it to the custard powder and sugar, stir until you have a smooth paste.
You can either make the custard in the microwave or in a saucepan on your stove.
If you choose the microwave way, pour the rest of the milk into the blended custard powder mixture, stir, then put it into the microwave on full power for 2 to 3 minutes, then stir again. Continue cooking on full power, stirring every 30 seconds, until the custard has thickened. Take it out of the microwave and let it cool slightly.
If you don’t have a microwave, after you have blended your custard powder and sugar with a little of the milk, warm the rest in a pan on the stove until it has just reached boiling point.
Pour the hot milk into the blended custard powder, stir well, then pour it back into the saucepan and heat gently, stirring, with a wooden spoon, until the custard has thickened. It will bubble slightly and become a bit more difficult to stir as it is thickening.
Remove your custard from the heat and let it cool slightly.
After having made your custard and letting it cool a little, take your partly made trifle from the fridge and pour the custard over the set jelly. Wait until it has cooled completely, then put the dish back in the fridge to set the custard firmly.
For the finishing touches, and to decorate:-
Just before you are ready to serve the trifle, pour a large carton of double cream into a bowl. Using a whisk or electric mixer, whip until it forms soft peaks. Stop beating every 20 seconds or so and just move the whisk blades or beaters around in the cream and they should feel slightly resistant when the right point is reached. The cream will sound deeper and hollow in pitch if you lift the bowl and tap it, this sound is made by the air that is trapped inside the cream, helping it to hold its shape. The cream will have doubled in volume too!
To test the density, scoop up a teaspoon of cream and gently shake it over a clean saucer or tea plate, it should drop from the spoon, holding its shape but it will not feel as firm as your set jelly or custard. Be very careful not to over beat though, because if you do the cream will separate into liquid beneath and solid fat on top.
Spoon the whipped cream over the trifle, just before serving and decorate by gently dropping your chocolate chips, chopped nuts, candied fruit pieces or hundreds and thousands, evenly over the top of the cream.
If you are not ready to serve the trifle immediately, put it back into the fridge to keep it cool to make sure that it will stay fresh and that the cream will hold its shape.
To serve, spoon your trifle into individual, decorative, glass dishes and save a portion for me!
I don’t think there is anything that feels like and reminds me more of Christmas, than the wonderful warm spicy aroma of mince pies baking in the oven. The smell blends perfectly with those cold, crisp, darkening Winter afternoons.
I am breaking with all convention now in not using half fat and half margarine or plain flour to make pastry, I’m giving you a recipe that I know works well. Mince pies are made this way by Steve’s mum and my mum and also traditionally by many other mums for countless generations.
Please see my glossary of preparation and cooking techniques for more detailed information on making and rolling out pastry)
This recipe produces approx 24mince pies.
You will need.
1 and a quarter lb, 560 g, (just over 1 small jar, mincemeat
12 oz, 350 g, self-raising flour
6 oz, 175 g, lard, or a solid vegetable fat such as cookeen, trex or flora.
A very small pinch of salt
Several tablespoons of cold water to make the pastry,
A little milk to glaze the top of the pies before they go into the oven,
Some sifted Icing sugar to decorate the finished pies.
You will also need.
Two trays that have 12 round sections, measuring approx 2 and a half inches (or 6 cm) in diameter, in other words, deep, patty tins,
one 3 inch (7.5 cm) fluted pastry cutter to make the circles to line the patty tins, and one fluted 2 and a half inch (6 cm) fluted cutter for the pie lids.
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6, 400°F (200°C180 fan).
Make the pastry by sifting the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Then breaking up the lard or fat and rubbing it into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Then add just enough cold water to bring the dough into a ball with a round bladed knife, and make a soft pastry that leaves the bowl clean.
Knead the dough slightly on a lightly floured worktop before leaving it to rest in a polythene bag in the refrigerator for about half an hour, which will make it easier to work with.
Lightly grease your patty tins with a little extra fat.
Now, flour your worktop, divide your dough in half and roll one piece out fairly thinly, and, using the larger cutter, make 24 circles, by pressing straight down firmly through the pastry, but not twisting it, or you may distort the shape of your circle and break it.
You might find it easier to put each circle straight into your patty tin as you cut it out, sit one in to each well, firmly and centrally.
Gather up what’s left of the dough and re-roll it and cut out again.
Then do the same with the other half of the pastry, but this time make your circles with the smaller cutter.
Next, spread out 1 heaped teaspoon of mincemeat into each pie shell in your tins, bringing it almost level with the top of the pastry.
Slightly dampen the edges of the smaller rounds of pastry with water and press them lightly into position to form the pie lids, sealing the pastry edges together between finger and thumb.
Prick the top of each pie with a fork, then brush with a little milk to glaze.
Bake near the top of the pre-heated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, could be less for a fan oven, or until your mince pies are a light golden brown and firm to the touch.
Leave the pies to cool in the tins for a few minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack. When they are completely cold, put them on a plate and sprinkle lightly with sifted icing sugar. Store your delicious mince pies, if there are any left by this time, in an airtight container, where they will keep for several days.
My greetings come to you for this festive season. Happy cooking, Sue.
This Christmas cake is rich, dark and moist, not at all like a crumbly, light fruit cake.
To give the cake time to mature, Make it in either September or October, as the flavour will improve with keeping.
Please see my glossary on (making cakes), and (preparing and lining cake tins(, for more detailed information.
To make the cake,
You will need.
1 lb, 450 g, currants
6 oz, 175 g, sultanas
6 oz, 175 g, raisins
2 oz, 50 g, glacé cherries, rinsed, dried and finely chopped
2 oz, 50 g, mixed candied peel, finely chopped
3 tablespoons brandy, plus extra for feeding the cake.
8 oz, 225 g, plain flour
Half a level teaspoon salt
A quarter of a level teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg
Half a level teaspoon ground mixed spice
8 oz, 225 g, butter
8 oz, 225 g, soft brown sugar
4 large eggs
2 oz, 50 g, chopped almonds,
1 level dessertspoon black treacle
The grated zest of 1 lemon
The grated zest of 1 orange
For the top of the cake, 4 oz (110 g) whole blanched almonds (To be used as an alternative to marzipan and icing.
You will also need either an 8 inch (20 cm) round cake tin or a 7 inch (18 cm) square tin, greased, then lined with a double thickness of either greaseproof paper, silicone or baking parchment, (bakewell paper).
After you have lined your tin, don't forget to grease the paper again before adding your cake mixture.
Tie a band of brown paper round the outside of the tin for extra protection.
You need to start making this cake the night before you want to bake it. All you do is weigh out the dried fruit and mixed peel, place it in a mixing bowl and stir in the brandy well. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel or cling film and leave the fruit and brandy to absorb and combine their flavours for about 12 hours over night.
Next day pre-heat the oven to gas mark 1, 275 F, (140 C, 120 Fan).
Now weigh out all the rest of the ingredients methodically to make quite sure they're all there. The treacle will be easier to measure if you use a warm or greased spoon.
Now, start making the cake by sifting the flour, salt and spices into a large mixing bowl, lifting the sieve up high to add air to the flour.
Next, in a separate large mixing bowl, whisk the butter and sugar together until light, pale and fluffy. You can either use your electric mixer to do this or a good old-fashioned wooden spoon.
Now Break each egg separately into a small clean bowl to make sure it's fresh, then Beat them together well with a fork in a clean bowl before adding them to the creamed butter and sugar mixture.
Do this by beating in a tablespoonful at a time. If you add the eggs slowly by degrees like this the mixture won't curdle. If it does, don't worry, it will not have any effect on your cake.
When all the egg has been added, put down your electric mixer. fold in the flour and spices with the back of a metal table-spoon, using gentle movements, pushing the spoon from the outside of the mixture into the centre, lifting it, turning the bowl round a little and repeating the process several times, (you mix like this to retain all that precious air that you have just beaten in).
Now, using the same folding in method, fold in the fruit mixture that has been standing over night, plus the chopped glace cherries, chopped nuts and treacle and finally the grated lemon and orange zests.
Next, using a tablespoon, transfer the cake mixture into the prepared tin.
Spread it out evenly with a flat bladed knife, and, if you don't intend to ice the cake, lightly drop the whole blanched almonds in circles or squares all over the surface.
Finally cover the top of the cake with a double thickness of silicone or greaseproof paper.
(this paper cover gives extra protection, preventing the cake from going brown on top during the long slow cooking time).
Bake the cake on the lowest shelf of the oven for between 4 and a half hours and 4 and three-quarter hours. Sometimes it can take between half to three-quarters of an hour longer than this, depending on your oven's own temperature, but in any case don't, whatever you do, be tempted to open the oven door to check until the time is almost up
At the end of the cooking time, lift the cake out carefully onto a clear work surface, remove the paper cover and use a skewer to test it. Push the skewer straight down vertically into the centre of the cake and carefully pull it straight out again. If the cake is cooked, the skewer shouldn't have anything stuck to it, although it may feel a little bit sticky because of the moist nature of the cake.
Leave the cake in its tin to cool for about an hour, then turn it out, upside down on to a wire rack to finish cooling.
When it's gone completely cold, 'feed' it with brandy by making small holes in the top and base of the cake with a cocktail stick or small skewer, then spoon over a few teaspoons of brandy, wrap it in a double thickness of silicone or greaseproof paper held in place with string, sticky tape or large elastic bands. Wrap again in a double thickness of kitchen foil, store the cake in an airtight container and keep it in a cool place. You can now continue to feed it with a little more brandy, (as above), every few weeks, until you are ready to decorate, marzipan or ice.
If, after you have wrapped the cake in foil, you don't have an airtight container large enough to store it in, don't worry, just keep the cake in a cool place.
Always popular, this roulade freezes very well. Raspberries and chocolate are good together, so add some raspberries to the cream filling if you wish. For a special occasion, scatter masses of more fresh raspberries around the roulade on the serving platter, it looks stunning!
It will cut into 6 to 8 pieces.
The Roulade Can be filled with cream (but not fruit), and frozen up to two weeks ahead, or made either on or before the day you serve it.
For the roulade
You will need,
175 g, 6 oz, plain cooking chocolate, broken into pieces
175 g, 6 oz, caster sugar
6 eggs, separated, (please see my section on separating eggs for detailed information).
30 ml, 2 level tablespoons cocoa, sieved
For the filling
You will need,
300 ml, 10 fl.oz, about half a pint of fresh double cream
Icing sugar for dusting.
Fresh raspberries (optional).
Begin by Pre-heating the oven to 180 c, 160 fan, 350 f, gas 4.
Lightly grease a 15 by 11 inch (38 by 28cm) Baking Tray or Swiss roll tin, and line with non-stick baking parchment, pushing it well up to the edges and into the corners.
Melt the chocolate slowly and on a very low light in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Or alternatively, in a bowl in the microwave on medium power, checking it regularly and stirring it well as soon as it begins to melt.
Allow it to cool slightly.
Put the sugar and egg yolks into a clean bowl and use an electric whisk on a high speed until they are light and creamy.
Add the cooled chocolate and stir until evenly blended.
Whisk the egg whites in a large mixing bowl until stiff, but not dry.
Add a large spoonful of the egg white to the chocolate mixture, and then, using the back of a metal tablespoon, gently fold in the remaining egg white, then the cocoa.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and very gently level the top surface with a flat bladed knife.
Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 20 minutes until firm to the touch.
Remove from the oven, place a sheet of non-stick greaseproof or parchment paper on top of the roulade, then put a damp tea towel on top of the paper. This is done to prevent the cake from drying out as it cools. It will also make it easier to roll.
Set aside until cold.
For the filling.
Whip the cream until it just gently holds its shape. (please see my section on whipping cream for more details).
Dust a large piece of non-stick baking parchment with icing sugar.
Turn the roulade out onto it by turning the tin upside down so that the top surface of the cake is in contact with the icing sugar, and carefully remove the lining paper from the cake.
Spread with the whipped cream and scatter with raspberries (optional), then roll up like a Swiss roll, starting with one of the short edges. Roll tightly to start with and use the support of the paper underneath to help you. Having the icing sugar will stop the cake from sticking to the paper as you roll.
Don't worry if it cracks a bit, that is quite normal and part of its charm!
Now, you can dust with a little extra icing sugar before serving or top with yet more whipped cream and raspberries, adding more fruit to the serving platter.
This fatless sponge is best eaten straight away.
This pudding will make an excellent alternative for those who don’t like a rich dark pud.
Unlike a traditional, moist, rich Christmas pudding, this light sponge will not keep so it needs to be made and eaten straight away.
To make a pudding to serve 6 people,
You will need.
8 oz, 225 g, self-raising flour,
1 level tsp ground ginger,
1 level tsp ground mixed spice,
1 level tsp ground cinnamon,
4 oz, 110 g, butter or margarine at room temperature,
4 oz, 110 g,caster sugar,
4 oz, 110 g, sultanas,
2 oz, 50 g, currants,
2 oz, 50 g, mixed chopped candied peel,
1 oz, 25 g, ground almonds,
3 medium sized eggs,
The rind of one small lemon,
2 tbsps golden syrup,
1 tbsp dark treacle,
2 tbsps dark, strong beer or stout (optional).
A little extra margarine for greasing,
A little extra beer or stout just in case you enjoy the flavour, smile.
Grease a deep-sided 2 pint, or 1 litre, pudding basin. It would help if it had a slight rim.
Begin by sifting the flour and spices into a bowl.
Cream the butter or margarine and caster sugar together in a large mixing bowl until they are light and fluffy. You can use your electric mixer to do this.
Break each egg separately to make sure its fresh before whisking your eggs together with a fork until they are smooth.
Now, add the egg to the creamed mixture in the large mixing bowl, a little at a time, beating well between additions.
When all the egg has been added, put down your mixer and using a metal spoon, gently fold in the flour and spices.
Then, carefully fold in the dried fruit, and mixed candied peel, the rind of the lemon and the chopped almonds.
Spoon the golden syrup and treacle into the base of the greased pudding basin. You will find this easier to do if you either warm a tablespoon first, or, grease it with margarine.
Now, spoon in the pudding and level the top with a large, flat-bladed knife.
Don’t fill your basin right to the top as the pudding is going to rise while its cooking.
Cover the top of the basin with greased, greaseproof or parchment paper, then with a layer of aluminium kitchen foil, making sure that both layers come down below the outside rim.
Hold the paper and foil in place around the outside with either string or a large elastic band.
Place the pudding, inside a large saucepan containing just enough water to come half way up the outside of the basin, or stand it inside a graduated steamer, stand that on a pan of water.
Cover the steamer or saucepan with a lid.
Bring your pan to the boil, turn down the heat until the water is bubbling slightly and you can just feel a little steam rising up to meet your hand if you lift the lid of the pan or steamer. Boil steadily for 2 and a half hours.
Carefully remove the basin from the pan or steamer, then take off the foil and paper.
Serve the pudding straight away with custard, whipped double cream, or brandy butter or rum sauce.
Hope you enjoy it,
Please remember that this recipe contains raw egg.
To make enough marzipan to cover an 8 inch, (20 cm round) ), or a 7 inch, (18 cm square) Christmas cake,
You will need.
450 g, 1 lb, ground almonds,
225 g, 8 oz, icing sugar, sifted,
225 g, 8 oz, castor sugar,
2 medium sized eggs,
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp almond essence.
A little extra icing sugar for dredging.
3 tablespoons of apricot jam for brushing over the cake.
To make the marzipan.
Begin by breaking the eggs separately to make sure they’re fresh before whisking them together with the almond essence and lemon juice in a large mixing bowl.
Now, stir in the icing sugar, caster sugar, and almonds.
Use your hands to bring the mixture together into a ball.
Dust your hands with a little icing sugar and knead the dough until its pliable.
If you are not going to marzipan your cake straight away, wrap the paste in grease-proof or waxed or parchment paper then put it into a clean plastic bag, and refrigerate for a few days, or until needed.
When you are ready to marzipan your cake.
Measure the circumference of your cake with a piece of string.
Now, measure the height of the side of your cake too. Your measurements will give you a long, narrow rectangle, in other words, a strip
First, Brush the top and sides of the cake with a little runny, slightly warmed apricot jam, this gives a tacky surface to help themarzipan stick well to the cake.
Now, dredge your worktop with a little sifted icing sugar and have more icing sugar ready to dust the rolling pin.
Take off two-thirds of your almond paste which will be enough to make the strip for the outside of the cake.
Roll out this larger piece of paste so that its just a little bit longer and slightly wider than your measurements, and it will fit nicely all around the outside of the cake. Dust your hands with a little icing sugar and gently press it into position with your hands, then Press lightly with your rolling pin at the join to seal it.
To marzipan the top of the cake.
Shape the remaining piece of paste into a round or a square and after dredging your worktop and rolling pin again with a little icing sugar, roll it out until its slightly larger than the top of the cake, Using a piece of string or a tape measure or even the base of your cake tin, to check the size of the marzipan. Do not lift the marzipan on to the top of the cake.
Turn the cake upside-down on to the marzipan, and trim off the excess with the point of a knife, taking care not to dig it into the marzipan on the sides.
Now that the almond paste is on, Turn the cake the right side up again. By doing it this way you get a nice flat top surface to the cake.
Store your cake in a cool place for a few days to allow the marzipan to set well and harden slightly, before icing.
This recipe is so simple.
Mince pies often take a long time to make with all the rolling and cutting out when there is so much to do at Christmas, that its sometimes far quicker to make one large pie and then cut it into pieces. And the good news is that you get more mincemeat this way too!
To make 16 slices,
For the pastry
You will need,
6 oz, 175 g, , plain white flour,
4 oz, 110 g, icing sugar, sifted,
4 oz, 110 g, butter, taken straight from the fridge
a little cold water for mixing.
If you don’t want to make your own pastry, buy, 500g (1lb) sweet shortcrust pastry
For the filling,
you will need,
About 500 g, 1lb 2 oz, Rum & Brandy Mincemeat, (2 small jars)
For the topping,
You will need,
3 oz, 75 g, butter
3 oz, 75 g, self-raising white flour
1 and a half oz, 40 g, semolina
1 and a half oz, 40 g, caster sugar
Pre-heat your oven to 200 C, 180 Fan, 400 F, Gas 6.
You'll need a 12 by 9 inch (30cm by 23cm) swiss roll tin or a shallow oblong baking tray with an edge.
To make the pastry
Sift the flour and icing sugar into a mixing bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
Add several tablespoons of cold water, and mix to a firm dough.
If you prefer, this pastry can be made in a food processor.
(Please see my section on making and rolling out pastry for more detailed information).
Roll out the pastry into a rectangle that’s slightly larger than the tin, then carefully transfer your pastry in to it, pressing it well into the sides and corners.
Using a small pointed knife pushed flat up against the outside of the tin, trim the top of the pastry so that its level with the top edges of the tin.
Now spoon in the mincemeat and spread evenly over the pastry base.
To make the topping
Pour the flour, semolina and caster sugar into a mixing bowl.
Melt the butter, either in a small saucepan on a gentle heat, stirring with a wooden spoon until it melts and starts to sizzle slightly, or in your microwave on a medium setting, checking it regularly and stirring when it begins to melt.
allow it to cool slightly, then pour onto the dry ingredients and mix together to form a dough. If you have time, chill the dough now for 30 minutes, as this will make it easier to grate.
Grate the dough using a coarse grater standing on a large plate and spread it evenly over the mincemeat.
Bake in your pre-heated oven for about 20 to 25 mins or until golden brown.
When it has gone cold, slice the streusel while its still in the tin, lift it out with a spatula or fish slice, and store in an airtight container.
The cooked streusel freezes very well and can be made up to two weeks in advance.
Serve it warm with brandy butter or cream.
Fragrant and full of flavour, warm your guests and get your celebrations off to a good start with hot mince pies and this easy to make traditional Christmas favourite.
Pour 2 bottles of red wine into a large saucepan. Add 1.1 litres, (2 pints) cold water, 2 cinnamon sticks, and 10 whole cloves.
Throw in the segments of 2 lemons and 2 oranges, and 3 tbsps or enough soft, dark brown sugar to sweeten.
Warm gently, while stirring, until heated through, but do not boil.
Pour into warmed glasses and enjoy,
Ideally, you should ice your cake a few days before Christmas, but, if needs must, you can ice it, even on Christmas eve.
Buy a cake board that is a little bit larger than your cake, and a decorative frill, if required. Choose your decorations from the hundreds available. It might be that you prefer a minimalist setting, using just a robin and a sprig of holly, or you may continue to use your traditional family favourites.
To make enough icing to create a rough finish, to represent a snowy landscape, for a 7 inch (18 cm) square or an 8 inch (20 cm) round cake
You will need,
1 lb 2 oz, 500 g, icing sugar, sifted
3 large egg whites,
1 teaspoon glycerine.
Separate the eggs carefully, (please see my glossary page on separating eggs for more information).
Place the egg whites in a bowl, then stir in the icing sugar, a spoonful at a time, until the icing falls thickly from the spoon when you shake it over the bowl.
At this stage, stop adding the sugar and whisk well with either a hand whisk or an electric hand mixer for 10 minutes, or until the icing stands up in stiff peaks when lifted with a fork. You will notice, if you touch the icing now, although it will feel soft, it’ll be sticking up in little soft spikes where the prongs of your fork have lifted it.
Now stir in the glycerine.
Spread the icing all over the top and sides of the cake as evenly as possible using a large, broad flat bladed palette knife.
Then, use a smaller broad-bladed knife (or smaller palette knife), to spike the icing, lifting it gently into tiny peaks, to give a snowy effect.
Decorate your cake, then leave it overnight in a cool place for the icing to dry out before storing it in a container until its needed.
If you don’t feel confident enough to make your own icing, but you have made a cake that you want to decorate, there is always the ready-made fondant icing, available from all major supermarkets, that can simply be rolled out and easily applied to give a smooth finish.
Please remember that this recipe contains raw egg.
If you fancy being completely traditional and you don't like the idea of opening a jar, why not try this recipe to accompany your turkey Christmas dinner. .
To serve 6 to 8 people.
You will need.
500 g, 1 lb, 2 oz, fresh cranberries, wiped with a little dampened kitchen paper to clean them and any tiny stalks removed.
200 ml, 7 fl.oz, a little over a quarter of a pint, port,
110 g, 4 oz, 4 rounded tbsps caster sugar,
1 cinnamon stick, or 1 heaped tsp ground cinnamon
Place all the ingredients in a saucepan along with 200 ml, 7 fl.oz, between a quarter and half a pint, cold water.
Bring to the boil, but turn down the heat immediately you hear the pan start to bubble.
Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally for 25 minutes until the cranberries are tender when tested with a fork.
By this time, the sauce should have reduced by about half and thickened slightly.
Cool a little before pouring it into a small, airtight container, allowing it to go cold before storing it in the fridge.
This sauce can be made in advance, it will keep, when refrigerated, for 3 days.
You can either re-heat it through gently in a small bowl in the microwave or a saucepan on a very low heat, or just take it from the fridge, allowing it to reach room temperature, before serving it with your Christmas dinner.
Don't boil the sauce at any time, as the alcohol will evaporate and you'll lose the rich port flavour
Remember that the sauce will be quite runny and won't be set or solid like cranberry jelly
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