Not So Traditional Christmas Dundee Cake

dundeeHands up, I don’t like Christmas Cake. I don’t apologise. It seems forced, overly fruity, almond pasted, icing sugared overload. It’s not for me. I am partial to a slice of Dundee cake. The problem with that, of course, is that it doesn’t always come up to what you Christmas cake fiends demand. So there is something to find in the middle. I think this is it – it has the fruit, and some alcoholic richness; but it pushes back the icing for a glaze and blanched almonds (so much better than the paste). It being Christmas time, the cake is fed – with the tipple of your choice –  so that it keeps moist and tastes wonderful with a great glassful of sherry. Nuts, fruit, eggs, alcohol, and in this cake a little mixed spice and cinnamon (hence not so traditional). Don’t complain, it’s not Dundee cake, I know, it’s a Dundee Christmas Cake.

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Crumble Topped Mince Pies

Now, there are two ways of doing this. Following this recipe, or buy some sweet crust pastry and some made mincemeat (which you improve by adding some of these ingredients) and save yourself some time. I suppose you pays your money you takes your choice, but part of the fun of christmas is getting in the kitchen with the carols on the radio and shutting the world out. You can also have a glass or two of wine while you do it and just tell people you are being festive, or at least getting merry.

Anyway, these are deep, rich with a nut crumble topping. You can make them in advance and store in an airtight container for a week, or freeze the pies and reheat when they are needed.

I have put this on now so that you can make the if you want. When mine are done for this year, a picture will follow.

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Tian of Crab and Avocado

imageThe thing about Christmas lunch is that you want it to look special, but it helps if the appetizer isn’t overly filling or a pain to make. This one hits on both counts. First you make it in advance, and just take it from the fridge and put it onto the plate before serving. Second, the light crab flavour, with the coriander hit smoothed by that silky avocado mix is a magical start to Christmas lunch. This can feed six, personally I prefer this for four and get a bit more out of it. Some wholemeal toast on the side, with butter in the dish add to the delight of it all.

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Cooking a Turkey.

It is that time of year when perfectly sensible people, who cook Sunday lunch all year round, suddenly begin to panic about cooking a turkey. The idea is that you should shove it in the oven and enjoy your Christmas as much as your guests. So while this isn’t strictly a recipe, it might go some way to helping you get a less stressful Christmas. Usual rules apply, a frozen turkey should be thoroughly defrosted, and check it is fully cooked before serving. I don’t stuff the neck or cavity of the bird, this only adds to cooking time and sometimes better results come from making the stuffing separately. Don’t forget the roast potatoes, cabbage or the red wine sauce, and those quick sausage rolls.

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Egg Nog

Egg Nog
Egg Nog

This is one of those drinks that I have always wanted to make. It’s not that Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas with out it, but until I had made my own and sipped from its delicious alcoholic creaminess I knew I wouldn’t be happy. So I coerced an American friend to provide me with her family recipe, and this is it. Let me also tell you that this is brazen in its alcoholic lure. You can change out the levels of rum and whiskey, but try it like this first and then make your own version. Have a cool yule.

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Hangover Drinks

With the taste of the flavours of Christmas can come, for many of us, the unwanted after effect of the hangover. These two drinks don’t actually cure the hangover, but they can make your feelings change from one of imminent demise to at least agreed mutual tolerance with your brain’s response to the night before. The ease of the Corpse Reviver is that you don’t have to worry about measurements.

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Christmas Morning Muffins

Christmas Muffins
Christmas Muffins

Christmas is coming, with the baking smells that always tell you the time of year. Here are some easy bake muffins. Just mix the dry ingredients together the night before, add the wet ingredients the following morning and bake. You can have these throughout the year, but on Christmas morning these work a treat for the guests when you really have other major cooking to worry about.  You can also make these in small bite sizes as canapés. I have tweaked the original recipe.

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