Recipes that are delicious and that always work!

You know these recipes are delicious because if I didn't think that they were fabulous . . . I wouldn't be showing them to you. You can also be sure that these recipes work for the same reason! The rest is simply a matter of taste.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

The Whole Christmas Feast!

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I've been working hard on this post and what you will see here today is the whole Christmas Feast! I meant to have it up a couple of days ago so you would have lots of time to pop down to the shops, but hopefully you will have most everything in the house already for these recipes and if you need to pick up anything you will still have time to do so.

These are the dishes which the typical British Christmas dinner will consist of.  Other than what you see here, you only need a tasty Brussels Sprout recipe and some delicious carrots to make your meal complete! Perhaps some tasty dinner rolls.

*Roast Turkey with Sage and Onion Butter*
Serves 8 with leftovers
Printable Recipe

Moist and delicious turkey with traditional flavours.

15 1/2 pound fresh turkey
2 onions, peeled and halved
1 lemon quartered
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 ounces soft butter (a generous 1/4 cup)
3 TBS finely chopped fresh sage
2 TBS plain flour
200ml (7 fluid ounces) Marsala wine
(can use Madiera)
14 to 18 fluid ounces of hot chicken stock (a generous 2 cups)
1 dessertspoon of cranberry jelly

Heat the oven to 170*C/325*F/gas mark 304. Place the turkey in a large roasting tin. Tuck 3 of the onion halves and the lemon into the cavity. Season inside well with salt and pepper. Cover the roasting tin tightly with foil, making sure you leave plenty of space for the air to circulate around the turkey, but making sure the foil is tightly placed so that no steam can escape. Roast for 4 hours.

While the turkey is roasting, finely chop the remaining onion half and mix it with the butter and sage. Remove the turkey at the end of the 4 hours. Increase the oven temperature to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6. Brush the turkey all over with the sage and onion butter. Return to the oven and roast for an additional 45 minutes, uncovered, until crisp and golden brown. Transfer to a serving platter and loosely tent with foil to keep warm. Allow to rest for half an hour while you make the gravy.

Tip the juices out of the pan into a bowl. Allow to settle. Skim any fat off the top, reserving 2 TBS of it. Place the 2 TBS of fat back in the roasting tin. Place the tin over medium low heat. Cook and stir to scrap up the solids from the bottom. Stir in the flour, continuing to scrape the bottom of the pan for about 2 minutes. Add the marsala or Madiera and bring to the boil. Measure the reserved turkey juices. You should have about 500ml (about 2 cups). Make up with hot chicken stock to give you the required amount. Pour into the tin with the cooked flour. Cook and stir, bringing it to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for several minutes, then whisk in the cranberry jelly. Keep warm until ready to serve.

*Sage, Chestnut and Apple Stuffing*
Serves 14 as a side dish
Printable Recipe

Deliciously moist with plenty of sausagemeat!

olive oil
1 large free range egg
1/2 bunch of fresh sage leaves, picked and chopped coarsely
about 125g of soft bread crumbs (about 2 cups)
750g of good quality sausage meat (a generous pound)
250g pack of vacuum packed chestnuts (about 1 cup)
2 onions, peeled and coarsley grated
2 apples, peeled and coarsley grated
fine seasalt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place the sausage meat into a large bowl. Add the bread crumbs and sage. Crumble in the chestnuts and then add the apple and onion. Crack in the egg and a bit of seasoning and then get in there and mix it well together with your hands. I like to shape mine into balls and bake, so that you get nice little balls all crisp on the outside and meltingly tasty on the insides. (Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and roast in a 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6 oven for 25 to 30 minutes.) Alternately place into a shallow 7 by 11 roasting dish and drizzle with oil, then bake at the same temperature for about 45 minutes until golden.

Note - If you are feeling really indulgent, wrap the stuffing balls in streaky bacon before roasting, using about half a strip stretched for each ball.

*Bacon Wrapped Chipolatas*
Serves 10 to 16 as a garnish
Printable Recipe

Something I never had before coming over to the UK, but Christmas Dinner just wouldn't be the same without them now. Yes, I've assimilated!

25 thin rashers of smoked streaky bacon
50 small chipolata sausages (thin sausages)
(We like cumberland)

Cut the bacon rashers in half vertically. Wrap each half, stretching it if you have to, around the middle of each chipolata. Place onto a lightly buttered, rimmed baking sheet. Preheat your oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6. Bake your chipolatas for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown and slightly sticky. Taste one to make sure they are cooked through. (Called the cook's morsel and a given, along with those tender medallions of turkey which lay beneath the roast turkey on it's underside. Those belong to the cook too. Hands off!) Serve these along side of the turkey.

*Crispy Roast Potatoes*
Serves 12
Printable Recipe

To save on time you can infuse the dripping with the herb flavours the day before and parboil the potatoes a few hours ahead of time.

150g of drippings or Goose fat (about 1/2 cup)
a few springs of thyme
a few springs of rosemary
10 large floury potatoes, peeled and quartered (King Edwards, Maris Piper)
Sea salt

Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6. Gently heat the drippings (goosefat) in a saucepan so that the dripping melts and takes on the herby flavours.

Put the potatoes into a pan and cover with lightly salted cold water. Cover and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for about 15 minutes, then drain well in a colander. Leave to dry and then shake them up a bit, to give them some rough edges.

Place one or two large shallow roasting tins in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully pour the dripping through a seive into the pans, dividing it equally if using two pans. Discard the herbs. Return the pans to the oven for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven again and carefully add the cooked potatoes, one by one. (The fat will be really hot) Season with some sea salt. Return to the oven and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until crisp and golden, turning every 10 minutes or so and sprinkling with more seasalt half way through the cooking time. Remove with a slotted spoon to some paper kitchen toweling to drain somewhat and then serve immediately.

*Simple Red Cabbage*
Serves 10 to 12
Printable Recipe

Exactly what it says. Simple . . . but very tasty!

olive oil
a knob of butter
1 tsp fennel seeds, lightly crushed
2 red onions, peeled and finely sliced
3 sprigs of thyme
1 red cabbage,, trimmed and then shredded with a knife into thin strips
300ml of chicken or vegetable stock (a generous cup)
60ml of Balsamic vinegar (about 1/3 cup)
1 dessert spoon of red currant jelly
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put a large dutch oven type of pan on top of the stove over medium heat. Add some olive oil, the butter, fennel seeds and slice onions. Add the springs of thyme, then cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are quite soft and beginning to caramelize. Tip in the cabbage and stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes. The cabbage should be tender and soft. Tip in the vinegar and red currant jelly. Raise the heat to medium and cook for about 10 minutes longer, until almost all of the liquid has evaporated and the cabbage is sweetly soft and delish. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Keep warm until ready to serve.

*Bread Sauce*
Makes enough for 12 servings
Printable Recipe

Another delicious side dish that can be made ahead of time. Just reheat iin a pan, adding a little bit more milk to thin if necessary.

1.2 litres of semi skimmed milk (2%) (6 cups)
1/2 onion
1 bay leaf
10 cloves
a few springs of thyme
250g of fresh white bread crumbs (about 4 cups)
freshly grated nutmeg
fine seasalt

Place the milk into a large saucepan along with the bayleaf, onion, cloves, and thyme. Bring to the boiling point, then reduce the heat and simmer on low for about 10 minutes. Strain the milk into a clean pan, discarding any solids. Stir in the breadcrumbs and cook gently for 10 to 15 minutes. Season to taste with freshly grated nutmeg and some fine seasalt. If you like a thinner sauce, you can run it through a coarse seive.

*Christmas Chutney*
Makes 4 cups
Printable Recipe

This lovely chutney makes a wonderful gift and is such a lovely change from the usual cranberry sauce. It goes beautifully with turkey, ham or chicken. We just love it.

3 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup sultanas
1/2 cup chopped candied peel
1/2 cup chopped peeled onion
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
1 cup white sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tsp salt
2 whole cloves
2 tsp celery seed
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp dried chilies

Place the vinegar, water, both sugars, lemon juice and salt into a heavy non-reactive saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring to help dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved add the cranberries, sultanas, candied peel, onions, garlic, cloves, celery seed, ginger and chilies. Simmer gently, stirring often, uncovered for 45 minutes. Pour into hot sterilized jars and seal. Process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes. This will keep for up to a year. You can, of course, just put it into jars for giving away and immediate use, but if you do want to keep it longer, you really must process it in the water bath. Enjoy!

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Here is a lovely selection of deliciously festive desserts to end the meal on.  I am sure you will find something to please every taste here!

*Mont Blanc*

Serves 4
Printable Recipe

This has to be one of the easiest and the tastiest desserts around. Your guests will think you have slaved all day.

4 fine glasses with stems
8 to 12 small plain meringues
250ml of double cream, chilled (1 cup)
2 TBS icing sugar
400g sweet vanilla flavoured chestnut puree
chocolate sprinkles (optional)

Crumble the meringues and divide them equally amongst the stemmed glasses. Put the chilled double cream into a large bowl and whip with an eletric whisk until it forms soft peaks, but is not stiff. (if perchance you have whipped it a bit much, gently stir some unwhipped cream into it to loosen it up a bit. It works a charm) Fold in the icing sugar. Cover the layer of meringue in the glasses with chestnut puree and then cover that with the sweetened whipped cream. Sprinkle with sprinkles if desired.

*Fruity Chocolate Fondant Puddings*
Makes 6 servings
Printable Recipe

A delicious chocolate fondant pudding with the secret surprise of a fruited middle! Plan ahead as the middles have to be frozen for at least 3 hours before baking.

160g fruit mincemeat (1/2 cup)
50g of dark eating chocolate, chopped coarsely (about 2 ounces)
(70% cocoa solids)
150g of butter, chopped coarsely (2/3 cup)
3 large free range eggs
75g soft light brown sugar (1/3 cup packed)
75g plain flour (1/2 cup)
35g of self raising flour (1/4 cup)
1 TBS cocoa powder

For the Sauce:
150g of dark eating chocolate, chopped coarsely (6 ounces)
(70% cocoa solids)
80ml double cream (1/3 cup)
2 TBS dark rum

Spoon the mincemeat into 6 holes of a 1 TBS ice cube tray. Freeze for at least 3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6. Butter six 1-cup pudding molds really well. Place on a baking tray and set aside.

Stir the chocolate and butter together in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is competely smooth. Cool for 10 minutes before proceeding.

Beat the eggs and sugar together with an electric whish until thick and creamy. Sift the flours and cocoa together. Fold into the creamed mixture. Fold in the cooled chocolate.

Divide the batter equally amongst the pudding molds. Remove the frozen mincemeat cubes from the ice cube tray and pop one into the centre of each pudding,

Bake the puddings for 12 minutes.

While the puddings are baking make the sauce. Stir the ingredients in a saucepan over medium low heat until smooth and completely amalgamated.

Serve the puddings warm and drizzled with some of the sauce.

*Panettone Puddings*
Serves 6
Printable Recipe

Delicious individual bread puddings with a great fruity flavour!

2 (170g) individual panettone
270g of mincemeat (1 cup)

For the custard:
250ml of double cream (1 cup)
180ml of whole milk (3/4 cup
2 TBS caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large free range eggs

Icing Sugar to dust over the tops

Preheat the oven to 170*C/325*F/ gas mark 3 oven. Butter 6 (1 1/4 cup) ovenproof teacups. Place in a roasting tin large enough to hold them all. Set aside.

Bring the cream, milk, sugar and vanilla to the boil in a small saucepan. Whisk the eggs together in a bowl and then gradually whisk in the hot milk mixture.

Cut the panettone in half lengthwise, then cut each half into thick slices. Layer the Panettone and half of the mincemeat in the prepared cups, overlaping the panettone slightly. Dollop spoonfuls of the remaining mincemeat over top of each, then strain the custard over all.

Add enough boiling water to the roasting tin to come halfway up the sides of the dish. Bake for 35 minutes until set. Remove from the oven and remove the cups from the roasting tin and allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving. Dust with icing sugar just prior to serving.

*Glace Fruit Cakes with Ginger Syrup*
Serves 12
Printable Recipe

Delicious little individual fruity cakes served with a delectable ginger syrup!

105g slivered almonds (3/4 cup)
90g butter, softened (3 ounces)
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
165g caster sugar (3/4 cup)
2 large free range eggs
75g self raising flour (1/2 cup)
110g plain flour (3/4 cup)
80ml milk (1/3 cup)
4 slices glace pineapple, chopped coarsely
70g red glace cherries, halved (1/3 cup)
70g green glace cherries, halved (1/3 cup)
75g coarsely chopped candied ginger (1.3 cup)
an extra 70g of slivered almonds (1/2 cup)

for the ginger syrup:
180ml of water (3/4 cup)
165g of caster sugar (3/4 cup)
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated

To serve:
icing sugar and cream

Preheat the oven to 170*C/325*F/ gas mark3. Butter a 12 hole medium muffin cup pan and line the bases with parchment paper cut to fit. Sprinkle the almonds into the bottoms.

Cream the butter, lemon zest and sugar together in a bowl with an electric whisk until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Sift the flours together. Stir into the creamed mixture along with the milk, fruits and additonal almonds. Spread this batter into the prepared muffin cups. Bake for about 25 minutes, until risen and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

While they are baking make the syrup. Stir the syrup ingredients together in a small saucepan over medium heat without boiling, until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered without stirring for about 5 minutes or so until the mixture is slightly thickened.

Remove the baked cakes from the oven, Pour the hot syrup evenly over all. Allow the cakes to cool completely in the tins before removing.

Serve warm, dusted with icing sugar and with cream for pouring.

*Cranberry, White Chocolate and Pistachio Ice Cream Puds*
serves 8
Printable Recipe
A light little pud chock full of fruit and nuts, served drizzled with a warm white chocolate sauce.

1 vanilla pod
430ml of whole milk (1 3/4 cups)
600ml of double cream (2 1/3 cups)
180g of white eating chocolate, coarsely chopped (6 ounces)
8 large free range egg yolks
165g caster sugar (3/4 cup)
130g dried cranberries (1 cup)
2 TBS brandy
140g unsalted shelled pistachios (1 cup)
2 tsp vegetable oil

Split the vanilla pod lengthwise and scrape the seeds into a medium saucepan. Add the pod, milk, cream and 50g of the chocolate. Bring to the boil, then remove from heat.

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a medium bowl until thick and creamy. Gradually whisk into the hot milk mixture. Stir the custard ove rlow heat without boiling until the mixture thickens slightly. Cover surface with plastic cling film and cool for 20 minutes. At the end of that time, strain into a shallow container, such as an aluminium baking tin. Cover with foil and then freeze until almost firm.

Place the ice cream into a large bowl, chop coarsley and then beat with an electric mixture until smooth. Pour the mixture into a deep container, cover and freeze again until firm. Repeat the process two more times.

Place the cranberries into a bowl with the brandy. Let steep for 15 minutes. Stir this mixture with the nuts into the ice cream the last time you beat it. Spoon the ice cream into 8 (180ml/3/4 cup) molds. Cover and freeze for 3 hours, until firm.

Stir the remaining chocolate and oil in a saucepan over low heat until melted and smooth.

Dip each mold into hot water, one at a time for about a second to loosen. Turn out onto serving plates. Drizzle with the warm melted chocolate mixture to serve.


The children will love these delicious rice crispie chocolate treats.

They are very similar to my Easter ones, except these have Christmas decorations on them instead of Easter eggs.

These go together in a flash and they're so pretty.   Children just love them!

 I sifted a drift of icing sugar over all of them, and then on half of them I did yule logs made from the chocolate flakes (cut into smaller pieces) and a few red and green decorations to look like Holly, and then on the other half I used some of my precious Christmas sugar decorations that I hoard like gold.

I'm really just a kid at heart!

*Christmas Crispie Cakes*
Makes 8 large ones, or 12 small ones
Printable Recipe

Crisp and chocolatey and very Christmassy! Children love them!

3 ounces crisp rice cereal (3 cups)
50g of good quality milk chocolate (I use Green and Blacks) (About 2 ounces)
50g of good quality dark chocolate (Again Green and Blacks) (About 2 ounces)
Assorted decorations
a bit of melted chocolate to help adhere the decorations
sifted icing sugar

Melt both chocolates in a bowl set over simmering water. Don't allow the water to touch the bottom of the bowl. Whisk well together. Place the cereal into a bowl. Pour the chocolate over top and mix well with a spoon. Line a bun tin with paper liners. (I like to use pretty ones) Spoon in the cereal chocolate mixture, heaping it up a bit. Allow to sit at room temperature for an hour or so to set. Dust with icing sugar to look like snow. Melt a bit more chocolate and add Christmas sprinkles and decorations to suit. Chocolate Flakes cut into short lengths make great logs! If you can get some holly leaves they look pretty nice sitting on top of the logs. I used holly sprinkles and they are not as nice, but are still attractive. 

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Todd, Mitzie and myself want to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas.  Thank you all so much for your continued visits and support throughout this past year.  I appreciate each and every one of you and hope that your Christmas this year is the best one ever!  May it be filled with great food, the love of family and friends and all the goodness you deserve.   Merry Christmas!


  1. Ohmy Marie all look delicious!
    I love these puddings!
    Merry christmas to you and Todd:)

  2. Everything looks and sounds delicious.
    Have a very Merry Christmas, Marie!

  3. Thank you Gloria and Marigene! Merry Christmas to you both as well!!


  4. Oh Marie, All looks just so delicious, make's my mouth water yumm. Merry Christmas Marie, Todd, Mitzie.oxoxox

  5. Merry Christmas! Fact filled generous post ..You are such a gem!
    I remember those loggs as it it was yesterday!

  6. Merry Christmas to you and yours. I have never heard of bread sauce - your cranberry chutney looks amazing. I may have to pick up some candied peel today and make it quick!!! Thanks for all that you share in your blog. Love it.

  7. I didn't get any made this year Monique! But maybe for New Years! Xxoo

    Merry Christmas Sharon! Thanks so much for your lovely comment! Xoxo

  8. Marie, it all looks delicious and the Bacon Wrapped Chipolatas are unique. They'd be gone in a flash here. A Very Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  9. Happy Christmas. Your blog is such a delight to read. Thanks so much for all your efforts in giving so much inspiration in the kitchen.

  10. Merry Christmas Pam! They are real favourites around here as well! xxoo

    Merry Christmas Jill! Thank you so much! xoxo


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