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Christmas Mince Pies

Traditional sweet mini pies baked and eaten in the festive season before Christmas. Mince pies are made from short crust pastry filled with the sweet mix of dried fruits, spices, citrus zest, all soaked in alcohol. These festive pies of English origin have been known there since the 13th century. They originally were savoury, not sweet as consisted of a mixture of minced meat, suet, fruits and spices. Today almost every housewife has her own recipe for mince pies and mincemeat if she prepares a homemade version of the pies. I prefer less sugary filling but use a bit sweeter French buttery pastry. Try my recipe here…

Home-made Christmas Mincemeat

Mincemeat needs at least two weeks to macerate before using in mince pies. Dried fruits, almonds, spices and orange zest have enough time to soak beautifully in sherry, and their flavours become rich and complex. Although I’m not entirely against store-bought mincemeat as you can buy a very good one, but when is homemade its taste is completely different. Homemade mince meat is easy and quick. Cooking takes only 10 minutes, dried fruits, almonds are available at grocery stores, and you can control the amount of sugar which may be important. The homemade mincemeat can be made up to six months in advance. Find the recipe here….

Smooth Cranberry Sauce

This cranberry sauce is sweet and tart, packed with festive flavours - orange, cinnamon and ginger. It's a perfect condiment or a side dish served with cheese, meat such as chicken, goose, duck. It's also a must to top off Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner. The cranberry sauce is very easy to cook at home and can be made of frozen or fresh fruits however, cranberries are in season so can be easily found at grocery shops at the moment. I prefer my sauce smooth which is actually a cranberry relish. Find the recipe here...

Ginger Cake

When this cake appears in our tea-time menu it means we have just started to think about Christmas. The ginger cake smells of cinnamon and cloves which are very Christmassy, is deliciously sweet, very rich moist and sticky. Ginger – fresh and ground - makes the cake a bit spicy and warms up beautifully. The cake is great freshly baked and even better after a few days if you manage to save some. Let it cool completely before you serve it, sprinkle with the icing sugar. Find the recipe here…

Chipolata Sausage Rolls with Tomato Relish

Sausage Rolls are a staple of British food. They are a very popular snack available from bakeries, take-aways and supermarkets. One of the popular british bakery chains sell 2.5 million sausage rolls per week! An early version of the roll with pork filling was popular in London during the Napoleonic Wars and then recognized as an English dish. The sausage rolls are the best party food. They can be served with drinks, either straight from the oven or cold, with vegetable dips or relish. Great and easy snack for a coming Christmas party or Christmas. The sausage rolls can be prepared and cooked in advance, kept in the fridge and warmth through in the oven. Find the recipe here…

Mushroom Tartlets

Great for a lunch served with a crunchy green salad, as a starter or a savoury bite for any occasion. The Mushroom Tartlets which are extremely delicious and flavoursome, combine flaky shortcrust cases and creamy filling. I used Chestnut Mushrooms which have great flavour and texture but if you have wild mushrooms at hand, use them - they would be even better. The Mushroom Tartlets are quite easy to make and assemble. The filling can be prepared ahead and shortcrust pastry would be more crusty and flaky if it’s kept in the fridge overnight. The homemade shortcrust pastry can be replaced with good quality store-bought one. Find the recipe here…