Alicia's all-time favourite Christmas recipes
Over the past eight years, I've written a lot about our mining family Christmas celebrations and also about the many care packages I have put together for my husband Joe when he's been working away on December 25.
Looking back, I see there's been a familiar theme: cooking and food!
I love to cook. I'd like to say I am a creative, visionary baker, but in all honesty I'm more of a thief when it comes to great recipes. And fortunately for me, I have super talented (and generous) family and friends who let me copy and adapt their wonderful ideas.
So whether you are baking for a big celebration at home, or looking for something to send to the mine in a care package, here are a few of my all-time favourite Christmas recipes...
My mother-in-law Diana’s divine honey biscuits
These are incredibly moreish, relatively easy to make, and will last for a month in an airtight container. Great for gifts and perfect for making the long journey to the mine site.
2 cups honey
3tsp bi-carb soda
900gm plain flour
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp all spice
Extra plain flour
Gently warm sugar and honey in a saucepan until sugar has dissolved. Put aside and allow to cool. Once cool, add 4 eggs and mix well. Sift together flour and ground spices and fold into honey mixture. Tip out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently, adding more flour until dough isn’t sticky but is lovely and pliable. This can take quite a bit of extra flour so don’t worry if you have used another 400gm! Wrap dough in glad wrap and leave on bench overnight. Roll out dough until 1cm thick. Cut out your favourite Christmas shapes and bake on a lined biscuit tray for 10-12 minutes in a moderate oven. Can be iced once baked and cooled.
My mum Helen’s yummy Christmas pudding
A long-standing tradition in our family is going over to Mum’s to stir the Christmas pudding months ahead of actually eating it. Mum usually makes them in the middle of the year and we all make the pilgrimage to her kitchen over two days to stir the pudding. She always makes it when Joe is home, so even if he's up on site for Christmas Day, we know he was part of the process. Recipe can be halved.
450g seedless raisins
110g mixed peel
110g glace cherries
450g dark brown sugar
5 eggs (if you've halving the recipe, use 2 large eggs)
110g Golden Syrup
grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
170g SR flour
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp nutmeg
450g fresh brown breadcrumbs
1 wine glass rum or brandy
3 or 4 tblsp milk
Makes 2 x 2 pint and 2 x 1 pint pudding basins. (Halve for 1 large or 2 small)
Weigh fruits into large bowl. Chop peel finely.
Cream butter, sugar and beaten eggs, stir in Golden Syrup, rind and juice of lemon.
Mix in sifted flour and spices, add breadcrumbs, fruit and peel. Add rum or brandy and milk to blend.
Have each family member stir the pudding and make a wish.
Cover bowl and leave to stand overnight.
Grease pudding basins well, and place a round of baking paper in base. Spoon mixture into bowls, tamping down gently to remove any air holes. Cover with 2 layers of baking paper, then pudding cloth. Tie securely with string, making a “handle” over the top to lift out of the boiling water (or put lid on pudding basin and clip down).
Steam for at least 6 hours. Re-cover with clean cloth, and re-steam 2-3 hours before serving. I have been told that you can microwave the pudding to re-heat it by turning onto a plate and heating on high for a couple of minutes, though I have not tried this myself.
Cranberry & Walnut Brie
This is one of my all-time favourite Christmas recipes. It is an adaption from the December 2009 Delicious magazine. I have even made the sauce and bottled it to give as gifts with a small round of Brie.
1 cup port
1 cup castor sugar
2 cups dried cranberries
2 tsp cornflour
Wheel of ripe brie
Toasted walnuts and chopped watercress to garnish
Toasted baguette or crackers to serve
Place port, sugar and 1 cup of water in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Increase the heat to medium, add cranberries and simmer for 5 minutes or until syrupy. Mix the cornflour with 2 tbs cold water to make a smooth paste. Add to syrup in the pan and stir for 1 minute or until thickened. Allow to cool.
Pour cranberry mixture over brie and serve with toasted baguette or crackers.
Enjoy! And from all of us at Mining Family Matters, have a safe and happy festive season.