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 The Christmas Thread

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PostSubject: Re: The Christmas Thread   Sat Oct 04, 2008 6:11 pm

The mercury is beginning to fall noticably here and that means Grog, Glühwein and roast chestnuts begin to get sold on the streets. Last year, I unearthed a Glühwein Bude that sold Glühwein with cinnamon sticks. Hope he is around again this year. A fabulous combination.
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PostSubject: Re: The Christmas Thread   Sat Oct 04, 2008 6:16 pm

Slim Buddha wrote:
The mercury is beginning to fall noticably here and that means Grog, Glühwein and roast chestnuts begin to get sold on the streets. Last year, I unearthed a Glühwein Bude that sold Glühwein with cinnamon sticks. Hope he is around again this year. A fabulous combination.

First fire of the autumn lit here, spitting and sparking: I've put some blackcurrant bush twigs onto it so the fire smells fruity, a bit like gluwein.
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PostSubject: Re: The Christmas Thread   Sat Oct 04, 2008 6:19 pm

There is a fire roaring at home and I cannot wait to get home to it. Heading home from la bibliotheque in 40 minutes - Yahoo!
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PostSubject: Re: The Christmas Thread   Sat Oct 04, 2008 7:56 pm

Slim Buddha wrote:
The mercury is beginning to fall noticably here and that means Grog, Glühwein and roast chestnuts begin to get sold on the streets. Last year, I unearthed a Glühwein Bude that sold Glühwein with cinnamon sticks. Hope he is around again this year. A fabulous combination.

I have memories of getting spectacularly sick after eating roast chestnuts in Munich one October. They gave me my second ever migraine and I lost the physical power of speech - or at least the ability for the words to come out the way I said them. I appreciate that is something more likely to happen after too much grog but it doesn't prevent roast chestnuts being firmly off the agenda for me - forever.

But this is the season for hot chocolate. Razz
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PostSubject: Re: The Christmas Thread   Sat Oct 04, 2008 7:59 pm

That sounds like a serious reaction Kate! Perhaps the jovial Bavarian who sold them to you doused them with something dodge!
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PostSubject: The best Christmas pud recipe ever   Sun Nov 02, 2008 3:26 pm

santa Anyone who is truly serious about Christmas cooking really ought to have made their puds by now (and their mince meat and christmas cakes too) but for normal people here is the best recipe you will ever have for Christmas pudding. It's my gran's - who was a terrific cook and I swear, if you like christmas pud, you will LOVE this version:

You will need a few large pudding bowls, greaseproof paper, tin foil and string/twine/muslin rag strips

Ingredients:

1lb fresh beef suet - chopped quite finely. Or 1lb cold butter chopped into small pieces - gives a lighter pud but just as good. The cognoscenti in my family say the suet is essential, however.
1lb brown muscovado sugar
1.b currants
1lb sultanas
1.b raisins
5/6 eggs
1lb bread crumbs (no crusts and make sure the bread is cold - not stale)
1 1/2 lb self raising flour
2 lemons - rind and juice
2 oranges - juice and some rind
2 BIG cooking apples - grated
1/4lb mixed peel
1/2 teaspoon salt
Heaped tsp each: cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, all spice
1/2 pt stout
1 desertspoon treacle (melt in a little boiling water)
1 or 2 tablespoons of good brandy

Good quality flower, organic fruit, organic fresh eggs - if you can. But it kind of doubles the cost and the puds taste blooming marvellous anyway with good old Odlums etc so not worth fussing about.

Method:

Mix all the dried fruit, spices, juice and steep in the brandy for a few hours or overnight in a cold room if you can.

Mixed steeped fruit etc with sugar and grated apple.

In a separate bowl mix suet, flour and breadcrumbs

Mix everything together

Add eggs, treacle and stout and stir the whole thing for a long time - get the nippers to take turns and make a wish. Muscley persons can help stir too - make sure the thing is thoroughly mixed - it's easy to end up with pockets of flour or suet eg if you don't stir properly.

Leave to stand overnight. If the mixture is very stiff in the morning, grate more apple into it and stir again. Alternatively you can add a little milk.

To cook:

Butter pudding bowls and cut greaseproof paper discs to line the bottoms of the bowls
Fill to 3/4 full
Cover each pud with a round of buttered and floured greaseproof paper - sealing it round the edge of the bowl

Cover the top with pleated greaseproof paper - tied under the rim of the bowl

Put 2 layers of pleated tin foil over the top so the water can't get in while cooking - and tie the lot round the rim of the bowl with string or muslin strips.

You need to make a handle with more strips or twine so you can lift the pud out of the pot after cooking.

Bring a pan/pans of water to the boil and shove your puds in - making sure the water doesn't come more than 2/3 up the bowl

Boil steadily for five hours - make sure to add pre-boiled water regularly (every 25 mins or so)

Leave to cool for 2 days, then uncover and trickle 2 desrtspoons of brandy over each pud and recover with clean greaseproof and foil - reading for heating through on Christmas day.

Heat for 2 hours on christmas day as above. Loosen the covering and leave the pud standing in its own hot water during dinner to keep it nice and hot.

We always have whipped cream - NEVER brandy butter but there are different schools of opinion about that. I dont actually know how to make brandy butter anyway. santa
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PostSubject: Re: The Christmas Thread   Sun Nov 02, 2008 3:54 pm

only two tablespoons of good brandy? Is it ok if my elbow slips while I'm pouring?
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PostSubject: Re: The Christmas Thread   Sun Nov 02, 2008 3:59 pm

Thanks for the wonderful recipe Aragon. I think that I'll give it a try. Usually I buy a good shop one and add in accordance with yehbut nobbut's principle of the shaky arm.
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PostSubject: Re: The Christmas Thread   Sun Nov 02, 2008 5:11 pm

I never understood why puds have to be made so far in advance. Do they have to ferment or something ?
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PostSubject: Re: The Christmas Thread   Sun Nov 02, 2008 6:04 pm

yehbut_nobut wrote:
only two tablespoons of good brandy? Is it ok if my elbow slips while I'm pouring?

Too much brandy kills the other flavours - less is always more when it comes to putting alcohol in food imho. But ye could always have a nice fat glass with yer pud and be done with it?
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PostSubject: Re: The Christmas Thread   Sun Nov 02, 2008 6:08 pm

EvotingMachine0197 wrote:
I never understood why puds have to be made so far in advance. Do they have to ferment or something ?

The flavours blend and mature - there's a very noticeable difference the older they are. Thing is you have to be sure to wrap and store them carefully. A firend of mine makes his puds one year in advance.

Would anyone like mince-meat, christmas cake and spiced beef recipes?
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PostSubject: Re: The Christmas Thread   Sun Nov 02, 2008 7:57 pm

Aragon wrote:
EvotingMachine0197 wrote:
I never understood why puds have to be made so far in advance. Do they have to ferment or something ?

The flavours blend and mature - there's a very noticeable difference the older they are. Thing is you have to be sure to wrap and store them carefully. A firend of mine makes his puds one year in advance.

Would anyone like mince-meat, christmas cake and spiced beef recipes?

Not only would I like a spiced beef recipe, I'd like to know when, with what and how to serve it. Please Surprised

In exchange I'll give you my Christmas Pudding Icecream recipe - it is quite an adult taste.

one third christmas pudding
two thirds vanilla ice cream

Mix/whip the two together with a tablespoon of rum and any extras you like - almonds, shredded orange rind, or what

Freeze, whip up again and serve with a sprinkle of chopped nuts.
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PostSubject: Re: The Christmas Thread   Sun Nov 02, 2008 9:18 pm

Cork Spiced Beef - there's two versions - quick and slow

Quick

I do it this way every year because the flavour is just as good and you dont need salt or salt petre (which I think is banned now anyway?)

7-10lbs of brisket or silverside - silverside is the traditional cut but it can be quite dry
1/4 oz black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/4 lb brown sugar
1/4 oz allspice
1/4 oz ground cloves
1/4 oz ground mace
1/2 tbsp of fresh chopped time
6 bayleaves
2 shallots
1/4 lb treacle

Method

Mix the dry ingredients.
Warm them in the oven - not too hot or for too long - then rub through a wire sieve
Skin and chop shallots - finely
Wash bayleaves
Chop thyme finely

Mix all the ingredients and add the treacle.
Put the meat in the dish and rub mixture in on all sides - if using brisket you can unroll it to do this bit and retie it afterwards.

Leave to stand in a very cold room for 3 days and then pour the contents of the bowl into a large pot. Cover, bring to the boil then simmer 20mins to the lb and 25 mins over. Alternatively, you can cook it very, very gently overnight on the lowest possible simmer (must bring to the boil first).
Take the meat out and leave to cool. Dust with allspice and serve.

I usually do mashed potatoes and a leafy salad with this - though my mum used to serve it very simply with cold ham and freshly made bread and butter. Really good chutneys and relishes go brilliantly with it too.

Long Version:

All the above ingredients plus 1lb salt and 1oz salt petre.

Rub salt into the meat and leave to stand in a cold place for 2 days. Drain and wipe thoroughly.

Rub in all the ingredients except for the treacle and leave to stand for a further 2 days.

Pour the treacle over the meat. Then rub the mixture in every day for 2 weeks.

This recipe is as much about preserving the meat as flavouring it - the only reason for all the salt, really. It makes the meat very dry but purists say this is the real mccoy. We find the flavour of the quick version is every bit as good and the meat much more tender.


Last edited by Aragon on Sun Nov 02, 2008 10:26 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: The Christmas Thread   Sun Nov 02, 2008 10:22 pm

Aragon wrote:
Cork Spiced Beef - there's two versions - quick and slow

Quick

I do it this way every year because the flavour is just as good and you dont need salt or salt petre (which I think is banned now anyway?)

7-10lbs of brisket or silverside - silverside is the traditional cut but it can be quite dry
1/4 oz black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/4 lb brown sugar
1/4 oz allspice
1/4 oz ground cloves
1/4 oz ground mace
1/2 tbsp of fresh chopped time
6 bayleaves
2 shallots
1/4 lb treacle

Method

Mix the dry ingredients.
Warm them in the oven - not too hot or for too long - then rub through a wire sieve
Skin and chop shallots - finely
Wash bayleaves
Chop thyme finely

Mix all the ingredients and add the treacle.
Put the meat in the dish and rub mixture in on all sides - if using brisket you can unroll it to do this bit and retie it afterwards.


Spiced beef spiced beef spiced beef spiced beef spiced beef spiced beef spiced beef spiced beef spiced beef spiced beef spiced beef Spiced beef spiced beef spiced beef spiced beef spiced beef spiced beef spiced beef spiced beef spiced beef spiced beef spiced beef Spiced beef spiced beef spiced beef spiced beef spiced beef spiced beef spiced beef spiced beef spiced beef spiced beef spiced beef Spiced beef spiced beef spiced beef spiced beef spiced beef spiced beef spiced beef spiced beef spiced beef spiced beef spiced beef Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: The Christmas Thread   Sun Nov 02, 2008 10:27 pm

Luckily I have two boxes of Teacakes handy while reading this thread. How many people is that Christmas pudding for ? Stupid question really as I'd eat it all myself along with a cowful of cream over a couple of days but you know what I mean.
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PostSubject: Re: The Christmas Thread   Sun Nov 02, 2008 10:28 pm

Anyone gone wild lately and not had turkey for Christmas dinner? We had duck last year, which was delightful.
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PostSubject: Re: The Christmas Thread   Sun Nov 02, 2008 10:54 pm

johnfás wrote:
Anyone gone wild lately and not had turkey for Christmas dinner? We had duck last year, which was delightful.


Three years ago we had a goose, bought from a neighbour. I had never cooked goose before, and didn't fully understand the implications in terms of fattiness. At about 11 o'clock when I went into the kitchen I was met by a tidal wave of shiny slipperiness that was oozing out from under the oven door, slid backwards and capapulted from one end of the room to the other flat on by back with an - unspilled - tray of drinks in my hands.

Shocked Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: The Christmas Thread   Sun Nov 02, 2008 10:58 pm

Laughing
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PostSubject: Re: The Christmas Thread   Mon Nov 03, 2008 9:38 am

There's never enough meat on duck. But, what you must do, is cook a small duck the week before Christmas (or whenever) - you can have it nicely shredded up with some salad leaves and oranges and stuff but most importantly, keep the fat. There is nothing, and I mean nothing on this earth tastier than roast potatoes cooked in duck fat.

Goose sounds painful, cactus. pirat pirat Hope you weren't too badly injured!

Last year I made Christmas dinner for my sister and her family. She picked it up on Christmas morning and then later that day, I went to my mother in law's for dinner. All I want is her amazing sausage meat stuffing, delicious crunchy sprouts and roasties and yummy gravy. Bliss.

I'll be giving Aragon's pud a go too - but will be having it with custard.

Mmmm. Custard. As Homer Simpson would say....
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PostSubject: Re: The Christmas Thread   Mon Nov 03, 2008 1:08 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:
Luckily I have two boxes of Teacakes handy while reading this thread. How many people is that Christmas pudding for ? Stupid question really as I'd eat it all myself along with a cowful of cream over a couple of days but you know what I mean.

Good question Audi! I'm from a family of 11 and those quantities made three very large puddings. Half or quarter the quantities for less.

Another sinfully delicious thing to do with any pud that isn't finished on the day, is to fry slices of it in butter until it is slightly crisped - and serve that with whipped cream too. We have this on St Stephens day for what we call breakfast (1.00pm) after a plate of cold meats (home cooked ham, spiced beef, turkey and stuffing - with chutneys etc).
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PostSubject: Re: The Christmas Thread   Mon Nov 03, 2008 1:15 pm

Embarassed We don't even wait until the next day to fry it. Calories upon calories on Christmas day.
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PostSubject: Re: The Christmas Thread   Mon Nov 03, 2008 2:10 pm

Kate P wrote:
Embarassed We don't even wait until the next day to fry it. Calories upon calories on Christmas day.

Respec' ! You must be mid-day Christmas dinner people, I suppose - to be able to fit in two servings in the day?

There is a huge cultural divide in our house about Christmas conventions. My partner, being all British and peculiar wants dinner at mid-day and for the kids to wait until after it to open their presents. More than that, he expects us all to sit around and watch each person open one present at a time! Have you ever heard of anything so repressed in all your life?

Fortunately for the kids, he's not allowed to get away with this. They have stockings at dawn or whenever they wake up. They come in to see us and I make hot cocoa and mince pies to accompany the opening ceremony. We put a selection of small, novelty objects in them, and always a satsuma in the toe. There is always a chocolate santa in them too too.

Then one of us lights the fire in the room where the tree is, my favourite german carol record is put on to play and there follows an unwrapping free for all amidst huge excitement. (This was my parents way of doing things and I well remember one Christmas when there were still only 8 out of the eventual 9 of us waiting in an age line outside the door of the drawing room (my mother was carrying the baby in her arms). When the door was finally opened to let us in, such was our excitement we all fell in the doorway in a tangle of legs and arms. I remember my dad with his head thrown back in a magnificent fit of booming laughter at the sight of us all, may he rest in peace. Of course the presents themselves were modest enough in those days for most people. But there was still huge excitement about them - as in every house. )

After the present opening we have a festive Christmas day breakfast to keep us going. Games, walks by the sea - lovely on Christmas day to live so near such beautiful sea scenery, telly, visitors etc fill the hours until dinner which we usually serve at about 7 - and linger over for at least 2 hours. My father in law was a writer and a poet and he wrote one of the most heart-warming Christmas day accounts I've ever read. I could post it here in instalments, I suppose. It's a short story so not too long but maybe too long for a single post - is there a limit? We usually read it out by the fire on Christmas Eve, Christmas night or St Stephen's day.
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PostSubject: Re: The Christmas Thread   Mon Nov 03, 2008 2:14 pm

We open presents one at a time - it is the only way to do it. Can't be doing with you muck savages who tear them all open at once. Razz

We have lunch at around 3 but my family in England would have it much later.
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PostSubject: Re: The Christmas Thread   Mon Nov 03, 2008 2:18 pm

Might go skiing this Christmas - for New Years really... but it is 1,200 euro each - yikes! Have to decide today or tomorrow, under pressure from people who have already booked. Silly people, had they listened to me we could have booked without pressure and for a fraction of the cost earlier in the year.
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PostSubject: Re: The Christmas Thread   Mon Nov 03, 2008 4:19 pm

I'm very concerned about the eggs in the recipe Aragon. I didn't think eggs could be preserved like that.
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