Archives for category: Christmas


Happy New Year! If you’re anything like me you’ll have had quite enough of the succession of brown foodstuffs that you’ve eaten over the last couple of weeks and be dying for a change. However, on New Year’s Day I was once again called upon to make the pudding for the family gathering, so I submitted to once last lot of zesting to make this lovely shortbread, courtesy of Abel and Cole.

I altered the recipe by adding in the juice of the zested clementine, because I had trouble getting the dough to come together, especially with the threat not to over-knead echoing in my ears.

150g butter, soft75g caster sugar
150g plain flour
75g cornflour
zest of one clementine
.5 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch ground cloves
pinch ground ginger
extra sugar and cinnamon for dusting
The juice of the clementine if the mixture looks too dry

Beat the butter, then add in the sugar, zest and spices. Sift the flour and cornflour into the mixture and stir until it comes together, using your hands if necessary, but don’t over-knead. Roll out the dough on a well floured surface. You can either press it into a lined circular baking tray, or use cutters to make new year themed shapes. Bake for 20 minutes at gas 3 until lightly coloured, then dust with extra sugar and cinnamon.



I spent most of Christmas this year sitting in a chair, while my limbs remembered what it was like to not be on the move all the time. As I’m living with my grandmother, whose house is the traditional venue for the Christmas feasting, I ended up doing far more of the Christmas tasks than I usually do this year, the ham, the cake, the pudding, the mince pies, the blinis, the trifle, the sauces and the brandy butter. While the ham in coca cola was, frankly, a triumph, I think the Creole Christmas cake was a credible success as well, given that several self-confessed Christmas Cake haters admitted to enjoying this cake. Possibly something to do with the week’s worth of soaking in four different types of alcohol. That and the fact it’s Delia’s recipe, of course.

Creole Christmas cake

To soak

3 tbpns rum
3 tbspns brandy
3 tbspns port
1.5 tspns Angostura bitters
.5 tspn ground cinnamon
.5 tspn ground nutmeg
.5 tspn ground cloves
.5 tspn salt
1.5 tspns vanilla extract
1 tspn vanilla extract
2 oz glace cherries, chopped up
1 level tablespoon molasses sugar
1 lb raisins
4 oz pitted prunes, chopped up
8 oz currants

9 oz self-raising flour
9 oz demerara sugar
9 oz butter, at room temp
5 large eggs

Soak all the pre-soak ingredients for one week before you want to make the cake. Store in a airtight container, in the fridge. When you’re ready to make the cake, sift the flour with the sugar and beat in the sugar, then the eggs. Then add the dried fruit mixture and mix thoroughly Place into a lined baking tin about 9 inches across and bake at gas mark one for three hours without opening the door. After the three hours have passed, over the top with a layer of baking parchment and bake for another hour. Cool and wrap in baking parchment. If you leave it for up to a month, it apparently improves, but if you are as time strapped as me, eating it the next day or two will be fine.



Oh bitter irony that I have only got time to put up my Christmas recipes long after the festival is over, and the pile of discarded Christmas trees outside on the streets grows ever larger. Of course, Christmas isn’t actually over until the 6th when I’ll be making gallette des rois again, but most people don’t seem as keen as I am to keep the festive season going. Even if some people are lucky enough not to be back to work until the 7th. At any rate, if you’re as nostalgic as I am, then you’ll enjoy my Christmas ham recipe at least.

It was a big responsibility, and my choice to experiment with Nigella’s infamous ham in coke recipe might have been a bit risky. But Nigella is a trusty sort of person and the ham turned out amazing, although about half the size it was when it went in for 4 hours of boiling in coke. I tweaked it a little by adding molasses sugar, bought for the cake, instead of Demerara, to the glaze.

Ham in coca cola

5kg gammon
2l coca cola
2 onions

Glaze:a few cloves
2 tablespoons black treacle
4tspns mustard powder
4 tbspns molasses sugar

Put the ham skin side down into the pot, then add the onion and all the coke. Bring to the boil, then put a lid on and simmer for four hours – 1 hour per kilo, but a bit less if you run out of time and are keen to go to bed didn’t do any harm. Preheat the oven to gas 9, 240 degreesWhen it’s done, let it cool a little, then strip off the skin leaving the fat behind. Score the fat into diamonds and put a clove into the heart of each. Drizzle over the treacle and add the mustard and sugar over the top to make a sticky glaze. Then bake for 15 minutes until the glaze looks bubbly. Nigella instructs to not throw away the cooking liquid, but to use it to make black bean soup. I haven’t quite got round to it yet but perhaps I will.