Prepare for Christmas (Recipes) – Part One

Prepare for Christmas (Recipes) – Part One

It’s that time of year again, friends. Time to Prepare for Christmas, to try and think ahead and find fun recipes to either enjoy now, freeze ahead or save for nearer to Christmas.  I confess I have left it a bit late this year – I recently had to attend the brilliant Castle Hill Hospital for a fifteen days ‘stint’ of Radiotherapy (painless and shrunk my ‘lump’ considerably) then another CT scan. Things could be looking good, fingers crossed. But back to recipes. Having my appetite nearly back to normal, thank heavens, I am now searching for very tasty fun food to enjoy. And cook. I’m still learning how to master the technicalities and capabilities of my new oven, to get the best out of them (hopefully).

Selfishly this post is about food that I now fancy to eat. Since March this year, I found it very strange to not want to eat, or even cook! Me, who food and cooking have meant such a lot in my life, especially when cooking for family and friends. But hopefully it is all coming back, especially with us having our fantastic new kitchen.

One of the first delicious foods that I am going to treat Erik and myself to is the amazing Gravadlax salmon from our fantastic producers of this delicious and healthy meal, who just happen to be a few miles away from us. The Staal Smokehouse produce a lot of different products, and there Smoked Salmon is one of the best I have tasted over the years. And it happens to be so good for us as well. I had better get my order in for Christmas, as I think it shuts in a week or so. Just click on their link above to have a look at all their fantastic produce, and now they have quite a lot of recipes too.

Back to Prepare for Christmas. Here are some recipes that I really, really want to eat. I do hope you enjoy them.

Mulled Wine Brownies Recipe

Prepare for Christmas (Recipes) Mulled Wine Brownies - courtesy of Good Food.
Prepare for Christmas (Recipes)
Mulled Wine Brownies – courtesy of Good Food.

Mulled Wine Brownies
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: European
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: Serves 9
This Mulled Wine Brownies recipe is very easy to make. It is perfect for this time of year with its addition of wine and spices that make the brownies a bit more festive, and according to Sophie, 'fills the home with the aroma of Christmas.' I can't wait for that aroma in our house. To serve it would be be fantastic either with some good Vanilla ice-cream, or some thick cream or creme fraiche. Very yummy!
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 200g light brown muscovado sugar
  • 1 large egg and 1 egg yolk
  • 100ml red wine
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 100g plain flour
  • pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp each of cinnamon and ground ginger
  1. Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Butter and line the base of a 20cm x 20cm (8 inch x 8 inch) brownie tin with parchment paper.
  2. Melt the chocolate in the microwave or in a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water.
  3. Mix the flour and cocoa powder together with the spices and a pinch of salt - set aside.
  4. Using an electric whisk, beat the butter and sugar together until super light and fluffy then whisk in the egg and the egg yolk.
  5. Pour in the melted chocolate, wine and flour mixture and whisk until just combined.
  6. Pour the batter into the tin and bake for 15 mins until just set. Don't worry if there is a slight wobble in the centre, it will firm up as they cool.
  7. Put into the fridge to firm up.
Nutrition Information
Serves 9 Calories: 362 kcal Fat: 21g Saturated fat: 12g Carbohydrates: 36g Sugar: 26g Sodium: 0.5g Fiber: 2g Protein: 4g

This next recipe is one using both Venison and Chestnuts.  Venison in all its forms is available in both good butchers and good supermarkets nowadays. The Chestnuts simplest to use or usually vacuum packed by such as Merchant Gourmet and are available in all supermarkets now. These chestnuts are so useful in both sweet and savoury recipes. So, the next recipe coming right up.

Venison & Chestnut Stew Recipe

Prepare for Christmas (Recipes) - courtesy of Delicious mag.
Prepare for Christmas (Recipes) – courtesy of Delicious mag.

Venison & Chestnut Stew
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: European
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: Serves 6
This Venison & Chestnut Stew is an easy one to do, but takes 2 hours 20 minutes to prepare and cook. It is hearty food, great for sharing with friends and/or family, especially over Christmas. Just add a good big spoonful of creamy mashed potato to everyone's plate and they will be overjoyed. Venison is a lean meat, not too much fat, so is not bad for you to eat. The recipe would be just as good with beef - using stewing steak or skirt (my favourite for casseroles).
  • 1 kg stewing venison, cut into bit-sized pieces
  • 30g plain flour, seasoned
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 100g bacon, cut into fat strips
  • 2 onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 500g fresh beef stock, hot
  • 1 tsp tomato puree
  • 100ml ruby port
  • :eaves from 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Half tsp juniper berries, crushed
  • 200g peeled cooked chestnuts
To Garnish:
  • Chopped fresh parsley
  1. Preheat the oven to 150C/fan 130C/gas 2.
  2. Toss the venison pieces in the flour and shake off the excess. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a flame-proof casserole (or a frying pan) and brown the meat in batches. Remove to a plate.
  3. Add the remaining oil and bacon and cook until golden. Add the onions and cook for 15 mins gently until just browned.
  4. Stir in the remaining flour, hot stock, puree, port, thyme and juniper. Bring gently to the boil, stirring well.
  5. Add the venison, season and stir well. Cover with foil and a lid and cook in the oven for 1 hour 30 minutes. Uncover, stir in the chestnuts and simmer for a further 20 minutes to thicken the sauce. Garnish with lots of parsley and serve with creamy mashed potato. Enjoy!

Well, those are the first two recipes in my Prepare for Christmas post, but I have a lot more up my sleeve (or on my computer’s desktop). Keep looking looking out for these recipes, as I am searching out new ones that I really fancy cooking for myself , Erik, family or friends.  Back soon.

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