‘Tis the season to spend time with your friends a family, to eat and get merry. We have put together a list of festive recipes to help you get into the holiday spirit.
- Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Put the butter in a bowl and beat it with electric beaters until soft and creamy. Beat in the sugar, then the egg and vanilla, and finally the flour to make a dough. If the dough feels sticky, add a little flour and knead it in. Chill for 20 mins in the fridge.
- Roll the dough to about the thickness of a £1 coin on a lightly floured surface. Cut out snowflake shapes using a biscuit cutter, then re-roll the off-cuts and repeat.
- Bake for 8-10 mins or until the edges are just beginning to brown. Leave to cool for 5 mins before trying to move them. Cool completely.
- Roll out the fondant icing to the thickness of a 50p piece. Use the same cutter to stamp out the icing. If you have smaller cutter you can stamp out holes in the middles of some of them. Brush each biscuit with a tiny amount of honey and press an icing snowflake on top.
- Mix the icing sugar with enough water to make a pipeable icing, and spoon it into a piping bag fitted with a straight piping nozzle. Pipe patterns onto the snowflakes and add silver balls and sprinkles as you decorate. Leave to dry completely.
- 100ml golden caster sugar
- a handful of sliced ginger
- 100ml advocaat
- 100ml ginger syrup
- Babycham, to top up the glass
- First make a ginger syrup. Combine 100ml water with the golden caster sugar and a handful of sliced ginger in a pan and bring to the boil. Cool the mixture and strain through a sieve.
- Fill a highball glass with ice and pour the advocaat and ginger syrup into a cocktail shaker. Shake well, pour into the glasses, top with Babycham and serve.
Crab, Avocado & Herby Hollandaise Tart
- 8 slices white bread (medium sliced white works best)
- 50g butter, melted
- 2 ripe avocados
- juice ½ lemon
- 100g bag wild rocket
- 400g white crabmeat (we used 2 x 200g tubs Hebridean crab meat from the Waitrose chiller cabinet)
For the herby hollandiase
- Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Punch out a circle from the centre of each slice of bread using a 10cm round cutter and roll flat with a rolling pin. Brush circles with the melted butter on each side, then press into 8 individual tart tins. Lift onto 2 baking sheets and bake for 10 mins or until tinged with gold at the edges. Carefully flip the cases out from the tins so they are upside down on the trays, then put back into the oven for 5 mins or until crisp and dry. Leave to cool. Can be kept in an airtight tin for up to 3 days.
- To start the sauce, put the vinegar, peppercorns and bay leaf into a small pan and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 5 mins or until reduced to about 1 tbsp. Take off the heat, then strain out bay leaf and peppercorns. Will keep covered in the fridge for up to a week.
- Halve avocados, stone and peel. Thinly slice avocado, put into a bowl and gently toss with a squeeze of lemon juice. Can be kept covered in the fridge for up to 2 hrs before serving. When ready to serve, put the avocado and a little rocket into each case, then top with crabmeat. Tip vinegar reduction into a tall, narrow jug, then add the egg yolks. Melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat (don’t boil), then add to the jug. Put a stick blender right to the bottom of the jug, turn on and draw very slowly up through the butter. The sauce will thicken as the yolks and butter meld together. Add herbs, season, then add a dash of lemon juice to bring out the herby flavour and cut through the butteriness. Spoon the hollandaise generously over each tartlet so it oozes over the crab. Serve at once.
Double Chocolate & Orange Biscotti
- Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Put the flour, cocoa, ground almonds, sugar, chocolate chips, candied peel, orange zest and a pinch of salt into a large bowl, and mix well. Make a well in the centre, then add the nutmeg (if using), egg and vanilla extract. Use your hands to bring the mix together, kneading it firmly.
- Shape the biscotti dough into a log approximately 15cm x 5cm x 2.5cm deep. Transfer to a baking tray lined with baking parchment, then bake for 30 mins until firm to the touch (the log will split and crack a little on the top).
- Remove from the oven and cool for at least 10 mins. Use a sharp serrated knife to cut the log into slices 1-1.5cm thick.
- Put the biscotti back on the baking tray and reduce oven to 150C/130C fan/ gas 2. Bake for 30 mins or until the biscotti are completely hard to touch. Cool completely, then wrap in baking parchment or store in an airtight container.