Christmas just isn’t going to be the same for so many of us this year. It isn’t Christmas, per se, but the meeting up of family, being with the people you love and the ones who love you most. It has been such a difficult time – I, personally, have see my children and grand children only a tiny amount of what I would normally – and we were all looking forward to finally being together. Let us try to be the best we can with whoever we can – and to look out for those that will find it even harder than we do.
Recipes for today are for treats – yourself, friends, neighbours – to share as you will. Being Christmas (and particularly now) they are obviously completely calorie free!
GRANNY’S TREACLE TOFFEE – this was made when one of us had a sore throat to suck – so completely medicinal! Take care to suck, though, as the Husband broke a crown on it chewing!
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 100 grams butter
- 3 tablespoons treacle
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 teaspoons vinegar
Put everything into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Keep on a rolling boil (I keep a wooden spoon in it so it doesn’t over boil). It is ready when a small spoonful goes hard when dropped into a bowl of cold water. Pour into a greased baking tin (BE CAREFUL AS ITS VERY HOT AND WILL BURN YOUR SKIN). Allow to harden, turn tin over and tap till it drops out. Keep in a airproof tin or tupperware.
SCOTTISH TABLET (English fudge) My best (oldest (in years of knowing!) friend, Sandra, gave me this recipe – its incredibly easy and even a non-Scot can make it!
- 150ml evaporated milk
- 150ml water
- 75g butter
- 450g granulated sugar
- 1/4 teasp vanilla essence
- Butter a 7 inch shallow tin. Put milk, water, sugar and butter in a saucepan and heat through slowly until the sugar has dissolved. The boil steadily for about 10 k- 15 minutes stirring constantly. Test by dropping into a cold glass of water and is ready when you can roll it between your fingers. Take off the heat and add vanilla essence. Cool slightly then beat until the mixture starts to thicken and crystalise. Pour into tin and leave to set. Mark into squares and keep in an airtight tin (it won’t be there for long!)
For the ultimate comfort drink, there will always be HOT CHOCOLATE – here are a couple of festive additions – obviously for more than one but why not make a batch, keep (a lot) for yourself and leave a warming cup on your neighbour’s doorstep?
MULLED WINE HOT CHOCOLATE
- red wine 300ml
- cinnamon stick 1
- star anise 2
- cloves 4
- allspice berries 6
- demerara sugar 2 tbsp
- whole milk 500ml
- dark chocolate chips or dark chocolate 150g
- Pour the red wine into a pan and add the cinnamon stick, star anise, cloves, allspice berries and demerara sugar. Heat gently and simmer for 10 minute. In a separate pan, heat the milk, then gradually whisk in the dark chocolate. Strain the red wine into the chocolate pan and stir. Serve in small glasses or cups with extra cinnamon stick stirrers.
LUXURY HOT CHOCOLATE – with lots of topping suggestions!
- cocoa powder 3 tbsp
- whole milk 1.5 litres
- demerara sugar 3 tbsp, plus extra to taste
- dark chocolate 100g, chopped
- vanilla extract 1 tsp
- single cream 150ml
- Put the cocoa in a large bowl or jug and mix in enough cold milk to make a smooth paste. Put the rest of the milk in a pan and bring to a simmer. Whisk the milk into the cocoa paste until everything is incorporated then pour back into the pan. Add the sugar, chopped chocolate, vanilla and cream, and heat gently, stirring until everything is combined. Sweeten with extra demerara sugar to your liking.
- TOPPINGS – dark rum, whisky, brandy, Disaronno or Baileys / squirty cream / Cadbury flake /cinnamon sticks/ ground cinnamon / chocolate chips / mini marshmallo /fudge chunks
Music from the Master – never has the words seemed so true!
Wishing you all the best Christmas you can – and looking forward to Happy New Year!