Do you have Christmas cooking traditions? Do you want to start some? Maybe you have a little extra time on your hands or want to spend some quality time with your family?
This time of year always reminds me of my mum. She loved baking and i used to love the smell when I came home on a Friday. The smell of scones, pastry and fairy cakes (no such thing as cupcakes in the 70’s!) is one I won’t forget. December was always my favourite time for interesting smells in the kitchen.
It would always start with Stir up Sunday making Christmas pudding for us and relatives. Her hand written recipe states 2 tbsp of brandy and I can assure you it was more like half a bottle. I remember the warm sensation in my stomach after eating it as a child! If you have not made your pudding it’s not too late to join me and other families in their kitchens making this pudding along with a cake and mincemeat on Sunday! (be quick if you want to get all the ingredients in but note you will have to do some weighing and soaking of fruit on the Saturday!)
Another smell that used to make my mouth water was pickled onions and beetroot, all the runt onions hanging in the garage used to get put in large jam jars with white vinegar. I can remember sneaking into the kitchen to eat them! I can highly recommend grabbing some cooked beetroot and pickling onions from the supermarket. Pour white or apple cider vinegar over the top. Add a sprinkling of cumin and coriander seeds, or star anise and cinnamon sticks for extra flavour.
Mince pies pies were also a family favourite and I have several classes of each if you want to learn how to make some melt in the mouth pastry.
Traditions that I have developed since having my own children are ginger biscuits and stollen. Also Nigella’s cranberry bakewell tart from one of her earlier books Feast along with cranberry vodka jam. Absolutely delicious!!
If sweet treats are not your thing I have a few savoury cook alongs too! All are child friendly with a little supervision.