Did You Think About Christmas Already. Part 3

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CHEFTALK

 

Christmas preparations part 3

 Christmas dinner   

 

Serving different fare than the usual stuff for Christmas is an often re-occurring thought that comes to mind when the time of the year approaches. A thought that always comes too early and after the thought, the thought remains a thought, December, it’s still a long way off and when Christmas is near there is no more time and we resort to the usual fare.

 

When Christmas is behind us we sit and think, it was ok, but I could have done something different.

Here are a couple of more ideas you can make way in advance, making full use of your vacuum sealer.

Assuming you love cheese and like to serve cheese as dessert or as a cocktail bite, here a great Christmassy chutney that accompanies cheese perfectly.

 

Recipe for Pear and Cranberry chutney

 

Ingredients: 

Chutney

 2 tbsp unsalted butter

1 medium red onion (finely chopped)

1 pound pears (cored and diced)

6 oz golden raisins

8 oz cranberries

1 tsp all spice

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp cider vinegar

5 tbsp dark brown sugar

Zest and juice of 1 orange

½ wine glass of red port

Salt and pepper.

 

Method:

  1. Heat a sauce pan over low heat, add the butter, when the butter has melted add the onions and fry gently until they have softened.
  2. Add the diced pears with accumulated juices and the raisins. Cook for about 10 minutes
  3. Add all the other ingredients and mix to combine.
  4. Continue cooking for another 10 minutes.
  5. Check for taste and allow complete cooling.
  6. Place the cooled chutney in a vacuum bag, vacuum and store for up to a month in your refrigerator.
  7. Serve the chutney when needed, cold or warm. Best with hard cheese and crackers.

 

Great drink to make in advance

Gluhwine

Mulled wine or ‘Gluhwine’ is a wonderful Christmas drink, extremely appropriate and loved on a cold day.

It is pretty easy to make and only gets better over time.

 

Ingredients:

1 bottle of red wine

1 wine glass measure red port

2 wine glass measures water

1 ½ wine glass measures orange juice

1 wine glass measure brandy

1 cinnamon stick

3 pieces star anise

4 cloves

1 orange (sliced)

1 apple (peeled, cored and cut in small pieces)

 

Method:

  1.  Place all the ingredients, except for the brandy, in a large sauce pan and bring to a slow boil
  2. Keep the heat just around boiling point and simmer for ten minutes
  3. Allow cooling, stir in the brandy and store in a closed container.
  4. Remove the fruit before serving and replace with a new orange and apple.
  5. Warm through and serve in glasses.

Note: This recipe will give you about 10 servings, if you need more, just multiply the recipe.

 

You don’t need a vacuum sealer for this, (I will come back to that, not to worry) but that doesn’t make it a less lovely drink and it goes absolutely brilliant with the cheese and chutney. You can make it easily a month ahead of time; ensure to keep it in your refrigerator.

 

Cookie time

 

Christmas cookies

 

Last treat in this part are easy to make and store Christmas cookies.

 

Ingredients:

1 ½ cup all -purpose flour

2 tsp ground cardamom

8 oz unsalted butter

5 oz icing sugar

1 large egg

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1 tsp lemon zest

Pinch of salt

Edible glitter or ground nuts

 

Method:

  1.  Combine the flour, cardamom and salt in a bowl
  2. Place the butter and icing sugar in a food processor and process until smooth.
  3. Add the egg, vanilla and lemon zest and pulse to combine
  4. Add the flour mix and process to make a soft buttery dough
  5. Divide the dough over 2 pieces of cling film and roughly shape the dough into logs.
  6. Refrigerate for half an hour or so and shape the dough into uniform shaped rolls, it works easier this way.
  7. The rolls should be about 2 inches in diameter, which makes them about 8 inches long.
  8. Refrigerate overnight.
  9. The next day, pre-heat an oven to 320 F
  10. Scatter the edible glitter, ground nuts or any other edible Christmas decorating items you have on a tray and coat the dough by rolling the rolls through it.
  11. Slice the dough into ¼ inch thick slices and place on baking paper lined baking sheets
  12. Bake the cookies for about 20 to 25 minutes in the oven
  13. Allow cooling and place the cookies in a vacuum bag
  14. Give them a light vacuum and store for up to a month at room temperature

 

Three great recipes to make your life easier and to give you more time for your Christmas preparations.

 

In the next episode I will give you a few more ideas.

 

In the meantime don’t forget to order your vacuum sealer here:

 

www.vacupack.com  for USA and www.vacupack.ca for Canada.

 

By: Marinus Hoogendoorn

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