Did you think about Christmas Already?

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CHEFTALK

Did you think about Christmas Already?

 -christmas-tree- 

Bet you have, but didn’t think about Christmas dinner yet, ok it is still a tad early, but when you are starting to like this pre-prepare and vacuum routine a bit, this may be a good time to get some things planned out.

 

There are some, out of this world Christmas items, that need very early preparation to arrive at its peak when Santa arrives and the Bells start jingling.

 

What to prepare

How about fruitcake, the best fruit cake should be about two months old before consuming and there a few more interesting foods that need early preparation to get the best out of them before you serve. Christmas Stollen, Cocktail food for when your guests arrive and you can serve some of the best ripened mulled fruit wine (Gluhwine) you made in November, sounds good?

 

You don’t have to get started today, but to have the thinking lined up in the back of your head is not a bad idea also.

If you plan something, a bit more elaborate, like a bunch of friends beside your family, which brings a bit of a big group of people to the house, you may be happy that I am reminding you early.

You got to feed the crowd and that could just be a little too much to handle on the day. Cocktail bites, starter, soup, main, dessert, cake, Stollen, then drinks and be part of the celebration yourself.

A plate full, so start early, I will give you some ideas where your vacuum sealer helps you to the max. And when you don’t have one yet you still have time to order one.

You can find the perfect vacuum sealer on this site.

 

christmas menu

Plan your menu

Tapas are fantastic cocktail bites, they take a bit of time to make, but many can be made in advance and kept vacuumed and chilled in your refrigerator for weeks and only get better after time. The crowd will love them and so will you. You know what? There is still time to test some items and have them make a comeback when Christmas day is there.

In the coming weeks I will give recipes and ideas to plan and do your Christmas preparation from cocktail ideas to freezable items that you can make when it suits you in the coming months and are ready to spur up your Christmas celebration when you need them.

So stay tuned and be on the look- out, for starters I have a few delicious Tapas you can even make today and store. A great fruitcake and a Stollen recipe that keeps perfect frozen in vacuumed condition.

Sauces, gravies, soups, relishes, dough for mini tarts, all partly or completely finished.

How about Ginger bread, there are many varieties of ginger bread, the Germans call them ‘Lebkuchen’, small ones, big ones, and so more satisfying then go to a bakery and buy a ginger bread house. It’s all not too difficult to make, as long you have time and therefore it is good to start a bit early. Get the kids involved they will love it.

Let’s start with fruitcake, I made this fruitcake in October last year, we had it on Christmas day, then I forgot about the left over part and after six months or so when I found it, it was still fantastic.

Here is the recipe:

 

Ingredients:

fruitcake

1 lbs self- rising flour

10 oz softened unsalted butter

1 lbs mixed dried fruit (raisins, currants, apples, apricots)

4 tbsp milk

8 oz caster sugar

2 tsp mixed spice (See mix below)

4 eggs

Rum or Brandy

 

Spice Mix

8 parts ground cinnamon

2 parts ground nutmeg

2 parts ground cloves

1 part ground white pepper

1 part ground ginger

1 part ground cardamom

Method:

  1.  Soak the dried fruits overnight in the rum or brandy; or use a mix of the two. If you feel that it is too much alcohol, reduce it and replace with water, ensure to have enough liquid to soak the dried fruits.
  2. If you use larger size pieces of dried fruit cut them small before soaking.
  3. Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix well with a wooden spoon. You may need to adjust the liquid a bit depending on how much soaking liquid you add.
  4. When a dough has formed, knead it for 1 to 2 minutes
  5. Place the dough in a greased 8” baking tin. Press into the shape of the baking tin, round or square.
  6. Bake for 2 to 2 ½ hours in a pre-heated oven at 300 F
  7. If the fruitcake gets enough color, cover with a piece of thin foil.
  8. Pierce a skewer through the cake to check is it is cooked, when the skewer comes out clean the cake is cooked.
  9. Allow cooling and place the cake in a vacuum bag, vacuum with light pressure to avoid squashing and store in your refrigerator.

With a light vacuum the cake will remain fresh and clean, you can decorate before serving if you like or slice before serving and dust with icing sugar.

Best is to make the cake at least a couple of weeks ahead so all the flavors develop and merge beautifully.

In the second part of the ‘make in advance Christmas goodies’ I will explain how to make a great freezable Christmas Stollen that belongs on every Christmas breakfast table.

 

By: Marinus Hoogendoorn

 

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