No. 51 - December 2006
This will be the last newsletter for 2006. To re-charge my batteries, I'll be taking a break over the Christmas/New year period, so the next newsletter won't be sent out until the 1st week in February.
Once again, this year has seen an increase in visitors to the site. On top of this, Recipes4us has had some extra media coverage including recipes serialised in The Daily Mirror (a UK national newspaper) on Saturdays plus a few local UK newspapers, and on national BBC Radio (5-Live) in a short interview about British puddings.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support during 2006 and hopefully, your continued support for 2007.
With Seasons Greetings and very best wishes for a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year.
Happy Cooking !
Florence Sandeman, Editor
Q. What beats his chest and swings from Christmas cake to Christmas cake ?
A. Tarzipan !
This Month's Features
We tell everything from buying to preparing to cooking the perfect, succulent, tasty turkey on Christmas day plus comprehensive information on what size turkey you'll need and how long it will take to cook. There are also some wonderful recipes for using up the leftovers....if you have any!
Enough Turkey already !
We've got lots of alternative recipes for starters, main courses, side dishes and desserts including Vegetarian options, as well as other seasonal ideas for drinks and home made edible gifts.
Xmas Drinks Dilemma?
Never fear - help is here!
What better to accompany all that wonderful food with a glass of cheer. Champagne may be the choice of many, but why not try some other traditional drinks such as Christmas Wassail or buttered rum. And why not start with a cocktail...or two.
Rather than having a new Ingredient for Christmas below are a few features of some seasonal favourites where you can find lots of information and recipe ideas
Marsala, Port and Sherry
What's in Season
Apples, Beetroot, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chestnuts,Courgettes, Cranberries, Kale, Leeks, Onions, parsnips, Pears, Potatoes, Pumpkin, Perpetual Spinach, Squash, Turnips, Vegetable Marrow, Walnuts
Culinary Christmas Gifts from Recipes4us.
** Last Orders must be received by 16th December 2006 **
SPECIAL OFFERS STILL ON
We now accept all major credit and debit cards including Visa, MasterCard, Amex, Delta, Electron, Solo and Switch so you DON'T have to have a PayPal account to shop with us !!! Click HERE to see the full range and to order Online or Mail Order
Countdown to Christmas .....
Culinary jobs for December
General Food shopping
With Christmas day falling on a Monday this year, you may feel you have plenty of time at the weekend to get your provisions, but remember - everyone else will probably be thinking the same so beat the rush and avoid disappointment by getting as much in before the Saturday.... just beware of sell-by dates. Check EVERYTHING you buy especially items like cream.
Bear in mind that certain essential items such potatoes, parsnips, onions, carrots, bacon, cocktail sausages, bread for stuffings, can be bought several days in advance and if you're buying a frozen turkey, make sure you allow 1-2 days for defrosting. See the Turkey Tips article (left) for guidelines.
I know I shouldn't say this, but if you're not making your own from scratch, don't forget the stuffing, stock cubes for the gravy, mincemeat or mince pies and Christmas pudding.
Take 10 minutes to make a list and if you're lucky enough to have someone shopping with you, divide the list into two and send them off with their list and separate shopping trolley - under pain of death to get everything on their list.
Continue re-boiling home made Christmas puddings once every 2 weeks
Now's the time to marzipan your cake. Once done, leave it for two weeks before icing and try to get the icing done at least a week before Christmas Day.
Do you find store -bought mincemeat artificial tasting or not spiced enough? If so, there's still time to make your own and you can add more (or less) spices or change the proportions of fruit and/or nuts to suit your own palate. See the mincemeat article below for some interesting information, ideas and recipes.
There's probably still enough time to order your turkey but don't delay. Many specialist suppliers are sold out by now especially if you want the delicious Bronze or free range birds.
Happy (forward) Planning !
All things Mincemeat
Sing a song of mincemeat,
currants, raisins, spice,
Apples, sugar, nutmeg,
everything that's nice
Excerpt from Elizabeth Gould's poem "Mincemeat"
Mince Pies have become a firm tradition at Christmas for many of us, but you may be surprised to know the history as to how that came about.
Traditionally mince pies contained meat. In the 11th Century, Crusaders returning from the Holy Land brought with them various spices including cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. These were added to minced meat and other ingredients to symbolise the three gifts given to Jesus by the three kings (the magi). To further celebrate the birth of Christ, the pies were originally made in large oblong shapes which represented his cradle.
Over the years, the pies grew smaller, the shape of the pie was gradually changed from oblong to round possibly to disguise their significance due to the edicts of Oliver Cromwell (Lord Protector of England from 1649 until 1658). Being a puritan, he disapproved of the Christmas celebrations of the time seeing them as a pagan holiday which encouraged drunkenness and gluttony. He actually banned Christmas celebrations and the cooking of Christmas foods including mince pies. Thankfully for us, King Charles II restored Christmas celebrations to their former glory when he ascended the throne in 1660.
Over the years the meat content became smaller and smaller until the pies were eventually made with a filling of dried fruit, nuts, spices and suet.
Below are some traditional and alternative ideas using mincemeat.
A vegetarian alternative
Christmas Mince Pies
This is a recipe for basic mince pies but you can make them even more festive by cutting the top pastry crusts into shapes such as Christmas trees, reindeers and snowmen. Donít worry about the filling drying outÖ.it wonít.
Filo Parcels and Mince Pies
Filo Mincemeat Parcels
If youíre fed up with the usual shortcrust pastry used for mince pies, use this recipe instead. Very chic and especially nice for parties. Make them even more Ďadultí by sprinkling a few drops of Brandy or other alcohol before you seal them up.
These are equally as good using ordinary mincemeat for a non-vegan/vegetarian version
Apple and Mincemeat Tart
Donít like Christmas Pudding? Well this is an equally festive substitute. Itís also a lot lighter on the stomach providing you stick to one portion !
Party Party Party!
By following a few golden rules, you can throw a large or small party without being stuck in the kitchen away from your guests. After all, you should enjoy it too!
Click here for some tips >>>> more
New Year with a difference
Why not try out traditional recipes served at New year from around the world.... and learn how to say "Happy New Year" in that country's language.
Especially useful at Christmas
Whether you're looking for everyday, exotic or unusual food and drink, visit UKFoodOnline.co.uk
Food shopping has never been easier !
Recipe of the Month
Sesame Roast Parsnips with Honey
Try this simple recipe to accompany your Christmas roast Turkey....or any other roast for that matter.
Serves 6 35 minutes
900g/2lb Small Parsnips peeled and quartered
2 tbsp Olive Oil
2 tbsp Butter
2 tbsp Clear honey
2 tbsp Sesame Seeds
1. Preheat the oven to 200C, 400F, Gas Mark 6.
2. Place the oil and butter in a roasting tin and heat on top of the stove until very hot. Add the parsnips and fry until golden brown on all sides.
3. Transfer them to the oven and roast for 20 minutes, turning from time to time.
4. Pour the honey over the parsnips and turn them to coat on all sides.
5. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, turn again then return them to the oven for a further 5 minutes. Serve immediately.
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