Tag Archives: Christmas

Attempting to get on the ‘nice’ list

26 Dec

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Family tradition dictates that every Christmas we have a Yule log, made by me. In past years, it’s always been a pre-bought Swiss roll assembly job, smothered in butter icing; most likely dating from the days when my mum was incredibly keen to occupy a hyperactive, overexcited child on Christmas Eve by giving her a fairly easy, minor job. It was also far too cloying for any more than a single slice of – at least to my taste.

This year I decided to put a bit more effort in; to do things properly. Food magazines had been bombarding me with recipes since approximately mid-October, which didn’t help matters. After wading through at least six volumes, I settled on Olive‘s twist on this recipe: a chocolate roulade, with chocolate marscapone and cherries.

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The base was a light sponge, fairly easy to make. Rolling it up initially to cool? Also an utter doddle.

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Hell, even the filling, despite initially looking distinctly unappetising, quickly became a smooth confection of chocolatey indulgence. Helped in no small part by the liberal addition of crème de framboises, I’ve no doubt.

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Once the cake was spread with the marscapone mix and dotted with the cherries (also doused in raspberry liqueur), I was starting to get a bit complacent. Why had I never thought to do the Yule log properly before?

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Then it came to rolling it all up. And things went a bit wrong, with a small crack soon turning into a vast canyon down one side. Thank heavens for the cut-and-stick repair job possible with a Yule log. Oh, and for eye-distracting Cath Kidston decorations.

Still, the end result was light, not too sweet, and just rich enough – mission accomplished. According to my family, we now have a new tradition.

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas

10 Dec

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Now that we’re in the grip of December and festive times are upon us, I finally feel justified in writing about the Christmas pudding my mum and I made at the end of last month. I know it sounds a bit early (especially as we cracked out the Christmas CDs while doing so) but it needs time for the flavours to mature. We used Nigella’s recipe – after all, who better for seasonal indulgence?

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It started out with fruit soaked in a lot of sherry. After a night sat steeping, it smelt divine.

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Then, flour, breadcrumbs, suet (which never fails to remind me of stew and dumplings at my Nana’s house) and the rest of the dry ingredients, to form a deliciously sticky, fruity mixture.

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Into the basins – the recipe was meant to be for one giant pudding, but for the sake of manageability in our small family, we split the recipe into three. The plan is for myself and my Nan to take one each after the big day; I feel I have done well from this arrangement.

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Trussed up with greaseproof paper, foil and string, they went into pans to steam. While they were doing so, it would have been rude not to have the first mulled wine of the season, wouldn’t it? Oh, and ideally the entire thing be accompanied with this, which is the best Christmas song hands down: