Take the stress out of Christmas by deciding what you would like to prepare to entertain your kith and kin in the coming days. We have got some tantalizing ideas to get your family ready for the main event. For Christmas is the time to indulge! Add some classic magic to your festive menu with these three lip-smacking classic cake, pork recipe and an Italian classic to take your guest’s breath away. These scrumptious creations will go down a storm with everyone round your table. So what are you waiting for, simply whip up these ultimate spread with our delicious delights, festive feeling guaranteed!
- 2 tsp dried active baking yeast
- 175ml warm milk
- 1 large egg
- 75g caster sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 75g unsalted butter, softened
- 350g bread flour
- 50g currants
- 50g sultanas
- 50g red glace cherries, quartered
- 175g diced mixed citrus peel
- 200g marzipan
- 1 teaspoon icing sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- Toasted flaked almonds for sprinkling on top
- In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture with the egg, caster sugar, salt, butter, and 3/4 of the bread flour; beat well. Add the remaining flour, a little at a time, stirring well after each addition.
- When the dough has begun to pull together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead in the currants, sultanas, dried cherries and mixed peel. Continue kneading until smooth.
- Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
- Lightly grease a baking tray. Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the marzipan into a rope and place it in the centre of the dough. Fold the dough over to cover it; pinch the seams together to seal.
- Place the loaf, seam side down, on the prepared baking tray. Cover with a clean, damp tea-towel and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180 C.
- Bake for a further 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Allow loaf to cool, dust the cooled loaf with icing sugar, sprinkle with cinnamon and finish with toasted flaked almonds.
COTECHINO CON LENTICCHIE*
Pork is considered a lucky New Year’s food because it’s so fatty and rich and the classic accompaniment for New Year’s lentils. Originally from Modena, a town in the Emilia-Romagna region, cotechino is a large sausage made from pork.
• 1 fresh cotechino (uncooked)
For the Beluga lentils:
- 1 cup Beluga lentils
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig of thyme
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- celery leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
For the Cotechino:
- Rinse the cotechino and prick several times with the tip of a knife. Place in a large pot of water and bring to a slow simmer. Cover the pot and cook the cotechino for 1 hour.
For the Beluga lentils:
- Soak the lentils in cold water for 2 hours. Strain.
- In a medium saucepan heat some olive oil and add the carrots, celery and onions. Cook until translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic, bay leaf and thyme and cook for a minute more. Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Add the lentils and a pinch of salt and cook at a very low simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until tender.
- Add the olive oil and the vinegar to the lentils and season with salt and pepper if necessary.
- Slice the cotechino and serve on a bed of lentils. Garnish with celery leaves.
Whole Roasted Ricotta with Honeyed Kiwi
- Few fresh bay leaves
- ½ a bunch of fresh oregano
- 8 kiwi Few rounds of ricotta or other round cheeses, such as camembert
- 1 orange
- extra virgin olive oil
- Runny honey
- Few garlic cloves
- large handful of rocket
- Few sprigs of fresh mint
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC/gas 6.
- Place the bay in a roasting tray, pick over the oregano and sit the ricotta on top. Season generously.
- Halve and scatter the kiwi around the cheese, finely grate over the orange zest and drizzle everything with oil and honey.
- Rub the flavors into the cheese with your hands, then scatter over the remaining oregano, then roast for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden and firm.
- Slice up the ciabatta, then peel and halve the garlic cloves. Preheat a griddle pan and griddle thin slices of ciabatta. Rub the toast with the cut side of the garlic. Drizzle with oil and leave to one side.
- Serve the roasted ricotta on a board with a stack of toast, the sticky kiwi and some rocket and picked fresh mint on the side.
*Home-made Pork Sausages with Stewed Lentiles