Despite a host of new and fancy innovations rustled up by various eateries across town, traditional dishes and recipes that spell cakes, mulled wine and turkey roast continue to be perennial favourites for Christmas.
As the world for the festival season, here are a few delicious treats for you to try at home.
Chicken Hand Pie
•For the rough puff pastry:
•250 grams of flour
•a pinch of salt
•100 ml cold water
•220 grams of butter
•For the filling:
•2 chicken breasts
•2 cloves of garlic
•2 tbslp butter
•2 tblsp flour
•1/4 cup white wine
•1/2 cup cream
•1/2 cup chicken stock or water
•1/2 tsp parsley
•a pinch of nutmeg
•salt and pepper to taste
•For the egg wash
•1 tbslp water
1.Let’s start by making the puff pastry dough. Cut the butter into three equal parts and set aside.
2.Mix the salt and flour together and very slowly pour in chilled water, only as much as required, to make a firm dough. Chill in the freezer for 10 minutes
3.Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it out. Place one third of the butter onto the dough and fold it like a notebook. Chill for 10 minutes.
4.Take out the dough again. Roll it out into a flat layer. Put another portion of the butter. Fold the dough like a notebook. Chill for another 10 minutes.
5.Again, remove the dough. Roll it into a flat layer. Put the final portion of the butter and fold the dough like a notebook. Refrigerate for atleast 20 mins
6.While you’re making your dough, do the preps for the filling. Chop and dice all the vegetables including carrots, onions and celery.
7.Bring a saucepan of water to boil, add the chicken to it and let it cook for about 20 minutes of until done. Remove and shred.
8. In a pan, heat butter and add garlic to it. Once it becomes fragrant, add the onions to it and then the celery. Saute for 5 minutes.
9. Add the carrots and chicken to this and stir fry on high for two minutes. Add the flour to it and let it cook for an additional 5 minutes.
10.Add the wine to this mix, followed by the cream. Mix well. Add the salt pepper, parsley to this mix and then pour in the chicken stock. Bring to a boil.
11.Turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Once the vegetables are cooked through adjust the seasoning and add the nutmeg. Let it cool.
12.To assemble the hand pie. Roll out the puff pastry and cut neat little rectangles. On half the rectangles add a tablespoon of the chicken mix.
13. Cover with the remaining half rectangles. Using a fork close the pastry pockets neatly.
14. Brush with an egg wash made with one whole egg and a 1 tblsp of water.
15.Bake at 190 degree centrigrade for 30 minutes or until the pastry turns brown.
•100 grams raisins
•100 grams sultanas
•115 grams butter
•110 grams flour
•1 cup of breadcrumbs (made from 4 slices of brown bread)
•200 grams sugar
•1 cup of nuts (mixed of your choice)
•1 tsp cinnamon powder grounded
•250 ml milk
•Butter to grease
•Few cherries to garnish.
1.Take a bowl, add the first listed six ingredients with the mixed nuts and the cinnamon powder.
2.Pour in the milk and break in the egg. Once these ingredients are combined well, tip this into a well greased 1.5 litre pudding bowl.
3.Cover this pudding with a double layer of foil greased with butter, then make a pleat in the centre and allow this pudding to rise.
4.Tie a string on the foil and place this pudding in a steamer which has water gently simmering water on the sides of the bowl. Cover it with a lid and let it steam for 2 and 1/2 hours.
5.Make sure to check the water level during cooking. (In case you are preparing this dish ahead, remove the foil, let it cool, then wrap in a cling film and then a fresh foil.)
6.In case you are serving it immediately, unwrap the foil and serve it on a plate.
7.Garnish with some cherries and serve it warm.
•350 grams plain flour
•90 grams brown sugar
•125 grams butter
•1 tbsp ground ginger
•125ml golden syrup
•1 tsp sodium bicarbonate
•1 tsp mixed spice
•1 egg, separated
•150 grams icing sugar
•Smarties, to decorate
•Royal Icing Ingredients:
•1/2 cup of egg whites
•2 cups confectioners’ sugar
•1 tsp vanilla extract
1.Preheat the oven to 180°C. Also grease 2 baking trays with melted butter.
2.Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat it using an electric mixer until it becomes pale and creamy.
3.Then put in the egg yolk and golden syrup, beat them till they are combined well together. Then stir in the ginger, flour, mixed spice and sodium bicarbonate.
4.Meanwhile, put the egg white in a small bowl. With the help of an electric beater, beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add in the icing sugar and beat again till stiff peaks form. Cover this bowl with a plastic wrap and keep it aside.
5.Take the dough and place it between 2 sheets of baking paper, then roll it out until its about 4mm thick.
6.Use a 9 cm gingerbread man cutter and cut out shapes. Place them on the greased baking trays with a distance of 3cm each. Repeat this process with the leftover dough.
7.Bake them for 10 minutes or until they turn brown in colour. Then transfer to a wired rack to cool.
8.Take a bowl, add the egg whites and vanilla and beat until it is frothy. Add the sugar gradually and continue whisking till the mixture is shiny. Continue whisking till stiff peaks form (This should take 5-7 minutes).
9.Place the royal icing in small plastic bags. Cut a small hole in a corner of each bag. Pipe this icing over the gingerbread men to decorate and finish with smarties.
10.Serve warm for best taste.
•400 grams plain flour
•250 grams any good quality minced meat
•100 grams caster sugar
•200 grams butter diced (refrigerated)
•Icing sugar to dust on top
•A pinch of salt
1.For the pastry, take a bowl, put in the flour, diced butter, caster sugar with a pinch of salt. Mix these ingredients well together.
2.Blend this pastry into a ballshape, without adding any water. Gently knead and make a soft dough like that of shortbread.
3.Preheat the oven to 200 C.
4.Take two tins that have 12 holes each, now press walnut shaped balls of pastry into each hole. Then add a spoonful of the minced meat in each pie hole.
5.Next, grab a small ball of pastry and make round lids that are big enough to cover the pies.
6.Cover the pies with these round lids and press the edges to seal them. Beat the egg and brush the top of the pies with it.
7.Bake for 20 minutes until it turns golden brown in colour.
8.Once cooked, leave it to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then transfer it to a wire rack.
9.Lightly dust the icing sugar on top and serve them warm.
•1 whole chicken (of 2.5 kg or more)
•10-12 garlic pods
•1 large sized onion sliced
•3-4 carrots chopped in chunks
•1 fennel (with top part removed and cut in wedges)
•1 lemon cut in half
•A bunch of fresh thyme
•3 tbsp butter melted
•Black pepper freshly grounded
1.Preheat the oven to 218 degrees celsius.
2.Wash the chicken thoroughly inside and out. Remove the giblets and excess fat and then pat the chicken dry.
3.Rub salt and pepper properly in the inside of the chicken. Then stuff the chicken with thyme, lemon halves, and the garlic pods.
4.Brush the outer part with butter and sprinkle some salt and pepper. Tie the chicken legs with a string and tuck the wings under the chicken body.
5.Now place the carrots, onions, and fennel in a roasting pan. Add in sprigs of thyme, salt, pepper and olive oil. Spread this mixture on the pan and place the chicken on top of it.
6.Roast the chicken for 1 and 1/2 hours until the juices run out when you cut between the part of a leg and a thigh.
7.Transfer the chicken and vegetables to a large serving plate and cover it with an aluminum foil for 20 minutes.
8.Then slice the chicken and serve it with the cooked vegetables.
•2 kg loin of pork
•250 ml chicken/beef stock
•2 tbsp vinegar
•2 tbsp coriander seeds
•1 tbsp grounded black pepper
•Olive oil as required
•Salt as required
•Rosemary leaves for garnishing
1.Using a sharp knife, make numerous cuts or slits in the skin of pork. Cuts should not be too deep. But deep enough to soak the flavors and reduce the cooking time.
2.Rub oil on the skin of the pork. Rub salt, pepper and push some salt through the slits.
3.Preheat oven to 220°C. Place the seasoned pork on a baking dish. Roast for 30 mins.
4.Reduce the heat to 200°C , season pork with coriander seeds and roast for another 30 mins.
5.If the skin has not becomes crispy yet, increase the oven temperature and crisp for 5 mins.
6.Tilt the baking dish, and spoon the fat collected at the bottom of dish.
7.Heat a pan, add vinegar, stock and collected fat. Stir until thickened.
8.Put the roasted pork on a serving dish, pour over the stock mixture sauce. Garnish with rosemary leaves.
•150 grams caster sugar
•50 grams cocoa powder
•6 eggs, separated
•1 tsp vanilla extract
•5 tsp icing sugar, to decorate
•220 grams butter, soft
•170 grams dark chocolate, chopped
•250 grams icing sugar
•1 tbsp vanilla extract
1.Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2.Take a large bowl, whisk only the egg whites then add in ¼ cup of the caster sugar and continue whisking till peaks form.
3.In a separate bowl, add the egg yolks with the remaining caster sugar and whisk till this mixture is thick and fluffy. Pour in the vanilla extract, then sieve the cocoa powder and fold both these ingredients in.
4.Next add in the egg whites mixture gently, while folding them carefully. Line a swiss roll tin with parchment paper. Make sure to leave extra paper at the ends and sides to fold the parchment in the corners so that the paper stays anchored.
5.Pour in the batter and bake this for 20 minutes. Once cooked, let it cool down and cover with a clean tea towel.
6.To prepare the icing, melt the chocolate in a microwave or by heating it in a bowl over a pan of simmering water then let it cool.
7.Next, put the butter and icing sugar into a grinder to remove the lumps, and process until its smooth. Then add in the cooled chocolate and vanilla extract and once again process it to make a smooth icing.
8.Place this chocolate cake on a large baking parchment paper. Trim the edges of the swiss roll and spread some icing till the edges. Cut one or both ends a little and place the Swiss roll on a serving dish.
9.Spread the remaining icing on top and cut off the ends. Dust with icing sugar on top to give this a snow fall effect of the Christmas season.
10.Cut in slices and serve to enjoy.
Recipes from Better Butter