What do you do when the government announces a London Lockdown less that a week before your Christmas shopping window runs out?
You keep calm and dig out your favourite Christmas Cook Book – and you spend a jolly few hours on Christmas Eve Morning cooking up a storm in the kitchen!
nigella saves the day!
Over the years, I have purchased many a cook book on a whim, only to find that I hardly ever use them. They are either too faddy, or too fussy, and although they look pretty, sadly they end up doing little more than taking up room on the shelf.
Nigella Lawson’s Christmas Cookbook was purchased for me by my lovely hubby- ooh, several years back now – and I could never bear to part with it. This cook book is a keeper! It’s not only choc full of brilliant, useable recipes, but it’s also a festive feast for the eye! In fact, I often leave it open on my recipe stand throughout advent, where it becomes a sort of Christmas decoration in itself!
Without plagiarising her book too much, here are a few images to give you an idea of how lovely it is!
And if you’re stuck for a very last minute present idea, here’s one that you might still (well, just about, if you hurry up) have time to whip up! I take no credit for the recipe, but have tried and tested it several times. It never fails to disappoint, especially when the muffins are warmed through for 5 mins in the oven before serving, either just as they are, or split open and spread with butter and marmalade!
Nigella’s Christmas Morning muffins
- 250g plain flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
- 100g caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I used Mixed Spice)
- Grated Zest of 2 Clementines or Satsumas
- 175g dried cranberries
- Demerara sugar to sprinkle on the top
- 75g melted butter or vegetable oil
- Juice of 2 clementines or satsumas plus enough milk to bring you up to the 200ml mark.
- 1 egg
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celcius (gas mark 6). Line a 12-bun muffin tin with paper cases.
- Combine flour, caster sugar, baking powder, bicarb of soda, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl. Grate the zest of 2 clementines over the top.
- Squeeze the juice of the clementines into a mixing jug, and then top up with milk until you reach the 200ml mark.
- Add into the milk mixture the slightly melted butter (or vegetable oil) and 1 egg and lightly beat until just combined.
- Combine wet and dry ingredients and fold until just combined – don’t over mix.
- Fold in the cranberries, then dollop the batter into the muffin cases.
- Before baking, sprinkle the demerara sugar on the top.
- Bake for 20 mins and then remove and allow to cool.
Making these little beauties, really was one of the nicest ‘Christmassy’ things I have done this year. The smell of clementine and spices is lovely – and packaging them up was just a matter of placing them in a cello bag, adding a brown paper tag and a touch of ribbon.
I think they would make a cheery gift for any unsuspecting friend or loved one – especially this year when so many of us cannot meet.
If you haven’t got time to rush out and buy dried cranberries and clementines, but do have some baking basics, such as flour, sugar, eggs and butter in your cupboard, then why not mix up some simple vanilla sugar biscuits? There are many good recipes on the internet – I got mine from BBC Good Food.
These are fun to make, and look great tied up in batches with bakers twine or any festive ribbon you may have to hand.
Giving gifts is such a joyous thing, and I think receiving something home made is always a double blessing.
And if you’re really pushed to the limit for time, why not buy some edible treats and make a Home-made Christmas Hamper?
It’s pretty easy to pull off…
- Find an old, sturdy cardboard box and cover it in brown paper (or any wrapping paper of your choice). Tie some ribbon or twine around the box.
- Pad it out with some tissue paper, and fill it with a selection of Christmas treats – It’s a good idea to stick to a theme, or colour. This will stop you from feeling overwhelmed and making random, unrelated choices. I chose the traditional Christmas colour theme of red and green (with a bit of gold thrown in here and there).
- Ideas for gifts are: truckles of cheese, chocolates, Christmas coffee or tea, Prosecco, jars of preserves or chutneys, sachets of hot chocolate, tubes of sweets.
I hope my family have as much fun eating this, as I had putting it together!
I wish each and every one of you a very merry Christmas. Blessings to all!