Tag Archives: Christmas

Hazelnut & Chocolate Stollen

This version of the traditional Christmas Stollen is absolutely delicious!

If you make just one thing this Christmas let it be this ‘Chocolate & Hazelnut Stollen’ bake filled with the colourful sweetness of cranberries, apricots, chocolate chips and the delicious blend of Christmas spices.

We enjoyed a slice of this warm with some delicious warmed spice apple juice. It’s so quick to pop on this delicious warming drink while you wait for the dough to rise and it makes the perfect accompaniment with a slice of Stollen by the fire. I have included the recipe below for you.

Spiced Apple Juice Recipe

4 liters of apple juice

1 sliced apple

1 handful of dried cranberries

2 cinnamon sticks or 4tsp of cinnamon

2 tsp of ground cloves

2 tsp of allspice

Pour all of the juice into a huge pot, I love my huge cast iron pot for this with the lid. Add all the spices, apples and cranberries and adjust to your tastes. Simmer for an hr or so and leave on a low heat to serve all evening.

This lasted us a few nights but you could also half the recipe. Its also important to use good quality pressed apple juice instead of concentrate which tends to be too sweet.

Stollen Recipe

100g of dried cranberries

30g of chopped hazelnuts

50g of dried chopped apricots

200ml of warm apple juice (you can use the drink above too, it works really well just make sure its not too hot)

1tbsp of dried yeast

250g of strong white flour (an additional 50g when fruit is added)

2tsp of cinnamon

2tsp of allspice

1/2tsp of ground cloves

80g of chocolate chips

10g of coconut oil

2tbsp of icing sugar

100g of chocolate chips (for melting)

Soak the dried cranberries, hazelnuts and dried apricots in 100ml of hot water and set aside (you can increase the quantities of fruit if you prefer it sweeter).

Add the warm apple juice to a small jug and sprinkle in the dried yeast. Stir gently and set aside to bubble and activate for 15-20mins.

Add the flour, cinnamon, allspice, cloves and coconut oil and mix together. I use the dough hook on my kitchen aid for creating the dough but you can, as described in this recipe, knead by hand.

Once the yeast has been left to activate add it into the flour and spices in the bowl. Mix together to create a smooth dough, adjusting the flour or adding a little water if necessary. You should have a relatively non sticky dough which can be handled without feeling too sticky in your hands. If its too sticky add a little extra flour.

Remove the dough from the bowl for kneading. Add a little vegetable oil to your hands to reduce sticking whilst kneading. Knead for 10 minutes until completely smooth and pliable.

Place in a bowl which has been lightly oiled and cover with a clean dish towel and leave to rise somewhere warm for one hour.

Remove from the bowl again. Drain the soaked dried fruit, nuts and chocolate chips and add to the dough. You might need some additional flour at this point so that the dough doesn’t become sticky due to the extra moisture. Knead for a further 10mins.

Leave to rise again for another hour in the same warm place.

Shape into a rounded loaf shape and bake at 180oc for 30-40minutes or until lightly brown and when tapped on the bottom it should sound hollow.

Leave to cool on a wire cooling rack for around half an hour.

Add the icing sugar into a small bowl with a little water to create a thick but runny paste. You can either paste this onto the whole top of the loaf and finish with a dusting of icing sugar or you can drizzle it as I have in the image above.

Melt the chocolate and drizzle across the loaf. Sprinkle with some additional chopped hazelnuts and slice to serve.

Enjoy!

Christmas Nibble Board

Christmas nibbles…ah!…so many happy memories of our family nibble platters at Christmas time!

I’ve seen many a delicious plate of nibbles in my day, from the excitement of my Mum and Dad bringing out our faves at Christmas to visiting Grandma and Grandad at Hogmany and feasting on scrummy hot nibbles all night when we were wee and then to us as parents ourselves bringing out warm plates of nibbles to our own excited kids!

There’s been many a happy memory around food in our household at Christmas young and old.

I made this somewhat healthier version of a nibble platter to feed the kids the day we collected the Christmas tree, because who has time to prepare huge meals when your all singing Christmas songs and decorating the tree with twinkling lights.

I used fresh fruits, vegetables, homemade crumbly feta almond cheese, sticky mango and sweet chilli sausage bowls and mushroom based sausage rolls. Yummy!

It’s super easy to prepare and assemble and you can of course vary the ingredients loads.

Ingredients

Sliced fruit and vegetables of choice

Vegetarian/vegan sausages

Vegetarian/vegan sausage rolls

Crispbreads for spreading

Crisps

Mango chutney

Sesame seeds

Sweet Chilli sauce

Chopped Spring onions

Cranberry sauce

Black olives

Sun dried tomatoes

Almond Feta Ingredients

2 cups of whole almonds

1 shallot or half a red onion chopped

2 chopped garlic cloves

1 lemon

1-2tbsp of plain yogurt (I used coconut) (optional)

Salt & pepper

Almond Feta Recipe

Soak the almonds in boiling hot water in a bowl for a couple of hours and peel off the skins. Pop the peeled almonds into the blender. Add the chopped onion or shallot, garlic, the juice of 1 lemon, yogurt if using, salt and pepper.

Blend in a high powered blender until completely smooth and taste, adjusting the seasonings as necessary. Add a little water if necessary too. You should have a really thick ‘stick to the spoon’ paste texture.

Lay out a muslin flat on the counter and spoon out the almond mixture onto the muslin. Wrap up into a tight ball and squeeze out the excess liquid over the sink. Tie a knot and hang into a jug, place in the fridge over night. If you don’t have time just squeeze out as much liquid as possible and then shape into a ball. Place in a glass dish and bake at 160 for 30mins or until golden and crispy on the outside.

Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with chopped herbs, sun dried tomatoes or olives etc. Serve with thin crispbreads or oatcakes.

Sticky Sausages Recipe

Cook the vegetarian sausages on a medium heat in the oven. Split into two bowls, coat one batch in mango chutney and the other in sweet chilli sauce. Serve in two small bowls, sprinkle sesame seeds over the mango sausages and spring onions over the sweet chilli ones.

Lay the cheese and sausages out on a chopping board and display the sliced vegetables all around the bowls to make it all look pretty and edible.

Enjoy!

Creamy Mushroom & Chestnut Pate

Creamy homemade pate and biscuits during the festive season is an absolute must in our family home. I’ve been craving a meaty alternative for a few years now and decided this year to create this recipe for a creamy meat free pate that we could enjoy as an alternative to our traditional choices.

I spread it thickly on my wholemeal spelt Christmas tree rolls and topped it off with some finely chopped apples, beetroots and red onion as a sweet garnish. It’s so simple but absolutely delicious and is enough to impress any pate loving guests this festive season.

The recipe for the wholemeal spelt rolls is linked below. The rolls are topped with a finely chopped red onion and garlic olive oil drizzle and a sprinkle of fresh herbs to finish. They are extra scrummy fresh out of the oven!

Recipe Link – Wholemeal Spelt Rolls

This pate hits the spot with all its earthy goodness and works really well with the sweetness of the finely chopped apple, beetroot and red onion. It can be eaten on its own with bread but I would recommend the topping as it is so delicious and pretty in colour too!

The pate is topped and sealed with melted coconut oil, coloured with a pinch of tumeric for that authentic pate look. It’s the perfect addition to any Christmas spread.

Ingredients

Pate

2 tbsp of coconut oil

1 tbsp of olive oil

300g of sliced chestnut mushrooms

3 chopped cloves of garlic

1/2 sliced red onion

100g of cooked chestnuts

Soy or oat cream (to thin to desired consistency)

Salt and pepper

Topping

1 finely chopped apple

2 cooked beetroots finely chopped

1 red onion finely chopped

Coconut Oil Seal

2-4tbsp of coconut oil

Tumeric

Melt the coconut oil and add the olive oil in a frying pan. I love using my large rustic cast iron frying pan for this. Add in the mushrooms, garlic, red onion and cook through for a few minutes until cooked and soft. Add the cooked chestnuts and warm through.

Add all of the cooked ingredients into a blender. Add a tbsp of soy or oat cream and blend. Add in more cream to blend to your desired consistency. I like a smooth pate but it can be eaten coarse also. Fill your pate dish with the smooth pate.

Melt an additional 2-4tbsp of coconut oil in a small pan (the quantity depends on the surface size of your dish). Add a pinch or two of tumeric powder to the melted oil and mix through. Pour over the pate in the dish to create a seal and refrigerate until it is solid on the top. I popped my dish in the freezer to speed up the process.

Serve chilled with a bowl of the finely chopped apple, beetroot and red onion on the side. Spread your rolls or other bread with the pate and top with the chopped apple, beetroot and red onion. Enjoy!

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