Are you dreaming of a white Christmas?

Now the first thing to say is that for most of us the next line in that famous festive song “Just like the ones we used to know” does not make any sense.

Was every Christmas of our childhood a white one or is that a myth?

You now enter the tricky world of how different people define a White  Christmas differently some saying one snowflake is enough, some saying the Met Office is relevant and some wanting a proper covering on the ground.

I remember a lovely White Christmas in London with my brother walking in the parks on a crisp and sunny Christmas Day. Apparently, snow is far more common in January and February than December.

Do we like a White Christmas because we think Santa Claus comes from a snowy place such as Lapland?

Just like many aspects of Christmas, it is wise not to look for perfection or expect too much. Great Christmases can be had whatever the weather.

If you really want to guarantee a White Christmas, it may be a question of how deep your pockets are as the better-off can pay for a White Christmas by paying to go on holidays to Lapland or perhaps skiing.

I don’t like the cold so have not done either yet but as with many things in life, perhaps I should try something new to add some sparkle to middle-age.

I might be convinced by a friend who told me today that she is not particularly sporty but enjoys skiing holidays all the same largely for the après-ski, the great views and mulled win in plentiful supply.

I think I might be like her when I take skiing lessons and not entirely a natural. However, the idea of being surrounded by eager and attractive instructors keen to move me on from beginner status just might appeal after all.

So what are our chances of snow this year and are you dreaming of a White Christmas?

 

Scotch cakes with hot-smoked salmon, crispy sprouts, avocado and egg makes an amazing festive indulgence.

Scotch  Cakes

Cooking shredded brussels until they’re crispy will convert even the wariest of sprout-eaters

Scotch cakes

•Preparation time:10 minutes
•Cooking time:15 minutes
•Total time:25 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients

100g self-raising flour
25g caster sugar
½ tsp fine sea salt
40ml whole milk
6 eggs, 2 beaten
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus a little extra for drizzling
200g Brussels sprouts, outer leaves discarded and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp unsalted butter
1 avocado, halved and sliced
160g hot-smoked salmon, flaked
4 tbsp Greek yogurt
Small handful flat leaf parsley leaves

Method

1. Put the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Whisk in the milk and 2 beaten eggs to make a smooth batter; set aside. Place a large non-stick pan over a high heat and add 2 tbsp olive oil. Once hot, add the sliced sprouts and stir-fry for 4 minutes, until golden and crispy. Add the garlic and fry for a further 30 seconds, stirring all the time. Remove from the heat, transfer to on a warm plate, season and set aside.

2. Wipe out the pan with kitchen paper and add 1 tsp butter. When it sizzles, add 1 heaped tbsp batter for each scotch cake, making sure you don’t overcrowd the pan. Cook for about 2 minutes until bubbles appear on the surface and the base is golden, then flip over and fry for another minute until cooked through. Remove and keep warm in a low oven while you cook the rest of the scotch cakes in the remaining butter. You should end up with about 16.

3 Wipe out the pan again, heat the remaining 1 tbsp oil and fry the eggs to your liking. Divide the scotch cakes between 4 warmed plates, top with the eggs, sprouts, avocado, salmon and a spoonful of yogurt. Scatter over the parsley leaves and drizzle with a little more extra virgin olive oil. Serve immediately with a dash of chilli sauce, if liked.

Scotch Cakes With Hot Smoked Salmon

Mulled cider might be a new concept to you but I have a recipe that I really would urge you to try this Christmas.

Mulled Cider

Mulled pear cider

Serves 12.

 

  • 2L Waitrose pear cider
  • Juice of 6 clementines
  • 500ml pomegranate juice
  • 400ml dark rum
  • 100ml sugar syrup
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 3 star anise
  • 1 tbsp whole cloves
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • Fresh mint to serve

 

Bring all the ingredients to the boil in a saucepan. Turn down the heat and simmer for 40 minutes. Ladle into glasses, garnish with fresh mint leaves and slices of caramelised clementine.

Check out more festive drinks ideas and add a little sparkle to Christmas.

Mulled Cider Recipe

If you are looking for a mulled gin recipe to spice up your Christmas, try Mulled sloe gin with toffee

Mulled Gin

Mulled gin recipe

Serves 8.

• 1L apple juice
• Juice of 4 lemons
• 2 cinnamon sticks, plus extra to garnish
• 2-3 Waitrose dairy toffees
• 6 dashes Angostura Bitters
• 2 oranges, halved and sliced
• 300ml sloe gin
• Cranberries to garnish

How to make

Combine the apple juice lemon juice, cinnamon sticks, toffees and Angostura Bitters in a large saucepan. Gently simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the orange slices and sloe gin. Garnish with cranberries and cinnamon sticks.

So who will be giving this mulled gin recipe a try this festive season?

Mulled Gin Recipe

I really fancy serving up this mulled apple and ginger recipe over Christmas.

Mulled Apple

Serves 12.

• 2L cloudy apple juice
• 2 thumb-sized pieces of ginger, sliced into thin strips
• 2 ripe pears, sliced
• 2 cinnamon sticks
• 4 juniper berries
• 3 tbsp Demerara sugar
• Juice of 4 limes, zest of 2, plus extra limes to garnish

Put all the ingredients except one of the pears in a large saucepan. Simmer until the sugar dissolves. Ladle into glasses, garnish with the remaining sliced pear, lime slices and extra lime zest.

What festive drinks will you be serving up this Christmas?

Mulled Apple And Gin Recipe

My Random Musings