If you love doughnuts and you are looking forward to Christmas, why not try this Christmas doughnuts recipe?

 

Christmas DoughNuts Recipe

 

‘Doughnuts get the festive treatment… I couldn’t make up my mind whether to make ring or round doughnuts, and then couldn’t decide if sugar or glazed was better. So I covered all options – they work wonderfully with the warming gingerbread flavours.’ Annie Riggs

Christmas doughnuts recipe

• Total time:60 minutes, plus proving, rising and resting
• Makes: about 15 ring doughnuts and 15 mini doughnuts

Ingredients

175ml whole milk
10g active dried yeast (not fast-action)
450g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
½ tsp salt
50g light brown muscovado sugar
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
generous pinch ground allspice
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1 large egg, beaten
1 large egg yolk
75g unsalted butter, softened
1 tbsp treacle
1.5-2 litres sunflower or groundnut
oil for deep-frying
For the sugar coating and lemon glaze:
125g caster sugar
5 tbsp icing sugar
about ½ lemon, juice

Method

1. Heat the milk until warm to the touch, add the yeast, whisk to combine and leave in a warm place for about 5 minutes until foaming and active.
2. Tip the flour, salt, muscovado sugar and spices into the bowl of a freestanding mixer fitted with the dough hook. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, then add the yeasty milk, whole egg, egg yolk, butter and treacle. Mix steadily for about 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. It will still be slightly sticky.(Alternatively, mix until combined, then knead the dough by hand for 10 minutes.)
3. Lightly flour a work surface, and knead the dough with your hands for 1 minute. Shape the dough into a smooth ball and place in a large, lightly oiled mixing bowl. Cover with cling film and leave to prove in a warm place for 1-2 hours until doubled in size.
4. Lightly flour the work surface again and knead the dough very gently for 1 minute. Roll out to just over 1cm thick. Using round cookie cutters, stamp out circles from the dough, roughly 8cm in diameter. Using a smaller cutter (4-4½cm), stamp out a smaller circle from the middle of each doughnut. Arrange the ring and mini doughnuts on 2 lightly floured baking trays, cover loosely with oiled cling film and leave to rise again for 30-45 minutes until doubled in size again.
5. Pour the oil into a large, shallow saucepan; it should come at least halfway up the sides of the pan. Heat to 180°C; measure the temperature with a sugar thermometer. (Alternatively, use a deep-fat fryer.) Cover a large baking sheet with three layers of kitchen paper; tip the caster sugar into a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix the icing sugar with just enough lemon juice (about 3-4 tsp) to make a smooth, drizzly icing.
6. Fry the doughnuts in small batches for about 1-2 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain thoroughly on the kitchen paper before tossing the round doughnuts in the caster sugar and brushing the rings with the lemon glaze. Make sure that the oil comes back up to temperature before frying the next batch. Best eaten on the day of making.

Now go forth and check out the best festive foodie treats from Waitrose.

Christmas Doughnuts Recipe

Do you have a Christmas doughnuts recipe?

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My Random Musings

This is great for lighting the Christmas pudding or for cocktails. You will need to prepare the rum at least two weeks before you plan to give it away.

Christmas Pudding Spiced

Key facts

  • Vegetarian
  • Preparation time:5 minutes, plus 2 weeks infusing
  • Cooking time:3 minutes
  • Makes: about 750ml

Ingredients for Christmas pudding spiced rum

70cl bottle dark rum (or bourbon)

2 vanilla pods

2 large cinnamon sticks

2 star anise

3 whole cloves

75g light brown muscovado sugar

1 orange

Method

1 Pour 100ml rum into a small saucepan. Using a small sharp knife, split the vanilla pods down their length, then add to the pan with the cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves and sugar. Using a vegetable peeler, pare thin strips of peel from the orange and add to the pan. Slowly warm the rum over a low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar; do not allow it to boil.

2 Pour the contents of the pan into a large, sterilised jar, then add the remaining rum. Once cool, tightly seal the lid and shake vigorously. Leave the rum in a cool, dark place and give it a good shake every day to muddle the spices.

3 After 2 weeks, strain and discard the whole spices and orange peel. Decant the rum into small new, sterilised bottles (or a larger one, if you prefer) to give to your lucky friends.

FYI: The rum can be stored in new, sterilised bottles for up to 3 weeks. Once opened, store in the fridge and use within 1 week.

Recipe from http://www.waitrose.com/christmas

So are you going to give my Christmas pudding spiced rum a whirl this festive season?

Do you prefer alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks at Christmas?

Check out the Waitrose Cellar for festive drinks ideas.

Christmas Pudding Spiced Rum

 

Helping poor families at Christmas really gives a sense of that idea of goodwill to all during the festive season. We can try to help and get a feel good factor from doing so or like Scrooge before he became enlightened we can turn out backs on those who need just a little help. Does helping poor families at Christmas matter to you as you make your festive preparations?
Helping Poorer Families at Christmas
Stress at Christmas is common and particularly where a family has struggles whether financial or emotional.

Helping poor families at Christmas

I wanted to let you know about the Big Give Christmas Challenge – the UK’s biggest online match funding campaign.Every donation (up to £7,000) that my partner charity School-Home Support receive between noon on the 28th November and noon on the 5th of December will be matched by generous champions, including our friends at the Childhood Trust. This means that all of your donations are doubled, allowing the charity to reach twice as many families living in poverty. Today, four million children in the UK (an average of nine in every classroom) live in poverty, so there’s a lot of work to do!

Poverty in the UK

Living in poverty often means things your family take for granted like housing, food are unsuitable for children growing up. Many families cannot manage to afford school uniform and equipment to help with children’s education.  Milestones like growth that should be celebrated add yet more burdens as shoes are needed and extra-curricular activities that help a child to develop cannot be accessed.

Thankfully, this is where the School-Home Support Welfare Fund comes in.

Case-studies

James’ mum, Moji, was a motivated person who studied at University, before suffering leg and back injuries and subsequent deep depression. Unable to walk, let alone work, Moji and her children – James and his sister Favour – were living in poverty, housed in temporary accommodation (in a top floor flat with no lift, so she was unable to leave home for months at a time) with no proper furniture or clothing.
SHS Practitioner, Sevgi, realised that the family were in need of support. She used the SHS Welfare Fund to buy the children school uniforms and bags, proper beds to sleep in, transport to get to school, and items to make the home more accessible for Moji’s disability. Sevgi also helped the family to get rehoused in a more suitable accommodation and to access the benefits they were entitled to.
Sevgi and Moji’s hard work has paid off. James recently won a scholarship to attend football college and is on track to becoming a professional footballer. Sevgi has empowered Moji, so that going forwards she feels strong enough to find resolutions for the family herself. She recently applied for a scholarship for Favour to attend a private secondary school with board, as she’s doing very well at primary school.
Jackie lives with her four adult children and three grandchildren, Cameron, 12, Curtis, 11, and Kodi, 9.  Cameron, Curtis and Kodi were removed from their parents’ care after witnessing years of domestic violence, and the impact of this violence, as well as other issues including their grandmother’s alcoholism, meant that the boys had serious problems at school. Their attendance was low, their behaviour was poor and both police and social services were regularly involved with the family.
Our ‘Troubled Families’ senior practitioner Sam has helped to turn things around. Previously, the boys had tatty and incomplete school uniforms which singled them out for bullying. The SHS Welfare Fund was used to buy new uniforms which has boosted their self-esteem, and Sam visited their home each morning for a week to get them into a morning school routine. Within 12 weeks the boys’ attendance at school had dramatically improved. School attendance for all three boys is now 95%.
The boys’ behaviour at school was also a serious cause for concern with Cameron, the eldest, was being repeatedly excluded from his secondary school for violent behaviour. Sam spoke to the school and arranged for the boys to have mentors assigned, and also enrolled them on a course supporting children who have witnessed domestic violence. The programme has benefitted them enormously and their behaviour is now much improved.
Finally, Sam worked to build Jackie’s resilience so she could effectively parent the boys. She has given up drinking, has taken on some psychological support and now works as a midday assistant at a local primary school.
The police and social services haven’t been involved with the family since they met Sam.
Does helping poor families at Christmas matter to you? How do you go about supporting them?

Winnettes
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Post Comment Love

How to prepare for long car journeys might be on your mind as we hurtle towards the festive season where so many of us visit family and friends at a distance.

We can all be guilty of taking our cars for granted but need to consider taking extra care when we are planning a longer journey. Giving your car a good check before you go can pay dividends in the long rum.

Make sure the car is serviced, either as part of regular servicing or as a one-off. Look after your car and it should look after you.

Basic checks should be oil, water and washer fluid – ideally every week but certainly before you depart.

Check tyres for tread depth. The law requires a minimum of 1.6 mm throughout a continuous band comprising the central three-quarters of breadth of the tread. Be aware that if tyres reach the minimum their ability to grip the road will be reduced affecting braking and steering. Consider replacing tyres before they get to this stage. Check for uneven wear – it could be a symptom of a suspension problem.

Brakes should be checked. Many local servicing centres including Kwikfit.com offer free safety checks and will advise if discs or pads need replacement.

Check windscreen and all glass for scratches or other damage. Any chips in the wiper swept area are a potential MoT failure and should be repaired, possibly free of charge through your insurance policy. Make sure the screen and windows are clean and that washers/wipers are working correctly.

All lights fitted to a vehicle must be working. Many suppliers can provide a set of spare bulbs specific to your model. Check headlamp alignment to ensure that you have the best vision without dazzling oncoming traffic. If you are to tow a trailer or caravan you must also check the lights every time you attach to the tow bar.

Finally make sure you have things that will keep you warm from blankets to flasks. I always ensure we have a comprehensive first aid kit in the car and if traveling with children, make sure you have some activities that will keep them entertained to avoid the “Are we nearly there?” saga.

Check out #CarSafetyChecklist on social media for more tips.

Safe journey and happy holidays!

Five Little Doves

Do you need to cater for gluten-free eaters this Christmas? Here’s an easy gluten-free Christmas cake recipe.

A great Christmas cake is rich, moist, and full of festive flavours, and this version definitely hits the spot. In fact, it just might become a new family favourite!

Gluten-free Christmas Cake Recipe

Preparation time

5 minutes the night before, 30 minutes on the day

Cooking time:

2 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 200g raisins
  • 200g currants
  • 200g stoned prunes, chopped
  • 200g mixed peel
  • 200g dried cranberries
  • 40g candied fruit
  • 140g glace cherries
  • 125ml dark rum
  • 125ml port
  • 250g unsalted butter + some extra to grease the tin
  • 250 g gluten-free plain flour + some extra
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg (or grate it fresh)
  • 300g dark brown sugar
  • 5 large eggs

 

Icing:

  • 700g icing sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon

 

Method
  1. Combine the chopped prunes in a large bowl with all the other dried fruit and berries. Pour half the rum and half the port over and leave to soak overnight.
  2. When you come to make the cake, preheat the oven to 150°C/300ºF/gas 2.
  3. For the cake, sift the gluten free flour, allspice and nutmeg into a large bowl.
  4. In another bowl, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Crack the eggs in one at a time and beat. Stir in the soaked fruit and any excess juices.
  5. Stir in the flour mixture until everything is combined evenly.
  6. Grease a 26m spring form cake tin with butter, sprinkle some flour around the inside of the tin, then tip out excess flour. Spoon the cake mixture in.
  7. Bake for around 2 hours at 150˚C until golden brown. Remove from oven and poke holes through the top with a skewer.
  8. Combine the remaining port and rum together and pour over the cake while it’s still warm. Leave to cool.
  9. Prepare the icing by separating the egg whites and whisking them in a large bowl until frothy. Sift the icing sugar into another bowl then add the egg whites a spoonful at a time, mixing as you go. Stir in the lemon juice and beat the mixture until it forms stiff peaks.
  10. Place the cooled cake on a plate and decorate with the icing. For a smooth finish, use a palette knife to spread it over the top and sides. For peaks, use the knife to create texture. Leave the icing to harden before adding extra decorations or a ribbon.
  11. Serve it to your gluten-free guests or package it up as a gift. Enjoy!

Check out some more healthy Christmas recipes and ideas for treats.

Let me know if you try out this gluten-free Christmas cake recipe?

Easy Gluten-Free Christmas Cake Recipe

 

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