Spicery Kitchen Blog

The Spicery's Countdown to Christmas!

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Written by Amy
Published on 28th August 2018 at 10:30 • No comments yet, be the first!

Count down the days 'till Christmas with four easy and delicious seasonal treats! All you need is a handful of fresh ingredients and our special Countdown to Christmas spice blends, listed as a link in each recipe (some jolly Christmas tunes while cooking might not hurt either!).

So, what are you waiting for? Let the countdown to Christmas begin!

apple-chutney-recipe

Our ever popular chilli apple chutney - dark and sweet with a complex depth of flavour from a combination of five different chillies (Aleppo, Urfa, Kashmiri, naga and pasilla) along with warming, sweet spices including cloves, cassia, allspice and pieces of ginger.

  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Makes 2-3 large jars

  • Heat rating: 4
  • Dietary: May contain traces of celery, mustard and sesame

Ingredients

  • 1kg cooking apples - peeled, cored and cut into large chunks
  • 1 large onion - finely chopped
  • 150g raisins or sultanas
  • 400g soft light brown sugar
  • 400ml vinegar (white wine or cider vinegar is best)

Spices

1 portion of CHILLI APPLE CHUTNEY SPICES (1 portion = 3 tbsp): ginger, Urfa chilli, pasilla chilli, Kashmiri chilli, cassia, cloves, allspice, black pepper, naga chilli, mild chilli flakes

Allergens are listed in CAPITALS. May contain traces of celery, mustard and sesame

Please note if you're making a bigger batch, you'll need to scale up the fresh ingredients in proportion, but the spices only by ⅔ or it will be too intense!

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 100°C/gas mark ¼
  2. Wash 2-3 large jars and their lids in hot soapy water, rinse, then place in the oven for 5-10 minutes or until dry to sterilise them
  3. Bring to the boil the vinegar, sugar, apples, onion, raisins, 1 ½ tsp salt and CHILLI APPLE CHUTNEY SPICES then turn the heat down and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes or until the apples have broken down
  4. The chutney is ready when a spoon stirred through the centre leaves a clear trail for a couple of seconds
  5. Spoon the chutney into the sterilised jars and store in the fridge
  6. Great served with cheese and biscuits or cold cuts

Christmas cake has its roots in the Middle Ages, from two very different dishes eaten around Christmas time: plum porridge and the Twelfth Night cake (eaten on the 5th of January). It was in the 16th century that the oats in plum porridge were replaced by butter, flour and eggs and that richer families began to bake rather than cook or steam the mixture. It evolved further when dried fruit and spices (symbolic of the exotic eastern spices brought by the Wise Men) were added and, with the decline in popularity of celebrations of the Twelfth Night, eventually people started eating Christmas cake on Christmas Eve.

  • Total Time: Prep time 5 mins plus overnight soaking. Cook time 3 hrs 30 mins
  • Makes 1 large Christmas cake

  • Heat rating: 0/5
  • Dietary: May contain traces of celery, mustard and sesame

Ingredients

  • 225g butter plus extra for greasing - softened
  • 4 large eggs
  • 900g mix of sultanas, raisins and currants
  • 100g glacé cherries
  • 100g mixed peel
  • 200ml brandy, sherry or marsala plus extra for 'feeding' the cake
  • 200g soft dark brown sugar
  • 300g plain flour
  • 80g whole blanched almonds
  • Marzipan and fondant icing to cover the cake

Spices

1 portion of CHRISTMAS CAKE SPICES (1 portion = 2 tbsp): coriander, cinnamon, cassia, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, cloves, green cardamon, bitter orange

Allergens are listed in CAPITALS. May contain traces of celery, mustard and sesame

Please note if you're making a bigger batch, you'll need to scale up the fresh ingredients in proportion, but the spices only by ⅔ or it will be too intense!

Equipment

  • Mixing bowl
  • 18-22cm springform (or loosebottomed) tin
  • Baking parchment

Method

  1. Soak the dried fruit, glace cherries and mixed peel in 50ml brandy overnight
  2. The next day preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3
  3. Grease and line the cake tin with baking parchment
  4. Beat the butter with the sugar until paler in colour and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until well combined
  5. Fold in the flour, almonds, a pinch of salt and CHRISTMAS CAKE SPICES very gently to keep it light and airy
  6. Stir in the soaked fruit until evenly distributed
  7. Scoop the mixture into the tin and bake for 1 hour. Turn the heat down to 150°C/gas mark 2 and bake for a further 1 1⁄2 hours or until the top is firm and a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean
  8. Leave to cool then remove from the tin and spoon over 75ml brandy
  9. Once absorbed turn upside down and spoon over the remaining 75ml brandy
  10. ‘Feed’ the cake by spooning over a couple of tbsps of alcohol once a week right up until Christmas (keep it covered with baking parchment and tinfoil so it doesn’t dry out)
  11. Allow the cake a few days without any additional brandy before turning right side up and decorating with marzipan and icing

These aromatic, spicy pickled pears keep for ages and make wonderful homemade gifts. Allspice, peppercorns and juniper - best known for the primary flavouring in gin - add a wonderfully distinctive flavour and fragrance to the pears, while the kick from the chilli balances out their sweetness. These pickled treats can be eaten cold with a selection of cold cut meats, or warmed and served with rich game or goose. 

  • Total Time: Prep time 10 mins Cook time 30 mins
  • Makes 2 large jars

  • Heat rating: 2/5
  • Dietary: Contains yellow mustard. May contain traces of celery and sesame.

Ingredients

  • 8 small pears (conference are best) - peeled, halved and cored
  • ½ lemon - thinly sliced
  • 600ml vinegar (white wine or cider vinegar is best)
  • 300g caster sugar

Spices

  • 1 portion of PICKLED PEAR SPICES (1 portion = 1 tbsp): ginger, bay, allspice, juniper, pink pepper, black pepper, piquin chilli, yellow MUSTARD

Allergens are listed in CAPITALS. May contain traces of celery and sesame

Please note if you're making a bigger batch, you'll need to scale up the fresh ingredients in proportion, but the spices only by ⅔ or it will be too intense!

Equipment

  • 2 large jars

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 100°C/gas mark ¼
  2. Wash 2 large jars and their lids in hot soapy water, rinse, then place in the oven for 5-10 minutes or until dry to sterilise them
  3. Boil the vinegar, sugar, lemon and PICKLED PEAR SPICES for 5 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved
  4. Add the pears then simmer for 20 minutes or until they’re softened and slightly translucent
  5. Layer the pears in the sterilised jars then pour over the hot vinegar mixture, including all the spices
  6. Leave to mature for at least a couple of weeks before eating them
  7. The pickled pears should keep for several months
christmas-biscuits-recipe

With their warming mix of spices including nutmeg, cloves and - more unusually - long pepper, these lovely biscuits are easy to make and a joy to eat (kids will enjoy cutting and decorating them) and can be hung around the house or on the tree as a charming personal touch. Long pepper has historically been liberally used alongside (and sometimes confused with) common black pepper in kitchens from ancient Rome to 17th century Europe. Although harder to find today, its mellow, complex flavours make it a nice change to black pepper and the perfect addition to the other Christmassy spices in the biscuits.

  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Makes about 15 biscuits

  • Heat rating: 1/5
  • Dietary: May contain traces of celery, mustard and sesame

Ingredients

  • 70g butter - softened
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 80g light muscovado sugar
  • 2 tbsp treacle
  • 250g plain flour
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • Icing and decorations to decorate the biscuits
  • Christmassy biscuit cutters
  • Baking parchment

Spices

1 portion of CHRISTMAS BISCUIT SPICES: (1 portion / 3 tbsp): Long pepper, mace, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, ginger, cassia

Allergens are listed in CAPITALS. May contain traces of celery, mustard and sesame

Please note if you're making a bigger batch, you'll need to scale up the fresh ingredients in proportion but the spices only by 2/3 or it will be too spicy!

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
  2. Beat the butter with the sugar and treacle until smooth and lighter in colour
  3. Add the milk, egg yolk, flour, bicarbonate of soda and the CHRISTMAS BISCUIT SPICES then mix to a smooth rollable dough
  4. Roll out the dough to a thickness of about 8mm and cut into Christmassy shapes. Place on a baking tray lined with baking parchment then bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. Leave the biscuits to cool before icing and decorating then hang on the tree

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