Friday, 24 December 2010

Baking Lebkuchen on Christmas Eve

Deck the halls with boughs of holly fa la la la la la la la la! Tonight I am going back to my roots with a Christmas Eve baking tradition.

A few posts ago I said that I was going to try out a few of the Hairy Bikers 12 Days of Christmas recipes and I have spent the past five days lazing about, becoming once again acquainted with my PJs and making yummy treats.

After delivering the last of our presents to people around the island, Mum and I came back home this evening to bake Lebkuchen.

A German-style biscuit which can be used as decorations as well

My usual Christmas Eve biscuits are gingerbread men which make great gifts. These weren’t far off – just with more of a kick. Rich with seasonal spices and slightly cakey from ground almonds these would definitely be appreciated by Santa with a sherry tonight!

We didn't have festive-shaped cutters so we
added glace cherries for decoration

Other recipes I attempted this week:
Last Wednesday we had our traditional Christmas party with friends and family. My mum cooked a celebratory joint of pork and jacket potatoes. I contributed by assembling Nigella’s festive cous cous and a few of the Biker’s new recipes:

Nigella suggests adding pomegranate seeds to add colour to boring cous cous
Christmas Panna Cotta
I was really really looking forward to making this gelatine delight after watching the Hairy Biker’s excitement in their 12 Days of Christmas programme last Monday. But I don’t think we took it out of the fridge soon enough and the panna cotta was set more like glue than jelly, removing 20 minutes before serving would have softened this up perfectly. However, it was still a great alternative to the stodgy and cakey based puddings favoured at this time of year!

Rum soaked raisins and  spices give this Italian pudding a Christmas twist

Roulade with a twist We had no chestnut puree so we edited the recipe slightly and added raspberries and cream flavoured with whisky! Ho ho ho! This was such a success we’re going to make it again for Boxing Day.

A feast of desserts

Cranberry and Lime Vodka Jelly Shots
Beware! After an hour or so out of the fridge, they melt a fair bit and become more sloppy. I found this out the hard way! After a few shots and a cup of mulled wine I offered my friend, Grace, a shot. I swung round a little too quickly and this resulted in my other friend, Claire, being splashed by a flying vodka jelly!! (Sorry again Claire! - Sorry that I wasted it, they were so good! Hehehe!)

A couple of festive additions made the party memorable. I made an advent orange as a “prize” for the evening’s entertainment and Mum and I turned the dining room into a grotto with hundreds of lights, candles and glitter on the table. I also made simple place name cards which went down well, along with the traditional crackers and party poppers.

Simple and individual place cards

If you’ve missed the Hairy Biker’s Christmas specials, they will be available on BBC iPlayer until the end of December:
Hairy Bikers Mums Know Best at Christmas
Hairy Bikers 12 Days of Christmas

Home sweet home

Merry Christmas everyone! Hope you have a beautiful and peaceful holiday.
And be safe if you are travelling in the snow!

Merry Christmas from Back To The Roots & friends

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