So those delicious Christmas drinks have all started becoming available at most high street coffee shops. Now, whilst I do love my Gingerbread Latte I also know it piles on the pounds and hits the pocket. So I have created my own version for home. I make my coffee as per usual (I use one of those expresso makers for the hob as they are cheap and also make the best coffee) then I mix in some of my honey and ginger syrup.
This is simple to make, combine some grated fresh or powdered ginger with some honey. Use the ratio that suits your taste buds and keep some ready made in a jar for the next time you want a coffee with that festive feeling. Ginger and honey are a much more healthy alternative to what you buy in the high street coffee shops. As well as tasting great they will help fight off all those nasty pre-Christmas bugs and viruses.
Yesterday I put the slow cooker on and started the main course I will be serving up on Boxing Day. I cooked some chopped braising steak and onion in a red wine sauce. This has now been frozen. I will take it out of the freezer on Christmas Eve and pop it in the fridge. Come Boxing day morning I shall put it in a pie dish and roll out some pre-bought puff pastry to pop on top. With some roasted vegetables this should be enough to feed all the in-laws on Boxing day without me slaving away in the kitchen all day!
Before writing this I had just finished making my Cranberry sauce for Christmas day and to give away as gifts. For the recipe please go to:
I will re-publish my count down to Christmas blog next week as it is my bible at this time of year to remind me of everything I need to do.
On a final note for this week. Last night I bottled and sampled some of the homemade Christmas Liqueur I have been making over the last few months. Cheers everyone!!
Cooking for Christmas can be time consuming and expensive.
Here are a couple of ideas which are not just easy to make, but also easy on the pocket, especially when cooking for large groups of people.
Millionaire's short bread
This is a great easy to prepare recipe and can be made in advance
1. Remove the label and pierce the lid of the condenses milk before placing it in a saucepan of boiling water for a couple of hours making sure the tin remains at least half way submerged in the water.
2. Once the condensed milk has cooled remove the lid and place a teaspoon of caramel at the bottom of each pastry case.
3. Cover with chocolate mousse or melted dark chocolate
4. Serve with a sprinkling of golden brown sugar
Store in an airtight container in the fridge, removing half an hour before serving
When looking to prepare nibbles and canapés for parties Olives are always an easy and inexpensive option especially when drizzled with olive oil and chopped basil. Adding some grated garlic is also a nice touch or some fresh or roasted tomatoes and/or sliced roasted vegetables. By buying the jars or tins of olives (I usually go for the extra large variety) and adding your own accompaniments this is much cheaper and tastier way to serve them, rather than buying the more expensive pre-pared variety. They can also be prepared and stored in the fridge days before the guests arrive.
As we lead up to Christmas everyone is trying to save money where they can and also keep the weight off in order to be able to properly indulge over the Christmas period.
I have founds some great ways to do both.
My first discovery was buttermilk it is a great alternative to yogurt, is cheaper and much easier to cook with. I have started to use it in my smoothies using all that luscious fruit I picked and froze during the summer months. It is a great way to start the day and full of vitamins to fight off those nasty colds everyone seems to be catching at the moment
Buttermilk also makes a great salad dressing and can be used as a main ingredient for sauces. Here are some I found online and use regularly
(The pasta sauce recipe is particularly easy and cheap to make)
Oats are another cheap and great way to feel fuller for longer. A bowl of porridge in the morning with a spot of honey (a natural antibiotic) will help keep that cholesterol down and stop you from snacking mid-morning keeping that waist trim and pockets fuller!!!
Also remember the packet of root vegetables you can buy for a £1 from most supermarkets that I mentioned in a previous blog
Well this is another great way to save pounds and also get rid of a few extra kilos before Christmas
By chopping up and roasting these vegetables in olive oil they make a great alternative to roast or mashed potatoes. They’re full of nutrients, you can roast everything in one dish and save on the washing up as well.
As always spinach is cheap, easy to cook and full of iron making it a great accompaniment to most meals!