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Dreaming of a white Christmas

It’s what we all hope for, yet so seldom get. Snow or not, though, it’s still a magical celebration. Here, we’ve given a new twist to some key festive recipes and photographed them to evoke that longed-for snow and frost. With an updated take on the ham, a food gift people will actually want to receive, plus a few classics along the way, our recipes are designed to capture the magic of the season

RECIPES THE FOOD TEAM PHOTOGRAPHS GARETH MORGANS

FOOD STYLING REBECCA WOOLLARD AND ELLA TARN STYLING DAVINA PERKINS

Mulled pear cider

SERVES 10-12. HANDS-ON TIME 15 MIN, SIMMERING TIME 1 HOUR

MAKE AHEAD

This will sit over a gentle heat on the hob for a few hours. After 2 hours, remove the muslin bag with the spices as they can turn bitter.

Alternatively, cool the mulled cider, without the spices, and chill for up to 48 hours before reheating.

FOOD TEAM’S TIPS

This would also work with a dryish apple cider. If you want to make sure no one accidentally swallows a clove, gather up the spices in a square of muslin and tie with string.

• 2 litres pear cider (also known as perry – see tips)

• 6 clementines

• 500ml pomegranate juice

• 400ml dark rum, plus an extra splash

• 120g caster sugar

• 3 star anise

• 1 tbsp whole cloves

• 1 large cinnamon stick

1 Pour the pear cider into a very large heavy-based pan with a lid. Squeeze the juice from the clementines, then add to the pan along with the squeezed peel. Add the rest of the ingredients (see tips), then bring up to a gentle steam.

2 Cook on a very low heat for 40 minutes, then add a splash of rum. Cover with a lid, leaving a gap to let the steam out, and keep on the heat on the lowest setting while serving.

PER SERVING (FOR 12) 211kcals, 0.1g fat (no saturated), 0.2g protein, 23.1g carbs (23.1g sugars), no salt, no fibre

THE FESTIVE BREAD

A single ribbon is all that’s needed to adorn this beautiful bread, woven into a festive wreath for your table. What better way to start Christmas morning than with the sweetly warming flavours of raspberry and cinnamon? You can’t go wrong with a torn-off hunk of sticky spiced bread.

Looking through my bedroom window, out into the moonlight and the unending smoke-coloured snow, I could see the lights in the windows of all the other houses on our hill and hear the music rising from them up the long, steadily falling night.

DYLAN THOMAS, A CHILD’S CHRISTMAS IN WALES

THE WARM GREETING FOR CAROLLERS

Wafts of citrus and spice drift through the house as you simmer this mulled cider, filling the air with the spirit of Christmas and the promise of a warm welcome to all who enter. Chilly hands gradually thaw around hot punch glasses, and the tired voices of carol singers will be revitalised after one sip of this warming brew.

Raspberry jam wreath

SERVES 8-10. HANDS-ON TIME 50 MIN, OVEN TIME 45 MIN, PLUS RISING & PROVING

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About Delicious Magazine

Make your Christmas and New Year the best ever with our December issue. Shopping’s a breeze with our last-minute gifts, drinks advice and festive taste test. On the sweet side, there’s cake decoration, Scandi baking recipes and 16 pages of showstopper puddings. The River Cottage’s Gill Meller rustles up a fish pie, Theo Randall slow-cooks Italian beef stew and Raymond Blanc makes the best party canapés. For a stress-free Christmas day cook our classic turkey lunch with timeplan or squash and chestnut vegetarian wellington, then roast our cover ham for Boxing Day. Finally, see out the festive season with our recipes for leftovers. Happy Christmas – guaranteed!
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