Christmas presents

This year I decided to make my own presents for my family and after looking through endless recipe books and online recipes, I ended up with making two chutneys; Jamie Oliver’s Cheeky Chilli Chutney http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/other-recipes/cheeky-chilli-pepper-chutney and a Fragrant Mango and Apple Chutney http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/4859/fragrant-mango-and-apple-chutney.

At first, both chutneys were very sweet and very vinegary and I was a little bit disappointed with the result, but as Christmas was very near, I decided to put them into sterilised jars and hope for the best – and thankfully the chutneys changed taste completely as they cooled down and the taste ended up perfect!

To go with it, I baked small savory Parmesan and rosemary short bread biscuits…… http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/86/savoury-rosemary-and-asiago-shortbread.aspx

The whole thing was presented in a box with three types of cheeses (a very strong and firm cheese, a firm, but mellow one and a brie) and became a little snack after dinner Christmas day – however we were only allowed a little bit as the receiver did not want it all to disappear at once.

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Christmas the Danglish way

My husband is English and we live in Denmark… he claims he doesn’t care whether we follow Danish or English traditions about what we eat at Christmas and what we do, but with the mention of mince pies and brussel sprouts, he gets all soft…….

To me Christmas is about filling up all my senses – the smell of the food and the evergreens, the darkness outside and the candles inside, the sounds of the carols and old known Christmas songs on the radio…… and last but not least the taste of the food. It is very specific to our different cultures and celebrating Christmas in England never quite got me into the Christmas spirit as my senses were not satisfied with the things I considered Christmas sounds, smells and tastes.

The Danish Christmas dinner consists of: roast duck, red cabbage braised in vinegar and sugar, caramelized potatoes, boiled potatoes, salted crisps and duck gravy…. it satisfies the sweet, the sour and the salt tastebuds, but has always lacked a little bit of bitter taste….. this is why we have introduced brussel sprouts to the Danish menu….

This year I ordered 2 jars of mince meat from www.foodfromhome.dk….. and found a recipe of crumbly pastry and made 36 mince pies – after all it is Christmas and if he wants mince pies, there shall be enough mince pies….. to eat with smelly and strong cheeses…

Here is the recipe I used for the mince pies. I halved the sugar content and added 1/2 beaten egg to the pastry to make it more manageable. However, the mince is specially bought, but at Christmas time you can buy it from www. foodfromhome.dk.

When I made the pastry, I took a walnut sized ball, put it between two sheets of non-stick baking parchment and pressed it with a totally flat lid. Then I carefully removed it from the baking paper and lined a hole in a cup cake tin with the pastry. My tin is non-stick, so I didn’t need to grease it first. Then I did the same to make a lid – the ball of a slightly smaller size this time. Apart from these tips, I followed the recipe.

If you can’t get a hand on mince meat, you can make your own sweet “mince” out of sugar (be careful as the dried fruits are already sweet in themselves), spices (cinnamon, nutmeg etc.) and cut up loads of dried fruits and apples and chopped nuts and experiment with making a sweet, fruity and spicy filling to put into the pastry…… or you can take your inspiration from this recipe: http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/main-ingredient/mincemeat/home-made-christmas-mincemeat.html

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2174/unbelievably-easy-mince-pies

Christmas was amazing and the Danish family all embraced the small changes – in spite of traditions not normally being something we like to change……