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Rocking around the Christmas tree with Cordy and Jahdia

Cordy’s Christmas Camembert

Ingredients

  • A whole Camembert
  • 4- 6 cloves of garlic (depending on how garlicy you like it)
  • Fresh sprig rosemary
  • A handful of fresh cranberries (cranberry sauce can also be used)
  • A drizzle of honey
  • Your bread of choice for dipping (I go with sourdough)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200ºC, fan 180ºC.
  2. Slice your garlic and cranberries and pull off the ends of the of the rosemary stalks.
  3. Make slits on top of the cheese, put the slices of garlic and a piece of rosemary in each slit. Then make a cross section slit in the middle of your cheese and stuff the cranberries inside and on top. Add a squeeze of honey over the cranberries.
  4. Bake the camembert for around 20-25 minutes, until the cheese is soft and gooey all the way through and the cranberries have started to burst.
  5. Whilst the cheese is cooking toast your bread.
  6. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Hannah Clift’s mulled wine recipe

Ingredients
  • Merlot
  • An orange which I lovingly stuffed full of cloves (my poor fingers)
  • Cardamom pods
  • Allspice
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Bouquet garni
  • Star anise
  • Sugar mixed with water
  • Lots of brandy (essential)

Ten terrible jokes to ruin Christmas dinner

How much did Santa pay for his sleigh?
Nothing – it was on the house

What type of cars do elves drive?
Toy-otas

What did Adam say the day before Christmas?
It’s Christmas, Eve.

What do you call Father Christmas on the beach?
Sandy Claus

What does the Queen call her Christmas Broadcast?
The One Show

What says Oh Oh Oh? 
Father Christmas walking backwards

Who hides in a bakery at Christmas?
A mince spy

Why couldn’t Mary and Joseph join their work conference call?
Because there was no Zoom at the inn

Why is it getting harder to buy Advent calendars?
Because their days are numbered!

Why has Santa been banned from sooty chimneys?
Carbon footprints

Feuerzangenbowle

The best thing to warm cold fingers and toes at a German Christmas market is a mug of Feuerzangenbowle. The base is Glühwein (mulled wine). A sugar loaf is balanced on top, soaked with high proof rum and then set alight so that caramelised alcoholic sugar drips into the drink. Delicious and dangerous!

Santa run

Our super Santas, Rowena, Hannah and Cordy took part in the Santa in the City run last Wednesday and raised over £1,000 for The Children’s Literacy Charity. Incredible achievement.

Damian’s 10 golden rules to help survive your company/team Christmas party

  1. Eat before you drink – but not too much: food is the enemy of fun (“eating is cheating”).
  2. Stick to one particular grape, beer, or spirit throughout the evening. Mixing your drinks is fatal.
  3. Try not to be the person that no-one wants to talk to.
  4. Don’t use the occasion to negotiate a pay-rise, bonus, promotion and/or new job.
  5. Don’t be too enthusiastic with hand gestures when telling stories or accidents might happen…
  6. Westerners misunderstand the Asian concept of ‘face’. To ‘lose face’ is not nearly as awful as causing someone else to lose face.
  7. Don’t punch anyone.
  8. If you’re going to be sick, try make it to a loo.
  9. Drink lots of water, in between drinks and before and after the party.
  10. Log in / turn up to work the next day before everyone else. You will be widely admired, and very possibly ‘sent home’ at lunchtime for bravery. Don’t pull a sickie.

Click here to read Damian’s full blog

Peter’s delicious chocolate honeycomb recipe

Jo’s Christmas wreath

Richard rocking around his Christmas tree

Cordy’s top five shows to see this Christmas

Christmas Evie

Emma’s little Evie shows off her festive wardrobe.

Damian’s Christmas cocktail

Reassuring Christmas traditions

The build up to Christmas is for me a time of reassuring tradition. It might be pausing while shopping to listen to the Salvation Army band playing Christmas carols, or enjoying a child’s nativity play, the sweet taste of mulled wine, (possibly not the three wise men of Downing Street’s covid response team) that really lets you know that Yuletide is upon us.

There’s one other tradition, though. It’s the anticipation of that beautifully wrapped, soft to the touch, small gift sat beneath the Christmas tree. Yes, it’s the annual ‘Christmas socks present for Dad’. Also known as the ‘annual birthday socks for Dad’, or ‘annual father’s day present for Dad’.

For anyone who hasn’t been sock shopping yet, I thought that as a father I’d point you in the right direction. This list of winners and losers obviously excludes those ghastly, unspeakable ankle socks for men and is limited instead to what I call… ‘socks’.

I’ve spent literally minutes on this research, I’ve toured local markets, the internet and local shops, but here goes:

2021 Winners
Perfect for those Christmas nights catching up on Scandi Noir, you can ‘Pamper your feet like the Nordics’ with Nordic socks.

Post-Christmas lunch allow your Dad to kick off his shoes and indulge himself with Barbour’s ‘3 pack of pheasant socks’ and ‘gift box’ – fancy!

2021 Losers
Christmas Mens Socks one size ‘Bah Humbug’ from Poundland

All other losing socks firmly eliminated due to playing music, telling jokes, or ‘funny novelty’.

Whatever socks you select for your Dad, It’s the giving and the love that counts. Here’s to a traditional Christmas!

Have a Haggie Christmas

Jahdia’s Bermudian Christmas dark and stormy

Olivia Fatkin-Kane’s Apple strudel recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 sheets of filo pastry approx. 50x25cm
  • 750g of cooking apples (e.g. Bramley) peeled and cut into slices or chunks
  • The juice of half a lemon (if the apples are too sweet)
  • 30g melted butter
  • 1 handful of raisins
  • 7 cloves and a tablespoon of cinnamon powder (add more if you love cinnamon!)
  • 30-50g sugar (depending on preference)
  • 1 egg for brushing

Preparation

  • If the apples are too watery you will need to cook them. Put the sliced apples in a pot without water on a low to medium heat for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Preheat your oven to 180C° (170C° if you’re not cooking them first).
  • Mix in the dried raisins and spices to your sliced apples.
  • Make sure your apple mixture is cool, otherwise the dough will crack.
  • Spread out one sheet of pastry on a damp tea towel, brush with melted butter, place a second sheet on top and repeat. Finally, place a third sheet on the second.
  • Pile up the filling along the long side, fold both short sides inwards.
  • Lift up the cloth on the long side and roll up the strudel, use melted butter to stick the pastry together.
  • Use the cloth to lift the strudel onto the baking sheet, the seam should be at the bottom.
  • Brush the top of your rolled strudel with beaten egg.
  • Bake for about 35 minutes at 180C° (if apples were not cooked, bake for roughly 50 minutes at 170C°).
  • The strudel is ready when the pastry is crisp and a nice golden colour.

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

“Laura and Mary never would have looked in their stockings again. The cups and the cakes and the candy were almost too much. They were too happy to speak. But Ma asked if they were sure their stockings were empty.

Then they put their hands down inside them, to make sure.

And in the very toe of each stocking was a shining, bright new penny!

They had never even thought of such a thing as a penny. Think of having a whole penny for your very own. Think of having a cup and a cake and a stick of candy and a penny.

There had never been such a Christmas.”

Caroline shows us how to make spitzbube

Liv’s top Christmas sandwich

Christmas time brings a wealth of excitement. The trees are up and glistening with lights and carols are belted out all over (to which some of us cover our ears) – the mood is just all around jolly. There are many ways people bring themselves to embrace the spirit of Christmas, and mine is taking full advantage of the various type of Christmas sandwiches sold at our favourite lunchtime spots. But which sandwich is the best? Well, look no further because my gift to you is a ranking (out of five, five being the highest) of four shops that sell the classic turkey and stuffing Christmas sandwich. I ranked them based on look, flavour, bread and contents aka filling. I also added a point if they supported a charity.

Sainsbury’s
Look: 3/5
Flavour: 3/5
Bread: 4/5
Contents: 3/5
Charity: No
Overall: 3.5/5

Boots
Look: 3/5
Flavour: 3.5/5
Bread: 2/5
Contents: 3/5
Charity: No
Overall: 3/5

M&S
Look: 4/5
Flavour: 4.5/5
Bread: 3/5
Contents: 4/5
Charity: Yes
Overall: 4/5

Pret a Manger
Look: 5/5
Flavour: 3.5/5
Bread: 4/5
Contents: 3.5/5
Charity: Yes
Overall: 4/5

Please note, as good as M&S and Pret’s sandwiches were, nothing will compare to Pret’s Christmas baguette – my all time favourite. Please also note, this may not have been a fair fight as we did not include Tesco’s. Tesco rarely had Christmas sandwiches available so we compensated by purchasing a gluten free Christmas sandwich, which, I must say, tasted more like cardboard box than a sandwich.

Hannah’s Rudolph treats

What you will need:

  • Bar of Toblerone (preferably not the chocolate orange one – I do not recommend!)
  • Roll of cellophane
  • Double sided Sellotape
  • Red pom poms
  • Googly eyes
  • Red ribbon

 

Hannah Stewart’s Christmas Yule Blog

I have a problem. More specifically, a Pinterest problem.  

I think Pinterest’s USP is that it shows us all these wonderful and cute DIY creations and convinces you, yes you, to think that despite not having a creative bone in your body – “Yes I CAN make that.”  

I fall foul to this manipulation every year in December, otherwise known as the month of ‘Hannah’s Pinterest Fails’.  

With years of failed experience under my belt, I have put together a short list of my top 5 doable Christmas treats – alongside my finished attempt, so you can judge for yourselves whether the pain and frustration was, in the end,worth it.  

The candy cane appetizer
This delightful and aesthetically pleasing board was actually rather easy and pain free. I would recommend this one if you’re pressed for time and want a charming centre piece. Or perhaps if your children desperately want to be involved in dinner preparations – Yes this is my way of saying even a child could do it.

However, as you can see my presentation could use a bit of a Christmas miracle.

 

Cucumber Christmas trees
While cute, this is tricky and you will wish to never lay eyes on a carrot or cucumber again. I recommend keeping any young children out of earshot while making this one…and keep the plasters handy. 

But with only two ingredients it’s certainly worth a try.  

The Nutella pastry Christmas tree
This one is now a staple in my life, I would even go so far as to say that I have perfected it. My main recommendation is to resist the temptation to chuck most of your Nutella pot into the making of this tree. While the idea of copious amounts of Nutella is grand, the result isn’t. Moderation is key! 

Rice Krispie Christmas puddings
I’m sure as children we all made some variation of a Rice Krispie treat – so this one is a breeze! The Pinterest picture shows the use of a real leaf as a finishing touch. DO NOT BOTHER. It’s fancy but altogether a thankless andunnecessary task.  

Camembert snowflake
Cheese is always a must for any occasion, and while I would usually say “don’t mess with cheese, it’s perfect as it is”, this is an exception. 

I’ve baked this many times, but have yet to master making it look as neat as the Pinterest picture. So if you manage to keep the camembert contained – my email is on the Haggie Partners website.  

Eleanor Roosevelt once said “no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Well Pinterest does bloodywell try, and often succeeds, in making you feel like a culinary failure – but I hope the above suggestions serves as a tried and tested guide into what we can all have a go at this Christmas.