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A cheat sheet for Christmas! Mince pies, eggnog and sprouts!

Fastest Mince Pies Ever

10oz/275g mincemeat
1 x 275g fresh ready-­rolled puff pastry
42 whole blanched almonds
Golden caster sugar, to dust
42 cranbe­rries
Icing sugar, to serve
Pre-heat oven to 220°C
Cut 2in/5cm pastry discs, add to baking tray.
Make a 1.5in/4cm incision to three-­qua­rters of the way into the pastry.
Brush edge of each disc with milk.
Pile a teaspoon of mincemeat into the centre.
Arrange 3 almonds on half the mince pies and 3 cranbe­rries on the rest.
Dust fruit and nuts with caster sugar.
Bake on high shelf for 10-12 mins or till golden.
Remove to a wire cooling tray.
Serve warm, dusted with icing sugar.

Tradit­ional Eggnog

12 eggs, separated
1+1/2 cups sugar
6 cups milk
3/4 cup brandy
2 cups heavy/ thickened cream
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
2 cups bourbon
Beat egg yolks in large bowl with mixer with sugar (until firm and colour of butter, 10 mins).
Add in bourbon and brandy very slowly.
Cool in the fridge for up to 6 hours.
30 minutes before guests arrive, stir milk into chilled yolk mixture.
Stir in 1+1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg.
In another bowl, beat cream (mixer on high speed) to stiff peaks.
In another bowl, beat egg whites to stiff peaks.
Gently fold egg whites into egg yolks.
Gently fold cream into egg mixture.
Ladle into cups, garnish with ground nutmeg.

Christmas Stress Reduction Aid

Mulled Wine Recipe

2 oranges
3 cinnamon sticks
2 bottles red wine
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 bottle white wine
5 tables­poons demerara sugar
6cm ginger, thinly sliced
4 tables­poons brandy
Remove zest from oranges in strips.
Juice oranges into large, heavy-­bot­tomed pot.
Add wine, orange zest, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and sugar.
Simmer for an hour, without boiling.
Add brandy and serve.

How to Cook Brussels Sprouts

Aim to use within 5 days - the fresher the better. Discard sprouts with loose leaves or any signs of yellowing.
Cut off the outer stem and remove outer leaves.
Cut a deep X into each stem.
Soak in cold water for five minutes.
Boil or steam for three minutes, until almost cooked through.
Drain, and place into ice water for three minutes.
Remove ice cubes, drain and halve.
Fry in butter (five minutes).
Salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with any or all of: bacon, chestnuts, shallots, garlic, toasted almonds.

Twelve Days of Christmas

(My true love gave to me ... )
Twelve Drummers Drumming
Eleven Pipers Piping
Ten Lords-­a-L­eaping
Nine Ladies Dancing
Eight Maids-­a-M­ilking
Seven Swans-­a-S­wimming
Six Geese-­a-L­aying
Five Gold Rings
Four Colly Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
And a Partridge in a Pear Tree

Santa's Reindeer

Reindeer from Clement C. Moore's A Visit from St. Nicholas. Rudolph had the night off.

Dates in December

Dec 8
Bodhi Day
Dec 17 to 24
Dec 21 to 25
Pancha Ganapati
Dec 21 or 22
Winter Solstice
Dec 23
Dec 25
Birth of Attis
Dec 25
Birth of Mithra
Dec 25
Birth of Jesus
Dec 26
Dec 31
New Year's Eve
Yule, Hanukkah and Ramadan also occur in December, but dates are irregular.

Leftover Turkey Ideas

Christmas Turkey Sandwich
Turkey and Ham Pie
Turkey Thai Green Curry
Turkey Shami Kebabs


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