Thursday, December 10, 2015

Donellis Make Ahead Christmas

Mulled Wine

Pop 1 bottle of red wine, 3 cups of water, 3 cups of orange juice, 2 cinnamon sticks a few cloves into a pot bring up to just below boiling & keep at that temperature for 10 minutes- strain and pop into clean bottles – keep in the fridge for 3 weeks.

Limoncella is a traditional lemon liqueur, originating from the Amalfi Coast in Italy.  It’s actually a vv simple recipe and uses few ingredients. Lemons, Vodka, Sugar & water...  great as an apr├Ęs dinner drink or pop into a fancy bottle and give as a gift!

Cranberry Relish – brilliant for use with meats or even cheeses it also makes great gift to give family or friends – stores for the next 4 weeks fantastically – 4 cups of  cranberries, juice of fresh orange, 3 tablespoons of port, sugar to taste  bring to the boil in a pot, cover and simmer for 5 mins.. pop into sterilised jars..

Super simple chocolate truffles  

What You Need:

1 cup of Cream Cheese room temperature, 1/3 cup of chocolate chips + more -  Optional 2 tablespoons of peanut butter. 

Combine cream cheese & melted chocolate chips, drop spoonfuls onto baking paper, pop into the fridge to chill, dust with chocolate powder ..

Fish Cakes 

Great for a festive starter or lunch..
Combine 3 cups of cooked salmon, with 2 cups of mashed potatoes, half a cup of sprint onion chopped, juice of 1 lemon + zest.  Form patties, dip in egg & breadcrumbs and freeze until ready to cook... defrost in the fridge before cooking

Fish cakes - delicious served with pickled red onion and cucumber

Finely sliced red onion & cucumber.  

Mix 1 cup of water with 1/3 cup of white wine vinegar & 1/3 of a cup of sugar stir to combine until the sugar is dissolved – pour over the onion & cucumber pop into jars – will keep for 2 weeks.  Great with any seafood and Another Great Pressie..  

Apple & Walnut Marmalade – delicious with cheeses

Wonderful Italian Chocolate Christmas Cake 
If you’re not into Traditional Christmas Cake why not try this..
-A rich chocolate cake with the festive flavours of cinnamon, orange and brandy..

Cranberry port and orange relish

450g Cranberries 
Juice and zest of 3 oranges
75g caster sugar
3tbs port
  1. Heat the cranberries, orange juice, port, ginger and sugar in a saucepan stir until sugar has dissolved.  
  2. Bring to the boil and stir again, cover and simmer for 5 mins.  
  3. Pop into a clean sterilised jar and store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks..

Make addition batches and tie jars with festive ribbons to make great gifts..

Apple & Walnut Marmalade… 

Delicious with cheeses.. 

450g red eating apples
60g unsalted butter
juice and zest of unwaxed lemon
75g soft brown sugar
125g walnuts chopped roughly
2 tbs of brandy
  1. Cut apples into quarters.. don’t peel…  take out core and cut quarters up into little pieces… 
  2. Melt butter and add lemon, sugar and apples, Simmer for about 15 mins stirring occasionally, until apples are cooked but not falling apart.  
  3. Turn up the heat to cook off the excess liquid. 
  4.  When the mixture is cool, add the walnuts.
  5. Transfer to a sterilized jar and store in the fridge for about 1 week.

Super Simple Chocolate Truffles

What You Need:
  • 8 ounces Cream Cheese at room temperature 
  • 1/3 cup Chocolate Chips
  • + more Chocolate Chips for dipping
Place the cream cheese in a bowl.
Melt the 1/3 cup chocolate chips in another bowl. You can do this on the stove top or in the microwave. Stir to make sure there are no large pieces.
Pour the melted chocolate into the cream cheese. 

Whip the melted chocolate into the cream cheese. Using a small spoon, drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto a tray that is covered in greaseproof paper. Place the tray in the fridge and let the truffles chill for a few hours until they are hardened.
Once the truffles are hardened, melt more chocolate chips and dunk the balls until they are coated or dust in chocolate powder. 

Yum, these Simple Chocolate Truffles are such a tasty treat! Store in a covered container in the fridge for up to a week.  You could also whip in some peanut butter for chocolate peanut butter truffles!

Wonderful Italian Chocolate Christmas Cake

A rich chocolate cake with the festive flavours of cinnamon, orange & brandy

225g dark chocolate
25g unsalted butter melted and cooled
2 tablespoon v fine breadcrumbs
125g whole blanched hazelnuts
125g walnut pieces
5 drops of vanilla extract
65ml brandy
1 teasp cinnamon 
200g golden caster sugar
5 large eggs separated
1 large orange, scrubbed under warm water and the peel without pith 
remove with a potato peeler and very finely chop

8 in loose bottomed tin
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4 350 or 180

  1. Begin by buttering the cake tin generously, then sprinkle the inside with breadcrumbs, shaking off any excess.  
  2. Pop the hazelnut and walnut pieces in a food processor, then break the chocolate into small pieces and add to the nuts.  Pulse the machine on and off until the mixture is of a grainy consistency, but not finely ground.  
  3. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the vanilla extract, brandy cinnamon and melted butter and sugar mixing thoroughly.  
  4. Now gradually add the egg yolks, mixing in very well and finally add the orange peel.
  5. Next whisk the egg whites to the stiff peak stage but not so thick that they become dry.  Gently fold them into the chocolate mixture with a large metal spoon a few tablespoons at a time.  
  6. When all the eggs have been folded in spoon the mixture into the tin and bake in the oven of the centre shelf for about 1 hour to 1 hour 10 mins.  
  7. Cover the cake loosely with baking parchment for the last 10 mins to prevent it becoming too brown.   
  8. Remove – leave in the tin for a few mins then pop out to cool on a wire rack.
  9. You can put some chocolate icing on this cake however I think it looks just fab to decorate with a sprig of holly or some little red berries & a dusting of icing sugar.
  10. This cake freezes perfectly and keeps in the fridge wrapped in parchment & foil for about 2 weeks.. if you can resist it….


Limoncella is a traditional lemon liqueur, originating from the Amalfi Coast in Italy.  Thanks to an old Italian Friend of mine, many years ago I managed to persuade her to part with her Uncle’s Limoncella Liqueur recipe its actually a vv simple recipe and uses few ingredients. Lemons, Vodka, Sugar

Keep Limoncella in the freezer, its fab as an after dinner drink in a little shot glass. Or pop a nip in sparkling wine with a strawberry!!!

You just need a little time and patience ... the end result is worth it...

So here’s what you need...

8 unwaxed lemons
500ml of vodka
2 cups of caster sugar
2 cups of water

Soak the lemons in cold water for 1 hour, remove and dry well.
Get yourself a very sharp knife and very finely peel the lemons, ensuring no pith is attached.

Pop the peel into a large jar and cover with 350ml of vodka.  Cover and allow to stand in a cool dark place for 3 days.

3 days later.....

Pop the sugar into a pot with 2 cups of water, combine well and bring to the boil.
Reduce the heat, and simmer for 20 mins.  Allow to cool completely.  
Add the syrup to the vodka/peel mixture and combine really well.
Allow to stand again in a cool dark place for 2 days.

2 days later.....

Add the remaining vodka, 150ml to the jar.  Allow to stand again in a cool dark place for 2 days.

2 days later.....

Filter the mixture through muslin and use a funnel to pop the liquid into a bottle.  
I buy some of those flip top bottles and it looks great in them...
Leave to Stand in a cool dry place for 1 week before popping into the freezer.

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