This delicately-spiced celebration cake makes the perfect alternative to traditional Christmas pudding. However, don't restrict it to Christmas day; it is so easy to make and delicious to eat that you will want to serve it at any number of festive gatherings.
Happy Christmas. E.L.
Christmas Spiced poached Pears - Serves 7
7 small conference pears
200ml granulated sugar
2 teaspoons Christmas Spice Mix (recipe below)
Juice of 1 small lemon
4 strips orange peel
a small bunch of thyme
To serve: brandy-flavoured cream, small bay leaves
Mix the vinegar, oil, seasoning and herbs in a large bowl. Prepare the apple and toss in the dressing. Add the cabbage, walnuts and cranberries and mix it all well. Adjust seasoning.
Christmas (Lebkuchen) Spice Mix
Every Christmas I make this mix of ground spices and store them in a jar. The flavour and aroma of this spice mix is so reminiscent of the wonderful Lebkuchen (are they a biscuit or a cake?) that my Grandmother would have sent from Germany. This is a really useful spice mix to have ready at Christmas time and can be used in all sorts of ways to add that special Christmas element to many recipes. Try it sprinkled with sugar on mince pies and shortbread, or add some to braised red cabbage or stir-fried kale with crispy bacon.
4 tsps ground cinnamon
1 tsp each: ground ginger, ground cardamom, ground allspice, ground cloves and ground coriander
½ tsp ground nutmeg
Mix together and store in an airtight jar.