11th December 2011
Dear Father Christmas,
Thank you ever so much for your postcard from Barbados. I was pleased to hear you and Mrs C enjoyed the sunshine on your annual break. It was great to see the photos of your trip and I agree, you certainly know how to 'bust a move on the dancefloor' after five hours of all-inclusive high-end rum. It is indeed a shame Strictly clashes with your busiest time of the year, and I'm sure you can 'show that young Harry a thing or two'.
I was also delighted to hear your cholesterol levels are now almost back to normal after the 2.2 billion mince pies you ate on the 24th December last year. Have you thought anymore about your Doctor's suggestion to send out a world-wide memo in October requesting low-fat Mince Pies? I too was surprised your Doc showed no sympathy when you explained that without the full-fat Mince Pies your energy levels would be flagging by Fiji.
Anyway I'll cut to the chase, I know you're a busy man FC. If you could arrange for me to have the following in my stocking this Christmas I'd be ever so grateful:
1. Jamie Oliver's Great Britain book (I hear you always get the elves to bulk order with Amazon each September if you know Jamie has a new cookbook out in time for Christmas, so this shouldn't be too much of a problem)
2. In preparation for next year this Christmas Pudding Basin (FYI: Rudolph's right this year's John Lewis Christmas advert is no way as good as last year)
3. Macarons are my nemesis FC, I think this book from Laduree would be a great help
4. A spatula, as I don't think any budding baker can have enough spatulas. And I also just like saying the word 'spa-che-laa' over and over.
Anyways, love to you, Mrs C, the elves and reindeer,
PS: I thought I'd bake these for you this year, what do you reckon?
Mincemeat Bread and Butter Puddings
6 slices of white bread, thickly buttered
3-4 tbsps of mincemeat
25g caster sugar
2 medium eggs
150ml double cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp demerara sugar
1. Butter the inside of the ramekins and preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas Mark 4
2. Beat together the sugar, eggs, cream and vanilla extract, stir in the milk
3. Cut one slice of buttered bread into two circles to fit the bottom of each ramekin
4. Using cut slices of the buttered bread, form a ring of bread around the perimeter of the ramekins
5. Pour a large spoonful of the cream mixture into the ramekins to soak the buttered bread
6. Spoon a teaspoon of the mincemeat into each ramekin, pat down gently and add another circle of buttered bread on top. Pour over a spoonful of the cream mixture.
7. Repeat step 6 and you should reach the top of the ramekins. Any spare cream mixture should be poured on top now. Sprinkle over a couple of pinches of demerara sugar
8. Pop in the pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes until crisp and golden
9. Enjoy while warm
- Any leftover mincemeat? Say hello to these puddings. A great, festive way of using up those last spoonfuls of mincemeat
- A warming glug of brandy of rum wouldn't go amiss either...
- The mincemeat recipe I use is by Dan Lepard, found right here on the Guardian website
- And FC, could you pass on my love of the KitchenAid to the Easter Bunny? Ta.