Christmas Recipes from the SMS team

Traditional Christmas Cake

Why is it great?
We make a Christmas cake every year, it’s a classic recipe and my kids love decorating it.

Tell us how to make it
4 tablespoons brandy
4 tablespoons port
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
good pinch salt
300g raisins
250g currants
250g sultanas
75g chopped mixed peel
10g almonds, chopped (skin-on)
½ orange zest
½ lemon zest
175g self-raising flour, sifted
175g soft-dark brown sugar
175g butter, softened
4 medium eggs

The day before you intend to bake the cake, measure out the brandy and port, into a large saucepan.

Then add the cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, dried fruits, mixed peel, nuts and zest’s. Now stir and bring the mixture up to simmering point, then, keeping the heat low, simmer very gently for 10 minutes. After that allow everything to cool then pour the mixture into an airtight plastic container and leave it in a cool place overnight. Remember to take the butter out of the fridge so it will soften.

When you are ready to bake the cake, pre-heat the oven to 140°C, gas mark 1.

All you do is measure out the flour, sugar and softened butter into a very large mixing bowl then add the eggs and with an electric whisk, beat until everything is evenly blended. (Use a wooden spoon if you don’t have an electric whisk). Now use a large metal spoon to gradually fold in the fruit mixture until it’s all evenly distributed. Then spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, levelling the surface with the back of the spoon.

Finally cover the top of the cake with a double square of parchment paper with a 50p-size hole in the centre (this gives extra protection during the long slow cooking).

Bake the cake in the centre of the oven for 4 hours until it feels springy in the centre when lightly touched. Cool the cake for 45 minutes in the tin, then remove it to a wire rack to finish cooling. When it’s completely cold, wrap in double greaseproof paper and then foil and store in an airtight tin or polythene box.

SHARON, Office Manager
Amaretto & Cranberry Christmas Cocktail

Why is it great?
Easy to make, only 2 ingredients. I love everything marzipan. Tastes just like a cherry bakewell.

Tell us how to make it
50 ml Amaretto 150 ml Cranberry Juice, add ice cubes 

RACHEL, Production Assistant
Shortbread from ‘The Cookbook’

Why is it great?
My nan used to make it for us every year with some tweaks and now my mum has taken over, it’s a wonderful shortbread recipe, tastes amazing! 

Tell us how to make it
225g Butter
100g Icing sugar
225g flour
100g cornflour
Pinch of salt

  1. Preheat oven to 170c or 145c fan 
  2. Cream fat and sugar thoroughly until soft and light.
  3. Gradually work in flour and cornflour and knead until smooth.
  4. Press into a tin 30 x 20cm
  5. Bake for 30-40 mins

EMMA, Marketing Assistant
Port-soaked Apricots with smoked bacon

Why is it great?
My mum’s made these for years, and has always been complimented on them.  They’re great as Christmas party nibbles, with Christmas dinner and with the post-dinner buffet.

Tell us how to make it
24 dried apricots
150ml port
12 rashers of smoked bacon
a little oil for brushing

  1. Put the apricots in a bowl with the port and soak overnight in a lidded container.
  2. Halve the bacon rashers lengthways. Place apricot at one end of the bacon rasher and roll up. Place in a lightly greased oven dish.
  3. Brush with a little oil and cook at 200 C / Gas 6 for 20 minutes or until golden

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