Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Taking The Hassle Out Of Christmas - Part One - Christmas Parties What To Take

Ok we have all panicked when were invited to a Christmas Party and thought what can I take, and known full well that you would have to make something yourself, as every cent was accounted for,  well here is the solution.

Round Filled Cob Loaf 
This is delicious

Cut the top off a cob loaf, and retain the cut piece.
Scrape the inside of a round cob loaf out and bake in a moderate oven for approx 30 minutes.

Cook in a small frying pan with a little butter
1 Chopped onion and 4 Rashers of bacon

While that is cooking, mix together
200 g of Sour Cream
300 g of Grated Cheese
Salt & Pepper

Add the two lots together and microwave for about 2-3 minutes until everything is combined and heated, then pour into the warmed cob loaf, cover with the bread lid, and place on a tray, cover with Tin Foil and you have a fabulous dish to take.

Nuts And Bolts


8 oz Butter
4 Teaspoons of curry powder
500 g  of raw peanuts
2 Packets of crispy Fried Noodles 
3 Packets of Caramel Popcorn 

Melt the butter with the curry powder in a large saucepan.
Add raw peanuts, cook for a further 20-25 minutes, stirring OFTEN

In a meat dish which has been warmed slightly on a top element,  add the noodles and popcorn, then add the peanuts and juice.

Keep cooking on the element for a further 10 minutes, stirring at regular intervals.

Drain on masses of paper towels in another large meat dish, and seal tightly in zip lock bags.

Confetti Dip


2 eggs (whisked)
2 Tblsp sugar
1 Tblsp butter
2 Tblsp vinegar
250g Tub of Cream Cheese
2 Tblsp of Tomato Sauce
Green Pepper

Cook these together in a med. bowl over a pot of boiling water until thickened,
Remove from heat let cool then beat in cream cheese and tomato sauce or puree until smooth then add half a chopped onion, half a green pepper and half a tomato minus the pulp.

I sometimes add some red pepper too, you can add what you want basically
Serve with either crackers or vegetable sticks or pretzels.


Party Cheese Ball

People are always asking for this recipe! Makes 3 large balls.
Keeps well in the fridge for a few days.
Great with crackers and vegetable sticks.
This is our Christmas or special occasion treat that always gets rave reviews.
Just be patient when mixing.
Your arm gets a good workout but you want to keep going until fully combined and you cannot see the grated cheese.
You can add extra grated cheese depending on your taste


250g cream cheese
1 medium onion finely chopped
4 gerkins finely chopped
2 cups grated cheese
4 tablespoons Tomato Relish


Place all ingredients except chopped nuts into bowl
Mix with wooden spoon
Be patient, keep mixing untill grated cheese is blended
Taste, add more grated cheese if you wish
Divide into 3 balls
Roll in chopped nuts to cover

Pizza Pinwheels

375g pack ready rolled puff pastry, thawed if frozen
6 tbsp ready made pasta sauce (not too chunky)
100g wafer thin ham
100g mature cheddar, grated
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp dried oregano or mixed herbs

Preheat oven to fan 180C/conventional 200C/gas 6.
Unroll the pastry onto a lightly floured surface and roll it out to 40 x 32cm. Spread a layer of pasta sauce over it, leaving a 1cm border around the edges. 
Arrange the ham evenly on top, then scatter the grated cheese over.
Starting at one of the short ends, roll the pastry up as tightly as possible. Chill in the fridge for 10 minutes or so.

Take a very sharp knife and cut the roll into 12 equal slices, laying them flat on 2 non-stick baking trays as you go. Brush each pinwheel lightly with beaten egg and sprinkle over the herbs. Bake for 12-15 minutes until puffed and golden. Leave to stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Mini Picklets, with Cream Cheese and Smoked Salmon

You have two choices here, you can
Make your mini picklets
Or you can buy them,

Here is the topping


200ml creme fraiche
2 tsp horseradish cream
Dash of Tabasco
1 tbs lemon juice
2 packets mini pikelets*
120g smoked salmon, sliced into ribbons
Mustard cress, to serve
Mix together creme fraiche, horseradish, Tabasco and juice.
Spoon a little on each pikelet, top with salmon and garnish with cress.
Serve with drinks

Nuts & Bolts, Version 2

250g dry-roasted peanuts, unsalted
300g Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain (these are the “bolts”)
1/2 cup (125mL) of light oil (preferably peanut oil)

45g packet of French Onion Soup mix

1 tablespoon of curry powder

1 teaspoon of mustard powder

Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius.
Mix together all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
Warm oil in microwave, for example, on High setting for 30 seconds, then pour over the dry ingredients and mix well.
Spread the mix across a large, flat baking dish and put into the oven for 15-20 minutes, removing to stir every 5 minutes or so. The result should look dry and smell very aromatic.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool before eating. Needs to be stored in an air-tight container.
This recipe is easily adaptable to taste, e.g. use more or less Nutri-Grain, nuts, curry or mustard as your taste dictates.
Makes enough Nuts and Bolts to fill a 2L container.

Rich Fruit Truffles


Full ingredient list:

1 cup pitted dates
1 cup raisins
1 cup walnut pieces

4 tablespoons cocoa

2 tablespoon Lite Olivani or dairy-free spread

3 tablespoons desiccated coconut

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Extra coconut for coating

Place the fruit, nuts, cocoa, spread, coconut and vanilla in a food processor and process till the mixture forms sticky crumbs. 
Over-processing will result in a wet mixture which is still tasty but not such a nice texture.
Using wet hands, roll the mixture into 24 balls. 
Roll each ball in coconut and refrigerate till required. 

Walnut Prune Truffles

Makes 20-25


1/2 cup prunes, pitted
1/2 cup dried dates, pitted
1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder + more to coat
2 tablespoons honey or agave syrup
Ground walnuts to coat (optional) 


In a food processor, combine all ingredients.
Pulse until mixture is well combined. 
Form cherry-sized balls out of the mixture. 
If it seems too dry to form, add a little water (no more than a teaspoon at a time) and pulse again in the food processor.
Roll balls in cocoa powder or ground walnuts.
Place in mini muffin liners. Keep in airtight container in the fridge.
Leave at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.

Apricot Pistachio Slice
Chocolatey and rich and very good looking, this slice is excellent to have on hand for last-minute guests. Also great for midnight fridge raids.


1 cup loosely packed dried New Zealand apricots

1/2 cup pistachio kernels

500g dark chocolate, chopped

100g butter, chopped

1 x 395g can condensed milk

1/2 cup strand coconut, optional

Cut the apricots in half and mix them with the pistachios. Melt the chocolate with the butter and condensed milk, stirring well until smooth.

Quickly stir in the apricots and pistachios and pour into a greased, papered 24cm loose-bottomed cake tin (or a square brownie tin). 
Press the coconut on top. Cover and refrigerate. Cut into thin wedges with a hot, dry knife to serve.

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

1 dozen ripe strawberries
1 cup chopped chocolate (preferable) or good-quality chocolate chips


Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil.
Wash the strawberries and dry them thoroughly.
Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until it is melted, stirring after every 30 seconds.
Overheated chocolate gets thick and hard to work with, so it's important to keep a careful eye on the chocolate. 
Remove it when some pieces are still not melted, and stir until they melt. 
If you are using low-quality chocolate chips, you might need to add a little vegetable shortening to thin it out and make it easy to work with.
Holding a strawberry by the stem, dip it in chocolate, twirling it in a circular motion to evenly cover most of the berry. 
As you lift it from the chocolate, twirl it so that any excess chocolate drips back into the bowl. 
Place the berry on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with remaining berries and chocolate.
Once all of the berries are dipped, refrigerate them for 30 minutes to set the chocolate. 
These candies taste best when eaten the same day they are made.

Russian Fudge

40 pieces of fudge


2 1/2 cups caster sugar
1/2 tin (200g) sweetened condensed milk
125g butter, room temp and chopped into pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup skim milk
1 tablespoon golden syrup
1 pinch salt


Place all ingredients in a large microwaveable bowl. Stir well, don't worry if the butter will not mix in yet.

Line a slice tin or similar with cling film and grease the cling film. (This will make it a lot easier to take out once the fudge is cooled.)

Place the bowl in microwave on high for 15-17 minutes, stirring every 3 minutes making sure all ingredients are binding together.

Take out of microwave and stir slowly with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Pour the mixture into the greased tin and leave for five minutes.

Slice the fudge into small pieces and leave to harden for another 5-10 minutes.


Eat within 4 days of making, do not freeze.

Chocolate Fudge

3 cups (1 1/2 bags) semisweet chocolate chips
1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoons cold butter

1/8 tsp salt

Combine the chocolate chips and condensed milk in a saucepan over medium-low heat; cook stirring until the chocolate has melted. 
Remove from heat; add in the vanilla, butter, salt, and stir until the mixture is smooth.
Line a 9-inch square baking dish with plastic wrap.
Pour the fudge into the dish, spread evenly, and smooth the surface with a spatula. 
Refrigerate until firm, at least one hour. 
Turn out of the pan, remove the plastic and cut into squares.

Hopefully there is something here, that will ease your mind and make you feel proud of taking something along.

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