Jessica's Christmas Antipasto
This Antipasto is so delicious and tangy. Don't be concerned if there are ingredients in here that you don't like--I don't like half of them--because the whole is better than the sum of its parts!
Makes 10-12 cups
Prepare jars by cleaning them and rinsing them in very hot water right before you fill them. If you want to can this recipe, omit the tuna and add it after you open the jar. You must fully sterilize the jars before you fill them. I suggest processing the antipasto for 20 min. in a water bath.
* 1/4 cup olive or other vegetable oil
* 2 large green peppers-diced
* 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
* 3 cups cauliflower-diced small
Sauté these ingredients in the oil for 10 minutes.
Prepare the following and then add them to the cauliflower mixture. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes-stir often to make certain it doesn't burn:
* 3-7 1/2 oz. cans of flaked tuna, drained.
* 3 cans of mushrooms, stems and pieces-roughly chopped
* 1 small can of sliced black olives-roughly chopped
* 24 pimento-filled green olives-roughly chopped
* 1 cup sweet pickles-diced
* 10 oz. spicy ketchup (Heinz Kickers works great)
* 10 oz. Heinz Chilli sauce (this looks like ketchup and should be found in the condiment aisle)
* 1/2 cup white vinegar
* 1 teaspoon ground bay leaves
* A pinch of cinnamon (sounds odd, I know, but don't leave it out unless you're allergic)
After the entire mixture has simmered, bottle it and let it sit in the fridge for a few days before trying so the flavours will marry. Even with the tuna in it, this should keep a couple of weeks at least in the fridge even unprocessed. If you can it, remember to not use the tuna. Once processed, you can leave it on the cupboard shelf. Chill before serving.
Lady Catherine’s Cobnut (hazelnut) Shortbread Cookies
(Makes approximately 36 cookies)
1 cup (250 mL) butter, softened
3/4 cup (125 mL) powdered sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp (10 mL) vanilla
2 cups (425 mL) All Purpose Flour
½ cup (125 mL) corn starch
¾ tsp (3 mL) baking powder
¼ tsp (1 mL) salt
1 cup (250 mL) ground cobnuts (hazelnuts)
Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Use parchment paper or a silicone mat to line the cookie sheet if you wish. Otherwise, there is no need to grease the pan.
Beat butter, egg yolk, icing sugar and vanilla until creamy. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients before stirring into the butter mixture.
You may bake these without cooling, if you wish. Roll heaping teaspoonful (5 mL) of dough into balls. Place on the prepared cookie sheets, spacing about 1½ ” (38mm) apart. Flatten with the palm of your hand or with the bottom of a cup. Otherwise, you can roll the dough into a log, wrap in plastic wrap, and put in the fridge for an hour or so. Take them out, cut them into ¼” (6mm) rounds, and bake as directed.
Bake in the centre of the preheated oven for 12 minutes or until very lightly golden. Do not permit to go brown. I suggest you bake a few in your oven first to check that the temperature and the time is correct. You will not regret the extra time this takes. Let cool on pan for 5 minutes before removing them to a cookie rack if you have one. Dust with more icing sugar if desired.
Note: If you have no use for the left over egg white, then you can put the whole egg in the mixture. You can freeze egg whites and use them later for meringues.
Sally’s Scalloped Potatoes Au Gratin
This makes a wonderful side dish for ham, or if you are a vegetarian, it can easily be the main dish—just provide larger servings and add a salad on the side.
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
8 large white potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/8” (3mm) thick pieces
1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
4 cups milk (skim, 1%, 2%, or whole)-heated to almost boiling
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
4 tablespoons flour
1 lb. of medium-aged cheddar cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste.
Place sliced potatoes in a large pot of water with about ½ teaspoon salt. Bring to the boil and boil for about 5 minutes. The potatoes should be only about half cooked. If they over-cook, or under-cook don’t be too worried because you just have to shorten or lengthen the baking time accordingly. Meanwhile, start your cheese sauce. Melt butter or margarine in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in flour and cook for about a minute. Gradually add hot milk, whisking constantly until all the flour/butter mixture is combined. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. (Don’t forget about your potatoes.) When the sauce starts to bubble, stir in ¾ of the cheese. Shut off the heat and stir until the cheese is melted. Taste and add salt and black pepper to your preference. (I love pepper and so I always add lots and lots—at least a teaspoonful or more for a recipe this size.)
Now, it’s time to start assembling the casserole. Drain your hot potato slices. Take a large oblong baking dish that will fit all your potatoes and has room for sauce, too, and smooth a thin layer of sauce across the bottom. Then, add a layer of potato slices—this can be a few layers of potatoes at once just don’t let it get so thick that the sauce can’t get to all the potatoes. Sprinkle on some of the diced onions and spoon on a cup or so of the sauce. Repeat potatoes, onions, and sauce until the potatoes are all used up, ending with the last of the sauce. Then sprinkle the rest of the grated cheese on top. Pop the pan into the oven and bake for at least a half hour. It is absolutely essential that the potatoes be soft before the dish is removed from the oven. If the cheese starts to brown too much before the potatoes are soft enough, just cover it loosely with some tin foil. If your family or your guests are anxious for their food, make them wait! Promise them it will be worth it in the end.
Sarah’s Trail Mix
If you are making this ahead, keep the nuts and seeds separate from the fruit in order to keep the nuts from becoming soft and sweet. Combine everything right before you serve or you take it on your hike.
Makes 9-1 cup servings
1 cup raisins
1 cup shaved coconut
1 cup chopped dried apricots
1 cup cranraisins
1 cup roasted peanuts-salted or unsalted as desired
1 cup walnut pieces
1 cup shelled sunflower seeds—salted or unsalted, raw or roasted, as desired
1 cup almonds—salted or unsalted, raw or roasted, as desired
1 cup pumpkin seeds— salted or unsalted, raw or roasted, as desired
Combine fruit into one large baggie and nuts and seeds into another large baggy. Just before use, take a half cup of each and jumble together in a small baggie. This size is great for hikes or to have as a snack in your lunch. If you are serving to a large group at once, just mix everything together and put into a large bowl and provide a scoop and some Dixie cups that your guests can carry around with them.
Tonne’s Fried Apple Rings
This side dish is wonderful served with roast pork or chops. It’s a great way to use up those wizened apples your kids refuse to eat!
Makes about 5 cups depending on the size of your apples
* ½ lb. thick cut bacon—experiment with different flavoured bacons if you desire
* 1 large red or yellow onion, peeled and sliced into rings
* 6 good sized tart apples—washed and cored and cut into rings
* 1 tablespoon butter
* ½ cup brown sugar
* ½ teaspoon cinnamon if desired
* Pinch of pepper
Cut bacon into ½ pieces and fry in a large frying pan until desired crispiness is reached. You may like your bacon very crispy while someone else prefers theirs softer. Either works just fine in this recipe. Remove bacon from pan and set aside to drain. Remove most of the bacon fat from the pan and then fry the onion rings and the apple rings on medium heat until both are soft. Add back in the bacon and the butter. Stir in the brown sugar, cinnamon if using and pepper. As soon as the brown sugar and butter are melted and coating everything nicely, the dish is complete. Serve a large spoonful on top of a pork chop or beside a slice of roast pork.
Mrs. Edley’s Famous Yorkshire Barm Brack
Fruit cake is not everyone’s favorite treat and we expect it at Christmas only, but I think you will agree that this lighter version is really tasty any time of year. Serve it with your preferred hot beverage.
Preheat oven to 325°F
2 cups mixed sultanas, currants and raisins in tea (use an herb tea if that is your preference)
½ cup candied peel, chopped and soaked with the raisins
1 1/4 cold, strong, black "Yorkshire" tea. (again, use an herb tea if that is your preference)
2/3 cup butter, slightly softened
1 cup soft, dark brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose/plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
6 tbsp whisky (if you do not consume alcohol, replace this fluid with apple or orange juice)
2 tbsp black table molasses
1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp lemon juice
1/3 cup ground almonds
Butter and flour an 8½" square cake tin. Using a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Beat the eggs in one at a time. Mix all the dry ingredients together except for the ground almonds, in a smaller bowl. Add the other wet ingredients alternately with the dry into the butter, sugar, and egg mixture. Drain the dried fruits well and add the ground almonds to the wet fruit to help keep them separate. Fold them gently into cake mixture.Spoon the batter into the prepared cake tin and level the surface with your spatula or the back of a large spoon. Bake in the preheated oven for 2 - 2½ hours or until golden brown. Once removed from the oven, set the cake tin onto a rack and cool this cake inside the tin. Turn out and slice the cake like you would a loaf rather than in squares. Wrap in plastic wrap or place in an airtight container to store.
Desarae’s Salt Cod Chowder
We may not eat salt cod as much as we used to, but it is still popular in some countries, such as Norway and Atlantic Canada. Don’t let the saltiness of the fish put you off. Follow the directions for ‘freshening’ the cod and you will find it delightful. Serve with baking powder biscuits or soda bread.
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
* ½ lb salt cod fillets-soaked overnight in cold water in the fridge
* 4 rashers of thick cut streaky bacon, diced
* 3 large white potatoes, peeled and diced
* 1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
* 1 large leek, cleaned and finely sliced
* 3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
* 1 cup table cream
* 1 tablespoon butter
* 4 tablespoons flour, more or less according to how thick you like your chowder.
* Salt and pepper to taste.
* Pinch of dried tarragon.
Drain the water off of the cod and discard. Place in a large soup pot with fresh water. Bring to a simmer and then taste for saltiness. If too salty, drain and repeat the process. Drain the water and set the cod aside. Fry the bacon in the soup pot. While it is crisping up, break the cod into small chunks. Remove the bacon from the pot and drain most of the fat. Sauté the onion and leeks until the onion is translucent. Add the remaining vegetables and cover with water. Add salt to the water. When the potatoes and carrots are soft, reduce the heat to a bare simmer. Make a slurry of the flour and some cold water in a jar. Shake it very well. If you see any lumps, pour the slurry into the soup through a sieve to remove them. Stir the pot while the soup thickens—about five minutes. DO NOT let the chowder burn or stick to the bottom of the pot. Stir often. When the chowder is just beginning to boil, pour in the cream, the cod, and the tarragon. Salt and pepper to taste. Warning, if you stir it too briskly, the cod will break up. If you don’t mind this, stir away. Add the butter to the chowder at the end. When it melts, dinner is ready. Garnish the top of each large bowl of chowder with the crispy bacon you fried earlier.
You will need to make this ahead of when you want to serve it. In the morning, or even the day before.
Makes a glass cake baking dish, 9-12 servings.
1 cup finely chopped pecans
3 T white granulated sugar
½ cup butter or margarine, melted
1 cup all-purpose flour
Combine all crust ingredients using a fork or a food processor. Spray the bottom of your glass baking dish and then press the mixture into the bottom, spread evenly. Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes or until very, very lightly golden. It should be pale like shortbread. Allow to cool completely in pan before layering the filling. You can refrigerate after it is no longer hot to the touch.
Whip together: 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened, 1 cup powdered sugar, & 1 (8 oz.) container of whipped topping (Cool Whip). Spread evenly over the completely cooled crust. Put back in fridge and do the next step.
Blend together, 2 (3 oz.) package instant vanilla pudding & 2 cups cold milk: this can be skim, 2%, or full-fat as you prefer. Spoon over cream cheese layer, smoothing it evenly as you go.
Blend together 2 (3oz) packages of instant chocolate pudding & 2 cups cold milk: this can be skim, 2%, or full-fat as you prefer. Spoon over vanilla layer, smoothing it evenly as you go.
Final layer: Whip 2 cups of whipping cream with a scant teaspoon of sugar & ½ teaspoon vanilla until stiff peaks form. DO NOT overbeat. Spread over the top of the chocolate pudding layer.
Sift cocoa powder across the top of the whipped cream.
Chill well before serving and keep left-overs in the fridge—if you have any, that is.