Help I’m hosting Christmas!…part two….in pursuit of the perfect biscuit!

Day two in the “I’m hosting Christmas” household and I move on to making my Christmas biscuits, the perfect filler for the following days of eternal grazing. The recipe, compared to my pastry exploits of yesterday, looks a doddle and I’m quick to whip up my dough and leave it resting in the fridge. I then spend half an hour hunting the all elusive Christmas tree cutter that I purchased especially for the occasion which I eventually find nestled in one of those “safe places” that all too soon are forgotten and hence become just enough draw full of stuff.

I opt for a recipe for plain biscuits and then at the last minute decide that plain is not massively festive and so transform my dough with a good few sprinkles of cinnamon, nutmeg and cocoa powder. I then procede to roll out and cut my biscuits into festive tree and star shapes before baking them in the oven for 15 minutes.

The raw dough is particularly moorish and I calculate that I lose at least 3 biscuits to my grumbling tummy but as I make considerably more than the 30 biscuits described in the recipe I reason that this is all part of the perk of being the Christmas host. I may not enjoy the day itself as I slave away in the kitchen but I can at least enjoy the build up!

My biscuits emerge all goldeny and delicious from the oven and I succumb to another few stars (being smaller than the tree biscuits). To lessen my guilt I then take a few warm biscuits out to the builders who vote them 9 and 9 1/2 out of 10. Not bad!

It’s time time to pass my attention on to Christmas day lunch as I now need to combine my preparation for both Christmas Eve and Christmas day feasts. Tomorrow I have to prepare my ratatouille leaving just the beef wellington to complete for saturday night. I then need to decide how far in advance I can prepare my sage and chestnut stuffing and bread sauce for Christmas day.

With the starter taken out of my hands I need only concentrate on the my turkey dinner. The plan is wow the Italians with a traditional turkey covered in crispy bacon and served with a side of chipolatas, sage and chestnut stuffing, bread sauce, roast spuds, brussel sprouts and other vege. Hosting on Christmas eve eats into my timings for prepping my turkey so I am anxious to do as much as possible before guests start arriving tomorrow (friday). So my friday plan is to use half of my puff pastry to make mince pies, sausage rolls and mini bacon bites as well as making saturdays ratatouille and the brandy butter. That leaves saturday morning to prepare the beef wellington and stuffing and christmas day morning to prepare the rest of the vege and make the bread sauce. Wish me luck!

Plain biscuits with a touch of spice


225g Plain flour, 1 tsp Baking powder, 150g Butter, 100g castor sugar, 15g soft brown sugar, 15g oatbran, good shake of cinnamon, nutmeg and cocoa powder, pinch of salt, 1 beaten egg, splash milk


Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, spices into a bowl and add in butter.

Rub into fine mix and then stir in both sugars and the oat bran

Add in the beaten egg and mix into stiff dough adding ina  splash of milk if your dough is too dry.

Roll into a ball, clingfilm and leave to chill in the oven for 30 mins before using.

Once chilled roll out and cut 30 + biscuits using the shape and size cutter of your choice.

Bake on a flat baking tray prepared with baking paper or greased. Bake in the centre of a hot oven 180 degrees for c. 12-15 mins till golden.

Cool for 3-4 mins before transferring to a wire rack. Once fully cold store in an airtight container.



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