Think outside the (gift) box this Christmas.Food plays a central role in most festivities, from Simnel cake at Easter to bangers on Bonfire Night. But no festive occasion is more food focused than Christmas, and as we all know Christmas means the whole of December! Although most people look forward to all the culinary delights that we enjoy at Christmas time, the reality is that one can soon tire of the endless supply of mince pies and yule logs served at various parties and gatherings. By the time you get to the day itself even the sight of a Christmas cake is enough to make you say ‘bah humbug’. Christmas is the perfect opportunity to get experimental with your recipes, as it’s so easy to give even the simplest dish a festive makeover. There are flavours and aromas that we all associate with the Christmas season such as cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and orange, and these can be utilised to turn an everyday bake into something fabulously festive. Even less obvious ingredients can be used, such as chestnuts, cranberries or dried figs. Add a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg to your usual apple crumble, transform a pavlova into a festive centrepiece with cranberry and winter berries, or throw in some dried fruit, nutmeg and brandy to a standard chocolate cheesecake for an indulgent dessert. The flavours and aromas from these ingredients provide the sense of a festive dish, so don’t be afraid to get creative this Christmas! Try Le Cordon Bleu’s orange & cranberry mini bundt cakes.
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