Christmas Pudding with a Difference

DessertServes 4

Mulled Wine Jelly

# Place the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cool water for approximately 5 minutes until they have softened. # Remove them from the water and add to 1 pint of warm mulled wine, gently stir until completely dissolved. # Pour the mixture into 4 moulds then place in the fridge for approximately 3 hours until set.

Cranberry and Orange Eaton Mess

# Pre-heat the oven to 150°C to 160°C or gas mark 2. # Pour the lemon juice around the bowl and over the whisk. (This makes it very clean). # Pour in the egg whites and whisk into soft peaks. While continuing to whisk the mixture, first add 65g of the sugar, then half of the vanilla seeds. # Place spoonfuls the mixture onto a baking tray lined with silicone/greaseproof paper and cook for approximately 30 minutes until crispy, but not coloured. # Next, add to a pan; the cranberries, the orange juice and zest, and 75g of sugar, then heat until a thick sweet syrupy mixture formed. # Finally whip the double cream with the remaining half of the vanilla pod seeds and 30g of caster sugar until a stiff consistency is formed. # To assemble; crush the meringue, and layer with the compote and the whipped cream to form a tower.

Dark Chocolate Marquise

# Simply melt the chocolate and add the melted butter, cocoa powder, and the dash of Sloe gin. # In a separate bowl whisk the egg yolks and the sugar until light and fluffy. # Then beat this into the chocolate mixture. # Add the softly whipped cream last, folding it in gently. # Line a terrine mould with cling film and pour the mixture in. Tap the sides of the tin to remove any air pockets. # Allow to set in the fridge.

Ampleforth Abbey Cider Fruit Cake

DessertServes N/K

Chop any larger dried fruit into small pieces, and put it all into a bowl. Pour the cider over the fruit, stir and leave to soak overnight. The following day, preheat the oven to 180ºC, 350ºF, gas 4. Grease a 20cm round cake tin and line the bottom and sides with baking parchment. Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl and set aside. Cream together the butter, sugar and honey in a large bowl, until the mixture has a light and creamy consistency. Add the eggs one at a time, giving everything a good mix after each addition. Don't worry too much if the mixture starts to look like it's curdling – stirring a spoonful of the flour into the butter and egg mixture should help. Lightly fold in the flour and baking powder, followed by soaked fruit and lemon zest. Turn the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes. Then turn the heat down to 170ºC, 325ºF, Gas 3 and cook for a further 1-11/2 hours, until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. If the top of the cake looks like it is browning too quickly, cover it with a piece of greaseproof paper. Cool the cake in the tin for 10 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

Stir-fried sprouts with cranberries & pecans

Side dishServes 4

Put the cranberries in a bowl and pour over boiling water to just cover them. Soak for 10-15 mins, then drain. Cut the sprouts in half, lay each half flat on your chopping board and finely shred the leaves. Heat the oil and butter in a frying pan, add the sprouts and fry for 3-4 mins. Add the cranberries and nuts, season and toss together to serve.

Roasted brussels sprouts with caramelised onions

Side dishServes 6

Use any leftover onions to serve with soups, on bruschetta topped with goat's cheese or with pork or steak. In a large, heavy bottomed pan heat the oil and butter until melted. Add the onions and cook on a low heat for 10 mins. Add the salt and sugar and cook for another 45 mins-1 hr, stirring occasionally to prevent them sticking to the bottom. It's important not to over stir to allow the onions time to caramelise. Add a little more oil if they look like they are burning. The onions should gradually turn a caramel brown colour. Once cooked add a splash of balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180ºC. Toss the brussels sprouts in oil to coat, season and place on a baking tray. Roast for about 25-30 mins, occasionally giving the tray a shake to evenly brown the sprouts. Insert a knife into one to check they are cooked. Toss a couple of large spoonfuls of caramelised onions with the sprouts and serve with parsley.

Sautéed Brussels sprouts, bacon & toasted almonds

Side dishServes 4

Firstly bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add the salt and whole sprouts, and cook for 6/7 minutes until tender, then drain and leave to cool. Cook the bacon on a grill until crispy and then leave to cool. Once cold chop finely with a cook's knife. On the same grill, toast the sliced almonds very slowly until golden brown. Add the oil and butter to a large frying pan over a medium heat, then add the halved Brussels sprouts and cook for about 3-4 minutes until tender and golden in colour, tossing and stirring to avoid them burning and going bitter. Add the thyme, bacon and toasted almonds and serve with a festive or Sunday roast.