Here’s an interesting way of re-using your empty Advent calendars – Christmas-themed jelly shots! This one came about as a result of a suggestion for another Christmas-themed experiment – it’s quick and easy, though the end result is a bit fiddly.
Simply take the tray out of the box, and wash off any excess chocolate and remaining glue – the majority of it should actually be peel-able before washing.
Make up the jelly mix as instructed on the packet (though I opted to use less water than instructed, as less is required here), mix in your choice of juice and alcohol, then carefully pour into each section. Once they’ve cooled, place in the fridge and chill overnight.
This was the first batch, made with Tango (fizzy Orange) and Jim Beam Red Stag Whiskey.
For the second batch here, I tried again using even less water, just to see if I could get a thicker jelly – this still needs some work! They did have a bit more of a kick though. I also swapped out the fizzy Orange drink for Vimto.
You can spoon them out and eat them individually, or perhaps add them to a dessert.
With Christmas fast approaching, I thought I’d start playing with some ideas for the season, and being a fan of Mince Pies, decided to put my own twist on this popular classic, with Glace Cherries and (typically) a splash of Honey Jack Daniel’s.
1 375g pre-made Puff Pastry sheet (from which I was able to make 12 pies)
1 jar of Traditional Mincemeat (though I didn’t use the whole jar)
Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey
Cut out the pastry bases with a cookie cutter, and place in a buttered baking tray, along with a cherry in each one.
Spoon out some mincemeat meat into a bowl, and add a splash or two of JD, just enough so that it mixes in with the mince without making it too runny. Spoon this mix into each pie.
Cut out the pastry tops with a smaller cookie cutter, place on top of each, then apply a milk wash.
Place in the middle of a pre-heated oven at gas mark 6 (400 degrees F) for 20 minutes.
Done! Quick and easy, ideal for snacks, dessert or party food. I’m already looking forward to making more this year.
If you’re ever stuck for ideas for what to do with those Christmas dinner/Sunday roast leftovers, here’s a suggestion for you, another experiment of mine. This one was inspired by seeing what Heston Blumenthal had been doing in his recent programmes, like the Fish & Chip episode, combining every aspect of a meal into one single snack. This is another easy one, doesn’t take too much time to prepare, and you can adjust the recipe to suit your tastes.
You’ll need, depending how many you wish to make:
– 250g block of pastry (for 6 pies) or a whole 500g block for 12, possibly more
– Any leftovers you wish to use – I used some roast lamb, roast potato, some sage and onion stuffing and cranberry sauce
– An 8.5cm circular pastry cutter
Pre-heat your oven to gas mark 4, 350F. Roll out your pastry, and cut out the circles. Lay one on a greased tray, and lay out the filling – a line of stuffing, a slice of lamb, a slice of potato, then some cranberry sauce. Take another circle of pastry (which may require a little stretching before use) and add this on top, before sealing and applying an egg wash. Repeat until you have as many as desired.
Place in the oven for 18-20 minutes, and serve.
These turned out great, a tasty snack which was enjoyed by all the family and friends who tried them.