Home for Christmas
Today’s recipe for “Tear & Share” Christmas Tree Cinnamon Rolls is a family tradition on Christmas Eve – these buttery, pull-apart spiced and iced rolls are enjoyed with a mug of rich, fragrant hot chocolate topped with a generous swirl of whipped cream, whilst sitting next to a roaring log fire, or as is often the case, whilst sitting at the scrubbed pine kitchen table, surrounded by bags of flour, pots of aromatic spices and plates of freshly made food for the annual Christmas Eve Buffet. Every year my daughter makes it home for Christmas, and she and other members of my family look forward to kicking off the festive season with these delectable cinnamon rolls.
I am delighted and thrilled to say that today’s recipe will also be shared in this week’s Waitrose Weekend newspaper, as I am featured as one their “brightest food stars”, and if you pick up a copy today, the 24th November, you will see an interview with me along with my recipe for these “Tear & Share” Christmas Tree Cinnamon Rolls. It’s all part of Waitrose’s #HomeForChristmas campaign, with recipes, tips and tales of how I (and several other featured bloggers and food writers) get ready and prepare for Christmas with our families, some whom will have have travelled home for Christmas. My daughter lives and works in London now, so it’s always a very special time when she is home for this magical time of the year.
I LOVE the video that Waitrose have commissioned for this special campaign, with the familiar Robin making his (or her) way home for Christmas to a frosty, winter garden in the UK somewhere! Hopefully Hannah my daughter won’t have to brave stormy seas and windy skies on her way home this year, but when she does arrive home on Christmas Eve, we will decorate the tree together, as we always do, with a platter of these buttery cinnamon rolls to enjoy whilst we do it. It’s not very fashionable nowadays to leave decorating the tree so late, but it’s a tradition that I grew up with, and my mum and dad made Christmas Eve so special and magical by doing it this way, it truly felt like a very special time of the year.
The recipe that I have shared has two methods listed – one method is for the classic yeast Danish pastry type of dough, and then for frazzled bakers or nervous cooks, I have suggested using ready made puff pastry for these cinnamon rolls too……after all, it’s all about what is comfortable for you and what fits in best with your busy festive schedule in the kitchen. If there are any rolls left, then these are also wonderful when served as part of the Christmas morning breakfast, and, if you are really pushed for time, then these rolls can be frozen and defrosted overnight for breakfast, or early in the morning for Christmas Eve. (but not in the shape of a Christmas tree, as it will be too awkward for the freezer – separate the rolls to freeze them)
Other Christmas Eve food traditions are the big buffet that I always do; my mum and Hannah my daughter and I are in the kitchen all day baking and cooking, but once all the food has been cooked and prepared, that’s it for the rest of the evening, as it’s what we call a “running buffet”, with the food laid out on the kitchen table, where all the family can help themselves from for the rest of Christmas Eve and nibble and snack to their heart’s content! Food that always makes an appearance, as well as the cinnamon rolls, are…….
……mince pies, sausage rolls, retro style vol-au-vents, pork pies, cheese scones and cheese straws, sandwiches of all sorts in homemade bread, celery and crudites, crisps and dips, salad, cheese board with homemade chutney and pickles, roast ham or gammon, Christmas cake, fresh seasonal fruit and nuts, and Christmas style cocktails.
Sometimes, not very often, when we have been out late for last minute Christmas shopping, I’ve popped a casserole in the slow cooker, and we have had a “sit down meal” with a dessert buffet afterwards. A big family favourite is my Elizabethan Spiced Beef Stew, a genuine Elizabethan recipe, which I have adapted for modern day cooking, I serve this dish with Spiced Red Cabbage and Apples, as well as piles of fluffy mashed potatoes – It’s a veritable Christmas Carol of a recipe, with high notes of spices and low notes of tender, rich beef……it also has a fruity jingle with plump prunes and nutty chestnuts, it’s simply divine.
By the time you read this, I will have made my Christmas pudding, cake and mincemeat too, with lots of other baking in the freezer; I start my festive baking and cooking at the end of October, and by the middle of December, I am all set for the big day and beyond. I also make lots of my own jams, pickles and chutney, for the holiday cheese boards and charcuterie platters, as well as gifts for friends and family. And, another handy tip I’d like to share, is that I always have the Christmas Dinner table set up a few days beforehand, so I can take my time and be creative with the setting, and there’s no last minute rush to set it.
As well as my recipe for “Tear & Share” Christmas Tree Cinnamon Rolls, which I hope you will make for your Christmas Eve this year, I’ve also shared a few more popular Christmas and New Year recipes below, and DON’T forget to pop into Waitrose to pick up your free copy of Waitrose Weekend, where I am featured this week! I hope all my followers and readers have a Merry Christmas, and a very happy, prosperous and healthy New Year! I’ll be back in a few days with more seasonally inspired recipes as well as my latest traveller’s tales…..Karen
Christmas Recipes on Lavender and Lovage: