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Christmas Night Tea or Boxing Day Buffet, Clementine Mince Pies, Chocolate Baileys Cupcakes, Cheese Straws, Baked Ham and Open Turkey Club Sandwiches

I love christmas. All the twinkly lights, the wonderful smells and tastes of Christmas baking, getting together with loved ones. How my boys faces lit up when 'he had been' and had remembered what they'd asked him for. All the little family traditions we've made, from baking mince pies and sausage rolls on Christmas Eve, to wrapping the boys stocking presents while watching Midnight Mass and munching on a freshly baked mince pie, to the big breakfast with a fun table present (its been everything from racing snails to whoopee cushions) For me thats what life is all about building happy memories for my family.                          

Chocolate Baileys Cakes
this makes about 10 cupcake size or 25 mini's
120g plain flour
140g caster sugar
1tsp baking powder
40g unsalted butter
120 ml milk
1 tsp Baileys
1 egg
100 g melted dark chocolate
1, mix flour, sugar baking powder together in a freestanding machine.
2, Add butter mix until you reach a sandy constancy
3, Add half the milk and blend.
4, Combine egg, baileys, melted chocolate with the rest of the milk and add to the batter and combine.
5, Scoop into 10 muffin cases and bake at 170 for 20-25 mins
6, cool on a wire rack
Make baileys butter cream, spoon into piping bag, Pipe with a circle nozzle onto cupcakes,
Top with either homemade chocolate florentines or with a giant chocolate button

Cheese Straws
120 g plain flour
45 g buter (chilled and cubed)
40 g grated Cheddar
2 tbsp chilled water
1-2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
2 tbsp mango chutney (warmed and sieved)

1, Mix together Flour, butter and cheese in a food processor
2, Add Water processor until dough becomes a ball
3, Turn out and Roll into an oblong between 2 pieces of parchment paper
4, Sprinkle with black pepper
5, Trim the edges (I use a pizza cutter)
5, Cut into 1x3 inch strips, Twist each strip and lay onto  prepared baking trays
6, Bake at 210 for about 10-12 mins, or until golden, Leave to cool and firm up on trays
7, Once cool brush sparingly with the warmed sieved chutney for a lovely glaze and contrast with the black pepper.

Baked Ham
I always think its great to have a baked ham for the christmas period. We all love ham, egg and chips over one of the holiday days but also if unexpected guests turn up you've always got a meal or sandwich to give them
3.5 kg gammon
1 litre of cranberry juice
1 litre of apple juice
1 cinnamon stick
4 whole peeled shallots
1 star anise

15 cloves
3 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp English mustard

Start by bringing the ham to boil in a large saucepan of water to get rid of the saltness. Drain and clean saucepan then pop gammon back into the pan and top with the juices then add all the other ingredients. Bring to the boil and turn down to a medium heat. Cover with a lid just slightly open for the steam to escape and simmer for about 3 1/2 hours, leave to cool on a board, once your able to touch slice of the rind and score the fat in a criss cross and stud with cloves, in  a small bowl mix together all the glaze ingredients then brush over the ham. Bake in the oven at 200 for about 40 mins.

Open Turkey Sandwiches
This is not so much a recipe but an idea for a sandwich
For each sandwich
1 slice white bread
2 slices of turkey
1 tsp mayo
1tsp cranberry
A few salad leaves

What I do is brush all of the slices of bread with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt, lay on a heated baking tray and bake in the oven until golden, leave to cool on wire racks.
Then spread with mayo and cranberry, a few salad leaves, then some turkey top off with a sprinkling of stuffing. DELICIOUS xx

These little pies should come with a warning, as the fruit juice has a chemical reaction making such a wonderfully melt in the mouth texture to these little pies, that once eaten, beware, you’ll want more.

*Jar of homemade or shop mincemeat
300g plain flour
150g chilled cubed butter
zest & juice of 2 clementines
1 egg yolk
Mix flour butter & zest together till crumbly, add the egg yolk, next add the juice a little at a time, as soon as the pastry form a  bring ball stop adding the liquid,  I find it better to make my pastry in a food processor or my kitchen aid.Turn into a plastic sandwich bag, chill for an hour. Roll the pastry to the depth of a £1 coin. Now cut out circles (with a large cutter) and gently press into muffin tins add spoonfuls of mincemeat and now cut out smaller pastry circles for lids, cut out a small star and  brush with egg-wash around the lip of the bottom case to adhere the top disc, brush with more egg-wash and bake at 200 for 25-30 mins, dust with icing sugar x