'Tis the season for good food and festive drinks! Whether you are spending the holidays home or abroad, these tasty recipes are easy enough to follow you anywhere you go. We met with taste experts around Shanghai to give you the best of this season's decadent food and beverages. With everything from eggnog to mince pies - these recipes are sure to impress. If this doesn't get you in the holiday spirit, well then we don't know what will.
Christmas Spice Chocolat Chaud
Chef Lucien Gautier, resident chef pâtissier at The Peninsula Hotel makes an extra thick, ultra-luxurious hot chocolate infused with wintery spices. Once made, this mixture can be stored for up to three days in the refrigerator and is easily reheated on the hob or microwave.
Cream, 500 g
Milk, 500 g
Cinnamon sticks x2
Vanilla bean x5
Tonka bean x5
Ginger powder, 10 g
Nutmeg powder, 5 g
Star anise x1
Milk chocolate, 100 g
Dark chocolate, 350 g
1. Gently simmer the milk, cream and spices in a medium-sized pan for one hour until infused.
2. Using a sieve or strainer, remove the spices from the milk and cream mixture. Return the milk and cream mixture to the pan on a low heat for one minute, stirring occasionally.
3. Remove from the heat, and slowly pour the milk and cream mixture over the chocolate. Mix well, and serve hot.
>The Peninsula Hotel, 32 The Bund. 32 Zhongshan Dong Yi Road
Nutmeg Spiced Eggnog
A classic holiday drink with a history as rich as its flavor, eggnog can be adapted to be as boozy or child-friendly as you like. Hai by GoGa, Brad Turley’s acclaimed American restaurant, serves it every year; here we share their favorite recipe.
Six fresh eggs, separated.
Half a cup of brown packed sugar (plus an extra tablespoon)
10oz cream (for a lighter eggnog try a milk/soymilk and cream combination)
8oz bourbon (optional)
4oz spiced rum (optional)
Ground cinnamon (for garnish)
1. In a large bowl, whip egg yolks with a whisk or fork until they lighten in color. Add sugar, and continue until mixed. Mix in the cream, bourbon, rum and nutmeg. Forgo alcohol if required.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites until they form soft peaks. Whisk in the extra tablespoon of sugar.
3. Whisk in the egg whites with the egg yolk mixture. Sprinkle cinnamon on top, and serve or chill in the refrigerator.
> Hai by GoGa, 7/F, 1 Yueyang Lu, by Dongping Lu 岳阳路1号7楼, 近东平路. (3461 7893)
Sweet Brussel Sprouts and Seasonally Spiced Glazed Carrots
Like them or not, brussel sprouts are a quintessential part of any Christmas dinner table. This recipe introduces a touch of sweetness and butter, taking the humble sprout on an altogether more palatable journey. While you're at it, carrots too can also benefit from a dose of the festive treatment. We like ours with this red wine and honey glaze, the alcohol of which burns off during cooking.
Brussel sprout ingredients:
300 g of Brussels sprouts
1 small orange
1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
2 tablespoons of dried cranberries (blackberries if you prefer)
1. Prepare the sprouts: discard any loose or damaged leaves, trim and cross the base then wash thoroughly in filtered water. Boil the Brussels sprouts in slightly salted water (5-7 minutes) – being careful not to over boil them (no one likes a soggy sprout!). Drain.
2. Wash the orange then halve it. Juice one half. Slice the other half into thin rounds (skin on), then cut the rounds into triangular quarters.
3. Melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat, add the sprouts, the orange segments and the cranberries. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until they’re lightly browned.
4. Pour the orange juice over the sprouts and continue to fry for 2 minutes.
250 g of small carrots
1 tablespoon of olive oil
½ cup of dry red wine
1 teaspoon of honey
1 tablespoon of orange juice
A pinch of cinnamon
1. Cut the tops off the carrots off then peel them and wash thoroughly in filtered water.
2. Melt the butter in a frying pan over a low heat. Add the carrots and fry for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Now add the wine, honey, orange juice, cinnamon and salt, and cook for a further 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The carrots should be cooked through but still retain their bite – obviously cook for longer if you prefer softer vegetables, adding a little more orange juice if everything is getting a little bit too dry.
4. Increase the heat at the final moment to reduce the sauce until it’s sticky and thick.
>Contributed by FIELDS (www.fieldschina.com), your online grocery store. FIELDS stocks fresh fruit and veg, imported and domestic meat, plus the brands from home that you love and miss.
Cranberry and Orange British Mince Pies
Don’t infer anything from the name – these sweet pies contain no meat and are a near-constant fixture in every British household around Christmas time. For this recipe, we used cranberry and orange, but add whichever dried fruit or nuts take your fancy.
This easy pastry by our That's Food Editor Betty Richardson – adapted from a recipe by another British household favorite, Nigella Lawson – is a breeze to work with and suitable for younger bakers too.
Plain flour, 240 g
Margarine, 60 g
Cold butter, 60 g
Juice of 1 orange (about 1 cup)
Pinch of salt
1 jar of mincemeat (We used Robertson’s, from City Shop)
Icing sugar (for dusting)
Dried cranberries, 2 handfuls
1. Measure flour into a large bowl. Cut the butter and margarine into chunks and add to the flour. Shake until all the chunks are covered, and place in the freezer for 20 minutes. Mix the orange juice with salt, cover and chill.
2. Remove bowl from the freezer. Using fingertips, work the butter into the flour until crumbly.
3. Next, pour in orange juice and stir until combined. Place onto a flat work surface and knead briefly. Cover and rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.
4. Remove from the fridge, and using a rolling pin (or a wine bottle with the label soaked off!), roll until 3mm thick and cut into circles using a cookie cutter or glass tumbler. Press into greased tart molds (we found disposable ones from City Shop) and put a small dollop of mincemeat inside. Next, use a star-shaped cutter for the lids, and place on top. Make sure the pastry thickness is about even.
5. Bake at 220°C (428 °F) for 10 minutes, and dust with icing sugar once done.