Christmas market night at home recipes:
Fed up with overpriced Christmas markets? Host your own market themed night at home with your best friends and budget recipe boards.
1. Mac & cheese balls
Makes 16 balls
Price: 32p per serving
- 250g macaroni
- 125g mozzarella
- 100g mature cheddar
- I tbsp garlic granules
- Salt and pepper
- 100g breadcrumbs
- 2 eggs
- 4 tbsp plain flour
- Sunflower oil
- Jar of cranberry sauce
- Boil the macaroni per packet instructions, drain and pop back into the saucepan.
- Add the garlic granules, salt, pepper and both cheeses, stir until fully melted.
- Take a tablespoon of the macaroni cheese, mould into a ball and pop onto a cupcake tray or a lined tray. Repeat until you have 16 and put into the freezer for 30 mins.
- Put the flour in one bowl, the breadcrumbs in a second and the eggs to a third. Season the breadcrumbs and mix the eggs.
- Roll each macaroni ball firstly into the flour, then into the egg mix, then finally into the breadcrumbs.
- Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the Mac & Cheese balls for 3/4 mins until golden. Remove with a spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
- Serve on your boards with the cranberry sauce as the dip.
2. Bratwurst hotdogs
Makes 6 hot dogs
Price: 85p each
- 6 bratwurst sausages
- 6 mini hot dog buns
- 1 onion
- 3 tbsp oil
- Tomato ketchup
- Peel and slice the onion, then fry in an oiled pan. Cook on low, stirring every so often and allowing the onion to caramelize.
- In a griddle pan, fry the sausages.
- Serve the sausages in hot dog buns with fried onions, ketchup and mustard on a board.
3. Festive crepes
Makes 7 crepes
Price: 82p per crepe with suggested toppings
For the crepes:
- 125g plain flour
- Pinch of salt
- 2 eggs
- Tbsp caster sugar
- 300ml milk
- 30g butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Oil for cooking
For serving (optional):
- Chocolate spread
- Whipped cream
- In a large bowl sift the flour, add the salt, sugar and stir.
- In a separate bowl whisk the eggs, vanilla extract and milk until combined.
- Gradually add the milk mixture into the flour mixture and stir until smooth.
- Pour in melted butter and whisk until combined. Let stand at room temperature for 15-30 minutes.
- Heat a non-stick pan and lightly coat in oil (I like using fry light for this).
- Pour around 60g of the crepe batter into the pan, swirling it to evenly coat the pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes, flip and cook for 30 seconds. Remove and repeat with the remaining batter (remember to grease the pan between each crepe).
- Serve on a board with all the optional toppings.
4. Mulled wine
Makes 4 glasses
Price: £1.25 per glass
- 1 (750 ml) bottle of dry red wine
- 1/4 cup brandy
- 1 sliced orange
- 8 whole cloves
- 2 cinnamon stick
- 2 star anise
- 2 tbsp sugar or honey
- To a large saucepan, cast iron pot or slow cooker, add the wine, brandy, orange, cloves, cinnamon, star anise and 2 tbsp of sugar or honey and stir.
- Cook the mulled wine on a medium heat until it barely reaches a simmer (don’t let it bubble as it will reduce the alcohol). Reduce the heat to low and cover. Let the wine simmer for at least 15 minutes on a hob or up to 3 hours if in a slow cooker.
- Once finished, serve in heatproof glassware and add some Christmas garnishes (use a strainer to separate out the spices).
Low-cost DIY Christmas edible gifts:
Swap the expensive store-bought food hampers for a thoughtful and inexpensive DIY one, made with love.
1. Christmas cake pops:
Price: 39p per cake pop
- 200g Madeira cake (ensure this is just the light sponge, remove the darker/caramelised outer part of the cake as this doesn’t crumble very well)
- 75g unsalted butter at room temperature
- 50g icing sugar
- 1 tbsp sweet cinnamon
- 300g dark chocolate
- 100g white chocolate
- Red ready-made icing (for moulding)
- Green ready-made icing (for moulding)
You will also need:
- Cake pop sticks
- Cake pop stand/ old shoe box
- In a large bowl, crumble in the Madeira cake, running it through your fingers so it becomes very fine and there are no lumps.
- In another bowl, whisk together the butter, icing sugar and cinnamon to make the butter cream.
- Add the butter cream gradually to the fine sponge, mixing and binding together until it becomes the texture of damp sand.
- Measure out 35g balls of the mixture and roll into a tight ball until you have used the whole mixture.
- Allow to set in the fridge for an hour.
- Melt 20g of the dark chocolate, dip the tip of the cake pop stick into the chocolate, then halfway into the centre of the ball. Put back into the fridge to set, for a minimum of an hour (this process helps the cake pop stay on the stick).
- If you have a cake pop stand this part is easy. I improvised and stuck some holes into an upside-down shoe box for my cake pops to rest in, making sure it fit in my fridge shelf.
- Melt the rest of the dark chocolate in a bowl. Dip in the cake pop, gradually turning until fully covered in melted chocolate. Carefully tap the stick whilst turning the cake pop at the edge of the bowl so the excess chocolate comes off.
- Put your pops in the stand, so they are upright and pop back into the fridge to set.
- Melt the white chocolate then drizzle a little on the top to give the effect of a Christmas pudding. Set again in the fridge.
- In the meantime, roll your ready-made icing out and and cut out some green leaf shapes and small red balls to make holly shapes. Add to the top of each cake pop, allow to set and then package up!
2. Honeycomb chunks:
Makes a very large batch - enough to make 6 gift boxes
Price: 76p per gift box
- 25g baking soda
- 2g cream of tartar
- 250ml water
- 700g caster sugar
- 375ml golden syrup
You will also need:
- Brown parchment paper
- A sugar/ jam thermometer
- Line a large, deep dish with brown parchment paper so that the paper comes up over the sides.
- Stir the baking soda and cream of tartar together in a small dish and have this ready with a sieve.
- In a large saucepan with deep sides add the water, then the caster sugar and golden syrup. Bring the mixture to a boil over a high heat, stirring just once or twice to ensure everything is dissolving evenly. Please be careful here!
- Continue boiling, without stirring, until the mixture reaches 149 degrees on a sugar/jam thermometer. This takes some time so keep an eye. It’s so important you have a cooking thermometer and make sure the tip of the thermometer isn’t touching the base of the pan.
- Remove the pot from the heat and, using a wooden spoon, sift in the baking soda mixture, stirring quickly and vigorously to make sure it’s all mixed well.
- Quickly scrape the mixture into the baking dish. It will keep growing so allow it to set for 2 hours. Don’t spread it and whatever you do, DO NOT LICK THE SPOON!
- After 2 hours, remove from the dish and peel off the paper then bash with a rolling pin into big chunky shards. Here you can dip into melted chocolate, allow to set and wrap into individual gift boxes.
- The honeycomb will keep up to 4 weeks in an airtight container.
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