Christmas Kitchen Countdown

Iiiiittttts Christmas!!!! Santa will soon be here!!!!

Well, nearly. Its definitely soon and now its December I can legitimately start getting excited in public.

Hands up who is cooking Christmas dinner this year? *raises hand*

Well, actually I’m going to be in the kitchen drinking copious quantities of mulled wine while my sister/mother cooks and I stir the gravy….Anywho, for someone, it is likely to be a little stressful and so the next month worth of posts are going to endevour to make your lives easier this Christmas.

There will be recipes for the run up, the day itself and for all those lovely leftovers afterwards. AND you lucky people will also be treated to the recips for the delightful homemade gifts that I shall be spoiling my family and friends with.

Nothing says Christmas like the bubbling aroma of sugar and spice and a stack of homemade gifts. Making your own is fun and creative and will save you money too, plus you are bound to pick up extra brownie points. Especially if its alcoholic. Now, normally I have made gallons of sloe gin by December but living in the southern Med has kind of made that difficult…So this year I shall be making something a little bit different and somewhat more Italian. If you’re a fan of the lemony liqueur Limoncello, then you’ll love this Christmassy orange version.

Spiced Arancello

1 L vodka, 5 oranges, cinnamon stick, 3 cardamon pods, vanilla stick, 600g brown caster sugar (extra of fruit and spices for bottling)

Peel the zest from the oranges, making sure that none of the bitter white pith is left on the peel. Put the zest, spices and vanilla pod in a large, sterilised kilner jar, then tip in the vodka. Seal and leave for a week, shaking the jar every day (in a manner that makes you look like you just can’t wait…!)

After one week, its ready for the next stage. Boil a kettle of water. Put the sugar in a heatproof bowl, then pour over 500ml boiling water, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add to the vodka mix, then leave for another week, shaking the jar regularly. Strain into decorative bottles, discarding the peel and spices, and store in a cool place until Christmas. Before wrapping it up or popping it in a hamper, drop some fresh spices and peel into each bottle to decorate.

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