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Alternative Christmas food treats

PUBLISHED: 16:06 10 December 2013 | UPDATED: 16:06 10 December 2013

Marzipan and mincemeat cake, Beechwood Foods

Marzipan and mincemeat cake, Beechwood Foods

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Take inspiration from our top foodies for a different approach to food this Christmas

Sarah Murray of Beechwood Fine Food shop in Tring shares her recipe for an alternative, easy and delicious Christmas cake

Making a traditional Christmas cake takes some planning, what with feeding the fruit, feeding the cake, patching the marzipan, combing the icing and then of course the decorating! If you struggle to fit all of that into your already busy life - along with decorating the tree and shopping for presents – then try this easy-to-make alternative.

The delicious homemade mincemeat and marzipan loaf cake combines all the flavours of Christmas in a really simple to make recipe. What’s more, it can be made ahead of time and frozen.

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Ingredients (for 10 to 12 pieces)

200g self-raising flour

100g cold butter

85g light muscovado sugar

85g readymade marzipan

2 eggs, beaten

Jar mincemeat (approx 300g)

Flaked almonds

1kg loaf cake tin

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Recipe

• Preheat the oven to180C/Gas 4/fan oven 160C and grease and line the cake tin.

• Place the flour in a large bowl, dice the butter and rub into the flour until the mixture is like breadcrumbs (this can also be done in a food processor).

• Dice the marzipan into 1cm cubes and stir into the flour mix with the sugar.

• Combine the mincemeat into the beaten eggs, and stir this into the flour mix.

• Spoon into the tin, smooth, and sprinkle with flaked almonds.

• Bake for approx one hour until golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean.

• Cool before removing from the tin and peeling off the lining paper.

• Dust with icing sugar and add a sprig of holly to serve.

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Knebworth Barns head chef Charlotte Obia’s top Christmas dinner

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Try goose as an alternative to turkey. Cook it on its belly and because of its high fat content the juices will run into the meat and keep it moist,

Mix marmalade with fresh orange juice and slide under the skin to make the meat sweeter and the skin crispier. Stuff with a whole orange for added flavour.

Serve with dauphinoise potato and red cabbage with sultanas.

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Beers for Boxing Day

It’s Boxing Day afternoon and the kitchen is packed with tasty leftovers and lovely nibbles. Pour one of these award-winning Tring Brewery ales for the perfect drink partner

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Tea Kettle Stout

Forget bitter stouts. This is smooth, chocolatey and slightly sweet. Perfect with left-over Christmas pudding, or try warmed with mulled spices.

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Death or Glory

Bold rich flavours. A great alternative to port and sherry. Pair with strong cheeses, red meats and sticky puddings. A real winter warmer.

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Side Pocket for a Toad

Great with cold cuts of meat, fish and salted snacks. This is a crisp golden ale that provides a refreshing alternative to richer flavours of the season.

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All available in bottles or as draft beer to take away from the Tring Brewery shop.

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