Christmas cooking

Easy-in-advance-lasagne recipe

If you need to take a dish to a Christmas function, but know you won’t have time to cook anything at the time, why not cook it sooner and freeze it? Then just pull it out of the freezer in time for the event – a great back up for unexpected visitors over the holiday season, too. This is an easy to make lasagne that freezes nicely…

Easy, prepare-in-advance lasagne

2kg mince meat plus 2 large jars of prepared sauce and 1 large tin tomato puree*
4kg cheese – a combination of two works well, especially if one is mozzarella for the stringy effect!
2kg penne, ziti or other tube pasta

make a layer of meat sauce

cover with pasta

cover with cheese

cover with sauce

repeat until the pan is full and/or you run out of ingredients, but make sure cheese is the top layer. Wrap tightly and freeze.

Bake at 180 C for about 30 minutes, plus 5 minutes uncovered – longer if cooking from frozen.

* If you have time, add chopped vegies into the sauce for more flavour and to make it a complete meal when serving it.

Nuts and Bolts ~ a recipe

Though it’s not a strictly Christmas recipe, it’s original and great fun for the kids.

My aunty made them last Christmas and I just couldn’t stop snacking on them! These addictive little treats are delicious, fun and very, very easy to make.

The ingredients are:

1 x 675 packet of Nutri Grain
1 x 45 grams packet of Cream of Chicken Soup powder
1 x 45 grams packet of French Onion Soup powder
2 teaspoons of mustard powder
1 tablespoon of curry powder
2/3 cup of Canola oil
500 grams of unsalted peanuts

One you have all this the making of Nuts and Bolts is extremely simple…

1. Warm oil in microwave for about 20 seconds
2. Combine all dry ingredients in a lidded container
3. Shake until the Nutri Grain is covered with the dry ingredients
4. Pour and stir in oil and shake some more
5. Keep stored in an air tight container

If the Nutri Grain goes a little soggy, simply heat in a moderate oven until they are crispy again.

If you don’t like peanuts you can change the recipe to cashews or even some mixed nuts. You could even throw in a broken up packet of 2 minute noodles to make Nuts, Bolts and Screws!

Great for a snack as everyone arrives or shares out presents at Christmas, or make little packets of it as gifts.

Glasses and plates of food on a table

Nuts & Bolts can be added to any entertainer’s table.

Fruit mince

Fruit mince can be bought in any supermarket, but it is so much nicer to use home made mince when making puddings, cakes, fruit mince tarts and the like. So here is a simple recipe for fruit mince – good to make it in or before October for best results at Christmas.

Oh, and jars of mince can themselves be a lovely Christmas gift!

Home made fruit mince

1/3 cup raisins, chopped finely
1/3 cup currants
1/3 cup sultanas
1 Tbs mixed peel, finely chopped
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbs butter (melted)
1 Tbs brandy
1 apple, grated

Mix the fruit and peel, then add the remaining ingredients. Once thoroughly mixed, bottle and seal tightly.

* a small amount of grated ginger is a nice touch
* it is best to sterilise your bottles before adding the mince – as easy as heating them in the oven or in a pot of boiling water. Be careful not to burn yourself.


What is your favourite fruit mince treat? Myself, I find it hard to go past a fruit mince pie, yum!

Glogg (a Danish drink)

Along with Æbleskiver, the Danes usually drink Gløgg (which is very much like the mulled wine I’ve had on skiing trips.) Not sure if you could keep it hot enough for Santa, but I’m sure he’d enjoy it!

Personally, I think this suits a Christmas in July celebration better than on December 25 for Australia. Mulled wine on Christmas eve



250ml water 

4 Tablespoons of white sugar

1 cinnamon stick

3 or 4 cloves

5 or 6 cardamon seed pods, peeled

small piece of ginger, peeled

peel & juice of 1 lemon

peel & juice of 1 orange

1 bottle of red wine

90 gram dried fruit (without glace cherries)

60 grams blanched almonds, chopped

0.25 cup of port, rum, brandy, vodka, or similar



Boil cinnamon, sugar, cloves, cardamon, ginger and peel in the water for about 10 minutes*. Remove the peel and spices.

Mix in the juices, fruit and nuts and heat to almost boiling. Take off the stove and mix in the wine.

The port/rum gets mixed in just before serving, but that should be pretty much straight away anyway to drink it hot.


* For a stronger flavour, leave the spices & peels water to sit overnight.


* Image courtesy of Oleksandr Prokopenko (123rf)

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