A foodie tribute to Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’

In our final post for 2014, we pay homage to our favourite yuletide tale – ‘A Christmas Carol’ published in 1843. In the story, Christmas Eve is marked by the arrival of three spirits – the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.

In our recipes below, three spirits also make an appearance – in this case – vodka, rum and benedictine. Traditional Christmas fruits and spices are featured to celebrate the Ghost of Christmas past (cinnamon, nutmeg and dried fruit). The Ghost of Christmas Present cocktail celebrates contemporary food-fads with the inclusion of a fashionable vegetable-based green smoothie (spinach and kiwi-fruit). The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is celebrated with a cocktail-fusion of plum and white rum, served warm, and finished with the honeyed tones of Benedictine.
Two of these cocktails are prepared using a ‘rum starter’. This is easy to prepare – simply soak one cup of currants in one cup of white rum. Put aside for anywhere up to 3 days (but 2 hours before you need to use it is usually sufficient). The longer the fruit is soaked, the rummier it will become.

THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST
Egg nog, but with a delightfully icy twist! Beware the rum-soaked fruit at the end of the drink or the remorseful reflections prompted by the Ghost of Christmas Past, are most likely to come in the form of a cranking Christmas day hang over. The rum soaked fruit, eaten at the end of the drink, certainly packs a paranormal punch. This recipe uses an ice cream churn to create a smooth, yet snowy texture.

Ingredients (makes approx. 4 cocktails)
2 cups milk
Teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
Half cup caster sugar
Pinch of salt (very important)
Half cup of rum-soaked currants (from rum starter). Drain the fruit and use this only. Keep the alcohol (which will have a pink colour tone, as a result of the fruit soak). The coloured rum can be used in the plum cocktail recipe (to follow)
Half cup of white rum (more or less may be added, depending on the severity of your alcoholism).
Grated nutmeg (fresh) & whipped cream to decorate

Method
In saucepan, combine milk, vanilla and sugar, put on medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture is hot but not boiling. Reduce heat to low.
Whisk egg lightly in a separate bowl. Pour half of the hot milk mix into the egg and whisk vigorously. Pour egg mixture back into milk and heat on stove. Stir constantly on low heat, until mix just starts to leave a white coating on the back of a wooden spoon.
Cover and put in fridge until about half an hour before you want to serve.
Use ice cream churn to mix all ingredients together, including the rummy currants (about 20 minutes churning is usually long enough). Because milk has been used as the base ingredient, the texture will be quite thick and icy. Add white rum at the end to slacken the mixture. Pour into glasses, top with generous amount of whipped cream and grated nutmeg.

GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT
In the original Christmas Carol tale, the Ghost of Christmas Present wears a distinctive green fur robe. In our version of this classic tale, he is holding a fashionable high nutrition-extraction green smoothie.

Ingredients (makes approx. 4 cocktails)
2 cups baby spinach
4 kiwi fruit, skins removed
1 cup ice
1 cup vodka
2 cups lemonade
Quantity is sufficient for about 4 cocktails

Blend in a high powered blender. Line the cocktail glass with finely sliced dials of kiwifruit (optional). Serve immediately (not optional).

GHOST OF CHRISTMAS YET TO COME
This cocktail is reminiscent of plum pudding, served warm, but with the unusual addition of sweet and rich benedictine.

Ingredients (makes approx. 4 cocktails)
6 tinned plums
2 cups plum juice (reserved from the tin is ok)
1 cup pomegranate juice
2 tablespoons of ginger syrup (cordial)
2 teaspoons mixed spice
Any rum remaining from the rum starter
1 cup Benedictine
Edible glitter powder (to serve)
Put all ingredients into a saucepan, and warm very gently. This cocktail can be prepared well ahead of time and kept refrigerated. Just be careful not to overheat when re-heating. To decorate the glasses, dip the rim of each cocktail glass with Benedictine, and then immediately dip in an edible glitter powder (commonly available in cake decorating shops). Let the glitter dry a little, before pouring the cocktail.

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