Sunday, 20 December 2009

Twisted traditions....

At the moment I feel like I am growing up and it scares the hell out of me. The new house, a pension, everyone coming to ours for Christmas (even the word 'ours' sounds grown up). But aside from the fear, the commitment phobia and the smaller bank balance the fun parts are starting to come through as well. Like Christmas traditions. The excitement of remembering something you did last year and recreating it.

Back on Scilly in Taylor Towers we have all kinds of festive traditions. A family photograph....

(This was actually a summer one...any ideas why I refused to wear trousers??!!)

A reindeer decoration on the tree with the back legs spray painted green, sweet and sticky honey roast ham studded with cloves on Christmas eve, shivering in Bryher Church at the island carol service, fights over who makes the bread sauce, mum's annual bingo, dad's annual fight about why he has to play bingo...these are the memories that makes Christmas.

And for two years it's broken my heart not to be a part of it. Last year I sat on the sofa, head in hands, and sobbed that I wasn't with my family. But we created another Christmas tradition, me and the other half, a tradition of never being apart at Christmas.

We also wore festive pjs and drank hot chocolate while watching films. We made a mountain of brownies and spent hours boiling Christmas fudge which we wrapped in sparkling boxes for our friends.

And this year the Taylor family and the other half's family are coming together to spend a Christmas in Cornwall. Hopefully this gaspingly crisp cold weather will stick around so we can go for walks at Trelissick and watch Boxing Day swimmers.

But it won't all be new. All of my mum's best recipes will be coming out of her handwritten cook book. The flour dusted pages will be dusted off and the pages glued together will be prized apart. (The sweet and sour sprouts didn't make the final cut...sorry mum).

Cheese and pickle twists are a favourite with all of us. Hot, crumbly pastry with melted cheese and sweet spicy chutney. They are a brilliant was of using up extra pastry, cheese and half used jars of chutney. (If you're dairy intolerant my little sister uses manchego and says they are just as good.)

Cheese and Pickle Twists

Leftover puff pastry
Leftover cheddar
Mango Chutney (I use Geeta's because it's by far the best)
Egg to glaze it with

I haven't given exact amounts because it depends on what you have leftover. Chop the lump of pastry in half and on a floured surface roll out each piece thinly until it is about the thickness of a 1p coin.

Spread a thick layer of mango chutney on one layer. It's worth trying to get nice big lumps of mango in there. Then grate thinly some cheddar cheese over the chutney. Place the other layer of pastry over the top like you would a sandwich. Then roll your rolling pin lightly over the top to fix the two layers together. Cut the pastry into one inch vertical strips.
Then hold each strip at both ends and twist around. Don't worry about little bits of cheese falling out. Place of a lined baking tray and glaze with some beaten egg. Pop in the oven for around 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Some of the mango chutney will spill out and my go dark brown and sticky but they still taste yummy. Eat while warm. You can eat them on your own or with hot soup.


  1. These sound great ... and it just so happens I have a half used jar of chutney lurking at the back of the fridge ;0)

  2. The might now look great but I promise they a really yummy...especially when straight out of the oven! xxx

  3. All sounds wonderful, no tears this year I hope!

    Happy Christmas

  4. That sounds yummy - I might have to give it a try with onion marmalade, as that's my favourite thing with cheese. :D
    Happy Christmas! Hope it all goes well and that you have a great time mixing old and new traditions. xx

  5. It sounds like it is shaping up to be a really enjoyable Christmas for you. Best Wishes for lovely food and lovely company!

  6. Thanks for your lovely comments!! xxx

  7. These look lovely! Happy Christmas to you, have a lovely time. Lucie XX