Christmas on Becca's Books | Christmas and Recipes with Jennifer Bohnet

~ Christmas and Recipes with Jennifer Bohnet ~

By Jennifer Bohnet

Christmas is basically the same the world over but different countries do have their own traditions so, as I live in France, as well as sharing a couple of recipes with you, I thought I’d share some French customs as well.

My Christmas cake and puddings were made in October this year - I have been known to make them in December! The French can understand Christmas cake but Christmas pudding is a bit of a mystery to them. My neighbours like my mince pies though!
French families celebrate together on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day with a big family dinner, usually seafood and not meat, followed in certain parts of France by 13 desserts. Down south in Provence and the Cote d’Azur Christmas markets spring up everywhere and there stalls selling all the ingredients you need for the festive table. Nuts, figs, almonds, dates are there to represent a religious aspect, fresh fruit, two kinds of nougat (representing good and evil), and a yule log will take centre table.

As well as the traditional church cribs, French families often set one up in their homes. The figures, called santons, are family heirlooms handed down through the family. As well as Mary and Joseph, baby Jesus, there will be figures representing local people like farmers, the local baker etc. Some of these figurines can be rather crudely made but some of
them are really beautifully crafted.

 Now for a couple of my favourite Christmas recipes:

Mincemeat Slice:
5oz butter
3oz soft brown sugar
6oz plain flour (wholemeal if you prefer)
2oz ground almonds
1 tsp almond essence
4oz porridge oats
8oz mincemeat
shallow baking tin approx 11inches by 7inches greased

Melt butter with brown sugar. Mix almonds, porridge and flour in a large bowl. Pour melted butter and sugar over and mix well. Add essence. Place half the mixture into tin and press out firmly. Spread the mincemeat evenly and top with the remaining oat and flour mixture.
Bake in centre of oven for approx 20 mins. 200 C.
Top needs to be golden brown. Cut into squares.

Mulled Wine à la Jennie.
 1 bottle of red wine
8 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
2 tsps allspice
1 large orange peeled to leave the pith behind
1 lemon peeled to leave the pith behind
Honey to taste.
(sometimes I also add a small glass of sloe gin)

Gently warm it on a low heat - do NOT boil - keep on a low heat for about 20 minutes to let it infuse.



Jennifer is originally from the West Country but now lives in the wilds of rural Brittany, France. She's still not sure how she ended up there! The saying 'Life is what happens while you're deciding what to do' is certainly true in her case. She's always written alongside having various jobs: playgroup leader, bookseller, landlady, restauranteur, farmer's wife, secretary/p,a - the list is endless but does provide a rich vein of inspiration for her stories.

You can find Jennifer Bohnet on Facebook | Twitter |

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