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It’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas

Last week I stuffed an enormous tree into a friend’s car – and it was instantly Christmas!

There is something about that intoxicating pine smell that makes me feel festive; I have an immediate need for a glass of mulled wine and Michael Buble on the stereo! This year I had an immediate need for TWO glasses of wine as I’d just braved the Gorham’s rush.

Gosh, that was a little crazy but Gorham’s is a firm part of our Christmas calendar and there is no shaking it. My favourite memory is the year they tied the tree to the car by using rope that went through the open car windows and up and over the roof. The only problem was that I couldn’t open the car doors so I had to climb in through the windows for the rest of the morning’s errands. Very funny as it turns out!

Anyway, despite the cloud hanging over us all, we’ve decided to make the most of our Covid-Christmas and just wholeheartedly throw ourselves into every festivity we can. The tree is up, we’ve decorated outside, the elf has arrived and we’re cooking lots of our favourite recipes. Cooking with my kids used to result in a spectacular (although delicious) mess, but the advantage of tweens is they are much better in the kitchen, even if there is the occasional eye-roll. We’ve arrived at the stage where I am officially embarrassing …. How long does this last? Help!

This weekend we have Christmas morning muffins lined up. I love these because they taste amazing but also because they make the whole house smell of Christmas as they bake. Between these and the tree, I am going to be in heaven! They’re pretty light and also gluten/dairy-free, so great for people with sensitivities too. Recipe is below, along with one for a Christmas salad. I thought I’d give this to you in advance so you can add the ingredients to your list. It’s a brilliant way to use up leftovers and the wedges smell amazing too as they cook. Yum!

Christmas morning muffins (gluten- and dairy-free)

Ingredients (makes approximately 30 mini muffins):

5oz almond flour or ground almonds

3oz brown rice flour

1oz ground flax seed

2 ½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

4oz Sucanat, coconut sugar or brown sugar (plus extra for the topping)

4oz (weight) apple sauce (unsweetened)

1 tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

2 clementines/satsumas

Approximately 350ml milk (I use flax but almond is fine)

¼ cup melted extra virgin coconut oil

2 eggs

4oz dried cranberries (ideally Eden organic)


1. Get the eggs and “milk” to room temperature.

2. Melt the oil in a small pan over a very low heat if yours isn’t already liquid.

3. Preheat the oven to 390F.

4. Line the pan with muffin liners and spray lightly with coconut (or other) oil.

5. Mix the flours, flax, baking powder, bicarb soda, sucanat (or equivalent), cinnamon and nutmeg into a large bowl.

6. Stir in the dried cranberries.

7. Zest the two satsumas over the flour mix, catching as much as you can.

8. In a large measuring jug, squeeze in the juice of the two satsumas.

9. Now top this up with your milk until the 200ml mark.

10. Whisk in the melted coconut oil, apple sauce and eggs.

11. Make sure everything is at room temperature otherwise the coconut oil will harden. Whisk quickly!

12. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well but lightly.

13. Spoon into muffin cases and sprinkle the tops with a little sucanat.

14. Bake in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes (seems a long time but they will need it) or until the tops are firm but springy.

15. Cool for five minutes in the pan and then move to a rack to cool.

Christmas salad with sweet potato wedges (serves four)


8 cups of arugula

2 cups of shredded roast chicken/turkey, organic if possible

4 small beets, roasted

1 apple, cut into matchsticks and dressed with a little lemon

4 scallions/salad onions

4 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds


2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 tbs maple syrup or 2 tbs apple juice

½-1 tbs raw apple cider vinegar

1 tsp mustard sea salt and pepper to taste


Toss shredded chicken, warm roasted beets, apple, scallions and arugula with dressing. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds.

Roasted sweet potato wedges (serves four)


4 medium sweet potatoes cut into 1-inch wide wedges

Light olive oil or coconut oil

Sea salt and black pepper

Approx ½ tsp cinnamon

Rosemary (optional but delicious)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss wedges with a little olive oil and spices. Bake for 45 minutes or until tender.

Catherine Burns is a qualified nutritional therapist. For more details: www.natural.bm, 505-4725, Natural Nutrition Bermuda on Facebook and @naturalbda on Instagram

Roasted sweet potato wedges

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Published December 11, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated December 09, 2020 at 7:26 pm)

It’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas

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