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Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly – Happy Christmas from Sleeps12

Tis the season to be jolly, falalalala, lalalala! With less than a week to go, the Christmas spirit is really kicking in and there’s a sense of excitement in the air. The tree’s up, the wreath is hanging on the door, the turkey’s been ordered, cards written, the Christmas cake is snug as a bug in its tin, just the presents to wrap...

And of course some of you are looking forward to spending the festive season at one of our fabulous large group holiday homes, and what a wonderful time you’ll have – plenty of room, big fat sofas to curl up on, wood-burning stoves to keep you warm, and heaps to keep you entertained – big TV’s, games rooms, swimming pools, hot tubs, saunas, and cosy Nordic style BBQ lodges where you can all gather together and tell stories or sing carols!

Make time before the rush, to take a little time out and sit down by the tree with a glass of your favourite tipple or a mug of something hot. We all have different ways of unwinding; some of us like a good book, others like to go for a run or walk in the countryside. If you find baking relaxing tell everyone to keep out of the kitchen, pop some Christmas music on and get out your bowls, spoons, measuring jugs, and bags of flour. How about making some mince pies? Or for something a little different, follow our recipe below for Mince Pie Squares; it’s an old fashioned recipe with a scone-like crust that’s lighter than a proper pastry one, so it’s easier and quicker to make, and even better - it’s all made in one tin so it saves the bother of cutting individual pies. It was given to us a few years back by one of our lovely property owners – as it freezes well she keeps some in the freezer and takes it out when she’s expecting guests.  We’ve all had a go at making it and yep, have to say, it goes down very well! It certainly disappears quickly when we bring some into the office to share! It’s a bit like a mince pie sandwich, all lovely and moist with the addition of grated apple and the citrusy Christmassy tang of orange rind.

Here’s what you need:

For the Pastry:

115g butter
225g self-raising flour
115g caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
Milk (in case it gets a bit dry)

For the filling:

About 400g of mincemeat
1 large cooking apple, peeled, cored and grated
Grated rind of 1 orange
To Glaze: milk and granulated sugar.

Preheat the oven to 180c/350f/GM4.  Rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Mix in the sugar, then the egg and mix to make a soft dough. If the mixture is too dry, add a little milk to loosen it up. Divide the dough in half and then roll each half out to fit a 23cm x 32.5cm greased or lined swiss roll tin. Put one of the rolled out halves carefully into the tin. Spread the mincemeat over this, and then top with the grated apple and grated orange rind. Place the remaining rolled out pastry on the top, brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 30 minutes, until it’s nice and golden on top, allow to cool and then cut into squares.

Then enjoy with family and friends! Have a wonderful Christmas everyone – from all of us at Sleeps12 x

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