There's less than 3 weeks left now until the big day, and I'm feeling rather pleased with my organisational skills at the moment. The tree is up and most of the presents have been bought and wrapped. Inspired by Nigella and her year round twinkly lights, I've also put some fairy lights up in the kitchen this year, however, in my enthusiasm, I appear to have achieved the look of Santa's Grotto rather than Nigella's cosy kitchen. The husband is none too chuffed by my efforts to be super festive as I'm yet to introduce smart plugs into the kitchen, and there are a grand total of 7 sockets to turn off at the end of the night!
I've not yet dug out my spreadsheet for the Christmas food, but that part of the planning will hopefully get underway over the weekend. I'm not catering for as many guests on the big day this year but I'm sure that won't stop me making plenty of desserts, resulting in me inadvertently consuming far too many calories.
According to Consultant Dietician Helen Bond, on average people gain between 1 and 5lbs over Christmas, and I've definitely been closer to the latter in previous years. This year I'm aiming for zero weight gain, so I need to be a little bit clever, as I don't want to miss out on all of the treats.
Reducing your sugar intake over Christmas can be a little tricky but by substituting sugar in desserts and drinks with Splenda® granulated low calorie sweetener means that you can still enjoy a few sweet treats, without the extra calories. As Splenda® is made with sucralose it's heat stable up to 232 degrees C, making it an ideal replacement for sugar in cakes and bakes.
There are lots of recipes and ideas on the Splenda website, including Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake, Mince Pies, Mulled Wine Jelly and Christmas Trifle, which would all be perfect for Christmas entertaining.
I decided to make the Christmas Trifle, and instead of making one large trifle I made smaller ones in cocktail glasses. Making individual desserts is a not only a more attractive way to serve trifle, it's also a great way to ensure that you don't eat one spoonful too many!
My version of the trifle also includes Amaretto in place of Sherry, Madeira or Masala, as I absolutely love Amaretto, and the almond flavour goes really well with the spiced plums. I must admit that despite making trifle every Christmas I can take it or leave it really. I certainly don't like trifle with jelly in, and many trifles are really heavy, however this version, without the layer of cream on top, was much lighter, and the spiced plum layer was quite tart and paired well with the sweet custard.
Commissioned post for SPLENDA®