Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Christmas Turkey

There are so many recipes but this one is fairly works well and isn't too difficult to get right.

Remove the giblets from the turkey and remove the string holding it together since that allows it to cook even more evenly.

Cut a clementine in half and put in the neck cavity with some sprigs of thyme.

Cut up some onions and carrots and add a separated bulb of garlic and put in the bottom of the roasting tray. 

Put the turkey on top and cover the skin with butter and dust with salt and pepper. Wrap tightly with foil.

Put in an oven heated to 180 degrees. A 5.5kg takes just under 3 hours. 

About 45 minutes before the end remove the foil to crisp up the skin. Drain and stand on a serving plate and cover in foil and wrap in clean tea towels. 

Drain the fat off and then use the vegetables and juices to make gravy. Even do in the roasting tray or place in a pan and heat with a tbsp of flour. Then add a litre of stock (make from the giblets in advance). Cook for about 30 minutes and then sieve an

d serve.

Forgotten pudding

A bit like a pavlova but the consistency of the base is fluffier and more marshmallowy.

Begin whisking 6 egg whites with some salt until it forms soft peaks. Add 250g caster sugar and 1/2 tsp of cream of tartar and 1 tsp vanilla extract and whisk again until stiff and glossy.

Spread on a swiss roll tin that is lined with grease proof paper.

Put in an oven at 220 degrees C and as soon as you put it in turn it off and leave overnight or all day. Do not open the oven since it is the heat trapped in the oven that cooks it.

Top with either whipped cream or add homemade lemon curd (see here) made from four of the left over eggs yolks.

Simply add this to the whipped cream and spread over the finished base.

Top with fruit and serve.

Lemon curd

To make the curd put four egg yolks in a heat proof bowl and whisk with the juice of two lemons.

In a separate bowl mix the zest of the two lemons together with 150g caster sugar and add this to the egg mix. Chop in 100g unsalted butter. Place the bowl over simmering water and whisk frequently for 20 minutes until it thickens.

Cover with clingfilm and leave to cool (it will continue to thicken).

Quick muffins

An easy recipe that you can adapt for the occasion. You can add mashed banana or grated apples if you want something a bit healthier. Replace the chocolate with dried fruit. Leave out the cocoa. These ones are nice plain or with a simple chocolate icing.

Beat two eggs lightly and then add 125ml of oil and 250 milk and beat again.

Add 200g sugar and beat. Then add 400g of self-raising flour and a tsp salt and beat again. Do not overmix.

Add 100g of chocolate buttons/chips (or dried fruit) and mix quickly.

Add a shake of cocoa powder if you want it to be double chocolate. 

Put in cases and bake at 180 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.

I decorated some with chocolate butter icing and gold star sprinkles.

Homemade blinis

These are great for parties and entertaining but I always think the shop bought ones are very expensive. Whip up a batch easily and top with whatever you want.

Start with a cup of flour in a bowl and add a pinch of salt. Make a well in the centre and crack in an egg with a tbsp of oil and whisk together. Then whisk in a cup of milk until you have a smooth batter.

Heat a frying pan with some oil and cook teaspoonfuls of the mix. When little bubbles appear they are ready to flip.

They do not take long to cook- minute or so on each side.

Put on kitchen paper to drain.

They are lovely hot and topped with creme fraiche and smoked salmon. If you are entertaining you can make in advance and then warm on trays in the oven for a few minutes to revive.

Matzo balls

These are basically Jewish dumplings. My grandmother would always serve us chicken soup with matzo balls- it was just expected as the starter to every evening meal when we went there. I can't quite replicate hers but these are pretty good. These are great in soup but also in stews. You can either make them in the soup/stew or cook them in water and then add them cooked to whatever recipe you want.

Being with a cup of  matzo meal (most good supermarkets now stock this) and add some salt. You can also add flavourings at this point- pepper/ herbs/spices/ dried onion or garlic powder. Whatever you fancy. You can also add 2 tbsp baking powder which makes them fluffier (though not kosher).

In a separate bowl beat together 4 eggs and 4 tbps of oil. If you are making this with chicken soup you can skim off the fat from the soup as you make it and use that.

Mix into the dry ingredients and leave in the fridge for half an hour.

Roll with wet hands into balls and cook for about 30-40 mins in either water or the soup/stew.

They will fluff up a lot. This makes about 18-20 balls and you can easily halve the mixture or double it depending on your numbers.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Proper orange hot chocolate

Great for winter nights!

Put 800ml whole milk in a pan and add a few strips of orange peel. Heat to just before boiling and then keep at that temperature. Chop up 100g very dark chocolate and 100g milk chocolate. Remove milk from heat and take out the peel. Add the chocolate and stir until silky smooth. Stir in about 4 tbsp of thick double cream.

Pour into four small mugs and scatter over some mini marshmallows. Then grate over some chocolate (the one below was without the extra grated chocolate!)

Friday, 1 December 2017

Sausage plait

Very like sausage rolls just looks more impressive. Blitz together a skinned pack of sausages with an egg and some worcestershire sauce.

Roll out some ready rolled puff pastry and cut slits each side (equal amounts each side). Put the sausage meat in a roll down the centre and then plait the strips over the top.

 Brush with beaten egg and bake for about 45 minutes.

Roasted pumpkin soup

We got a lot of pumpkins just before halloween from a farm and they store well so I am still enjoying cooking with them.

A simple soup - take one edible pumpkin and cut into slices. Remove the stringy middle and the seeds but don't throw the seeds. Put on a baking sheet and drizzle over oil.

Roast the wedges in the oven for about 40 mins to an hour with a clove of garlic that you have chopped the head off and wrapped in foil and put with the wedges.

When they are starting to caramelise they are done. A good pumpkin roasted this way is lovely and great as an accompaniment to a main meal (could even replace roast potatoes). They can also be frozen at this point in little bags to be used at a later date very quickly (can cook straight from frozen).

Meanwhile fry a carrot and onion in some oil. Add a cup of washed red lentils and a pint of homemade chicken stock (or shop bought if you don't have any!)

Add the roasted pumpkin and squeeze out the garlic into the pan. Bubble away for 20 mins. Puree and top with creme fraiche (and some seeds from below!)

While the pumpkin is roasting, clean up the seeds and wash and dry them. Put on a single layer of a baking tray and spray with oil and sprinkle over a little salt. Roast in the oven for about 30 mins until they are browning. Great on salads, over this soup or even just as a snack (the girls have them as a school snack whenever I have made some).