Tuesday, 30 December 2008

How to Make Prawn Cocktail

Prawn cocktail was around in the 60's when it was very popular as a starter.
Old fashioned it may be, but I love prawn cocktail, then again, is there much I don't like in the way of food?......Probably not!
Saying that, it is still around now on menus, it's just a bit more fancy that it used to be.

Cocktail Sauce

Simple to make, just shred a few lettuce leaves, I use iceberg lettuce for it's crispness. Put some prawns on top.
I have never measured the amounts I used to make the dressing - just taste as you go and add a bit more of whatever you feel it needs. Therefore, please note that the amounts in the following are a rough guide.

To make the dressing:
4 tablespoons of Hellmann's mayonnaise
2 tablespoons of Heinz tomato ketchup
1 or 2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon of paprika
3 or 4 small gherkins - finely chopped
10 capers - rinsed well and finely chopped
A squirt of fresh lemon juice - to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
Now, just mix the lot together and taste it. It should be a lovely orange colour and taste nice and tangy. Season with some freshly ground black pepper. You may want to add a little more Worcestershire sauce or ketchup.
Serve the sauce on top of the prawns, a little more black pepper and a wedge of lemon.

Friday, 26 December 2008

Goats Cheese with Black Cherries in Kirsch

I thought I'd share with you the starter we had yesterday, as part of our Christmas day dinner. If you've never tried this before then you should give it a go. I not only looks good, is really easy to do and above all tastes yummy!
I used tinned black cherries with a little of the juice and then soaked them in Kirsch which is a cherry liqueur that is clear in colour.
After soaking the cherries in the Kirsch over night, or for at least a couple of hours, heat them gently in a small saucepan. Don't let it boil.
Arrange some salad leaves on a plate.
Now put the goats cheese rounds onto a baking tray. Dab the top of each one with a tiny bit of olive oil - just to help them colour nicely.
Place under a preheated grill for a couple of minutes until they are heated through and only just starting to melt. Keep an eye on them as if they do melt they wont look as nice on the plate.
Spoon the warmed cherries and a some of the Kirsch/cherry juice around and serve immediately.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Happy Christmas!

Just wanted to wish everyone that reads my blog a very Happy Christmas and a great 2009! I'd also like the thank you for the kind comments you have all left in the past year.

It's funny how everyone does things differently across the world at Christmas. Of course there are lots of people that live in places where food is scarce, and we should all take time to think about them. We have taken things, small, toys and sweets etc, into work and one kind person gets them posted off to the children in these poor countries. It's not much of a help but it's something.

Can you tell I made these mince pies myself and that they are not shop bought?!! Errr - yes I think you can! The plate is white - camera again sorry.
I am no baker as I've said before and I tend to put too much mincemeat in and so they get all gooey around the edge. No recipe - just ready made shortcrust pastry, fill with mincemeat and bake in the oven.......Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

As I was saying about everyone doing things differently on Christmas day. Here's what we will be doing in our house.
  • Get up and put the turkey in the oven - I went a bit mad this year and bought one that is way too big for two people so it will take an age to cook.
  • Open our presents - except this year we don't hardly have any - no money am afraid! But hey, it really doesn't matter, it just looks like you'll all have to put up with my dodgy photos that are taken with my phone for another year!
  • Have a Pernod mixed with fresh orange whilst cooking the dinner - only time I drink it as I prefer wine instead of spirits.
  • It is the absolute law to get the Christmas dinner on the table in time for 'Top of the Pops' at 2pm, which sadly stopped showing in 2006 but it turns out they are showing it again - a new one for Christmas 2008 - Yay!
  • It is also the law to have Christmas crackers just so you get to wear the paper party hat that's inside! Christmas would not be the same without the hat.
  • Eat, drink, watch TV and that's that. Next day, eat drink and watch TV again - Christmas sorted for another year!

Once again Happy Christmas Everyone and all the Very Best for 2009

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Chocolate and Chilli Torte with Grand Marnier and Pistachio

Well I can not believe it's been so long since I posted anything! Just seems that nothing has been 'normal' around here for the past month and I just haven't had time to get on here.
Today though, it seems like I've caught up at last. The most bothering thing has been (and still is) waking up and ending up getting up at 4am six days a week which includes every Sunday! Paul had to get another job on top of him cleaning windows as the weather has been so bad he's just not getting very far ahead. It's a doddle of a job 5am till 8am, it's just the getting up! But it pays the mortgage, and he can still do windows if it isn't raining, which is a good thing. Bless him - he's so sweet.

The television thing is still going ahead! In January there will be more filming, so there has been quite a lot of work to do for that, but it is a great opportunity to learn stuff, and will be really good fun!

Now as I said before I have had a bit of help here and there - I still need help on my presentation! James over at The Cotswold Food Year has been a great help and so has my niece's boyfriend Ant - I thank them both once again.

I've changed my mind about what to cook for a dessert at least a million times, well not quite a million! This is the dessert I have chosen to do, but need to work on my presentation!
James gave me a recipe for a chocolate torte which is fantastic. I made it but added red chilli, pistachios and Grand Marnier. I got that idea from the Chocolate and chilli mousse I made a little while back.

As I'm so not into baking, I do not have individual tins. But I used cooking rings placed onto buttered greaseproof paper on a baking tray and it works!

Preheat the oven to 180c/350f or Gas 4

To make 4 you will need:

For the Torte:
140g plain chocolate – 85% cocoa solids
85g butter
85g chopped pistachios - keep about a teaspoon aside for decorating
1 x medium hot red chilli – seeds removed and finely chopped
1tablespoon of Grand Marnier
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites
85g golden caster sugar
1 tablespoon of instant coffee

Raspberry Sauce:
160g of frozen raspberries that have started to defrost.
6 x tablespoons of icing sugar
How to do it:
Break the chocolate into pieces and melt both the chocolate and the butter in a glass bowl over simmering water.
When butter and chocolate have melted take off heat and stir almost all the pistachios, the chilli and the Grand Marnier. Have a taste to see if you want to add a little more Grand Marnier.
Now, using a balloon whisk, whisk together the yolks, sugar and coffee until thickened. Then add the yolk and sugar mixture to the chocolate and chilli mixture.

In a clean glass bowl whisk the whites until stiff - an electric whisk would help.
When done, gently fold the egg white into the chocolate mixture.

Grease all four of the 8.5cm cooking rings (3cm high) and place on a tray with buttered greaseproof paper underneath.

Carefully pour the mixture into the cooking rings and cook on the middle shelf of a preheated oven (180c) for approx 12 minutes.
The tortes should be soft in the middle. When they don’t wobble in the middle they are done.
Leave in the rings for 5 minutes before turning them out, this saves them sticking to the ring.
The tortes will be cool completely in about 30 minutes

Raspberry Sauce:
Put the raspberries and the icing sugar into mini-food processor and blend until smooth.