Showing posts with label Christmas Cooking Ideas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christmas Cooking Ideas. Show all posts

How to make Marzipan

Well who'd have thought me of all people, has actually managed to made a Christmas cake. Now for the cake itself I used a recipe off the net which worked and I had a rich dark, moist fruit cake.

As I understand it it's important to 'feed' the cake every few days by making small holes in with a cocktail stick and adding brandy. Well due to one thing or another happening round here I didn't get round to icing it for a good few weeks so for fear of it drying out my cake was fed possibly a little too much; yep a lot of brandy went into this cake ๐Ÿ˜Š I think if I had a shop I'd need an alcohol licence to sell a slice!

Christmas Cake

So anyway the cake was made and with thanks to the lovely people over at Dr. Oetker the icing was taken care of by way of a ready to roll pack. Well I got so into this cake making lark I even bought me a fondant icing smoother which is necessary for a lovely smooth finish - see I know all the techie bits lol ๐Ÿ˜‰ A cake smoother not only give a nice smooth finish but it ensures the marzipan and icing are nicely sealed with no airspace in between; you may remember I had lessons at the Langham Hotel in London with Cherish Finden no less so I know these things!

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Berry and Chocolate Meringue Wreath

Okay so after my Banana Bread made with the help of my Kenwood Chef, I've since got all tricky and made this Meringue Wreath. Now I understand that for most this probably isn't tricky at all but I don't do baking; simply because I'm no good at it. However, since the Kenwood Chef Elite arrived it's made such a difference as I not only love using it but it makes life so much easier.

Berry and Chocolate Meringue Christmas Wreath

I really couldn't have been bothered with all the whisking needed to produce meringue (too much like hard work and I am lazy) but now I can just put the egg whites in and let it get on before adding the sugar a little at a time and let the Kenwood Chef Elite KVC5100S do all the hard work.
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Port and Redcurrant Glazed Roasted Root Vegetables - SCANPAN Review

My Christmassy Roasted Root Vegetables glazed with Port and Redcurrant Jelly are, in a word, delicious. Perfect for Christmas dinner or of course the usual Sunday roast.  So very easy to do too, and as long as you have a good non-stick pan you can't go wrong.

Usually I'd recommend you use a disposable foil tray since the honey can be hard to clean from a regular non-stick roasting tin.  But having been sent this beautiful Scanpan I put it to the test - would it be easy to clean afterwards?  Answer is yep it was a doddle.
Scanpan not only looks good but performs really well both in the oven and on the hob too.
 

Scanpan products are made in Denmark and the Scanpan roasting pan has a non-stick ceramic titanium coating and is metal utensil and dishwasher safe.  This roasting pan is multi-purpose too since it has a base like a frying pan and it can also be used in the oven, under the grill and on the stove top.
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SousVide Supreme Party Food Made Easy - Mini Burgers

Last month I made a selection of starter course dishes that were all ideal for entertaining and were made using The SousVide Supreme water oven.  With Christmas and New Year coming up fast, thoughts turn to party food.  This is the first of a few party food ideas I will be posting which can be prepared in advance, ready to cook using the Sous Vide cooking method.  

These tasty, juicy mini burgers can be made now and frozen in the special vacuum pouches ready to pop into the water oven on party day.  To serve, all that's left to do is a 30 second turn in oil in a very hot pan to give the burgers colour,  assemble, serve and enjoy!


The fantastic thing about this method of cooking is your burgers can sit in the water oven for hours and they will still be cooked to a perfect medium-rare (or however you choose) ready to brown, they're ready when you are.  
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Easy Leftover Turkey Curry - The Best Recipe

There are many different leftover turkey curry recipes but it has to be said my latest invention, in our opinion, is one of the best.  Great for using up leftover Turkey at Thanksgiving or of course Christmas.

Make a simple spice paste of onions, ginger, garlic and chillies.  Fry gently along with cumin, ground coriander, garam masala and throw in a cinnamon stick.  Add coconut milk, tomatoes and soft brown sugar and a little chicken stock and cook till done - continue reading for the full recipe.

Curry

Slightly sweet tasting yet very nicely spiced.  Of course you can make this with leftover chicken too.
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Roast Chicken with Orange and Black Pepper Baste

I was recently sent a lovely Seasonal Box from Knorr full of goodies for the perfect Christmas dinner including new Knorr Gravy pots to create tasty gravy without any fuss.

Roast Chicken with Orange and Black Pepper Baste

The box came with a challenge which was to either cook Marco Pierre White's Christmas Roast Turkey with Orange and Smoky Bacon Baste recipe, or come up with something else.  Since there are only two of us and it's so near to the big day, I didn't cook the Turkey.  I've popped it into the freezer and it will get cooked on Christmas day.

The orange and black pepper butter can of course be used to baste a turkey instead of chicken.
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Pork and Date Stuffing Recipe

Perfect with Sunday roast chicken, but this stuffing is especially nice at Christmas and is so very easy to make too. 
 
Pork and Date Stuffing

If you use pork that hasn't been previously frozen you can make these now, freeze them and that's another job done for Christmas day! 

Of course you don't have to make the stuffing into balls, you can just put it in a tray and cook.
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Balsamic Glazed Beetroot and Carrots

Another fantastic idea from Marks and Spencer this Christmas!  Beetroot and Chantenay Carrots roasted with a Balsamic and Honey Glaze.   Of course, as soon as I spied them I had to have a go at making them myself.


Just a few minutes to mix up a bit of Balsamic vinegar, honey and a couple of other bits and bobs.  Minimal preparation - just throw the vegetables into a foil tray and your ready to roast.  

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No Fuss Honey Roasted Parsnips - Perfect for Christmas Dinner

Honey roasted parsnips are so very simple to do, yet the supermarket will slap on more money just because they've done them for you.  Disposable trays are a marvelous idea and can actually be washed if you wish, so you can reuse them. 

A perfect side dish for Christmas, Thanksgiving or New Years Day.

Roasted Parsnips

I find there's no need to mess about parboiling the parsnips beforehand they cook up nicely without all that fuss.
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Christmas Cooking Ideas and Recipes for a Perfect Christmas

With Christmas just a few weeks away, it's about time we all got a grip of what we're doing about the food!  Here are just a few ideas of nice things to serve before, with and after your Christmas dinner.

Starting with the Starter! 
Now this is too easy to do and can be put together in next to no time.


If you’re having Turkey, what size do you need?
Based on about 500g per person:
6-8 people: 4kg turkey
8-10 people: 5kg turkey
10-12 people: 6kg turkey


If you’re getting a big one – do you have room in your oven?  The tray you’re thinking of cooking it in may not fit your oven - yes that happened to me last year so it’s worth checking that now!  

I always aim to have too much turkey for sandwiches later on in the evening.  If you have way too much left, you can always make a curry on Boxing Day or even freeze some.  
The website ‘British Turkey’ has defrosting times, cooking times and how to carve your turkey so that’s worth having a look at. 

I always like to have a nice bit of pork loin or gammon too.  Last year I baked cured pork loin with Madeira and Honey Glaze


The Vegetables: 
Flavoured butters can be made in advance as they will keep for a couple of months in the freezer.  I particularly like Jamie Oliver’s flavoured butter with Crispy Bacon, Chestnut and Sage.


Or you might fancy Jamie’s Thyme,Cumin and Orange Butter to add to carrots.  Now that’s really nice! 


Dessert:
Not everyone likes Christmas pudding, so if you fancy something different, what about a nice Dark Chocolate and Orange Cheesecake with Grand Marnier?

What about these Tiny Toblerone Cheesecakes?


Served with a Liqueur Coffee perhaps?

I hope this post has given you a few ideas. Happy Christmas Everyone! 

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Elderflower and Prosecco Jelly with Berries

This is a Jamie Oliver recipe, which is absolutely fantastic!
You can make one big jelly or as I did 4 individual ones.
To give you some idea, my glasses each hold 200ml of water and as I said I made four jellies.
Not the best picture in the world but you get the idea.
You will need:
Enough mixed soft fruit (blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries) to fill your glasses.
4 leaves of gelatine - although I say 5 leaves
2 heaped tablespoons caster sugar
425ml Prosecco (sparkling Italian wine), chilled
How to do it:
Put your ripe fruit, glasses and the wine into your fridge to get everything nice and cold.
Now, put the gelatine leaves into a dish with a little cold water to soak for a minute, then drain and add the gelatine back to a bowl with the cordial.
Rest above a pan of water over a medium heat and stir constantly until the gelatine and cordial become a syrup.
At this point you can add your sugar, stir till dissolved, then remove the bowl from the heat and let it sit at room temperature for a minute or so.
Time to get your fruit and Prosecco out of the fridge.
Pour the Prosecco into your cordial mix, and then pour this over your fruit.
Some of the fruit might rise to the top, so using your finger, just push the fruit down into the jelly mix so that it is sealed and will then keep well in the fridge.

My fruit still came to the top so I gave up! The jellies were going to be eaten later that day anyway so it didn't matter too much if they were covered in jelly.
**Now at this point, Jamie says 'Put back into the fridge for an hour to set'.
My jellies didn't set that quickly! I'd say a good few hours is needed.
Also, when I make these again I will use another leaf of gelatine as the jelly wasn't set as good as it should have - don't get me wrong it wasn't that bad just could have been better. Mine were in the fridge from morning till night too.
Anyway, whatever they were good!
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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.
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Marsala Honey Pears with Gorgonzola - Nigella Lawson


Print Recipe

This recipe was taken from Nigella Lawson's book 'Nigella Express' Having made this, I would suggest using only 1 Tablespoon of oil, and not 2 as this recipe says.
You will Need:
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil (Not Extra Virgin)
2 Pears, Unpeeled and Uncored (uncored says Nigella - I say core those pears)!
3 Tablespoons Marsala
2 Tablespoons Honey
50g Walnut Halves
500g Gorgonzola

How to Do it:
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Meanwhile, cut the pears into eighths, leaving the skin and core on. (I cored my pears - no stalks on my plate, thank you very much)!
Fry the pears for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until softened.




Meanwhile, whisk the Marsala and honey together in a cup or small bowl.
Add the Marsala mixture to the pears and allow to bubble and become syrupy.

Transfer the pears to a large serving plate, reserving the syrupy mixture in the pan.  Add the walnuts to the same pan and stir fry them for about a minute, or until they are slightly darkened and sticky all over.

To serve, transfer the walnuts to the serving plate along with any remaining pan juices and place the gorgonzola onto the plate.
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A GLUG OF OIL