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.


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.

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.
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